October 2012


Posted October 1, 2012

{Writings of Richard Coore}

Preaching the Gospel of Christ: “The Lord gave the word; great was the company of those that published it.” {Ps.68:11} What is this they published? Even the Gospel, that Covenant of Grace, Salvation by Free Grace, Glad Tidings to souls afflicted, and overladen with sin; these poor in spirit, that they may be comforted; that though they have been born blind, lame, deaf, they shall hear and see the beauty of the Salvation of God, and shall leap and dance for joy, and shall walk firmly in all the ways of truth and uprightness, and the dumb shall shout the praises of God that sits upon the throne, and of the Lamb that is in the midst of the throne; yea, though dead in sins, sins shall be pardoned, souls sanctified, and they raised to the life of righteousness, by, in, and with the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord our Righteousness; yea these publishers shall preach salvation by free grace, whereby the Law of God is not made void, but established in the souls of believers; whereby their sins and failings and backslidings are discovered, and they judge and condemn themselves, and are not judged of God; but He is merciful to them in their frailties, and heals their backslidings, and loves them freely, and this love begets such a love in them, that they love the Lord with all their heart and soul, and might and strength, and this love is the fulfilling of the Law. And how come they to preach this Doctrine? Have they been at the University? Are they approved and ordained by a Bishop or Presbytery? No, a true Jew is not approved of men, saith Paul; and the Lord Jesus saith by the prophet, “I and the children whom the LORD hath given me,” are accounted as a strange thing to both the houses of Judah and Israel; {Is.8:18;} yea, the scum and off scouring or basest of all things, and those two houses {Judah and Israel} the only worshipers of God; and all other people being heathen idolaters; well may the Church cry, “my leanness, my leanness,” but some will say, that this was a time of defection in Israel, and now is a time of the Gospel flourishing; yea, after the wisdom of men, whereof our Savior foretold his disciples, “that they should be hated and persecuted of all men for his name sake;” and of what sort? Even they that accounted it was good service to God to kill them; therefore Paul plainly declares that he was an Apostle of Jesus Christ, not of men, nor by man, and how have these preachers this doctrine? David saith therefore that, “the Lord gave the word;” whence is manifest both, that this doctrine is the Word of God, and that none can preach it, except it be given to them of God; they that preach this doctrine are they, that are truly sent of God, and all others preach nothing but their own conceits or what they have seen or heard, or conceived in their deceived and deceitful hearts. Richard Coore {Practical Expositor, 1683}

Posted October 2, 2012

{Writings of Richard Coore}

Footsteps of the Flock: The Lord to teach us here to go after the steps of the flock; {Song.1:8;} whence is testified, that though the servants of God are exercised divers ways in the sight of men, as Abraham in the offering of his son; Isaac in having two twin sons of contrary nature; Jacob in serving Laban for wives and wealth; Moses in prevailing against Pharaoh; David in overcoming Goliath; Jonathan in destroying the Philistines, and the like; yet will not avail any soul to do like to these or any of these; but the work of God in the hearts and inward parts of these and all the servants of God is all alike; namely, regeneration of the soul, pardon of sin, mortification of the flesh, sanctification or guidance of the Spirit, in which steps all must go that come to life; for this is that new way wherein no unclean thing shall, {Is.35:8,} and here must the children of God be fed; for here do the shepherds pitch their tents; {Song.1:8;} namely, the true ministers of God preach nothing else; though for this they are so persecuted of men, that they are ready to flee from one place to another, that they may teach to all the true Israel of God. Richard Coore {Practical Expositor, 1683}

Christ the Light: Whence this Light shined upon them that sat in darkness? {“The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.” Mt.4:16} Even from God who sent his beloved Son to give life and light to His children; who is made of God unto us true wisdom, that he that believeth in him, may not walk in darkness, but may have the light of everlasting life in Christ. {Jn.8:12} Hence is manifest this; that the Tree of Life which is kept by the Cherubims with the blade of a sword turning every way, {Gen.3:24,} is indicative of the truth that no man shall know the Father but he to whom the Son will reveal him. {Mt.11:27} No man hath any true knowledge of anything that belongs to the salvation of his own soul, unless it be given him in Christ; although all men in their several forms of religion can talk much of repentance, faith, and works of righteousness, even as it were with the tongue of an angel, all is nothing but as the sound of a tinkling cymbal; they having but stolen the truth from their neighbor, by reading the Scriptures, or hearing preachers, as some Christians declaring what God hath done for their souls; so it is begotten by the hearing of the ear, or seeing of the eye and conceiving of the heart, and therefore it is not that which God hath laid up for them that love him; therefore this bulwark remaineth sure, that gross darkness is upon every soul, {whereof that palpable darkness of Egypt was a figure,} until Christ that Light of God, {which was figured by the light continually shining in the House of God} is made known. Richard Coore {Practical Expositor, 1683}

Posted October 3, 2012

{Writings of Richard Coore}

Christ the Living Word: “He sent his word, and healed them, and they were saved from their destructions.” {Ps.107:20} Here is the wisdom of God, the living Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the wisdom and power of God unto salvation, “for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved,” but the name Jesus; this is that Tree of Life whose leaves heal the maladies of all nations; and this is that Word that healed them; it’s not the written Word, for that they had before, and thought to justify themselves, and condemn all other forms of religion by it. This is given to all, which is a general call of God to call all from all their own ways of folly and wickedness into his ways of Truth and Righteousness; but this call prevails with few; therefore it is written, “many are called, but few are chosen;” but to whom he sends this living Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, he heals them, they are saved from their destruction; for these are the elect or chosen ones of God, of whom it is written, “whom he hath called, them he hath sanctified, justified and glorified;” for he loves them to the end; and as Christ is the Author of Faith, so he is the Finisher of Faith; and as he is the Beginner, so he is the Perfecter of every good word and work, unto the praise and glory of the Father; so they are kept by him who is the Power of God unto salvation; therefore he saith; “Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” {Ps.107.21} Richard Coore {Practical Expositor, 1683}

Christ the Shepherd of the Sheep: “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things;” {Rom.8:32;} therefore he requireth nothing of us, but to believe in his Son, and this he gives unto us also, for we can believe nothing but the history which is declared of Him in the Gospel, how he was conceived and born and became man, and lived as a man amongst men, and preached mighty doctrine, and wrought great miracles, and was betrayed, and suffered a cursed death, and the like; all which the very devils believe and tremble, and many men believe and continue in their sins; some in rioting and drunkenness and the like, others in covetousness, hard heartedness, injustice, oppression and the like; others in pride, ambition and all vain-glorying; and hypocrites likewise believe and make a great show of zeal and devotion, and walking in all the ways of God, and all is but to be seen of men, their heart is not so; they do but flatter with their lips and dissemble in their double heart; but to believe in Him, and by believing to be implanted in Him, and to abide in Him, and He in us, and that we are His sheep, and know His voice, and follow Him, and not to follow strangers; and that he is the Door of the sheep-fold, and whoever enters by Him, goes in and out and finds pasture; and who they are that go in before Him, or climb up another way; and that He is the true Shepherd, and calleth His own sheep by name, and what that name is, or how he calleth them; and that he is the True Vine, and we branches that are implanted into Him by the Father, and how we bear fruit by Him, and cannot bear fruit without Him, and the like; a thousand glorious manifestations of God’s free grace and love to man through Him; as how He is a Fountain sealed, and also a Fountain opened for sin and for iniquity; all these are mysteries hid from the wise and prudent; the cherubim with that sword of God keeps the way of the Tree of Life still, the Law and Testimony is bound up and sealed among his disciples, {“bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples,” Is.8:16,} who are not taught by priests, nor parents, nor brothers, nor neighbors, but are all sons of Zion and are taught of God; and by that teaching they believe and know all things, and are filled with joy and peace in believing. Richard Coore {Practical Expositor, 1683}

