May 2012

Posted May 10, 2012

Exhortations unto Watchfulness against Sin

Observe how sin enters thy heart, and how it gathers strength, and how it suits with thy corrupt nature, and how the Spirit of God helps thee to resist it, and what means doth help thee most against it. Judge not of sin by the matter or act of it, but by the rule and authority of the Commander that forbids it, and consider all the circumstances and aggravations of it. Take heed least the unmortified roots of sin in you break out into scandal. Be afraid to sin, and use means to prevent sin. Consider that God hath forbidden it. Consider sin in the nature of it, in the root and fruit thereof. It is the price of blood; and there is no true sweetness in sin, no contentment, no satisfaction in it, why you should desire it; it fills the soul with wounds, sorrow, bitterness, and shame. Let experience speak. “What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed; for the end of those things is death.” {Rom.6:21} “The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.” {Pro.23:8} Avoid the occasions of sin and evil company. “I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.” {Ps.119:63} “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise; but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” {Pro.13:20} Avoid places and provocations of sin, idleness, excess in eating and drinking; order your steps by the Word, and get others to watch over you, receive reproof willingly and profitably; know, the more you yield to Satan, the more you may continue to yield, he useth to double his temptations when resisted, but give no place to the Devil; if ye yield, it will be harder to resist the next time. Consider thy relation; art thou a child of God, an heir of heaven, then it is unsuitable for thee to serve Satan, to do his drudgery. “Ye have not so learned Christ.” {Eph.4:20} “I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind.”{Eph.4:17} “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity.” {Tit.2:14} If tempted; answer, I am chosen to be holy, that I may not sin. {Rom.8:29} Consider that the eye of God is ever upon you. “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” {Pro.15:3} “By mercy and truth iniquity is purged; and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.” {Pro.16:6} Can you consider that, and yet sin in so Holy a presence? Remember Christ’s love, nourish the motions of the Spirit. “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.” {Gal.5:16} Nourish zeal and hatred against sin, every sin. “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” {Pro.4:23} - Consider the time ye are to live is but short, and the pleasures of sin are but for a season, and that a short one. {Heb.11:25,26} Hearken to the voice of Conscience, lest it be silent, and ye be hardened. “He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.” {Pro.29:1} When the pleasure of sin is presented to thee, present to thyself the sting that it will leave behind it; also present to thyself a greater and better pleasure and sweetness to be enjoyed with God. Mind home, and the pleasures there, that are for evermore. Set your affections on things above, where Christ and Glory is; and “so run, that ye may obtain.” {I Cor.9:24} Watch and pray for strength against sin; at the first approach of sin, change the object, and fall to prayer, be not discouraged; if foiled, continue to resist; believe against experience, God will help thee against it. Apply suitable promises against sin. Consider “yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” {Rom.6:11} “Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.” {Psal.119:6} Samuel Richardson {Divine Consolations, Part One, 1649}

Exhortations unto Faithfulness in Reproving Sin

Reprove sin in others, in case none else do. Consider, by silence when sin is committed we have fellowship with it, and break God’s command; defile our own souls, loose comfort, encourage and harden others in sin. It's God’s command, that those who sin should be rebuked before all. “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” {I Tim.5:20} Thou shalt reprove him. {Lev.19:17} - Can we hear false things spoken, and God’s truth, his way, and people condemned, and be silent, where is our zeal? God commends it for a virtue in his people that they could not bear with them that are evil. {Rev.2:2} To see and hear sin committed with silence, is to bear it. - Reproof of sin, is a means to prevent the contagiousness of sin. “Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” {I Cor.5:6.} “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” {I Tim.5:20} - Silence is confirmation. God deals with those that were present and silent at the committing of sin as if they had done it. “And if a soul sin, and hear the voice of swearing, and is a witness, whether he hath seen or known of it; if he do not utter it, then he shall bear his iniquity.” {Lev.5:1} Not to reprove sin, is to have fellowship with it. “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” {Eph.5:11} “Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.” {Rev.2:20} {Josh.22:18-20.} Hence the saints are called to come out of Babylon, that they might not be partakers of their sins. {Rev.18:2-4} “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness; and what communion hath light with darkness; and what concord hath Christ with Belial; or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel; and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” {II Cor.6:14-18} “I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.” {Pro.5:14} Lastly, God saith, “He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; he shall dwell on high; his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks; bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.” {Isa.33:15-16} Which shows they can by no means endure it. Samuel Richardson {Divine Consolations, Part One, 1649}

Divine Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures

Demonstrations that the Scriptures are of God, and from God. The Scriptures are either from God, or from men; and they are not from men, for these reasons: 1. Because neither the folly nor wisdom of man can effect such a work, to compose the Scriptures, for men as men cannot understand the meaning of them. If they had originally been from men, the same wisdom that invented them, could understand them; but seeing men cannot understand the meaning of them, nor agree upon any meaning of them, it appears they are a mystery above the reach of nature. 2. They are not from men, because it condemns that which is most excellent in nature, as it condemns the wisdom of man to be foolishness, in that it cannot understand it, and seeing they cannot know it, they could not cause it; also it is against reason for anything to condemn itself. Is it not quite contrary to nature, to condemn that which is most excellent in nature? The wisdom of man is most excellent in nature, therefore the wisdom of nature was not the Author of the Scripture; also man’s wisdom esteems the wisdom of it to be foolishness. Contraries cannot agree! 3. The Scriptures are not from men, because the whole scope and drift of the Scriptures tend wholly to destroy that which the nature of man loveth most, as the way and will of man; yea it requires him to deny himself; what is more contrary to nature than this? Therefore this never came from the nature of man; besides, it is a strong argument, that the Scriptures came not originally from man, but from God, because they are no whit agreeable to our natures. Hence it is worth observing, that we naturally choose and delight to read any Book rather than the Scriptures; as we see by experience, that those that read much, read little in the Scriptures. 4. Because the Scriptures require that which is beyond the power of man to do, as that he should deny himself, which to do requires a divine power, as the Scriptures and experience teach. Self is for itself, how then can self deny itself? Nature doth not require, nor desire any such thing, therefore it's required by some other, which must needs be God. Scripture affirms that which is impossible to the reason, nature, and wisdom of man, as that a Virgin should conceive a Son; this is beyond the reach of nature, and therefore it is from God. 5. The Scriptures are not from men, because the more any are ruled by it, and obey it, the more they are hated and persecuted by men; which shows it was never the will of man, and therefore it came not from nature, but from God. 6. The Scriptures came from God, because they tend to God. This is a rule in nature, as everything tends to its center; a stone to the earth, the waters to the Sea from whence they came; and so the Scriptures tend to God. They run to God, they show God in his goodness, wisdom, power, and love. In the Scriptures there is a Divine wisdom, as they speak for God, they call men to God, and to be for God, which is the center of the Scriptures. 7. The Scriptures are not from men, because the way of bringing them forth into the world, is quite contrary to the wisdom and expectation of man, who in great matters imply persons that are wise, great, and honorable; but they came forth in a quite contrary way, in that mean and contemptible tradesmen, fisher-men, and tent-makers, &c. were the publishers and pen-men of the Scriptures, although at the same time there were men naturally wise & learned at Athens. 8. The Scriptures are from God, because God hath wonderfully & strangely preserved them, in making the Jews, who were enemies to Christ, and his words, preservers of the Scriptures; also in preserving them, when the greatest men have sought their destruction, by searching for them, and burning them, &c. The like preservation cannot be declared of any other writings that have had so great opposition. 9. The miracles which were wrought at the first publishing of the Scriptures, prove them to be from God; and that there were such miracles, we have the testimony of those who were enemies to Christ, and the Scriptures; those Jews who did not own Christ, nor his doctrine, who lived in Christ’s time; saying that, “there was a man, one Jesus {if I may call him a man} who did great miracles, &c.,” as Josephus & others in their writings do testify. Now what reason can be given, that the enemies to Christ, and his doctrine, should confess such things of Christ if they were not true? 10. Lastly; we know the Scriptures to be from God because we see in our days some of those things the Scriptures have foretold, come to pass; which things came not to pass in the course of nature, nor in the eye of reason, as Mat.24:5,24, Luke 12:52, 53, I Tim.4:1, II Tim.3:1-7, &c. To believe the Scriptures are of Divine Inspiration is a work of faith, and unless the Holy Spirit persuade the soul of the truth of them, there will be doubting; and the Lord will persuade his of the truth of them, and of their interest in them. Seeing the Scriptures came from God by divine inspiration, they must needs be truth, therefore we ought to believe what it saith, and rest upon it, whether there be reason to satisfy reason or no. Our reason is blind and corrupt. Seeing they are by the Inspiration of God, it should cause us to prize and love the Word of the Lord. David did so, “O how love I thy law; it is my meditation all the day.” {Psa.119:97} He loved it vehemently, exceedingly, unspeakably. The Saints love the Word, and they are not ashamed to declare their love to it; they love it for the excellency that is in it; they see love, wisdom, truth, purity, &c. Psa 119:140  “Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.” “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” “Thou art near, O LORD; and all thy commandments are truth.” {Psal.119:140,105 & 151.} - Seeing they are the Inspiration of God, it should cause us to cleave to the Scriptures, hear nothing against them; and prove all things by them.  Samuel Richardson {Divine Consolations, Part One, 1649}

Watchfulness against Sin

Every day to watch against every sin, and plead not for any sin, not lessen it under no pretense of corruption, temptation, the sweetness and smallness of it, nor inwardly to favor it, but resolve and watch against all sin, with the occasions and appearances of it, and be jealous against it, and fearful of falling by it, and ever to show hatred against it. We should be afraid to sin, because it's forbidden by God. 2. It is dishonorable to him, his truth, and servants. 3. It encourages others to sin. 4. It will fill our souls with sorrow to sin against so loving a Father, and to dishonor him, &c. Having sinned, if but in the least measure, we should be so far from covering it with any pretense, or excuse, that we should abhor it, and ourselves for it, with the greatest detestation. {See Ezra 9:2,3} “Let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” {II Tim.2:19} Samuel Richardson {Divine Consolations, Part One, 1649}

Chastening Hand of the Lord upon His Children

Bees gather honey from bitter flowers, as well as sweet; so should we from bitter conditions. Crosses are Christ’s servants, as they come and go at his command. They are sent to do us good; all is sent in love, and best for me; for God will supply all our wants with his all-sufficiency. We should not look so much at freedom from trouble, as to profit by it, to enjoy God by it, and strength to bear it, looking upon all that befalls us as appointed and ordered by God in his wisdom and love for our good, &c. {I Thes.3:3} Samuel Richardson {Divine Consolations, Part One, 1649}

Love to Christ

“Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” {Mt.24:12} This should teach those that stand, to take heed least they fall; to watch narrowly against all occasions, which tend to draw us from our first love; for God will have his to know that it is a great evil to decay in their love to him. The greatness of this sin appears in these particulars: 1. Because our love is God’s and he calls for it. “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.” {Pro.23:26} He calls for his own, and it's unreasonable to deny him his own. 2. Love is the best thing we have, therefore we should give it to God, who is the chiefest and best good, therefore he hath right to the highest pitch of our love; and it's a pity so sweet an affection as love is, should be spent upon anything but Himself. 3. Love will be fixed upon something, and it's unreasonable to deny it to God, and give it to the creature. This is to forsake a living fountain for a broken Cistern. {Jer.2:13} God is the same he was, when ye first loved him, then ye looked upon him to deserve the highest measure of love, and could not be loved enough. God is not changed. {Heb.13:8} Therefore the change is in thyself. 5. So much as you have left your first love, so much you have left God. God counts himself charged with iniquity, when he is forsaken. {See Jer.2:6} In so doing ye greatly dishonor God, as if there were not a fullness of perfection in him. If there be in him what ye expected, why do you love him less? Thy practice declares thou repenteth thee in loving him so much, as if he is not worthy of it. Tell me, canst thou mend thyself in bestowing thy love elsewhere? 7. Lastly, God hath done much for thee; he hath saved thee from wrath, hell, and destruction; and provided for thee a place of happiness with himself; yea given thee himself. {Gal.1:4, 2:20, Eph.5:25, I Tim.2:6 & Tit.2:14} Could he give thee more? Is all this as nothing to thee? Canst thou do too much for him that hath done so much for thee? Why then doest thou not give him thy first love, and love him dearly and vehemently, that hath so loved thee? Samuel Richardson {Divine Consolations, Part One, 1649}

Particular & Effectual Redemption by Christ

Will all those for whose sins Christ died for be saved? They shall all be saved; for the salvation of God’s Elect is certain. But some say that, ‘Christ died for their sins who shall not be saved;’ but to what end shall Christ die for their sins who are not appointed to life? Doth not Christ loose the end of his death, to die for their sins that shall perish? Some are not ordained to eternal life. {Acts 13:48} Doth it stand with the wisdom of God, to send Christ to die for their sins, whom he before decreed to condemn? “The LORD hath made all things for himself; yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.” {Pro.16:4} {II Thes.2:11} {Isa.43:6,7} Samuel Richardson {Divine Consolations, Part One, 1649}

Gospel Offers

Question: Whether Christ is offered to all or not? The Gospel is to be declared to every creature. {Mk.16:15,16} But to declare a thing and to offer it are two different things. The Scripture doth not say, that Christ is offered to any; men say so, but not truly nor safely. The saying, ‘Christ is offered to all,’ occasioneth many errors; as to say, if God offereth Christ to men, and they have no power to receive him, and God gives them none, they are mocked; and that God is unjust, and unreasonable, and that he doth not mean as he saith. Or else they say that all men have power, and may be saved if they will, and they may will, &c. The purpose of God, Christ’s death, salvation, and the revelation thereof in the Scripture are all one in the extent; for the one is not larger than the other; neither is the ministry thereof to be larger in the declaration. Samuel Richardson {Divine Consolations, Part One, 1649}

Immutable and Eternal Will of God

“So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” {Rom.9:16} “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.” {vs.18} To ascribe conversion to the freedom of mans will is to exempt the creature from being under the power of God; for if he be able to convert himself, or to refuse, so as not to be converted; then conversion is under his own power. If it depend upon the will of the creature, then the will of man is the cause why God willeth this or that. This would bring the will of God under the will of man; as if God should say, ‘I will convert that man if he will’ – ‘I have willed nothing’ – or, ‘my will is mutable’ – ‘my will shall wait on your will, and change as oft as yours shall.’ If the will of God should not determine all things, the will of God should not be the first cause. If there be two first causes, then there are two beginnings or more, and so more gods than one. If God gives power, and leaves it to man’s will, then God hath not determined what shall be done, or else his purpose is changeable. If the cause why God chooseth me {and not another} is because I will, then it is not according to his will. {Eph.1:11} If God’s will be not the cause, you deny the freedom of God’s will, and make the will of man the cause of his being saved. If God by his omnipotent power inclines the wills of men, whether he will {as is above proved} then he hath them more in his power than man hath; if so, his decreeing is the cause, and necessity follows; for the will of the creature is not the cause of the necessity of things, because mans will is bounded by God’s decree; and as the first weight or wheel moves the second, so the first cause moves the second. He whose salvation God willeth, he must of necessity be saved, because God lacks no power, nor wisdom to accomplish his will. Man cannot resist an Almighty Power; {Eph.1:19,20, 3:20;} therefore God cannot be hindered of his will; if he should will anything he could not obtain, he would be imperfect, and so not God. If he can obtain it, but will not, how doth he will it? “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” {Isa.46:10} To grant that man hath power to hinder God’s will, is to grant that he hath power to hinder his working, and so to frustrate God’s counsel, and make him a liar; yet nothing will satisfy some, unless this be granted. If there were any good, of which God were not the cause, how is the praise and glory of it to be ascribed to him? “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” {Eph.1:6} To whom be all the praise & honor, now and forever. Samuel Richardson {Divine Consolations, Part One, 1649}

