March 2013

Posted March 3, 2013

{Selection of the Week}

Sufficiency in Christ: Christ is all, and in all - the words are a Proposition. In which we have the Subject, Christ; But Christ; and the Predicate, He is all, and in all. He is all things that are necessary to salvation and that in all persons, who do believe in him, who are renewed and regenerated by his grace. – Christ is all by way of merit. Jesus Christ is meritoriously all in all to believers. Whatsoever they are, whatsoever they have, whatsoever they do, or can expect, is only upon the score and account of his purchase and merit. They enjoy no good thing upon any other terms, but only upon the consideration of Christ’s merits. Because he hath done and suffered for them, and in their stead, therefore do they partake of those blessings which make them happy to all eternity. The Patriarchs in the Old Testament, Christians in the New Testament, have pleaded with God for all blessings only upon the account of Christ. “Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake.” {Dan.9:17} Of this the Apostle speaks, when he saith, that Christ is made unto us of God, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. {I Cor.1:30} Christ doth bestow upon us, and God is pleased to accept for us the merit of Christ’s Passion, Death, Obedience, and Righteousness. 2. Christ is all in all to them by way of conveyance. As he hath merited all for them; so 'tis from him and through him that all good things are communicated to them. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life.” {Jn.14:6} As we have all propter Christum, so we receive all we have per Christum through Christ. He is not only the Fountain, but the Medium and Conduit through whom all a believer hath is conveyed to him. Jesus Christ is a believer’s Root. “I am the vine, ye are the branches; He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing.” {Jn.15:5} Now as all the sap which is in the branches is communicated through the root, so all the good which a believer hath is derived through Christ. God hath put all that good he intends to bestow upon his Elect into Christ’s hands as a Feoffee in trust, and from him as the great Lord-steward is all communicated unto them. Of this the Apostle speaks; from Christ the Head, the whole body by “joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.” {Col.2:19} Jesus Christ is, as it were, the hand of God, through which all good things are sent in to us. He is the door; “Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.” {Jn.10:7} 3. Christ is all in all to them, by way of efficiency and causality. He it is that works all in all in his Saints; “there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.” {I Cor.12:6} This our Saviour bears witness unto, when he tells us, that without him we can do nothing. {Jn.15:5} The soul is the principle of all action in man, Jesus Christ is the principle of all motion and spiritual action in his Saints, for he is the soul of their soul. Not a good desire, not a good thought but what is inspired by Jesus Christ. The Apostle doth freely acknowledge this. “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me;” {Gal.2:20;} so “work out your own salvation, &c. for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” {Phil.2:12,13} 4. Christ is all in all to them virtually; he is instead of all things to them. Solomon saith that money answereth all things, for it is meat, drink, clothes, house, lands, &c., {Ecles.10:19,} all things that are vendible may be procured by money. Jesus Christ is virtually all things, for he makes up all things that are wanting. Hence it is that he is in Scripture compared to all things, to food, to clothing, to physick, to gold, to health, &c., because he stands for all these things unto the souls of his Saints. Hence is that promise; “he that overcometh shall inherit all things. {Rev.21:7} Jesus Christ is for all uses and purposes. This is in the text; he is Circumcision to the Gentile, wisdom to the Barbarian, &c. 5. Christ is all in all to them by way of benediction and sanctification. It is from him that any good they enjoy becomes a blessing to them. He makes everything effectual for those ends for which they are appointed. No good thing would be good to us without the benediction of Christ; yea were it not for his blessing, every good thing would prove a snare, a cross and a curse to us, as they do to them, who have no interest in Christ. This is that which Solomon saith, “the blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich.” {PV.10:22} Thy health would be thy greatest sickness, thy wealth would be thy ruin, thy parts and abilities would be a snare to thee, did not Jesus Christ sanctify them by his blessing. All the good the Saints enjoy depends upon Christ’s blessings to make them good to them. The Application follows: Use 1. How injurious to Jesus Christ are they who mingle other things with Jesus Christ as the causes of their salvation. The Papists mingle their own merits, and righteousness, indulgences, the sufferings of other men, with the merits of Christ, as the causes of their justification and salvation. What else is this but to deny the all-sufficiency of Jesus Christ? If he be all in all for justification and salvation, he needs not have his merits eked out with such kind of helps as these are. If Christ be all in all, then these are superfluous; yea, the addition of these doth derogate from, and destroy the fullness and all-sufficiency of Christ. Yea, Christ who is all in all to believers, will be nothing at all to them who are not contented with him alone. “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” {Gal.5:4} Consider this you that are self justifyers. Use 2. If Christ be all in all, then is nothing anything at all without Jesus Christ. All the world, the riches, pleasures, honors of the world is but emptiness without Christ. “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity;” {Ecles.1:2;} that man hath just nothing, that hath not Christ who is all things; the world is but complete loss without Christ. Thy wisdom, thy parts, thy children, thy offices, thy preferments, thy lands and revenues, all thou hast, if thou want him that is all things, can amount to nothing. They are but cyphers without a figure. O that men would consider this! Use 3. What rich inheritance have all those who are truly interested in Jesus Christ! My God and My All. They possess him that is all in all, and in possessing him they possess all. I have all things my brother, saith Jacob to Esau, {Gen.33:11,} for he that hath him that is all in all, cannot want anything. All things are yours, {saith the Apostle} whether things present, or things to come, and you are Christ’s. {I Cor.3:22,23} A true believer, let him be never so poor outwardly, is in truth the richest man in all the world; he hath all in all, and what can be added to all? Use 4. It shows the reason why the Saints are so fearful of losing Jesus Christ. They value all things at a low rate in comparison of him. They would rather lose all then Christ, they are contented to part with liberty, estate, life, rather than with Christ. Is there not cause for it? Christ is better than all things else. Riches are something, liberty is something, life is something, but Christ is all in all. There is nothing besides Jesus Christ that is good for all uses. Garments are good to cover, but not for food; meat is good to feed, but not to warm, &c., but Jesus Christ is good for every use, for all persons, for all times, for all sexes, for all conditions. They know if they lose Christ, they lose all things. If a man had all his estate in one jewel, you would not blame him to be very careful of keeping that. Jesus Christ is their all, they seek him when they are deprived of him, with greatest care; they keep him when they have him, with the greatest diligence. “I found him whom my soul loveth; I held him, and would not let him go;” {Cant.3:4;} do not wonder at it; for he is their all in all. Use 5. That no soul esteems Christ aright, that doth not esteem him all in all. To esteem anything equal to Christ is to disesteem Christ. Thou dost never truly account him anything, till thou do account him all things; yea, better than all things, and all things as nothing in respect of him. If thou canst not make up all things in Christ, thou makest him but a poor Christ. If thou canst not make him a friend in the want of a friend; an habitation in the want of an habitation; if thou canst not make him riches in poverty; if there be any condition in which Christ will not suffice thee; if Christ be too little to satisfy thee, thou dost but undervalue him; he is never truly accounted anything, till he be accounted all things. Use 6. Learn hence, the misery of those that want Christ. He that wants Christ, wants all things. “Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless,” saith Abraham. {Gen.15:2} Abraham had much, and yet because he wanted a child, he wanted everything. The soul that wants Jesus Christ hath indeed nothing. The Apostle possessed all things when he had nothing; “as having nothing, and yet possessing all things;” {II Cor.6:10;} having Christ he possessed all things. Those that want a saving interest in Christ possess nothing, though they seem to have all things; all they have is emptiness; yea, all they have is a curse, because they have not Christ. O that God would convince men of this truth! Ralph Robinson {Christ All in All; or Several Significant Similitudes by which the Lord Jesus Christ is Described in the Holy Scriptures, 1660}

Note: Ralph Robinson {1614-1655} was of the Presbyterian persuasion, and this book, {Christ – All in All,} which contains many blessed considerations of the Glory of Christ was published after his death, under the direction of Simeon Ashe, Edmund Calamy & William Taylor, who had this to say, in the preface of the book: This field is full of Gospel treasures dug out of Scripture mines, for thine enriching in the knowledge of Christ; and what knowledge is so necessary, excellent, or profitable? For from hence do issue all things which pertain unto life and godliness. Hereby our love to Christ is enflamed, our longings after him enlarged, our faith in him confirmed, our joys in him raised; yea, by the knowledge of him he is possessed and improved, both for growth in all graces, augmenting of all spiritual comforts, and preparation for everlasting glory. The volume contains fifty-three sermons on Christ as the true believer’s: Life, Food, Righteousness, Protector, Physician, Light, Shepherd, Vine, Salvation, Ointment, Consolation, Fountain, Way, Truth, Rock, Passover …