Posted October 4, 2012

{Writings of Richard Coore}

Exaltation of Christ: “The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner; this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?” {Mt.21:42} There is the wisdom of the world manifested to be foolishness with God, yea enmity against God; for what Stone is this that is refused; even the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Foundation of all righteousness, wisdom, and all things that pertain unto the salvation of his people; and whosoever refuses this stone; even the builders, the teachers, ministers that profess to teach men the ways of God, how that they may attain righteousness, and obtain salvation; teaching them that they must read, hear, pray, and be rightly baptized, and receive the ‘sacrament,’ and when to bow, and how to kneel, and stand up, and make and keep a covenant, and wait on the light within, and repent, and believe, and wear decent apparel, and say “thou” and “thine,” and when to put off the hat or not; anything but Christ; namely, that Work of Regeneration, {without which no man shall enter into the kingdom of heaven,} is effected within us by the work of his Spirit; that he gives Light and Life to the dead and blind, that he is the Vine that makes all the branches of life fruitful, that he is the Shepherd that leads his sheep to green pastures, and sweet running waters; namely, leads his people to the Word of God, and feeds them with the sincere milk thereof; not with the letter that kills, but with the Spirit that quickens; that he is the Door that leads to the Father; for that none knows the Father, but to whom the Son will reveal him; that in him we are circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, but that of the heart, which Israel after the flesh lacked; and in whom also we are buried by baptism, even by that of his baptism, which is by the Holy Ghost, which mortifies the deeds of the body, that we may live unto God; and that he is made of God unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption; that in Him there is neither circumcision nor uncircumcision, neither Jew nor Gentile, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free; that He alone it is in whom the Church glories. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace;” {Is.9:6} and of his peace, and of his government there shall be no end, to sit upon the spiritual throne of David, to govern it, and to establish it even forever. Oh! Why are not the mouths of ministers opened to preach and set forth his praises? Is not here a Fountain opened to wash away all sin, iniquity and hypocrisy? Is not here a Cabinet opened of hidden treasures to enrich every soul with heavenly gifts? And moreover, is not He the Author and Finisher of our Faith? The Beginner and Perfecter of every word and work unto the praise and glory of the Father? Doth not he work all our works in us? What shall be joined with him? Were they not false apostles that would join circumcision and the keeping of the Law with Him? Does not Paul testify, if any were circumcised, Christ should profit them nothing? And if any sought to be justified by the Law, they were fallen from Grace, and Christ should be of no effect unto them? And does he not tell them, that false teachers bewitched them, and perverted the Truth? And again, is not he the Tree that yields twelve manner of fruits, ripe in every month, whose leaves heal all the maladies of his chosen nation? Doth not He tread the winepress of the wrath of God alone? Of all the people was there any that took part with him? Is it not he that saith to the Church, “I am like a green fir tree; from me is thy fruit found?” Is there any mortification of the flesh, or life of the Spirit in any man, unless he be in Christ? Did not Paul follow the council of flesh and blood in all his zealous religion until it pleased the Father to reveal his Son? Do not all men so in the zeal of their several forms of religion, wherein they strive to outstrip one another, and say in their hearts, “stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou?” Read, and consider “ye that forget God, lest he tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver. And this Tower hath a strong bulwark, for God himself did say unto him, “thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee;” and he gave him the heathen as well as Israel, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession; he gave him to have life in Himself, and quicken whom he will; he gave him for a Covenant to the people, even a New Covenant of Grace; not like the former, that stood upon man’s works, but that which stands upon the work of God alone, wherein he saith, “I will write my laws in their hearts, and my fear in their inward parts;” I will cause them to understand my laws, and my judgments, and to do them, I will give them a new heart, and renew a right spirit within them; and all these things will I do unto them, and not forsake them; and all this will he do by Jesus Christ; for in him, and by him, and through him, and for him, are all things; to him therefore be glory and praise forever. Richard Coore {Practical Expositor, 1683}

Posted October 5, 2012

{Writings of Richard Coore}

Persecution: Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him; and Cain slew Abel because Abel’s sacrifice was acceptable to God. This holds forth the bitter enmity of every carnal mind against the servants of the Lord; for there is nothing so cruel, as it regards no friendship, bond, or covenant; but breaks through all, father rising against son, and son against father, &c. Hence came invention of so many cruel torments, and tormenting devices as fire, axes, saws, &c., as the carnal man plays the hypocrite, pretending some other thing; but this is the bottom, his mind frets, his heart burns, his spirit rages, because of this, shall he be preferred before me? He is a deceiver, a seducer, a heretic; therefore I will have him put to death. Richard Coore {Practical Expositor, 1683}

Preaching the Gospel of Christ: For the building of the Tabernacle; God calleth Bezaleel and Aholiab, and giveth them wisdom to work in gold, and silver, and brass, and set precious stones, and all curious workmanship, for the making of the Tabernacle, which signifieth the ministers, that they must be called of God and endued with wisdom, for the work of the ministry. {Ex.36:1} It is not human learning, nor any natural endowments or abilities, that makes man fit for that work; all those things and all the wisdom of this world; yea, and the words that man’s wisdom invents must be laid aside, that man may preach the Word in demonstration of the Spirit and Power of the Truth; for it is Christ only that makes us able ministers of the New Testament, not of the Letter but of the Spirit; as Paul himself testifies, and our Savior himself also tells his disciples, “as the Father hath sent me, so send I you, freely you have received, freely give;” all that preach out of natural or acquired wisdom, preach nothing but the Letter, and are like the false prophets, and false apostles, and as the Lord testifies by Jeremiah they shall do the people no good; no, they shall delude all that receive their doctrine for the word of Micaiah to Ahab is fulfilled in them, the Lord having put a lying spirit into all their mouths to seduce them, {I Kg.22:23,} and this is the righteous judgment of God upon the world, because they will not receive the true ministers of the Gospel whom he sends, but kill some, and stone others, and evil entreat his servants, and have itching ears and heap unto themselves teachers after their own lusts; and will not suffer sound doctrine, and turn from the truth, and are given over to fables. Alas, is it not so even now? That there is scarce a minister that doth not account it the ornament of his ministry to bring in poetical fictions and fabulous histories; and do not the people love to have it so? When they account them that most abounds in these things, the most learned and able ministers. Richard Coore {Practical Expositor, 1683}

Posted October 6, 2012

{Writings of Richard Coore}

Sacrifice of Christ: The sacrifices all did figure the one sacrifice of Jesus, as the Apostle to the Hebrews declares; therefore as there was no sin of commission or omission, or ignorance, but there was a sacrifice appointed for it, which signifies that not the least sin can be taken away but by the sacrifice of Christ; and whosoever thinks to do it in any other way, or to join his works or any other thing with Him, he deprives himself of all, he loses all; for Christ shall profit him nothing. Again, when the sacrifice was laid upon the Altar, and all things in readiness, the Lord sent fire down from heaven which did consume the sacrifice, which fire was to be continued in the Temple that never must be suffered to go out, and so was continued until the captivity of Babylon. Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron that brought other fire, were smitten down to death by the Lord suddenly to show his jealousy; to show that it is a great abomination to think that anything can avail to the sanctification of the soul but that which is from Himself. Richard Coore {Practical Expositor, 1683}

Christ the Bread of Life: And for the food of Israel amongst beasts, fowls, and fishes, some are appointed as clean unto them which they may feed upon, but others unclean, which they may not eat thereof, as also they are forbidden to eat the fat or the blood of their sacrifices, all which things are taken away by the coming of Christ, as Paul teacheth, that they should eat whatever was set before them, asking no question for conscience sake; as also the Lord taught Peter by the vision, to call nothing unclean; and therefore it is manifest that the clean creatures did signify the Lord Jesus Christ, who is that meat that feeds to eternal life; and the unclean things figure mans works, ways, wisdom, inventions, zeal, righteousness, &c., and all that proceeds from him, and these are all unclean because he is unclean, as our Savior teacheth by parable, “the evil tree cannot bring forth good fruit,” {Mt.7:18,} and the Apostle saith, “to him that is unclean even the very conscience is defiled.” {Tit.1:15} And therefore it is said again, “he that toucheth any unclean thing, or toucheth him that hath touched any unclean thing is defiled,” {Lev.15,} which figures unto us that they only are clean whom Christ hath cleansed, called and separated from the world; that they must not say a league, to whom others say a league, nor fear their fear, nor have any communion with them in their unfruitful works of darkness; and these that are called the unfruitful works of darkness are not only rioting, drunkenness, swearing, cursing, whoredom , thefts, murders, rape and the like lewd courses of profane persons; but also the zeal, wisdom, righteousness, prayer, praises and all religious exercises of hypocrites, for all these are abominable in the sight of the Lord, and therefore unfruitful to their souls. Richard Coore {Practical Expositor, 1683}