Eternal Covenant of Grace

This Covenant is made with Jesus Christ; which appears by these words; “My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him.” {Ps.89:28} “I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant. Thy seed will I establish forever, and build up thy throne to all generations.” {Ps.89:3,4} “I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him, with whom my hand shall be established; mine arm also shall strengthen him.” {vs.20,21} The condition on Christ’s part is comprehended in these words; that he should be made a sacrifice for sin; the condition on God’s part was, that when Christ should see his seed, and prolong his days, that the pleasure of the Lord should prosper in his hand. {Isa.53:10-12} Observe: The sum is, that the Covenant of grace, life, and salvation, stands only betwixt God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who hath undertaken to perform all that was necessary for the salvation of his Elect. That the Covenant of Grace was made with Jesus Christ; appears by these Reasons: 1. Because the word Him, in the singular number, noteth only one Person. “My covenant shall stand fast with Him.” The Elect are many, therefore it’s not made with them in this sense I here speak for; for there is a difference between the word him, and the word them. He saith, “my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him; and in my name shall his horn be exalted, &c.” {Ps.89:24} 2. Christ is called the Covenant, because it hath dependence upon him. “I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles.” {Isa.42:6 & 49:8} The Elect are not called a Covenant, I grant they share in the privileges thereof, but it is only in relation to Christ, and as they are considered in Him. Hence it is that God saith, “he will show them his Covenant, {Psal.25:14,} to comfort them with it. 3. Christ only is engaged to perform the conditions of this Covenant, because he hath undertaken it; he hath sealed it, confirmed it, and fulfilled the Covenant with his blood; therefore his blood is called “the blood of the everlasting covenant.” {Heb.13:20} Our blood is not the blood of the Covenant. 4. It was of necessity that this Covenant should be made with Christ and him only, because he alone was able to keep the conditions of it; as it required a great strength to keep this Covenant; therefore the Lord saith, “I have laid help upon one that is mighty;” {Ps.89:19;} “thou hast a mighty arm; strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand.” {Ps.89:13} We are weak, even weakness itself, utterly unable to effect such a work; it had been in vain to have laid so great a work upon man, yea fallen man, whose strength is weakness, and his Righteousness no better than a menstruous cloth. {Isa.30:22} If man had been left to perform any of the conditions of this Covenant, it had not been a covenant of grace, but a covenant of works; for if it be of works, it is no longer of grace. {Rom.4:4,5} Nor were the Covenant of Grace free and absolute, if it were conditional, for that covenant is not absolute, which depends upon any condition to be by us performed, but to us the covenant is free and absolute, and altogether unconditional on man’s part, therefore it is a Covenant of Grace. It cost Christ dear, his very life, that it might cost us nothing. 6. If this covenant had been made with us, and so had depended upon our obedience, then might our sin have broken the covenant, and so deprived us of salvation; which cannot be; for sin cannot deprive any of the Elect of salvation; for God saith, “My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. His seed also will I make to endure forever; and his throne as the days of heaven. If his {Christ’s} children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; {what then?} then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless my loving kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before me. It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven.” {Ps.89:28-37} These words do exceeding fully and clearly declare, that the Covenant of Grace depends not upon our good duties, nor can be broken by our sins. 7. If the Covenant of Grace had depended upon our actings towards God, then had the counsel of God appeared to be mutable, which is contrary to Scripture. {Heb.6:17} 8. If this covenant had depended upon our keeping conditions, we could not be certain of our salvation, because we might not perform the conditions; at least greatly doubt whether we had performed them or no; for if Adam in his greatest strength fell, how shall we in our weakness stand? 9. If we had to perform conditions, in order to partake of the Covenant of Grace, then we could not have any strong consolation, because we should be under care and fear least we should come short. Now God to free us from care and fear herein, hath made sure the Covenant with Jesus Christ for him to keep; therefore to make it sure, and to free us from all doubt, he confirmed it by an Oath; and the reason why he did so, is rendered, that we might have “strong consolation;” “wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath; that by two immutable things,” {oath & promise;} we might have a “strong consolation.” {Heb.6:17,18} Our consolation is far more stronger; in that all is finished, and confirmed by Christ, than to have so weighty a matter {upon which depends our eternal happiness} to depend upon the good acts of a weak, uncertain, and vain man; whose breath is in his nostrils. 10. Lastly, it tends most to the advantage, to the riches and glory of God’s grace, and abasing of man, to establish the covenant with Christ, so as to leave none of this work for man to do, for if man were to do the least part of that work, on which depended our eternal happiness, instead of giving God the glory, we would boast. Therefore to prevent this, he hath established the covenant with Christ, who hath wrought our works for us; and hath not left any of this work for us to do. Samuel Richardson {Divine Consolations, Part Two, 1649}

Eternal Covenant of Grace

The Covenant of Grace is unutterable, it’s a fast and sure covenant, it’s an everlasting covenant, it cannot be broken, therefore all the Elect shall certainly have happiness and glory. We have the Word of the Lord to confirm this; for God saith; “My Covenant shall stand.” {Ps.89:28} “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.” {Ps.89:34} The Covenant of my peace shall not be removed. {Isa.54:10} Yea, He hath sworn it, “once have I sworn by my holiness, that I will not lie unto David {Christ.}” {Psal.89:35} God is not as man that he should repent; faithful is he that hath promised, which will also do it. This shows they mistake who conceive the covenant is made with man, or that teach faith to be a condition of the covenant. The happiness of the children of Christ depends upon the stability of the covenant, seeing it is sure and unalterable, therefore their happiness is sure and unalterable. Nothing shall separate us, &c. Sin cannot, nor shall not. {Rom.8:38,39} Our eternal happiness doth not depend upon our works, nor upon ourselves, but upon Jesus Christ, in what he hath done for us; and that all that are Christ’s, need not fear nor doubt of eternal life, because they are included in the privileges of the covenant. Therefore this informs us of the greatness and freeness of God’s love, in that God requires nothing of us to have an interest in this covenant, and are ever to be in this his everlasting Covenant. {Heb.13:20} Samuel Richardson {Divine Consolations, Part Two, 1649}

Eternal Covenant of Grace

Ever have recourse to God in this covenant for what we need; come to God in the consideration thereof, for comfort and strength to do or suffer. Mind this covenant, and walk in the strength thereof all the days of thy life. Would you have comfort and joy that is sweet, solid, full and lasting; fetch it from Christ in this Covenant; for this covenant affords the sweetest comfort and consolation. In the loss of outward things, yea inward comforts, this covenant affords much comfort; this mightily satisfies us in all our losses, that we cannot lose our best Treasure. Certainly, the cause of the unsettlement in our souls is because we have not recourse to this covenant, to live thereupon. Samuel Richardson {Divine Consolations, Part Two, 1649}

Law & Gospel Distinctions

Learn to know and distinguish between the voice of the Gospel and the voice of the Law; the Law saith, “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” {Gal.3:10} When there is any work to be done upon pain of punishment, or upon promise of eternal life, it’s the voice of the Law, for the Law requires a doing something for life. Moses describing the Righteousness of the Law, saith, “that the man that doth these things, shall live by them;” {Rom.10:5,} but the voice of the Gospel is otherwise; as, that “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us;” {Gal.3:13,} and that his mercy is above what we can ask or think. {Eph.3:20} So the promises of life are free without condition; the Gospel declares what God works in us, and freely gives to us; “I will love them freely.” {Hos.14:4} If we did more listen to the promise, which is the voice of the Gospel, and not to the voice of the Law, and the voice of corruption, we should enjoy more peace, and less trouble. - Know and mind the happiness of a believer in Christ, as he is clean from all sin. {I Jn.1:7} They are removed from us. {Ps.103:12} Meditate on this truth, until thy heart be over-powered with it, and enjoy the sweetness of it; ever minding what is thy freedom and liberty thou hast in Christ, which is full and sweet. {Gal.5:13} Samuel Richardson {Divine Consolations, Part Two, 1649}

Justification and Sanctification

Learn to distinguish between thy Justification, and thy personal Sanctification. The first is perfect and complete in Christ; the latter is in ourselves, and is weak and uncertain; until a soul be settled in the point of Justification, the souls objections cannot be answered; for he that understands not the true nature and doctrine of Justification, cannot enjoy true settled constant peace and consolation; for in the right understanding of Justification, lieth the life of the Saints comfort. Let not thy comfort depend upon thy personal Sanctification, because from it there can no sure settled constant comfort flow; the seeking of comfort from our Sanctification, is a cause of much trouble in many weak believers; for Sanctification hath nothing to do with Justification, nor Salvation, as any cause of it. - Justification depends not upon our apprehending it, not in our receiving it, but upon what the Lord Jesus hath done for us. Justification is effected by Christ, and it’s apprehended by faith. {Heb.11:1} The Spirit and faith doth evidence to us our Justification; all that believe are Justified. {Acts 13:39} It is possible to have a full assurance of faith; {Heb.10:22;} for faith is an unquestionable evidence, and when faith is hidden and doubtful, Justification is not apprehended, and when faith is hidden and doubtful, Sanctification is not evident but doubtful, and so cannot evidence to us our Justification. - Seeing then that Christ is made Sanctification to a believer, {I Cor.1:30,} why may not a soul live upon that; and say, I have Sanctification in Christ, which is perfect; my actual Righteousness doth often fail me, but his endures forever. {Psal.111:3} Therefore I will fetch all my comfort from Christ and my Justification by Him. Samuel Richardson {Divine Consolations, Part Two, 1649}


“Made him to be sin for us.” {II Cor.5:21} Some understand a sacrifice for sin, and no more, so as the guilt and punishment shall be translated unto Christ, and not the fault; but is it not unequal, if not unjust and impossible, to impose our guilt upon Christ, and not our sin? Sin and guilt are inseparable; for where there is no sin, there can be no guilt, therefore that our guilt might be laid on Christ, necessarily our sins, must after a sort be made his, and annexed unto him; by imputation all the sins of the Elect, their adulteries, murders, blasphemies, &c. were laid upon him. {Isa.53:5} Sin must be charged upon Christ, or the sinner, and had not Christ undergone the penalty of sin, no man could be saved. {Jn.1:29, Eph.2:14-15, Heb.9:22, Col.1:20, Zech.9:11} Our happiness lieth in this, that our sins are not imputed unto us. “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.” {Psal.32:1,2} God hath imputed our sins unto Christ, and so laid them upon him, that they are not ours no more but Christ’s, who hath freed us and himself from them, and so he shall appear without sin. “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” {Heb.9:28} We should rest satisfied in Christ’s satisfaction, because it is a full, perfect, and infinite satisfaction. - As soon as the soul is convinced that Jesus Christ is made sin for me, and he made the Righteousness of God in him, all the souls fears, doubts and discouragement and objections vanish, and Christ is believed in, and lived upon, with thankfulness and joy. Samuel Richardson {Divine Consolations, Part Two, 1649}

Justification by Christ Alone

“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” {II Cor.5:21} There is a twofold Righteousness, according to the diversity of his nature; the one uncreated and infinite, which is the Righteousness of the Deity; the other is created and finite, which is the Righteousness of the humanity. The first is infinite, and therefore incommunicable; the latter is the Righteousness of God also, because it is in him, who is not only man, but God. Therefore Observe: Christ’s Righteousness is the Righteousness of God. The Righteousness which frees a sinner from the curse of the Law, is a perfect Righteousness. {Heb.1:8, Heb.10:3, Job 33:24} Man’s best Righteousness is imperfect, for it cannot justify him before God. All our own righteousness is as filthy rags. {Isa.64:4-6} After what manner Christ became a sinner, after the same manner we are made just; but Christ became a sinner, not by any infusion of our corrupt qualities, but by imputation only; therefore we are just before God, not by any infusion of any habitual grace into our corrupt natures, but by imputation of his Righteousness without works. {Rom.4:6} If this were well minded, it might remove divers errors, and answer many temptations, which are occasioned in many by apprehending the contrary. So that justification is a reciprocal translation of our sins unto Christ, and his Righteousness to us, both which are done by God for us. God reveals to the soul Christ’s Righteousness, and the soul’s interest therein. {John 16:14} To comfort the soul, and cause us to love God, he doth not comfort us with our own righteousness, but with Christ’s Righteousness; that so we might fetch all our peace and comfort from Christ’s Righteousness, and so rest satisfied in Christ alone. Therefore; seeing Christ’s Righteousness is a perfect Righteousness, yea the Righteousness of God; this should teach us to prize highly Christ’s Righteousness, and count his enough for us, and rest satisfied in it; and to slight and abhorre all our righteousness, in comparison of his; esteem Christ to be as he is, our Righteousness. “In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” {Jer.23:6} Samuel Richardson {Divine Consolations, Part Two, 1649}

Righteousness of Christ

“That we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” {II Cor.5:21} That righteousness which justifieth us before God, as it is not ours, so it is not in us; but as the righteousness is Christ’s, so it is in him; therefore Christ saith, ‘In me you shall have righteousness and strength;’ “Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength.” {Isa.45:24} The state of a believer in Christ, as considered in him, is a state of perfection; for “we are complete in him.” {Col.2:9-13} As Christ is, so am I; as I am, so is Christ; as he is, so are we in this world. {I Jn.1:17} What is Christ’s is mine, and what is mine, is his. Christ’s righteousness is mine, therefore I am all righteous, I do not need no more, nor no other righteousness; as I am in Christ, I am as righteous as Christ, and as acceptable as Christ; God seeth no sin in me, because there is none; for as God saith, {so I believe,} “Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.” {Song 4:7, Isa.38:17} - Seeing this Righteousness is in Christ, then it must needs follow, that the saints cannot possibly make it away, or lose it; because it is not in us, and so not in our keeping, but is in Him. Adam had his righteousness in him, and he lost it, but seeing it is in Christ, in him it cannot be lost! Samuel Richardson {Divine Consolations, Part Two, 1649}

Righteousness of Christ

This should teach all that desire righteousness, to go for it to Christ where it is. O soul, look no longer to find it in thy self, for it is not there, it is in Christ, in him; his righteousness is enough, and good enough for thee, yea best for thee; therefore seek no further, but rest satisfied in Christ, in his righteousness; drink here abundantly in this sweet fountain that is bottomless, and therefore can never be drawn dry. {Song 5:1} Thy pardon is now by Justice as well as mercy, therefore drink freely. - Rest satisfied in Christ’s righteousness and add nothing to it. “I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only.” {Psal.71:15-24} “Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness.” {Psal.119:142} “They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.” {Ps.22:31} “And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.” {Ps.35:28} “And the heavens shall declare his righteousness; for God is judge himself. Selah.” {Ps.50:6} “Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation; and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.” {Ps.51:14} “In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely; and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness.” {Jer.33:16} The perfection of Christ’s righteousness is held forth to us, and doth always lie before us, for us, that we might ever be comforted with it, and rejoice in it, with thankfulness for it. It is perfect, and full of divine consolation; it’s enough to refresh and satisfy thee forever; we have enough, we need no other, nor no more righteousness. “In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” {Jer.23:6} Samuel Richardson {Divine Consolations, Part Two, 1649}

Salvation by Grace Alone

Many when they see they have not done well, they go about to break their hearts, to make God amends for all, and think if they can but attain to such a deep measure of humiliation and sorrow for sin, then they think they have an evidence for heaven. Alas, this is only an evidence of great ignorance, in that they do not see death in their best duties. The Lord may say to them who work so hard for life; “Thou hast found the life of thine hand; therefore thou wast not grieved;” {Isa.57:10;} and so comfort themselves with their own sparks; but only sorrow will follow such comfort. “Ye shall lie down in sorrow.” {Isa.50:11} When we say, our good works are not the way to life, men esteem it a grievous error, yet Christ saith, “I am the way.” {Jn.14:6} Tell me, are thy works Christ or no; if no, then they are not the way, if Christ speaks truth, as he doth. Also if Jesus Christ is to be unto us all in all, {Col.3:11,} our best works are to be unto us nothing at all. Our works do not make us the better before God, nor the more beloved of God, but they declare us to be what we are made by God. The Papists do; as they say, many good works to be saved; but we abhor it, because it is condemned of God. Not of works, least we should boast. If it were of works, it were not of grace. Therefore all those that expect and hope for mercy, because they leave their sins, and do many good works, as they think; alas, they are greatly deluded, for they are not taken off of self-works, and self-concurrence with Christ. You are ignorant of the righteousness of Christ, therefore ye go about to establish your own righteousness, and so long as ye do so, ye cannot submit to the righteousness of God. {Rom.10:3} But if thou didst know what a righteousness Christ is, thou wouldst have preferred it before thy own; yea it would be esteemed by thee but dross and dung to his. {Phil.3:8,9} Publicans and Harlots are nearer salvation than thee, as righteous as thou art, who work for life, as the blind Pharisees did, and perished. {Mat.21:31,32, Luke 7:29,30} We are not commanded to do anything to procure the pardon of our sins. In reference to service and duty; I do count myself never the nearer heaven, for my best works, then if I had never done anything but swore and blasphemed God. It is to him that worketh not. {Rom.4:2-5} We are saved not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace.{II Tim.1:9} Doth not God speak plain enough to the question, in saying it is not according to our works; and when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son. {Rom.5:10} “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” {Isa.43:25} “When I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live.” {Ezek.16:6} “Thy time was the time of love.” {vs.8} From hence it is that all that see this mystery of God’s free grace, that salvation is not according to our works; they cry, ‘Grace, Grace, Christ, Christ, Christ is all in all, nothing but Christ,’ and now all their prayers, tears, duties, devotions; all of theirs is nothing to them, in respect of their acceptation, justification, or salvation; for they are dead to working, they will not stir to do the least work in the world to attain any of these, &c. “For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.” {Heb.4:10} All ours is vanished in the infinite ocean of God’s free love; its so that God might have all the glory. {Eph.1:6} “Let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth; for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.” {Jer.9:24} And that man might not boast, {Rom.3:9,} but obey God freely. “That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear.” {Luke 1:74} Samuel Richardson {Divine Consolations, Part Two, 1649}

