June 2012

Posted June 1, 2012


Assertion 1. Whatsoever sins, of whatsoever persons were imputed unto Christ, and for which he hath made full satisfaction to God's justice, these are no more imputed, but forever remitted in Christ absolutely and unconditionally to them who were the committers thereof. But all the sins of all the elect, and of them only, and not of the world, were imputed to Christ, and he hath made full satisfaction. Therefore the proposition is clear, unless we pronounce God unjust; for if he should impute to the offender any one sin which was imputed to Christ, and for which Christ hath fully satisfied God's justice, then should God be unjust in taking vengeance twice of the same sin, once from Christ, and another time from the offender, contrary to both the equity of his justice, and infallibility of his truth; in either of which it is impossible for God to fail. Or if any should say that their sins were but conditionally imputed to Christ, and that he made but a conditional satisfaction for them, this would be totally to deny the truth, and reality of Christ's sufferings. It was not a conditional, but absolute and real satisfaction that he made to divine justice; they were real stripes, real and absolute wounds, groans, torments, death pangs, by which he satisfied divine justice. He was not conditionally, but verily made sin for us, {II Cor.5:21,} a curse for us, {Gal.3:13,} himself bare our sins in his own body on the tree, {I Pet.2:24,} was wounded for our transgression, bruised for our iniquity. {Is.53:5} When all this was done absolutely, and really, and so a real, and absolute satisfaction made; shall all this produce only a conditional, and not a real and absolute justification in Christ for them for whom satisfaction was rendered; so that themselves in themselves must make absolute satisfaction again? This possibly may agree with Mr. Baxter's justice, but never with the justice of God. The assumption is thus proved, as to his bearing, and satisfying for the sins of the elect only, and not of the world. He suffered not for such as we call certain uncertain persons, himself not knowing who they were, or should be. The high priest, that typified Christ, offered not his sacrifices at adventures for he knew not whom, but bear the names of them for whom he offered before the Lord. {Ex.28:9-12, 29} And this was to be fulfilled in Christ their Anti-Type. “I lay down my life for the sheep,” saith he, “and know my sheep.” {Jn.10:11-15} For the sheep only, for them whom he knew to be his sheep, he laid down his life. And lest any should think he speaks here only of his called, and not his elect ones, he adds, “other sheep also I have which are not of this fold,” {of Israel - but of the Gentiles} “them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice.” They are his sheep and he lays down his life for them to satisfy for their sins before they were believing, before they were in being, and brings them home by the voice of his Gospel afterward. But to the unbelieving Jews he saith, “Ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep.” {vs.26} First sheep redeemed by the blood of the Shepherd, and then believers afterwards. And that if not sheep first, then unbelievers forever. Neither saith he, ye are not my sheep justified and reconciled by my death, because you believe not; but ye believe not because ye are not of my sheep; that is, in the number of my elect and justified ones. Justification, absolute justification in Christ goes before faith in the so justified. Again for them all, and only for them did Christ as our Priest offer Himself in sacrifice, for whom as our Priest he offered prayers to God when the offering of himself was at hand; but he so offered his prayers, not for the world, but for them which God had given him; namely, the elect. {Jn.17:9} So in this part the assumption stands firm; on the other part, that he satisfied for all the sins of all the elect is plain; “the blood of Christ purges from all sin,” {I Jn.1:7,} “by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” {Heb.10:14} When it is said that they are perfected forever, it is included that there remains not one sin unsatisfied for. And this is the privilege of all the elect, of all the sheep both in being, and in futurition, all within the fold, as before was manifested. Assertion 2. If Christ hath purchased, and we receive in this life only an universal conditional justification; it will follow also that God hath in himself decreed before all time only such a conditional justification to men; and consequently that he neither loved, nor elected to life them that are saved more than the damned. For the Son was in the bosom of the Father, therefore privy to his secret will, to his very bosom councils, came down from heaven not to transgress, but to fulfill his will, {Jn.6:38, 4:24 & 5:30,} was faithful to him that appointed him, &c. {Heb.3:2} So that he acted in time according to the will and decree of God before all time. But it is false that God decreed only such an universal and conditional justification to all, not preferring in his love and election those that shall be saved, before them which shall be damned, as clearly appears. {Acts 13:48, Rom.8:30, 9:15-25, Eph.1:4-7} Therefore it is false also that Christ hath purchased only, and we receive only an universal conditional justification. Assertion 3. Upon as good grounds as Mr. Baxter doth in the ensuing part of this treatise argue from salvation or glorification to justification, might I also argue from justification to salvation; that if justification be universally conditional, so is salvation or glorification also; that if one, then both run upon these terms; namely, if he believe and obey he shall be justified and glorified, and if not, neither shall be his portion. Thus, according to this maxim; when any is justified and glorified, his perseverance in that state depends upon his free will, runs upon the same condition still, so long justified and glorified as he is willing and obedient, and if he cease to obey he shall be unjustified an un-glorified again. So thus all the fruits of Christ's death shall be rolled to nothing, and Christ's righteousness and glory shall be a conditional and mutable righteousness and glory; today in splendor, tomorrow in darkness; and himself become a conditional Savior, a conditional King; at one time complete and sitting among his Golden Candlesticks, in the midst of his glorious Temple; at another time unchristed, unkinged; a head without a body and members, a Savior of nobodies, a King without subjects; some not at all submitting to his golden scepter, the rest that have submitted revolting from him, some from the kingdom of grace, some from the kingdom of glory, as Adam from paradise, the angels from heaven, so that he shall be left alone, and his sufferings and merits lose all their fruit by means of this conditional justification. There is I confess no weight in this argument as to be truly Orthodox. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, 1654}

Posted June 3, 2012


“There is also a twofold pardon, as well as a twofold justification, one in Law, the other in sentence of judgment. So Acts 3:19, ‘Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.’ Lo here is a justification, or pardon of sin, in, or after our glorification begun,” says Baxter. Assertion: Mr. Baxter knows that Erasmus, and the old translation otherwise render this text, making the latter clause thereof ecliptic, or imperfect, which is thus to be supplied, “Repent &c., that your sins being blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come forth from the presence of God.” What then? We may supply, “ye may have your part in the eternal refreshing and joy.” This rendering of the text even the most solid Expositors that follow the other reprove not, but speak honorably of it; much more those that take it up. And if we so understand the text, it hath no show of affirming a forgiveness of sin, but glorification only after the judgment day. Yea, I have found none, until Beza’s new translation of the Testament, that otherwise understood the text, or since this translation that hath reprehended the former as faulty, but all both before and since making that the sense thereof. Yea the actual word, which our translation renders ‘when’ both Beza and all the Orthodox Expositors render ‘after;’ thus rendering the text, not when, but after the times of refreshing shall come. And this Mr. Baxter cannot deny to be the proper meaning of the phrase. And will he notwithstanding say that the times of refreshing; that is, of everlasting joy, come first, and then the forgiveness of sins follow? Mr. Baxter is not ignorant that the word ‘shall come’ may be as properly rendered ‘have’ or ‘are come.’ And so many learned Translators and Expositors of this text have understood it; namely, of Christ's first coming in the flesh; and then without any supplement the text is full in itself, and runneth thus, “Repent, &c., that your sins may be blotted out, seeing that the times of refreshing are come forth from the presence of God.” John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, 1654}


The doctrine of justification by Christ is nowhere in the four Evangelists held forth under the name of justification or justifying. Many, both parables and clear doctrines that proceeded from the lips of Christ, do indeed in other words fully display it; especially John the Evangelist, who made it more his task to record the doctrine than the acts of Christ, because he saw those historicized somewhat largely by the other three Evangelists which had written before him. Eagle-like mounting on high to the contemplation of his Celestial and Divine nature and doctrines, very exactly sets it forth but under other words, naming it as such: Life, eternal life, everlasting life; he that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life, {Jn.3:36,} is passed from death to life, {Jn.5:24,} hath eternal life, {Jn.6:54,} my flesh which I give for the life of the world,{Jn.6:51,} and you will not come to me that you might have life, {Jn.5:40,} except ye eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you, he that eateth me shall live by me. {Jn.6:57} In all of which and many other texts of this Evangelist none can deny but by life is to be understood chiefly, if not only, the life of justification, not that of glory which is to be received above, but that of grace here. For so those Scriptures point out a life here in this present world enduring everlastingly to all eternity, and not a life here only to be hoped for, and hereafter to come into our fruition. Neither do I find the word ‘justify’ used but once by Luke in the Acts of the Apostles. Nor yet at all in any one of the Epistles of the Apostles {James only excepted in one chapter} but by the Apostle Paul alone. Yet the substance of justification was the chief doctrine in all their Epistles handled, but the same set forth under the name of salvation, saving, life, and other phrases which our Savior himself used. In these phrases also doth Paul use as equivalent with the word ‘justifying’ in all his Epistles. Now the reason why this Apostle, more than the rest, treats of this doctrine under the name of justification I conceive to be this; because he was forced to handle it by way of controversy against the false apostles, some professing, some rejecting Christ, that taught justification and salvation by the works of the Law in part, and not by grace only; whom therefore he must needs in his disputes treat with in their own terms and words. Their argumentation against the Apostle {as may be gathered from the Paul’s answers,} ran in this tenor and to this effect, that righteousness alone which justifieth or maketh a man perfectly righteous saveth; and that the righteousness of the Law, is that righteousness alone which justifieth or maketh man perfectly righteous, at least by procuring proper righteousness to him, therefore that alone saveth. The Apostle here granteth the proposition, that no other righteousness but that which justifieth or maketh a man perfectly righteous saveth; but denieth the assumption, that the righteousness of the Law only, or at all justifieth or maketh a man perfectly righteous; because only the perfect doers of the Law are perfectly righteous, not the hearers. But no man can perfectly do it; and contrawise proves that the righteousness of the Gospel which he calls the righteousness of God, the righteousness of faith, the righteousness of God by faith, which consisteth in Christ's satisfaction imputed to us, is the righteousness which justifieth and maketh perfectly righteous, because it cleanseth from the guilt and freeth from the imputation of all sin and unrighteousness. {Rom.1:17, 3:5, 21-26, 4:3-6, 11, 5:17, 18, 21, 9:30, 10:3-6, II Cor.5:21, Phil.3:9.} In all which places and in many others the Apostle having rejected the righteousness of works from being, asserteth the righteousness of God in Christ, to be the righteousness, the matter and substance of the righteousness by which we are justified. This he illustrates by a comparison between Adam and Christ; Adam’s disobedience and Christ's obedience. “For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” {Rom.5:19} Adam’s disobedience was not only the merit, but also the matter of our sin, as far as sin is capable of the matter, the very sin itself, which being imputed to us as being in him, without any personal and actual sin of our own, maketh us sinners. So the obedience of Christ in offering himself a sacrifice for sin, and giving satisfaction to God's justice in obedience to that positive command of the Father which required it, was and is not only the merit, but also the matter of that righteousness which being imputed to us {as being in Christ} without any personal obedience of ours added to it, constitutes us righteous and justified in God's acceptance, or is that for by and in which the Lord pronounces us just and justified to our consciences. Such is the frequent dispute of the Apostle about the substance and matter of that righteousness by which we are justified, which he concludes not to be a righteousness inherent in us, but this Righteousness inherent in Christ, but imputed to us and apprehended by faith to justification. “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins.” {Rom.3:25} And this is all that I find our Divines to mean in saying the righteousness or satisfaction of Christ is the material cause of our justification defending against the Papists as the Apostle did against the Pharisees, that the matter of the righteousness which God accepts and imputes to us in justifying us, or unto righteousness and justification, is this righteousness of Christ only, not the righteousness of works. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, 1654}


Whoever separated, or was so mad as to divide God's knowledge and will from either his immanent or transient acts, that hath ever said that God in imputing our sins {in reference to punishment} to Christ Jesus, in forgiving, absolving, and accepting the sinner, hath done either he knows not what, or that which he would not, willeth not? But to conjoin what the Lord hath divided in point of time, his constitutive justifying us in his own breast through Christ before time, with his declarative justifying us in our consciences in time, would be to confound heaven and earth, eternity and time, together in one. The question is not, whether when God hath by a transient act justified a sinner, he knoweth and willeth his justification? But whether God did not both knowingly and willingly so justify and pardon him through Christ, within his own counsel from eternity; or whether God's accepting him in Christ, and knowing him to be so accepted, be begotten in the will and mind of God now in the end of time, and so God is not the same God in his knowledge and will, which he was from eternity? John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, 1654}

Covenant of Grace

The question is wholly about Christ the second Adam, whether the Covenant of Grace was so made with him, as the covenant of works with Adam? I conceive that in both there was such a covenant between the Father and the Son in reference to us, and that this was the tenor thereof; namely, that the Son in time appointed should assume to himself our nature, and in it represent the persons of the elect that were equally sinners and condemned with others in Adam; that he should offer himself in our flesh a sacrifice for sin; that upon his undertaking thereof the sins of all the elect should be pardoned, and these sinners should be made righteous, and delivered up into his hands, no more to be accounted to Adam, but to Christ, and to be preserved in the bosom of his grace and love to eternal glory. Upon Christ's undertaking, &c., the satisfaction was so virtually and effectually made by Christ and accepted by the Father as when it was actually accomplished. First it seems there was such a covenant; for the Apostle tells us, that Adam was a figure of him that was to come, which is Christ, {Rom.5:14} And how a figure? Doubtless, not only in this, that as by him the one and the first man, sin and death by sin immediately came upon all men; so by Christ, righteousness, and by it life came upon all the elect; but also in the manner of the agreements of the type and anti-type together. That as Adam represented all mankind, and by his unfaithfulness in breaking the covenant brought sin and death upon all that he represented; so Christ representing all the elect, by his faithfulness in performing the covenant &c., brought righteousness and justification of life upon all the elect represented in him. Yea the Holy Ghost in express words testifieth to such a covenant. “In the volume of the book it is written of me, to do thy will, O God,” saith he when he comes into the world; that is, it is testified in the Word what covenant hath passed betwixt thee and me, &c., {Heb.10:5-10,} yea and testifieth to the tenor of the covenant, his coming with a body to be offered in sacrifice; this will of God he came to do. And moreover he giveth witness also to the faithfulness of Christ in offering it, “lo I come;” and to the efficacy of it upon all immediately for whom it was offered; by the which will we are sanctified; namely, no more taken for sinners, but consecrated as holy to the Lord through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all. The same is implied in that phrase which here termeth the offering of Christ's body the doing of the Father's will; and elsewhere, “obedience unto death, even the death of the cross.” {Phil.2:8} Obedience and will presuppose command and covenant. And the one righteousness or one act of righteousness of Christ, opposed to that one offense of Adam, {for so the phrase seems to me to hold out more grammatically, than the offense of one and the righteousness of one,} doth not obscurely argue that one righteousness of Christ in fulfilling, opposite to that one offense in Adam in once breaking the covenant. {Rom.5:18} And that all this was covenanted to be done and accepted for and in the behalf of the elect, and to them and none but them to be effectualized, is also evident from the Scriptures. For he did the will of his Father in offering himself as was before showed; that is, did according as it was agreed and covenanted between him and the Father, died for them only for whom he made prayers and intercessions. When his time was come to suffer he prayed and interceded not for the world, but for them only whom the Father had given him out of the world. {John 17:6,9} Therefore for them only he undertook to satisfy. Therefore is it that he is said to lay down his life only for his sheep, not for the goats, {Jn.10:11,15,} for them whose names were written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. {Rev.13:8} By force of this satisfaction so given and accepted for the sins of the elect, according to the tenor of this covenant between the Father and the Son, all the elect of God were justified in Christ from the very time of Christ's undertaking to be their Justifier. Therefore in the last alleged Scripture their names are said to be written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Here though the Book of Life which is elsewhere mentioned to be God's book will be taken by Mr. Baxter to be the book of election, yet this Book of Life of the Lamb is to be understood for the book of justification, implying indeed the election of all that are written therein, but primarily and in its direct sense comprehending the names of them that are justified by the blood of the sacrificed Lamb of God. And these are said to be written in Christ's book; that is, registered in Christ, and upon Christ's account from the foundation of the world, immediately upon Christ's undertaking to satisfy for them. “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” {I Cor.1:30} When was he so made unto us? Not only upon the payment but upon his undertaking to pay our debt. Therefore is he said to be Jesus Christ yesterday, and today and forever. {Heb.13:8} And that not only in reference to them that lived in all ages of the world, but in respect of us also, that in all ages of the world he hath been, and will be what now he is - our Jesus - our Christ. Christ having now made full satisfaction to the Father, brings in his elect, to taste and enjoy by faith all the perfections which he hath merited and received into his hands for them. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, 1654}


The Apostle having affirmed himself to have dealt faithfully in preaching all that was profitable unto them, to evince it, gathers into two heads the sum of all his doctrine, which he had testified amongst them; namely, repentance towards God and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ. {Acts 20:21} What is there in this to prove repentance is a concomitant with faith to justify? Is every profitable doctrine effectual to justify? A man's food and garments are both profitable unto him, shall I therefore conclude either that his garments do nourish him, or his meat clothe him? Christ admonished the Angel of the Church of Ephesus to “repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” {Rev.2:5} What is this to justification? Will he say that the removing of the candlestick out of its place, was either the justifying of the unjustified, or unjustifying of him that was before justified? Also in Rev.2:16, Christ calls upon the Angel of the Church at Pergamos to, “Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them {namely the Balaamites & Nicolaitans mentioned in the two former verses} with the sword of my mouth.” Surely Mr. Baxter must fly from the latter and rational meaning, and follow the precepts of Origen in fishing after the Spirit, or an allegorical sense of these words, to make them speak anything for his justification by repentance. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, Second Part, 1654}


Next I shall speak in general of these quoted Scriptures, as many of them as do hold forth the promise of life upon condition of repentance to sinners, or to sinners if they repent. These all speak of a legal or of an evangelical repentance. Of a legal repentance consisting merely in a feeling of humiliation and contrition for, hatred against, departing from sin; and applying of one's endeavors to all moral virtue and obedience. That is a merely moral repentance derivable from the strength of the natural conscience illuminated by the Law and common knowledge of God's will and nature. In this sense is the word taken in most of the Scriptures quoted from the Old Testament, and some also possibly of those that are quoted out of the New. But then the life by these Scriptures promised is not the life of justification, or of spiritual and supernatural blessedness; but that which the administration under the Law is wont to call life; namely, 1. The fruition of the land of Canaan, which prefigured the life and rest both of grace and glory; and, 2. Of the blessings of health, honor, peace, plenty, safety, and other temporal benefits promised to the obedient in the land of Canaan. This is clear to him that will see, from the 18th chapter of Ezekiel, where so often mention is made of life and death, turn and live, if you turn not you shall die. What is here meant by this life and death maybe understood from that proverb used by the Jews whereof mention is made in the beginning of the chapter. “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge?” {vs.2} The fathers have sinned, and death is inflicted upon the children for their father's fault. This gave occasion for the delivery of all the doctrine comprehended within this chapter, in which God thoroughly vindicates his justice from inflicting death upon the children for their wicked parents offenses; showing how unjustly they died which died, and lived which lived, in reference to their own, not their father's sin and righteousness. What then was this death here denounced, or the setting of the teeth on edge, but the plague, famine, sword, which had been upon them in the land, and their captivity and exile now upon them in Babylon out of the land of their inheritance? These temporal evils are the death here affirmed to be inflicted, and denounced to be continued upon them. The life promised upon condition of their repentance, and turning from their evil ways, was their restoration to the land, and blessings of the land of Canaan again. The same is evident from the words of Moses in Deuteronomy, were Moses having in the name of God, pronounced the many blessings and continuance of secular happiness to the obedient, and to them that after much transgression and many curses for their transgressions should repent and turn; denounced curses upon curses, a whole deluge of judgments, and temporary afflictions one on the neck of another against as many as should disobey the Commandments. {Deut., chap. 28 & 29, 30:15-20} “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live; that thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him; for he is thy life, and the length of thy days; that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” Call heaven and earth to witness that he had done his duty in setting before them life and death, good and evil, blessing and cursing, implying the life and death here mentioned consisted chiefly in outward prosperity and adversity. That these were the apples and the rods to allure and terrify them yet in their infancy and under a pedagogue until faith should, and the Sun of Righteousness shine in its splendor, that they might walk by faith, and not by feeling; act from love, and not from fear; from the Spirit of adoption, and not of bondage; so that this life promised to a legal repentance is nothing to the life of justification, but so far beneath it, that it is in no capacity to be used as a proof against it. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, Second Part, 1654}


Those Scriptures which he quotes that offer life upon condition of evangelical repentance do not make for him any more than the former. For Gospel repentance, is taken either in a large or strict sense; in the more large sense it is the same with conversion or regeneration, and oft times equivalent and the same thing with faith, though some little consider it to be so. And this is as oft as repentance is put for the one and the whole thing required on our part to put us into the actual and sensible possession of the grace and life of the Gospel; as Mat.3:2, Mk.6:12. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The drift of their preaching was repent; so Lk.13:3,5; “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish;” so, Lk.24:47, and others. In all these places repentance containeth primarily the change of our relation, and but secondarily of our qualifications and manners. It is a movement, in which we are driven by, being moved by God's Spirit we move; the direction of this motion is self, our self-righteousness and self-confidence, from which we turn no less than from our polluted self, sinful self, and sinful ways. The means by which we are turned is the Lord Christ through whom we have access to the Father for remission first, and then for sanctification also. And as the scope of the Gospel requires us to understand in such Scriptures repentance in this sense, so neither do the two Greek words rendered in Latin ‘Paenitentia’ and in English ‘Repentance,’ refuse this sense. For what is that change of the mind, of the judgment, wisdom and will, when it is taken for a theological virtue, but a change of these in reference to happiness? A renouncing of and departing from natures groping and erring directions, by our own works and righteousness to seek for blessedness; and a cleaving to the directions of the Gospel in pointing out Christ as the alone way to it? For instance, Paul while yet impotent and unconverted, walked by the light of his natural conscience, and as it was informed and awakened by the Law, and by this rule walked as a strict Pharisee; “touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless,” {Phil.3:5,6,} and looking {as Mr. Baxter doth} upon the doctrine of free grace, and righteousness freely imputed, as upon a licentious doctrine, was carried with full sails of zeal totally to destroy it. “I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus, &c., which thing I also did, &c.” {Acts 26:9,10} Now when the Lord Christ met him in the midst of his raging madness, so working upon his heart that he now believed in Christ whom he had erewhile persecuted, received him and rested upon him for righteousness, whom he had erewhile blasphemed. What will you call this obedience to the faith, this closing of his heart with Christ instead of further dashing against him? Was it not his conversion, his repentance; or is it the promise of life {I mean the life of justification} made to any other repentance besides this? In this sense therefore repentance is not a thing distinct from, but one and the same with faith; or if it be objected that it is somewhat larger than faith, I shall not contend, but acknowledge that it entails both justification and sanctification. Yet this hinders not but that these two phrases, repentance to life or remission of sins, and faith to life and the remission of sins, are in the language of the Holy Ghost one and the same. Where repentance is taken in a stricter sense, and some of the Scripture, which he quotes seem to promise remission of sins or life to it; we must necessarily understand of every such Scriptures that it speaketh of the repentance which is actuated in our first conversion and calling, or after it. That which is in our first conversion or calling, when it is taken in a strict sense, is not as in the former sense put as the whole thing required on our parts, but seems in words a coordinate with faith to interest us in the righteousness and life which are by Christ. Such are these Scriptures, “repent and believe the Gospel,” and “repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ,” {Mk.1:15, Acts 20:21,} and many others. But in these, repentance and faith together make up no more than in other Scriptures, either faith alone or repentance alone in their large sense import; and so repentance is taken for self-denial, self-abhorring, self-subduing, and faith for embracing Christ; both these are repentance or faith in their larger sense. To no other end doth repentance cast and empty out self to be filled with Christ, nor doth faith receive Christ until self be led out and evacuated that it may receive him. This we see in Paul casting away his own righteousness as dung and loss, and putting on Christ, to win and wear Him for righteousness, {Phil.3:8,9,} were two concurrent acts either of one faith or of one repentance, {for we may use after the Holy Ghost, either term interchangeably,} and repentance here is no distinct thing from faith, nor faith from repentance, and in naming these two the Holy Ghost nameth not two gifts of grace, but two acts of the same gift of grace in us. And those of the fore quoted Scriptures which speak of repentance in a strict sense advantageous to life after conversion, and that which the Papists and Mr. Baxter call the first justification, {as II Cor.7:10, and some other,} speak of repentance indeed really distinct from faith, being an effect or fruit of faith. But this repentance is in no other sense called repentance to life, then as by it the saints sometimes recover the sense and comfort of their justification, that had for a while laid fainting in them; or as it is empowered from above to repair, confirm and increase the life of faith in them. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, Second Part, 1654}