Outside the Camp with Christ: Then comes the doctrine of the scapegoat; whereby all the Israel of God are sanctified. Of two goats presented unto God, the one being offered unto God as a sin offering, and that is man, that is constrained to fall down before the throne of God and confess that he is a sinner, even a mass of sin, so was he conceived, and so hath continued adding sin to sin, there is no goodness in him, he is dead in sin. The other is the Scapegoat, even our Lord Jesus Christ; the priest confessing all our sins upon his Head; for then preaches he Christ truly, when he lays all our iniquities upon Him, and thus declares that by His stripes alone we are healed, sent away into the wilderness, into the land of forgetfulness, carrying all our sins, that they may never be remembered against us anymore, and there {in the proclamation of the Gospel of Grace,} Christ remains in the wilderness, and all the saints of God with him, the children which God hath given Him; for he and they are counted a strange thing unto the wise and religious of the world, and rejected as the scum and off scouring of all things. All the wise and prudent cannot find them, they seek them among the zealots, holy, religious ones of the world, but they are in the wilderness as the Apostle John saith. {Rev.12:6,14} God has given them wings of gold, whose feathers are of the Word of Truth, and they fly into the wilderness, from the face and fury of their adversaries, and yet not to flee from persecution; for to suffer for his Name is their crown and glory; for their Redeemer and Comforter is with them to wipe all tears from their eyes and give them joy in life and death, for to them to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Richard Coore {Practical Expositor, 1683}

Posted October 7, 2012

{Weekly Selection}

Gospel Repentance: Question - But doth not the Lord in Scripture call men to repentance, and promise them life upon condition of the same; yea, the Lord doth solemnly protest, that he delights not in the death of him that dieth, but rather that he should repent, and turn, and live; and again, why will ye die? Repent, and turn, and live ye. {Ezek.33:11} And our Saviour saith, “except ye repent, ye shall all perish;” and the Apostles exhort them in the Acts, to repent for the remission of sins; and that their sins might be blotted out. And again, “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Doth it not from all these places appear very plain, that repentance is necessarily required, as a means, or at least a condition of life? Answer - There is in Scripture a twofold repentance spoken of, a repentance of the Law, and a repentance of the Gospel. The repentance which is of the Law is suitable to that Covenant of Works, which the Israelites were under for temporal blessings; when they at any time acted contrary to the command, then the Lord plagued them, sometimes with famine, pestilence, war, captivity, &c. until they did repent; and when they repented, or ceased from their wicked ways and works, then the Lord would also repent, {Note: Repentance as attributed to God declares the outward acts of God, as they relate to our acting towards Him; or the manifesting the visibility of God, as it is in our view, and not to measure the immutability of God in the unchangeableness of his love towards His elect in Christ,} or remove the judgment; for temporal blessings were promised upon condition of outward obedience, and temporal punishments were diverted, or turned away, upon their legal repentance, and ceasing from their evil ways. {I Kings 8:33,35,46,47} In the time of Ezekiel’s prophesy, the Israelites were many of them in captivity already, and the rest of them were threatened; and when the Lord by the Prophet called for repentance, the people thought it was to small purpose to repent, seeing their fathers had eaten sour grapes, and their teeth were set on edge; and that it was but a light business to promise them any good, upon condition of repentance, seeing they did but pine away in their father’s sins. {Ezek.18:2 & 33:10} To which the Lord commands the Prophet to tell them, that it was no such matter, it was their own sin which was the cause of their misery; and that if they would return from their idolatries, and other abominations, he would cease from punishing them, and hereupon uses that solemn oath, “As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” {Ez.33:11} Why will ye die; or why will ye be slain, or die by famine, or pestilence, &c. And so our Saviour tells those, which spake to him of the cruelty of Pilate, that unless they did repent, they should likewise perish; {Lk.13:3;} meaning that some temporal judgment would overtake them; and thus legal repentance served only for the preventing or diverting of temporal punishments. {I Kings 21:27-29} But repentance which is of the Gospel, is not any means or condition of life; for eternal life is the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord; {Rom.6:23;} and it is a free gift, and not purchased by repentance, nor yet promised, nor given upon condition of repentance; for it is not sin, nor Satan, nor death itself, that can make a separation between them that are elected, and the love of God in Christ Jesus, which is eternal life. {Rom.8:38,39} The Lord who hath promised, is not a man that he should lie, or the son of man, that he should repent in this respect. {Num.23:19, Tit.1:2} Now this repentance is called godly sorrow, {II Cor.7:10,} and it is wrought by the working power of God’s love in the soul apprehended by faith, and is a fruit of faith. There is a worldly sorrow, which causeth or worketh death, being wrought by the apprehension of death or punishment, and this is in wicked and unregenerate men, a fear of death driving them to a kind of repentance; {Mt.27:3;} yea, and the saints sometimes having attained but a small measure of the apprehension of God’s love in Jesus Christ, being under a spirit of bondage, {Rom.8:15,} and looking upon God as he manifested himself upon Sinai, are so filled with fear and terror, which causeth abundance of sorrow, even mourning and grieving exceedingly, because they can grieve no more; and that merely upon this ground, that if their sorrow were in any good measure answerable to their sin; then they hope that God will pardon them, apprehending in themselves; and being told so by others, {legal taskmasters,} that if they do not soundly repent, mourn, and grieve for their sins, heartily and seriously confess them, with a resolution to leave and forsake them, that God would not, nay could not, pardon them; and all this from a misinterpretation of Scripture, as “he that hideth his sin shall not prosper, but he that confesseth and forsaketh them shall find mercy;” {Pv.28:13;} and “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive, &c.,” {I Jn.1:9,} concluding from the very letter of these Scriptures {not having the true meaning thereof explained unto them by the Holy Ghost} that unless they first grieve, and mourn, and confess, God will not pardon; and so go heavily under this burden for want of better light; but true repentance, which is repentance indeed, doth not proceed from a bare hope of pardon, but from sense of pardon already apprehended, for as no man can believe his justification, until God hath revealed it to him by Christ, so neither can any man repent truly and indeed, until he first understand and believe, that God, for Christ’s sake, hath forgiven him all his trespasses; and this repentance is called, a repentance unto life, or a repentance flowing from life, or evidencing life; {Acts 11:18, II Cor.7:10;} and life {which is Christ} is very desirable unto all them who have but the least sense or taste thereof; and it is also active wheresoever it is, and puts men upon all enquiries, what must we do that we may have life, those Converts in the Acts, {Acts 16:30,} had but a little before been very forward in the crucifying of Christ, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go; {Acts 2:23, 3:13;} yet now when they hear the Apostles preach remission of sins in his Name, and that there is no other name given under heaven whereby they must be saved, but the name Jesus only, and that God hath advanced him on high, and given him all power to bring all those to life and salvation that desist from their evil ways, and believe in his name. {Acts 2:36} Now when they heard this they were pricked in their hearts; {vs.37;} now Christ, who is Life, began to stir or act a little in their hearts; and now what shall we do men and brethren, that we may have and enjoy more life? To whom the Apostle answered; ”Repent,” {vs.38,} not that repentance doth purchase pardon, but if ye do indeed believe in Christ, and if he be come into your souls, then ye can repent indeed, and by your true and sound repentance ye may be assured, that your sins are forgiven, for ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, which shall seal the same unto you; and it is further said, that the same day there were added three thousand souls. {vs.41} And for that which the Apostle John saith, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive, &c.;” {I Jn.1:9;} the Apostle seems in this place to deal with two sorts of men. The one sort are very high in notion and opinion, and think themselves to be the men that are in Christ, and have fellowship with the Father in the Son, and yet notwithstanding they walk contrary to him in their practice; nay, saith the Apostle, that cannot be, for “God is light, and with him is no darkness at all;” {vs.5;} God is a holy and righteous God, and will do, neither can he do anything, but what is most pure and just; and if any say that they have fellowship or communion with him, and yet are not conformable to him in holiness and righteousness, they lie, and do not the truth; {vs.6;} and if they say {as many do} that they have no sin, Christ hath finished transgression, and made an end of sin in them, so that let them do what they will, they cannot sin, they deceive themselves, saith he, their deceived heart hath turned them aside, and there is no truth in them. {vs.8} The other sort are such, as in whom Christ is revealed, but yet in a low degree, and these are still in fears and doubts, and would gladly know how they may be assured, in some comfortable measure of the favor of God, and of the pardon of their sins. To these he answers; “If ye walk in the light, as he is in the light, &c.” {vs.7} God is a holy God, a most pure Spirit, with whom is no iniquity; and if he by appearing in your souls, hath wrought you to a love of purity and holiness, and also to a loathing of all sin and wickedness, then ye may be sure ye have fellowship with him, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth you from all sin. But if they further say; {as many a poor soul doth;} yea, but we find that sin is not dead in us, but lively; and corruptions strong, a Law in the members leading us into captivity, the good that we would do we do not, the evil which we would not do, that we do. {Rom.7:19} The Apostle answers, your condition is good, if God by his Spirit in you, hath brought you to see and confess this; {vs.9;} ye need not be discouraged, for God is a faithful God, he never begins a good work, but he will perfect it; he hath already pardoned your sins, and he will more and more assure your hearts thereof, by cleansing you by degrees {as to any personal perception thereof} from all your corruptions. William Mason {A Little Star – Giving Some Light into the Counsels and Purposes of God Revealed in the Scriptures, 1653} {Note: William Mason is not Presbyterian Mason, 1719-1791, who wrote the ‘high-grace’ devotional entitled “Spiritual Treasury for the Children of God;” but this Mason was an Early Baptist, of whom little is known.}