Faith in Christ

To believe that Jesus is the Christ, implies a seeing and knowing all to be in Christ for life, and to trust in Him for pardon and life, and rest upon him for it. He that thus believes in Christ, is brought over to Christ, and so centered upon Him, that he will not go from him. As Peter saith, “Lord, to whom shall we go; thou hast the words of eternal life.” {Jn.6:68} “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.” {Psal.62:5} Samuel Richardson {Divine Consolations, Part Two, 1649}

Joyfulness in Christ

God is never an enemy to his own, though they greatly sin against him. {Psal.51} We are not beloved for our own sakes, nor for anything in ourselves, but in Christ, who hath made us acceptable in the beloved. {Eph.1:5} Therefore nothing we do can cause God to love us more or less; his love is as Himself, ever the same. {Heb.13:8, Mal.3:6} Therefore a believers hope, joy, and confidence is to be ever the same in Christ; hence it is they are always to rejoice. “Let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.” {Ps.5:11} “Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous; and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.” {Ps.32:11} “Rejoice evermore.” {I Thes.5:16} “Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, Rejoice.” {Phil.4:4} “Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee; let such as love thy salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified.” {Ps.40:16} “The joy of the LORD is your strength.” {Neh.8:10} Oh there is enough in the Lord to satisfy thee at all times; for he is an unchangeable Object of true joy; in him is all our hope and happiness. Therefore let not thy fall cause thee to question the love of God to thee; thy salvation depends not on thy repentance and holiness. {Rom.9:15,16, Isa.43:24,25, 57:17, Ezek.16:1-9} “My little children, these things I write unto you, that ye sin not;” {I Jn.2:1;} but for those that turn the grace of God into wantonness, the mercies of God an encouragement for their sins; such are led by the Spirit of the Devil, for he is their father, and his works they do. {Jn.8:44} “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” {Ps.66:18} Here is no consolation for you, you are not to be numbered with those who through temptation and weakness are overtaken and fall into the sin they hate. Samuel Richardson {Divine Consolations, Part Two, 1649}

Assurance in Christ Alone

We ought not to fetch our comfort from our subduing of sin, but from Christ, who is made unto us both Righteousness and Sanctification. {I Cor.1:30} When we are at the best, we may not live in ourselves, nor by sight, but by faith; and when we are at the worst, we ought to live upon Christ by faith, and comfort ourselves in Him, and in Him only. It’s the folly of many when they want strength and comfort, they seek it in their duties and subduings of sin, and comfort themselves there, but Christ is not in all their thoughts. {Psal.10:4} Samuel Richardson {Divine Consolations, Part Two, 1649}

Assurance in Christ Alone

The greatest peace any saint enjoys is not to be neither ground, nor encouragement for them to believe; therefore not any terrors any possess, ought not to be a ground of discouragement in believing, for our happiness is not in anything that we feel or apprehend in ourselves, but in the Word and Promise of God, and in that we are known of God, who loves us and comprehends us in Himself, and His not imputing our trespasses unto us. {Psal.32:1-2} - Faith is an assenting or cleaving to the Truth and Faithfulness of God in his Promise, not from anything the soul sees or feels in itself, but from something it apprehends in God in his Word. {Rom.4:20-22} - Assurance is not from the nature of faith, nor from the direct act of faith, but from the reflect act of faith, which is for a man to see and know that he believes; which assurance is from the light and testimony of the Spirit of God in the conscience of one that is already a believer, causing the soul to know it believes; “the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” {Rom.8:16} Samuel Richardson {Divine Consolations, Part Two, 1649}

Posted May 13, 2012

Teaching of the Spirit

To be convinced of sin is more than a bare notion of sins committed, for this may be in one that rests in themselves, and in something else besides Christ, and perish in this condition; for by the letter of the Law, and the light of reason, men may see and say they have sinned; as Saul and Judas did; but those the Spirit convinces of sin, they are convinced to purpose, because it is thoroughly. “The Spirit shall convince the world of sin.”{Jn.16:8} The Spirit discovers to the soul that she hath chosen something else besides Christ, upon which the soul rests, and satisfies herself withal, and expects mercy and comfort from by reason of them, and that they are her best services, and other lying vanities, as groundless hopes, peace, joy, comfort etc., telling the soul that there is nothing but death and darkness in them, and that if the soul rest in any of them, there is nothing but death and destruction for them; and there is a secret power of God which goes along with this teaching, which turns the soul from darkness, viz., self, Satan, and all lying vanities, to light, to Christ, where life is; the Spirit revealing to the soul a sufficiency of life in Christ, and it needs seek life in nothing else; also the Spirit of God persuades a soul that this life is for him, therefore he is to look to Christ for it. Samuel Richardson {Saint’s Desire, 1647}

Sovereignty of God

God in the good pleasure of his will, doth freely and effectually determine of all things whatsoever he will; he doth all things according to the counsel of his own will. {Eph.1:11} All things are in the mind of God before they are in themselves, and what he will, he effected in his time, and nothing is done, if he wills it not to be done. “Our God is in the heavens; he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.” {Psal.115:3} “Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.” {Ps.135:6} Jehovah doth whatsoever he pleases. The will of God is the first cause of all things. “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” {Rev.4:11} He hath mercy on whom he will; {Rom.9:18;} and there is no cause to be given of his will. “It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” {Phil.2:13} And such as make the will of God to depend upon the creature, as if he believes, God wills his salvation; or if he believes not, he wills his damnation, makes God’s will mutable, and to depend upon the act of the creature; and then it will follow that so often as the will of the creature changes, so often God changes, and then God will do this or that if man will; but whatsoever God wills in all things he wills effectually, so that he cannot in any wise be hindered or disappointed; for if God should will anything he could not obtain, there should be imperfection in God, and if he can obtain it and will not, how then doth he will it? “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” {Is.46:10} Every decree of God is eternal; {I Cor.2:7;} and remains always immutable. “There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.” {Pro.19:21} “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.” {Acts 15:18} “And as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” {Acts 13:48} “Whom he predestinated, them he called.” {Rom.8:30} God did from eternity know every several thing, with all the circumstances thereof, and knows how to apply the fittest occasion to everything, and how to effect all things. “He fashioneth their hearts alike; he considereth all their works.” {Psal.33:15} {Is.44:2} Even those things that seem to happen most freely God determines of according to his will, of the very heart of man. “He fashioneth their hearts alike; he considereth all their works.” {Psal.33:15} {I Sam.10:9,26} “The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water; he turneth it whithersoever he will.” {Pro.21:1} “The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.” {Prov.16:33} Of sparrows falling. {Mat.10:29,30} Of lilies, flowers, and grass of the earth. {Mat.6:28-30} Yea of all creatures and things. “I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I the LORD do all these things.” {Is.45:7} {Jer.14:22} By all which it appears, the will of God determined the certainty of every event. And if God should not determine all things, the will of God should not be simply and universally the first cause; and to deny him to be the first cause, implies that there are two first beginnings, or more than two, which cannot be truth. And for any to say, that man hath power to resist all God can work for his conversion, is to put grace in man’s power, {and not man’s will under the power of grace} is to say, that man is able to frustrate God’s counsel concerning his conversion, and power to resist all that God can work herein, is to affirm, that man hath power to frustrate God’s counsel; and if it be so, will it not follow that man hath power to make God a liar? If God by his omnipotent power inclines the wills of men whither he wills, then he hath them more in his power than man hath; then his will decreeing is the cause necessity followed, and the will of the creature is not the cause of the necessities of things. The Scriptures declare that God works all things after the counsel of his will {not man’s will} and made all things for himself. “The LORD hath made all things for himself; yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.” {Prov.16:4} {Isa.43:6-7} Samuel Richardson {Saint’s Desire, 1647}

Sovereignty of God

If the cause why God chooses me {and not another} is because I will, etc., then it is not merely from his will, and then you deny the freedom of God’s will. Also if a man hath liberty of will to resist God’s will and work, so as God shall not convert him, it will follow that when we are converted, we convert ourselves, which is contrary to the Scriptures. And do not they give the Scriptures the lie, that say the will of an unregenerate man may be free to righteousness, will it, and embrace it when it is proposed; but if a seeing eye were in darkness, it could not discern anything, how much less shall the blind see? By nature we are blind; {Rev.3.17,18;} all darkness, till we be made light in the Lord. {Eph.5:8} Darkness cannot comprehend the light. {Jn.1:5} The natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit, for they are foolishness to him. {I Cor.2:14} Therefore the Saints pray to God to reveal to them the knowledge of Christ, and to enlighten their eyes by the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. {Eph.1:17,18} Man’s will being wholly enthralled in sin, {Rom.6:20,} the carnal mind being enmity to God, being not subject to the Law of God, nor can be; how then can it will, desire, and receive grace by nature? As God commanded Pharaoh to let Israel go, yet he could not, for God hardened his heart that he could not be willing; {Jn.12:39,40;} they confess, that unless God give faith, it's impossible for men to believe; so then the reason men do not believe, is because God doth not give them faith. {Phil.1:29} But to what purpose is it for God to give Christ to die for men’s sins, seeing as they confess, they shall have no benefit by him unless they believe, and that they cannot do without God, and God doth not give them faith. {If he did, they could not but believe!} What great love is this which is showed to them? The substance of those famous, or rather infamous opinions of ours, of such as hold free will, and that Christ died for the sins of all Adam’s posterity, is that God wills the salvation of all men, but he is disappointed of his will. Those whom God will save by his antecedent will, he will destroy by his consequent will; that God doth seriously intend the salvation of all persons, yet nevertheless, he calls men by a means, and time; that is, not apt, nor fit, by reason whereof those who are so called, do not follow God’s calling. That faith is partly from grace, and partly from free will; that God is bound to give all men power to believe. They distinguish between the obtaining of salvation, and the application of salvation. The first; they say, is for all; the second is only for them that believe, but the application of salvation is neither willed, nor nilled to men. That man may determine and open his own heart, and receive the word of God; that the reprobate may be saved; that the number of the Elect is not certain; that the decree of Reprobation is not peremptory; that a Reprobate may convert himself; and that faith is not of mere grace. They bring in God speaking thus; ‘I decree to send my Son to save all who shall believe; but who and how many they shall be, I have not determined; only I will give to all men sufficient power to believe, but he shall believe who will himself; I will send Christ to die for the sins of many, whom I know it shall not be effectual at all unto, to whom I will never give faith, and notwithstanding Christ hath satisfied for all their sins, yet they shall suffer my wrath for them forever.’ We grant God knew all that ever was, is, or shall be, but we deny that God did elect to life any for anything he did foresee in them; for if God should look out of himself to anything in the creature, upon which his will may be determined to elect, would be against his all sufficiency; as if he should get knowledge from things we do, which implies an imperfection of knowledge, and of will; if he should see something in us before he can determine, as if God were in suspense, saying, ‘I will choose this man if he will, I will upon foresight of my condition absolutely choose him.’ To say, ‘I will elect, if they believe,’ is a conditional election, and if they can do this without God, then God is not omnipotent; if they say, he will give them faith to believe, then it is all one with an absolute will, as I elect to life, and I will give these faith. “For whom he predestinated, them he calleth, etc.” {Rom.8:29,30} Samuel Richardson {Saint’s Desire, 1647}

Posted May 14, 2012

Covenant of Grace

To close up all as to the nature of this Covenant. Let me tell thee the main substance of the Covenant is in these words, “I will be their God, and they shall be my people;” but sprinkling with clean water, taking away the stony heart, and giving a heart of flesh, all these are nothing but the fruits of the Covenant. So Christ is given for a Covenant to the people; that is the Covenant of Grace takes its being from Christ to us. Adam was all mankind, as all mankind was in Adam, in the loins of Adam; so Christ is the Covenant, and all the Covenant is as it were in the loins of Christ, and springs to us out of Him; in this sense he is the Covenant-maker, he is the Covenant-undertaker, he is the Covenant-manager, he is the Covenant-dispenser, he doth everything in the Covenant, he makes the articles, he draws God the Father to an agreement unto the articles; “thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power,” {Ps.110:3,} and “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself.” {II Cor.5:19} Hence Christ is also called the Mediator of the Covenant; that is, he is one that hath the managing of it on both sides, and he alone is able to bring both sides together, and make up a conclusion, and thus Christ is the Covenant, and the Mediator of the Covenant. Robert Purnell {Little Cabinet, 1657}

Christ our Covenant

As it is Christ alone that is given for a Covenant of the People; so it is by his Blood alone that all the Promises of the Gospel Covenant are confirmed unto us. It is evident therefore that the Promises of the Gospel Covenant do all of them run to Christ the Inheriting Seed; to him they are made; in him do they all Center; and by him alone to be Communicated to all his Members. Philip Cary {Solemn Call, 1690}  

Covenant of Grace

It appears, in that the New Covenant was a free covenant, in respect of the subjects thereof; there was no Condition put into it, the performance whereof doth entitle to the blessings therein contained. It's their Union with Christ entitles, and not anything done by them. “If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.” {Gal.3:29} “Ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.” {I Cor.3:22,23} You cannot find one Condition put into the Covenant, with respect to the subjects thereof, in all the places where it is most largely described. All the Conditions were to be, and are performed by Christ. Now if this be granted, that the New Covenant contains nothing but Conditions on Christ's part, and nothing but Promises on the Father's part, it will follow, that such as have no interest in the Merits of Christ, that have no Interest in the Promises of the Father, have no Interest at all in the New Covenant. John Moore {Truth Vindicated, 1695}

Posted May 17, 2012

Law and Gospel Distinctions: The Law may be considered as delivered in Sinai and Zion, “Which things are an allegory; for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.” {Gal.4:24} As the covenant of Sinai, or as a part of the covenant of Zion. “For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” {Isa.2:3} As delivered by the hand of Moses or by the hand of Christ. And though this distinction hath been branded by some of the learned teachers of our times in their pulpits and presses, with the infamous mark of antinomianism, yet I do not doubt, but that I shall easily prove it to be a Scripture distinction. This is the meaning of that speech of John, “for the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” {John 1:17} By Moses; that is, by the hand of Moses; as it is plain by Leviticus 26:46; “These are the statutes and judgments and laws, which the LORD made between him and the children of Israel in mount Sinai by the hand of Moses.” So grace and truth is given by the hand of Jesus Christ. Christ is called the Mediator of the better covenant; {Heb.8:6;} and as he is the Mediator of this better covenant, he doth give the Law to the Saints by his hand in this Covenant. The Law is translated from Moses to Christ, out of the hand of Moses, into the hand of Christ, the true Mediator; as the priesthood is translated from Aaron to Christ. – The Law as it was in the hand of Moses, is now abrogated to believers by Christ; but as it is in the hand of Christ, it is confirmed and established. - The Law as delivered by Moses is not the rule by which a believing Christian doth walk, but as it is delivered unto him in the Covenant of Grace by the hand of the Lord Jesus. - The Apostle doth frequently distinguish between the righteousness of the Law, and the Law to the Righteousness of Grace, and the Covenant of Grace; which he could not do if the Law were a covenant of grace. “Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, that the man which doeth those things shall live by them; but the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise &c.” {Rom.10:5,6} Observe the Apostle’s words well; the Gospel righteousness is the righteousness of faith; he doth not say that the Law requireth doing and working for justification, according to the false glosses, and interpretations of the Pharisees, as some writers of late with the papists of old have asserted. John Simpson {Perfection of Justification, 1648}

Law and Gospel Distinctions: Though I deny the Law to be a rule as it was delivered in the letter upon Mount Sinai, yet I do not deny the matter and substance of it in the spirit, as it is delivered unto us by the Mighty Counselor, and Great Lawgiver, our Lord Jesus Christ. “For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our King; he will save us.” {Is.33:22} - I acknowledge with Paul, that in the mind I myself do serve the Law of God, not only by believing in the grace of God through Christ for justification; but by loving God and my brother by a sanctifying work of the Spirit of grace within me. I confess that the Law is old for the matter and substance thereof, as it commandeth love to God and our neighbor; and yet it is new in us and to us, as it is delivered in the covenant of the Gospel. “Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you; because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.” {I John 2:7,8} This Law written or preached may be called the external rule of the Spirit, as the Law of the Spirit within is the internal and powerful rule. The Law of the Spirit in the substance thereof, is nothing else but the will of God, but imprinted in the vivified hearts by the Spirit of God, by which we do not only truly know God, and piety and equity; but we are so moved to serve Him, to trust in Him, to love Him, to worship and adore Him, and to love and serve our neighbor, and to mortify ourselves, and to bear valiantly all persecutions for God, and to lead a life in Christ, that we willingly run to the doing of these things. John Simpson {Perfection of Justification, 1648}