Posted June 4, 2012

Gospel Blessings in Christ

Neither shall it be impertinent here to take into consideration some rules of our Divines for the right understanding of the mind of the Holy Ghost in promising eternal life unto persons of such and such qualifications, or that perform such and such duties. These are principally such as follow: 1. That they belong {as far as to be effectualized} to none else but such as are vitally within the Covenant of Grace, under the protection of the blood of the Lamb, in spiritual union with Christ Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant according to that of the Apostle. “All the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen;” {II Cor.1:20;} never effectualized to them that are not in Him. “To Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy Seed, which is Christ;” {Gal.3:16;} namely, in him alone, and to them alone to be conformed which are in Christ. Therefore the blessedness which Matthew in the sound of words seems to hold forth more generally, Matthew 5:3-11, Luke as the expositor of Him, or rather of the mind of Christ in those promises, contracts to the right objects or persons to whom they were to be made good, thus; Jesus “lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor; for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now; for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now; for ye shall laugh;” {Lk.6:20-23;} implying that the blessedness was to come upon them, not by the virtue of these acts and qualifications mentioned, but upon this ground alone that they were his disciples, by him Gospelized and received into covenant. This is that which Augustine so much presseth in such promises to look to the Root which is Christ, and that the reward is not from their works, because they are holy, but because they are holy or saints which wrought them. 2. That in such promises the qualifications or works of the persons to whom they are directed are mentioned not as the ground or foundation of the blessedness promised, but to show the method and order which God observes in bringing them to the possession thereof. Because he is holy, pure, spiritual; therefore he pours into them his purifying, sanctifying, and adopting spirit to conform them to his own will and nature, before he brings them into the full and real fruition of himself. So he promises all the heaven of felicities to the meek, the righteous, the saints, to them that love him, that fear him, that obey him; not thereby insinuating that he found them such, but that he made, or will make them such, as many as he will crown at last with glory. He new creates their hearts and forms their wills, puts into them a new spirit, thereby making them as Peter saith, “partakers of the Divine nature,” and to enjoy the kingdom of God within them here, before they be translated to it above. 3. Nevertheless the foundation of all these promises is not such acts and qualifications in us, but the relation of sons, in which we stand before God. Such God beheld us in Christ before we were born, such he hath made us that truly believe by the grace of the New Covenant, having begotten us to Himself of incorruptible seed, {I Pet.1:23,} we are born of God, and have received the Spirit of adoption by which we cry Abba, Father. {Rom.8:15} So that our salvation depends not upon the virtues and good works which are mentioned in the promises, but upon this our relationship as sons; “if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ, &c.” {Rom.8:17} - To this I might annex the harmony of Scriptures, that testifying the kingdom of glory to be prepared for them that shall enjoy it, from the foundation of the world; purchased for them by Christ's death; {Mt.25:34, Heb.9:15;} that they were begotten to it by the seed of Christ begetting Christ in them, {I Pet.1:3,4,} and are righted to it by their adoption. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, Second Part, 1654}

Christ – the Author of Salvation

Christ is “the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” {Heb.5:9} If Christ be the author, then is not our obedience the ground of it; but we should be authors thereof to ourselves, at least he should be in part author of it by his, and we in part by our obedience, and so the honor thereof should be parted between Christ and ourselves. Therefore when he is said to be such to them that obey him, it is the same as if it were said, to them that hurling away as dung their own righteousness, do believe in, and receive him alone to salvation. For so to obey Christ, to obey the Gospel, and that which Christ calleth the hearing and keeping of my Word, my Commandments, my sayings, {in so many places as that it is hard to number them,} are equivalent terms, and hold forth the obedience to the doctrine of faith, in opposition to the obedience which the Law or Old Covenant prescribeth to salvation, a seeking of salvation by the righteousness of Christ, and no more by our own righteousness. The persons that shall be saved by Christ are here described only, and not a condition by which they are to be saved. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, Second Part, 1654}


“Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” {Mt.5:19} Christ here speaketh of teachers under the Gospel; and the sense {as may be gathered from the precedent verses} is this; whosoever under a pretense of the liberty of the Gospel, shall take to himself, or instill into others a licentiousness, to break the Commandments of the Law, or to neglect any of that holiness and righteousness which is the matter of the Law, that man shall be an instrument of little; yea of no use in the Gospel Church; but whosoever shall so learn and teach Christ as in and through him, to take into his own and press upon other men’s affections, and practices all the ways of holiness and righteousness which the Law requireth, in a Gospel way, this man shall be an instrument of great good in the Gospel Church, as one that hath learned, and teaches Christ to salvation and to sanctification also. If this in its substance be not the meaning of this Scripture, I know not the meaning of any one text of Scripture. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, Second Part, 1654}

Mortification of Sin by the Spirit

“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” {Rom.8:13} Who are they chiefly that in reference to life and death, do live after the flesh, and after the Spirit, the same Apostle teaches not only in the previous text; {Phil.3:3;} “for we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh;” but also in Gal.3:3, “Are ye so foolish; having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” In which words, I challenge Mr. Baxter; yea, the whole pick of Jesuits, if they dare to deny that by beginning in the Spirit the Apostle means their trusting wholly on Christ for justification and salvation; and by being made perfect by the flesh, their seeking to perfected by works; namely, circumcision, and with it the moral duties which the Law commandeth. If in this place we take the flesh and Spirit in a larger sense, yet compare it with the first verse of the chapter; for it is said, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” But who are they? Such as “walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Let now Mr. Baxter put what sense he will upon flesh and Spirit in the 13th verse, for it must bear the same sense as in the first verse; and then if any demand why they that live after the flesh must die? The answer is in readiness; because they are not in Christ Jesus, or why they that mortify, &c., by the Spirit, shall live? Everyone can answer, because they are in Christ Jesus. So that in these there is no condemnation, to the other nothing but condemnation. Because, “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” {I Jn.5:12} John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, Second Part, 1654}


“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” {Phil.2:12} Whether we look to that which proceeds, or that which followeth this text, we shall find its testimony to be against the Baxter cause. If to that which goeth before, we are bidden {vs.5-11} to follow the example of Christ, {as far as he was in a capacity to give himself a pattern to us in this kind,} in self-denial. Who “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” {7,8} So must we deny and abase ourselves in our relation as Christ did himself in his, lay all the false glitter and glory of our works and righteousness in the dust, as he did his true glory; watching with a holy fear and trembling over our backsliding heart that is apt as soon as any show of righteousness and goodness appears in ourselves and works to depart from Christ, and to rest in it as our sanctuary. In this case is it that the Apostle requires this continual working and heaving out self from ourselves, that Christ may be our All; and that with much fear, trembling and watchfulness over our deceitful hearts, that are apt still to decline from his righteousness, and to close with our own, if there be not continual working and warring against its fleshly working in this kind. If we look to that which follows, all confidence in our own strength is prohibited, and all dependance and relying upon God's grace and power is commanded, that we stand alway in a trembling fear of falling and sinking through our miserable weakness and proneness to apostasy, and therefore keep firm and continual hold fast in the grace and power of God extended to us in Christ for our entire support; because, it is God alone “which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure;” {vs.13;} and not of any worth or works of ours moving him. Such a working out of our salvation that consists in working away all our own works and righteousness, as insufficient; yea, as destructive to it, and in working up ourselves by the power of God into Christ, into the shelter of God's grace for salvation. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, Second Part, 1654}

Perseverance of the Saints

The Scripture which he brings to prove that the perseverance of faith to be the condition of our persevering justification runs thus, “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.” {Heb.3:14} Here perseverance is made a declaration and evidence of the truth of our faith, and of our participation of or communion with Christ at present, and not a condition either of our justification or our perseverance thereof. By this it shall be evidenced that ye are truly in Christ, and justified by Him, if ye persevere, for those that fall away were but seemingly, but never truly in Christ. They that are his in truth, continue so to the end. As in vs.6, we are the house of God “if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end;” compared with I Jn.2:19, “they went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us; but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” So the perseverance; or not preserving of these would manifest who had been, and who had not been truly partakers of Christ, and the house of his habitation; not the condition of their persevering justification, for then should it be for a time at least the condition of the perseverance of their justification, who were never truly partakers of Christ, and consequently had never a beginning of justification. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, Second Part, 1654}

Offices of Christ

This we deny, that there is any other Fountain opened for the washing away of our sins but the blood of Christ only; or any other satisfaction made to the justice of God but by the sacrifice of Christ alone; yet for as this blood and sacrifice as they are primarily our High Priests, so are they that of our King and Prophet also, howbeit the blood and sacrifice of one Christ alone; and herein we follow the Scriptures leading thread which affirm not only the Priest to have died for us, but our Prophet and Shepherd also. “I am the good Shepherd, and give and lay down my life for the sheep.” {Jn.10:11,15} Christ came not “to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many;” {Mt.20:28;} namely, to seal the doctrine with his blood which he had taught with his lips, and to make the way through the veil of his flesh, through his blood, which he had taught to be the only way into the Holiest to the Father; and as the Shepherd, so the Lord and King also. It was the Lord that was betrayed, {I Cor.11:23,} crucified, {I Cor.2:8,} killed, {Acts 3:15,} and raised again, {I Cor.6:14,} even the Lord of glory and Prince of life. Therefore it is that the Holy Ghost calls it the Lord's death, {I Cor.11:26,} the Lord's body, and the Lord's blood, {vs.27-29,} and needful was it that Christ as Lord and King with all his power should thus grapple with sin, death and hell on our behalf; how else should he have vanquished them, and having spoiled these principalities and powers, make a show of them openly, and triumphed over them? {Col.2:15} Without this victory his death had been to us  vain, our enemies had remained unconquered, and ourselves unransomed. The strong man had not been driven out by a stronger than he. {Lk.11:21,22} Thus we neither divide nor separate the offices of Christ one from another, but conjoin them all in the death and passion of Christ, by which he alone as Lord, Priest and Prophet hath made satisfaction for our sins. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, Second Part, 1654}

Justification & Faith

“No man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident; for, The just shall live by faith.” {Gal.3:11} “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace; and if by grace, then is it no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace; otherwise work is no more work.” {Rom.11:5,6} Hence is the opposition which the Holy Ghost everywhere maketh between God's righteousness and our righteousness; {Rom.10:3;} the righteousness of faith and the righteousness of works; {Rom.9:30-32, Phil.3:9,10;} and consenting harmony of Scriptures that so oppose Law and Gospel, faith and works, God's grace and man's righteousness, Moses and Christ, the righteousness which is by promise, and that which consists in doing, God's imputation and our qualifications; so that if the one be admitted the other must be excluded from justification. The conclusion therefore of our Divines is not only that works have not, but also that they cannot have any place in, or to our justification, because righteousness and life are merely and wholly by promise, even by the free and absolute promise made to Abraham, which was without all conditions annexed. {Gal.3:8, 16-18} Therefore without works, freely conferred on the children of the promise; that they are by inheritance, therefore descend freely upon them that are sons of faith; {Gal.3:18, Heb.9:15, Rom.4:13-16;} and not attained by works. That in respect of the righteousness of works, Paul knew nothing by himself, wherein he was not perfectly sincere and sincerely perfect, yet deems not himself to be thereby justified for the Lord alone is his Judge and Justifier, whose justifications are free. {I Cor.4:4} That if justification were in any part by works, then had man somewhat at least, whereof to glory before God; but he hath nothing whereof to glory, therefore &c. {Rom.4:2} It is by imputation wholly, therefore cannot be from any inherent good in ourselves. {Rom.4:3,4} It flows wholly from faiths Object or correlate, not at all from any virtue of faith as a qualification inherent in us; much less therefore from any other qualification or work of ours whatsoever. To which I might add their many other reasons proving that works cannot justify. It is by promise {as I said} which is still opposed to works, {Gal.3:17-22,} even by that promise that was made to Abraham, which was free, absolute, and without all condition of works, that Gospel promise that in Christ all nations of the earth shall be blessed. A promise admitting only them that are of faith to blessedness, but rejecting them that are of works to the curse. {Gal.3:7-10} Yea, by the same absolute and unconditional promise or covenant oft renewed. {Jer.31:31-34, 32:40} This promise is made Yea and Amen, ratified and effectuallized in Christ Jesus. {II Cor.1:20} Not in works, nor in faith as the Papists work, or Arminians act and deed, or otherwise then as it is; {as Luther describes it allegorically;} the matter whereof Christ is the form, informing and giving life and virtue to it; an act apprehending Christ as its Object in whom all its virtue lieth; the cloud or darkness in which Christ dwelleth, as God was formally in a cloud or darkness upon mount Sinai and in the Temple; or as all our Divines say, the hand by which we receive Christ, who of God is made righteousness unto us. {Gal.3:27, I Cor.1:30, II Cor.5:21} The life of justification consists not in works at all, nor in faith considered in a sense divided from Christ, but in Christ; so that the life which we live is by the faith of the Son of God, by the recumbency of our souls by faith upon the Son of God which is our life, and that this is to live by faith. {Gal.2:20, Col.3:4, Gal.3:11} Christ with all his righteousness to remission and salvation, as given us freely of God {not sold as by Judas to his enemies} and so made hours without money, without price, without fine, or rent. In the Covenant of Grace there is nothing smelling of a Simonical contract, it is wholly of God's giving, not in the least particle of our purchasing. {Is.9:6, Jn.3:16, Is.55:1} The life and justification which are by the second Adam, descend to us in the same manner as the sin and condemnation from the first Adam; but these descended by our natural union and communion with the first Adam, not by our imitation of him. For death reigned from Adam, even over them that had not sinned, after the similitude of Adam. Therefore also righteousness and justification descend to us by the union and communion which we have with the second Adam Christ Jesus, and not from our imitation of him and configuration to him; for when we were yet enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son. Not but that everyone unto whom the sin and condemnation of Adam once descended, are thenceforth imitators of and configured to Adam; or that they to whomsoever the righteousness and justification of Christ have descended, do not thenceforth become imitators of and are configured to the image of Christ; but that these imitations and configurations do follow and not go before such union and communion. {Rom.5:11, 19} This is a sound argument which the Apostle bringeth to prove that works can in no respect justify or save; “for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” {Eph.2:10} We are first in Christ the Justifier and in possession of the justification that is by him, and then being new created in Christ to the image of God are enabled to do good works. That God hath ordained before that we should walk in them being saved or justified, not that we should be saved or justified by them. That the righteousness of God {by which we are justified} is from faith to faith; not begun by faith and ended in works, which according to the Apostle is a beginning in the Spirit, and a seeking to be perfected by the flesh. {Rom.1:17, Gal.3:3} John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, Second Part, 1654}

Justification by the Blood of Christ

The whole stream of the Gospel leads our faith to Christ crucified or dying for justification. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up; {upon the cross} that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” {Jn.3:14,15} “I determined to know {to preach among you for your knowledge} nothing else but Christ, and him crucified.” {I Cor.2:2} “If I be lifted up {signifying what death he should die} I will draw all men to me.” {Jn.12:32,33} “He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him, &c.” {Jn.6:47-58} “Whom God hath set forth as a propitiation through faith in his blood.” {Rom.4:25} “Being justified by his blood.” {Rom.5:9} “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” {I Jn.1:7} “The Lamb of God {sacrificed} that taketh away the sins of the world.” {Jn.1:29} “Having made peace through the blood of his cross.” {Col.1:20} “And reconciled us in the body of his flesh through death.” {Col.1:21,22} “Having redemption through his blood even the forgiveness of sin.” {Col.1:14} “The church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” {Acts 20:28} “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.” {Heb.10:19,20} “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” {Is.53:5} “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” {Gal.6:14} I might even the weary the reader with allegations of Scriptures every way as pertinently and properly making Christ dying for us the Object of faith. If the death and sufferings of Christ {and not his giving of laws and commanding duties of righteousness} be the sole and entire satisfaction which he hath given to the justice of God for us, then Christ in his death, and not at all in his laws and commands of such duties, is to be made the Object of our faith for justification. The consequent and consequence of this proposition must needs be granted by all believers {though not by Arminians and Socinians} which hold the imputation of the obedience of Christ to us by which he hath satisfied God's justice; that he for us and we in and by him have fulfilled the Law; that his satisfying obedience is by imputation so fully made ours to justification as if we had done it ourselves, which is the doctrine of all believers. - We deny not that Christ hath other operations by which to perfect and sustain his justified ones to eternal life; yea to strengthen our faith, infusing it, and directing it unto Himself crucified, and satisfying for us; and to follow it by supporting it and holding us fixed by faith to Himself thus satisfying for us, and to establish his kingdom within us in peace, righteousness and joy in the Holy Ghost; yea that in these Christ must be made the Object of our faith for our confirmation, dependence and comfort; but as justifying and fetching from Him the matter of justification, or rather the righteousness by which we are justified, it must know nothing else but Christ and him crucified; as hath just been proved from Holy Scripture. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, Second Part, 1654}

Posted June 5, 2012

Contending for the Faith

One sign of declension is this; a disregarding of the truth of Christ; {II Chron.24:20;} as when the minds of men grow weary of the truths of Christ, and their estimation of truth {which formally hath been} slackens. – To prevent this, let us labor for soundness of judgment in the truths of God, that so we may receive nothing upon other men's judgments, and reports, but trying all things we may hold fast to that which is good, for ignorance is the mother of error, and a corrupted life doth soon follow an erroneous judgment; wherefore let us be often in searching the Scripture and seeking of God by prayer, that he would be pleased to unfold those glorious mysteries of his will in his Word unto us by his Spirit, that so we may be enabled to judge of things that differ. Let us also labor to receive the truth in the love of it, for when truth is received by men under this consideration of love; when men see an excellency in truth and love the truth from that excellency that they see in it, they will labor after it. It is the property of love to do much, and suffer much; and yet it looks upon all that it doth; and suffers as little, because where true love is, it will produce effects suitable to itself. See this in that love of God; “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, &c.” {Jn.3:16} Mark, if once God cast an eye of love upon a creature, this very love will produce an effect suitable to its nature, even the giving of Jesus Christ to die for that creature; so indeed if once the love of our souls be given unto the excellency of the truth, then our lives, our liberties, our estates, or friends will follow roundly; but if there be a defect in our love to the truth, there will soon be a defect in our standing to, or suffering for truth. Let us consider that the truth of God is the portion of the Saints, and if we lose truth we lose Jesus Christ. Where will you have comfort and where will you have salvation, if you lose truth? And therefore saith Solomon, “Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go; keep her; for she is thy life.” {Pv.4:13} Therefore David also hath recourse upon all occasions to the Word. Psalm 119. “Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope. This is my comfort in my affliction; for thy word hath quickened me;” {Ps.119:49,50;} as if he should say, I have no other companion in my troubles but it; and so in the 92nd verse of the same Psalm saith he; “unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction.” And therefore as worldly men surround themselves with all they have, by what they have and are in the world, so let the servants of God surround themselves with what they have and are; that is, by nothing but what they have in Jesus Christ, who dwells in the truth, and conveys himself through the truth into the hearts and consciences of his people, and therefore let us labor to possess it as our portion, and if Naboth would rather incurre the displeasure of the King, then part with the inheritance given him by his fathers; {I Kings 21:3,4;} how much more should we be willing to incurre the displeasure of all men, rather than to lose any part of the truth of Jesus Christ given unto us, and purchased for us, as so dear a rate as his own precious blood. William Kiffin {Observations upon Hosea Chapter Two, 1642}

Christ our Divine Lawgiver

Christ is the only Head, Husband, Lord and Lawgiver of his Church. Reason: Because the Church of Christ is sprung up from the loins of Christ, as they have been taken out of the very sides of Christ - so may Jesus Christ claim a propriety and interest in the Church to be Lord and Husband of it because it proceeds from his very loins; and because Jesus Christ hath bought his Church {through redemption} they are the travail of his soul, the glory of his Mediatorial work; and seeing that Jesus Christ hath travailed for his Church, and by his travails hath brought forth a glorious deliverance to his Church; that now his Church should be subject to him, and yield obedience to his laws; seeing Christ hath satisfied God his Father by his own blood, is it not reason that we should live to his praise and honor. Is it reason that when a mother hath undergone a sore travail and pain with a child, and at last when the child is through many difficulties and hazards of the woman's life brought forth, that another woman that stands by, when the child is delivered, should snatch it up and say, “this child shall be subject unto me and own me for its mother; and what I command it, so shall it do; and what I command it to wear, it shall wear;” would not this be counted injurious dealing with this poor woman that hath suffered so much in bringing forth the child; that now she should be deprived of the comfort of bringing it up; and is it not as injurious dealing with Jesus Christ, that seeing he hath travailed for his Church, and brought forth his Church, that now other men should snatch it from his hands and prescribe laws unto them, which they would force their consciences to be subject unto? Therefore by way of use, in the first place this serves to reprove all these persons that so do; for certainly Jesus Christ will one day take vengeance upon all such persons; and sure it is, that the Church being the glory of his mediatorial work, he will not give his glory to any other, nor his praise to graven images; but though men do now labor to dis-throne Christ, yet there is a time coming wherein Jesus Christ will dis-throne all his enemies and will reign gloriously in the midst of them all; as he will make his enemies his footstool, and “the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills.” Therefore let all men for the time to come take heed how they prescribe any laws for the government of the Church, that they step not up in Christ's stead, but this let all men know, that Christ hath prescribed laws already which are perfect and pure, by which he both hath, doth, and will govern his Church, and therefore let this be the duty of us all, to labor to know what these laws and rules are, that so we may be more and more subject unto them, that we dishonor not Jesus Christ, by giving anything to any other, which is only of right due unto Him. William Kiffin {Observations upon Hosea Chapter Two, 1642}

Spirit’s Work in Setting Forth the Excellency of Christ

When God intends to do any soul good, either to reclaim them from a fallen condition, or to bring persons to the knowledge of Himself, the usual way that he takes herein is to discover to them the emptiness and insufficiency of all things that are here below; as not being able to give any contentment or satisfaction to the soul. There is something of this truth appearing in the 14th verse of this chapter, where the Lord saith, “I will bring her into the wilderness.” {Hos.2:14} Now we know a wilderness condition is a condition destitute of all help, as nothing is to be found therein but wild beasts ready to devour, and no help is to be expected in the wilderness from it; so indeed when men are brought into a wilderness condition having neither penny nor pennies worth as the prophet saith {Is.55:1;} then is God pleased to speak comfort to his people and then doth he cause them to look upwards. – The reason why God takes such a course with men is because while the soul sees any fullness in anything in heaven or earth whereby to lean to besides Christ, it will fasten at the horns of that altar; be it what it will, and never make any further search or inquiry after Christ. The carriage of the soul in this case is like the carriage of Jacob in another, for while there was corn in Canaan, Jacob never thinks, nor mentions going into Egypt, but when there was none there, then saith old Jacob, “Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt; get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die.” {Gen.42:2} So indeed, while there is any food to be gotten for the soul here below it looks no higher, and therefore it is that the Lord is pleased to cut off all springs of comfort and peace to be had from anything here below, that so the soul may see Jesus Christ to be he who has all the Wellsprings of comfort, peace, joy, and refreshment to the soul. Let us a little from the consideration of this doctrine examine our own spirits, and see how our hearts stand affected, or what our spirits are fraught with, whether with high conceits of the world, of the excellency and fullness and glory thereof; or whether with the excellent fullness and goodness that is in Jesus Christ? Certainly this is an undoubted truth, that if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in them, let them profess what they will; therefore it behooves every man to look about him, and see whether God hath ever yet made this discovery to the soul; namely, that all the things of the world are empty, poor and weak, not able to give out the least dram of true comfort to the soul. I beseech you, let us again ask our hearts this question, as Christ did in the like case: “Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” {Mt.20:22} - This we all profess to know, that we cannot serve two masters. “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” These being so opposite one to each other, that if we obey the one, we must reject the other. Wherefore let us commune with our own hearts, and see a little how our spirits stand affected to Christ. Do we find upon serious examination that Christ and his laws do bear sway in our hearts and the excellency that is in them doth in the eyes of our souls weigh down all those riches, honors, pleasures and desires of the world? Nay; more than this, do you see so much excellency in God's ways as that it will bear your charges with great allowance through those miseries, sorrows, reproaches and losses that you shall sustain in this life; yea, even life itself. Paul when he cast up his account of matters of this nature, triumphs in that glorious allowance that he saw provided for him by God; “for our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” {II Cor.4:17} Wherefore let us not rest satisfied with a face of profession, but let us labor to make inquiry into our own heart and see what discoveries God hath made to us of the creature emptiness, and of his own fullness in Christ. William Kiffin {Observations upon Hosea Chapter Two, 1642}

Posted June 6, 2012

Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus

They that are in Christ and have obtained justification and salvation by Him; that is, have their conscience absolved and saved from sin and obligation to vengeance, by faith in his blood; are to perform those works of gospel righteousness; not for life, but from life; not to procure thereby the life of justification, {for they have it already in Christ,} and not so to seek it more completely, as to be perfected by such works, for this is to be so foolish, having begun in the Spirit, but now seeking to be perfected by the flesh; but rather in thankfulness for so full and free a pardon and absolution, which all are doings, all our sufferings are insufficient to answer. Nevertheless the intuition of so great a redemption already attained, and in our possession, together with the promise of so glorious an inheritance for the future life, already confirmed to us by the seal of the Spirit in the blood of Christ, are of such infinite value that we are to walk still in the splendor and glory thereof, so that our spirits should be sublimated above Earth and self, to dwell, and to spend ourselves, and be spent in the bosom of that grace, from which we have received so much, and expect yet so much more of a ravishing and never ending felicity. What neither eye have seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man in a natural way conceived, of the riches of the incomprehensible bounty and free grace of God, being once revealed unto us, and made ours in possession, or in hope, ought so to spiritualize us, so to swallow us up into the spirit that we should no longer walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit, to delight in the Law of God, in all the holiness and righteousness which the Law teaches, after the inner man. He that seeks not so to do, hath embraced in his arms a dream of Christ, not Christ himself; hath had him possibly in his fancy, but never in his heart and conscience. He that hath effectually met with God in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, and there tasted the love of God, or rather God which is love, hath suffered a metamorphosis, and is changed all into love, hath so beheld God shining in Christ, as in a glass, that he is transformed into the same image, and would be wholly configured to the likeness of Christ. – Thus; they that are justified ought to be still active and industrious in all the duties of the Gospel tending to their confirmation in the faith, establishment in Christ, illumination in the mysteries of the Gospel, denying themselves, and seeking to be wholly swallowed up into the Lord Jesus, that they may be daily more filled and ravished with fuller assurance and comfort of their justification and salvation by him alone. This we find the Apostle making his task; “Doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” {Phil.3:8-14} And hereunto tend the many mementos scattered by the Holy Ghost in the Gospel; watch, pray, take heed, beware, stand fast, hold fast, run, fight, strive, continue &c., all which tend to the laying not of such our labors, but Christ Jesus upon; unto whom these our labors are to be exercised as the foundation of joyfulness more and more fixedly within our souls. Whatsoever Gospel duties and labors God hath ordained for the firmer settling of us upon the Rock of Righteousness, the emptying ourselves of our nothingness, and making Christ all in all, those all are to be done by the Saints not only from life, but also for life to be had and confirmed to them not in these endeavors, but in Christ more and more formed and perfected in them unto righteousness and salvation. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, Second Part, 1654}