Posted October 8, 2012

{Writings of William Mason}

Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus: Christ, who is the New Covenant, is a ministration of Righteousness; that is, in the Gospel Christ is made known to be the Righteousness of God, which the Law required, he having perfectly fulfilled the Law, {Rom.10:4,} in all the high demands thereof, by walking exactly in all the particular commands of the same; and not so alone, but also hath stopped the mouth of the accusing and condemning power of the Law, {Rom.8:1,} by yielding and submitting himself in the flesh to death and the curse; and thus Christ is the Saints Righteousness to Justification, fulfilling the righteousness of the Law for them. And Christ in the New Covenant is also a ministration of life, and peace in the Saints, fulfilling daily the Righteousness of the Law in them; {Rom.8:4;} that is, the Saints being united and made one with Christ, and one with God in Christ are thereby enabled to act righteousness and holiness, and do not look unto the Law for their pattern, but unto Christ the Truth of that pattern; {“Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our Faith.” Heb.12:2;} for he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life; and thus the Law, as it comes from Sinai, is silenced to believers, they being neither under commanding, nor yet the condemning power thereof; but as the Law comes from Mount Zion, {Is.2:2,3,} as Christ is both the Law and the Covenant, so the Saints are not without Law to God, but under the Law to Christ, {I Cor.9:21,} he being a Law of the Spirit, and a Law of life in their hearts, freeing them from the Law of sin and death, and quickening and raising their hearts to life and glory, by and in Himself. In short, the Law, as it comes from Sinai, and is figured in stones, ceaseth to the Saints, and the duties and commands thereof, cease to be the duties of the Law, but are the duties and commands of the Gospel, even the commands of Christ, new commands, or the Law of Christ. {Gal.6:2, I Jn.2:8} - And this is the true reason, why the Saints walk with God so cheerfully and joyfully, because they clearly see, that they are not justified by, or for, any work, or merit, or worth of their own, but merely by the Free Grace and Love of God, in and for the Righteousness of Christ Jesus, {Gal.2:16,} who is the Lord our Righteousness, both unto justification, and also unto sanctification. “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} William Mason {A Little Star – Giving Some Light into the Counsels and Purposes of God Revealed in the Scriptures, 1653}

Gospel of Jesus Christ: Question - What is the Gospel? Answer - The Gospel is glad tidings of good things, good tidings of great joy, {Lk.2:10,} a message of Peace, a ministry of Reconciliation, the ministration of the Spirit, {II Cor.3:8,} the Word of Salvation, {Acts 13:26,} the Word of Faith, the Word of Life, {I Jn.1:1,} the power of God to salvation, {Rom.1:16,} the immortal Seed, the sword of the Spirit, {Eph.6:17,} the Word of God, &c. In a word, the Gospel is Christ, and Christ is the Gospel, {I Cor.1:23,24,} Christ is he that answers all the types and significations of the Law, and in whom is fulfilled all the prophecies of the Prophets; it is Christ alone, in whom God is well pleased, {Mt.3:17,} and it is only Christ, who enables the Saints to walk in all well pleasing. William Mason {A Little Star – Giving Some Light into the Counsels and Purposes of God Revealed in the Scriptures, 1653}

Justification: Question - What is Justification; or how may sinful men be said to be justified, or made righteous before God? Answer - Justification is an act of God’s Free Grace and Love, whereby he {“through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ” – Rom.3:24} hath freely forgiven the sins of all his elect, and accepts of them {in Him} as perfectly just and righteous. But more plainly; Justification is that whereby God himself is pleased to condescend, {Phil.2:7,8,} and to clothe himself with our flesh, and in our nature, and our flesh, to fulfill all the righteousness of the Law for us; and also to subject himself in the flesh to death and curse, hereby paying all our debts, and satisfying Divine Justice on our behalf, and so became our Righteousness for Justification; {II Cor.5:21;} all which he hath done freely, without any desert, or merit, on our part. William Mason {A Little Star – Giving Some Light into the Counsels and Purposes of God Revealed in the Scriptures, 1653}