Posted March 4, 2013

{Writings of Thomas Collier}

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

Posted March 5, 2013

{Writings of Thomas Collier}

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

Posted March 6, 2013

{Writings of Thomas Collier}

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

Posted March 7, 2013

{Writings of Thomas Collier}

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

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

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

Posted March 10, 2013

{Selection of the Week}

Confessing Christ: Those that deny Christ are ashamed of him, they cast an imputation upon his truth, as it were not worthy to be owned; now, if we be ashamed of Christ for the present, no wonder if he be ashamed of us hereafter. “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” {Mk.8:38} Now of those that deny Christ, some do it: 1. Silently. 2. Others do it expressly. Silently, when persons from time to time can hear the truth of God spoken against, his servants railed upon, and idolatry and superstition cried up and practiced, and they sit still, as if the thing nothing concerned them, for all they are able to speak in God’s behalf; they are afraid lest in speaking they should lose their correspondences with such companions. Now they cannot do their duty, and fall in with them, and therefore they will be silent. Against this sinful silence, see the carriage of David. “I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.” {Ps.119:46} Though Jehoshaphat was but too cold, {though a good man,} yet when Ahab in words professed a viable hatred against Micaiah, Jehoshaphat could not but justify the prophet to the king’s face, using these words, “Let not the king say so.” {I Kg.22:8} So Christ, “wisdom is justified of her children;” {Mt.11:19;} shall Baal have 400 to plead for him, and God not one Elijah? There must be an account given for sinful silence, as well as for wicked speech. It’s none of our least sins, that by our sinful silence we have left so many in circumstantial; yea, which is more, in fundamental errors. Nothing is more dangerous to God, and destructive to our brethren, than not to declare with our tongues the truth which we believe in our hearts, time, places, persons and circumstances being duly weighed. Christ is denied expressly; and that in a vicious life; when our practice doth not answer our profession. “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” {Tit.1:16} “Denying the Lord that bought them.” {II Pet.2:9} “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; from such turn away.” {II Tim.3:5} These turning the doctrine of free grace “into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” {Jude 4} Too many live the lives of heathens, under the name of Christians. Christ is also expressly denied in word; when magistrates shall ask us concerning our faith, and we shall not acknowledge, but for fear of prison or death deny what we believe to be truth. It was a speech of Spira, “Christ will not be denied in word, and therefore it is enough, that I have denied him in word, though in heart I never denied him.” He added, “it is no small matter to deny Christ, and yet it’s more ordinary than men do conceive; it is not only a denial or adjuration made before the magistrate, as it is with me; for as often as a Christian doth dissemble a known truth, so often as he approves of false worship by presenting himself add it, so often he denies Christ.” I might add to his words, for how many in private conference deny Christ, whilst for fear of men they deny those truths they inwardly acknowledge? As we are not to deny our sins, but freely confess them before God, so we are to confess the truth before men, though we know before hand, that in so doing, bonds and afflictions in every place abide us. Famous was Luther herein. “It is my duty {saith he} and the duty of every Christian to speak the truth, and deny falsehood, against all noise of titles and dignities. I am a child of God, and born in the kingdom of truth, and therefore am bound, not only to affirm it, but also to defend it by life or death.” This is one of the noblest actions of a believer, to confess Christ and his truth before the world, to confess him in the midst of his enemies; neither is it sufficient to confess Christ in word in a corner; but in the assemblies of princes and councils, we must freely speak our mind, and bear witness to the truth; few indeed dare do this, but this is our duty! Famous were Peter and John herein, who witnessed the truth, being filled with the Holy Ghost, though Peter formally denied Christ before a silly damsel, yet now when Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and Alexander, and others were gathered together in counsel, and asked them by what power or name they did what they did, they answered very courageously, in these words, “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.” {Acts 4:8-10} Let us desire with Luther, who said, “our knowledge suffers us not to keep silence, and the world suffers us not to speak; it is needful therefore that we be strengthened with the Spirit, that to escape dangers, we refrain not from confession.” Christopher Blackwood {Treatise Concerning Denial of Christ, 1648}

Denial of Christ: Whether or no Christ is not denied in worship, when we present ourselves at such a worship as we loathe in our hearts? “Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves.” {Hos.13:2} Jeroboam’s priests in sign of conformity required that all that sacrificed should kiss the calves; now kissing is a token of love, so that hereby they signified their love to the calf worship; now idolatrous kissing in this kind is called a denial of God. “And my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand; this also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge; for I should have denied the God that is above.” {Job 31:27,28} If my “mouth hath kissed my hand” “I should have denied the God that is above;” so that it is clear, that idolatrous worship denies the true God; but the question is about the presence at such worship, whether that be a denial of Christ? It seems so to be; whilst things manifestly false in their conscience, and that not in smaller, but fundamental points go for truth by their silence, they not testifying against them. After illumination, when a man knows that worship which is pleasing to God, yet for fear or loss of goods and friends, he will practice what he knows is not of God; unless a man should go thereto with an habit to protest against it. So we find the worshipers crying out in opposition to Baal, “The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God.” {I Kg.18:39} All the difficulty is about hearing; whether persons hearing things manifestly false against points of faith, which they judge fundamental shall not by their silence, they not testifying against them, in some measure deny Christ. Answer: I will in this difficult question leave others to their light; only I say, to me, in my conscience, it would be a denial of Christ, which I am drawn so to think, because every child of wisdom is bound to justify wisdom, and to defend the rest of the hearers from seducement in things that are fundamentally destructive. {Mt.11:19} - Now forasmuch as thou hast a disposition in thy heart to deny Christ, though it never come to trial, God will find it out; therefore I hold it expedient and profitable, if not one man to another, yet every man to his own soul, to propound in this manner; soul, what wilt thou do if altar worship, saint worship, or any other superstition that thy soul abhors, comes to be pressed on thee, what wilt thou do? Or if it be put to thee to subscribe to doctrines thy heart cannot allow, as that works justify, as that justified persons may and do totally and finally fall away and perish eternally, or any other doctrine of the like kind, wilt thou, O my soul, subscribe or suffer the loss of everything? If thy heart say such things are false, but yet I must practice them, and subscribe to them or else I cannot enjoy my country and my inheritance, truly God looks upon thee as one yet in the gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity; and such persons do not always escape a curse in this life; but if thy heart say as Paul, “God forbid that I should rejoice in anything, save in the cross of Christ,” or more than a good conscience, such a testimony will make thee to rejoice in sickness and triumph in death. Christopher Blackwood {Treatise Concerning Denial of Christ, 1648}

{Writings of Thomas Collier}

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

Posted March 11, 2013

{Writings of Thomas Collier}

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

Posted March 12, 2013

{Writings of Thomas Collier}

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

Posted March 13, 2013

{Writings of Thomas Collier}

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

Posted March 14, 2013

{Writings of Thomas Collier}

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

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

Posted March 15, 2013

{Writings of Thomas Collier}

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

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

Posted March 16, 2013

{Writings of Thomas Collier}

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

Posted March 17, 2013

{Selection of the Week}

Duty Faith & Repentance: As true repentance {says this author} is always a concomitant of faith, and in a sense may be said to flow from it, so John commands them to believe in Christ, prepare his way, and make his path straight. {Mt.3:2,3,8} John was indeed the messenger sent to prepare the way before him, &c., {Mal.3:1, Lk.1:76,} and was as one that is sent before a king who visits his dominions, to proclaim the king’s purpose to come, and that he is at hand; that they may get ready to give attendance when he comes, and hear his pleasure and design more particularly. This author concludes that ‘saving’ faith is here commanded, because John said, “repent, &c.” But it ought to be observed, that this proves it not, unless there be no kind of repentance due from the creature but that which is a fruit of New Covenant grace, as the faith in question is asserted to be. To force the text to speak contrary to the analogy of faith is a desperate strain to serve a turn. Now does the Gospel teach, that it is a man’s duty to prepare himself for Christ to save him; or, that Christ is God’s salvation by absolute gift. {Is.42:6-8} Certainly Christ is God’s salvation from first to last in every step thereof. He is a complete and perfect way. {Jn.14:6} Take this author in the plain sense of his words, and it is this: Poor unconverted sinners, says he, are commanded to believe, prepare Christ’s way, &c., that is, they are to make themselves alive, as a preparation for Christ to make them alive; for faith is a fruit of life. Alas; is the Gospel come to this? Unconverted sinners must prepare a way for Christ to come to save them, as a woman prepares room to receive a guest. No; for Christ comes, and when Christ comes, he brings that along with him that prepares himself a room, and obtains the souls welcome. Why, saith this author, what he meant and intended by their coming, was in the first place, their putting on the wedding garment, their putting on the Lord Jesus Christ by faith. It is true, all that have not the righteousness of Christ will perish; but it is strange to say, they perish because they have it not, seeing that it is a gift; {Rom.5:17;} and we must say of it, as our Lord said to the mother of Zebedee’s children, concerning the right and the left hand places in the kingdom, that it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of the Father. {Mt.20:23} The righteousness of Christ is a glorious garment upon the Church; but not left to the creature to put on, any more than it was left to the creature to prepare it. No; he who made our first parents coats of skins clothed them therewith. {Gen.3:21} Provision and application are both of grace. God, who hath made Christ unto us – righteousness, imputeth that righteousness; {I Cor.3:21;} and gives faith to the soul, as an eye to see how fine grace hath made it, and as a tongue to sing its praises in sweeter notes, and in an humbler strain. He hath clothed me; he hath covered me; he hath done all for me; and all in me, while I with joy am made to behold it. No, no; to talk of the creatures putting on the righteousness of Christ will not be found harmoniously with what the Church says, “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, 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} But if it be said, it is Scripture language, “but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ,” {Rom.13:14;} I answer, the words mean no such thing, as putting on Christ and his righteousness in this author’s sense of the phrase. For, the Apostle is not speaking to unconverted sinners, but to the called of the Lord Jesus Christ, {Rom.1:6,} with whom he joins himself in the foregoing verse, “let us walk, &c.” Neither, is the exhortation to believers to do the special act of God. For imputation of sin to Christ, and Christ’s righteousness to us are both ascribed to God. Yea, and it is the Spirit that leads the soul into the possession {spiritual perception} of all. {Jn.16:13} But the exhortation is to outward acts, opposed to the vices mentioned in the foregoing verse, as rioting, drunkenness, chambering, wantonness, strife and envying; that by treading in the steps of the Lord, and imitating his example, they might show forth the praises and virtues of him that had called them out of darkness into his marvelous light. {I Pet.2:9} Lewis Wayman {Further Inquiry after Truth, 1738}