Complete Redemption in Christ Alone

“In Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love;” {Gal.5:7;} what is that but faith which worketh by a new principle of filial love and not from that old principle of servile fear. This is to be the children of the free, not the bondwoman; by the faith of Christ alone to seek for righteousness, yet to be working from a principal of love and not of fear, bringing forth fruits of sanctification to him that hath freely justified us. This man saith the Apostle hath entered into his rest as God hath entered into his rest. {Heb.4:10} As God having consummated the works of creation, rested and ceased from his works, because all was perfect and needed no addition; so Christ having offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, ceasing from further sufferings, because our redemption is fully perfected and nothing more needed to be added. {Heb.10:12-14} So every believer in respect of the rest of grace, having received by faith the righteousness which is by this one sacrifice of Christ for the purging of all his sins, sitteth down forever at rest in the fruition and firm tenor thereof; ceasing from his own works to perfect his justification, because it is already completed and nothing needs to be added to it. All his workings henceforth is to manage so great a salvation to the glory of the Author, as God worketh hitherto and Christ worketh, for the governing and disposing to their proper ends those elect - redeemed by Christ. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, Second Part, 1654} 

Law and Gospel Distinctions

The true disciples of Christ will hold this as one principal difference between the two covenants, that the one requires us to seek life after the tenor of Justice, the other after the tenor of Grace. The one bids us to seek good by works, the other by faith. The one presupposes the original righteousness given us in Adam, bidding us by it to follow after happiness, the other setting forth Christ unto us as the Fountain of Life, both of justification and sanctification, calling upon us to receive or believe in Him for both, that both may be ours when Christ is ours. He is our life, and when Christ our life, {not works our life,} shall appear, we shall also appear with him in glory. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, Second Part, 1654}

Gospel of the Grace of Christ

Sure am I, that the Gospel in its strict and proper sense, consists not at all in bringing precepts; but life, grace, righteousness, peace, joy, holiness, liberty, and salvation from heaven; and whatsoever else tendeth to the perfect and never-ending well-being of poor souls, together with an all sufficient light and direction how to attain all these, and manage them once obtained to the advancing of the glory of the grace of the Giver. This is properly the sum of the Gospel, and the precepts intermixed with the doctrine thereof, no otherwise proper to the Gospel, than as they are furtherances to the attainment of them, and lights and helps to direct us how to stand fixed in the enjoyment of them, and walk holily, honorably and worthily in the strength and comfort thereof. Yet it cannot be denied but that still the Law is a perfect rule of all perfect moral righteousness; and that Christ hath expunged no part of it, but commands all; yea writes the righteousness of all in the hearts of believers, that they might with all, and delight to do all, not only after the moral, but after the evangelical rule, through Christ, for whose sake their imperfect services are accepted with God as though they were full and complete. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, Second Part, 1654}

Posted June 7, 2012

Free Justification in Christ Alone

The whole tenor of the Gospel give their testimony of our justification in Christ before faith entered to purify our hearts: “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” {Rom.5:6} “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” {Rom.5:8-10} “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} “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.” {Rom.9:11} God loved us to salvation, “even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ.” {Eph.2:5} “You, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;” {Col.2:13-15;} making us accepted in Christ the Beloved; {Eph.1:6;} putting away our sin and perfecting us forever by the sacrifice and the blood of Christ; that is, in Christ offering himself and his blood in sacrifice; {Heb.9:26, 10:14;} and all this before we had a being who now live, much more before we were in a capacity of having any condition in ourselves of justification. As also such Gospel Scriptures as afirm this remission, or justification irreversible, calling it an eternal redemption, {Heb.9:2,} a perfecting of us forever, {Heb.10:14,} so that there is no more condemnation, {Rom.8:1,} no more remembrance of iniquity, {Heb.10:17,} no more separation from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus, {Rom.8:39,} and other many such testimonies which do all concur in one harmony to evidence justification once obtained to depend upon no conditions, but to be absolute and undefeatable, that if any fall away, it is because they only seemed, but never were in the number of the truly justified. {I Jn.2:19} John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, Second Part, 1654}

Fruits of Righteousness by Jesus Christ

The Eternal King having laid down the life of his own Son for the ransom of my soul, hath opened to me all his treasuries in one and the same Christ, the treasury of his blood and merits to purge me from the guilt of sin, and obligation to judgment and vengeance; so that having put on Christ crucified my Law is done, my sin forgiven, my nakedness and filthiness covered, and I stand in Christ as perfectly righteous as if I had never offended; the treasury of his Spirit and spiritual gifts, sufficient to turn my water into wine, to renew my heart, and to sanctify me throughout; that henceforth I shall hate sin no less than hell, and delight in the Law of God after the inner man, taking no less pleasure in the holiness than in that happiness which are by Christ. – As justification ought and doth declare itself to the person justified by its proper and immediate fruits; peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, prizing Christ above all things, soul contentment in him, living and dwelling upon him, selling all to enjoy him alone to righteousness and salvation, counting all things dung and loss in comparison of him, emptying ourselves more and more of our own righteousness, of our own self-confidence, that he may be made our all at God's tribunal; repairing no more to Abana and Pharpar, {II Kgs.5:12,} no nor to Jordan itself, but to the One Fountain of Christ's blood, there to wash daily and to be clean; neither in this mountain nor yet at Jerusalem, {Jn.4:21,} but in Christ alone to worship that we may be accepted. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, Second Part, 1654}

Assurance in Christ Alone

Neither all seeming peace and quietness of conscience, or joy in expectation of salvation, or hope that is made the ground of this joy, and such other like seeming effects of justification are always sure evidences to a man that he is justified, because these may not always be genuine fruits or effects of justification; as they may proceed from another and baser principle; namely, from the deceitfulness of their heart, or self-love, and self-advancing, or from the spirit of slumber upon the conscience, or from ignorance of God's way and method of bringing many children to glory. Nor are all seeming holiness, honesty, meekness, temperance, patience, and other like virtues, either in their habit, as they really affect the heart, or in their act, as they are with an ardent zeal for God, brought forth into practice, sure evidences of sonship in Christ; because these also may proceed from other and baser principles, and not from the Spirit of Christ, as from the abiding prints of the Law of nature written in the heart, or from the power and suggestions of a convinced and awakened conscience, or from strong impressions made into the soul by a moral and virtuous education, or other like sub-celestial, and unspiritual principles; so that our certain and known union to Christ, and our justification and sanctification sensibly thence flowing, may be properly and unfailingly made our sound evidence of the spiritual life and acceptableness of our virtues and works; but these in themselves are in no wise certain evidences and demonstrations to us of our justification and sanctification by Christ. Sanctification is one thing, and a zealous endeavor to be in all things conformed to the will of God, is or may be another. The former is only from the Spirit of Christ, and wrought only in them which are in Christ. The latter may proceed from moral principles, and is incident even to them also that are aliens from Christ. - Withal these virtues and good works, when they are found to flow from our union to Christ, and the love of God shed abroad in our hearts through Christ; and upon examination a man can truly say, that he hath ceased to hew from any other quarry, or to dip from any other Fountain than from Christ, that from his Spirit alone he daily sucketh life, as the branch from the root to bring forth fruit, and from the sacrifice of Christ's death a sweet odor to make himself and his fruit acceptable, then they serve as good seconds to prove to his soul that he is justified and sanctified; but so that his being in Christ must first prove his fruit to be good, before his fruit can have any power to evidence him to be in Christ, and the evidence of his justification consists not in the qualifications which he hath attained, or works which he does and hath done, as in his continual waiting upon Christ, from Him alone to receive what he ought to be and to do in all well pleasing before God, and the love of God in Christ in enabling him unto obedience. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, Second Part, 1654}

Posted June 8, 2012

Blessings of the Grace of God in Christ

Lest any in the interim should stand doubting at any of the Scriptures here quoted as promising either love, or life, or grace, or glory to men thus and thus qualified, and conceive that such qualifications are the ground and condition, together with faith to give us a right to that which is promised; I think it fit to clear the way, that the ground of our right in such felicities promised, is not the qualifications or works of the person, but the new relation of the person so qualified; that is, his union with Christ, justification and adoption before God. Such promises not being made to all, but to the Saints in Christ so doing, I shall clear it up to you by a similitude. Isaac promised his son Esau his blessing, but bids him to go hunting and bring him venison, and then in eating it, he will bless him. What was that which enrighted Esau to the blessing? What was the ground or condition upon which Isaac would bless him? Was it the venison caught and dressed? Nothing less; for if 1000 others should have presented him with 1000 pieces of venison at several times, all dressed and fitted to his appetite, the blessing still would have been entirely reserved for Esau alone, and they all have been sent away empty; as appears by his dealing with Jacob presenting his made venison, how agreeing soever the dish was to the palate of the old patriarch, yet he will examine thoroughly who it is, whether his very son Esau that brings it, before he gives the blessing. It was not then the venison, but the sonship; yea the right of the firstborn that was the ground and condition of Isaac’s promise to bless him. So it is also to his justified and adopted ones in Christ, that the Lord saith, “ask and you shall have, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you, run and you shall obtain, overcome and you shall be crowned, love and I will love you, be merciful and I will be merciful unto you, humble yourselves and I will lift you up;” and thousand more such promises of grace; and as far as they hold forth spiritual and saving blessings, they are the children's bread, dispensations of God within his own family; no stranger hath part in it, or a right to it. Let the world, those that are not beloved; ask, seek, knock, run, fight, &c., the Lord may possibly out of the goodness of his Providence, the infiniteness of his wisdom and bounty of his nature, reward with corporal and temporal good things, their carnal and temporal endeavors, but until by the Spirit of adoption they are united to Christ, they have no right by the New Covenant to make claim to the spiritual and saving blessings promised; neither are they any otherwise to be ratified to any but as they were beloved of God in Christ before there were any such qualifications and motions in them, or as falsely called, conditions. Yea suppose that Esau could not have brought the venison to his Father, had been hindered or drawn aside from seeking it, or seeking could not find it, or finding could not have taken and brought it; should the promise and purpose of Isaac to bless him, for this cause have failed? He performed not the condition, and now he shall therefore be bereaved of the blessing? Nothing less, for the general and fundamental ground and condition, the relation of a son, of the firstborn son, stood still fixed, unto which the goodwill of the Father, and the blessing in the Father's purpose was entailed. In like manner, though a child of God fail in some of the works and qualifications which Mr. Baxter calls conditions of the New Covenant, yet this makes not the promise of the Covenant, or the beneficence of the Covenanter promising to be void, because these are grounded, {so far as they are grounded out of God} upon Christ, our union unto Christ, and new relation to God in Christ. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, Second Part, 1654}


This Goddess Condition; a deity that the Scriptures never knew, nor yet all the whole University of Athens; by some help of the Socinians and Arminians hath Mr. Baxter brought to light, and invested her with more glittering ornaments then they had wit to do; only he hath not yet built a temple, and there enthroned her, for all men to fall down with him and worship her. Yet of this almighty power he proclaims that she binds the hands of God and men; for the one cannot give, the other cannot receive without her mediation. Neither the Eternal Father, nor the Eternal Son can show the least of mercy to a poor sinner, nor the sinner partake of one crumb of mercy from the Father by the Son, unless this great Goddess Condition say Amen to it. - It would be weariness to the flesh, and vexation to the spirit, but to look so often upon this great Goddess, his queen of heaven {Condition} as he blesseth her. Oh that his conscience had been so well acquainted with Christ, as his fancy is with this idol, he would not then have pestered the Church with such an imaginary deity, nor prostituted all that is called God at the feet of such an idol. I am weary anymore to attend to him, making the will of God; that is, God willing conditional, and so the immutable God, a conditional God; the salvation of Christ conditional, and so Christ but a conditional Savior; or the witness and seal of Christ a conditional seal and witness; and so the Holy Ghost a conditional Spirit of Adoption; or the Gospel of righteousness, forgiveness and life, a conditional Gospel; and consequently nullifying all these, and pronouncing them no God, no Christ, no Holy Ghost, no Gospel. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, Second Part, 1654}

Law and Gospel Distinctions

If we bring works at all to procure our justification by Christ, we do so by evacuating the grace of God and merits of Christ to ourselves, and oblige and put a bondage upon ourselves to fulfill the whole Law legally in its perfection, else can we never be justified, but abide under the curse forever. For he that worketh requireth the reward as a debt in law, and not as a gift of grace; therefore, except his work be so perfect, as that it can in strict justice save him, he can never obtain salvation, as by comparing together these Scriptures will be evident; namely, Gal.5:3,4 & 3:10, Rom.4:4,5 & 9:30-32. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, Second Part, 1654}

Growth in Grace by Faith in Christ

By the Gospel, the righteousness of God, {that is, which he giveth us unto justification,} is revealed from faith to faith, saith the Apostle. {Rom.1:17} He saith not from faith to works, but from faith to faith; that is, {omitting other interpretations partly ridiculous, and partly invalid and besides the scope of the Apostle,} from faith undeveloped to faith growing and consummate, or coming nearer and nearer to consummation. This exposition the choicest of our expositors give, as both properly agreeing with the drift of the text, and as owned and patronized by the likes phrase in other Scriptures. “From strength to strength.” {Ps.88:7} “From glory to glory.” {II Cor.3:18} Which even all acknowledge to be understood, from one to another, from a lesser to a greater degree of strength in glory. So also of this phrase, from faith to faith. And thus not only the beginning but also the increase and consummation of Gospel justification in our own consciences before God is here attributed to faith, which as it grows to more and more strength, by apprehending more and more revelations of the Gospel; so it more and more declares and evidences to the soul the certainty of our justification, to the continual establishment and increase of our peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, Second Part, 1654}

Posted June 9, 2012


The name of Antinomianism hath been the worst abomination, and they that have so inveigled their credulous congregations with the fear and hatred of it; that any Pharisaical, Monkish or Jesuitical spirits, that would but cry aloud and lift up their voice against this ‘abomination,’ found welcome not only to their persons, but to the whole gallery of formalists, moralists, wood, hay, and stubble that they scattered amongst the people. When contrawise, if any should but often name Christ and Grace in his sermon, all were shy of him, turned their heels instead of their faces towards him and his doctrine, though never so precious and wholesome, fearing some tincture therein of Antinomianism. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, 1654}


By condition they mean that which being once attained and once fixed upon Christ, speaks up absolutely justified forever. So that in calling faith the condition of justification, they mean that we cannot be justified without it, but having once by faith apprehended Christ we are by it united and joined to Christ, and by force of our union with him are henceforth absolutely and irrevocably pardoned and accepted as righteous in God’s sight. He calls it so a condition as that it continues still a condition, justifying us only conditionally and not absolutely, so that it leaves our estate still one and the same, no more justified and pardoned when believers then when unbelievers. For by the satisfaction of Christ we are before faith cometh conditionally justified if we believe, and when faith is come we remain still but conditionally justified if we believe, our safety being as loose and uncertain then as before, depending still upon the residence and the abode of faith in us as before it did upon the possibility of its future ingeneration into us and acting in us; and that we are no longer justified then while we believe and obey; so that by believing and unbelieving, obeying and rebelling we may be justified and unjustified again thousand times before we die, and how often after, himself expresses not. I need not mention more, these two differences are enough to declare that although here he speaks in the same tone with some of our Divines, yet his judgment no more agrees with their than the Pope with Luther and Calvin, Elymas with Paul, or the Scribes and Pharisees with Christ. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, 1654}

Covenant of Grace

The two covenants there mentioned are termed Old and New, not for their differing in substance, but for their different ways of administration. The Church of Israel then, and the churches of Christ now, are and were under the same Covenant of Grace in substance; but the Church then under a legal and the Church now under an evangelical and spiritual administration thereof. That was the old, this the new administration, and in respect thereof the same covenant then and now, are termed the Old and New Covenant. This is evident from the text: “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD; but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” {Jer.31:31-34} John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, 1654}


We make not a man a stone, nor degrade him into a dead block. He has not lost his free will, but all possibility of being saved by it, all the spiritualness of it, that without a new reparation of it, it can will nothing in matters of salvation concurrent and conforming with the will of God; but all man's actings of his faith when he is so renewed and moved by the prime cause, is but to the receiving and application of his justification evidenced to him; as it is God's instrument and acted by God, so it is God's evidence to manifest him his justification. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, 1654}


We affirm not faith to be God's instrument as it receives Christ, nor any further to be the instrument of God's justifying, than of his declaring and evidencing us to ourselves justified. We affirm it to be our instrument {yet as given us of God} as it receives Christ. By faith God evidences life and righteousness to be ours; ours as by it we receive Christ and the justification; yea Justifier in receiving Christ. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, 1654}

False Prophets

It hath been usual to Satan in all ages to employ whited sepulchers that are beautiful on the outside, to broach and defend heresies in the Church. He wants not his depths, is not ignorant that men of depraved lives are unfit to deceive and pervert consciences. Therefore when he himself will deceive, he puts off his devils face, and transforms himself into an angel of light. “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.” {II Cor.11:13-15} Where hath there ever been more appearance of holiness {and men cannot search the heart} than in the Scribes and Pharisees; in the monks and friars; amongst the Socinians; yea amongst the very Turks? Shall then the outward varnish of their seeming virtues befool us to drink down their damning doctrines. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, 1654}

God and Eternity

God created time for the measure of his creatures, not his own being and motion. Past, present, and future are much to us, whose existence, duration, and motions are spanned and spun out by moments; but to God who is eternal, dwells in eternity, is eternity, not circumscribed with place or time, there is nothing former, or later, no succession, of present or past, of future to present, but all at once, and in one view apparent to his eye of infinite knowledge. So that albeit he speaks often in Scriptures to our capacities of succession of times, as if he together with us did act within the bounds thereof; else if he should speak still in reference to the things of old, and things hereafter to us as the eternal I AM, not I was, or I will be, our weakness would be beneath the comprehension of what he saith. Yet these circumstances of time do add nothing to, take nothing from, nor properly square with Him that is above time, without the precincts of time, comprehends time, and temporary things within himself, and is not comprehended, or touched by them. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, 1654}

Iniquities laid upon Christ

God hath laid on Christ's score all the sins of the elect, committed or to be committed, and satisfying his justice for them upon Christ, who in their names hath paid the penalty of all, therefore their consciences are discharged, neither since past, nor sins to come shall be anymore imputed to them. There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. {Rom.8:1} There is daily new sinning, why not also daily subjection to fresh condemnation? Because the person being in Christ, though subject to a necessity of sinning, yet through the justification of his person is exempted from the further imputation of sin so committed unto condemnation. “He that believeth hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation.” {Jn.5:24} He comes daily into the acting of new sins; how is it that he comes not into a subjection and obligation to condemnation by these sins, but because they were forgiven to the offender before, therefore not imputed to him when committed. It is one chief privilege of the New Covenant that, “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} - If God hath remitted and justified a believer from the sins which he hath committed, and not from the sins which he foreknoweth that they will commit, but imputeth or will impute them, then is the same person both justified and unjustified at the same time, and God at the same time both loves the same person to eternal life, and hates him to eternal condemnation; which were no less absurdity than to attribute two contrary wills acting in God at once, and so the same person he declared in his own conscience at the same time both in the state of life, and in the state of death; or life, in respect of the sins past forgiven through Christ; and death, in regard of the sins to come not yet forgiven. In Christ, either all sins are forgiven to the elect or none at all. When having fulfilled the Law, and paid their debt, Christ appeared in the most holy place in heaven at God's mercy seat to mediate with his blood for them. There he either received acquittance from, and forgiveness of all the sins which his elect in after times should commit, and so in Christ their sins to come were forgiven, or else no sin was forgiven; for as yet they were not in being, therefore neither were their sins yet committed. But he received then in their names a full acquittance and forgiveness of their sins, therefore of their sins before they were committed, and they were forgiven before they had offended. - The sins of the elect yet un-committed, are in Christ as fully forgiven, as those that are already committed. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, 1654}


Practical justification, which is by faith, being nothing but the execution of the decree of God from eternity. For besides our eternal justification in Christ {the eternal justification deposited in Christ, upon the Covenant made between the Father and the Son which is immanent in God} before mentioned, we acknowledge also an eternal decree in God to declare and evidence his elect justified in their own consciences; that is, in time to send forth his Spirit into them, and by his Spirit to work faith in them, and so to draw them unto Christ, and by the evidence of faith, and evidence of the Spirit to declare themselves to themselves to be justified, and pardoned forever. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, 1654}


What is immanent in God, but abiding or residing in God, or to use the Scripture terms, hidden in God; {Eph.3:9, Col.3:3;} yet so, that when it is revealed, it abides notwithstanding, and hath its immanency in Christ still. Approbation, acceptation, accounting us just, and loving us in Christ, are acts of God's knowledge and will, and both before and after, we have the revelation thereof to ourselves; they are immanent and abiding in God from everlasting to everlasting. Are there not immanent acts in the soul of men? Much more in the mind and will of God. “What man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him; even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” {I Cor.2:11} By the things of God, and the things of a man, I doubt not but it will be granted, that we must understand the apprehensions, volitions, purposes, and affections {if I may so speak} of God and of men. And are not these things in God, as well as the things of God? So they are as properly termed acts immanent in God in a positive sense, as actually abiding in God, as in a negative, in opposition to their transiency and termination upon a subject without God. The latter is not only, or so much denied, as the former affirmed. And thus our justification is positively and depositively immanent in God from eternity. Residing in the bosom of God the Father, as in the cabinet of his councils; and deposited in the hand of God the Son, as in the hand of a faithful Mediator and Surety for us upon his undertaking to make satisfaction, which God the Father accepted as present satisfaction made for our sins. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, 1654}

Law and Gospel Distinctions

We affirm that the Law is still in force and shall be until the world's end. We preach not a repeal of any one of its power or righteousness which it had from God at any time. Neither on the other side do we attribute to it a power or un-righteousness which God never gave it. We grant it a power to take full vengeance upon every sinner for every sin committed during this life; but we deny that if any be raised to a second life with Christ, who having born the whole wrath due to their sins, that such a one comes under the power of the Law again. The Law hath never more dominion over him. So stands the case with believers; as they have suffered in Christ, fulfilled their Law in Christ, are dead in Christ, and in him they have satisfied the justice of the Law for the sins of their whole life. If now they are also risen with Christ, and are dignified with the new life, the life of grace, so that though they live, it is not so much that they live, as that Christ liveth in them, and the life which they live in the flesh is by the faith of the Son of God. {Gal.2:20} In this new life which they have by their union unto Christ, now triumphant, the Law can no more reach them; so the Law is nulled to them, but never repealed; nulled because it hath inflicted upon Christ in their behalf it's whole penalty, and after it hath so done it hath no more power over the Saints. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, 1654}

Necessity of Divine Revelation

All the doctrines of the Gospel are transcendent, high and above the reach of the most sublimated reason. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man.” {I Cor.2:9} “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” {I Cor.2:14} They are mysteries hid in God from the beginning of the world, from ages and generations, but at last made known by the Spirit in the preaching of the Gospel, not only to the Saints on Earth, but also to the principalities and powers in heavenly places; namely, to the ministering angels and spirits before God in heaven. {Eph.3:9,10, Col.3:26,27} So that at the Revelation thereof by Christ and his apostles, the very angels desired to look into them, as learners of that sacred doctrine which before they had not attained. {I Pet.1:12} - Our Savior denies all ability and possibility, that any man by natural or acquired parts should see or show forth {until he hath received divine revelation} one ray of Gospel light. Therefore when Peter had made but a course and confused or obscure confession of Christ, he answers, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven;” {Mt.16:17;} insinuating that the very threshold of Gospel knowledge is transcendent and above all the reach of human arts, and fleshly or natural wisdom, to find it out for themselves, or make it out to others. Hence are the universal conclusions and assertions which he layeth down to this purpose. “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.” {Jn.6:44,45} “No man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” {Mt.11:27} That which he speaks of knowing the Son and the Father, he means of knowing the mind and will of God touching the Gospel way in which he hath purposed to bring sinners to salvation. This is a wisdom not borrowed of, but hidden {most of} from the wise and prudent {in secular learning} and revealed to babes. {Mt.11:25-27} And the Scripture giveth reasons why there is no power in the wisdom and learning of man to dive into the mystery of the Gospel, and evangelical knowledge of God. “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” {Jn.1:18} “No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” {Jn.3:13} “What man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him; even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” {I Cor.2:11} What is here spoken of the knowledge of God, is to be understood as in the former texts, the knowing of God's will and mysterious way of bringing many sons to glory. The scope of the argumentation in these Scriptures runs thus. None but such as have seen God, seen into him, have been in heaven with him, have been in his very heart and bosom, can possibly know the mind and purpose of God hidden in himself touching the justification and salvation of men; but Christ only and the Spirit of Christ have been, and are still in heaven, have seen God, and are in the bosom of God reading and knowing all the purposes of his mind. Therefore none but Christ and his Spirit alone know and can reveal this mind of God unto us. None can reveal the mind of God but the Son and the Spirit, or they to whom the Son by his doctrine and Spirit hath first revealed it. From Christ descend we to the apostles, for he that choose them to go forth into the world to bring forth fruit, {Jn.15:16,} and to furnish them with abilities for so great and noble a work, promises to send unto them the Spirit, and for what purpose but to lead them into all truth; {Jn.16:13;} into the clear and full knowledge of the mysterious truths of the Gospel, bidding them not to go to Athens to learn from the philosophers in their schools anything that might further their illumination therein, but to tarry at Jerusalem until they be endowed with this power from on high. {Lk.24:49} John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, 1654}