Posted October 9, 2012

{Writings of William Mason}

Old Testament Types & Sacrifices Fulfilled in Christ: Question - The Law being delivered in so few words, and the Covenant therein contained, being so dark and mystical, how came they then to understand God’s meaning therein? Answer - The Lord was pleased in much wisdom and goodness, to explain those words, and to interpret his own meaning therein; both as they concerned them in their duty to Himself, and also as they contained their duty and behavior one towards another. {Ex. 20, 21, 22 & 23} Moses goes up into the Mount, where the Lord commands him in particular how they ought to behave themselves one towards another, naming also certain feast-days, and other observations about them; and Moses writes all the words of the Lord in a Book, and declares them to the people, and they promise obedience. {Ex.24:3,4} And as this Law contained God’s Worship, and their duty therein, Moses is again called up into the Mount, where he is forty days and forty nights; in which space God shows him a Pattern, {Ex.24:12,} commands him to make him a Sanctuary, that he might dwell among them; and also gives him rules of a most exact and holy Worship, which he expects should be strictly performed by them; in which both holy place, and holy Worship, he doth really {yet darkly} declare, that unless he dwell among them, and communicate himself unto them, they could not be a holy people. {Ex. 25, 26, 27, 28 29 & 30} For indeed, that very Tabernacle, and afterward the Temple, were representations or significations of the human body of Christ, in which the Lord would manifest himself, and dwell among them, {I Tim.3:16,} as the Vessels wherewith they ministered were holy; so the Lord would have them know, that he could not be spiritually worshipped with carnal hearts and hands. {Ps.29:2} The Ark was a visible Type of Christ, by whom the Lord would manifest himself. The two Tables of the Covenant were put into the Ark, to show, that Christ was both the Law and the Covenant to his own; {Is.42:21,6;} and that the righteousness, which the Law required, was wholly in Him. {Phil.3:9} The Mercy-seat where God appeared was placed above upon the Ark, to show, that God would not manifest himself in mercy and goodness to any, but only to them that were in Covenant with him in Jesus Christ. {Is.59:21} The Table, and the Shewbread that stood upon it, was to teach them, that Christ was both the Feeder and the Food. {Jn.6:48,51} The Candlestick, with its seven Lamps always burning, did signify the wisdom of the Spirit, without which, there was no finding out the mind of God in these mysteries. {I Cor.2:10,14} The Oil, wherewith the Lamps were dressed, and made to burn, was of pure olive-oil, beaten, and without mixture; {Ex.27:20;} to show, that the true knowledge of God in the mystery of Christ, was not attained by the help of human wisdom and learning, but by the light and wisdom of the Spirit only. {I Cor.2:12} The Altar, and all those beasts that were offered thereon, did signify Christ, {Heb.13:10,} his death and sufferings, who would {by offering up himself to God once for all} both redeem them from the curse of the Law, {Gal.3:13,} and forever perfect them that are sanctified. {Heb.10:14} The blood of those beasts wherewith they were sprinkled, did signify the blood of Christ; wherewith the Atonement was to be made, and whereby their Consciences were to be purged from the dead works of the Law, to serve the living God in Spirit and Truth. {Heb.9:14} The Priests, which offered the sacrifice were holy men, and consecrated, and set apart for that service; to show, that God will be sanctified in all them that draw near to him. {Lev.10:3} The sacrifices might not be offered without a Priest, to teach, that there is not any service that can be acceptable to God, unless it were offered up to him in the Spirit and Power of Christ. {Mt.3:17} The glorious and beautiful garments wherein Aaron did minister, did hold forth the infinite purity, and transcendent excellency and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom only God is well pleased. The Onyx-stones, whereon the names of the Children of Israel were engraved, were put upon the shoulder-pieces of the Ephod; to teach, that true Israel indeed, are kept by the power of the Lord Jesus through faith unto salvation; {I Pet.1:5;} for he is the wisdom and the power of God unto salvation in all that do believe. {I Cor.1:24} The twelve precious stones, which were set with the names of the Children of Israel, in the Breast-plate of judgment, did declare; that Spiritual Israel that were in Christ, were a precious people {I Pet.2:9} in the judgment and esteem of God. {Mal.3:17} The curious Girdle, wherewith all those goodly garments were girded to the Priest, did hold forth the faithfulness and truth of God, in making good all his promises in Christ, {Heb.10:23,} in whom all the promises of God are Yea, and Amen. {II Cor.1:20} The holy Anointing Oil, wherewith the Tabernacle, and all the furniture, and the Vessels thereof were anointed, did signify the Anointing of the Spirit, which they that did believe should afterward receive; {I Jn.2:27;} which might not be poured upon man’s flesh, neither might any man make the like to it, nor put it upon a stranger, upon pain of being cut off from his people; {Acts 1:17;} to show, that fleshly, carnal, outside-hypocritical-holiness, is an abomination to the Lord. {Acts 5:1-6} The Sabbaths were a sign unto them, that the Lord Jesus was their Sanctification; six days might work be done, but on the seventh they must rest; {Ex.31:13-17;} to show, that in the works of civil concernment, they were to labor, but in the business of sanctification, they were not to act one jot; but rest wholly upon Christ the Messiah. {I Cor.1:30} In seed-time, and in harvest, they must rest on the Sabbath, even in times of greatest necessity; to show, that their best services, and most religious performances, were like a menstruous cloth, and in no wise to be rested in; {Is.64:6;} but in the holiness of Christ were they to rest. They were forbidden to kindle a fire throughout their habitations on the Sabbath; to show, that no self-holiness, or self-sanctification, attained by any religious duties, or performances whatsoever, must be joined unto the holiness of Christ, but they were to rely wholly upon the Lord Christ only. {Tit.3:5, I Jn.1:7} The Leprosy, and all those unclean issues, did show forth the horrible and filthy nature of sin. The Offerings, and Washings appointed for their cleansing, did signify the blood of Christ, without which there could be no remission, {Heb.9:22,} nor Sanctification. In a word, {for it would be too tedious to speak of all in particular} there was not the least circumstance in all their commanded Service and Worship; but which did mystically hold forth Jesus Christ; and thus the Law was their Schoolmaster unto Christ, {Gal.3:24,} that they might be justified by grace in Him, {“who of God was made unto us Wisdom, and Righteousness, and Sanctification, and Redemption”} and not by their own outward observations of the Law. William Mason {A Little Star – Giving Some Light into the Counsels and Purposes of God Revealed in the Scriptures, 1653}

Posted October 10, 2012

{Writings of William Mason}

Law & Gospel Distinctions: Question - Doth the Law occasion such an enmity or hatred in the Elect also? Answer - The Elect, and they that are predestinated to be conformed unto the Image of Christ, come under a two-fold consideration. First, as they are in the state of nature; and secondly, as they are in a state of grace. As they are in the state of nature, so they are in the state of enmity, and there is no difference herein between them and all other men {but only in the account of God;} they hate God as much as any, oppose him as much as any, and had a hand, and gave their voice in the crucifying of Christ as much as any men whatsoever; and in this condition the Law is to them the ministration of death, and their hearts rise against it, and they cannot endure to hear of the purity and equity thereof. But when they are once brought into the state of grace, when they once apprehend the love of God manifested to them in Jesus Christ, {Eph.2:13,} who is become their righteousness; then they are delivered from the Law, {Col.2:14,} as it did occasion hatred between God and them; for in this respect Christ took it away, and nailed it to his Cross, so that sin, which was the cause of enmity, {Eph.2:15,} and the Law, which by occasion did quicken and stir up this enmity, were both nailed to the Cross of Christ, and slain together in his flesh; and now the Elect or Believers are delivered from the Law, {Rom.7:6,} that they should no longer serve in the oldness of the letter, in fears and terrors, but in the newness of the Spirit, with comfort and delight. William Mason {A Little Star – Giving Some Light into the Counsels and Purposes of God Revealed in the Scriptures, 1653}

Law & Gospel Distinctions: Question - The Law, or Commandment, being ordained of God unto life; how then did it become useless and void? Answer - God did indeed ordain or appoint the Law unto life, but not that any man should attain unto life, by any performance or outward observation of the same whatsoever; but that by believing in God, through him who was held forth, and prefigured in and by the Law, they might have eternal life; neither is the Law become useless and void, for heaven and earth shall sooner pass away, than that one word of the Law should fail; {Mt.5:18;} for it is a Revelation of God’s perfect Righteousness, commanding perfect obedience of all men who are not in Christ; and it is a ministration of death and condemnation, {II Cor.3:7,} and binds over every unbeliever, to answer for every disobedience, before the tribunal of Christ. It serves still to discover sin; {Rom.3:20;} and thereby leaves wicked men without excuse. In these and the like respects, the Law is holy, and just, and good, and shall not be dissolved till all be fulfilled. William Mason {A Little Star – Giving Some Light into the Counsels and Purposes of God Revealed in the Scriptures, 1653}

Law & Gospel Distinctions: Question - Is the Law then of no use to Believers, or the Elect? Answer - The Elect, while they are in the state of nature, and until they be regenerated, and born anew of that incorruptible seed which lives and abides forever, {I Pet.1:23,} so long they are under the Law, and it threatens them, and curses them; {but it cannot condemn them, because they are in Christ, in the purpose of God;} it commands their obedience, but doth not assist them to obey; it kills them, but cannot make them alive; yet it is in some sense a Schoolmaster unto them, to lead them to Christ {though not in the terrors of it, yet in the true ends, and right understanding of it} for Christ is the end of the Law for Righteousness; {Rom.10:4;} that is, the main end, why the Law was given, was, that men should look to Christ for Righteousness. The Law therefore to the Elect, while they are in the state of nature, being rightly expounded to them, and truly apprehended by them, doth instruct them, that they must lay down all their own righteousness, which is {as they think} attained by the performance of the duties of the Law, and rest only and wholly upon Christ for righteousness; for while they remain in unregeneracy, they verily think, that they are bound to act according to the Law for life, or else they shall be damned; they being shut up all this while under the Law, {Gal.3:23,} as in prison, unto the faith, which is afterward to be revealed; yea, and many times also, when they are quickened, and made alive, and are set at liberty, or when they do believe in Jesus Christ in some measure; yet they are so held under a spirit of bondage, that they still serve in the oldness of the letter, {Rom.8:15,} in great fears and many doubts, and go heavily, and mourning, under the easy and light yoke of Christ, because they apprehend in themselves, and are persuaded by others also, that although they do believe in Jesus Christ for justification, yet it is their duty to walk in a strict conformity to the Law, or else they cannot be saved; and then finding in themselves, that they are not able to walk so exactly as the Law requireth, {Rom.8:3,} {it being weak, and yielding them no assistance in the work,} are many times so cast down, and filled with fear, that they refuse to be comforted; and the best they can attain unto in this condition is this; that when they apprehend their walking to be somewhat, or in any good measure answerable to the holiness which the Law requireth, especially if they find their hearts to be upright in the same {as they are able to judge} then they think that God will accept of them for their uprightness, although they cannot attain to that perfection which the Law requireth; but when they come to believe indeed, when they are enabled to rest confidently upon Jesus Christ for righteousness unto life and salvation, {Rom.10:4,} then they see and know, that they are delivered from the Law, {Rom.7:1-4,} and that the Law, as it is the Law, hath nothing to do with them, and that they are neither under the command of it, nor yet under the threats nor curses thereof; {Rom.7:6;} the Law, in this respect, being dead unto them, and they dead unto it; and that they are to serve now no longer in weakness and fear, but in power and with delight; for they are under the new Covenant, which is a Covenant of Grace, and being under Grace, are thereby enabled and accepted. William Mason {A Little Star – Giving Some Light into the Counsels and Purposes of God Revealed in the Scriptures, 1653}