Law and Gospel Distinctions: When justification is preached and an experienced servant of Christ knowing that men naturally seek righteousness by the Law, and the works of the Law; it is necessary for the ministers of the Gospel to persuade their hearers, not to look to the Law for justification, but to the grace of God in Jesus Christ. John Simpson {Perfection of Justification, 1648}

Sin and it’s Removal by Christ: If God look upon the hand writing against us; doth he not see the bills canceled with the precious blood of his Son and our Surety; which for matter of guilt, defilement and punishment is sufficient to expunge, cover, nullify, abolish and wholly to take away our sins in such sort, that he neither sees, will see, nor can see them as sins, and debts, bearing action against us, obliging us to any penalty. I might heap up places out of the books of the faithful which have subscribed to the same truth, in the same or the like words; as there is no phrase so commonly used by Luther in his Commentary upon the Galatians as this; that God seeth no sin in his children; but because the testimony of man to truth is of no authority with myself, considering that we should not consider so much who it is that speaketh, as what is spoken. Therefore I shall not burden the page with quotations out of writers; but shall rather present unto you some grounds from Scripture; by which it will appear that in a Scripture sense God may be said to see no sin in his children. Arg.1. Christ hath redeemed us from all iniquity, Tit.2:14, and therefore God seeth no sin in us, from which we are not redeemed. Arg.2. God hath forgiven us through Christ all our trespasses, Col.2:13, and therefore there is no trespass in us which God can see as not forgiven. Eph.4:23. Arg.3. He hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, Rev.1:5, and therefore can see no sin in us from which we are not washed. When spots are washed out of a cloth, they do not remain in it still. God hath washed away the spots of our souls, and therefore they do not still remain upon our souls. Arg.4. Christ is the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world, John 1:29, and therefore God doth not see any sin which is not taken away. Arg.5. Christ hath made an end of our sins, Dan.9:24, and therefore God in this respect doth not any longer see them. Arg.6. God hath removed sin as far from us as the East is from the West, Psal.103:12, and therefore he doth not see them, or us as unjustified from them. Arg.7. God hath blotted them out of his debt book, Is.43:25, and therefore he doth not see them as chargeable upon us. “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” Arg.8. God is pacified towards us for all that we have done, Ezek.16:63, and therefore he doth not see sin in us. Arg.9. God by his Son hath removed the iniquity of his people in one day, Zech.3:9, and therefore he doth not see them as not removed away. Arg.10. Christ Jesus doth save his people from their sins, Mt.1:21, and therefore God doth not see any sin in them, from which they are not saved. Arg.11. All that believe in Him are justified from all things, Acts 13:39, and therefore God doth not see any sin in them from which they are not justified. Arg.12. God hath covered the sins of his people, Rom.4:7, and therefore God doth not see them. Arg.13. Believers are not in their sins, I Cor.15:17, and therefore God doth not see them as yet in their sins. Arg.14. Christ is made unto us of God, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, I Cor.1:30, and therefore God doth not see sin in us. Arg.15. Christ is made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him, II Cor.5:21, and therefore God doth not see sin in us. Arg.16. Christ hath given himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God, and our Father, Gal.1:4, and therefore the Father doth not see sin in us. Arg.17. We are holy, unblamable and unreproveable in the sight of God, Col.1:22, and therefore he seeth no sin in us. Arg.18. The conscience is purged from sin by the blood of Christ to serve the living God, Heb.9:14, and therefore God doth not see sin in us. Arg.19. Christ hath borne our sins, I Pet.2:24, and therefore God doth not see them upon us, but knoweth where he hath laid them. {Is.53:6} Arg.20. We have an answer of a good conscience by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I Pet.3:21, and therefore God doth not see sin in us; for a conscience guilty of sin is an evil conscience. Arg.21. Nothing can be laid to our charge, Rom.8:33, and therefore God seeth no sin as chargeable upon us, or to be imputed to us. Arg.22. He that doth deny this, doth in essence deny the coming of Christ, and is an antichrist. For “he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.” I Jn.3:5. For these and many other reasons which might be produced, it may be truly said, that God seeth no sin in his justified people; and therefore Christ speaking of his justified Church saith, “Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.” {Song 4:7} Also, “the King's daughter is all glorious within; her clothing is of wrought gold.” {Ps.45:13} Though I affirm all this concerning God's not seeing sin in his children; yet I do not deny but that in a sense God may indeed be said to see sin in his justified children. God, though he seeth us perfectly justified from all sin, yet he seeth and knoweth that we are not perfectly sanctified; and in this respect he may be said to see sin in us; and I do apprehend it to be a gross error, and destructive to the power of godliness, to maintain that God in no sense may be said to see sin and his people. It is by the light of the Spirit, that we do behold the sin which is in our flesh, when we do believe that all our sins are pardoned, and not seen by God in reference to our justification; and therefore it is contrary to spiritual reason, Scripture, and the experience of all those that are truly faithful to assert, that God in no sense may be said to see sin in his justified children. Arg.1. If God did not see sin in any sense, he could not help us against our sins, lusts, and corruptions, against which we go unto Him in the name of Christ for strength; but he doth give us help against particular lusts and corruptions {as true Saints have found, and do find by experience;} and therefore in a sense he may be said to see sin in us. Arg.2. His Spirit doth mortify sin in us, and what an absurd thing it is for a man to affirm that God in no sense may be said to see that sin, which he doth mortify in us by his own Spirit? Arg.3. Saints may grieve the Holy Spirit of God, whereby they are sealed unto the day of redemption, Eph.4:30, and therefore in a sense God may be said to see sin in them; for how can we imagine that the Spirit of God in a saint should be grieved by sin; and yet that God should not see it? Arg.4. God doth inwardly check us in the spirit for many frailties and infirmities, which will sufficiently evidence the thing to every man, who will not be captivated to error in his understanding; that God in a sense may be said to see sin. Though God doth not rebuke us in wrath as an enemy; yet he doth rebuke us in love for walking unworthy of his grace and favor in Christ Jesus. Arg.5. God doth work in us evangelical sorrow, and humiliation for sins which we do commit after our justification through faith; and therefore it is evident that he seeth and knoweth the sins which we commit after our justification. Arg.6. God doth chastise his justified children for their profit, that they may be partakers of his righteousness, Heb.12:10, and therefore it must be granted, that God in a sense doth see sin in them. Arg.7. The flesh lusteth against the spirit in God's justified children, Gal.5:17, which is a sufficient demonstration of God's seeing of sin in a sense in his justified children. And by this you may perceive, that by making use of distinctions grounded upon plain Scripture, it is warrantable to say that God doth see sin in his children, and that he doth not see sin in his children; which if it be well weighed, may teach us not to censure our brethren in such points and controversies, until we have received their tenants from themselves; which if it had been granted unto me, it might have prevented many reproaches which I have lain under, and prevented many sins in those who have rashly censored me. John Simpson {Perfection of Justification, 1648}

Justification Truth: This is a doctrine which if it were preached unto us every day, we should forget it every day. The daily teaching and hourly learning of it cannot wholly free us from the ignorance of this truth. But as far as we are carnal and fleshly, we are strangers to the knowledge thereof. So that he that thinks he perfectly knows the doctrine of justification, I dare profess to that man, that he knows nothing of this doctrine of justification as he ought to know. As long as we live upon the earth, we may be learners of this doctrine. Paul after he had been a scholar, and an aged teacher in the school of Christ many years, did then profess, that he endeavored to forget his own works, and legal righteousness in reference to his justification, and pressed forward to know more of the mystery of Christ, laboring to be found in the righteousness which is of God by faith. {Phil.3:10} John Simpson {Perfection of Justification, 1648}

Faith: Many pretend that they look on grace, but it is through the spectacles of their own works; but he that truly doth eye grace, he looks on grace in an act of believing, and not through working. - Believing empties the creature of all works, and righteousness, and shows that he is nothing in himself, and that all his treasure, glory, happiness, riches, and perfection lies treasured and laid up in Another. Faith bringeth a man in a poor and beggarly condition to Christ, that he may be enriched by Christ. John Simpson {Perfection of Justification, 1648}

Gospel Ordinances & Justification: We are not saved by works in which we yield obedience to any Gospel ordinances, though they be ordinances appointed by the Lord Jesus Christ himself to be practiced by the Saints. I take in this, because I have found in my own spirit, and in many that I have dealt with, a secret and subtle kind of Popery in which we are apt to attribute something to the practice of ordinances in reference to our justification. And hence it is that people are so ready to run into every new way of worship, which is brought to light, thinking that unless they find out the right discipline, and government of Jesus Christ, the right baptism and ordinances, that they are not true Saints, nor sufficiently justified. As we are not justified by more inward and spiritual works; so neither are we justified by an outward observation of ordinances, or submitting to any command of the Lord Jesus Christ, but only by our obedience to the first and principal command of the Gospel, by which we believe justification by grace through Christ without works. John Simpson {Perfection of Justification, 1648}

Gospel Ordinances & Justification: We are not justified by the practice of any Gospel ordinances, which are commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ. There are some, who it may be, are convinced that they are not justified by works, yet I know not what new kind of Popery they have found out; for they think to please God by submitting to ordinances, and finding out the true discipline and government of Christ’s Church; therefore you shall find a kind of spirit of bondage in them, if they be not satisfied concerning the true discipline, government and ordinances of the Lord Jesus Christ. - Salvation is not in these, there is nothing to be found in these available to justification. Forms of government and ordinances do not make men Christians, but a lively faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. – Presbytery {all government} is nothing; Independency is nothing; dipping is nothing; but faith which worketh by love. The Apostle clearly proves this point, “for I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” {Gal.5:3,4} His meaning is this; that if a man submit to circumcision, as thinking it will any whit avail him to his justification and salvation, that man shall not be saved by Jesus Christ, but he is a debtor to the whole Law; he is not under grace, but under the curse of the Law. John Simpson {Perfection of Justification, 1648}

Gospel Ordinances & Justification: If any man to satisfy his conscience, desire one to dip him or join himself as a member to any Congregation, thinking by pleasing God and Christ to further his salvation in this way, he is a stranger to Christ, and unacquainted with the true Gospel. - Therefore if any man say unto you that you must be baptized or you cannot be saved, ‘I cannot look unto you as a saint, except you be baptized; you must be members of the Church, or else you cannot be members of Christ, I cannot acknowledge you as a brother;’ rather pity their ignorance than yield to their exhortations. What a sad thing is it for men to place saintship and religion in these things when the Scripture plainly and punctually in this respect overthroweth them? “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” {Rom.14:17} John Simpson {Perfection of Justification, 1648}

Gospel Ordinances & Justification: What abominable Popery is it to say that a man cannot be a saint if he does not submit to outward ordinances. I cannot but commend what I find in Luther, who was zealously carried forth against some in his time that made a rent from him in a legal way, because they differed from him about external things and ordinances, which are no just ground why Saints should divide themselves from one another. Luther said that they had brought in another kind of Popery, and more dangerous than that which he had overthrown by his preaching; for as for gross Popery, saith he, “men's eyes began to be enlightened to see the absurdities of it. But these men come in a subtle way, and pretending a necessity of submitting to forms, institutions and ordinances do pervert the pure and simple Gospel of Christ, laboring to persuade men that if they do not submit to the ordinances of the Lord Jesus, he would not acknowledge and confess them before his Father.” Therefore we are to be rightly informed concerning these things, and if we do submit to outward ordinances, we should not do it from legal principles, for it were better not to practice them, than to practice them from these principles, to the ruining of our souls. And they that draw disciples after them by such rigid and Gospel destroying principles, will find to their shame, that those that they have brought in by these principles will fall away from them to their shame and infamy. For God is dishonored, Christ is robbed of his grace, and the Spirit loses his glory. John Simpson {Perfection of Justification, 1648}

Law & Gospel Distinctions: A man must see his good works, as done either under the Law, or under the Gospel, and look upon them, either in the glass of the Law, or the glass of the Gospel. If a man look upon them in the glass of the Law, and do rightly and spiritually understand the Law, he shall be so far from drawing an assurance of his justification from them, that he shall behold himself cursed and damned, with all his good works. For the Law curseth every man that continueth not in the doing of all things which are commanded by God. It is indeed a divine looking glass, in which things to be done or avoided are discovered; but it will sentence us to death for the least spot or wrinkle which it doth discover; so that it is impossible, that a man should see himself justified in the glass of the Law. But thou will say, he may indeed look upon his love, sincerity and works in the glass of the Gospel. And to this I answer, that if he look upon them in the glass of the Gospel which is Jesus Christ, then he must put himself under the Gospel, and look upon himself as a man in Christ, that so he may see his works good by Jesus Christ alone; which he will never be able to see without the eye of faith, which seeth things invisible, Heb.11:1, and by which we look upon Christ, I John 2:1, dwell in Christ, Eph.3:17, live in Christ, Gal.2:19, and do living works acceptable to God by the life of Christ in us. Heb.11:4. By faith we “with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord;” {II Cor.3:18;} and see that our good works are the effects of Christ's love, discovered in himself and in his Gospel to our souls; and therefore when John doth inform us, that we shall know that we know him, if we keep his commandment; he doth propose believing as the first commandment of God, without which we cannot assure ourselves that we are obedient to his other commands. “This is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ.” {I John 3:23} Good works after a man hath faith are not the cause of justification, but the consequent; they follow a man's justification; they do not precede the act of justification, they neither precede the act of God's grace, by which he justifieth a sinner, neither do they precede justification in the court of conscience; but being justified by faith, we have peace, {Rom.5:1,} in our conscience. - Thus; if any man that is justified look on his works and does not behold them in the glass of the Gospel, he shall read his own condemnation for his works. John Simpson {Perfection of Justification, 1648}

Posted May 18, 2012

Everlasting Love of God in Christ: That which I have delivered concerning the Eternal Grace of God, sufficiently confutes that error which is in the spirits of many men, who think that works and actings of the creature is the cause of God's love to the creature. God doth not love us, because we first love him; but we love God, because he first loved us from eternity. God doth not begin to love us, when we are made new creatures; but God loveth us that we may be new creatures. Faith is not the Antecedent cause, but consequent of election. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” {Tit.3:5} By this passage it is evident, that mercy doth precede regeneration, and is the cause of spiritual renovation. Vocation and justification do follow Predestination, if Paul spake the truth. “Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” {Rom.8:30} God loved us when we had no beings in ourselves, or among any creatures to assure us that he did not love us for anything in this, there being nothing at all in us when God first loved us. John Simpson {Perfection of Justification, 1648}

Law and Gospel Distinctions: God promised to meet his people at the mercy seat; {“And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.” Ex.25:21,22;} which was a type of Christ, and we can never meet with God to the salvation of our souls but by meeting with this grace in the Lord Jesus. The Law is the ministry of death; it is the Gospel of grace which is the ministry of life and salvation. Look therefore beyond the Law, which is a ministry of condemnation, beyond thine own righteousness, which is impurity to the eye of Justice, beholding thee under the Law, beyond thyself, who art an object of misery, horror and confusion, and by a spiritual eye of God's own making behold his grace in Christ for lost and undone sinners. John Simpson {Perfection of Justification, 1648}

Gospel Ordinances & Justification: We may observe that such professors who are not acquainted with the true Gospel are unsettled in their spirits, when they doubt which is the true government, or external ordinances of the Lord Jesus. If they doubt whether they are baptized in a right way, or manner, they doubt whether they are justified; their comforts and assurance do vanish away, when they are not fully assured, that they know and are obedient unto all the commandments of the Lord Jesus. The cause of this legality in their spirits is because they do not see salvation firmly settled upon Christ. The spiritual man beholdeth justifying grace in believing, without his obedience to commands for external worship, and good works; and doth live joyfully and comfortably in the sight of his justification, though he knoweth that it is possible, that he may be ignorant of many things which other Christians may have the knowledge of; and in these days of darkness, contention, confusion and disorder, what man can have solid and lasting joy who is ignorant of Free Grace for Justification? If it were necessary to the assurance of justification to know whether the Episcopal, Presbyterian or Independent Government of the church were the Ordinance of the Lord Jesus; whether sprinkling of children, or dipping of professing believers were the institution of Christ in the labyrinth of the controversies of our times; how few would attain to an assurance of their justification? How would poor creatures be perplexed, and disquieted in their consciences; not certainly knowing in which of these ways they should walk for their justification and salvation. But that the promise might be sure to all the seed. {Rom.4:16} To those, who lived in the times of the Law, as well as to those, who live in these times of the Gospel, salvation is promised not to workers but believers, to all true believers in all ages, and places; to us who live in the time of the Babylonian apostasy, as well as to those who were hearers of the apostles, and members of those Congregations which were gathered and governed by them. John Simpson {Perfection of Justification, 1648}