Preservation & Union with Christ

Our justification floweth from our union to Christ; that all in Adam are under the Law, under the curse, unblessed, unjustified, un-pardoned; but that all which are in Christ are blessed, justified, pardoned, &c. So the Apostle, “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” {Phil.3:8,9} Here was the Apostle’s righteousness and justification to win Christ and be found in him. No otherwise is our justification attributed to faith then as it is the instrument by which we apprehend Christ to ourselves as we are apprehended of Christ to himself, and bring home into our bosom the benefit of this union to him, together with the sense and joy of our justification by Him. Our faith both in its existence and perseverance depends not upon the fickle stock of our own free will, but upon the support of God's power and unchangeable love, and upon the virtue of Christ's mediation and faithfulness as the Mediator; and though our free will be mutable, yet the gifts and callings of God are without repentance; that is, without change. {Rom.11:29} “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” {Phil.1:6} Though our faith be weak, yet we are preserved by the power of God through faith and salvation. Christ hath by his sacrifice purchased to us, not only salvation but faith also, both in its being and preserving to apprehend Him and it to our preserving consolation. “I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” {Jn.10:28} “And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” {Jn.6:39} John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, 1654}

Pressing towards Christ

Christ commands perfection, though not fully attainable in this life in order {amongst other ends} to hold us in a constant intercourse and communion with himself by faith. Were we perfect, or had we attained all that is required of us, we should be wholly apt to settle ourselves upon our own bottoms, and work either not at all, or else in our own strength. But when we see ourselves deficient in what we ought to be, and nothing in ourselves, or anywhere else out of Christ to supply us, that without, or out of Him we can do nothing, this keeps us in the diligent and constant union with them, to abide in him as the branches in the vine, to suck from him sap and life more abundantly for the producing of more abundant growth and fruitfulness in us; and thus the communion between Christ and us is more and more perfected, and he more and more honored, when we fetch all our virtue and strength from Him. Also, to keep us in continual self-denial, and to dash to nothing that Idol of justification by our own inherent righteousness; which when we find to come still short of the perfection as commanded by Christ, and sinful in its defectiveness, we shall be forced to withhold our confidence from it, and with the Apostle to shake it off as dung and loss that we may win Christ, and be found in Him, &c., so making Christ our all, and ourselves nothing; {Phil.3:8,9;} and also to awaken us out of our carnal slumberings, and contentment with our poor beginnings and slight pretenses of knowledge and righteousness already attained, and to stir us on with a holy agility towards perfection in our motions towards Christ. It was this that wrought thus with the Apostle Paul. Knowing perfection to be commanded, and seeing himself yet in a station so short of it, it makes him to cry out, ‘I have not yet attained, I am not yet perfect, {therefore} forgetting those things that are behind, {that are already done and attained,} and reaching forth to the things that are before, {not yet attained,} I press toward the mark of perfection - of Christ.’ {Phil.3:12-14} John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, 1654}

Righteousness and Justification

The Scripture mentions only two kinds of righteousness that ever came or ever shall come into competition about our justification, the one a legal righteousness, or a righteousness of the Law; the other an Evangelical righteousness, or righteousness of the Gospel. Legal righteousness affirms to be a righteousness of works which we have done; that is, of good qualifications within us and good operations flowing from us; the Evangelical righteousness to be of mere grace and mercy. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” {Tit.3:5-7} Evangelical righteousness is termed God's righteousness, that which God giveth and imputeth; whilst legal righteousness being our own righteousness; that is, that which is wrought within ourselves, and acted by ourselves. {Rom.10:3, Phil.3:9} That of the Law, a righteousness of works - this of the Gospel, a righteousness without works. {Rom.4:6} The former a righteousness in ourselves inherent - this a righteousness in Christ imputed. {Eph.2:8, II Cor.5:21} Let Mr. Baxter show any one Scripture that terms the righteousness which is in and by Christ a legal, or that which is inherent in ourselves an evangelical righteousness; or that terms any gift or qualification in man, or work and deed of man and his righteousness, any piece of his righteousness unto justification. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, 1654}

Union with Christ

Remission, justification and reconciliation as consequents of our union with Christ, presuppose our union with Christ; and if so, whether the justified in Christ are not advanced to a far higher state of freedom and honor by their being found righteous in Christ, then they lost by their being found sinners in Adam, and whether their union with Christ be not the common foundation both of justification and adoption. Our union with Christ is the foundation not only of remission, justification and reconciliation, which do restore the offender into the same state of freedom and favor which he had lost, and fallen from; but also of adoption and of a far higher advancement than that from which he fell. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, 1654}

Posted June 10, 2012

Law and Gospel Distinctions

Surely the apples, nuts and cakes {blessings;} and the rod of temporal punishments {cursings;} with which God did govern that first people, as little children, buried by Paul, Gal.3:25, ever since the coming of Christ, and now rotten, are fit foundations for their childish and rotten buildings; not only these do thus play the children again; but also we ministers of this glory of the gospel, too many amongst us, do not only limp in our practice, and lisp in our speech, but even halt downright; being so far from passing John the Baptist in opening the kingdom of heaven, that we come not near him; neither in his inward fullness of joy in hearing the voice of the Bridegroom, that then was come to enrich so royally the bride; nor in outward washing the people from all their sins; that is, in not preaching and opening the glory of free justification as he did; much less do we lay out the glory, that dos exceed in glory. But contra wise, we slide back to the legal teaching of the Old Testament, from which we not understanding the intent of God in such high commending, and sharp exacting of works and legal righteousness, do fetch our principal vein of preaching; and do make it our common and chiefest manner of teaching, only a little as the old prophets did, to glance at free justification, mercy and grace in general terms; but all our main labor is to command things that are right, and to forbid wicked things, to promise rewards to the followers of righteousness, and to threaten punishments to the transgressors; which seems in preachers and people a good and plausible course to flesh and blood, because it is the teaching of reason, and the light of nature described, Rom.2:14,15, to be thus in the very Gentiles; namely, that "the Gentiles which have not the Law, do by nature the things contained in the Law;" much more then do they approve and allow of the hearing of it; "for they have the effect of the Law written in their hearts accusing them" with fear of punishment for their evil doings, and excusing them with hope of speeding well for their well doings. This kind of teaching the people do like and applaud as agreeing with that light of nature; but what comes hereof? Truly we sew up again the veil that was rent in two pieces, from the top to the bottom; we shut up the holy of holies; we hide and darken, if not put out the benefits of Christ; preaching as if the children of God were not made perfectly holy and righteous from all spot of sin in the sight of God freely. We confound the Old Testament with the New; we bring back the full grown heir to school again to be whipped of his school master, contrary to the express doctrine and direction of the Holy Ghost, saying, that after faith is come {that is Christ - the object of faith,} we are no longer under a school master, Gal.3:25. - O that our tongues were united, and our lips touched with the burning coal from the Altar Christ, that we might lay out the worth and glory of these things, then should we be right ministers of the gospel of Christ; then should we make our feet beautiful, by bringing these glad tidings of peace, and these glad tidings of good things, not confounding but truly distinguishing between the glory of the Old Testament, and the exceeding glory of the New. John Eaton {Honeycombe of Free Justification by Christ Alone, 1642}

Divine Imputation

That as by the Almighty power of God's imputation, Christ was clothed and enwrapped in our sins, as he was enwrapped in our flesh, and blood; so we by the same Almighty power of God's imputation are clothed and enwrapped in Christ's own righteousness; whereupon concurs this following agreement: That as Christ by God's imputation was made, not an imaginary sinner; but really a true sinner for us, and so truly and really suffered the curse of God, and true rending and tearing upon the cross, even unto true and real death, for true sin that God saw truly upon him; so we likewise by God's imputation of Christ's righteousness unto us are made, not imaginarily {as the Papists cavil} but, really and truly righteous from all spot of sin in the sight of God freely, and so truly and really blessed; not to an imaginary life, for an imaginary putative righteousness {as the Papists cavil;} but to a true and real inheritance of everlasting life, for Christ's true everlasting righteousness, that God sees truly upon us, and we made truly perfectly holy and righteous from all spot of sin in the sight of God freely - we being now by the power of God's imputation clothed with the wedding garment of that perfect and everlasting righteousness of Christ, and thereby translated out of the kingdom of sin and darkness, into Christ's Kingdom of righteousness and light. John Eaton {Honeycombe of Free Justification by Christ Alone, 1642}

Justification by Christ Alone

An effect or fruit declaring the utility of Free Justification is that it worketh a good judgment, and right discerning of all religions, works, and worships to the utter overthrowing of all superstitions, sects, and schisms; and doth reduce people from their contentions, and dangerous by-paths, and doth rectify their blind legal zeal mentioned in Romans 10:3; declining to sundry sects, and contentious opinions; and brings them to the pure, and sincere worship of God, in spirit and truth; that is, in one faith only, and one baptism, Eph.4:2-6; unto which they cannot be won, but by understanding the excellency of free justification, and how complete they are made by it alone before God, Col.2:10; as Paul testifieth; saying, I bear them record, they have a zeal of God. - True, but yet they were ignorant of one main point, by which they were ignorant of all; for they only knew not free justification, which is the form, soul, heart, and life of all the rest; because that alone giveth, both unto God, and unto Christ their full glory. John Eaton {Honeycombe of Free Justification by Christ Alone, 1642}

Justification by Christ Alone

The Necessity of Righteousness - “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe. Rom.3:21,22.” Here he handles the principle and chiefest point of salvation, which is concerning Christian Righteousness, or concerning Christian wisdom, or the glory of Christ. For if we seek at God’s hand for salvation; that is, for life, we must first seek for Righteousness; by the which being reconciled unto God, we being thus in His favor, do obtain life. For that we may be beloved of God, we must first of necessity be righteous, seeing he hateth unrighteousness. For whereas the Gospel is said to be the power of God unto salvation, even therefore, because it reveals the righteousness of God, we must therein mark the necessity of righteousness unto eternal life; such a necessity antecedence there is of righteousness, as that without it there is no hope to be saved; God’s justice inclining him to punish, his purity to hate all unrighteousness. For God is of pure eyes and cannot see evil, he cannot behold wickedness, but he must needs destroy the sin or the sinner. Habak.1:13. Because God being the sovereign Righteousness, he must needs hate us, whilst he sees us in our sins; then standeth it in hand for us to be made righteous, before we can be in God’s favor. Yea, I add further, that it must be with such a righteousness, so completely perfect, as that it may endure the strict censure of God’s justice. Gal.3:10. Now then the exhortation of our Saviour easily followeth; that we should therefore first and principally above all things seek the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, Mat.6:33. Such a righteousness as may stand before God, and endure the trial of his justice. Therefore is Justification the very sum of the Gospel; yea, this is the sum of all the benefits of Christ; for with them that are made righteous and reconciled, God is present; he endues them with new light, and with eternal life, he hears them, and defends them in all their troubles. Therefore he handles here the principle and chiefest point of our salvation; namely - Justification; the pure knowledge whereof alone saveth the Church; for it is the knowledge of the truth and of life, for which the Gospel is called the power of God unto salvation. On the contrary, when this knowledge of Justification is lost, together with it is lost Christ, and life, and the Church; neither any judgment of doctrines or of spirits is left, but darkness and blindness possesseth all things. Therefore it is the duty of a good Pastor, that he suffer not himself to be drawn away with any disputations from the daily and continual handling of this point. So strange it is to carnal reason, so dark to the world, so many enemies it hath, that except the Spirit of God from above doth reveal it, learning cannot reach it, wisdom is offended, nature is astonished, devils do not know it, men do persecute it. Briefly; as there is no way to life so easy, so there is none so hard. Easy to whom it is given from above; hard to the carnal sense not yet inspired. The ignorance thereof is the root of all errors, sects, and divisions in the world. Yea, I do therefore so much beat upon it, because I know that Satan goeth about nothing more, than that he may take away this knowledge from the sight and minds of men. Hitherto principally tend all the stirs which he raiseth up both publically and privately, that men busying their heads in new disputations, should forget this article; for Satan feels the force and power of this article. For Justification, by which of unjust we are made just before God, is the strong Rock and foundation of Christian Religion. Upon this foundation of God’s free promise and grace first builded the patriarchs, kings, and prophets. Upon the same foundation also Christ the Lord built his Church. For this doctrine advances and sets forth the true glory of Christ, and suppresses the vain glory of man; this whosoever denies, is not to be reputed for a Christian man, nor for a setter forth of Christ’s glory, but for an adversary to Christ and his gospel. By the preaching of this doctrine the Devil is overthrown, his kingdom is destroyed; the law, sin, and death, {wherewith as most mighty and invincible tyrants, he hath brought all mankind in subjection under his dominion} are wrested out of his hands. Briefly, his prisoners are translated out of the kingdom of darkness, into the kingdom of light and liberty. Should the Devil suffer all this? Should not the father of lies employ all his force, and subtle policies to darken, to corrupt, and utterly root out this doctrine of salvation and everlasting life? Indeed Paul complains in all his epistles, that even in his days the Devil showed himself a cunning work-man in his business, by darkening and hindering this doctrine of justification. Now for us, let this suffice in this place, to stir up God’s children by these and the like reasons, to fortify their judgments in this main point of Christian faith. The Article of Justification is the very sum of the Gospel; that once corrupted, there can be no soundness; that truly and thoroughly understood, and believed, and applied, arms against all assaults of Satan; and let us be exhorted, as to edify ourselves in all other points of our most holy faith; so specially in this, which who so holds not aright, surely he holds not the Head, nor ever can be saved. Thus we see the necessity of earnest teaching, and diligent learning of this doctrine of Justification! John Eaton {Honeycombe of Free Justification by Christ Alone, 1642}

Necessity of Divine Illumination by Christ

Although some one, or more, of seeming great learning, will in the height of their own conceit, and in the opinion of their great learning, oppose themselves against this common consent of the learned Orthodox writers, and so flatly hold the contrary; yet is their great knowledge and great learning no sufficient cause, to drive thee into wavering, and doubting the excellency of Christ’s benefits; because the Holy Ghost hath so sufficiently armed us against this scandal, in teaching so plentifully in his Word, that there is a twofold knowledge or learning; the one a literal knowledge, or a literal learning, and the other a spiritual knowledge; the understanding and marking of which point, because it is of so great use, that thereupon depends, in a manner, the whole essence of salvation, both to discern in what state thou thine own self dost stand, that makest this objection, who peradventure may be learned, and of great knowledge; and also to keep thee from many scandals and delusions by others, that seem to be of great learning and knowledge. Therefore to leave us without all excuse is the Holy Ghost most diligent to describe these two types of knowledge unto us very largely. First, the literal knowledge is described in Romans, chapter two from verse 17 to the very end of the chapter, after this manner: “Behold thou art called a Jew,” that is, thou art called to be a member of the Church of God, even of one called, and possessing God’s revealed glorious truth; and “resteth in the Law,” that is, thou takest the Word of God, and the doctrine from heaven to be thine only rule, and warrant, and wilt not {as thou sayest} go one hairs breadth from the Word; yea, and gloriest in God, namely, that he is thy Father, Saviour, Redeemer, and knowest his will; that is, thou art skillful in the Word of God, and canst try the things that differ, and are excellent, by reason thou art instructed and very learned in the Word of God. Neither only hast thou thus, knowledge enough for thyself, and for thine own use alone, but also art a rich store-house for others; for thou art confident, and takest upon thee to be a guide to the blind, a light to them that are in darkness, an instructor of them that lack discretion, a teacher of the ignorant, and hast the whole form of knowledge, and of the truth in thy breast; is it possible that the exquisite knowledge that hardly can be more gloriously described; and yet all this is there showed, to the end of the chapter, to be no knowledge indeed; but only a mere shadow or show of great knowledge, and of the truth, which {as Calvin saith} men commonly call an appearance of knowledge; because {as the Apostle saith in diverse verses following} it consisteth but in the letter only; that is, merely literal, learned by good wit, and good memory; but is not by the working of the Spirit of God in spirit, and in truth; being agreeable with that which the Apostle saith in another place; namely, that they have a show of very godliness, but they deny the power of the same; for they had {which is the Apostles scope in this description} a confession of the forgiveness of their sins by God’s mercy in the Messiah; but they had not a joyful spiritual heartfelt knowledge of the excellency of Free Justification, which is the soul of all this great knowledge; and when the soul is taken away, all the rest is nothing else but a dead carcass of knowledge; as the Apostle shows in all the whole Epistle following, chap 9:30,31 & 10:2,3. Whereby they that are in this literal knowledge, although they seem to be greatly enlightened in the whole Word of God, and to be excellent learned men, yea and very zealous with a legal zeal, Rom.9:31 & 10:2, yet because they are in this point destitute, as Calvin speaketh, of the true inward spiritual light, it is incredible to think how blind they are in understanding the excellency of Christ’s benefits; so that none is so blind as such as are in this literal knowledge, as it is plainly testified by the Prophet Isaiah, saying, “Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see. Who is blind, but my servant; or deaf, as my messenger that I sent; who is blind as he that is perfect, {that is, that by this literal knowledge think themselves perfect} and blind as the LORD'S servant?” {Is.42:18,19} Yea such in this literal knowledge are not only more blind than the very plough-boy, but also more blind and ignorant than the ox, and the ass that the plough-boy drives before him; as the same Prophet witnesseth, saying, “the ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib; but Israel doth not know, my people {as by this literal knowledge they profess themselves} doth not consider.” {Is.1:3} But how then {will some man say} may these blind men seeming so learned in this literal knowledge, be discerned from such as are truly enlightened? I answer, this same Prophet Isaiah plainly expressed in the former place, saying thus; “Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not.” {Is.42:20} Seeing many things, but thou keepest them not; for such an one as is in this literal knowledge, doth not keep that which he professeth that he knows; and that also two manners of ways, that is neither in word, nor in deed. For first he fails in the foundation; that is, he keepeth it not in judgment; for how can he keep that which he hath not; that is, doth not understand? Indeed let a man run with them in the same round of the ordinary letter, or usual phrase, that they like blind mill-horses are customable without understanding used unto, thereby rocking themselves and others asleep in their cradle of custom. What in Christ’s mysteries is carnally and customarily conceited, and ordinarily spoken, rather than caring to understand what is said; and whilst they are applauded for learned men, so long they are reasonably quiet, and will sing the same song of the dead letter, containing the outward shell of Christ’s mysteries; and will some of them run as fast as you will, with you, in a legal zeal flowing from the light of nature, of works, works, works, and a preposterously holy walking; but if a man press the same truth, which they seem to hold, and to awake them out of their lethargy of Custom, do preach new tidings, but not New; nay if one express the same truth which they seem to hold, but even with an old phrase, used of the best Interpreters that understand rightly the mysteries of Christ, which they have not before heard of, or which they are not customarily acquainted withal; {especially if it be a phrase going to the quick of the truth, and expressing the excellency of the matter, which they daily, like Parrots, do blindfoldly prattle of;} then although it be but one and the same truth, and the old doctrine which is daily taught; yet upon presumption and high conceit of their great learning, they cry out, New doctrine, errors, false doctrine, heresy, blasphemy, and what not; adding ever something thereto out of their own Cimmerian darkness, to make the matter more odious; and thus they keep not, no not in word and judgment to that, which they seemed to hold; but when the excellency of Christ’s benefits are pressed upon them, by the express Word of God, then they fall to sophisticating, equivocating, and plain denial; {if they cannot fashion it to agree with their natural reason, and earthly conceit, and human wit;} even of that truth which they seemed before to hold, at least in letter; so that by not understanding what they have spoken in one sentence, they are so far from keeping to that which they have said {especially dealing in the mysteries of Christ, that are above human wit, and the light of reason} that they often times speak the flat contrary in another sentence; thus {as I said} not keeping, neither in judgment, nor in word and confession to that truth, which they themselves profess in other terms. An evident example hereof, is Nicodemus, who being a great learned Rabbi and Teacher in Israel, knew by the dead literal knowledge, those usual places often repeated in the Prophets, where God promised to give unto his people new hearts, and new spirits, that they might serve him in walking holily in all his Commandments; and yet because he felt not the power and truth of it in himself, being in this dead literal knowledge; although in his daily teaching he talked of these promises, and called for a new life in holy walking in all God’s Commandments; yet when Christ giving an example to all preachers, how they should awake people rocked asleep in the cradle of custom, not by teaching new things, but by preaching Truth, {as revealed by the Spirit of Truth,} spoke of the same truth which he daily beat upon, but in a new phrase that he had not heard of, expressing but the excellency of the doctrine; namely, that a man must be new born; then was Nicodemus quite beside his books, and thought that Christ spoke very absurdly, if not erroneously; the old doctrine uttered with a new phrase, expressing but the truth and deepness of it, made it seem new and false doctrine to the old blind literal Doctor; and therefore it is well noted upon the same place by Musculus, {Wolfgang Musculus: Protestant Theologian, 1497-1563} saying, “there is in this man a certain example set before us, wherein we may see, that men, although wise and learned, yet not being new born again, are to the conceiving of the mysteries of Christ, and of the doctrine concerning his kingdom, merely blockish and sottish.” Yes, and he added further, saying that, “they are so far from understanding the matter itself, that they conceive not the very declaration thereof set before them by the words of Christ himself.” Whereupon {as the learned well note} Christ seeing that he lost both his time and labor, in teaching a man so high in his own conceit, and yet so greatly ignorant, is constrained to fall to chiding him, saying, “Art thou a principal teacher in Israel, and knowest not these things?” {Jn.3:10} As if he should say, oh miserable condition of those sheep, whereof the Pastor, that hath the care of them, is so grossly blind, and so unskillful in divine matters; hitherto thou hast been reverenced as a principal Teacher in Israel, and yet knowest not those things, of which it is a shame that thy very scholars should be ignorant; and lest any should think that this was a blindness, and just reproof peculiar and proper only to Nicodemus, and not to all such as are dead in spiritual knowledge, it is upon the same place well noted of the learned, saying, this is a general reproof, wherewith Christ reproved all such Rabbi’s and great Teachers as lie by the literal knowledge in the same blindness with Nicodemus. And thus we see the first way how they that are in this literal knowledge, do only but sophisticate about the mysteries of Christ, seeing many things, but they keep them not; namely, they do not keep to them in word and judgment, but possess them one way, and deny them, and speak contrary to themselves divers other ways. John Eaton {Honeycombe of Free Justification by Christ Alone, 1642}