Posted October 13, 2012

{Writings of William Mason}

Prayer: Question - What is Prayer? Answer - Prayer is much spoken of, and much used among men, but it is not very well understood, for many people can, and do utter words and sentences, which the Saints in Scripture have used in prayer, and yet they do not pray. Prayer is not every lifting up of the voice to God, nor every lifting up of the heart to God, for the most wicked man may pray, {Num.23:10,} and that earnestly, and that for life and salvation, and yet not pray aright; yea, a believer, and one that is in Christ, may be very fervent in prayer, and yet not being rightly catechized and instructed in the nature of true prayer, may not be accepted, but offend in praying. {Ps.80:4} Prayer is not a work of wit, or memory, or of any other common gift of the Spirit; but true and right prayer, as it goes up to God through Christ, so it comes down first from God by Christ, and is indeed the intercession of Christ in the soul; {Gal.4:6;} for no man knows how, or what to pray for as he ought; yea, the Saints themselves are compassed with many infirmities, and many of them lie under many outward crosses, &c., by reason whereof, they may, and do now and then use prayer in a carnal manner; now it is the Spirit which removeth or helpeth against these infirmities; {Rom.8:26;} when the Spirit prevails {as He doth for the most part} in the Saints, then it assures them of the love of God, and overcomes all fears and doubts, and carries them up to God with free access, making them to know, that God is not delighted with eloquent words and speeches, or sentences finely framed, and artificially drawn into a method; but that he is well pleased with Christ, and delights in nothing but Christ, and if he be in the soul, though at present they cannot utter many words, or outward expressions; nay, if they can but groan in spirit, he knows the meaning thereof, for he knows the heart, and understands the mind of the spirit. {Rom.8:27} If prayer proceed from a man’s own spirit, then it is always for self ends; but if it be the intercession of Christ in the soul, then it is always agreeable to the will of God; for he {even Christ} maketh intercession for the Saints, according to the will of God. William Mason {A Little Star – Giving Some Light into the Counsels and Purposes of God Revealed in the Scriptures, 1653}

Prayer: Question - If prayer be the intercession of Christ in the soul, then how is it said, that he is at the right hand of God, and maketh intercession for us, and is gone into heaven, there to appear in the presence of God for us? And why then are we commanded to pray to the Father in the name of Christ. Answer - Christ is indeed at the right hand of God; that is, the Lord hath advanced him into his own glory; {Acts 2:33-36;} and given him his own power and authority, even all power in heaven and earth, {Mt.28:18,} for God doth not manifest himself in any wise unto the Saints, or bestow anything upon them, but in and by Jesus Christ; neither can, or do the Saints enjoy God, or have any true fellowship with him, but in and through Christ; so that whatsoever is done in heaven, or in earth, Christ is the doer of it. Now Christ dwells in the Saints by his Spirit, which is the power of his love, proceeding infinitely from the Father unto the Son, and from Christ into the Saints; and by this Spirit, or power of love, he quickens them up to prayer, and not only so, but also frames and endites their prayers in them, {Zech.12:10,} according to the will of the Father, and so they become acceptable to him; for whatsoever Christ doth, is well pleasing to God; {Jn.8:29;} for the Father loveth the Son, and the Saints being united to Christ, and made one with God in him, {Jn.17:23,} are hereby brought into the love and favor of God through him; and thus he is in heaven, appearing in the presence of God for us. And for that we are to pray to the Father in the name of Christ, it is not meant, that we must often use or repeat the name of Christ, or in word beg, or crave anything at the hand of God for Christ’s sake, for so a wicked carnal wretch may do; but to pray to the Father in the name of Christ is {Eph.6:18} to pour forth the soul unto the Father, in the power and intercession of the Son, for God looks not at anything in all this world but Christ. Men may be high in gifts, and notions, and may make admirable prayers for words and sentences, and also for method and form, but if Christ be not there, and if the prayer go not forth in the Spirit and power of Jesus Christ, then the Lord regards it not, but loathes it, and casts it away, as abominable. {Pv.28:9} To pray then in the name of Christ is, when the soul goeth forth into the arms of God’s love, by the Spirit and power of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Son of his Love. William Mason {A Little Star – Giving Some Light into the Counsels and Purposes of God Revealed in the Scriptures, 1653}

Prayer: Question - Seeing that men of themselves cannot pray aright, and that the Lord, to whom we are to pray, knows our wants before we pray; {Mt.6:32;} what need have we then to pray? Answer - As men cannot pray of themselves, so neither can they live of themselves, for the life which the Saints now live in the flesh, is not by any power of their own, but by the power of Christ living in them; {Gal.2:20;} so that there is not only a necessity of life in them in whom Christ lives, who is the life, but an impossibility of not living. In like manner, though men cannot pray acceptably by their own power or worth, yet if Christ, who is the Mediator, and Intercessor, live in them, there is not only a necessity of praying, but it is altogether impossible that they should not pray, {Zech.12:10, Rom.8:15,} Christ being in their hearts the Spirit of supplication, and of adoption, causing them to cry, Abba Father. Yea, in him they have access with boldness unto the throne of grace; {Eph.3:12;} and though the Lord does know our wants, yet he hath commanded us to pray; {Ezek.36:37;} ask and ye shall receive, &c.; {Mt.7:7;} and ye fight, and war, and have not, because ye ask not. {James 4:2} The Lord would have his people to rejoice, but they must pray. “Ask and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” {Jn.16:24} Now although the Lord command us to pray, he doth not intend that we should make idols of our prayers, and think that we receive for our praying, but he doth it, that we may know and consider, on whom our joy, our happiness, yea, our very life depends; {Ps.16:11;} and also that He alone may have the honor and glory of all his goodness, {Ps.30:5,} when we in asking acknowledge him to be the giver of all, and that we receive all of grace, and not of debt; {James 1:17;} and then it occasions much thankfulness, when we return him the praise of all his love and bounty, and live in the use of his mercies, to his praise. {II Cor.9:11,12} William Mason {A Little Star – Giving Some Light into the Counsels and Purposes of God Revealed in the Scriptures, 1653}

Prayer: Question - But is not the Lord said to be an unchangeable God, {Mal.3:6,} with whom is not the least shadow of turning; {James 1:17;} and if he hath determined to bestow any favor or mercy, he will do it without our prayers; and if he have not determined us any good, to what purpose should we pray seeing by the same we cannot alter nor change his mind? Answer - Although the Lord be altogether unchangeable, and unalterable in his purposes and determinations, yet he would have his children make known to him their needs by their requests; {Phil.4:6;} neither is there the least shadow of change in Him, when he bestows mercies and blessings upon them, in answer to their prayers; for whatsoever good thing he purposeth to his children, yet before he bestow it upon them, he usually stirreth up their hearts to pray for the same; {Lk.11:1;} now the Lord whatever he gives to the Saints, he gives it them in Christ; and what the Saints pray for, they request and beg the same in the Spirit and Intercession of Christ, {Jn.16:26,} for he is the way, by which the Lord comes down to us in all good; {Jn.14:6;} and he is the way also, by which we go up to God in prayer and thanksgiving. Now as it is impossible, that God should alter his determinations, in bestowing of mercies, so also is it that the Saints should not pray for blessings and favors, {Ps.32:6,} being quickened up thereto by the Spirit of Christ living in them; {Gal.4:6;} so then, God is not changed, but the change is in the Saints, for many times when God intends a blessing, his children are not fit to receive the same; then he by that Spirit of adoption, quickens them up to pray, {I Thes.5:17,} and yet delays them; that by the continual use of this heavenly exercise and by the spirit of judgment, and burning, their corruptions may be consumed and subdued, {Is.4:4,} and their hearts brought into a more holy and humble frame, and they at length, by this means, made fit to receive the mercy. William Mason {A Little Star – Giving Some Light into the Counsels and Purposes of God Revealed in the Scriptures, 1653}