Gospel Ordinances & Justification: Justification doth not lie in our obedience to the ordinances of Jesus Christ, but in Jesus Christ. We are not made Saints by being made members of any Church or Congregation but by faith in the Head of the Church. Woe to him that maketh his obedience and submission to any ordinance the ground of his comfort, as to many zealous formalists do, who run from congregation to congregation, from one ordinance to another, to get solid comfort to their souls, apprehending that they are undone creatures, and cannot be true Saints, unless they be under the true practice of all ordinances; whereas it is a plain truth, revealed in the Gospel of truth, that neither submitting to an ordinance can make one a true Saints, nor the want of ordinances un-saint any man that is made one with Christ. “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh; 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.2:28,29} So he is a true saint, who is not necessarily a visible member of a congregation, but he whose life of faith is hidden in Jesus Christ. He is baptized, not whose body is washed with water, but whose soul is washed in the blood of Christ. {I Pet.3:21} He is a good communicant, and breaks bread, who doth not break bread outwardly, but by faith doth inwardly feed upon the Bread of Life. We are not justified by works of the Law done before or after justification, nor by yielding obedience to any command concerning outward ordinances, but by our submitting in our judgments to the truth of God's grace in Jesus Christ for justification without these. I would not here be mistaken, as though I did speak against any Saints, or any who are spiritual and faithful in the observation of any external ordinances; but against zealous formalists, who do make saintship and fellowship to depend upon these things, and are not spiritually acquainted with the truth of God's grace, but are perverters of the Gospel. John Simpson {Perfection of Justification, 1648}

Salvation by Grace Alone: As Noah was preserved from the destruction which came upon the old world by going for his safety into the Ark, so by the foot of faith we walk into our Ark, Christ Jesus, for the salvation of our souls. The world of sin is a dismal wilderness, full of fiery serpents, by faith we eye Jesus Christ, as our brazen Serpent, and set footing in the heavenly Canaan of God's free grace, while this sinful Sodom of the world is destroyed with the rain of fire and brimstone; by faith like righteous Lot, we escape out of it. When with Peter, we are ready to sink and perish in the sea of sin, by faith we touch the saving arm of the Lord Jesus, and are preserved when we drink the deadly poison of sin; for by faith we take in Jesus Christ as our Antidote, and the deadly poison doth not hurt us, but we are miraculously preserved. Faith beholdeth Christ crucified before us, {Gal.3:1,} and evidently set forth, who hath nailed the Law of works, our sin and death to his own cross, and we who deserve damnation are saved through grace. John Simpson {Perfection of Justification, 1648}

Irresistible Grace of God: Free will is not free, but a slave; for there is not freedom, but slavery in it. It is not free to do good, unless it be freed from sin by grace. If man in the state of integrity could not stand of himself, how shall he of himself in his state of corruption be able to rise now that he is fallen; unless God come down with a mighty power and force us against our natural will to receive Christ we shall never be made partakers of Christ. “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him; and I will raise him up at the last day.” {John 6:44} When a man is drawn, he is drawn against his will. I need not draw a man that is willing to come after me. If we were willing to go after God in our conversion, we should stand in need of no drawing; but we see that God must compel us to come into Christ, or else we will never come in unto him, nor submit unto his will. John Simpson {Perfection of Justification, 1648}

Salvation by Grace Alone: We are saved by grace in the purpose of God, from eternity in the eye and sight of God who seeth all things absent as if they were present, and speaks of things before they are done, as if they were done. Grace in Scripture is considered, not only as it is in God, and as it is as eternal as God himself; but the Scripture speaks of the grace of God, as it is manifested forth to us in Jesus Christ; and so we are saved by grace, God discovering his grace to us in his Son Jesus Christ. So the Apostle speaking of grace saith, “but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” {II Tim.1:10} He speaks first of grace, as it is in God, and as it is as eternal as God himself; then he speaks of eternal grace, manifested to us in the Gospel of his dear Son. It is by the preaching of the Gospel that the eternal grace of the Father in the Son is made known to us; and this grace is called sometimes the grace of God the Father; sometimes it is called the grace of Jesus Christ; and sometimes the grace of them both, because Jesus Christ is God, one God, in one divine essence with his Father. - This grace in Scripture is made known unto us as the sole cause of our justification and salvation. Grace is so held forth for justification that all things besides grace are excluded. We are justified by grace exclusively; all other things being shut out. When God justifieth a man, he eyes that man only in his own grace; and when God justifieth a man in the court of his own conscience, he strips him of all his own works, of his own love to him, and to the brethren; and gives him only a sight of divine grace. - If we look upon grace as it is in God; so, before God we were saved in his eternal thoughts; he in his own purpose and grace, having elected us to justification and eternal salvation in glory by his Son Jesus Christ. Yet he never holds forth his grace to us, but in the countenance of his Son Jesus Christ; in whom the glory of his justice shines bright, with the glory of his grace. He shows us that he hath laid all our sins on his Son; that his justice hath received full satisfaction from the sufferings of his Son for all our sins, and so comes to discover his grace to us in the pardon and forgiveness of our sins. John Simpson {Perfection of Justification, 1648}

Everlasting Love of God in Christ: God doth not make known his love for the forgiveness of sin, but by Jesus Christ. I confess that we are saved by grace in respect of God, before we know the grace of God in Jesus Christ; but we cannot see this grace, until we behold it in the face of the Lord Jesus. We behold the love of God in giving the Lord Jesus to be the atonement, sacrifice, and propitiation for our sins, before we can read the everlasting love and favor of the Father to us in his Son. Eternal love is the primary cause of our salvation and justification; but it cannot be apprehended by us, until we apprehend in the first place our redemption in Jesus Christ; and when Christ is embraced as a Savior in the arms of faith, we rise higher in our thoughts, by the power of the Spirit, and are brought to look upon the eternity of love; and have liberty to read every line in his eternal volume, which doth concern our eternal life and salvation; and are fully confirmed in the point of God's eternal election, without the prevision of good works, which should be wrought by the creature. As the Apostle doth prove at large in the ninth to the Romans; and if any man will dispute or rather cavil against this truth, I shall say with the Apostle, “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?” {Rom.9:20,21} And though men, unacquainted with this truth, may account this rather a shift or evasion, than an answer to their carnal objections against election and reprobation, yet I shall not be ashamed of my answer. John Simpson {Perfection of Justification, 1648}

Incommunicable Prerogative of God’s Grace in Christ: Nothing in man doth precede or prevent the grace of God. The light and beams of grace do dispel the clouds of our sins. Not for our sakes, but for his Name’s sake he covereth our sins. It is God's prerogative to free us from sin by grace, and to remove them far from us. “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” {Ps.103:12} He only can remove sin against whom it is committed. He only can cast sin into the depths of the sea, who hath an ocean of grace in himself, in which he swalloweth them up. Micah is spiritually transported beyond himself in admiring this incommunicable prerogative of the God of Grace. “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage &c.;” {Micah 7:18;} and who can think that he will part with this privilege, which is his delight? For so it followeth in the same verse, “he retaineth not his anger forever, because he delighteth in mercy.” John Simpson {Perfection of Justification, 1648}

Blood of Christ: The blood of Christ doth, with powerful and undeniable arguments plead for those for whom it was shed. The straying and straggling sheep which are within the reach of God's Eternal Grace cannot be condemned, because “the good Shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” {John 10:11} God knoweth that he hath received satisfaction beforehand for their sins, by the hand of the Lord Jesus, who is not now to pay anything, but hath already made payment for all their debts, and is become the Mediator of the new Covenant of Grace, which is sealed in his own blood; under which covenant upon this consideration there can be no remembrance of sin. {Heb.10:14} God beholding his elect in their Propitiation, which is Christ. John Simpson {Perfection of Justification, 1648}

Salvation by Grace Alone: It is grace, and grace alone which bringeth salvation; {Tit.2:11;} and therefore not our works. Grace and works are inconsistent in this point of justification; they can no more stand together than the ark of God and Dagon. Let Grace stand up in its glory and works will quickly be overthrown; and set up works, and you destroy the doctrine of grace. By eternal grace we were elected and made vessels of mercy from eternity; by grace we are saved before God in heaven in the presence of the Lord Jesus; by grace we were saved in the person of Christ before faith. By the revelation of grace on to us through faith we are saved in the court of our own consciences. By grace salvation is begun here, and completed, and perfected hereafter. “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” {Rom.6:23} John Simpson {Perfection of Justification, 1648}

Faith & Believing: If men already converted are not able to think a good thought, or to put forth one act of faith of themselves; then men unconverted are not able to believe of themselves before conversion; but men already converted are not able to think one good thought, or to put forth one act of faith of themselves, therefore unconverted men are not able to believe of themselves. There is that strength in the first proposition that I suppose no man pretending to be a scholar in the school of the Spirit will question the truth thereof. For should a man question it, he should by his questioning of it, attribute a greater strength to unconverted than converted men, which is such an absurdity in divinity that I think no spiritual man would be guilty of it. And for the minor, or second proposition, it is backed with such plain authority of Scripture, that it is in vain for any man to deny it. How plainly doth Paul deliver himself in this point, for when speaking of saints he saith, “not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.” {II Cor.3:5} What spiritual act is more easy than to think a good thought? It is easier to think well, than to speak well, or do well; for we often think good thoughts that never come out upon the tongue, or appear in the action. Yet Paul is not afraid to profess that the best of us cannot think anything as of ourselves; which may be a sufficient proof of that which followeth in the same proposition, where we say that he cannot put forth one act of faith. In believing our spirits are placed and fixed upon God, and we are filled with high thoughts of his grace in his Son to his glory; and therefore if we cannot think well, certainly we cannot believe well; and that we cannot believe of ourselves after we do believe will be evident by the petition of the apostles, “Lord increase our faith.” {Luke 17:5} What necessity was there, that they should have prayed to their Lord for the increasing of their faith, if by their own strength they could have believed when they had so pleased? - Men who have a life in Christ can do nothing of themselves; therefore such who are dead in sins and trespasses can do nothing of themselves, but God must do all in us by his grace. John Simpson {Perfection of Justification, 1648}

Free & Sovereign Grace: That faith therefore cannot be true which proceeds from a natural heart; and that comfort cannot be sound which springs from such a faith. This may confute the doctrine of Papists, Arminians, and Popish Protestants that conceive that a man is able to do something to the furtherance of his own justification and salvation. This that hath been delivered, being seriously weighed in our spirits, is sufficient to overthrow this lying doctrine, which would attribute anything to man, or to the strength, wisdom, understanding, will or affections of the natural man in point of conversion, justification and spiritual renovation. Whosoever shall pull down the doctrine of free grace by exalting man's free will is deceived with an heretical spirit. And who will suffer himself to be so far blinded, as not to see that magnifiers of free will do overthrow the doctrine of God's grace and mercy, which Paul preached; when they shall hear him plainly concluding against all the free-willers in the world, “it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” {Rom.9:16} The free grace and mercy which the Scripture acquainteth us with is inconsistent with man's free will to do good of himself. As Dagan was tumbled down when the ark, which was a type of Christ, and God's grace in him, was brought into the place where Dagan was set up, so when God's grace by the power of the Spirit appeareth, it tumbleth down, and overthroweth the daganish conceits and idolatrous apprehensions which men of the strength which is in of themselves delight themselves with. The spirits of men truly persuaded of the strength of grace, and their own weakness, disclaim their own strength and self-confidence; and cry out with those in the Prophet, “turn thou us unto thee, O LORD, and we shall be turned.” {Lam.5:21} John Simpson {Perfection of Justification, 1648}

Faith & Believing: The work of faith is the work of omnipotency, according to the words of our Savior, “this is the work of God that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” {Jn.6:29} Therefore if upon examination you do find that you are only persuaded concerning the mysteries of Christ, and the grace of God as you are persuaded of natural things in a natural way, and have not felt the power of heaven in enabling you to believe, your faith is a false faith; for where there is true faith, a man feels the power of God enabling him to believe the testimony that God gives of his Son Jesus Christ. - He that denies this is ignorant of Christ and the Gospel, and is not one who honors Christ, but a minister of Satan and Antichrist, and a deluder of the people. John Simpson {Perfection of Justification, 1648}

Godliness: If thou by the lively operation of the Spirit hath seen the glory, grace, beauty and holiness in Christ for thy justification, thy spirit will be so enamored with the beauty of holiness and perfection in Christ, thou will desire to see the image, and picture of holiness and perfection which is in Christ to be drawn forth upon thine own heart and spirit. John Simpson {Perfection of Justification, 1648}

Posted May 20, 2012

Arminian Portrait

Behold, amidst the mindless crowd,
 Arminians squall and bawl aloud;
So determined to enslave,
All those souls they want to save.
Gradually with toxins fed;
And into false delusions led,
Man built up with empty notions;
As free-will is set in motion.
These really do God such a favor,
When they ‘let in’ Christ as Saviour;
And since God’s work through Christ has crashed;
To build it up they need more cash.
Man – depraved & blind & cursed?
Never heard of anything worse.
There’s some real good in every man,
According to the Pelagian plan.
Just and Holy, what do you mean?
“God so loved,” why change the theme?
Christ died for all, faith seals the deal;
And by their feelings it’s made real.
‘It’s not what, but whom you know,’ they say;
A relationship with ‘Jesus’ is our way.
Away with truth – just feed us lies;
No real religion – just compromise!
Conditionalism is their scheme,
And that which they so much esteem.
“Remember, I have done the deed,
And made salvation sure indeed!”
“A tract for you dear Sir,” they say,
This ‘pact’ points out the ‘Roman’ way;
It’s easy just repeat this prayer;
And now salvation is yours to share.
Some Scripture verses are memorized;
And now Salvation’s Plan surmised.
It’s not that Christ was crucified;
But by free-will man’s reconciled.
And when on Union they do gabble,
To them it us but a Tower of Babel;
‘Tis Faith they say, the binding link;
By which the soul to Christ is synced.
When on Redemption’s work they dwell,
How Christ has died to save from hell;
Yet after all these daubers say,
‘Tis not enough, we work to pay.’
If Reconciliation be their theme,
Sinners, they say, must consent the scheme.
For unless we add our token;
God’s eternal covenant is broken.
So when Adoption’s on their lisp,
They mix some faith with works, then twist;
For can relation ever exist,
Until faith do in Christ enlist?
They do in part their works decry,
Yet say their faith does justify;
And so upon this weaver’s web,
Justification is bound instead.
Absolute Predestination;
Sovereign Truth by Grace Defined.
With clenched fists, these pious walkers,
Do in heart God’s rule despise.
Thus they fashion to their specs,
A god conformed in all respects.
And by this idol, known as self;
They put all doctrine on the Shelf.
Thus do these heretics surmise,
God’s Truth itself to compromise.
Hence they beguile unstable souls,
And build them up on ‘straw man’ poles.
These Arminians don’t seem to care,
That Christ – His Pre-Eminence will never share,
And whilst they boast of their own making,
A faith that is theirs for the taking.
Yet God will yet un-deify,
Their self-made quest to justify;
As their works are burned to stubble,
Whilst they are crushed beneath the rubble.
By this we see the great deceit,
By this grand idol goats do bleep.
Free Grace they hate, God’s will despise;
Christ’s sheep they always stigmatize.
O put away this man made trash;
Arminian lies by Truth are smashed.
Christ alone has man redeemed;
And He alone must be esteemed!
To sum the whole then, Mr. Preacher,
If man be such a mighty creature,
As by his Faith effect such charms,
Then Grace and Christ are useless yarns.