Necessity of Divine Illumination by Christ

The spiritual knowledge, and right illumination, by the true spiritual learning, whereof the Prophet thus speaketh, saying, “and they shall be all taught of God;” is likewise {that we may not be babes in the knowledge thereof} as largely described by the Apostle, First Corinthians, chapter 2, from verse 9 to the very end of the Chapter, saying thus, “As it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit.” But, some will say, if they be such things as neither eye hath seen, nor ear hath heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, what is any man the better for such things? True saith the Apostle, not to the heart of the natural man, {vs.14,} but yet God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit, for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God; “for {saith he} what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him; even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God;” but the natural man, the man endued only with a mere earthly insight, perceiveth not, nor receiveth “the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned,” and so forth to the end of the chapter; out of which two descriptions both of the literal knowledge, before expressed; and of the spiritual knowledge, as so largely described by the Apostle, let us {because to discern these two types of  knowledge, the one from the other is a point of great moment, the one being but a condemning knowledge, making our damnation only the greater; and the other being a true saving knowledge;} let us, I say, for further perspicuity and clearness herein mark some main and principal differences whereby they may be discerned the one from the other, wherein for brevities sake I will only briefly touch these six following. First, the spiritual knowledge apprehends the things which neither eye hath seen, nor ear hath heard, nor the heart of natural man can conceive; that is, it conceives the mysteries of God above reason; yea, and contrary to natural reason, sense, and feeling; but the literal knowledge apprehends the mysteries of God after but a carnal manner, as they are new-fashioned; as it were, made agreeable to reason, sense, and feeling; and hence come so many objections from reason, sense, and feeling. Secondly, the literal knowledge so knows the mysteries of God’s Word, as a man knows a thing by reading of it, {Rom.2:18,} or as a man knows a thing that is told him of a strange Country; but he hath no experimental certainty of it in himself, whereby it is true in such that is written, “by hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive.” {Matt.13:14} The spiritual knowledge so knows the mysteries of Christ, as he knows a thing that sees it with his very eyes, and hath experimental feeling of it in his own self; so that he that is in the literal knowledge only is like a man that lying in the morning in his bed, and peradventure seeing a little by the holes and crevices of his windows, may talk of the daylight, and of the actions of the daylight to be done in the same; but because his windows and doors are closed shut, he still without doing anything, lies in darkness; but he that is in the spiritual way of true gospel knowledge, is like the one that is abroad in the open clear morning, working and walking by the light of the same. Thirdly, the literal knowledge doth know; as it were, by hearsay many things, by which they think themselves rich, and increased in goods, and have need of nothing; but it doth not see the deep things of God; therefore they are raised up to no joy and zeal for the deepness and greatness of the same; but the spiritual knowledge doth see the deep things of God, {I Cor.2:10;} that is, as Beza well expressed it; the most excellent evangelical doctrine, the excellency of the benefits of the Gospel, working joy, and zeal of God’s glory by discerning the greatness and benefits wrought upon us; and from a lack thereof flows that cold and formal working of great learned Clerks, making a show of doing something, and thinking within their hearts that to proceed any further is needless; but they that are in the spiritual knowledge do think both that there is need, and also that they can never do enough. Fourthly, the literal knowledge judgeth of the mysteries of the Gospel, by the spirit of the world; that is, after an human witted fashion, saying the same thing that the spiritual enlightened child of God doth, as far as natural reason, and human wit can reach; but pulls down God’s thoughts in the mysteries and benefits of the Gospel, and makes them like unto man’s thoughts; for whereas the Spirit of God useth by certain human phrases and similitudes, to descend down to our weak capacity {not to the intent that we should dwell in them, but that we should; as it were, by a ladder reached down to us, ascend up to the height and excellency of God’s working and dealing upon us, correspondent to the glory of his great majesty;} they that are in this literal knowledge do stick fast in the human phraseology; as it were, in the foot and first step of the Ladder; but ascend not to the greatness and excellency of the work of God, correspondent to the greatness and excellency of his Majesty; whereby they hold fast to those phrases that are correspondent to human reason, and to good human wit; but cannot abide to have those human phrases reduced and understood according to spiritual phrases, expressing in the same case, the true nature and excellent working of God above reason, and passing those human similitudes; and so compare, and flatly measure, spiritual things with earthly things; because as a learned Dispenser of God’s mysteries saith, “then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth; and he said Sibboleth; for he could not frame to pronounce it right.” {Judg.12:6} They can say regarding mysteries and benefits of Christ Sibboleth, but not Shibboleth; that is, they come very near the truth, and are as Christ said to the young man, “not far from the kingdom of heaven;” but they cannot frame to pronounce the aspirate that hath God in it; that is, they cannot yield to the truth and mystery correspondent to the nature, and perfect working of God; for that is foolishness unto them. {I Cor.2:10} But on the other side, they that are in the spiritual knowledge have received not the spirit of the world to judge worldly, carnally, and after an human witted fashion of the mysteries and benefits of the Gospel; but have received the Spirit, which is of God, that they may see after a spiritual manner the things freely given of God; that is, correspondent to the high nature, perfect operation and glorious working of God; whereby, although they gladly use the similitudes and human representations in the Scriptures, as an help to their weak capacities; yet they stick not in them, but ascend by them, as it were by steps, to the high working of God above all human representations, and earthly excellencies; not comparing or measuring spiritual things with earthly things, but measuring spiritual things, as the Apostle saith, with spiritual; yea, even with God Himself, the spiritual Worker and Author thereof; making them in our apprehension corresponded and agreeable to the Almighty nature, and glorious working of so wonderful a workman. Fifthly, the literal knowledge although it be ever so great, doth not change him that is in it; but leaves him in his former old nature, and corrupt conversation; as if he were profane, it leaves him still profane. If he were merely honest in a civil way; if he were blindly zealous with a legal zeal, it leaves him still blindly zealous with a legal zeal, of advancing works, works and doing; as we may be by the example of Paul, who before his conversion, followed the righteousness of the Law, {Rom.9:31,} and was zealous towards God, {Acts 22:3,} serving God instantly day and night, {Acts 26:7,} and yet was but in this literal knowledge. As this literal knowledge finds a man in death and condemnation; so it leaves him in death and condemnation; except that it leaves him in greater condemnation, than if he never knew anything at all. But the spiritual knowledge wholly changeth him that is in it, and makes him to leave his old corrupt course of life, and to live a godly conversation; and not only makes him that was profane, or merely civil, to become zealous of God’s glory; but also changeth the legal zeal of advancing works into the Evangelical zeal of advancing Christ’s benefits, and to do all good duties zealously in mere thankfulness for the same; because he that by his spiritual knowledge with open face beholds {as in a looking glass} the glory of the Lord, is changed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord. {II Cor.3:18} Sixthly and lastly, as the spiritual knowledge discerning the deep things of God, counts them and embraces them as precious and glorious; so the literal knowledge resting in the bare letter, cannot perceive, nor receive the deep things of God; that is, the excellency of Christ’s benefits, because it counts and rejects them as absurd and foolish; yea, very foolishness itself; {I Cor.2:14;} and because great learning counts it her wisdom to confute that which she takes for foolishness; hereupon arises unfailingly against the preaching of the excellency of Christ’s benefits strong sophisticating, and bold contention; because the literal learning being mounted up upon the horse of pride {for this knowledge puffeth up, I Cor.8:1;} and being pricked forward with two spurs, the one of envy at her brother’s gift of preaching the glory of Christ, and the other of vain glory lest this literal learning loose some of her praise, she rushes out like a war-horse into the battle of contention; and yet lays all the blame hereof upon the preaching of the excellency of Christ’s benefits; yea so strongly doth this literal knowledge judge the excellency of Christ’s benefits to be mere foolishness, and thereupon so impudent in contention against the same, that Luther upon these words, “then is the offence of the cross abolished,” {Gal.5:11,} proves with many arguments, that Paul taketh it for a most certain sign, that the Gospel of Christ, and righteousness of faith are not rightly preached, and is not the Gospel, if it be preached without contention against it; for {saith Luther} when the cross is abolished, and the rage of the false apostles wrangling, sophisticating, and persecuting ceases on the one side; and offences and scandals on the other side, and all things are in peace; this is a sure token that the devil keeping the entire of the house, the pure doctrine of God’s Word, is taken away. Because {saith he} it cannot be, but as long as the Gospel flourishes, the cross and offence thereof must needs follow it; or else truly the devil is not tightly leveled at, and hit, but slightly glanced at; but if he be rightly hit indeed, he rests not, but begins horribly to rage, and to raise up by these literal vain-glorious men all the troubles he can. And again, notably writes Luther upon these words, “as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now;” {Gal.4:29;} whose whole exposition is worthy to be often read of the children of faith; the sum and effect whereof is thus, that this persecution always remaineth in the Church, especially when the Word of God is powerfully brought to light, and the doctrine of the Gospel flourishes; namely, that the children of the flesh mock the children of the promise, and persecute them; and therefore Paul in this place arms the godly before-hand, that they should not be offended with these persecutions, sects and offences; as if he should say; if we be the children of the promise, and born after the Spirit, holding that righteousness is bestowed without works, exclusively by the promise, we must surely look to be persecuted of our ‘brethren,’ which are born after the flesh; that is, after the Law and Works, and yet shines in the righteousness, and glorious works of the Law; that is to say, not only our open enemies, which are manifestly wicked, and shall persecute us; but also such as were at first our dear friends, with whom we were in religious familiarly conversant in one house, which received from us the true doctrine of the Gospel, shall become our deadly enemies, and persecute us extremely, for they are brethren after the flesh, and will persecute their brethren, which are born after the Spirit, and so raise panics and molestations. John Eaton {Honeycombe of Free Justification by Christ Alone, 1642}

Posted June 11, 2012

Justification Truth

This joyful right knowledge is wrought and attained by this means; namely, by marking and often rubbing the memory, and by deeply meditating upon God's Word of grace, and the testimonies of the faithful Expositors thereof, as they express the excellency of Free Justification in the truth of faith. For as it is necessary that we dive into the knowledge of this benefit, that our understanding may be enlightened and possessed with this most wonderful truth of God; so it is necessary that we look into the excellency thereof; in order that our will and affections may be ravished and carried after the goodness and excellency of the benefit; this being the right true means of increasing true faith, and of going with a right foot to the truth of the Gospel. – Be careful to keep and hold fast this precious benefit; and not only to keep it, but to also keep it pure, without the mixing and mingling of works with it, resting wholly upon it for thy full, free, and perfect salvation; lest thou lose, with the foolish Galatians this main truth of thy free salvation; and to that end meditate much and often upon the excellency of free justification in Christ, and ponder the sayings of the learned writers; and mark their reasons of true faith grounded upon the Scriptures; and believe according as God speaks in these eminent Scriptures; and decline not from them to the conceits and reasons of reason. John Eaton {Honeycombe of Free Justification by Christ Alone, 1642}

Justification in Christ Alone

Only are people newborn again truly, and Christ is formed truly in them, when for the assurance of their salvation, they wholly rest in the joyful knowledge and full sufficiency of their free justification; for then is Christ rightly formed in them. This is the antidote and preservative against all the sweet and poisonous doctrines of our works, and vain-glorious well doings; this is the preservative against these infections and contagious times; this is the ark of Noah, that will bear us up above all the floods and billows of these tempestuous days of sundry sects, schisms, and straggling opinions; this is the anchor whereunto the cable of our faith being firmly fastened will make us to stand strong against all the violent ways and winds of Satan's blusterous temptations, both on the right hand, and on the left. Let us know for a certainty that free justification is the very head, heart, and soul of all Christian religion, and true worship of God; without the true and joyful knowledge thereof, our religion is headless, our profession and worship heartless, and our very zealous conversation is a mere corruption of the Gospel, and rottenness, like a body without a soul that stinketh before God. Briefly in a word, as the perfect righteousness of Christ is only worthy to be acknowledged for the wedding garment; because all the righteousness of our imperfect sanctification is {as the Prophet saith} as filthy, menstrous, stained rags - Isaiah 64:6; so true faith of free justification, being the having on of this wedding-garment, because it alone doth truly abolish all the filthy nakedness of our sins out of God's sight, and it alone doth make us perfectly holy, and sufficiently righteous in the sight of God freely, without works. Therefore it alone doth make us fit brides, and is only meet to marry us to so glorious a Bridegroom, as is the King of glory - Christ Jesus. John Eaton {Honeycombe of Free Justification by Christ Alone, 1642}

Justification in Christ Alone

Justification is when we feeling what lost creatures we are in our own selves, and in all our works and holy walks by reason of our sins, and a looking up unto Christ, are by the power of God's imputation so clothed with a wedding garment of Christ's own perfect righteousness, that of unjust we are made just before God; that is, all our sins are utterly abolished out of God’s sight, and we are made from all spot of sin perfectly holy and righteous in the sight of God freely; and this is God's pardon or forgiveness {which few truly understand} great above man's; glorious and wonderful like God himself. {Acts 13:38-40} John Eaton {Honeycombe of Free Justification by Christ Alone, 1642}


This heavy laden conscience thus looking up to Christ for help and ease, being like the wounded Israelites looking up to the brazen serpent. God imputes to such his Son’s righteousness, as the Holy Ghost testifieth, saying, “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.” {Rom.4:7} But because God's imputation is an immediate act of God himself, it is not a weak imaginary thing {as the papists blasphemously scoff} like man's imputation; but it is of such a strong and powerful real working, and effectual operation, that it conveys {as the sun conveys its beams into a dark house} that perfect righteousness of Christ, to be {as Paul saith,} in us, and upon us; {Rom.3:22;} so powerfully that we thereby are made of unjust, just before God; but how? Not inherently, and actively; but objectively and passively, as the dark house is made light with the sunbeams. For the Lord Christ {being of the Sun of Righteousness, Mal.4:2,} doth in such sort communicate his righteousness to us, that after a certain marvelous manner, he pours the force thereof into us, so much as serves to satisfy the justice of God. “For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners,” before they have done any evil work, “so by the obedience of one {Christ} shall many be made righteous,” before they have done any good work. {Rom.5:15,19} “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied; by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many {that is, make many just and righteous;} for he shall bear their iniquities.” {Is.53:11} John Eaton {Honeycombe of Free Justification by Christ Alone, 1642}

Posted June 12, 2012

Gospel Objectors Exposed

One sort of objectors to free justification are such as being in name Protestants, and professing themselves utter enemies to Papists, in that {as they say} they will not give the least piece of justification to works and holy walking, and will seem both to themselves and others to hold free justification perfectly; and yet, because of their being in the dead faith, they do not spiritually understand it; and because by conceiving it after a carnal human witted fashion, they feel no sweetness therein. Therefore declining in affection unto the establishing of their own righteousness, they not only nullify the truth regarding justification, and make it as good as nothing; but also making the light of nature, {described in Rom.2:14,15,} and natural reason their chiefest guide, they thus weaken the faith of others, by running into the very objections of the Papists; and shake hands with them in the main points of salvation, with whom they profess to be at utter variance. And all this because they lie in a dead faith, whereby they understand not the nature and excellency of free justification; and yet one such may do us more harm in weakening our faith than many Papists; not only, because they profess to be one with us and the same confession in letter, and so are like homebred flattering enemies; but also, because by great literal learning and teaching, they may bear a great name, as such as are alive, when by their false faith they be dead indeed. {Rev.3:1} Therefore that these objectors do not weaken our faith, we must learn to discern these underminers of truth. Peradventure some will say, how may we discern them? I answer, by knowing and diligently marking the nature of dead faith; which is this, to hold the very truth of God's Word after a sort, as far as the light of nature, good memory, and good human wit can reach; and herein to think themselves rich and increased in goods, having need of nothing; {Rev.3:17;} being ashamed not to hold as contrary to what a sound profession is thought to hold, sticking fast to such phrases of Scripture as seem to agree with their human wit and reason; but because such by hearing, do hear only after a literal manner, but do not understand; and by seeing, do see after a carnal human witted fashion, but do not perceive; {Mt.13:13,14;} therefore they talk of that which they hold, as men talk of things in their sleep, and can say Sibboleth, but not Shibboleth; {Judges 12:6;} that is, can say something, but not make a clear and perspicuous confession of the mysteries of Christ. – Then with Nicodemus they count it absurd, and do judge it very foolishness itself, {I Cor.2:14,} and cry out, “What thing is this? What new doctrine is this?” {Mk.1:27} “How can these things be?” {Jn.3:9} Then they fall a wrangling with Nicodemical conclusions, and do not keep neither in word nor deed to that which they hold; but speak like men in a spiritual frenzy with flat contradictions; and then fall to sophisticating, raging and calumniating; that is, to a changing and wresting one's words and meaning; and finally, if at length they be not renewed and changed with Nicodemus, they fall to railing and persecuting. {Acts 13:45-50} Thus by the excellency of Christ's benefits laid open, the thoughts of many hearts are opened to be very bad, that seemed a long time by an appearance of holy walking to be very good. {Lk.2:34,35} John Eaton {Honeycombe of Free Justification by Christ Alone, 1642}


The first part of free justification is that, whereby we being by the power of God's imputation so clothed with the wedding garment of Christ's perfect righteousness, that of unjust we are made just before God; have thereby all our sins that we feel daily dwelling in us, so {above our reason, sense, and feeling, that it may be by the faith of God's power} quite taken away from before God, and so utterly abolished out of his sight, that we have not one spot or wrinkle of sin, or any such thing in the sight of God; because the blood of Christ doth make us clean from all sin; as the Scriptures following do abundantly testify: “In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found;” {Jer.50:20;} but how comes this to pass? Thus, “behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.” {Jn.1:29} Here he lays forth briefly; yet plainly, the chief office of Christ; namely, by the sacrifice of his death, he reconciles men unto God; as if he should say, whatsoever unrighteousness there is that may alienate or estrange men from God, by Christ is taken away. This is the sum of all blessings, upon which all the rest depend; for out of this Fountain do the streams of all good things flow forth upon us. But how does Christ take them away? Objectively and passively to us; that is, we being no agents and doers in this business, but mere recipients; because his righteousness wherewith he clothes us, doth as perfectly abolish from before God all our sins, as the sun beams abolish darkness out of a dark house; as Christ testifies by the prophet Isaiah saying, “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins; return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.” {Is.43:25 & 44:22} – It is the nature of faith to feel nothing; but letting go carnal reason, closes her eyes, and opens her ears to that which is spoken by God, and cleaves to the Word spoken both living and dying; and thus glorifies the Word of the Lord, {Acts 13:38,} which indeed works effectually in them that believe. Therefore although the feeling of sin is left within us, only to the end as it drives us to Christ, and to make faith the more abound; yet hath Christ taken away our sins from before God and utterly abolished them. John Eaton {Honeycombe of Free Justification by Christ Alone, 1642}

Posted June 13, 2012

Justification & Faith

Let us therefore come unto their objections; whereof because they would gather an whole army, and do rank them into three bands; as first Scriptures, secondly Examples, and thirdly Reasons. Let us set upon some of the principal objections, as it were upon the chief captains, and the rest like rascally soldiers will soon take them to their heels. The first, whereof is this: What; do you define justification to be such a strange and powerful imputation of Christ's righteousness unto us, that of unjust it makes us just before God; that is, perfectly holy and righteous from all spot of sin in the sight of God freely? Yea and so perfectly righteous, that God sees no sin in his justified children as your Scriptures would seem to press? Why, but sins we have in us, which is undeniable; for, who can say that his heart is pure? {James 3:2} If any man say he hath no sin, he deceives himself, for in many things we sin all; {I Jn.1:8;} and therefore shall not the Lord, who is omnipotent and omniscient, and the searcher of all hearts and reins, {Jer.17:10,} shall not he see sin in them? Why, can anything be hid out of God’s sight? It is a madness to think so. Assertion: Unto which I answer, and grant, that we all have sin in us, and that in many things we sin all; yea, I say more, that we all sin, not only in many things, {as you say,} but even in all things, and {which these objections cannot abide} that all our very righteousness of holy walking is as a unclean rag; that is, mortal and damnable sin, if God should behold it out of Christ; for this sinning in all our actions is our misery before God; and he that desires not to be delivered of these evils in the sight of God, exposes the very ground of his hypocrisy; namely, that he never yet understood, much less felt, what a horrible thing the least sin is in the sight of God; for this is our spiritual leprosy before God; this is our spiritual plague, and sickness unto death. Shall any man therefore conclude that because the justified children of God have sin, and see sin and feel sin in themselves, therefore they have sin in the sight of God; and that he sees sin in them, when by making them perfectly holy and righteous from all spot of these and all other sins before himself, he hath utterly abolished them out of his sight. Is not God able to abolish those sins that we feel daily dwelling within us, out of his own sight; although he doth not abolish them out of our sight that we may here live by the faith of his power? Certainly, this were to have as much faith as an ox or horse, for they believe but what they see and feel; but it is the true nature and the very essence of faith to believe clean contrary to that which we see and feel in ourselves, if God hath spoken the contrary; and hath God not only spoken the contrary, saying to his Church and justified children that indeed feel, see and complain of their spiritual blackness; “Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.” {Song 4:7} God sees no iniquity in his true spiritual Church, nor does he see transgression in his true justified Israel; and hath not only with admiration expressly spoken it; but also given the means to effect, and bring it to pass; namely, that the blood of Jesus Christ his Son doth make us clean, even from that which doth defile us before God, {Mk.7:21,22;} that is, from all sin itself. “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” {I Jn.1:7} And hath he not only spoken, and given the powerful means to effect it; but also sworn it, saying, “I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength; even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.” {Is.45:23-25} As indeed, there can be no greater glorying that we are justified than this, that God sees no sin in us; by reason that being clothed with Christ's righteousness, we are made thereby perfectly holy and righteous from all spot of sin in the sight of God freely. And when, not only God the Father hath thus spoken and sworn, but also Christ the Son hath really given himself to make us holy, and hath made us clean that he might make us to himself a glorious Church and people, not having {now at this present time, as both the Greek and Latin particles signify} one spot or wrinkle of sin, or any such thing; because by his death upon the cross he hath made us so holy, that we are without all blame and without all fault in his sight; continuing as rooted and grounded in this faith. {Eph.5:25-27, Col.1:22,23} And hath the Father not only sworn it, and by his Son wrought it, but hath also sealed the truth and power of the same upon us, by his own seal; and not only to seal it upon us, but also confirmed the assurance thereof unto us by so many faithful dispensers of God's mysteries, as with a cloud of witnesses. Shall we, notwithstanding all these sayings and doings of God say in the secret of our hearts by unbelief, “hold thy peace God; hold thy peace Christ; you may say what you will, but I can by a subtle distinction of mine own brain make innovation from all this, and will believe my sins, sight and feeling rather than you.” Is this faith? Is not this to make God no God; and to make our reason, sense, and feeling our God? If we had no sin in us, and if we did see, and feel no sin in us, what place were there left for faith to believe these sayings of God, that we have no sin in the sight of God? But now because we have sin in us, and do see it, and feel it; therefore should we so much the rather upon these sayings of God believe the clean contrary to our sense and feeling, that we have no sin in the sight of God. This is true faith, and where there is reasoning from sense and feeling there is not faith. - If we believe that God is able above our reason, sense, and feeling by his own Son's blood and righteousness utterly to abolish out of his own sight all our sins, and that he doth make us whiter than snow, from them all; so that we have not now one spot or wrinkle of sin that defiles us, nor any such thing in the sight of God, and that he is faithful to do this, as he hath spoken it, {Eph.5:26,27,} contrary to our reason, sense and feeling; then have we true faith; then should we truly glorify God in Christ, and find sanctification and all other blessings both spiritual and temporal with a fuller hand than we do; which people do much fail of, because they mark not, that there is a twofold making of us clean and abolishing of our sins made mention of in God's Word, and testified by his Spirit. First, a mystical and secret abolishing of our sins, and wrought only by Christ and his righteousness in the sight of God only, mentioned, John 1:29; saying, “Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world;” and, I Jn.1:7, “the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin;” and in many other suchlike places of Scripture, which is called mystical, because it is wrought, seen, and apprehended above reason, sense and feeling; that is, by faith only, and is the glory of Christ's Godhead. {Heb.1:3} Secondly, a palpable abolishing of our sins, wrought within us by the aid of God's Spirit, to our sense and feeling by sanctification {that is, mortification} as mentioned by Paul, “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God;” {II Cor.7:1;} and John, “every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure;” {I Jn.3:3} which latter way we shall never feel to be perfected in us, until the life to come, that there may be place for the first way, and for faith; for, as I said before, what place were there left for faith, to believe that Christ hath made us perfectly holy and righteous in the sight of God freely, if we could see and feel ourselves to be so in the sight of God? But if sticking only to this latter sense, we idly prattle and talk by the light of nature, of God's power and presence, and all seeing and all searching nature, after a Gentilish and Heathenish manner, to the frustrating of his Word and promises; because we see and feel the contrary; as if God were not able, or cannot abolish that sin, which we daily feel dwelling within us, out of his own sight above our reason, sense and feeling; then we reject faith, dishonor God, rob him of his power, spoil him of his truth and find him to be no more our God than the Gentiles and heathens did; although they also talked goodly and vain-gloriously of his power, providence, presence, all seeing and all searching nature. For that saying of the learned is most true, that it is not the light of nature, or reason, talking and discoursing of the all mighty power, providence, and presence of God that gives him the glory of his Godhead; but it is faith only, placing God's power, and all seeing nature in the fulfilling of his promises, and verifying the truth of them to be in us and upon us, {which unto the natural man seems foolishness;} and gives him truly the glory of his Godhead; whereas the contrary seeming to glorify him, doth indeed rob him of the glory of his grace. John Eaton {Honeycombe of Free Justification by Christ Alone, 1642}

Posted June 15, 2012

Wedding Garment of Christ's Righteousness

If the wedding garment of Christ's righteousness wherewith we are clothed hath above our reason, sense and feeling abolished {as the prophet Isaiah saith} all our sins out of his own sight, and made us perfectly holy and righteous from all spot of sin in the sight of God freely; is God blind, because he sees his Son's wedding garment abolishing our sins, and making us that were darkness all light in his sight? Is not this contrary to spiritual sanctified reason? Except we will say, that the wedding garment of Christ's righteousness is not able to abolish the spiritual darkness of our sins above our reason, sense and feeling out of God's sight, as perfectly as the sun beams do abolish the bodily darkness out of a dark house; and that would be true blasphemy indeed! John Eaton {Honeycombe of Free Justification by Christ Alone, 1642}

Justification & Perfect Cleansing by the Blood of Christ

Hereby are overthrown all the other benefits of the Gospel; as first, God being the Fountain of all justice and righteousness; as God cannot but detest and abhor us, as long as he sees us in our sins; the filthiness thereof is such in his sight, until we be first made clean from it. Secondly, the Holy Ghost will not come to dwell in such a foul swine of ugly sin. Thirdly, Christ will not knit such soul ugly members into himself, as the members must be suitable to the Head. Fourthly, Christ will not marry unto Himself such a sow, or filthy swine, until he have washed her clean from that which doth deform and defile, which is the ugly sin itself. Fifthly, God will not acknowledge, much less adopt for his sons and daughters, those whom he sees full of the image of the devil. Sixthly, no unclean thing can enter into the kingdom of Christ, which is the kingdom of heaven here on earth; for except a man be born again; that is, made a perfect new creature to the eyes of God by justification, and declare the same by being made a new creature to the eyes of men by sanctification, he cannot see the kingdom of God, because the kingdom of God is nothing but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. {Rom.14:17} Thus have I stood more largely in confusing this objection; because I find by daily experience, that this cavil against the excellency of free justification doth stick so fast between the teeth of natural reason, sense, and feeling, that many stumbling {as I said before} at this block of their sense and feeling, do greatly endanger the breaking of the neck of their faith; and so make it a dead faith, good for nothing, in no wise to glorify God. John Eaton {Honeycombe of Free Justification by Christ Alone, 1642}

Law and Gospel Distinctions

This is to preach the Gospel, this is to make our feet beautiful in bringing the glad tidings of peace, and the glad tidings of good things. But if we {ministers of the Gospel} as some fail too dangerously herein, do not wisely discern, and heedfully distinguish between such voices of the Law, and the voice of the Gospel, especially in this essential difference; that the Law only teaches us what we ought to do; but the Gospel teaches what we ought to receive; therefore the Law and the Gospel are two contrary doctrines; for Moses with his Law is a severe exactor, requiring of us by fear, and hope of reward, what we should work, and that we should give. Briefly, it requireth by precepts, and exacteth by threatenings. On the contrary, the Gospel giveth freely, and requires of us nothing else, but to hold out our hands, and to receive that which is given. Now to exact and to give are clean contrary, and cannot stand together; because the voice of the Gospel stands only in freely receiving the good things of God to the praise of the glory of his grace. On the contrary, the Law and works consists in exacting with threats, in doing by works, and in giving to God; but faith and the voice of the Gospel requires no works of us, or that we should yield and give anything unto God, but that we believing the promise of God should receive of Him. Whereupon the voice of the Law exacteth and constraineth men to holy walking by fear of punishment, and hope of reward, and maketh hypocrites; but the voice of the Gospel constraineth to holy walking by love, and maketh true Christians. And if this difference be not marked in reading the Scripture, and distinctly applied to due persons in preaching, the Law and the Gospel are mixed and confounded together; and so neither true Law preached, nor true Gospel; but an hodgepodge of both, to the marring of both; just like the mingling and mixing together of water and wine, which maketh corrupted matter of both, and is rejected of God. {Is.1:22} - Because commonly the greatest multitude lie under the Law; therefore doth Christ and the Apostles {as it is there said} much and often supply the part of Moses; and as Christ himself until his death was under the Law, {which Law he came not to break, but to fulfill,} so his sermons, in their preceptive parts, run all upon the perfect doctrine and works of the Law, showing and teaching what we ought to do by the right Law of justice, and what danger ensueth in not performing the same. All which places, though they be contained in the book of the New Testament, yet are they to be referred to the doctrine of the Law. As for example where Christ thus preacheth: “Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God, &c.” {Mt.5:8} Again; “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” {Mt.18:3} “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” {Mt.7:21} The parable of the unkind servant justly cast into prison, for not forgiving his fellow servant. {Mt.18:21-35} The casting of the rich glutton into hell fire. {Lk.16:19-31} These with many other suchlike places revealing sin, and threatening punishment do pertain to the doctrine of the Law. So then to know when the Law speaketh, and when the Gospel speaketh, and skillfully to discern the voice of the one from the voice of the other, that neither preachers nor hearers take the Law for the Gospel, nor the Gospel for the Law; this rule is to be observed, that when there is any moral work commanded to be done upon pain of punishment, or upon promise of any reward, either temporal or eternal; there is to be understood the voice of the Law. On the contrary, where the promise of life, favor, salvation or any blessings and benefits are granted unto us freely, without all our deservings, and simply without any condition annexed of any Law, either natural, ceremonial, or moral; all those places, whether they be read in the Old Testament or in the New Testament are to be referred to the voice and doctrine of the Gospel; hitherto this witness, which rule diligently observed, hath especially these two excellent uses. First, it serves to apply the Law and the Gospel rightly to their right due persons; as not to give the mourning gown to a marrying person, and the wedding garment to a funeral corpse; but to give the mourning gown to the funeral corpse to whom it belongs, and the wedding garment to the marrying person to whom it belongs. Secondly, it serves to give to each their due proper force, strength, and power; as to the Law, her due terrors and severity, being altogether killing; and to the Gospel, her due sweetness and glory, being altogether quickening. But if preachers neglect this rule, and so taking the Law for the Gospel, and the Gospel for the Law, do confound them by mixing and mingling them together, either in their essence, or objects, or end; either directly and professedly, as the Papists do, or indirectly by preposterous urging men to a constrained righteousness by legal terrors, then {as Luther truly says,} they pervert the Gospel, and become the ministers of the devil; and yet such perverters of the Gospel can abide nothing less than to hear that they are perverters of the Gospel, and the apostles of the devil; nay rather, they glory above others in the name of Christ, and boast themselves to be the most sincere preachers of the Gospel; but because they mingle the Law with the Gospel, they must needs be perverters of the Gospel; because it doth not only blemish and darken the knowledge of grace, but also it doth take away Christ, with all his benefits, and utterly overthroweth the Gospel. John Eaton {Honeycombe of Free Justification by Christ Alone, 1642}