Prayer: Question - If men cannot pray until they are moved, or quickened thereunto by the Spirit, how then shall it be known when the Spirit moves; or which, or when, is the most convenient and fittest time for prayer? Answer - That no man is able of himself, without the aid of the Spirit, to make any prayer acceptable to God, hath been already showed; prayer being a work of that Spirit of adoption, called the Spirit of the Son, {Gal.4:6,} and is nothing else, but an effect of that power in the Son, given unto him by the Father. Men may use words or forms of prayer, but none can pray indeed, but they who have received this spirit of adoption, and are thereby become the sons of God; {Jn.14:23;} and they, who are thus become sons, have not the Spirit by fits and starts, but the Spirit, or the Lord Jesus Christ, who is that Spirit, dwells in their hearts, {Rom.8:9,} and is continually exciting, and stirring up their hearts to prayer, and every good thing. But it is not always apprehended alike; for many times, by reason of temptation, want of watchfulness, and other infirmities of the flesh, it is clouded, and acts not so clearly as at other times; yet notwithstanding, it will in due time break through all difficulties, and remove all impediments, {Rom.8:26,} and act like itself, and minister matter of prayer upon all occasions; so then, whomsoever the Lord presents occasion or opportunity of prayer, then he by the same calls for prayer, and then is the Spirit ready to quicken and help, if not quenched with carnal workings of the flesh, {I Thes.5:19,} as worldly cares, worldly sorrows, worldly joys, &c. Now if there be any time, wherein the Lord doth not minister occasion of prayer and praise, then that is no time for prayer and thanksgiving; but there is no time in the whole life of a Christian, in which the Lord doth not minister occasion of prayer and praise, {I Thes.5:17,18,} therefore the saints ought to pray continually, and in everything to give thanks. Furthermore, as the saints ought upon all occasions to lift up their hearts to God, so also they are to take the fittest opportunity; for prayer is not a light business, but of great weight and concernment; it is called, a pouring forth of the soul to God, {I Sam.1:15,} a wrestling with God, {Gen.32:24,} a crying {Psal.142:1} earnestly to God, &c. Now the fittest time for this serious business is when we can set about it with least distraction; when we can best isolate ourselves from all other occasions whatsoever, and attend upon that work with freedom of spirit. And as we must take the fittest time, so also we must watch unto it; {I Pet.4:7;} that is, so order our outward affairs, that there may be convenient time; and so watch over our own hearts in the strength of Christ, that they may be always well disposed to prayer, {Eph.6:18,} and not to faint, {Lk.18:1,} though we meet with many delays, and other discouragements, but to continue instant in the same, {Col.4:2,} watching when God will give an occasion of thanksgiving. William Mason {A Little Star – Giving Some Light into the Counsels and Purposes of God Revealed in the Scriptures, 1653}

Baptism: Question - But doth not God give us other helps also, to build us up in grace and holiness? What say you of the Sacraments? Is not Baptism of great use in these days of the Gospel? Answer - The word Sacrament is nowhere to be found in all the Scripture, and for Baptism, the Scripture mentions divers baptisms, {Heb.6:2,} as the baptism of water, the baptism of the Holy Ghost, {Mk.1:8,} and of fire, and the baptism of sufferings, {Lk.12:50,} all which were beautiful in their seasons, and some of them are still of great concernment to the saints. The baptism of water was the baptism of John, who was sent of God, to prepare the way of Christ. {Mal.3:1} Israel had dwelt long enough in that Mount of out-side observations; {Deut.1:6;} for although they had their legal washings and cleansings, which were, and might be called baptism, {Heb.9:10,} yet all these could not wash away one sin from the conscience, but served only to cleanse them from legal pollutions, {I Pet.3:21,} though they were not without their significations. But now the baptism of John, and his ministry was mighty, for he came in the spirit, and power of Elias, {Lk.1:17,} and was a sign of a great change of administrations, for he called them to repentance, even to repent of all that out-side, and formal religion, which they had so hotly pursued; {Mt.3:1-3;} for they were generally grown so corrupt, and so blockish, and blind withal, that they imagined, that by the bare out-side performance of those legal cleansings, they were sufficiently sanctified, though they continued in the practice of most gross and notorious sins; {Jer.7:8-11;} but John tells them plainly, that although God had long endured, and born with their hypocrisies and formalities, yet now he would bear no longer, for he had now laid the axe to the root of the trees, and if any tree were barren, or did not bring forth good fruit, it was to be hewed down, and cast into the fire; {Mt.3:10;} hereby giving them to understand, that unless they did desist from all their wicked and ungodly ways and courses, and amend their evil lives, there was no remission of sins to be expected, nor true sanctification to be attained, notwithstanding all their legal and strict performances; {Lk.3:7-14;} and hereupon calls them to his baptism, declaring plainly unto them, that though many of them thought he was the Christ, yet they were deceived, for he was but sent to prepare his way; {Lk.3:15,16;} and that his baptism was but with water, which could only wash away the filth of the body; but could go no further; but yet by the same they were to be instructed, that there is one among them already in the flesh, even Christ, who shall baptize them with the Holy Ghost, and with fire; that is, wash and cleanse their souls, from all the filth and guilt of sin that was upon them; and thus John’s ministry was to prepare the way, or to manifest Christ already come; and his baptism did hold forth the baptism of Christ in the Spirit, which was to follow in its season. {Jn.1:31-33} William Mason {A Little Star – Giving Some Light into the Counsels and Purposes of God Revealed in the Scriptures, 1653}

Baptism: Question - If John’s ministry and baptism served only to prepare the way of Christ, or to manifest Christ in the flesh; and to instruct them, or type out unto them the baptism of Christ; why then was it needful, that Christ himself should be baptized of John? Answer - Christ indeed was baptized of John, but not out of any need to show forth sorrow for sin, he being altogether without sin; nor yet was he baptized out of any necessity to be instructed in the mystery of the Spirit’s baptism, but Christ submitted to John’s baptism for our sakes only, the Head that had no sin, for the body that was full of sin. {II Cor.5:21} Again, John’s baptism was part of the Law, and it was the last and most lively ceremony of it, and Christ submitted unto the same, that he might fulfill all righteousness for us. Now that John’s baptism was of the Law, and not of the Gospel, is evident from his preaching; for John preached saying, repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand; {Mt.3:2;} now the Kingdom of Heaven is Christ, not in the flesh, but crucified, risen again, ascended, returned in the Spirit, the Comforter dwelling in the hearts of the saints; the kingdom of heaven is within you; {Lk.17:21;} and from our Savior’s words, where speaking of John saith, that among them that were born of women, there hath not risen a greater Prophet than John the Baptist, {Mt.11:11,} because other of the prophets had spoken of Christ afar off, but John pointed him out with the finger, saying, this is he; {Jn.1:36;} but mark what follows, “notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he,” meaning, that he that is indeed a Preacher of the Gospel, though never so mean and contemptible in the eyes of men, should do greater works than John did. William Mason {A Little Star – Giving Some Light into the Counsels and Purposes of God Revealed in the Scriptures, 1653}