Posted May 21, 2012


Faith the Gift of God: It is the prerogative of God's powerful will to show mercy, by giving faith for salvation to whom he will, and therefore it is not in the power of sinful man, effectually to will his own salvation. “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.” {Rom.9:18} “Of his own will begat he us.” {James 1:18} God is the God of salvation, and therefore the creature cannot be a Savior to himself. “Save me,” saith the Psalmist, “for thy mercy sake.” {Ps.31:16} Why should the Psalmist have prayed unto God, to save him, if he had been able to save himself, by working faith in his own heart. We are all sinners, saved by obtaining a psalm of mercy; and it is God that granteth us a psalm of mercy for the saving of our lives, and giveth us learning, by which we are enabled to read it. The will of God is the supreme ruler, and governor in all things; and therefore in this, for the giving of faith unto whom he pleaseth for salvation. Man lies under unbelief many years, when God comes and speaks the Word to command light to shine, then immediately we are enlightened. He created light by the Word of his power, and made the heavens; so by the same omnipotent Word, and power of his, he is pleased to create, and set up new light in the understandings of those whom he intends to save, giving to them the knowledge of the sweetness of his grace and glory in the countenance of Jesus Christ. This is the gift of his irresistible power; for his will and power cannot be resistant. If there were not such an irresistible power in grace, no man could ever be made a partaker of grace; for the strength of the natural man doth fight against grace, and taketh up arms against Jesus Christ; so that if God did not work irresistibly, there would never be wrought the work of grace in the heart of any man. If God shall persuade Japheth, he shall dwell in the tents of Shem. {Gen.9:27} “I will work,” saith God, “and who shall let it.” {Is.43:13} That is, none shall hinder it. All the devils in hell cannot hinder the work of faith, when God intendeth to work it. “As many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” {Acts 13:48} All Christ's sheep shall hear his voice; {Jn.10:16;} and “the gathering of the people” shall be on to Shiloh. {Gen.49:10} God hath determined the thing to be done, before it is done. “Thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.” {Is.25:1} He would be unfaithful, if his determinations should not come to pass. The Apostle saith that the saints, “have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” {Eph.1:11} And if we consider the eternal counsel and determination for giving faith to some particular person, we shall find, that it is impossible, that these men should not believe, in that moment in which God hath appointed to work faith in their heart, and therefore the Apostle doth acquaint us with the immutability of this counsel. {Heb.6:17} And James saith, that with God there is no “variableness, neither shadow of turning.” {James 1:17} Wherefore seeing God doth dispense the gifts of his grace unto his people, according to his unalterable decrees, and unchangeable counsels, it will be evident, that he worketh upon men irresistibly. God should err in his prescience or fore-knowledge of things, if you should foresee and determine that a man should believe, and that man at the same time should remain in unbelief. God's decrees are certain, irrevocable, and immutable, and that God working according to these decrees, doth work irresistibly, and therefore faith is his gift, because it proceedeth from his irresistible power according to that of our Apostle; “it is the gift of God.” John Simpson {Perfection of Justification, 1648}

False Professors of Christ: Let us not try our saintship by our large professions of Christ, and subjection to such things which we apprehend to be his ordinances for external worship; but by our new creation. It concerneth every man to be thoroughly assured of his heavenly birth who would make his claim good for heaven and glory; and be assured that he shall escape the damnation of hell. As our Savior said of Judas, that “it had been good for that man if he had not been born;” {Mt.26:24;} so it had been good for us that we had never been born, if we shall live and die professors of the knowledge of God in Christ, and not die possessors of God in Christ by the new creation. Every change or alteration which may be wrought in a man, doth not make him a Son of God by spiritual regeneration. Moral principles may make a great change in a man, and pharisaical principles may make a man seem to be very religious to himself and others; but the pharisaic proselyte is far enough from a true convert. “Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” {Mt.5:20} We may walk far in the way of the Law, and performance of duties, to make ourselves new creatures, and the sons of God by our own righteousness and legal reformation, and may at last stumble at Christ, and never come to know what it is to be born of God. A man may take a long walk in the path of the Gospel, and may after a sort escape the pollutions of the world by Gospel principles and may even taste of the powers of the world to come and in conclusion may sit down short of the new creation here, and glory hereafter. {II Pet.2:20} Never truly knowing what it is to have the Spirit in him, and himself in the Spirit; God in him, and himself in God; Christ and him, and himself in Christ. John Simpson {Perfection of Justification, 1648}

Posted May 22, 2012

Union with Christ

There being such a glorious union between us and Christ, it should engage the spirit of saints to be much in the contemplation thereof. As the blood and spirits do run through the body, so this doctrine of Union doth run through the whole body of Christian Religion. Our justification in the Person of Christ, and our own justification in our own persons by Christ cannot be clearly understood, if we be totally ignorant of union with Christ. As the philosopher saith, that all moral virtues are linked together in justice, so all the points of Christianity are concatenated and joined together in this doctrine of union. As the star did lead the wise men to Christ, shining over the place where Christ was, so this doctrine of our union with Christ, shining among other truths of Christ in the Scripture, doth hold forth unto us a light to direct us through the grace of God, into a perfect and comfortable knowledge of all other truths. John Simpson {Perfection of Justification, 1648}

Union with Christ & the Resurrection

This truth concerning the union of Christ with his Church may strengthen the faith of every one of us concerning the certainty of the resurrection. What saith the Apostle? “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church.” {Eph.5:29} The Lord Jesus Christ cannot hate his own flesh; nor forget his own body, the bodies of the saints, but in the love will raise them; for even while they lie in the dust they are his body. Our property in a thing doth draw out our affection to the thing. Our bodies belong to the Lord, and are in his heart and affections, even while they molder in the dust; therefore let this truth pierce your understandings, and sink deep into your memories, and be fully persuaded that your bodies shall be raised, because they are not so much your bodies as the body of the Lord Jesus. The Scripture speaks so gloriously of that union which all the saints have with Jesus Christ in that one Spirit which is in Christ and every saint, that it seems to hold forth Christ as incomplete, till he hath gathered all his members into one body. And certainly, Christ will not appear incomplete in his body at the resurrection, which he should do, should he not by his power command the bodies of the saints to come out of the Earth. Therefore he will not suffer any part of himself to lie in the dust; he will not appear at the general resurrection, without a limb, not without a hand, not without a finger, nor without the least member. – The king when he rides in triumph, or to his great counsel; he rides in his royal robes and in all his glory. When Christ shall appear the second time, he will ride in triumph, as a Conqueror of all enemies, and will ride to his great counsel or Parliament of Saints, who are to judge the delinquents of the world. And the saints are his glory, and therefore they must be raised that he may be in his full glory. John Simpson {Perfection of Justification, 1648}

Union with Christ & the Resurrection

If thou look upon thyself, and thy body, and consider how thou hast dishonored God in thy body; it may be thou art startled in thy spirit; and have such sad thoughts as these: Will Christ ever raise this body as his that I have abused to sin? Shall this body be glorified which I have dishonored by base and filthy lusts? But when thou hast any such thoughts as these, in which the devil appears to thee as an angel of light, to make thee question the truth of the glorious Resurrection of thy body, then look beyond thyself, beyond the sins that thou hast committed against God in thy body and spirit; and think thus with thyself: This body, though I have abused it by lust and intemperance; though I have dishonored God by the sins which I have committed, and acted as it were upon a stage in this body, and flesh of mine; yet now the property is altered. I am not now to look on it as my body, I am to look at it as the body of the Lord Jesus; it is that body, that he hath washed from all sin in his own blood; it is that body, that he died for, that he might cleanse it from filthiness, and uncleanness; it is his body, he hath all right to it, and a property in it; it is His, and none of mine. Christ will not lose that which belongs to Himself and therefore it shall be raised in glory. We see how unwilling men are to part with that which is their possession, and inheritance. We know how Naboth answered Ahab, who would have had his vineyard. “Should I give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee.” {I Kings 21:3} We are the inheritance, the possession of the Lord Jesus; and he will not lose any part of his inheritance. This argument is of sufficient strength to silence carnal reason, if it were thoroughly weighed by us in the balance of the sanctuary. For if a man look on himself as out, of himself, and the being which he hath in the first Adam; and behold himself as one with the Lord Jesus, in a spiritual oneness, seeing himself as such a part of Christ, as a hand, or a foot may be said to be part of the body; and knowing Christ hath undertaken to provide for his body, and to own it for his own; this will establish him in an unshaken confidence, that the Lord Jesus Christ intends to raise his body, and to assure and ascertain us that he will raise us, as he Himself is risen in his own person. John Simpson {Perfection of Justification, 1648}

Posted May 23, 2012

Spiritual Truth Discerned

Take heed of spiritual pride; for one reason why so many falloff from the truth of Holy Scripture to various horrid opinions, is from a principal of spiritual pride. Some of these thought that they had a great deal of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, and that they understood as much of the Doctrine of Christ, and mysteries of the Gospel as was necessary; that they had heard as much of the doctrine of justification as any could preach of it, and of the resurrection, as they could speak. They knew as they supposed what this man spake, and what the other preached; what this man's judgment was, what these authors did write, and they knew perfectly as they imagined whatsoever lies in the Scripture to be embraced for truth; and by their pride did forfeit of their knowledge, supposing that they knew all points of the Gospel, when indeed and in truth, they knew nothing of the Gospel savingly, spiritually or practically; so that as the people of Israel came to loath Manna, and lusted after other food; so these being puffed up with spiritual pride, begin to loath the Heavenly Manna of the Gospel, and disesteem it for the plainness and simplicity that is in it. And nothing now will please them, but new fancies; therefore they must have sermons dressed in another fashion, new cooked, new notions, and other conceits; and anything that is new, pleasing them better than the old and ancient truths of the Lord Jesus Christ. But when God teaches a man to understand the Gospel aright, the more he knows the Gospel, the more he feels his ignorance of the Gospel. John Simpson {Perfection of Justification, 1648}

Preservation in Christ

Take heed that thou dost not embrace the doctrines of free will and falling away from grace; for that man will not stand long, who hath no strength but his own legs to uphold him. Neither will that man stand long for Christ, who stands more by the strength of his own will, than by the power of God's grace. Adam standing in his own strength lost his happiness when he was wise and holy, and canst thou maintain thyself in an happy condition by thine own strength, when thou art unrighteous? True Saints are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. {I Pet.1:5} The word signifies a keeping of anything as by a guard. God's grace is a guard, by which he doth keep all his, in the way of salvation, so that it is impossible they should fall away from his grace. John Simpson {Perfection of Justification, 1648}

Posted May 24, 2012

Contending for the Faith

And these plain speakers are opposed to those who conceal their inward thoughts and secret bane under their tongue, and mutter in evasive and equivocal terms, so as to be construed to anything, and understood anyhow. When they lie in wait to deceive and beguile the simple and unwary, God's servants shall use plain speaking, and nothing of his counsel shall be kept back; but the whole shall be declared, and that without shunning, or "keeping back part of the price." Having now seen what Christ is to them, and what he has done for them, we have in my text, which next follows, the use they make of their enlightened eyes and circumcised ears. They are to use their knowledge aright; and not to judge according to personal appearance, nor according to the sway of corrupt affections, but to "judge righteous judgment;" to take the state of a person's heart by what proceeds from his mouth, and so judge of the influence he is under by the truth or falsehood that he utters; for "by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned," Matthew, xii. 37. Hence these princes are to call men and things by their proper names; not to call darkness light, nor light darkness; nor to call evil good, nor good evil; nor to put sweet for bitter, nor bitter for sweet; nor to call holiness sin, nor sin holiness. They are not to call a false spirit a good one, nor a true spirit a bad one; nor to say to a wicked man, "Thou art righteous;" nor to say to these princes, "Ye are ungodly." They are not to condemn the just, nor to justify the wicked – for they that do either, are an abomination to God – much less to call Christ Beelzebub, and Simon Magus the Great Power of God. Men and things are to bear, and be called by, their proper names; so that the infants and unstable in Zion may not be left to halt between two opinions, but go by Zion's judgment. Thus a vile person is to be known by his villainy; an enemy to God, by the error that he utters against him; his hatred to the King of Zion, by his opposition to his reign; his living in the flesh, by his fleshly savour; his being a self-willed, cursed child, by his doctrines of free-agency; his being a self-righteous Pharisee, by his debasing the righteousness of the Lord, and exalting his own; and his hatred to God's elect, by his trying to destroy them, not with carnal weapons, but with false doctrine; or, as my text says, with "lying words," even when the "needy speaketh right." They speak right in opposing his errors and villainy, and by calling upon him, as he calls himself a preacher, for the pure gospel to feed their needy souls with, which is the provision of God's house, and what he has provided for the poor and needy… by setting forth a false Christ, whose satisfaction is invalid, whose righteousness is useless, whose grace is insufficient, who is mutable in his mind, changeable in his will, weak in his government, wavering in his counsel, and fickle in his love, he hides himself under falsehood; and, by exalting fallen man, he brings the sinner to trust in another lie. They deal in If's and But's; in free-will, moral righteousness, human perfection, casual grace, uncertain vocation, and precarious redemption; all of satanic original and human device, contrived and opposed to the counsel and will of God. But the latter will stand when the former gives way. There are many devices in a man's heart; but the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.  William Huntington {Funeral of Arminianism, 1791}