{Writings of Henry Pinnell}

Authority of Holy Scripture: You go against the judgment of all Divines; contrary to the opinion of Orthodox, learned and godly men. Answer: I respect, honor and reverence godliness in every man, in all men; yet am I not to regulate, bound or modulate my faith by the wisdom, notion or measure of any man’s apprehensions; no, though the most godly and most learned among men. And therefore we are not to enquire what this or that man’s thought, opinion or judgment is, of such or such a point, but what the Scripture doth say, determine or conclude of this or that particular. Our faith is not to stand in the wisdom of men; this were to lay the foundation upon sand. {I Cor.2:5, I Thes.2:13} Nor are we to receive the Word itself in the word of man, but as it is, in truth, the Word of God. Truth is not Truth because man saith it, but because it is so in itself; neither is it so to any man, till it come unto him in the power and demonstration of the Spirit. The Scriptures themselves were given, not by tradition of men, but by inspiration of God. Scripture is not Scripture to a man, till it come to him in the same spirit by which it was dictated at first. Whereas you urge the opinion of godly and learned men, as contrary to mine, and they preachers too; among whom you made mention of Mr. Ball, in his Catechism; tis more than I know, or care to enquire what he saith in this matter; but be it granted that he {and others too} are contrary-minded. What then? I could produce many that are on my side, and so oppose godly and learned men against your godly and learned; yet then there would be but man against man. Let the matter be brought to the Test, and let the Touch-stone distinguish between the gold and the dross; to the Law and to the Testimony; and if the Scripture cast the truth on your side, I will subscribe. Henry Pinnell {Word of Prophesy, 1648}

Baptism: As for Baptism, I leave you and others also to the freedom of your faith therein. But if you will impose the observation thereof, and the obedience thereunto upon me as to an Ordinance, I must first be satisfied. First; whether by Baptism you understand Paedo-baptism, Childish-baptism, or the Baptism of Children? If so, then where is either your precept or pattern for so doing? Or, Secondly; if you will have Baptism of water to be restrained and to belong only to those that are adult and of ripe years; yet then, where is your authority from any institution of Christ after his resurrection, who had before by his death put an end to foregoing Types and Figures of Himself? Therefore; that place {Mt.28:19} will not hold Water, nor serve your turn at all in the sense you urge it, and would have it brought unto; for those words {into the NAME} do rather exclude than imply, in, into, or with water. Nor is it enough that you tell me of the practice of the Apostles, that they did baptize with water and that after the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ, unless you produce a warrant from Christ, authorizing them so to do, and commanding them and us, by way of injunction to submit unto it, as a necessary and binding duty. But I say; First, If you will make the practice of the Apostles {their histories as recorded by the Holy Ghost in the Book of Acts} your rule in one thing, why not in another, the ground and authority being equal for both, and therefore both alike binding? And then, why do you not anoint your sick with oil, as the Apostles did, {Ja.5:14} and as James commandeth you? Is the use and virtue of anointing lost, and doth the efficacy of Baptism last? Will water keep longer than oil? Again; why do you not circumcise as Paul did? You will say that Circumcision is abolished, but Baptism is not? Was John any more than a servant, as Moses was? Why then must he abide in the House of God, when the Son himself is come? I do not find that Paul did repent for shaking hands with Moses in circumcising Timothy, more than he did for saluting John, in baptizing some of the Corinthians. Yet; Secondly, I deny not, but that the Apostles might have an indulgent dispensation given unto them, suitable to the infancy of the Church then, as others may have now answerable to the lowness and weakness of the faith of some in these days, whom I leave to stand or fall to their own Master; but if Baptism be enforced as a Law, I shall question two things, and very much scruple. First; whether it be not an adding to the Book of God to interline and insert the Baptism of Children into the Bible when there is no such thing mentioned by Christ or his Apostles in all the New Testament, either by way of Command or Custom? Secondly; whether to conclude Baptism of water and so consequently to impose it on any from that in Matthew 28:19 be not a part of will worship; a making void the command of Christ by men’s traditions; and a taking away from the Book of God? For whereas Christ there brings up Baptism to its height, fullness, glory, purity and perfection; some go about to empty, weaken and make void the sense and scope of that Scripture, by applying that to water, which Christ expressly attributeth and appropriateth to the Father Himself and the Spirit. I have not the faith to believe, that the reasonings and arguments of men, the conclusions, inferences and inductions of Reason are sufficient to make any Ordinance in the Church of Christ, without an immediate, plain, direct, punctual and divine institution from Christ. But enough hath been said of this by others {as Mr. Henry Denne & John Tombes} already. Henry Pinnell {Word of Prophesy, 1648}

Death in Adam – Life in Christ: You charge me that I should say the first Adam was born or created blind; and this, you say, is error, heresy and false doctrine. Answer: First; I did say that every man, by nature is born blind, in respect of discerning the things of God. {I Cor.2:14} Secondly; I said also, that the first Adam in his created state was blind, as to the understanding of the Mystery of God in Christ to be revealed unto him, or as to the true knowledge of himself and the condition he was then in. He had the sight of sense, he saw his wife, the tree and the apple that he did eat; but he had not a sight of the imperfection and shortness of the present state he was then in, and to that which he was afterwards to be raised up unto in Christ. For; if he had known the property of the Tree of Life, {which represented Christ} he would not have forsaken and rejected it, but rather have eaten of the fruit thereof, that he might have lived; as the Apostle speaks. “Which none of the princes of this world knew; for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” {I Cor.2:8} If Adam that was the chiefest and most excellent in knowledge above all other creatures in the world; if he had known the mystery of Christ in the Tree of Life, he would not have been seduced by the Serpent to seek his perfection in the forbidden fruit. Man that is ignorant of God’s Righteousness, goeth about to establish his own. {Rom.10:3} Why else is not the opening of their eyes affirmed of Adam and Eve, till after their eating of the forbidden fruit? {Gen.3:7} What coverings had they of the divine nature, glory and righteousness of God in the day of their Creation; and could they see the want thereof before their eyes were opened? Let me further illustrate this thing thus: A child as soon as it is born, is said to be an innocent, harmless child, free from the guilt or commission of any {personal} sin; is his nature therefore pure, perfect, holy, heavenly, and void of all inclinations to sin? Again, Paul saith of himself, that he was blameless as touching the righteousness of the Law, {Phil.3:6,} before his conversion; had he therefore an adequate righteousness, every way agreeable and equal to the spirituality and holiness of the Law? Before the Law came he had little or no sin, he was lusty and strong in his fleshly confidence, he came into no misfortune or danger of his life; but when the Law entered, his sin abounded, his strength weakened, his life withered and died. {Rom.5:20, 7:9} Sin was in his nature before, but not discovered till the Commandment came; it lay in him as a dead thing, underground, out of sight, and out of mind, it troubled him not, it was as a benumbed or dead member, he was not sensible of it at all. Without the Law, sin is dead. {Rom.7:8} Thus the first Adam, as he was created innocent, {so they speak,} harmless, and void as yet of doing any evil till the act of his disobedience in eating; but his condition, state, or nature, in the day of his Creation, was not as pure, perfect, and holy as the Law of God; and the commandment came unto him to kill him, to make sin abound and become exceeding sinful, that he might not think his present state sufficient, and content himself therewith, but die unto that, and seek a better state in Christ. He was naked and without the Wedding garment at first, {Gen.2:25 – Note: Nakedness is want of Divine Righteousness,} but was not ashamed of his nakedness; he was showed, told, and convinced of his nakedness by his presumptuous undertaking, of being more perfect in his own way; and therefore God reasons thus with him; “who told thee that thou wast naked; Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? {Gen.3:11} Thus Adam who was alive before the commandment came, is now killed by the Letter, and dies to that first life, his resurrection to a better life being by the Promised Seed. Mr. Baker: But Adam in his Creation was not as Paul and all men else, or as children are now since the Fall, defiled with any original pollution. Answer: First; I do not say that Adam was contaminated with any act of sin, or uncleanness before his fall; yet this doth not prove him to be as exactly holy and perfect as the Law, for if he had been so, how came he so crooked and contrary to the Law? The perfection of the Law consists in perpetuity as well as in purity and such should the state of Adam have been if it had been equal to the Law. Yet, Secondly; if Adam had not in him the Principles and Seeds of sin, how could he have transgressed and become a sinner? For the spawn of wickedness and evil in the Devil had not been enough to produce and propagate the prodigious off-spring of iniquity and sin, unless there had been suitable matter in the nature of Adam to mix with his serpentine suggestion and temptation. It is said, {Jn.14:30,} that the Prince of the world came to Christ, and found nothing in him. He could never fasten any temptation on Christ, all his assaults could not prevail over him; had he found as little in the first Adam, as he did in the Second, there had been the like success, {Mt.4:11,} and no monster of Misery had been brought into the World. Henry Pinnell {Word of Prophesy, 1648}