Repentance and Mortification of Sin

Seeing the least motions of sin, even in thought only, is such a horrible poison of hell; so poisoning us, and all our holy walkings in sanctification that {as Christ saith} they defile all unto damnation; for when we see that nothing can make us spiritually clean from them, except the Son of God be crushed for us; with his blood, so precious an antidote; this only able to make us perfectly holy and righteous from all sin in the sight of God; and so first makes our inside of our cup, even of our minds and consciences passively pure and clean in the sight of God freely, {Tit.1:15,} or else these worms of our souls, even the very stirring motions only, will as truly and certainly kill us, as they killed Christ. Do we not then begin to see in the stream of Christ's blood washing us from them, the vileness of these evil thoughts and least motions, and begin to hate them, as the venomous vipers of our souls, either eating out our heart, or the heart of Christ Jesus; and thus hating the evil thoughts and first motions of sin, doth not this make us much more to hate and crucify the gross acts, and outward practices of the same? So for the second part of sanctification called vivification, being a quickening with joy, love, and zeal of God's glory, by cheerful walking in all his commandments. Did the tenth leper return with such joy, did he praise God with such a loud voice, and did he fall down and worship Christ so devotedly before he felt himself healed of his leprosy; which was a true type and figure of our free justification in Christ. Or did the children of Israel, stung in the wilderness by fiery serpents, go powerfully, cheerfully and courageously against their enemies, until by looking upon the brazen serpent they felt themselves perfectly healed of all their poisonous stingings, which is the liveliest figure of the efficacy of our free justification. Thus we see how the lessening of the glory of our justification by Christ extinguishes the vigor of our mortification and vivification; both hindering our joy, lessening our love, and quenching our zeal, that otherwise, by the exceeding greatness of Christ's benefits would exceedingly abound. “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.” {Is.61:3}  “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” {Tit.2:14} John Eaton {Honeycombe of Free Justification by Christ Alone, 1642}

Preaching the Unsearchable Riches of Christ

When preachers do neglect to ground in the people's heart great joy for the greatness of the free given treasures of Christ that work and cause filial fear, loving inclination, dutiful, and true sincere affections; and go about to square God's children, according to the corrupt pattern of natural children, corrupted with slavish fear, with blows and beatings; they do quench in them the true filial fear, and establish in them the servile fear that should be cast out; {I Jn.4:18;} and cause in the children of God this eye service, which if it be taught in sanctified servants to their earthly masters, {as the Apostle saith, Eph.6:6,} how abominable is that much more in the children of God to their heavenly Father, and makes but hypocrites. – When preachers of the Gospel, not seeing in their hearts the vigor and power of the free given treasures of Christ, do not trust to, nor rely upon the pressing of them as sufficient {where they are felt and enjoyed} operative causes of all holy walkings and godly conversation; then they do degenerate and decline thereby to the legal teaching of the Old Testament, more agreeable to the light of nature described of constraining men to holiness and righteousness with legal arguments of large blessings, if they do well; and with terrors of correction and punishment for their evil doings, which either does little good at all, or at the best makes but self-deceiving zealous hypocrites, and so go not with a right foot to the truth of the Gospel, {Gal.2:14,} and purity of apostolic preaching of constraining men to holiness and righteousness by joy and love, by preaching with joyful inflamed hearts and fiery tongues, {Acts 2:4,} the exceeding excellency and glory of the unsearchable riches of Christ; which as it was the true course of the first manner of preaching of the Gospel in the primitive Church, as is evident in the Scriptures; {Acts 8:8, 38-39, 13:38,39, 42-44, 52, I Pet.1:8;} and which Paul defines to be the very essence of a true preacher of the Gospel, {Eph.3:8,} saying in the person of all true preachers of the Gospel, “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;” {Eph.3:8;} so it is the only means sanctified with the blood of Christ, to cause people to abound in all godly and zealous conversation. And thus I have somewhat the more largely hunted and taken this little fox, {Cant.2:15,} because it is so nourished not only by the Papists that press it exceedingly out of the examples of the Old Testament against the perfection of justification maintained by Protestants; but also some of the Protestants by lisping the language of Ashdod do go about with the same to undermine the very root of the Lord's Vine; that is, free justification, by going about to prove by it, that we are not by the wedding garment of Christ's righteousness made perfectly holy and righteous from all spot of sin in the sight of God freely, full sufficient of itself {the more it is rightly known} to constrain us with all joy to holiness and righteousness, not by fear, but by love and evangelical zeal as strong as fire and death. {Cant.8:6,7, Tit.2;14} John Eaton {Honeycombe of Free Justification by Christ Alone, 1642}

Posted June, 17, 2012

{Selection of the Week}

Scarlet Line of the Redemptive Glory of Christ

“And she bound the scarlet line in the window.” {Joshua 2:21} We have noticed the effectual salvation wrought out in the type; the secure refuge which the house of Rahab afforded to whom she gave shelter; and the ensign of that salvation - the scarlet thread. {“In that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek; and his rest shall be glorious.” Gen.11:10} Here is assuredly a figure of the atoning blood of Christ; which is effectual in the salvation of all his chosen family. “And she bound the scarlet line in the window.” The Banner of her hope; the ensign of her salvation was an unknown and unnoticed sign to the Jerochites, or any other worldly-ites who might have gazed with curious eyes upon it. It floated there by night and by day; and none but the chosen Israel of God could have interpreted its meaning. So we can well say, “If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.” {II Cor.4:3} “Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” {I Jn.3:1} The apostle tells us; “the blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanseth us from sin.” The scarlet line or thread was but a different form of the same testimony which had been made manifest from of old, by faith given of God to his own peculiar people. It was in line with the offering made by Abel of the firstlings of the flock; and of the offerings of the patriarchs in which there was of necessity the shedding of blood; and this scarlet line ran down through all the ages in which the legal dispensation stood. But we might well inquire in this dark and terrible day; and in this vain, ignorant, conceited, and sin-cursed age; can we see the scarlet thread? The testimony is that Rahab bound it to her window. She secured it in such a manner that wind and storm could not tear it from the window of her home. The certain binding of this scarlet line represents a system secure in the eternal purpose of God, which conflict or trial cannot overthrow; but which must stand to all eternity. Typical place indeed that it should fly from the window! She could look out upon the marching columns of Israel, and read in their advancement her own complete and final deliverance; as they could read the ensign of her hope, the emblem of her faith. But we return to our inquiry. From what church organization today can we see the scarlet banner fly? What organization {house} today affords a safe refuge, and floats the ensign of faith. It would be vain to look for such an ensign in the ranks of the great whore of Babylon, the proud, haughty, ignorant, and conceited Catholic church with its enslaved multitudes of all nations and kindred; its vile and accursed abominations. Nor can we expect to see the ensign of faith from the window of any one of her numerous progeny. - We might pause a moment and inquire what is the atonement {at-one-ment} of Christ so clearly represented in the scarlet line? Is it not based upon the one and inseparable life of the Head {Christ} and body {church} the existence of both head and body in one inseparable, eternal, vital, and actual life-union from and in all eternity; so that the life of the head is the life of the body; and the death of the body is the death of the head in such a manner that the apostle could truthfully say; “for the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead; and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” {II Cor.5:14,15} - Was not this atonement the direct result of the Eternal Decree of God which ordained the fall of Adam, as well as all incidents and events leading up to, or leading therefrom; as it is written, “For in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” {Gen.2:17} Here we have the spirit of unerring prophecy foretelling the fall; and that by one man sin should enter into the world; and “so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” {Rom.5:12} That through the fall of Adam and in the entrance of sin, a way should be opened up for the revelation of Christ as the Saviour of sinners; “that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” {Rom.5:21} And this testimony embraces the fact that the eternal, and absolute predestination of God decreed the fall of Adam, and all the dispensations of his providence in time, for the lifting on high of the Lord Jesus Christ; and the revelation of the vast wonders of redeeming love. - And now beloved brethren and companions “in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ;” may we be enabled by grace divine to heed the solemn admonition given to Israel in reference to the idolatrous worship of the nations which they dispossessed: “Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods?” {Deut.12:30} “The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire; thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the LORD thy God.” {Deut.7:25} May we be kept by power divine in this dark and evil day “unspotted from the world.” {James 1:27} Now “unto him that is able to keep you {us} from falling, and present you {us} faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever, Amen.” {Jude 24, 25} William M. Smoot {Scarlet Line, 1909}

Posted June 20, 2012

{John Eaton Writings}


God’s imputation of his Son's righteousness; for which cause the Apostle Paul saith, blessed is the man “unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works.” {Rom.4:6} Hereupon he makes mention of this word ‘imputing’ and counting righteous, no less {as I take it} than eleven times, in that fourth chapter of Romans; which not only shows that it is an action wrought immediately by the very thought, as it were of God himself; and thereby must needs be very spiritual and mystical unto us, far above our reason, sense and feeling; but also it must needs be wrought upon us very freely, without any working of ours. So likewise we must mark that this imputing being an immediate act, proceeding; as it were, out of God's own breast, is not a light, small, weak and imaginary thing, like man's imputing, as the Papists imaginarily and scoffingly conceive; but God's imputation is a lively, mighty, operative and real working imputation, and compared to nothing like ours; for man may impute, and count a thing to be so or so, and yet the thing, if it were not such before, becomes such, never the more for our imputing or counting it, to be so; but God's imputing and counting, being Almighty gives a real being and true existing of the thing before himself, as he counts it; for God did but count that there should be light, and there was light; and God did but count that his other creatures should be, and presently they were so as he counted; so God doth impute his Son's righteousness unto us, and counts us perfectly righteous in the same, and this imputing doth so operatively and really convey the righteousness of Christ upon us, as Paul testified; saying, “the righteousness of God, by faith of Jesus Christ,” that is, not only unto all, but also upon all that do believe. {Rom.3:22} Though mystically above our sense and feeling; yet not imaginarily {as the Papists prattle against us,} nor yet only outwardly like painted tombs {as they likewise cavilingly object,} but truly both inwardly and outwardly are clothed with the same in the sight of God, and richly robed, and decked and adorned in the same; as the faithful soul in the prophet Isaiah joyfully confesses; saying, “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God.” Why? Because “he hath clothed me with the garment of salvation.” What garment is that? Why, “he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” {Is.61:10} Hence are the Saints said so often in the Revelation, to be clothed with long white robes washed in the blood of the Lamb. John Eaton {Honeycombe of Free Justification by Christ Alone, 1642}

Kingdom of Heaven

Hence it is, for this inestimable greatness of glory wrought, though mystically, yet truly and spiritually, upon the children of God by justification, fully revealed and exhibited in the Gospel; {Rom.3:21;} that the state and condition of God's children, under the time of the Gospel is everywhere in the New Testament called the Kingdom of Heaven; which when it began to be preached, suffered violence, and the violent took it by force; {Mt.11:12;} for who would not press with all violence into such free given glorious righteousness, so certainly placing us in the kingdom of heaven in this life, and in the kingdom of glory in the life to come? For which cause Christ himself testified of John the Baptist; saying, “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist.” {Mt.11:11} Why? Because he passed all the other prophets by preaching and sealing by baptism a fuller exhibiting of the glory of Free Justification, by pointing to Christ, and saying, “behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world;” {Jn.1:29;} and was filled with joy in hearing the voice of the Bridegroom; that was now come to the bride to effect the same; {Jn.3:29;} whereby, even in his days “the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence,” and the violent took it by force. Yet “notwithstanding, he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” By which kingdom of heaven he doth not mean the place of glory above, but the time from which Christ, groaning out his own blood and life upon the cross, cried out, that the very thing which John the Baptist spake of was finished, {Jn.19:30,} namely, that the 70 weeks of years, whereof Daniel prophesied, that Christ should die to finish transgression, and to make an end of sin, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, was now fully accomplished, because with that one offering of Himself upon the cross, he hath made perfect forever all them that are sanctified. {Heb.10:14} Whereby {as Calvin truly saith} for the inestimable flowing forth of grace, and the un-comparable strength and glory that, above the days of John, at length appeared in his resurrection; it is now not without cause said, that the heavenly kingdom of God is erected upon Earth, for the bringing in of such an everlasting and glorious righteousness, as makes us in the sight of God perfect forever; making also the true believer, that by the eye of faith, sees and enjoys the same, to rejoice with joy unspeakable and glorious. {I Pet.1:8} John Eaton {Honeycombe of Free Justification by Christ Alone, 1642}

Reign of Grace in the Gift of Righteousness

A true help to strengthen our faith that we are made thus perfectly and gloriously holy and righteous from all spot of sin in the sight of God freely is not to forget the comparison that Paul makes between the first Adam that made us; that is, both body and soul sinners, and loathsome; and the second Adam Christ, that as freely makes us both body and soul righteous and saved. And although there be some difference in the manner; namely, that Adam made us all sinners inherently and actively, to our sense and feeling; but Christ makes us righteous in the sight of God objectively, evangelically, passively, and invisibly above our sense and feeling, that there may be place for the faith of God's power of truly and really doing it Himself alone; yet notwithstanding we must take heed that we give not more power to Adam in making us sinners, being but a mere man; than to Christ in making us righteous, being both God and man. Let us know that as the first Adam made us, before we see ourselves having done any evil work, perfectly, completely, and only and merely sinners, and detestable in the sight of God; so strongly that we cannot choose, but show the same in all our lives by actual sins to the eyes of men; so much more doth Christ make us, before we have done any good – perfectly, completely, only and merely gloriously holy and righteous, and so perfectly saved in the sight of God; so strongly, that he makes us to declare the same by a new life of sanctification to the eyes of men. – Which comparison between Adam and Christ, although it is proposed as equal, to show the truth, reality and verity between them, as verse 19, where the Apostle saith; that, “For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” {Rom.5:19} Yet, in other places is the work of Christ showed to be far more high, plentiful and abundant in making us perfectly righteous than the working of Adam in making us sinners; so that the Apostle, to express the plentiful work of Christ above Adam, doth not stick to the use of words, {abounding in the work of Christ above Adam,} less than four times in the latter part of that fifth chapter of Romans; saying, that although “through the offence of one many be dead,” yet, “much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.” Although the Law entered in upon sin, and made sin to abound, and to be out of measure sinful; yet grace in justification abounds much more; so that {saith Paul,} “they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life {in this life, by this justification of life} by one, Jesus Christ.” But that saying, even more abounds; that he which knew no sin was made sin for us, that we being translated into Christ, might be made the very righteousness of God. {II Cor.5:21} The abstract importing that we are made so perfectly, completely, gloriously holy and righteous from all spot of sin in the sight of God freely, that we are nothing else but mere righteousness in the sight of God; and doth hath Christ's work past that of Adam’s in making us sinners, in swallowing up and utterly abolishing all our sin from before God. Shall we be troubled more with the feeling of Adam’s work upon us, than be filled with joy, with the exceeding glory of Christ's work for us? Should we not by such regard of sins and feeling; that is, of old Adam, and weakness of faith, greatly dishonor the Godhead of Christ in the second Adam? John Eaton {Honeycombe of Free Justification by Christ Alone, 1642}

Spiritual Discernment

Therefore if we will not err in reading good Authors, we must follow that notable rule, that Luther gives in the same case, saying, This only I say of those holy men, that when they vary among themselves; those are rather to be followed, which have spoken the best things for free grace without works, leaving them which by the infirmity of the flesh, have spoken rather after the flesh and reason, than after the Spirit. So likewise, those writers that vary from themselves, are in that part to be chosen, and held fast unto, where they speak after the Spirit, but to be relinquished, where they favor of the flesh and natural light of reason. This is the duty of a Christian Reader, and of the clean beast, that hath cloven hoofs, and cheweth the cud. But now setting aside judgment, we devour all confusedly whatsoever a good man saith; or that which is worse, by a perverse and preposterous judgment we refute the better things, and approve the worse; Yea, in one and the same Authors we attribute and apply that authority and title of holiness to their worser things, which they have deserved for their best things spoken after the Spirit, and not after the flesh, and natural light of reason. John Eaton {Honeycombe of Free Justification by Christ Alone, 1642}

Laborers Together in Christ

My second answer to this objection, that other Ministers do speak, and seam to hold the contrary, is this; that it is an undoubted truth, that although all brethren in the Ministry, may be enlightened with one and the same truth; yet all are not enlightened with one and the same measure of truth; who thereupon may argue about a matter, but not be of a contrary judgment and resolution, flatly to hold the contrary. And it is possible that one may have labored more, and so see further in some one point than another; though he come behind many others, which are rich in all other gifts, and of excellent learning; who yet should show themselves to be of Cain’s brood, and Devils incarnate, if we should willingly and willfully envy an higher talent in our brother in some one gift; and we be all of us set and appointed by God to be, by our particular gifts, mutual helpers of another, but not hinderers and enviers one of another. John Eaton {Honeycombe of Free Justification by Christ Alone, 1642}

False Professors of Christ

The second way how these do see many things, but they keep them not, consisteth herein, that what they profess that they know, they keep not in life, practice, and conversation; their life, conversation, and action nothing agreeing with that which they profess, and seem to know and see. As for example; such as are in the mere literal knowledge of Free Justification, do find by reading, and thereupon do profess, that Free Justification is the strong Rock and Foundation of Christian Religion, the head Article of salvation, the sole saving grace of Christ, the cause of sanctification, and of all godly living, the advancer of the true Glory of Christ; but yet because by this bare literal knowledge of it, they feel not the truth and power thereof in themselves; therefore whose feet do such labor to fasten upon this strong Rock of Christian Religion; whose house of Religion is built upon the sands of their repentance and holy walking; having this rocky foundation laid in their hearts no more in a manner than the Papists lay it. Although such seem to hold strongly contrary to Papists; yet they are, in this chief point of salvation, of the Papists minds, coming forth with the Papists objections against it; and although it be the only sacred ordinance that God in his high wisdom hath appointed to be the only cause and means to make men to live truly devout lives; yet such refrain not in their rotten wisdom of reason to belch out this blasphemy, that it opens the gate to all loose and wicked living, and are so far from continually pressing this point, by showing the horribleness of the least sin in the sight of God, and the excellency of this benefit, perfectly healing us from all sin in God’s sight, and so planting it soundly in men’s hearts to effect these happy ends, that almost they never speak of it, but find themselves grieved with them that do; or if their text chance to press them to it, they lightly touch it, and soon pass it over, being as it were glad when that text is past. Is this to keep to those foresaid most glorious truths of the excellency of Free Justification, which they so gloriously profess in words, and is it not rather before God and men a denying them in deeds; and thus do they in all the rest; for these that are in this literal knowledge, first, either they live ungodly lives; or secondly, but outwardly civil honest lives, caring for nothing more than their profits, honors, and pleasures; or thirdly, at the best, which is worst of all, do but delude the simple blind devoted people, with a legal zeal of holy walking for fear of punishment, or hope of reward, and speeding well for the same; seeming, yea, and being as hot as burning embers against outward vices, and earnestly calling for all active moral duties, which they call holy walking in all God’s Commandments; as if herein did consist the main point of salvation; {do this and live;} and yet abound themselves with all manner of inward hidden corruptions, as envy, calumniating, slavish fear, and glorious outward painting of their old rotten Adam. All which is notably testified by the Doctrine of our Church, taught by the Martyrs and first Restorers of the Gospel in this land, saying thus, “By outward shows of good works they appear to the world.” How? The most religious and holy men of all others, making the outside of the cup and platter {that is, the outward appearance both of their persons and vocations} so clean, that they seem to the world most perfect men. Wherein so perfect? Both in teaching and living; and yet because the inside is not clean, Christ {who sees their hearts not justified with his own righteousness} knows that they are in the sight of God most unholy, most abominable, and farthest from God of all men; their judgment being preposterous, their doctrine sown leaven of mingling the Law and the Gospel together, and so marring both; and their life the hidden secret hypocrite; that is, not suspecting themselves of hypocrisy, they delude their own selves with supposed sincere hearts, respecting {as they think} only God’s glory; being inwardly full of all manner of filth, as pride, envy, covetousness, ambition, vain-glory, hatred, disdain, unbelief, conceitedness of themselves, contempt of those whom they like not, calumniating them, and such like; and yet so adorning and painting their old Adam that reigns in them, with such a fair outward new coat, not of Christ’s righteousness; {alone sufficient utterly to abolish their corruptions freely from before God;} but of their own righteousness, that they seem not only unto others, but also to their own selves in all respects amiable and excellent men; and such were they, that because they excelled in great learning, and were zealous towards God, {Rom.10:2,} in following righteousness by holy walking in all God’s Commandments, {Rom.9:31,} serving God instantly day and night, {Acts 26:7,} said hereupon unto Christ, in the high conceit of their literal knowledge, “Are we blind also?” {Jn.9:40} Unto whom Christ answering, said, “If ye were blind, ye should have no sin; but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.” {vs.41} And thus much of the description of the bare literal knowledge, whereby men only sophisticating about the mysteries of Christ, would be Doctors and Teachers of the Word, but by not understanding what they say, nor whereof they affirm, {I Tim.1:7,} they neither in word, nor deed keep to that which they seem to hold, but speak flat contraries. John Eaton {Honeycombe of Free Justification by Christ Alone, 1642}

Posted June 21, 2012

{John Eaton Writings}

False Apostles of Christ

Such false teachers do in their hearts dignify, and in their words magnify, extol, and exhort with legal arguments a preposterous sanctification, repentance, mortification, grace, and graces, popishly and falsely understood; new life, holy and righteous walking, universal obedience to all God's commandments, sincerity, humiliation, uprightness, fastings, regeneration, popishly also and falsely understood; and such like works exhorted with legal arguments, or a hope of rewards and blessings well, if we do them; and with fear of punishments and blessings ill, if we possess them not; which how much the more they are thus preposterously exacted and legally exhorted, so much the more under terms and titles of the Gospel, such preachers teach but the light of nature, the pride of works, and the vain glory of man; and so do withdraw people from Christ to hang upon their own works and doings; by resting upon the popish rotten pillar that God accepts {whereby their own sincerity is trusted to instead of Christ} the will for the deed, and so do drown Christ's glory, free justification; do destroy faith, waste and consume the Church of Christ, teach a false bastard sanctification, and are those dangerous seducers of souls, that the faithful are commanded {as they will continue chaste virgins to Christ, and not to be beguiled with Eve by the subtlety of the serpent, and seduced from the simplicity of their faith that is in Christ} to discern and take notice of, as they are described; {II Cor.11:13-15;} where the Apostle fore-warns and thereby sufficiently fore-arms all the children of wisdom by thus plainly describing these seducers. They profess themselves apostles; that is, sent forth of God; but they are false apostles, and they are great workers, but deceitful workers. How deceitful? Transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ; that is, as if they were the true ministers of Christ, and taught the true Gospel of Christ; and no marvel for Satan himself is transformed into a messenger of light, and therefore it is no great thing if his ministers transform themselves, as though they were the ministers of righteousness; that is, calling earnestly for all works of righteousness, and their end shall be according to their works and righteousness; that is, though they seem to be the principal men that shall be saved, yet the same Apostle threatens to them certain destruction; which he warns on purpose that we may not believe every spirit, but rather try the spirits whether they be of God. {I Jn.4:1} Seeing these are the wolves whereof Paul gave warning, {Acts 20:29,30,} that should arise up out of the very midst of them, and should teach not seeming false things, but only preposterous things, or true things out of order, setting the cart before the horse; that is, caring more to call for works and a good life, than they care whether the people have assurance of the sound faith of their free and perfect justification; whereby, although the people bear them record, and applaud them, that they have the zeal of God; yet it is not according to the knowledge of free justification in Christ, because {by a carnal understanding of justification} they being ignorant of the righteousness of God, must needs go about to establish and set up the golden calf of their own and the people's own righteousness, of their supposed sanctification, works, and well doings; and by thinking secretly in their heart with the Papist that justification is easily learned and is ready to open the gate to the people to live wickedly and loosely, they seldom and slightly preach justification, and thereby show that they have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God. {Rom.10:2,3} John Eaton {Discovery of a most Dangerous Dead Faith, 1641}