Posted May 27, 2012


Assertion#1. Justification is taken sometimes actively, for a judicial act of God's grace; sometimes passively, or terminatively; as it hath its termination upon believers. In the former sense, it is an act eternal and eminent in God, not transient upon any extraneous subject; or in plain words, it is secret, abiding, and hidden in God himself, not declared or passing into the knowledge and conscience of man. That it is of the same nature with the acts of election and reprobation, having its complete being, as these, before the persons so elected, justified and reprobated begin to have being, life or faith in them, or to do good or evil. But in its passive sense, as it is terminated upon, and made out to the conscience of a man, so it is a transient act of God, pronouncing and declaring home to the conscience of a man now living, convinced of his sins, and trembling at the sense and burden thereof, yet resting upon, and cleaving to Christ by faith; that his sins are forgiven for Christ's sake; and by this act and sentence of God in his conscience the poor sinner becomes sensible and apprehensive of his full discharge and absolution at God's tribunal through Christ's satisfaction made to justice for him. Assertion#2: Justification, as taken in the former sense, is an act of God's Supreme Lordship or Dominion, or else of his good pleasure {to use the Apostle’s terms} by which he freely and without necessity, in relation to his justice, willeth the salvation of one, and willeth not the salvation of another; loveth or hateth; imputeth not, or doth impute sin, according to his own good pleasure. But justification in the latter sense, is an act of God's righteousness or faithfulness, by which he faithfully and righteously accomplisheth his promises of grace, in justifying and absolving them which believe, by the sentence of pardon pronounced to their conscience, according to the Gospel promise made to believers. No word of promise went before justification in the former sense, to make it an act of justice to fulfill that promise; neither could it be an act of his natural justice, that by the necessity of his nature he should so justify and love any; for then should none be either loved or saved freely of God, when contrariwise it was in his own free choice, to love or to hate, to save or condemn all, to have loved Esau and hated Jacob, to have willed the condemnation of the saved, and the salvation of the reprobated. But the word of promise preceded justification in the latter sense, which it is righteousness in God to fulfill, therefore is it an act as well of his justice or righteousness, as of his free grace. Assertion#3: Justification in the former sense is antecedaneous, or foregoing to all covenants whatsoever. In order of nature {though not in time} it goeth before that covenant between the Father and the Son; and consequently before Christ's undertaking to make, or the Father's covenant to accept what he should offer, in satisfaction for the sins of the elect. For in order of nature the willing of the end, always goes before the willing of the means conducting to the end; so that God's willing man's righteousness and immunity from sin, and a loving him to salvation, must needs go before his willing of Christ's satisfying of his justice, which was but a means appointed of God to the constituting of man righteous before him, that he might be pure from sin, discharged from condemnation, and partaker of salvation, which was the end. Not that there was any precedency, or following after, of these acts of God in time; for they are both co-eternal, and before all times. Whom God hath loved, and forgiven their sins, them hath he so loved and forgiven, in and through Christ from all eternity, and through and for the merit of his satisfaction. Much more doth this eminent act of justification go before, not only in nature, but in time also. Both the covenant made with Adam, and the Covenant of Grace, made after by Gospel promise, by Christ, or God in Christ to us, through Christ. For these had all their manifestation in time; but justification, as a sentence of pardon pronounced upon the conscience of the believer, in its other acceptation is subsequent unto, and follows after, and is an effect of not only the Covenant of Grace, but of faith itself, which the Covenant of Grace calls for, as a means to attain it. None else but a believer, nor he, until he actually believes, is thus actually justified, or hath pardon of sins and absolution from wrath declared and pronounced of God in his conscience. And thus to be justified in Christ, or in God, is one thing and to be justified in ourselves by God through Christ is another. The former is a antecedent, the latter an effect or consequence of the Covenant of Grace. Assertion#4: Neither the mediation and satisfaction of Christ, much less, our faith in Christ, nor any of the most noble gifts of grace received from Christ, either in their habit or operation do move God to justify us, so as to put into him a will to pardon our sins, and accept us as righteous, or to change his affection from nilling to willing our forgiveness and happiness, and from hating to love and accept us; because he is God, and therefore immutable; and there cannot be any cause of God's will rendered, any more than of God Himself. For the will of God is God himself, and these imminent acts of God are God himself acting. So that the substration of all that Christ hath suffered, and by his sufferings satisfied for us, and of all that we do, or can do to put ourselves into union with Christ, and a conformity with the will of God, are in no wise the causes or conditions, or antecedents of God's first loving, owning, and pronouncing us righteous and pure from sin imputed, but the effects thereof. For he so loveth and justifieth all, that in a covenant way have been or shall be justified in their own conscience, before ever they believe, or live. But that the intervening of Christ's satisfaction for our sins, and our recumbency upon, and embracing of Christ unto satisfying of faith, do add nothing to God which was not, nor alter anything which was in his will before; but do only lay and make a way by God's ordination, how he from all eternity loving and justifying us in Himself freely, may in a course most convenient to magnify both his truth and righteousness, and withal his grace and mercy, at length actually declares us just in, and to our own consciences, and forever acquits us from sin and wrath, to the admiration of men and angels. And so the former justification is a pure, simple, free, and irrespective act of God, having no causality out of himself moving him to it; but the latter is a federal, Gospel or covenant justification, respecting his own covenant before made, Christ's satisfaction already given and pleaded in heaven by Christ, and man's faith in the Mediator and Promiser, pleading the promise, and the blood of the Mediator sealing it; upon all which he doth, he cannot but actually pronounce and declare to the conscience of the believer his perfect absolution from sin and vengeance. This latter is indeed the justifying whereof the Scriptures primarily speak, as oft as they speak of justification by faith, but so as the former is also in such Scriptures implied. Neither is the Scripture silent in reference to the former, as considered without the latter, or apart from it. Assertion#5: Although all that are or shall be justified by faith in time; namely, each one in the time when he so believes, were justified also in Christ and secretly in God before they believe, or yet lived, even from eternity; yet is there no man justified by virtue of the new covenant and promise of the Gospel, proclaiming right to the Lord Christ, to forgiveness of sins, freedom from condemnation, heirship to God's Kingdom, and all other benefits of Christ's passion; until he doth actually believe and embrace Christ, through Him to have all those precious promises made good and effectual to himself. Though in Christ he were lord of all before, yet differed he nothing in himself from a servant, from a child of wrath, for his life and righteousness were hid with Christ in God. He could claim nothing from God by any evidential title, but wrath and condemnation; though in Christ all was his, because Christ had merited, purchased, and received all into his hands for him, yet had he no right to Christ by which to claim a partnership and interest in the Kingdom and privileges of grace, was without all true peace of conscience, all joy and consolation in the promises of grace, under fears and terrors in expectation of wrath and damnation, could be sensible of nothing but anger, hatred and displeasure against him for sin, knew not himself to be one of the children of promise, {Gal.4:28,} to be entitled to Christ, in whom alone the promises of God are yea and Amen. {II Cor.1:20} Therefore as if there had been no Christ, no Mediator and Reconciler, no Covenant of Grace; yea, no grace, or acts of grace eternal or temporary in God through Christ, so he remained under a spirit either of delusion or bondage still. But now when the Father hath drawn him to Christ, and Christ hath received him, when Christ hath apprehended him to himself by his Spirit, and he by faith hath apprehended Christ to himself for redemption, reconciliation, remission, righteousness, and whatsoever else is laid up in Christ for him; and so hath union and communion with Christ, hath Christ in him, and is himself in Christ. Now his justification, which was sure before in God and in Christ, is also made sure to his conscience. He is now justified in his own conscience after the tenor, and by the virtue of the Gospel and Covenant and Promises of Grace; finds and knows himself through Christ absolved at God's tribunal, hath all the evidences for it that possibly he can desire, the Word and the Oath of God, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, he may have a strong consolation. {Heb.6:18} The Word evidenceth, and his faith evidenceth, the covenant is now sealed immutably and reciprocally between God and him, by believing he hath put to his seal that God is true, and God seals to his conscience by certifying it by his Spirit, that his wrath is pacified, that all accusations are silenced, and that there is no condemnation to him being now in Christ Jesus. {Rom.8:1} Himself may now rest satisfied, banishing henceforth all fears and doubts, and glorying in the Lord that the fear of death is past, it is enough my soul is now alive, Christ is made sin for me, that I might become the righteousness of God in him. {II Cor.5:21} Now Lord lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for my eyes have seen thy Salvation; and in the interim while he is here enjoying a heaven upon earth, a kingdom of righteousness, joy and peace in the Holy Ghost, until he was incorporated by faith into Christ, Christ might indeed plead for him, but he had no evidence, no show of title, not an article under God's hand, or from his lips, to plead at God's bar for life or pardon. Assertion#6: Nevertheless when a man truly believeth, then may he apprehend justification and remission of sins not only as now first declared and evidenced to his own soul, but also as past and complete before the foundation of the world was laid; because from eternity Christ satisfied, in that he undertook to satisfy, for the sins of the elect; and God from eternity rested in this satisfaction undertaken by Christ, and so laid aside all displeasure which {without this Covenant between him and his only Son} he might have taken up as well against them that should afterwards believe, as against them which die in unbelief. For their justification in time doth argue their justification before all times; and where faith finds the least rivulet of the great stream sent forth, it can, it ought, by it to ascend up to the very Fountain to be stilled and satisfied with the deliciousness thereof. Thus shall we find the Apostle in almost all his Epistles, from the sense of their present enjoyments in Christ, to carry upward the Saints to whom he writteth, unto the very bosom of God's eternal grace, counsel and good pleasure where all was laid up and treasured for them from all eternity, that thence it might in due time be shed forth upon them. Faith runs not away rationally and hastily with the gift, but delights to enter and pierce through the veil, to contemplate and embrace the eternal as well as the infinite love of the Giver. Assertion#7: Although no man receiveth the sensible comfort of his justification before he actually believes, yet every elect vessel hath {besides, and without his knowledge} the true benefit thereof {as total freedom from vengeance} throughout the whole time of his infidelity. Every elect vessel, was in Christ beloved, accepted and owned of God as righteous, in that his sin was not imputed, as fully before as after he believed; the price of his redemption was paid, all his sins borne and punished upon the shoulders, yea the soul and body of Christ, so that himself was no less exempted from the revenging wrath of God, and from all obligation to make any part of satisfaction in his own person for his sins, as he that was already in Christ by faith. So that whatsoever afflictions befell him in the time of his unbelief, these were not the infliction of the curse, as the curse for sin, but sanctified chastisements of a loving Father, flowing from his grace and favor, not from his indignation and hatred against his person {though against his sins} tending all to his good, not to his ruin. Else if he should have borne the least stroke of God's revenging justice, and in the least pittance have made but one least piece of satisfaction by his sufferings for his offenses, then either Christ hath made satisfaction for him but in part, and is not his whole Savior and Redeemer, for that himself hath satisfied divine justice in part, or otherwise the Father hath taken satisfaction twice for the same sins, once from the Lord Christ, and after that from the offender also. But this were to slander either the perfection of Christ's mediation, or the incorruptness of God's justice, both which are insufferable. Assertion#8: Justification which is by faith consisteth not only in a bare apprehension of our justification and pardon from God, but first in God's actual declaration, evidencing, and certifying the conscience of a man drawn to the bar of judgment {set up as it were in the conscience} that God hath taken satisfaction to his offended justice from the Lord Christ for all the offenders sins, and hath forever quitclaimed and discharged him from all sin and wrath, and admitted him into favor and family to be under the dispensations of his grace forever. And then indeed God having by this act absolved the conscience, there followeth also the sense of our remission and justification; so that decides this sense and apprehension, there are two things in our justification by faith over and above that which was in our eternal justification in Christ; namely, 1. A total diffidence and denial of our own righteousness, and a trusting and adhering wholly and only to Christ for pardon and justification. 2. God's act upon our consciences, declaring and assuring us that our debt is paid by Christ, and we discharged upon the satisfaction which our Surety hath made, so that the obligation is canceled, and we depart with a full and general acquaintance in our consciences. Neither of these were there in the former justification; namely, in the justification in the former sense before mentioned, and so that there is more than the bare knowledge of our justification, in our being justified in the latter sense is evident. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, 1654}

Everlasting Love of God in Christ for the Elect

The Scriptures speaking of the sons of Isaac, saith of them, while yet unborn, and consequently having neither done good nor evil, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated;” {Mal.1:2,3, Rom.9:11,13;} and elsewhere pronounceth of men, that when they lay in their blood, in their nakedness, then he made it the time of love, said to them live, spread his skirt over them, and covered them, entered into covenant with them, and made them his. {Ez.16:6-8} “God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ.” {Eph.2:4,5} “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners,” when enemies, we were justified by Christ's blood, and reconciled to God by his death. {Rom.5:8-10} Here it is evident to all men that the love of God justifying and reconciling us to himself, goeth before our faith and works, was then in its power and operation, when we were yet sinners, in all our pollution, enemies, dead in sin; therefore without any spiritual motion, or operation to our own cleansing, or happiness. I demand now when this love of God so justifying us began? Not when we believed, and first obeyed the Gospel, for it went before, it was then acted toward us when we were enemies, dead, &c. Or when we began to be sinners? Then it seems that our sins begat this love in God, and then let the atheists aphorism stand as an impregnable principle, ‘let our sins abound, that the grace and love of God may abound.’ Or was there ever an hatred of us, as a contrary affection in God, before, which is now expelled that love might succeed in its place? Hath God now changed his hating of us to condemn us, into a love to justify and save us? This is to accuse God of mutableness and change. For God is love, {I Jn.4:8,} and the love of God is God himself loving; and to affirm where we find the love of God present, that there was a time when this love was not in God, when God began to love, is no other but to affirm, that there was a time when God yet was not, and a time when he began to be God, the will of God being God himself. And the volitions, or willings of God, being God himself willing; and the acts of God's love and hatred being acts of God's will; yeah of God himself, and no more subject to change, being immanent in God, than God himself. So that these Scriptures which affirm God's love to us when we were sinners, do affirm also consequently his love to us before we were either in being, or just, or sinners, even from eternity. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, 1654}

Everlasting Love of God in Christ for the Elect

When the Lord said to his people, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love,” {Jer.13:3,} does he not mean a love which is from everlasting to everlasting? Or is there a love of God to everlasting which was not from everlasting? Or was it not the love of accepting and approbation of them unto righteousness and salvation, whereof he there speaketh? And when the Apostle John tells us, that the glory of God's love doth herein shine forth, “not that we loved him, but that he loved us,” {I Jn.4:10,} making not our love, or any fruits thereof, the foundation of God's love to us, but the love of God to us to go before our love. Is not this a doctrine universally true of all the saints that are or have been, that God's love to them preceded, and was antecedaneous to their love towards him? If so, then consequently before man's being, then from eternity was this grace given us, and we were loved of God in Christ, to justification and salvation. It is that which the Lord Christ speaketh, {and that not obscurely,} in his prayer before his passion, where having interceded and craved sundry blessings for his elect, he adds this reason why he craved those blessings in their behalf; namely, “that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” {Jn.17:23} How is that? In the next verse he explains himself thus, “Thou hast loved me before the foundation of the world.” What doth follow hence, but that as Christ, so they that are Christ's, were loved of God unto life, before the foundation of the world. God having loved Christ as the Head of the Church before the foundation of the world, therefore also he loved the elect in Christ as the body and members of Christ before the foundation of the world. Yea to decree from eternity, to love them afterward in time, and until the time came, to hate them, or not to love them in Christ, was to decree mutability and change in his own will - in himself, which is wholly repugnant to his nature that cannot change, by receiving augmentation unto, or diminution of the acts of his will, which were in him from eternity. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, 1654}


When God saith, “I hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel;” {Num.23:21;} it will {I doubt not} be granted that the meaning was, that God did not see it to impute it, as to the curse which Baalam was hired to denounce from God against Israel. If God did not actually see iniquity and perverseness in Israel, then never did he see it in any people; for so degenerate had Israel been in the idolatries of the Egyptians, so full of infidelity and murmuring in the Wilderness, until the very day that God thus spake; that unless we will make him as Plinius’ {Gaius Plinius Secundus, known as Pliny the Elder – ancient philosopher & historian} god, that does not descend in his Providence lower than the starry and celestial spheres to intermix himself with earthly things, for fear of attracting to himself pollution thence, we must acknowledge that he did indeed see iniquity in that people; but he saw it not as to impute it, although he saw it clearly to reprove it, and to purge it out of them. Also in those Scriptures where God imputeth to men righteousness without works, pronouncing them blessed, whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered, and to whom God imputeth no sin, but imputeth righteousness; {Rom.4:6-11, II Cor.5:19;} to what time shall we reduce this imputation to find it in its original, if not to eternity? When God began to account or reckon us righteous in Christ, or not to impute sin to us, if he did not actually do it in himself before time from eternity? What else was the generation of the elect reckoned righteous in Christ first, and had their iniquity no more imputed, but when Christ's satisfaction became effectual for them? This we maintain and acknowledge to be when Christ undertook to satisfy in their behalf. How should it be otherwise; when Christ came to be voluntarily bound for them, then were they freely dismissed in him. When he became sin for them, they became the righteousness of God in Christ. {II Cor.5:21} At once their sins were imputed to Christ in point of satisfaction to be made for them, and they discharged forever; {namely, in the court where these things were transacted between the Father and the Son;} from making satisfaction in their own persons, and reckoned perfectly righteous forever, in respect of vengeance, and condemnation for sin. But Christ's undertaking to satisfy for them, and consequently the whole transaction, and Covenant between the Father and him about our redemption, and justification; and the said imputation of the sins of the elect to Christ, were all from eternity, before the foundation of the world, else how could they be loved in Christ before the foundation of the world? Therefore also their being accounted righteous in Christ, and sin not being imputed unto them, their absolution, and discharge from condemnation were perfected in God, and in Christ before the foundation of the world. Yea, however some godly commentators speak beneath the mind of the Apostle, yet his words are plain and full. That God hath promised eternal life, and given us grace in Christ before the world began. {Tit.1:2, II Tim.1:9} How promised unto Christ our Head, and to us in him, but by that eternal covenant between the Father and the Son; and how given us in him, but as John saith, “he hath given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son;” namely, laid up in him for us from eternity, to be received in time into ourselves, as we receive Christ, according to what followeth, “he that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” {I Jn.5:11,12} And the grace or life that in that, {II Tim.1:9,} is said to be given us in Christ before time is {vs.10} affirmed to be brought to light by Christ in these last times; as the former seems the imminent, so this the transient act of justification. – As to Mr. Baxter, let him pretend what he will of his zeal against this doctrine, because it is a pillar of Antinomianism, yet his conscience no doubt tells him that this rage against it is under this consideration, as it is a sledge to beat in pieces the conditional justification, election, redemption, and grace; together with the pride of man's free will, works, righteousness, and uncertainty of perseverance, &c.; which are the articles of faith common to Mr. Baxter with the Papists and their friends of the Netherlands, the Arminians, {whose ghosts have much infected us within this nation these many years.} If justification as an imminent act in God from eternity hold, all these must fall, and Master Baxter and his followers be crushed with the ruins thereof. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, 1654}