Death in Adam – Life in Christ: Adam was created in a wealthy state, inasmuch as he was not at all indebted to the Law, though he was not in possession or seized of the true riches of Divine Righteousness and Glory. He had the perfection of an earthy nature by Creation; but he had the participation of the divine nature by Promise. {Gen.3:15, II Pet.1:4} He had all moral and natural excellency belonging to his earthy and created state; but was he ever the more endowed with the true treasure of divine righteousness and holiness, for having the image and superscription of the Heavenly King, upon no more but a piece of earth and clay? It must be more current coin of the purest silver and gold upon which the Kings picture must be stamped to make a man really rich in the possession of it. It must be the divine nature, Jesus Christ the Second Adam, the Heavenly Man, that Eternal Word of God, the purity of which is that upon which God stamps his glory, and by which man is eternally happy. Adam had a virgin-like innocency in his created state; but not a Matrimonial Union unto God; or, at best, he was bound to God but with the bond of creation, which was as himself earthy; or the bond of the first Covenant, the Covenant of works; during which time he was barren and unfruitful in the knowledge of God, and in respect of any spiritual issue of divine comfort, immortal peace, joy unspeakable and glorious, &c. But {in the second Adam} God doth betroth his people to Himself, in Mercy, Righteousness, and Truth, {Hos.2:19,20,} whereby they shall KNOW the Lord; their Espousals are forever, and such as whereby they have a true Spiritual knowledge of God. The Lord hath united his people to himself in Christ, by a New Covenant, the Covenant of Grace; such a Matrimonial engagement that cannot admit of a divorce; such sweet enjoyments have they from Him, such Conjugal and Spiritual Communion with Him, that they increase and multiply in their Joys, Peace, Comfort, Rest, and the barren is made fruitful and a joyful mother of many children. {Is.54:1-5, Ps.113:9} Henry Pinnell {Word of Prophesy, 1648}

Death in Adam – Life in Christ: Tis true, Adam was made right, strait, direct, even, plain, smooth, upright, but not righteous or holy; or if naturally and morally righteous and holy; yet not spiritually so. He had a rectitude, a purity and perfection in its kind, answerable to his created being. The first Adam had no more than a terrestrial body, and a glory suitable unto it; but the glory of terrestrial is one and the glory of celestial is another. The glory of Adam was as far inferior to the glory of Christ, as the Moon and Stars are below the Sun. The glory of the first Adam was to fall like the stars, and totally to be eclipsed, as the moon may be. His state, and even the ministration of his condemnation was Glory, how much rather then shall the Dispensation of Righteousness by the second Adam exceed in Glory? For even that glorious state of Adam, which was but mean and transitory, had no glory in respect of Christ’s glory, which excelleth and remaineth, {II Cor.3:10,11,} as the Apostle discourses concerning the transcending liberty of the Saints under the Dispensation of the Everlasting Gospel by the Spirit of Glory, above what the Jews had under the beggarly Rudiments of the Law. So far as the Natural Jew can heighten himself towards perfection by all the furniture and accommodations of the worldly Sanctuary and the carnal Commandment, so far may he be a Post-representation {if I may so say} unto us of the first Adam. For as the first Temple was to be destroyed, and all the Worship and Services thereunto to belonging to be abolished; as the outward Jew was to be cut off, that the inward Jew might sprout forth; so may we thereby be put in mind, that we cannot enter into our Heavenly House, Christ Jesus, that building of God; till this earthy house, the Natural state of the first Adam be dissolved. {II Cor.5:1} We take not possession of our glorious Mansion-house, Christ Jesus, in the promised Seed, till our old mud-wall, earthy house of the first Adam be fallen about our ears, and become a ruinous heap; and God {as the Apostle saith of the Law and first Covenant} taketh away the first Adam, and subjected the first Creation to Vanity, that he may bring in the second Adam, who established and sustained all things by the word of his power, {Heb.10:9,} and with him a better hope, {Heb.7:19,} the hope of gaining a better state in Christ than was lost by Adam. When the soul is once environed with, and wrapped up in the glory of Christ Jesus, it will tread and trample upon all the excellency of the earthy man. It will not disdain and scorn the sublunary dross and dung of his fallen state only, but it will also despise and contemn the very lunary glory, the shining excellencies, the gold, silver, pearls and precious stones, the perfection of the natural and created state. Henry Pinnell {Word of Prophesy, 1648}

Death in Adam – Life in Christ: Objection - But Adam was made in the likeness and Image of God; and is not that spiritual? Assertion – First; no likeness is the same, for Adam was made in a similitudinary and adumbrate Righteousness and Holiness, but not in Righteousness and Holiness of Truth. {Eph.4:24} Secondly; he was the shadow of the Substance, the picture of the Body. If a Painter draw the picture of a man never so exactly, will you say it is a living picture? Thirdly; if the image of God in Adam be enough to make him spiritually holy and perfect, how will you defend Christ from being a sinner? For it is said, that God made his Son of a woman, under the Law, and sent Him in the likeness of sinful flesh. {Gal.4:4, Rom.8:3} Therefore Christ was really a sinner, if your line of argumentation we follow? Yet this is your ratiocination, and the manner of your dispute. Adam {you say} was made in the likeness of God, who is unequivocally holy, and therefore Adam was so too. Why will not my argument hold as well as yours? And then it follows, that because Christ was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, therefore he had sinful flesh really in him and about him, more than by imputation only, if Adam had a spiritual holiness more than by imputation. Fourthly; not to dispute the rise and original of the soul, whether it be by propagation or infusion? I conceive Adam may be said to be made in the Image of God in a two-fold consideration. 1. Either as he was a living soul. In the Gospel according to Luke the third chapter, and verse 38, Adam is called the Son of God, as Enoch was the Son of Seth, and as Seth was the Son of Adam, for there the Genealogy of Christ after the flesh, is carried back and driven upward from Joseph, and terminated in God. Mistake not what I say, but read it with a grain of salt. I do not say, that Adam was the Son of God by natural generation, according to a gross, vulgar and carnal construction, no more than any of the rest were the sons one of another by Creation; but as there was a continued derivation of life, by successive propagation; the fountain of which life was in God. Now as God is said to be the living God, and as Adam is said to be a living soul; so Adam {as living, or having life} may be said to be in the Image of God. This seems to me to be the sense and scope of that in Gen.1:26 compared with Chap.2:7. For that man which God would have to be made in his own image; that man, even when he was completed and perfectly finished; the most that was said of him is that he became a living soul. Here is the altitude and height of the first Adams perfections, as the Apostle takes measure of him: “There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body; and so it is written, the first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.” {I Cor.15:44,45} None can conclude that Adam was spiritual, because he had a natural life. Secondly; Adam may be said to be made in the image of God, as he was a public person, representing Christ; and so he is said to be the figure of him that was to come. {Rom.5:14} Adam was before Christ in priority of time and appearance in the flesh; as the picture of a King sent unto a foreign Princess may be said to be first {discovered and seen} in being in that Country; and thus the Natural is before the Spiritual. {I Cor.15:45} But in priority of cause Christ was before Adam, in the nature of his existence; as the Efficient before the Effect, and as the body or substance must be before the picture which doth represent the body; and thus Christ is Alpha as well as Omega, the beginning and end, the first as well as the last. {Rev.22:13} God, who is Essentially One, hath a three-fold manifestation of Himself. First; in the lifeless and dark shadow of the Law; in the Temple which had a gradual holiness, a place holy, more holy and holiest of all. In the sacrifices, &c. The Law was but the shadow, not the Image. {Heb.10:1} Secondly; in the lively {though dim and dull} semblance of man; in which thick earth the divine majesty had but a little weak splendor and luster. Nor did the eternal power of the Godhead stamp on Adam, make him divine, or of an eternal power like itself; neither did the image of God’s spiritual Righteousness and Holiness in man make him spiritually righteous and holy. The Kings image stamp upon a piece of Clay, doth not make the Clay to be Gold, nor living Clay. Thirdly; in the living substance, Christ Jesus, who is the brightness of his Father’s glory, and the very character of his being. {Heb.1:3} This, and this only is that Son, that only begotten Son, that came out of the bosom of the Father, which alone can spiritually declare and make known God as he is a Spirit, and bring forth abundance of Grace, Righteousness, Life and Immortality to light. {Rom.5:17,18, II Tim.1:10} Immortality comes by Christ; Adam was not Immortal, nor Spiritual. Abraham had two sons, one after the flesh, the other by promise; the elder was after the flesh, and was not to inherit with the younger, which was by promise. {Gal.4:22,23,30} God, the High and Holy One, the Eternal Father hath two Sons, one after the flesh {as I may say} the natural or first Adam; the other after the spirit, Christ, the Promised Seed. The elder son, or first Adam, had not the Inheritance of Righteousness, Life and Glory settled upon him; but Christ, the second Adam, was appointed heir of all things. {Heb.1:2} Ishmael, though he was the first-born of Abraham, had no possession of Abraham’s heritage; the promised Land was not entitled to him, neither was he counted for the seed. And why should we think that Adam, though he was the first-born of God by creation, had an hereditary right to heaven, righteousness or {Divine} holiness, seeing he is not counted for the Seed. The inheritance of true divine righteousness, &c is conferred and confirmed on Christ alone, the spiritual Isaac, and those that are his. {Gal.3:14,16,29} Henry Pinnell {Word of Prophesy, 1648}