Gospel Zeal for the Glory of Christ

With true faith that worketh by love, there follows inseparably a true right evangelical zeal of God's glory, whereby we feeling how by our original corruption, and by breaking the tenth commandment, and thereby the first commandment, and all the rest in our good works, whereby that saying of James is true regarding our best works, “that whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all;” {2:10;} we find both ourselves and all our works and best actions to be so shut up under sin, {Gal.3:22,} that being truly humbled with a vile esteem of ourselves and all our best works, we do grant not with lip and tongue only {as many bastard Protestants do,} but do feel in our hearts in deed and truth, that all our righteousness is as foul, stained and filthy rags. {Is.64:6} Whereupon our hearts are so inflamed with such an high prizing and only esteeming of the wedding garment of Christ's obedience and righteousness perfectly justifying us, and all our works; that not only every true minister of the Gospel, but also every true Christian ceases all contention about works, and is carried with a zealous affection to know nothing among God's people except Jesus Christ and him crucified to justify them, {I Cor.2:2,} by which they are made such true burning coals of God's altar, so inflamed with this holy fire of Christ's love from heaven, that they cannot choose but inflame and kindle all others that come near them, caring for nothing but to be found ourselves, and to cause others to be found in Christ; that is, not having our own righteousness in esteem, which at the best is but man's glory before men only, {Rom.4:2,} but in the most precious robe of Christ's righteousness. John Eaton {Discovery of a most Dangerous Dead Faith, 1641}

Posted June 23, 2012

{John Eaton Writings}

Treasure which is Christ: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also;” {Mt.6:21;} so that if the wedding garment of Christ's perfect righteousness be our treasure, there will be our hearts and tongues also; and then our hearts stand right to Christ, and our tongues do make others chaste virgins to Christ, {II Cor.11:2,3,} and true children of Abraham, and of that Jerusalem which is above, the mother of us all, and we shall never be cast out as bastard children. {Col.1:28,29, 2:10, Heb.10:14, Rom.5:21, Col.1:12,13} Because we bring forth a godly life, only for and by the joy and the excellency of free justification; not carnally, but rightly understood and embraced. {Tit.2:11-14} But if sanctification, repentance, humiliation, mortification, universal obedience, holy and righteous walking in all God's commandments, sincerity, a new life, and such like works be our treasure and diamond, then there will be our hearts and tongues also to extol, dignify and exhort the same, whereby producing by legal arguments but a false bastard sanctification, {Phil.3:6,} our hearts standing adulterously to Christ; and all such preaching and holiness produced thereby is but idolatry and unbelief, {II Cor.11:13-15,} and such preachers by misunderstanding and darkening free justification, do ipso facto stand accursed by Paul and excommunicated, though in all other gifts and graces they be like angels from heaven, {Gal.1:8,9,} and ever in danger of sudden death. {Gal.5:12} Therefore beware of the dead faith, which being varnished and gilt over with a preposterous zeal and opinion of holiness and righteousness before God, by walking in all God's commandments, doth give Christ and justification a Judas kiss. {Rom.10:3} And yet such preachers tremble not as they go up into the pulpits, although their preaching be both idolatrous and traitorous. Here is life and death, who hath an ear to regard it! John Eaton {Abraham’s Steps of Faith, 1745}

{William Cudworth Writings}

True & False Faith: The reason of my reprinting the following treatise is this. As there has been much talking about the danger of being in a dead faith, by those whom it is to be feared, are most dangerously drowned in it themselves; I thought it would be very seasonable, to publish this for the use of those who are willing to try the spirits, to prove all things, and to hold fast to that which is good. We have never {although it has been so reported of us} denied that there is such a thing as a dead general faith, that is unprofitable, which believes no more than what devils themselves may and do believe. No; we have too evident an experience of it all around us, {and within us,} and we thank our heavenly Father, that he has called us out of Egyptian darkness into his marvelous light. What we have said and do still affirm is this, that there is no such thing as a dead faith, which truly believes what we believe, and knows what we know; namely, that God hath given to us as lost sinners eternal life in Christ Jesus, that we receiving and trusting in him and in him alone, as made of God unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, and that our iniquities are washed away by his blood, his everlasting righteousness being our covering, and that we shall assuredly partake of eternal life with him forever. The insinuation of a possibility of being deceived in the thus trusting to Jesus Christ, can have no other tendency, than to bring souls into a diffidence of the truth of God's Word, and of the foundation that God hath laid, and to trust upon their own works, tempers, or dispositions of the mind, to the destruction of their souls; because there is no other name under heaven given amongst men whereby we must be saved, but the name of Jesus Christ, {Acts 4:12,} and he that believeth not shall be damned. {Mk.16:16} It is not any arbitrary will in God that hath thus fixed eternal life and salvation only in Jesus Christ; neither is it that God sets anymore value upon the act of believing than upon anything else done according to his will, but the reason is that he cannot deny or act unworthy of himself, and it is not consistent with his perfections to bring us back to himself in any other way, than by setting Christ forth as a propitiation through faith in his blood. {Rom.3:25} Infinite and unchangeable goodness, wisdom, power, holiness, justice and truth united cannot possibly save thee, O sinner, except thou {by the testimony of the Spirit and belief of the Truth} believest thus on the Lord Jesus Christ, and standest in his righteousness alone. If thou appeal to any good thing thou thinkest to be done by thee, or to be in thee, thy sins {bad things} must also be taken notice of, and being thus weighed in the balance, thou wilt be found wanting. Be wise therefore and consider this, and wrangle no more against the truths of the Spirit of God, neither limit them to thy own notions, but submit thyself really to them as he hath spoken them. So shalt thou be the spiritual man, instructed and led by him into all truth. So shalt thou escape the most dangerous dead faith; so shall thy soul have true peace and everlasting life. William Cudworth – {Preface to John Eaton’s, the Discovery of a most Dangerous Dead Faith, 1747 Edition}

Free Grace in Christ: When it is said that you may come to Christ freely, you are not to understand by it, that you may come from any power you are endued with, but from the liberty of access allowed in the Gospel, to the end that sinners may have a foundation for their venturing upon Christ as their Savior, and not be justly accounted presumptuous for so doing. - The Word and Spirit concur together, and in no wise oppose one another; as it is written, “the things of God knoweth no man but the Spirit of God,” - ”which things also we speak.” {I Cor.2:11,13} The Spirit does not reveal unto us our title to the things of God by showing us in the first place our election, but by enlightening us spiritually to discern the things which are freely given to us as sinners, and our title in the freeness of the gift; so that grace stands in the Gospel free for all sinners, but the enlightening of the Spirit to discern this free grace is particular to the elect. – That they may know their salvation, not from anything they find in themselves, but through believing in that Savior, who is declared in the Gospel. William Cudworth {Free Salvation Defended, 1745}

Repentance: The word repent is used in various senses throughout the Scriptures, and we must ascertain the meaning of any particular usage of the word from the context and circumstances; as sometimes it means no more than what Ahab, Saul, and Judas were possessed of; but is such a repentance as this anywhere made a foundation to apply pardon and eternal salvation upon? Can a man ground his hopes of eternal life on a repentance common with reprobates? The New Testament frequently, when it expresses repentance, includes therein, a turning from all thoughts and attempts to be saved by any acts and deeds of ours, though assisted by the Spirit of God; a turning from all thoughts and attempts to be saved by any other way than Christ; and it is to such good men as were of a contrary mind, that our Lord says, “except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” {Lk.13:3} It is to such that John the Baptist says, “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance;” {Lk.3:7,8;} that is, confess your sins, {Mt.3:6,} and be baptized for the remission of them, in the faith of Him that is shortly to come, {Acts 19:4,} and think not to add something to your intrinsic value by this ordinance; so also the words “repent and believe the Gospel,” {Mk.1:15,} “repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,” {Acts 2:38,} are necessarily to be understood as a turning from other thoughts and methods of salvation to Christ alone; and where it is said, “Christ is exalted to give repentance to Israel, and remission of sins,” {Acts 5:31,} we must necessarily allow of a coming to, or believing on Christ, in order to have a true repentance; and according to the order and method of God's grace in Christ, true repentance, when it means a turning of the heart from sin to God, is to be looked upon as the end, and remission of sins by Christ as the means to that end, by causing us to love him from a sense of his pardoning love to us. When Christ's apostles preached their sermons to a promiscuous multitude, they did not tell them, they must have proportional repentance as a ground thereof, but they boldly declared remission of sins to every soul without difference, that believed in his name, not doubting, and that the same Spirit that effectually wrought in them to submit gladly to Christ as the Lord their righteousness, would also cause them, from a Spirit of love, to repent truly of all their former thoughts and ways. William Cudworth {Letter Concerning Repentance, 1752}

Faith: Faith is no work, no proper condition, no saving righteousness, no part of salvation, nothing to help out what Christ has accomplished, but is only and wholly concerned in our partaking of it in this life; and the declaration, “he that believeth shall be saved,” evidently imports, a warrant to receive Christ as our complete salvation; a promise that we shall not be disappointed in thus receiving him, and also a declaration of who are manifestly those persons, who are eventually saved by his death, but import no proper condition whatever. William Cudworth {Preservative in Perilous Times}

Posted June 24, 2012

{Weekly Selection}

Free & Sovereign Grace in Christ to Sinners: Dear Reader, If you feel desirous to know what induced me to send forth another Edition of my little unadorned Pieces into the world; I answer, because they are still called for by the very characters for whom they were primarily intended. And if you ask me who they are; I tell you, they are the poor, the helpless, the needy, the self-emptied, sin-perplexed, law-condemned sinner; who groan and mourn daily under nature’s depravity, and feeling their own plague sore, are made experimentally to know what Paul meant, and what Paul felt, when he cried out, “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of sin,” this dead body, that hangs like a load about my living soul? Now, dear Reader, 'tis such poor, dear, tried souls as these, I have in view, in sending this Fifth Edition abroad; and, blessed be God, I have had many soul-animating testimonies of its being blessed to those who are led to rejoice in salvation as entirely free and complete through atoning blood; to all whom God the Father chose, God the Son redeemed, and God the Holy Ghost has quickened by his Almighty life-creative influence. Such characters as these, I know, will find something congenial to their own experience herein. I know that God worketh all things after the counsel of his own will, and my prayer to God is, that I may be a means in his hand of communicating a consolatory word to the poor weaklings of God’s chosen; and as the Eternal Jehovah frequently makes use of means contemptible in the estimation of men to accomplish his own glorious and wonderful designs, may God make this little book to be a word of comfort to the distressed, miserable, sin burdened soul, who is labouring under legal bondage, struggling hard to get free from the law as a covenant of works, whose chains are riveted by so many of the preachers of the day. But as the dear Lord has been pleased to open to my view the glorious plan of salvation, so complete and so suitable to the ruined state of a poor sinner, in which Jehovah’s love is so wonderfully displayed, I must speak of that little I do know, and testify of what I have tasted and handled of the word of God; knowing that spiritual and covenant blessings flow freely to every elect sinner from the atoning blood of the God Man Mediator, conveyed to the soul by the Eternal Spirit, according to God's eternal decree; and the price of man’s redemption agreed upon before all worlds, was paid down by the Son of God, as man’s Surety, on Calvary's cross. In him was salvation finished, ransomed sinners saved, the law of God magnified, justice satisfied, man’s salvation secured, and Christ exalted. Therefore, my dear reader, can I be wrong in publishing what I conceive will be good tidings and welcome news to the poor outcasts, whom no man seeks after nor cares about? That the work monger and self-saving Pharisee will despise this little book, I have no doubt; and brand me with that odium, that invidious characteristic attached to almost everyone who is made willing to be saved in God’s way, I mean Antinomian; but those who are taught by the Spirit, and know the truth experimentally, such are satisfied to be saved as sinners, chosen in the appointed Mediator before the foundation of the world, and know and believe they were loved with an everlasting love, loved before time, called in time, and loved through time, and will be loved to all eternity; all flowing through Jehovah’s eternal love to our adorable Surety Jesus, as God Man, the chosen Head of all the Church. O what a blessed thought, what a soul comforting consideration to a poor, guilty, hell deserving sinner, that the beloved coequal Son of God should undertake the work of our redemption, and that he became our Surety, lived as such, and died as such, and so finished transgression, made an end of sin, brought in everlasting righteousness, and sealed our pardon with his blood! Ah! my dear Reader, here is comfort for the comfortless, hope for the hopeless, salvation for the lost; and you who know it feelingly and experimentally, will now and then begin to lisp out a note of praise to him who will be the subject of that glorious anthem above, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, who hath redeemed us to God by his blood!” But I am aware that should the self-righteous, self-sufficient, self-important, self-saving Pharisee read this book, they will despise both the author and his book; I am satisfied it should be so; I would bless God who has disposed me to exalt a precious Christ as all in all in a poor sinner’s salvation, from first to last, as Jesus, Immanuel, God in our nature; to him I would wish to direct the poor, distressed, doubting, sin-worried soul, {as far as my little abilities will admit;} and to the soul animating promises of a covenant making, covenant performing God; as they are all verity itself, and yea and amen in Christ Jesus. Ah! 'tis upon this ground the few faithful heralds go forth with a “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, my chosen, my beloved, my called ones;” tell them that their warfare is accomplished, their iniquities are pardoned, hell subdued, and salvation secure, as a righteousness is wrought out to cover their naked souls. Happy those who are enabled to attend to the precious promises of God, and credit the blessed report. “Look unto me, {says our loving God,} and be ye saved;” not try and merit my salvation; not try and get an interest in my love; but, “Look unto me,” your ever living, ever loving God, who hath loved you with an everlasting love; therefore look unto me, your sin-bearing, sin atoning, curse-suffering, law-fulfilling Surety Head, Jesus, according to covenant contract, agreed upon between the undivided Three-one Jehovah, Father, Word, and Spirit, before the Foundation of the world. If you, my dear Reader, have an interest in this matchless and eternal love, I then commend you as one who is led to see yourself a sinner saved in the purpose of Jehovah from eternity, and that it was everlasting love decreed thy everlasting salvation; being sanctified or set apart by God the Father, preserved in God the Son, and called by God the Holy Ghost. It was love that provided a Ransom, it was love that moved the co-equal Son of God to assume our nature, and live for sinners and die for sin, that God might save his chosen people in a way honorable to the attributes and perfections of Jehovah. And if my Reader is convinced of the real necessity of the life, death, sacrifice, and resurrection of the Son of God, then I am persuaded you will read with pleasure and profit what is ridiculed by the nominal professor of the day. From the ungodly world who make no profession, and from the professing world who know not Christ, I can say from my heart, Good Lord deliver me; but to all the lovers of Christ, who rejoice in an unconditional salvation, and know that they have neither money nor price, to such I subscribe myself, Their willing Servant, For Christ's sake, Daniel Herbert, Sudbury, Nov.1818. Daniel Herbert {Preface to Hymns & Poems – Doctrinal & Experimental, 1818 Edition}

{Writings of William Cudworth}

Contending for the Faith: I shall make no other apology for this attempt, than the consideration, that the sermons, in which I observed these mistakes are in the hands of a great number of people throughout the Kingdom; the author of them very popular; and his words of great weight with many. The main hinge upon which these discourses turn, is a real inward change; which, according to his description of it, is no more than what may be found in a natural state and condition of man, without any possession or enjoyment of Christ. To this change he gives the high epithets of saving change, new birth, living faith, Holy Ghost in us, Christ in us, the new creature, the white stone, glory begun, and that good thing, that better part, which neither men nor devils shall ever be able to take from us. I think it must appear to all serious Christians, that is what Mr. Whitefield is pleased to give such high encomiums to is no more than what human nature can produce, with such assistances as God for wise ends is pleased to afford it; such epithets and estimation, prove in effect, a refined idolatry, and worshiping of ourselves, and is a mistake of a dangerous nature; for hereby souls, who would adhere to this instruction, are taught to rest short of what is really the new birth, living faith, Christ in us the hope of glory, &c., and perhaps, grown strong herein, trample underfoot the Son of God, as he has been pleased to reveal himself in his ever blessed Gospel, before they are aware of it. At the same time I write thus plainly, I would have it understood that I honor and value what is valuable in Mr. Whitefield. His gifts are valuable and useful, as far as subservient to the interests of our dear Redeemer, but the more dangerous are his mistakes if not properly guarded against. He has been owned of God to the awakening of great numbers, but it is to be feared many call that real conversion which is not so. Converted but to duties, not Christ; converted but from one part of self to another; from sinful self to religious self; and not at all from self to Christ, and to God in him. William Cudworth {A Friendly Attempt to Remove some Fundamental Mistakes in the Sermons of Mr. George Whitefield, 1756}

Righteousness of Faith: The righteousness of faith is not the righteousness of its own act, but the righteousness of Christ, the righteousness of God. It is said, “by the obedience of one {Christ} shall many be made righteous;” {Rom.5:19;} and therefore not by my act of believing; but I am made the righteousness of God in Christ. {II Cor.5:21} Nor is that believing good for anything, or profitable unto us, that doth not apprehend Christ himself to be our complete righteousness, without the consideration of anything performed by us, or wrought in us. Faith is compared in the Scripture to eating; and Christ to bread, meat, &c., {John 6:32-58;} and faith bears the same relation to Christ, his righteousness, &c., as eating doth to meat, bread, &c., and it is as much folly for anyone to insist upon it, that faith is imputed for righteousness, and not mean thereby, that Christ on whom we believe is our righteousness, as it would be for anyone to insist upon it that he was nourished by eating, and did not mean thereby that the meat he ate was his nourishment. Besides, the faith you would establish is not the faith of Christ, not the faith whereby we are born of God, not the faith the Scripture makes mention of. It is true, you say, it is that Christ has loved you, and died for you, but for what purpose? To establish a conditional salvation for you? The Scripture knows nothing of such a faith; for when the Scripture saith he that believeth shall be saved, it is he that believes that God has given to him eternal life in his Son, {I Jn.5:11,} he that believes his old man was crucified with Christ, {Rom.6:6,} he that believes that Christ bore his sins in his own body on the tree, {I Pet.2:24,} he that believes Christ was delivered for his offenses, and raised again for his justification, {Rom.4:25,} he that receives Christ by faith, {Jn.1:12,} as his righteousness, {I Cor.1:30, Jer.23:6,} he that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, {Rom.4:5,} and behold Him as his complete salvation. By this you may see that yours is not the faith the Scriptures speak of. As your faith is, so consequently are all the fruits thereof; your love, obedience, &c., is such as the Gospel knows nothing of, for it is only the fruit of believing in Christ as a conditional Savior; so you love God and your neighbor as conditions of your salvation; you pray, hear, communicate, and do good works, as you call them, for fear you should be damned for not performing conditions enough; but the saints love God and their brethren, &c., because they perceive his love in laying down his life for them, {I Jn.4:19, 3:16,} and being manifested to take away their sin. {I Jn.3:5} They let not sin reign in their mortal body that they should obey it in the lusts thereof, because they are dead to it by the body of Christ, {Rom.6:8,12,} because their old man is crucified with him, {vs.6,} who was made sin for them, that they might be made the righteousness of God in him, {I Cor.6:21,} and so they serve in newness of life, {Rom.6:4,} as those that are alive to God from the dead, {vs.13,} raised from the dead in Him, who is their resurrection and their life, {Jn.11:25,} as those that are washed from all their sins in his blood, {Rev.1:5,} as those that are sanctified and justified in his name, {I Cor.6:11,} as those that are made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light, {Col.1:12,} as those that, without works, are now created in Christ Jesus unto good works, {Eph.2:10,} as those that are saved and called with a holy calling, not according to their works, but according to his own purpose and grace, {II Tim.1:9,} as those that are sons of God, {I Jn.3:1,} and heirs of heaven, {Eph.1:5,14,} and expect, at the end of their labors the reward of the inheritance, the reward that comes by heirship, and not the reward that is obtained by the conditions they perform; and because they are bought with the price of his blood, glorify him in their bodies and spirits, which are His. {I Pet.1:18,19, I Cor.6:20} And thus you may see, the works you would establish is no more the works of believers, according to the Scripture account, no more the works of the children of God, than your faith is. May the Lord give you deeply to consider this in time, that you may no longer go on to establish such faith and works as have not the King’s image and subscription thereon. William Cudworth {Truth Defended and Cleared from Mistakes and Misrepresentations, 1746}

Posted June 26, 2012

{Writings of William Cudworth}

God's Absolute Sovereignty in Complete Harmony with his Divine Perfections: God no doubt brings all things to pass, according to his purpose, according to the counsel of his own will, by which purpose or will, we are not to understand something that is caused, but a will eternal, uncaused and immutable. Neither are we to understand a mere will, destitute of, or unaccompanied with wisdom, because that is only on abstracted idea of will, formed in our own minds, and not such a will as has any real existence in God; but as God's will is eternal, without cause, so also it is accompanied with eternal uncreated wisdom and goodness. As far as this eternal wisdom and goodness is revealed unto us by the revelation he has made of Himself in his Word and works, so far it belongs to us to be acquainted with it, that we may render to Him due praise; and as far as anything is ascribed to him evidently repugnant to wisdom and goodness, so far we may consistently assert his proceedings not understood and misrepresented. But as far both in creation, providence and the government of the world, as his proceedings are mysterious and hidden, it becomes us to be silent and to submit implicitly to his proceedings, whilst maintaining and vindicating his character as wise, holy, just, and good; it being unreasonable for us, {who are unable to comprehend either what God is or how it becomes him to act agreeable to his own perfections, and agreeable to the relation he stands to us as Creator, Lord and Governor of the whole,} to bring his actions to the bar of our judgment; because, unless we know all things as he does, we are incapable of being judges. When we read therefore, in the Scriptures, of God's elect; of his having chosen some in Christ Jesus to salvation before the world was, &c., and of others, who were of old ordained to condemnation, we have no just foundation to understand the determination of a mere will, without wisdom and goodness, which represents something very unworthy of God, and evidently repugnant to him; but rather from the perfections of his nature, we have reason to conceive by elect and reprobate, such persons, who {setting aside all consideration of foreknowledge or decree} would, according to the most holy, just, wise and gracious proceedings of God, be made partakers of those different states; for as his goodness and wisdom are as eternal as his purpose and decree, and all things which have been, are now, or shall be, ever perfect before him, or in his mind; so there has been nothing determined from eternity, but would become the perfections of God to determine now, could we suppose it undermined. We should not therefore charge anything upon God's purpose and counsel, which we would not charge upon his present proceedings; and where we understand them, it becomes us to praise and vindicate Him, and where we do not understand them, it becomes us to be silent and implicitly to believe that he will do nothing unworthy of himself; though he must be supposed to act according to reasons as much above our comprehension, as his wisdom is beyond ours. – Any description of God's proceedings as inconsistent with wisdom and justice, &c., we may absolutely and justly reject as misrepresentations of things, because it represents God as acting unworthy of himself, and the Scriptures themselves must be always understood in a sense consistent with these perfections, because we cannot have greater assurance of anything than that God is wise, holy, just, and good; neither can we depend upon his Word, unless we thus honorably conceive of him. William Cudworth {Free Thoughts upon the Doctrines of Election, &c., 1747}

Imputation: Though the Law lays the sinner under the primary obligation to satisfy justice, cannot the sovereign Lawgiver provide a method of more fully displaying and satisfying his own justice that is in complete harmony with his other infinite perfections? Is there anything in sin by the Law that is inconsistent with transferment from the original contractor {of the obligation to satisfy justice} to another that voluntarily bears the legal fault or demerit? The Scripture informs us that, the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all - that he bear our sins - suffered for us, the just for the unjust - so that he who knew no sin, in a natural sense, was made sin for us in a Law sense, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. And our sins originally became his by a divine transmission that he might be punished and satisfy justice for them. There is not one of these Scriptures but what is directly against the assertion that Christ is the sinner himself; for they all express and imply that he is not the original transgressor, but bears them as ours in that sense, and his only as he bears them for us. The pretended injustice of this procedure is removed by its being the Redeemer's voluntary undertaking, and its being a satisfaction to justice is declared by the Divine good pleasure therein. Besides who can say he has such a thorough idea of the nature of the union of the Redeemer's Person with the persons of his redeemed, as to be able to find fault with this procedure. The husband is one with his wife, and the Surety one with the debtors in Law, without losing the identity of their persons; and can you or anyone say, that a union of persons with the person of the Redeemer cannot subsist {unto all the ends the Scripture have assigned} without your whim? The Scriptures inform us it does, and that the sins of our persons {the members} are transferred to the person of the Head – Christ, that he may satisfy justice for them; and the righteousness of the Head becomes the clothing or righteousness of the members, that we may enjoy all the advantages of it, without any confusion of persons, or necessity of making Christ the soul that sinned. William Cudworth {A Preservative in Perilous Times}

Imputation: What becomes of all those who think nothing about imputed righteousness? Answer - If they think nothing about the blessedness of the man to whom God imputeth righteousness without works; {Rom.4:6;} if they believe not on Him that justifieth the ungodly, by imputing righteousness unto them; {Rom.4:4-11;} they are evidently without the blessing of Abraham. {Gal.3:14} Therefore they must stand or fall according to their own righteousness; and let not such deceive themselves, for the Apostle informs us, that as many as are of the works of the Law, are under the curse. {Gal.3:10} There is no name given under heaven amongst men whereby we must be saved but the name of Jesus. {Acts 4:12} William Cudworth {A Preservative in Perilous Times}

Contending for the Faith of the Gospel of Christ: True Christian charity is formed by the truth of the Gospel, and views the brightest character amongst men under the just sentence of eternal wrath. It admits of no such notions of God's mercy, as will dispense with this sentence, nor any sentiment of man's righteousness as to plead a balance in his favor. It sees no help for man but in what Christ has done and suffered; nor no claim unto it but by the sovereign grant of heaven to the most guilty, thus leveling all mankind. Whatever contradicts this work of Christ, and this word of faith, as it is the device of Satan, and the destruction of souls, is an object of just indignation of true Christian charity; though it appears ever so delicately dressed as did Agag {whom Samuel, by the direct command of the Lord, hewed in pieces, I Sam.15:32,33.} At the same time this true charity is willing to endure all things and hope all things, for the truth's sake. William Cudworth {A Preservative in Perilous Times}