Posted May 28, 2012


Justification or remission of sins, may be considered in a threefold respect. 1. As it is in God. 2. As it is delivered over by God, into the hands of Christ our Mediator. 3. As it is by Christ brought home unto and given into the bosom and possession of those for whom it is intended. As it is in God, I shall pretermit to speak much of it, until Mr. Baxter directly and expressly calls for it, lest the man should be tormented before his time. For he hates the very naming and thought thereof as an Eternal Act Immanent in God, and is ready Jew like to rend his clothes, and sling dust in the air, at any mention thereof, as an article that stands in direct enmity to his justification by works. As it is delivered into the hands of Christ, we may speak of it without such terrible offense to his patience, or setting him into so dire a commotion; conditionally that we will undertake for Christ that he shall be ruled by Mr. Baxter to do what he appoints with it; that is, to keep it in his pocket and deliver it to no man, but hold all under the curse of the Law until the day of judgment; but we cannot adventure upon such an undertaking, nevertheless shall hold forth the truth of God in this case. That is, that Christ by offering himself a sacrifice for sin, and presenting the sacrifice of himself unto God in the most holy place; namely, in heaven at his mercy seat, hath thereby effectually purchased everlasting redemption, and remission of sins, and hath received a full absolution and acquittance from the Father for all his elect by name. So that in Christ they are justified from all sin, and freed from the Law as a Covenant of Works even while they are unbelievers; having this freedom in the hand of Christ though not in their own apprehension and possession. Though as to themselves and their own judgments, and as to the apprehension of men, they are under the Law, under wrath, yet in Christ they are dead to the Law, their iniquities past, present and to come are blotted out, their peace made, and they reconciled to God. This is observably set forth in Aaron, and the other high priests as his successors, they being types of Christ. Aaron the high priest must bear the names of the children of Israel engraven upon two precious stones on the two shoulders of his ephod, before the Lord for a memorial. {Ex.28:10-12} Yea, he must bear their names in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, {with the blood of the sacrifice for the expiation of sins} for a memorial before God continually. What a memorial? That they were the men for whom the sacrifice was offered; and that their sins were purged thereby, that God should therefore have them in remembrance to preserve them from the curse and judgment of the Law, for so it followeth, “And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the LORD continually; and thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron's heart, when he goeth in before the LORD; and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the LORD continually.” {vs.29,30} These things were but figuratively done in Aaron, but really and fully accomplished in Christ his anti-type, who being constituted our High Priest, and having received command from the Father not only what, but for whom to offer, even for Israel; namely, the elect of God, {which for a great part,} were not yet in being, hath by his own blood entered into the holy place, with their names engraven upon his heart, having purchased for them an everlasting redemption. Not into the holy place made with hands, but into heaven there to appear for them by way of mediation and intercession. {Heb.9:12,24, Rom.8:34} Wherefore also God hath given him not only an acquittance for them from all their sins, {Heb.10:17,} but have also given and delivered them up into his hands; yet not as Mr. Baxter insinuates, to plague and curse them, and hold them during their life under the intolerable bondage of the Law; but to deal with them in a gentle dispensation, according to the tenor of the Covenant of Grace, in tender mercy to draw them unto and keep them in the Faith without all apostasy to the end. All which he performeth for all his elect, as is evident from most of those Scriptures which were brought for the confirmation of the former point, and elsewhere, God's giving them to Christ, and into his dispensation, being their perfect translation from the Covenant of the Law into the Covenant of Grace; and this was done before their believing. “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me,” first they are given, and then they come. “Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace; for I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee; for I have much people in this city,” {Acts 18:9,10,} saith the Lord Jesus to Paul in reference to the Corinthians, though yet in heathen darkness. They were his people before, therefore must they be gathered to Christ by faith. “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, &c., {Jn.10:16,} he means the Gentiles that were infidels; yet, nevertheless his sheep that must afterward hear his voice, because they were his sheep. How were these termed Christ's people, Christ's sheep, while yet in paganism, idolatry and unbelief, but because they were his redeemed and justified ones. “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep.” {Jn.10:26} What is that, but because they were not of the number of them for whose sins he had effectually satisfied God's justice. Justification and remission of sins may be considered also as it is brought into their own apprehension and conscience, that were justified by Christ, and in Christ before. And in this sense it is often taken in Scriptures, yea at all times when we are said to be justified by faith. This is done when Christ by the manifestation and ministry of the Gospel maketh known in all ages to them for whose sins he hath satisfied, the Mystery of Grace by him, and frameth their hearts with all gladness by faith to embrace him unto Justification. Then are they justified in themselves, and remission of sins sealed up by the Spirit to their own consciences, and so have the kingdom of God within them, consisting of peace, righteousness and joy in the Holy Ghost. Before this Christ had life for them, now they are said to have it themselves. “These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” {Jn.20:31} “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” {I Jn.5:20} Until now was their Winter season, so that all their life was in Christ as the Vine or Root, now is their Spring, so that the life shows itself in them as the branches blossoming with peace and joy unto all obedience. Before life was purchased and seizure thereof taken for them by Christ; now they are passed from death to life; {I Jn.3:14;} are put into the actual possession of it. Before though they were lords of all, {as the Apostle in a case little different from this speaketh, Gal.4:1,2,} yet differed nothing from servants, being {in their own apprehension} under the threats and condemnation of the Law, and so still in slavish fears and terrors. But now they see their freedom and take possession of it, with the boldness to cry Abba Father, and to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, and through the veil of his flesh, with full assurance of hope, &c. {Heb.10:19,20} John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, 1654}

Parable of the Talents

Mt.25:14-30 + Lk.19:12-27. For the Kingdom of Heaven, and the Lord's Coming and reckoning with His servants, and retribution of their service is to be taken for Christ's coming to preach first in his own person, and then to set up and established the Gospel by the Ministry of his apostles. The servants to be reckoned with are principally the teachers of the Jews; the talents used, or abused, are the mysteries of the Gospel revealed, though veiled under the Law. The matter of the account is what each by his serious studies and labors had cleared up to himself and others of this Gospel and saving knowledge of Christ before his coming for the advancement and advantage of Christ at his coming. They which had spent their labors this way, received at Christ's coming a double measure of the Spirit of illumination in the knowledge of Christ and salvation by him, and were instructed with a surer measure of the sacred Treasure to be the dispensers thereof to the world. But he which had wrapped his talent in a napkin, and hid it in the earth, left the doctrine of Christ {scattered throughout the Old Testament} under a veil as he found it, without searching into it, and clearing it up to others; was left in the state of infidelity, rejected, and bound over hand and foot by his unbelief to perdition; and his citizens which sent word after him, will not have this man to rule over them; they will have a Christ, but only such a one as they have framed to their selves in their own imaginations, but not this Christ; thus having their doom not only denounced, but executed also upon them. “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.” {Lk.19:27} Who are these but the great body and nation of the Jews, that professed themselves citizens and the only saints of God, but for their refusal of Christ, were slain and destroyed by the sword of the Romans? And so the parable comprehends in it a prophecy of the success of the Kingdom of Grace, now in the way of erecting in its power; as the Jews. So sayeth Luke in that 19th chapter, verse 11, “he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.” By this parable foretelling them that the citizens, the children of the kingdom, the Jews for their rejection of Christ should be cast out into outer darkness, where is weeping and gnashing of teeth; namely, into blindness of mind and stubbornness of heart, accompanied with all calamity and misery, as we see them undergoing until this day. This I acknowledge to be but my own private opinion, yet such as I could easily manifest from the text itself to be very probable, if not certainly the mind of Christ. – The unprofitable servant {vs.30} cast into outer darkness is a legal man, serving with a mercenary and slavish spirit, expecting nothing from Christ but in the way of justice, looking upon Christ as an austere man {Lk.19:21,} a straight Lawgiver, and a rigorous exactor of the fulfilling of all his laws; saying, “Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed; and I was afraid,” saith he, and so did nothing because of his fears of so strict a Lord, at least nothing to purpose, nothing to the advancing of the kingdom of Christ in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost within himself or others. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, 1654}

Election unto Salvation in Christ

All which are elected from eternity shall in their appointed times come unto Christ and persevere in him by a living faith. I mean not only all, but only these and none besides them. “As many as were ordained to eternal life believed,” {Acts 13:48,} when Christ was, and do still do or shall believe when Christ is, or shall be preached to them. If the Gospel be hid from any {namely; so that they believe not in Christ manifested by the Gospel to them,} it is to them that perish, &c., {II Cor.4:3,} to them that are not elect but reprobates. “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out,” {or suffer to be lost.} {Jn.6:37} To come to Christ is to believe truly in him, such shall never be lost, never fall away, or make shipwreck of their faith. But who are they whom God giveth to Christ that they may believe in him? “Thine they were, and thou gavest them me,” saith our Savior. “Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables; that seeing they may see, and not perceive,” &c. {Mk.4:11,12} Why was it given to the one part to know the spirit of the Gospel, to the other only the outside and letter thereof? They were within, the others outside the lines of God's election. “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us; but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” {I Jn.2:19} Not of us, he means, not of the number of them that are called according to God's purpose of election, {Rom.8:28,} for then they could not have fallen away, for all should have wrought for good to them. So that hence it followeth that every elect unbeliever shall come to and continue in the Faith, and whosoever doth not so is manifested not to have been elected of God. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, 1654}

Posted May 29, 2012

Judgment of Believers

I utterly deny that they which are in Christ shall be so judged or justified according to their works as other men, that they shall stand as prisoners with the world at the bar of Christ, to be judged for life and death as the other, according to their works. What that the Lord Christ should then discover the nakedness, and lay open in the sight of men and devils all the sin and shame of his beloved members? That he should cast in their faces all the filth of all their original and actual pollution, even when they are upon the threshold of heaven? My ears are abhorrent from the sound thereof. It is against the pure stream of Gospel doctrine, which tells us that Christ hath borne their sin and curse, and fulfilled their Law, therefore they are not to be called to such a reckoning. “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” {Rom.4:7,8} “Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” {Heb.10:17}  “Ye are not under the law, but under grace;” {Rom.6:14;} therefore exempted from the accusations of the Law at the bar of Justice, where the world is to be tried, and to receive no other judgment, but that which flows from the throne of grace. That there is therefore now “no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus,” and that “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath” freed them from the law of sin and death. {Rom.8:1,2} So that the Law has no more power of judgment over them, than the laws of our land to try an angel of heaven for life and death. “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” {Rom.8:33,34} They are the sheep that shall be separated and set at the right hand of Christ, before he enters upon the judging of the world, and so freed from judgment by the mercy of God in separating them. “And shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” {Jn.5:24} That what to the world is the day of judgment, to these is the day of redemption. {Lk.21:28} They shall not come into judgment to answer for any one of their sins; sin being taken away, {by the Lamb of God, as appears in John 1:29,} and all obligation of judgment is taken away with it. As for the works and righteousness which these Scriptures declare shall be mentioned to believers in that their judgment day, these speak out the infinite freeness and riches of God's grace in covering their nakedness, and setting forth only the beauty and ornaments which he hath put upon them; but in no wise any sufficient ground or reason upon which they might expect so great a salvation. – To attribute to the works of believers the reason or ground of their glorification because the grace of Christ mentioneth them is to lay the honor of Christ's grace in the dust. They that shall be glorified, even when Christ of his infinite grace extolleth their service done unto him, shall depress themselves, that the entire praise may be his. John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, 1654}

Justification & Faith

Justification is but God's pronouncing and declaring a man to his own conscience to be just and discharged from sin and condemnation through Christ, so that he perceives and apprehends himself absolved and doth acquiesce in this absolution. The chief instrument by which God doth thus justify or declare and manifest a man to himself just and pardoned is faith. When God is pleased to infuse faith into the soul of any singular person, by it as by his instrument, he declares that person to himself just and acquitted from condemnation; so that he can thenceforth plead out his own justification. God hath pronounced them all just and pardoned which believe in his Son. Thus I am pronounced and declared of God just and pardoned. So this faith is the instrument of God; for so lawyers term deeds and grants in writing instruments; yea, instruments of him that makes the deed or grant. And the promise of the New Covenant or the New Testament, may thus be called the New Instrument; as it is his evidence written by the finger of God's Spirit in the hearts of the elect, so that they may read this instrument of God's writing within their hearts evidencing and manifesting to themselves their justification from God. And this is one principle instrument and evidence of God promised under the New Covenant. Jeremiah 31:31-35 recited {as now fulfilled} by the Apostle in Hebrews 8:8-12 & 10:16,17. “I will write my laws in their hearts, &c.,” what Law, but the rule, doctrine and evidence of life and salvation? But what benefit by having it written within them, more than if it were in writing without them? Yes this, they shall not need external teaching to know the Lord, “for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.” {Heb.8:11} What knowledge of God was this whereupon they should not need teachers? They shall know him to be their God, their Justifier, their Savior; for so much intimate the next words, “for I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” This was one chief part of the Law, or will of God written in their hearts, justification or everlasting remission of sins. This they should not need to be taught from without; the instrument of writing or evidence thereof should be within their own hearts apparent, not to others but to their own reading. And what more principal evidence or instrument of writing within our hearts thus to assure us, than our faith, engraven by God's own hand in us? To the same purpose is it, that faith is called “the evidence of things not seen.” {Heb.11:1} Whose evidence? God's evidence given us, by which he declares to us, and manifests to our consciences the invisible things of our justification and salvation; and when given, then our evidence also by which we not only apprehend, but also plead against all the accusations of the Law, yea of sin and Satan, our actual justification; and that is called the witness of God in us; or, within us; because God by this witness as his instrument declares and evidences us to our own consciences justified. {I Jn.5:10} Faith is God's instrument by which man applies to himself, and without which he cannot apply to himself this justification, and remission of the New Covenant to know and be sensible of it, that he may rest and rejoice in it, being justified in himself; namely, in his own knowledge and conscience. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.” {II Cor.5:19} Reconciliation and Justification {as hath been showed} are one and the same thing. That we may receive it therefore from him in Christ, he gives unto us {as many as are his elect} this living faith as an instrument by which he may apply it and bring it home into our bosom. Therefore is the operation of the soul by faith set forth in the Scripture by a comparison of man's working by the several members of the body as by his instruments; calling faith sometimes the eye of man by which he looketh to Christ crucified as the Israelites to the brazen serpent, thence to obtain cure for the wounded and poisoned soul. {John 3:14,15} Sometimes the foot of the soul by which it runs and comes to Christ for life and justification. {John 5:40} Sometimes the hand of the soul by which it apprehendeth Christ and the justification that is in him and by him. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” {John 1:12} Sometimes the mouth of the soul by which it eateth and drinketh in Christ with the life that is in him, both to justify and sanctify. “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” {John 6:54} “If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” {I Pet.2:3} Sometimes the arms of the soul, by which it embraceth and holdeth in possession Christ with his life and righteousness. “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” {I Jn.5:12} What doth all this imply less than that faith is instrumental to our justification? Yea, given to us to be the sole instrument on our part by which to apply to ourselves the justification by God in Christ; or what else is meant by the particular voice of the Gospel pronouncing us to be justified by faith, but by faith as God's instrument and evidence to declare and manifest it to our souls, and our instrument to apprehend and hold it fast and firm to ourselves? John Crandon {Mr. Baxter’s Aphorisms Exorized and Anthorized, 1654}

Posted May 31, 2012

Weekly Selection

Justification: Not a word, Sir, in all your sermon about the everlasting righteousness {Dan.9:24} of the Lord Jesus Christ, as the purest, the best robe, {Lk.15:22,} the only wedding garment, {Mt.22:11,12,} for a poor unworthy sinner to appear in, in the sight of God. No; this would have degraded your holy image too much; and besides, such old-fashioned patriarchal, {II Pet.2:5,} prophetic, {Jer.23:6,} apostolic, {Rom.10:1-10,} and free grace doctrine as this, does not suit you. The whole of your subject, in general, terminates in making faith the matter or material cause of justification, or that for which any are justified in the sight of God; for without it none, they say, are in a justified state; and if none are in a justified state in the sight of God until they believe, and upon believing become justified, then faith is their justification, or the material cause thereof, in the sight of God, and not Christ; which is a fundamental error, and opposite to the revealed will of God; {Isa.45:20-25;} and not only so, but in general they are so confused, and inconsistent on the subject, that they do not explain their meaning of justification; for sometimes it is faith, the new creature, or whatever they are pleased to term it; sometimes it is Christ; and sometimes it is both together, which they make the matter of justification before God; and such equivocal and uncertain sounds do their Arminian trumpets give. For my own part, I freely confess I've heard many of those daubers, {Ez.13:11-15,} and warpers; but in all my life I never heard one of them yet fairly, experimentally, and confidently state the grand doctrine of a full and complete justification by the imputed righteousness of Christ alone, and steadily to abide thereby, in making it the grand subject of their ministry; for if they do touch upon it in one sermon, they will surely contradict it in the same, or in another; and so it might be justly said, respecting all the grand, essential, and foundation doctrines of the everlasting Gospel of Christ; let the text to be it whatever it will, they are entirely omitted, or but very obscurely mentioned by them; but creature power, creature holiness, and works, and more works is their darling theme from week to week, and year after year, as verified by the Poet: “Thus they play on from year-to-year - on the Arminian dulcimer - and let the text be what it will - their subject matter is free will.” And yet such style themselves, Calvinists, Gospel preachers, and ministers of Christ, &c., when it is nothing but a dead letter ministry, a dull priest, and a dull people. The sense of all true, genuine servants of Christ upon the subject matter of justification is not that they are justified by the habit, or act of faith; but by the Object of faith - Christ and his righteousness, with which the faith of God's elect, when in exercise, is conversant; and not self-purity, or self-righteousness, as some modern Arminians assert. – Everyone who knows what it is really and truly to be made anew in Christ Jesus, knows that it is not in any sense their justifying righteousness, in whole or part, before God; but do sweetly and harmoniously join with the redeemed of the Lord in declaring that in the Lord have I righteousness and strength alone. {Is.45:25} This is the language of grace, and not of works; the experimental language of one who is made a new creature in Christ Jesus, and thus determined to give Christ all the glory. Robert Jeffery {Gospel Truths Stated or Bastard-Calvinist Detected & Arminian Unmasked, 1793}

Election in Christ: It should be observed, that all mankind in Adam, in a Law sense, and in themselves, are sinners, elect as well as non-elect; and so are fallen creatures. Yet by the fall, the elect did not fall out of God's love or favor, being loved with an eternal and unalterable love. They did not fall out of Christ, and thereby lose their personal interest in Him, being chosen in Him before the foundation of the world. Neither are they the children of God today, and tomorrow the children of the devil; in a state of grace and favor with God today, and tomorrow in hell. No; the Bible contains no such kind of Arminian trumpery; which would really be the case, if ever the love or favor of God were lost towards the object of it, or those who were chosen in Christ, to be dispossessed of an interest in Him. Hence it is, that although the elect are sinners in themselves; yet it is in Christ that they are what they are in the sight of God, before time, in time, and to all eternity; and not on the account of what they are in themselves, or by virtue of any works or doings of their own, either in whole or part, before or after they are manifestatively made the partakers of Divine and Sovereign Grace. Robert Jeffery {Gospel Truths Stated or Bastard-Calvinist Detected & Arminian Unmasked, 1793}


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