Death in Adam – Life in Christ: There is therefore a two-fold image of God. 1. Of Life: In this Adam was formed, when he was made a living soul. This life, and the righteousness, perfection and glory thereof, though it be but natural, is so precious unto man, that skin for skin, and all that he hath will he give for it. {Job.2:4} It is the master-piece of Satan’s temptations, and the last plot usually, that he hath on man to set upon him as he did on Christ. {Matt.4:8,9} The Devil will carry a man to the highest pitch of the first Adam, as to the top of an exceeding high mountain {for Adam’s created state was far more exceedingly high than any present, natural and worldly condition of man now} and there show him all the dominion that Adam had over all that earthly creation, and what a glorious state he was in; and then this old serpent tempted and enticed man to look upon this golden ball of vanity, and accept of it, tells him he shall be {as} God. But the spiritual man discerns and foresees the danger, espies the serpent under the herbs, knows there is death in the apple, and therefore despises all the pompous vanity of the first creation. When Satan, by despair, cannot break a man’s neck from the fall of Adam, he will bring him to the brink and brow of his created state, and from thence endeavor to call him down {as the Jews did to Christ} and make him run headlong to his flattering ruin. {Lk.4:29, 5–6} When the Devil cannot drive a man away from God by the corrupt Adam, he will draw him to himself by the pure Adam, and there hold him as a close prisoner, in fetters of Gold, as he did before in shackles of Iron. The Kingdom, Power, Glory of this creation is delivered to the god of this world. The Serpent took away man’s excellency and glory; the Serpent offers it him again upon terms. Surely that cannot be worth the taking up, which the Devil proffers, and if Satan have dominion, and be lord over man’s riches, to give and take at his pleasure, I can hardly be persuaded that it is spiritual. The enemy of man hath laid his earthy honor in the dust, and trod his life to the ground. I wonder that we should so much dote upon the painted beauty of man! Tis a sign our eyes are weak, and that we are dim-sighted, not able to behold the beauties of holiness in God. Besides, what hope is there for us to recover Adams State? For if there was a total privation, {as doubtless there was of Adams life,} there can be no more regress to it. Adam is not said to swoon or faint, but to die in the day he did eat; not the death of the body, for he lived many hundred years after; but the death of that State, to which he was not to return again. And therefore we are bid to mortify the old man, not labor to recover him to his health and strength. Nor will it serve the turn to say, that as we died in Adam, so we are made alive by Christ; as though our reviving by Christ were no more than a restitution to the life or the first Adam; for our life which we have by Christ, is by Resurrection not by regression; not a returning to the same life, but a raising to another life. There is also the image of God as it consists in knowledge. {Col.3:10} And this image I do not find attributed to Adam; but is peculiarly appropriated to Christ, and those that are his. Not Adam, but Christ hath the spirit of Wisdom and Knowledge; and in Christ not in Adam, are hid all the Treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge. {Col.2:3} If Adam had received a true Spiritual and Divine knowledge of God and Christ in the Tree of Life, he had been immortal and could not have died, for the seed of that Knowledge is Eternal, and so is the fruit too. {Jn. 17:3, I Jn.3:9} Every man is brutish in his knowledge, saith the Prophet. {Jer.10:14} Yea, he is become brutish by his knowledge. {Jer.51:17} Not only in his low, base and fallen state; but even in his high and honorable state; man {in honor} is but as a beast, for want of understanding. {Ps.49:20} Henry Pinnell {Word of Prophesy, 1648}

Fleshly Ordinations and Institutions of Men: It was lawful for the Israelites to take the jewels of silver and gold from the Egyptians that they might spoil the Egyptians. {Ex.3:22,12:35,36} Yet see what a snare these jewels became unto Israel, when their very Priest Aaron himself had converted them to an idolatrous use in the Molten Calf. {Ex.32:4} Now they became so loathsome and odious that Moses burnt those jewels to ashes. The children of Israel could not carry so filthy and abominable thing into the holy and promised land of Canaan. Human learning, natural gifts &c., are the Egyptian jewels of this world, which the Israel of God, the Saints themselves may borrow and wear as ear-rings, for they will serve to adorn a man’s discourse and hang as a jewel in the ear of the Auditor; but such is the madness of outside Jews, Letter-Christians, and formal professors that they must see their god; their god must go before them, for they will not be content with the God of Scripture, but they must have a made god, gods made in a visible and sensible shape that they may see their god before them at all times. But blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed. And such is the rashness, folly, and simplicity of men-priests, who seek the favor and praise of men, more than of God; that to please a giddy, and head strong multitude they will comply and give them what religion, worship, or god they call for. If the vulgar popularity cry up Presbytery, that shall be established for a time, and but for a time, for the tide may turn; Independency may come in fashion, and then very like if that be desired, it will not be denied. The common people must be satisfied or else tithes, dues, and worldly maintenance will fail. Now the ear-rings are called for; gifts, pars, abilities, endowments, these qualifications of nature with a little of the spirit {which may well enough be left out too, were it not for fashion and better sound sake in discourse} will make up a complete Minister. How many having but passed through the sire of an academical education, a sleight and formal examination, and a powerless, weak, and lifeless Ordination, have come forth molten Calves, and many a silly soul hath danced about them as their ghostly-fathers, Oxford-saviors, and petty-gods. When human parts and learning are mixed in the worship of God to specificity, modify, or denominate it, then it becomes Idolatrous. This calf we carry not into Canaan, any otherwise than as Israel having drunk of the water into which the powder was thrown, {Ex.32:20,} might be said to carry the Calf into Canaan; it is not seen nor named under the dispensation of the Spirit. Man’s wisdom and parts may beautify the things of man, but no way adorn the things of God; what need you overlay gold with copper? Do you think that the Israelites were so stupidly ignorant as to take the Molten Calf for the Immortal God; yet when they would have a visible representation of the invisible Being, and change the Glory of the Incorruptible into the image of corruptible man, beasts, &c., God gave them up {as well as the Gentiles} to dote upon and follow that which was not God. {Psal.81:12, Rom.1:21-24} When God speaks to man there is no similitude of Himself {in the wisdom, parts, and excellency of Man, or the Righteousness of the first Adam} to be seen. The ambition and industry of the Creature is to bring down the Creator into the lower region of sensible appearances, to clothe and compass the incomprehensible Deity and Mystery of the Lord Jesus, and the glorious Gospel of God in visible forms and the wisdom of the flesh; and when men have made a god like unto themselves, and fashioned a Religion and Worship after the invention of their own fancies, they are ready to cry out with those at Lystra in the speech of Lycaonia that “the gods are come down to us in the likeness of men.” {Acts 14:11} The longest, largest and widest form, order, and ordination of man is too short strait, and narrow to circumscribe and limit the blessed teaching of the infinite Spirit of the Holy One of Israel. - The language of men is confounded; one calls for Presbytery, and a multiplied Episcopacy is brought up; one cries out, “Here is Christ;” another, “Lo there he is;” every man seeks to set up his form, and would have a shrine made for his own Diana. Tis just with God to bring those down, and leave them below under fleshly forms, and visible sensible appearances, who {like Peter} out of a drowsy and sleepy temper, cannot be contented with Christ alone in the spirit, and that righteousness of God in him, but must have a Tabernacle for Adam also when he appears {like Moses and Elias} in his glory. Henry Pinnell {Word of Prophesy, 1648}