Posted June 27, 2012

{Writings of William Cudworth}

Faith and Assurance: It is a common received opinion, that the safest way to apply Christ to our souls for justification, peace, and assurance, is by a discovery of inherent qualifications wrought within us, and accordingly the general method of answering that important question, how may I know my part in Christ, is by laying down certain marks and characters of the children of God as the proper evidences whereby it may certainly be discovered. Though I am far from thinking that any who perceive the love of God to their souls are destitute of those marks and characters generally laid down, yet to make use of them for this purpose, I apprehend to be quite wrong – for faith alone is sufficient to justify the conscience, to bring true peace, and full assurance. Nay, I may say farther, it is not only sufficient, but is the appointed method of the Lord for obtaining these things in truth and reality, so that whoever professes to have these things any other way than in a way of believing, deceive themselves. Accordingly the Gospel is glad tidings of free grace or favor to be believed, or credited, as appears from Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth;” and Isaiah 53:1, “Who hath believed our report; and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed;” and it is observable, that the Apostle Paul quotes this Scripture to prove, that the Jews had not all obeyed the Gospel, plainly intimating that the obedience of the Gospel consists only in believing the tidings; which tidings are thereby made the means of conveying the privileges into the possession of everyone that so believeth. Faith alone, without the concurrence of any mark, sign, or evidence is God’s appointed method of justifying the conscience; and to be acquainted with this, is a most weighty and principle matter. I say a most weighty and principle matter, for what is more the cause of all our distress, misery, and enmity against God, than the want of the joyful knowledge of a true reconciliation with God, and a conscience cleansed from all guilt of sin. I apprehend that justification properly terminates in the conscience, and that that abstracted way which some have of considering it, as it exists in the mind of God, without being extended to, or perfected in our consciences, is but, though ever so true in itself, a mere speculation to us; for secret things belong to God alone, but to us the things that are revealed. {Deut.29:29} I mention this, because that very many, instead of seeking {by faith in the blood of Christ} justification in the court wherein they are condemned, I mean the court of conscience, content themselves with speculations of God's eternal thoughts of his people, justifying them from eternity, &c., endeavoring to pacify their own consciences, and find themselves of the number of the justified by marks and evidences, drawn from what they find inherent in themselves, instead of the alone perfect righteousness of our Savior, through faith. And some again are even so weak, as to imagine that God in some period of time changed his thoughts concerning them, justifying them in his own mind, commonly called the court of heaven, and they remaining still ignorant of the matter. These things are mere speculations unto us, for where is it that God's mind concerning us is to be known, but in his revealed will? Where is it that I find myself guilty, stand in need of righteousness, but in the court of conscience; {conscience might justly be defined to be the soul’s apprehension of itself, and its actions, as in the presence of God, and a subject of his Law;} and where else is it that I am to be actually and in time justified? William Cudworth {Some Reasons against making use of Marks & Evidences in order to attain the Knowledge of our Interest in Christ, 1745}

Justification by Christ Alone & Faith: The consideration of justification, according to Scripture light, I take to be this, that God our Savior undertook his office on our behalf, before the foundation of the world; that he has actually executed this office by his sufferings and obedience to all the demands of the Law for us, which is called his righteousness, the righteousness of God, the righteousness of faith, &c., that God justifies us {personally, in our conscience} when he invests us with this righteousness; that is, puts us in possession of it by faith, which righteousness so possessed, is the matter that justifies the conscience that but the moment before was accursed, guilty and condemned. Hence in Scripture sometimes God is said to justify us, because he gives and imputes this righteousness unto us, and declares us righteous for this righteousness sake. Sometimes we are said to be justified by Christ, because he wrought out this righteousness for us; sometimes by the free gift, and by grace; because we become possessors of this righteousness by receiving it as a free gift and favor; and most frequently we are said to be justified by faith only without the deeds of the Law, because by faith only we receive this righteousness as ours by the free gift of God, and answer the demands of God's Law therewith. This righteousness is sometimes called the righteousness of God, and sometimes the righteousness of faith, not because there are two justifications, or two righteousness’s, but from the reasons above-mentioned; and this way of speaking is not peculiar to the Scripture, but is also common amongst men; for a man's innocency is said to justify him, the witnesses are said to justify him, and the Judge is said to justify him, though they all concur but to one and the same justification. And that faith is quite alone in this matter, appears from God's method of putting the soul in actual possession of those things which any way concur to justify the conscience; for though God from eternity designed these things for us, and though they are actually prepared and brought to an existence without us, yet still they are unprofitable to us, until we are actually possessed of them. Now God's method of putting us in possession of these things is described in Scripture to be by way of gift; {“And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift; for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification,” Rom.5:16, &c.,} freely, without money, and without price, that all boasting may be excluded, and on our part these things are said to be received; as we are said to receive Christ himself, {Jn.1:12,} “unto as many as received him, &c.,” {Col.2:6,} “as ye have received Christ Jesus, &c.,” we are also said to receive the atonement {reconciliation} that is made by the blood of Christ, {Rom.5:11,} the forgiveness of sins, {Acts 26:18,} the gift of righteousness, {Rom.5:17,} the word, {Acts 2:41,} the promise. {Heb.9:15} This receiving is in Scripture ascribed to faith alone, {Jn.1:12, Col.2:6, Rom.5:11, &c.,} and indeed how can it be otherwise, in the nature of things, for we cannot received by desire, love, or any other disposition of mind, than by believing; it being justly described, {Heb.11:1,} to be the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen. How can any person receive and possess an estate, but by believing, that by virtue of the deeds and writings, that he has in possession, that the estate belongs to him, and so living upon it, and using it as his own. Thus he that believeth, may be said to possess Christ as really, truly, and properly, as any man ever possessed an estate, and all by virtue of crediting the writings of Scripture, containing the last dying Will and Testament of Jesus Christ, full of large legacies to the chief of sinners. Hence it appears plain, that since it is by faith alone, we receive and become possessors of the free promise of God, the word of free justification, the gift of righteousness, the forgiveness of sins, the atonement made by the blood of Christ, and Christ himself; that faith alone, without the concurrence of any mark or evidence, is not only sufficient, but is also God's appointed method of justifying the conscience. William Cudworth {Some Reasons against making use of Marks & Evidences in order to attain the Knowledge of our Interest in Christ, 1745}

Justification and Faith: That there is no other justification in time, than that which is in the conscience, for all of our justification in time is by faith, and neither our faith, nor any qualifications in us can cause any change in the mind of the Lord concerning us, and therefore the change must be in regard of our knowledge of God's thoughts towards us, and consequently the justification must be in the conscience, or not at all. And if any choose to call this the manifestation of our justification, I shall not differ about words, when we mean the same thing, but I choose to call it justification because the Scripture does. Our justification must be where we are condemned; now we are not condemned merely in the secret mind of God, but also in our own consciences, therefore our justification must be also in our own consciences. Faith justifies us only as it receives and applies the righteousness of Christ for justification; now where doth faith apply this righteousness? Certainly not to the mind of God, but to our own minds and consciences; and therefore justification by faith must be justification in conscience, because faith has no other office in this matter, than to justify the conscience by the righteousness of Christ; and he whose faith extends not unto the justification of his conscience, cannot in any sense be said to be justified by faith, but is as yet under the condemnation of the Law. Faith is put in opposition to the deeds of the Law, as procuring that justification which men seek in vain by such deeds. Now the justification which men seek by the deeds of the Law is in the conscience, for they seek to have a conscience void of offense towards God, &c., and the justification obtained by faith is to be in the conscience or there is not a true opposition. The Apostle's conclusion being of this nature, that that same justification which men vainly seek in whole or in part by their works or qualifications {whether called evidences, or any other name} is to be obtained by believing, without the deeds of the Law, which justification, it is plain must be in the conscience. A text fully proving this is Galatians 2:16. “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified,” and Acts 15:9; wherein God is said to purify the hearts of the Gentiles by faith; and in I Peter 1:22, they are said to have purified their souls in obeying the truth; which purifying is by the application of the blood of Jesus to the conscience, as expressed in Heb.10:22, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, &c.” Faith alone is not only the appointed means of justifying the conscience, but also of giving all true peace and joy. This will be easily allowed where the former is allowed, for it is certain, that that which justifies the conscience, must procure true peace and joy; according to the Apostle, Romans 5:1, “therefore being justified, by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” and Romans 15:13, “the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing.” Faith is also the appointed means of obtaining a full assurance. “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith;” {Heb.10:22;} and “that their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ.” {Col.2:2} William Cudworth {Some Reasons against making use of Marks & Evidences in order to attain the Knowledge of our Interest in Christ, 1745}

Justification and Union with Christ: The Scriptures consider those that are justified by the righteousness of Christ, to be so justified because they are one with him, not merely by a legal union, as a surety and debtor amongst men, but by a mystical union, whereby they are the members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. {Eph.5:30} They are the body of Christ, {I Cor.12:13,} and Christ is also their body, or their flesh and blood, {Heb.2:14,} “for unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given,” {Is.9:6 & Lk.2:11,} and those that believe the report receive Christ himself, {Jn.1:12,} and he that is thus joined to the Lord is also one spirit with him. {I Cor.6:17} If we take this union along with us, and consider Christ, and those that believe on him, as one mystical person, or body, head, and members; it will afford us much true scriptural light, both with respect to justification and sanctification. For in this view of things we may see that the sins of believers became properly Christ's, were laid upon him, and were borne by him in his own body on the tree; not because he committed them, but because they are the sins of His mystical body, and he having put them away by the sacrifice of himself, God is now just in not imputing them; the righteousness of Christ also is properly ours, and imputed to us; not because we wrought it out, but because it is the righteousness of the mystical body. So, we are crucified with Christ, {Gal.2:20,} we are dead with him, {Rom.6:8,} we are also risen with him, {Eph.2:6, Col.3:1,} and we sit together in heavenly places in Christ, {Eph.2:6,} and so we are new created in him. {Eph.2:10} William Cudworth {Some Reasons against making use of Marks & Evidences in order to attain the Knowledge of our Interest in Christ, 1745}

Posted June 28, 2012

{Posted in Writings of William Cudworth}

Righteousness of Christ: Here I cannot go on without dwelling a little upon the perfection we have in Christ's righteousness according to Scripture light; and first; Romans 5:19. “For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” Observe hence, that we are made righteous, and that not by any infused habits or qualities, but by the obedience of One, even Jesus Christ. Again, Ephesians 5:25-27, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify it {with his own blood, Heb.13:12} and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish;” not by virtue of any of our imperfect habits or qualities, but by virtue of his perfect and everlasting righteousness. Again, Colossians 1:21,22, “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.” And II Corinthians 5:21, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him;” and indeed how could they be justified if it were not so, a just judge amongst men cannot justify that man with whom fault is found, and shall not the Judge of all the Earth do right? Now if the one righteousness of Jesus Christ makes us righteous, holy, glorious, without spot, or wrinkle, holy and unblamable, and unreprovable in his sight, what other inherent or imparted righteousness can make any addition to this one imputed righteousness. I acknowledge faith is {in this life} necessary to receive and possess this righteousness, and thereby to perfect our consciences; and hope to receive all good things on account of this righteousness, and love is the fruit of this righteousness so possessed. But we stand righteous and complete before God in no other completeness than that one everlasting righteousness of Jesus Christ; and therefore those that think justification does not make us so complete before God, but that some other righteousness must be added, do not understand justification according to the Scripture light. The complete and perfect righteousness of Christ is not only in this manner made ours, but the Spirit of Christ is also given unto us to bear witness of this righteousness, and perfect our conscience thereby; and as the natural spirit, or soul, is the life of the natural body, so the Spirit of Christ is thus the life of the mystical body, and bears forth in them the fruits of love, joy, peace, long-suffering, &c., {Gal.5:22-25,} and thus the Lord being believed in as our righteousness, becomes our strength, and we become trees of righteousness, bearing forth fruit to the glory of our heavenly Father. William Cudworth {Some Reasons against making use of Marks & Evidences in order to attain the Knowledge of our Interest in Christ, 1745}

Sanctification: I doubt not but this will appear hard to be understood by some who have been accustomed to consider sanctification in a different light; namely, as something different from the Spirit of Christ, infused into us by the Spirit, and abiding in us as a spiritual living principle; but this notion has no foundation in Scripture; but, on the contrary, the Spirit itself is described to be our only spiritual principle; for we believe by the Spirit, love is the fruit of the Spirit through believing, faith works by love, and the difference between Christian obedience and other obedience, consists in one being the fruit of the Spirit through believing, and the other being the fruit of the Law; so that it is plain, if by inherent sanctification we mean a principal of spiritual life, Christ himself is that life and our sanctification. The Spirit of truth, who is sent to dwell in us, and abide with us forever, beareth witness to our spirits of Christ, that our hearts, minds, or consciences may be purified or made holy in his obedience, and the sprinkling of his blood. The Spirit beareth witness in and by the Word, our spirits receive the witness by believing that Word; whereby our conscience becomes clean, and purged from dead works to serve the living God. We also hereby become dead to the Law by the body of Christ, that we may live to God; that being married to Christ, we may bring forth fruit unto God; which fruit is not to be made the object of reflection and reasoning to know our state by, {for this we know by faith, before we are capable of bearing forth such fruit,} but they serve to glorify God in the world, and evidence our faith to others, or any other use but that which is the property of faith alone. William Cudworth {Some Reasons against making use of Marks & Evidences in order to attain the Knowledge of our Interest in Christ, 1745}

Faith: Faith therefore is a certain steadfast beholding, which looketh upon nothing else but Christ the Conqueror of sin and death, and the Giver of righteousness and eternal life. This is the reason that Paul nameth Jesus Christ so often in his epistles, almost in every verse; for he setteth Him forth by the Word, for otherwise he cannot be comprehended but by the Word. This was lively and notably set forth by the brazen serpent, for Moses commanded them that were stung to do nothing else but steadfastly behold the brazen serpent; they that did so were healed only by that steadfast beholding and looking upon the serpent. William Cudworth {Some Reasons against making use of Marks & Evidences in order to attain the Knowledge of our Interest in Christ, 1745}

Assurance in Christ Alone: Another reason against such evidences is that they have a tendency to make a man think he is rich and increased with goods, and has need of nothing, when at the same time he is poor, miserable, blind, and naked. {Rev.3:17} For when a man is employed about a serious examination of himself, according to such evidences he must be supposed to be in a more inwardly composed and retired frame of mind than at other times when employed in the world, and therefore liable to think himself possessed of those things which he finds not when it comes to action and trial. Thus many while under a serious employment of reading, hearing, meditation, &c., think they can answer to such and such marks and signs, and therefore conclude themselves to be in a very safe condition; but when the persons possessed of this imaginary strength come forth to exercise it against the world, the flesh, and the devil, it proves ineffectual; and they being disappointed in the hopes they had of themselves become distressed, suspecting {as well they may} their former experience, until they get such another opportunity of gathering up their marks and signs again; until at last, by frequent practices of this kind they habituate themselves to a false peace, concluding from the general bent of their minds, that all is well, though they themselves are ignorant of living in the righteousness of Christ, and by the power of his Spirit, which works effectually in them that believe; not barely in their private retirements, but in their employments, shops, and families; which works are the effects and fruits of the knowledge of our perfection in Christ our Savior, by faith alone, and not causes of it, by way of evidence and reasoning. William Cudworth {Some Reasons against making use of Marks & Evidences in order to attain the Knowledge of our Interest in Christ, 1745}

Assurance in Christ Alone: Evidences seem to have that place that John's Epistle had to the Church. {See I Jn.2:21, 26, 27, &c.} Our good conversation is the only way to witness to the world that we are the people we profess to be; but if we don't keep these things in their proper place, but will be for finding evidences to bring peace to our consciences, &c., we destroy the nature, need, or use of faith; and seek those things by way of natural reasoning and self-righteousness; that God has appointed by way of divine faith and the free gift. William Cudworth {Some Reasons against making use of Marks & Evidences in order to attain the Knowledge of our Interest in Christ, 1745}

Posted June 29, 2012

{Writings of William Cudworth}

Justification in Christ Alone: To the reader, the point here insisted on is of the greatest importance, though the least regarded, or rightly understood. Many think that they truly know it, when they have but crude, carnal, indigested notions of the same; which dead faith, not purifying their conscience, and giving true peace, they are obliged to support by past experience, frames, feelings, or works; and when they hear those who spiritually understand the mystery of Christ talk of living upon Christ, and being perfected in Christ, without these things, they imagine we mean to rest contended with such a faith as theirs; namely, that Christ has died to ward off the wrath of God, to purchase his favor, and as an effect of that to obtain certain inherent qualities and dispositions, &c., to make us meet for the kingdom of heaven. Was this our faith, we would be certainly requisite to seek after this sort of sanctification, and not be at rest without feeling something of it. But on the contrary we believe, that the blood shed upon the cross was the very atonement, and that this blood has purged, put away, and blotted out all our sins; and that then there was an everlasting righteousness brought him, by believing which, our hearts and consciences are made as perfectly clean, as though we had never sinned. In this consists true purity of soul, and not in habitual qualities, and whosoever is thus made perfected in Christ, has fellowship with God, has the Holy Ghost, has peace, and is delivered from the dominion of sin. They do also bear forth the fruits of righteousness, not in order to become more holy, either in the sight of God, or in their own consciences; but because they are perfectly holy in Christ; and a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit. It is true, we have still this vile sinful body, which continually disposes the mind to evil, but the blood of Jesus by purifying the conscience, makes us free from sin, and as it were destroys the connection. I would therefore recommend this little piece to the consideration of those who desire to walk in the highway of holiness; and remain theirs to serve in the Lord Jesus Christ. William Cudworth {Preface to Samuel Richardson’s Free Justification by Christ Alone, Written in 1647, and republished by Cudworth in 1745}

Faith: This legal faith leaves you just in the same state that it found you; that is, still having the condition to perform; and then all that you have said about Christ’s full satisfaction, and his having loved us, and given himself for us, amounts just to nothing at all, for a conditional forgiveness is no forgiveness at all, as it is no more than the offer of a bargain to any that will come to the terms. It is no more in reality, than in having offered to rent you my house by a public advertisement, for so much money, I should then say that I have leased my house to all in London. Objection: Say what you will, it is plain to me, that notwithstanding all that Christ hath done, he that believeth not shall be damned. Assertion: That is true, but it is he that believeth not that Christ hath done all which was necessary for his absolute salvation. In this faith is only necessary in order to receive the forgiveness in the blood of Christ, not to procure it by way of condition. The faith which you describe is common to thousands, whom I am persuaded of not even yourself will account as real believers. William Cudworth {Dialogue between a Preacher of Inherent Righteousness & God’s Righteousness, 1745}

Posted June 30, 2012

{Writings of James Hervey}

Faith in Christ: The act of trusting in Christ is much of the same nature, for it pre-supposes that Christ is the Trustee of the Covenant of Grace; it proceeds upon a conviction of his faithfulness in executing the office; and it is a solemn surrender or giving up the whole affair of our salvation into his hand; giving it up, not in uncertainty of success, {this would be mistrusting rather than trusting,} but with a certainty in some measure suitable to the fidelity arid ability of Him with whom we have to do. James Hervey {Theron & Aspasio, 1755}

Faith in Christ: Christ is represented by the similitude of bread, heavenly bread for the hungry soul. Faith is characterized by eating the food. And can this be done without a personal application? Christ is held forth under the image of living waters, ever running, and always free for the thirsty appetite. But let them run ever so copiously, let them be presented ever so freely, all this will neither quench the thirst, nor refresh the spirits, unless they are drank. To do this is the business of faith. Christ is described as a garment, to accommodate destitute, and beautify deformed creatures. Faith is expressed by putting on this commodious garment, and wearing this beautiful robe. And can any idea, or any expression, more strongly denote an actual appropriation? James Hervey {Theron & Aspasio, Dialogue XVI, 1755}

Faith in Christ: As to those who insist upon what they call the reflex act of faith; sure, they mistake the nature of the thing. This, if I understand them aright, is their way of arguing: “I am a new creature; I love the Lord Jesus in sincerity; I have the fruits of the Spirit; from whence it is plain, that Christ and his salvation are mine.” Now, in all this procedure, I cannot discern the least footstep of faith; no, not the least trace of receiving a testimony, or relying upon a Saviour. Here is nothing more than a logical deduction of one proposition  from another; a conclusion drawn from given premises. Grant the latter, and any person, without any aid from the Spirit, will infer the former. It may, therefore, more properly be reckoned an act of reasoning than of believing; as it is founded on what we ourselves feel, not upon the record of a faithful God. James Hervey {Theron & Aspasio, Dialogue XVI, 1755}

Faith in Christ: Instead therefore of poring on our own hearts, to discover, by inherent qualities, our interest in Christ, I should rather renew my application to the free and faithful promise of the Lord; assert and maintain my title on this unalterable ground: Pardon is mine, I would say, grace is mine, Christ and all his spiritual blessings are mine. Why? Because I am conscious of sanctifying operations in my own breast? Rather because God hath spoken in his holiness; because all these precious privileges are consigned over to me in the everlasting gospel, with a clearness unquestionable as the Truth, with a certainty inviolable as the oath of God. James Hervey {Theron & Aspasio, 1755}

Faith in Christ: Faith is styled, “a looking unto Jesus.” But if we do not look unto Jesus as the Propitiation for our sins, what comfort or what benefit can we derive from the sight? A receiving of Christ. A resting upon Christ. Surely, when I rest upon an Object, I use it as my Support. When I receive a Gift, I take it as my own property; and when the Israelites looked unto the Brazen Serpent, they certainly regarded it as a Remedy, each particular person for himself. James Hervey {Theron & Aspasio, 1755}

Assurance in Christ Alone: To rely on the elevation of our spirits, or the enlargement of our devotion, is like building our house upon the ice, which may abide for a season, but, upon the first alteration of weather, ceases to be a foundation, and becomes “water that runneth apace.” Whereas, to derive our consolation from the Mediator’s righteousness and Jehovah’s faithfulness is to build our edifice upon the Rock, which “may not be removed, but standeth fast forever.” The former of these, even amidst all our changes, is invariably the same; the latter, notwithstanding all our unworthiness, is inviolably sure. Therefore the fruit of that righteousness is peace, and the effect of this faithfulness is, if not rapturous joy, yet “quietness and assurance forever.” {Is.32:17} James Hervey {Theron & Aspasio, 1755}

{Writings of William Cudworth}

Remission of Sins in the Name of Christ: The persons here mentioned {Acts 2:36–39} were pricked in their hearts at hearing that God had made that same Jesus, whom they had crucified, both Lord and Christ, and thus said, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” We do not find that Peter had been preaching to them any such doctrine as that, ‘if they were much affected with their sins, and wounded at heart with a godly sorrow for them, thus they would have an interest in the promise of life and salvation.’ This would have been only introducing the Pharisaic distinction, which our Savior constantly opposed. On the contrary, when Peter declared, that God had made that same Jesus, who opposed such distinctions in the Pharisees, and was rejected on that account, that God had made Him both Lord and Christ, they were confounded. All their pretensions to righteousness, and acceptance with God forsook them. They were pricked in their hearts at these tidings, and cried out, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” If Jesus is Lord and Christ, what will become of us? Then Peter exhorted to the assurance we plead for, in these words, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.” Your case is undoubtedly desperate; you have been until this moment God’s enemies; even so far have you carried your opposition, as with wicked hands to crucify and slay the Lord's Christ sent for your deliverance. Nevertheless, in this man's Name is preached unto you remission of sins; therefore repent of your wickedness in opposing him; submit to him as your free-given Righteousness and Salvation; be baptized in his name for the remission of your sins, and live from henceforth by Him as your proper righteousness; assuring yourselves remission of sins by Him alone; and you shall receive the promised gift of the Holy Ghost as it has come upon us, “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” “And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, {by turning to this same Jesus as your only Refuge,} save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word, {out of the mixed multitude,} were baptized; and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” From the whole thus considered, there is nothing to contradict the call and promise of God directed to sinners as such; but, on the contrary, a foundation for calling upon the most guilty to look immediately {as enabled to do so through the “faith of the operation of God”} to the Redeemer's Righteousness. William Cudworth {Defense of Theron and Aspasio, 1760}

Love of the Brethren: “Hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.” {I Jn.3:19} Hereby we {the children of the Truth, by loving one another for the Truth's sake alone, not in word and in tongue, but in deed and in truth} know {or have an additional confirming knowledge,} that we are of the truth that we profess, and shall assure our hearts before him, saying with Peter, “Lord thou knowest all things,” thou knowest that we love thee; “for if our heart condemn us not,” that we love not those who are of this Truth, or that our love to them is not for this Truth's sake, whatever pretensions we may make to the faith, and of comfort, joy, holiness, &c., yet “God is greater than our hearts, and knoweth all things;” therefore cannot be deceived by our pretenses of regard to Him and his Truth, while we love not them who are of this Truth. “But beloved, if our heart condemn us not, {if the Law of the New Testament, Jer.31:33, to believe on Christ, or live by his righteousness, and love one another for this truth's sake, is written on our hearts,} then have we confidence towards God.” – To love the divine righteousness provided for the guilty as such; to love God thus characterized as just, and the Justifier of the ungodly by the righteousness of his Son; to love them that are of this truth, for the truth's sake dwelling in them, is according to Scripture account the distinguishing holiness of truth, whereby the children of God are manifested from the children of the devil, and the works of love to this righteousness, are the only works that will be acknowledged in the great day. It is also evident, from Scripture and experience, that men may compass sea and land to make a proselyte, may give all their goods to feed the poor, and even their bodies to be burned, yet want this love; they may do all this, and at the same time manifest themselves to be the children of them who crucified Christ, by their conduct towards his real Gospel, and the disciples of it. William Cudworth {Defense of Theron and Aspasio, 1760}


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