Fleshly Ordinations and Institutions of Men: I approve not any more than you do of precipitate, rash, ignorant fools that run before they are sent into the ministry. If any pretend to have the qualification of the Spirit, and hath it not, reject that man as a Pharisaical hypocrite; but if any have the gift take heed you throw not water in his face to quench the spirit of prophesy in him. If God bid any one to go about his work, let no man discourage or forbid him to do it; Christ will not allow his own beloved disciple to forbid another to do his work, although he hath not the same formal and verbal commission, and doth not walk in the same external call and ceremony of Discipleship with the other. He that never had hands of men laid on him, {Lk.9:49 50,} may cast out as many devils and convert as many souls, as he that goes out with never so many spells and charms of fleshly Ordinations and Institutions of Men. Henry Pinnell {Word of Prophesy, 1648}

Infinite Wisdom of Grace: The Serpent, that most subtle beast in the field of this earthy Creation, which steals into the paradise of man’s natural excellency and glory, and there circumvented him with the enchantments and snares of Death. Cursed Creature! Let it be thrown flat on its belly and let its food be forever nothing but the dusty vanities of the ground that is under foot and trampled upon {like that lofty City, Isa.26:5,6} by the feet of the poor and the steps of the needy, scorned, despised, and slighted saints, let it eat and live only upon the foolish, frothy, fleshly praises of the Natural Man; let its meat be nothing else but the carnal earthy righteousness of that fickle, frail, inconstant, unstable, transient state of the first Adam. And yet, O the depth of the Wisdom and Works of the Lord! How unsearchable is his understanding, counsel, purpose! His ways are in the waters, and the beams of his chambers are there; He hath a sweet and secret entertainment for his people beneath and within the fluctuations, estuations, ragings, foamings, confusions of the sea and waters of this creation; his thoughts towards his saints are very deep; a fool cannot fathom them, an unwise man cannot find them out; for He contrived the way of man’s happiness to lie within the Gates of his Ruin and Destruction, that he which loseth his life may find it. Man’s wisdom of the flesh, his own lust draweth and driveth him to the ditch of Death, {Lam.1:14,15,} this like the Serpent, doth stab man to the heart by a glance upon the rib, {Gen.2:22 & 3:1, &c.,} to say that man’s wisdom was ordained for a trap and snare of death unto him cannot be born, and will not be granted by all; but to say that God did, and doth so order and dispose it to that end, can be denied by none; for the Lord can overwhelm the Egyptian flesh with its chariots and horses, human wisdom and carnal reason, in the self-same sea that he carrieth the true spiritual Israel into the Holy Land. The principles of man’s mortality are seated within himself, but the cause of his health and life is in, and from the Lord. “O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.” {Hos.13:9} Henry Pinnell {Word of Prophesy, 1648}

Infinite Wisdom of Grace: “In a great house {saith the Apostle} there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor.” {II Tim.2:20} It doth not argue want of skill in the workman, nor want of wisdom in the master of the house, in that every vessel is not of gold. But what if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his pleasure known, dashed in pieces the vessel of dishonor, that earthen vessel of the first Adam and his created state, fitted to ruin and destruction; and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of Mercy which he had afore prepared {in Christ, not in Adam} unto glory. What if the wisdom of God {which ordereth all things} disposed so of these things, have you anything to say against it? What if God would make way for the magnifying of his heavenly riches of Grace in Christ, by undermining the earthy treasure of man in the first Adam. It is rather a prudent plot than an improvident folly; and the admiration of Divine Wisdom, no detraction from it, to make darkness first, and then command light to shine out of it. The earthy man in the beginning of his created state was without form, and void of divine righteousness, and then darkness was upon the face of the deep things of God; and when God by his Spirit in the Eternal Word; Christ Jesus had {as now he doth} brought forth light. {Gen.1:2,3, I Cor.2:10, John 1:3-5} Yet he did, and still doth divide and distinguish between the light and darkness. {Gen.1:4,5, I Thes.5:5} Light and Darkness, Earth and Heaven, the First and Second Adam, and their righteousness are not all one, yet God did not want art and skill when he made all these, though he did not make Earth Heaven, nor the first Adam’s righteousness spiritual and heavenly. Henry Pinnell {Word of Prophesy, 1648}

Sin & the Sovereignty of God: Objection - The Cause of the Cause is the cause also of the effect, therefore if Adam had but the seeds and Principles of sin in him, at his Creation, though he were not actually a sinner, yet you make God the author of sin. Assertion - First; what if I say, that God was the cause without which Adam had not fallen, is there any hurt in that? God might have made Adam in such an Immutable condition that he could not have fallen, and then certainly you would have said, God was the cause of his standing. Secondly; a blind child is not in so good a condition as one that hath his eyes; yet the blindness of the child is neither his fault, nor his fathers, though it be the cause of the child’s stumbling and falling. Adam is called the son of God; this Adam was created blind, as to the spiritual understanding of divine things; yet neither did this man {Adam} or {God} his parent sin, in that he was born blind; but that the Workmanship of God in Christ might be manifested in him. {Jn.9:2,3,} It was not the fault, but the Wisdom and pleasure of God to make Adam so, that he might make way for the exaltation of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the magnifying of the riches of his grace and love in Christ. Thirdly; once more take it thus; a virgin not yet deflowered, but retaining still her chastity as in the day she was born, you will not say, but this chaste and pure virgin hath the Seeds and Principles of propagation, and a desire too of natural issue; yet this damsel cannot be reproved of fornication as an harlot, nor hath she sinned if she marry and have children; she is not to be accused of folly, unless she give up herself to a stranger in an illegitimate and meretricious way. Who more chaste and innocent than Adam? Yet did he violate that primitive and created purity, when he turned aside to couple and close with the allurements of the Serpent. He had not offended, if he had betrothed his soul to God in the Sacrament of the tree of life; yea, it had been more honor, happiness and safety for him so to have done. The Devil is called the father of murder and lies; {Jn.8:44;} indeed he is the father of all that is evil; and therefore it is said, that the whole world {all that is of the world in opposition to God} lieth in the Wicked one; {I Jn.5:19;} every wicked and sinful act lieth in the loins of the Devil, as the father thereof; but except Satan had gendered with the heart of Adam, there had been no such bare born brat as sin ever brought into the World, there was first lust in Adam, which by the injections of Satan, conceived and brought forth sin; {James 1:13-15;} when he had completely finished his sin in the actual eating of the forbidden fruit, then he died and not before, {Gen.2:17,} though he was mortal at first. Satan is the father, man’s heart the mother of all evil. Henry Pinnell {Word of Prophesy, 1648}

Unction from the Holy One: Immediate Revelations, you said, are not to be expected nowadays. How then can you judge between truth and falsehood? Or so peremptorily conclude me to be in an error, seeing you acknowledge your ignorance in human learning, which, you say, is necessary to the better understanding of spiritual things? If you rely on other men’s opinion, and resolve to be of their judgment, your faith will stand in the wisdom of men, not in the power of God; and why may not one man {the wisest man} deceive you as well as another? If human learning and the wisdom of this world be so necessary, what then is the meaning of that in Matthew 11:25, “At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.” It may be said of learned as well as of great men, that they are not always wise. - I deny not but that godliness and the mystery of God may be bestowed upon men of learning, but I say also that it is not committed to the learning of men, so as that, thereby they should be more qualified for the dispensation of the Everlasting Gospel. But if man’s wisdom be set in the chair and called Rabbi, Father, Master, or Doctor; if it be any ways ascribed unto either for generation or education of the new man, I detest and abhor it, as the vilest supposition in the world, and as a thing so bad as that I lack a word to express my utter hatred of it. - Who think that the qualifications of a Minister are to be purchased with the cost of education at some University? It should have no place in the Worship of God, though it may be allowed in the worshippers. The tools of man will pollute the Altar of God. {Ex.20:25} - Tis not the work of man, but of God, to persuade the heart. Paul may plant in the ear of Lydia, but God must give the increase in her heart. {Acts 16:14} Paul, and other men, may sow the divine seed in the letter thereof, in the sense of hearing and the rational faulty of the understanding; but God must break and pierce those clods of earth, flesh and natural reason; he must thoroughly open the carnal heart, before there can be any increase or fruit springing up in the spirit, before there can be any improvement of that seed unto the knowledge of the Divine Mystery. Henry Pinnell {Word of Prophesy, 1648}

Posted March 18, 2013

{Writings of Thomas Collier}

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

Posted March 19, 2013

{Writings of Thomas Collier}

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

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

Posted March 20, 2013

{Writings of Thomas Collier}

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

Posted March 22, 2013

{Writings of Thomas Collier}

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

Posted March 24, 2013

{Selection of the Week}

Particular & Effectual Redemption in Christ: For whomsoever Christ died, for them also he rose again, and for them he sits at the right hand of God, and makes intercession for them. This four-fold golden chain is so sure and strong that it can in no wise be broken or divided. It may, and is, and must be distinguished; but it neither may, nor must be broken. This four-fold glorious work of the Son of God, Paul linked together in one golden chain. “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” {Rom.8:34} And upon this ground he triumphed in behalf of himself and others who have a part in the same love of Christ, saying, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ.” And Isaiah saith, “He poured out his soul unto death, and he was numbered with transgressors, and he bear the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Where the prophet linked these together, “He bear the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Those whose sins he bare, for them also he made intercession. And the Apostle John teaches us, that those for whom Christ is the propitiation, he is for them also an Advocate with the Father. Saith he, “My little children, if any of us do sin {though let us take heed of sinning} we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous.” How doth he prove that? Saith he, “He is the propitiation for our sins;” that is, He who is the propitiation, or reconciliation for our sins, he is without doubt our Advocate also with the Father. {I Jn.2:1,2} And indeed propitiation and advocation are inseparable benefits; for he that hath an interest in the one, hath an interest in the other also. Propitiation is the ground of advocation, and advocation is a fruit necessarily and inseparably flowing from Propitiation. Neither is advocation without propitiation, neither doth propitiation go alone, to any persons, without the power and benefit of advocation. And therefore those who go about to divide advocation from propitiation pervert the Scriptures and divide Christ. And again Paul witnesses, that those who have a part in the death of Christ, they have a part in his resurrection also. “He was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” {Rom.4:25} From all this that hath been said, it is manifest, that whosoever hath a part in the death of Christ, they have a part in his resurrection, in his sitting at the right hand of God, and in his intercession also. And is this any less than salvation? Those who have a part in these things, are they not saved? Hence I conclude, that seeing all persons have not a part in the benefit of his resurrection, advocation, or intercession at the right hand of God, neither have they a part in the benefit of his death, or sufferings; for these benefits are inseparably linked together; for they that have a part in the one, have a part in the other also. Secondly, those whom Jesus Christ redeemed, he redeemed them as he is a Priest, a King and a Prophet. These are inseparable benefits. Whosoever hath a part in one, hath a part in all; for though they must be distinguished, they must not be divided. And this indeed, the Son of God is a complete Savior and Redeemer. The Scripture doth not teach us, that Christ is a Redeemer, or Savior, as he is a Priest only, {to shed blood, or to offer sacrifice} but as he is a King and Prophet also, applying to us the benefit of his Priesthood or bloodshed, ruling in us, and teaching us the things which concern our peace. It is said of Christ, “Thou art a Priest forever after the order of Melchisedec.” And what was this Melchisedec? He was first by interpretation, King of Righteousness, and after that also, King of Salem, which was King of Peace. So that such a Priest Christ was, a Kingly Priest, a ruling Priest, a teaching Priest, a Priest with a Crown upon his head, and a Scepter of Righteousness in his hand. And thus indeed Christ is a perfect and complete Savior. Neither is he a Savior to rely in point of Salvation otherwise than as he is a complete and perfect Savior to them, this thing Isaiah teaches, when he saith, “By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” {Is.53:11} Where it is evident, that these to whom he is a Priest, bearing their iniquities; to them he is a Prophet also, instructing them in the knowledge of himself unto justification. Thus, he is a Ransom, a Redeemer, a Savior, and no otherwise. And hence it appears, that he shed not his blood for all persons, neither have all a part in him, as he is a Priest, seeing that by his Kingly and Prophetical power, he doth not apply to them the benefit of his Priesthood; for these are inseparable benefits, those who have a part in one, have a part in all; and they who have not a part in all, have a part in none; and those who go about to divide these, they divide Christ. Thirdly, Christ shed his blood only for those upon whom he sprinkles the same, to the purging of their conscience, and the remission of their sins. Neither doth the Lamb of God any otherwise take away the sins of any, or redeem any, but by sprinkling his blood upon them. Neither doth his blood any otherwise take away our sins, by as it is sprinkled upon our conscience by the Spirit of God, drawing our hearts to believe in him. Neither did he shed his precious blood for any {nor for any other end} but for those upon whom he sprinkles the same for remission of sins. This is most evident from those patterns of heavenly things under the Law. “For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” {Heb.9:19-22} And in the 13th verse of the same chapter it is said, that the blood of Bulls, and of Goats, & the ashes of an Heifer, SPRINKLING the unclean, did sanctify to the purifying of the flesh. And whosoever shall read with understanding, what the Holy Spirit witnesses in the Scriptures: Ex.12:7,13 & 24:5-8 & 29:16,20 & 21; Lev.1:5,11 & 3:2,8,13 & 4:6,7,17,18,25,26,30,31 & 5:9,10 & 7:2 & 8:15,18,19,23,24 & 9:12,18 & 14:6,7 & 19:17,18,19; they shall find that the people were legally cleansed by the sprinkling of blood, and almost all things under the Law were purged by the sprinkling of the blood shed; and without sprinkling or application of the blood shed there was no remission or atonement. Now if it was necessary that the patterns of heavenly things should be thus purged; namely, by the sprinkling or application of blood; then {without doubt} the things themselves {of which those were a pattern} are so purged also; that is, there is no taking away of sin, no reconciliation, redemption, or atonement wrought for any, but by the sprinkling or application of the blood of Christ upon them. Hence it is, that the blood of Christ is called the blood of sprinkling. {I Pet.1:2 & Heb.12:24} Neither is it any other way of use to us, neither doth it any other way speak good for us before God, but as it is sprinkled upon our conscience by the power of the Spirit. Therefore Isaiah saith that Christ shall SPRINKLE his blood upon them; for that which hath not been told them shall they see, and that which they have not heard, shall they understand. {Is.52:15} And thus indeed Christ doth redeem or purchase us with his own blood. Neither are any persons redeemed, or purchased, or reconciled with the blood of Christ, neither have they any part in his death or blood-shed, who have not their consciences sprinkled with the blood of Christ. Neither doth his blood any other way redeem, purchase, reconcile, or make atonement, but as it is the blood of sprinkling. Wherefore it is most certain, that all persons are not redeemed, or reconciled by the death or blood-shed of Jesus Christ, seeing he shed his blood for none, but those upon whom he sprinkles the same, to the purging of their consciences and remission of their sins. His blood is the blood of sprinkling. Fourthly, the End of Christ’s death or sufferings was not to redeem or save any by the halves, but fully and forever to redeem and save. And surely, the Son of Man did not fail to fulfill what was the End of his dying. The Son of God did not come into the world, and lay down his life to work a half redemption, or salvation, but to work a perfect and complete redemption and salvation. “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” {I Tim.1:15} He doth not say, Half to save them, but to save them; that is, fully to save them as Paul was saved; for such a saving he there speaks of. And Christ thus witnesses of himself, “the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost; that is, to find out and fully to save lost sinners; to save them as Zacheus was saved; for such a seeking and saving he there speaks of. And Isaiah witnesses, that the very End of the travail of Christ’s soul was to bring forth a seed. “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief; when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.” {Is.53:10} And again, “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.” {53:11} This is a glorious mystery. Why did the Son of God suffer such child-bearing pangs? Why did he undergo such a painful travail? Was it not to bring forth a seed? Was not this the very end? It is therefore most certain, that the very end of the death of Christ was to bring forth a seed, to work a full redemption, to save sinners; that is, to heal them of their blindness, pride, rebellion, obstinacy; to deliver them from the power of sin and Satan, to make them alive, to bring them to God, to enable them to believe in him unto remission of sins, and to carry them on in believing, by his power unto salvation. This is the redemption, and this the salvation which Christ came into the world to work. This was the very end of his dying. And I say further, that as the Son of God did come into the world, and suffered death for this very end; so he did not fail to fulfill the same; for he was every way prepared to do the work; he wanted neither willingness, ability, nor faithfulness to do the work most perfectly. Hence it is that the Scripture thus witnesses of him, “I have laid help upon one that is MIGHTY; I have exalted one chosen out of the people.” {Ps.89:19} And it is said of him, “who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah; this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, MIGHTY to save.” {Is.63:1} And Zacharias speaking of his power prophesied, saying, “blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, and hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David.” {Lk.1:68,69}  Neither was his willingness and faithfulness less than his power; for he witnesses himself, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” {Jn.4:34} And in another place he saith, “Lo, I come {in the volume of the book it is written of me,} to do thy will, O God;” {Heb.10:7;} and Isaiah speaking of him, saith, “the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand;” {Is.53:10;} and to put all out of doubt, Christ further witnesses of himself, “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” {Jn.17:4} Now then, if this was the very end of Christ’s coming into the world, and of his suffering in the world, to work a full, perfect, and eternal redemption; and if he did not fail to fulfill and finish this work; if indeed he did prosper in it; {for so the Scripture saith, “by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us;”} then surely, they are much mistaken, who say, that JESUS CHRIST died for all persons, and that he hath redeemed all persons, seeing that all those whom Christ hath redeemed he hath redeemed with a perfect and everlasting redemption; and this was the very end of his death or sufferings. Fifthly; Reconciliation, Redemption, Atonement, Remission of Sins, Justification, are in the Scripture sense one and the same fruit, or benefit flowing from the death of CHRIST; and they are usually in the Scripture put one for another. Let the Reader diligently consider these Scriptures: Rom.5:8-11; Eph.2:7; Col.1:14,21,22; II Cor.5:18,19. In which last place the Apostle saith, “all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ;” and whereas he saith in the twentieth verse, “we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God;” he means, ‘We beseech you to believe in Jesus Christ unto reconciliation or remission of sins.’ Neither are we to understand this, as though those to whom he writes it, were now enemies or unreconciled ones; {for it is against the scope and nature of the Epistle so to understand it; for it is certain, he writes to them as believers in Christ, such as were reconciled to God through Christ;} but he here puts them in mind, that when they did formerly preach the Gospel to them, they came to them as the Ambassadors of Christ, with the Message of Christ, beseeching them to believe in Christ Jesus unto reconciliation or remission of sins. Now then, if reconciliation, redemption, atonement, remission of sins, not imputing of sins and justification, be in the Scripture sense, one and the same fruit flowing from the death of Christ; and that it is usual in the Scripture to put one for another, as the understanding Reader may well perceive; then surely, redemption, atonement, reconciliation by Christ is another thing then many take it for. And it is most sure, that Christ died for those only who do receive redemption, reconciliation, atonement, remission of sins, justification by Jesus Christ. Robert Garner {Mysteries Unveiled; wherein the Doctrine of Redemption by Jesus Christ, flowing from the glorious Grace, and everlasting Love of God, the very fountain of Life and Salvation unto lost Sinners is Handled, 1646}

Note: There is little known about the life of this author; apart from the fact that Garner wrote in 1645 a book entitled A TREATISE ON BAPTISM, wherein is clearly proved the lawfulness and usefulness of Believers Baptism; as also the sinfulness and vanity of Infants Baptism. This book entitled MYSTERIES UNVEILED was written one year later in 1646, and contains a preface written by the Baptist Hanserd Knollys. Some believe that Garner was perhaps a member of Knollys’ London Congregation. 

Posted March 27, 2013

{Writings of Thomas Collier}

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

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

Posted March 28, 2013

{Writings of Thomas Collier}

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

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

Posted March 31, 2013

{Selection of the Week}

Holiness unto the Lord: A second ground and reason why it ever becometh God’s people to be an holy people is because God hath chosen them thereunto in Christ, before the foundation of the world, as the Apostle teaches the Ephesians. “According as he hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” {Eph.1:4} In this Scripture we may note these three particulars: First - God’s choice of his people. Secondly - Upon what account this choice is made; and that is, not our works foreseen, but Christ’s merits, as God hath chosen us in Him. Thirdly - To what end this choice is made; and that is, that we should be holy, and without blame before him in love. But if it be asked how hath God chosen his people in his Son unto holiness before the foundation of the world? I answer, God did from eternity see the lost condition of his people, through their transgression of his Law, and their defacing his Image of holiness, in which he did at first create them. He also did foresee, and in Himself purpose and decree a satisfaction to his Justice, in and by Jesus Christ, by his obedience to his just Law, which man had transgressed; and by his suffering death for sin in their same human nature that had sinned, that thereby a perfect Righteousness and Justification might be wrought for mankind, that all those who through grace, and the operations of the Holy Spirit are in time brought over to believe in Jesus Christ, should be justified from all things, from which they could not be justified by the Law, and sanctified to the obedience of Christ, and to acceptance with the Father through him. And so God beholding his people from eternity in that righteousness that Christ by his perfect obedience to the Law should in time obtain; and in that Satisfaction which he should make to Divine Justice by his sufferings on the cross; God also beholding his people in that work of regeneration and sanctification, which in time Christ by his Spirit should work and effect in them, did accept and choose them in this means, to be a people to the praise and glory of his grace; in relation whereunto are these words of the Apostle to the Ephesians. “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} So that God’s people ought ever to be an holy people, because they are chosen thereunto from eternity. A third ground and reason why it ever becometh God’s people to be an holy people is because they are called thereunto with an holy calling, as the Apostle to the Thessalonians saith, “for God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.” {I Thes.4:7} The Apostle also writing to Timothy, speaking in the words before of God, “who {saith he} hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,.” {II Tim.1:9} In these words we have the Lord’s act of saving his people, set forth unto us in two particulars. First, he saved us; secondly, he called us; whereby the term ‘saved,’ I do apprehend that free and full redemption from sin and the wrath of God due to man for sin, which Jesus Christ, the unspotted Lamb of God, hath by his perfect obedience wrought for mankind; for which obedience sake, the Father doth give to his people a free and full remission of their sins with everlasting salvation. {Rom.3:24,25, Eph.1:5-8} By the term ‘called,’ I understand the operating power of Christ’s Spirit, bringing persons into the way of salvation, and investing them with a holy calling, whereby they may receive the privileges of the Gospel; that is, Adoption, Sanctification, and Justification, {Jn.1:12, I Cor.6:11,} which the Spirit of Christ doth work either immediately, as in the Apostles, or more ordinarily in the ministry of the Word, plainly and purely set forth to the understanding, {enlightening the understanding, quickening the apprehension, informing the judgment, rectifying the will, renewing the mind, regulating the affections, and persuading the heart to take Christ, to trust in Christ, to rely upon Christ and to obey Christ} to the producing Faith, Regeneration, and Sanctification, whereby the creature is called forth to walk with God in that way whereunto it hath pleased the Father to annex the promise of salvation, according to those words of the Apostle to the Thessalonians, “but we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth; whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” {II Thes.2:13,14} {Salvation is on God’s part an act of mercy; on Christ’s part an act of merit; on man’s part it is undeserved in its best obedience; for, “it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.”} Believers therefore are the persons that are saved and called, not according to their works, but according to the purpose and grace of God, given in Christ Jesus before the world began; so that man’s works are no ways meritorious of salvation, nor any original ground of God’s love to man; but Justification, Sanctification, and Glorification together with all the means appertaining thereunto are God’s free gift to man upon the account of Jesus Christ alone. Furthermore; we may know our holiness by our heavenliness; for hath the Lord through the illuminations of his Spirit, and the operations thereof, manifested to thy soul the great sufferings of Christ, to procure the pardon of thy sins, together with the privileges of Adoption, justification and Salvation? Hath he showed thee the dignity of Christ, in respect of his offices, King, Priest and Prophet? Hath he sealed the benefits and privileges thereof to thy soul, with the Signet of his love through the demonstrations of his Holy Spirit to thy great consolation in the enjoyments thereof; so that thy mind and affections are thereby raised up from earthly and carnal objects and seated on God with so earnest a desire and delight in him, that thou canst truly say with the psalmist, “Whom have I in heaven but thee; and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.” {Ps.73:25} “Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage forever; for they are the rejoicing of my heart.” {Ps.119:111} When thou canst experience by a supernatural work of grace, that thy affections are so fixed on the Lord, that thou canst sincerely love him for his own sake; and in love to him, bear an affectionate esteem to, and delight in his Testimonies, Statutes, Ordinances, and Commands, so as to make them thy choice; {Ps.119:30;} or chosen subjects of thy meditations, and rule of observations; when thou canst experience thy will by grace, made free to stand in the will of God, so as in love to him, submit and wait upon him in all his dispensations; serve, worship and obey him in all his institutions; when thou canst experience thy desires drawn forth towards him, with holy longings, thirstings and paintings after more enjoyments of him, and supplications to him for further strength and power of grace to assist thee, support and uphold thee against those corruptions and temptations that attend thee, lest thou shouldest thereby be overcome to sin against God to the dishonor of his Name, the grief of his Spirit and stain the profession of his truth. Note by the way, that when a peoples sacrifice of prayer, and praise and other obedience doth arise from an indwelling of the Spirit of faith and sanctifying grace, and is offered upon the Altar, Jesus Christ, in the Golden Censer of his merits; this doubtless is highly accepted of God. Josias Bonham {The Churches Glory; or, the Becoming Ornament; being a Seasonable Word, Tending to the Provoking, Encouraging, and Perfecting of Holiness in Believers, 1674}


                 Index of Authors                

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