Baptism: Question - But there are other baptisms spoken of in Scripture, as well as John’s, for the Disciples of Christ did baptize, and Christ at his ascension sent them to baptize all Nations; is not water baptism then an Ordinance of the Gospel? Answer - True indeed, Christ’s Disciples did baptize while he was with them in the flesh; but it was with John's Baptism, and so the Scripture calls it; {Acts 18:25;} or indeed, the preaching of John, and his Baptism, was the same with the preaching and baptism of Christ’s Disciples; for John preached saying, “the Kingdom of heaven is at hand;” {Mt.3:2;} Christ’s Disciples preached saying, “the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” {Mt.10:7} Both John and Christ’s Disciples by their Baptism, which was in cold water, could but wash men’s bodies, and call upon them to repent, and to expect remission of sins only in Christ Jesus, who was to wash away the filth of their souls, even with a Spiritual water, or Baptism of his Spirit. So that although the Disciples of Christ did baptize, yet their Baptism was the same with John's Baptism, and to continue but for a season; for so John confesseth, “I must decrease, but he {meaning Christ} must increase.” {Jn.3:30} And for Christ’s Commission to his Apostles, to baptize all Nations, that is not to be understood of Water Baptism, as appears by his own words, when being risen from the Dead, and now ready to ascend into his Glory; {Acts 1:5;} wherein he acquaints them with the work whereto he is now sending them; {Acts 1:4;} commands them not to depart from Jerusalem, until they had received the Promise of the Father, {that is the Spirit;} for saith he, “John truly Baptized with water,” {vs.5,} as if he had said, it hath been the Father’s good pleasure to appear in types and significations, and to veil himself a while under dark administrations; but now the time is fully come, in which he will show himself clearly in his abundant love and goodness, for ye shall be Baptized with the Holy Ghost, which is the Spirit or Comforter, not many days hence; and then ye shall receive power, {vs.8,} to know what ye ought to do, and be witnesses unto me, both in Jerusalem, &c.; and when ye are thus empowered, or baptized yourselves; then go and teach all Nations, Baptizing them in the Name of the Father, &c. {Mt.28:18,19} Where by the Name of the Father, and of the Son, &c, he doth not mean, that they should wash them in water, using that form of words; but by Name, is to be understood the Power of the Father, &c., as Christ saith, “in my Name they shall cast out devils;” that is, by my Power; {Mk.16:17;} and so in this business; “all Power {saith Christ} in heaven and in earth is given to me. Go ye therefore and Teach and Baptize the Nations, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;” {Mt.28:18,19;} as if he had said, “All Power is given to me of the Father, and by this power I will come into you, and into your ministry, and ye shall go forth in this power unto all nations, and by the same ye shall be enabled to make them know, and believe, that I am the Wisdom of God, and the Power of God to salvation, to the Gentile as well as to the Jew; {I Cor.1:24;} and that whosoever believes in me indeed, {or is baptized with the Spirit, which is all one,} shall never perish, but have everlasting life.” And this was done effectually, for in one day there were added three thousand souls; {Acts 2:41;} and in another place, all that were ordained to eternal life, believed. {Acts 13:48} William Mason {A Little Star – Giving Some Light into the Counsels and Purposes of God Revealed in the Scriptures, 1653}

Baptism: Question - But if it was not the command of Christ, that they should baptize with Water, why then did they use it after his ascension, and if Water Baptism was to cease and have an end at that time, why then do not the Scriptures declare the same. Answer - As for the Apostles baptizing with Water after Christ’s ascension, it was not from any command of Christ, as one of them doth testify. The Baptism of Water or John’s Baptism was very famous, and of great note in that time, {I Cor.1:17,} and therefore could not at present be very easily laid down, as likewise very many other Legal observations. And again, it is not to be questioned, but that the Apostles themselves were ignorant of many things, after they had received the Spirit abundantly; for Peter was ignorant, that he might eat with the Gentiles, or that God had a purpose, by Jesus Christ to bring in the Gentiles. {Acts 10:28-34} Paul must go to Jerusalem to be resolved about Circumcision, {Acts 15:2,} and there were thousands of Jews which did believe, and yet they were all zealous of legal rites. {Acts 21:20} God did not reveal himself all at once, but by degrees. Again, the Apostles used water baptism as they used Circumcision, to avoid contention among the Saints; {Acts 16:1-3;} and further, they used it sometimes when it was desired; {Acts 8:36;} and to stoop to the weakness of many young believers, they became all things to all men that they might not offend any, but save all if it were possible. {I Cor.9:20-22, 10:33} And for the Scriptures to declare against water baptism to be used in the days of the Gospel, there be many Scriptures that speak much to that purpose, as I Cor.1:17; Paul the Apostle of the Gentiles utterly disclaims it, for Christ, saith he, sent me not to baptize, but to preach. Again, Eph.4:5; one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism; now water baptism is not the same with the Baptism of the Spirit, for they are two distinct things, one is the baptism of John, and the other is Christ’s, {Lk.3:16,} and if they were both one, then they that have the one, must also have the other; and they that cannot have the one {of water} neither can they have the other. Again, it is not water baptism that can make us one with Christ, {Rom.8:14 – Gal.4:6,} or give us a new name, {Rev.3:12,} or make us partake of the divine nature, &c., {Jn.3:6,} and therefore water baptism is not that One Baptism of the Spirit. William Mason {A Little Star – Giving Some Light into the Counsels and Purposes of God Revealed in the Scriptures, 1653}

Baptism: Question - The baptism of water hath been used in all the Churches of Christ, from the very time of the Apostles, and that with warrant from Scripture; for Infants were circumcised under the Law, and Circumcision was a seal of the Covenant which God made with Abraham, and the Covenant is the same now as it was then, and Baptism is come in the room of Circumcision, and is a seal of the Gospel-Covenant, and therefore Infants may be baptized; and the Apostle tells the Corinthians, that their fathers were all baptized in the Cloud, and in the Sea; and Peter saith, that Baptism doth now save us, how can it then be denied, that Baptism, even of water, doth not stand us in great stead, even in the days of the Gospel? Answer - Whatsoever was practiced by the Apostles, and Primitive Christians is already declared; how they to prevent contention and strife did condescend to the weakness of many; knowing, that in time, the Baptism of the Spirit, which is a Baptism of Fire, would eat up the Baptism of Water, as the fire that came down upon Elijah’s Sacrifice, did lick up all the water that was in the Trench. {I Kg.18:38} But whatsoever hath been done in Water Baptism since that time, it is hard to say, is, or was done with warrant from Scripture; but is to be feared was rather a part of that mystery of iniquity, which began to work even in the Apostles time. {II Thes.2:7} And that Baptism is come in the room of Circumcision, was never yet made good by Scripture, nor never will. It is true, God made a Covenant with Abraham, and gave him also Circumcision as a sign or seal thereof; {Gen.17:10,11;} but the Covenant which God made was twofold. Inward and Outward. The Inward part respected his soul, in the sweet enjoyment of God’s love and favor by Christ Jesus, both in this life and in eternal glory. The Outward part of it, respected the outward man, the enjoyment of the land of Canaan, with long life and prosperity therein. Now so far as the Covenant was inward and respected his soul, so far Circumcision could not be a seal thereof; for nothing could seal the true spiritual love and favor of God to his soul, but the Spirit, whereby all believers were, and still are, sealed to the day of redemption. {Eph.1:13, 4:30} But as the Covenant was more outward, that he should be the Father of many nations, that in Isaac should his seed be called, and that he would give the land of Canaan to his seed, for an everlasting Possession; so far Circumcision was a seal of the Covenant. But now in the days of the Gospel, the new Covenant is a single Covenant, that old, weak part of it being vanished away; {Heb.8:13;} and it is now established upon better promises, than earthly Canaan; {Heb.8:9;} or the Covenant which God makes with his people now is altogether inward, and Spiritual, which is Christ; and there is no seal of this Covenant, but that Spirit, or the Lord Jesus, called the Spirit of Promise. {Eph.1:13,14} And to make Water Baptism, or any carnal thing, to be a seal of a Spiritual Covenant, which is Christ in the soul, sealing up the love of God to the same to all eternity; argues much ignorance in the mystery of God, and carnal mindedness in the things of God, in a great measure. And whereas the Apostle tells the Corinthians, their fathers were baptized in the Cloud and in the Sea; {I Cor.10:1-6;} that is no warrant for Baptism at all, but he speaks it rather to take them off from depending upon outward Ordinances, &c. For thus he seems to speak; “your Fathers were high in outward Ordinances, but they were not very high in God’s favor, for they were overthrown in the wilderness, and these things were written for your example, &c. And for that of the Apostle Peter, where he is speaking of the Flood, and that in the Ark but a few, even eight souls were saved by water; {I Pet.3:20,21;} and that by a figure Baptism doth now save us. First, we must understand, that the Ark saved those eight souls from the water; and then that the figure here spoken of is not between the flood, and water baptism, but between the Ark which saved them from those great waves, and Christ who saves us from the sea, even the red sea of God’s fierce wrath; as they that did believe, and obeyed, and prepared an Ark, were put into it by God and so saved from death; {Heb.11:7;} so all that do believe are shut up in Christ, and made one with him, and so saved from wrath. {Jn.3:36} For so saith the Apostle, that Baptism doth now save us, but not the washing away of the filth of the flesh with water, but the answer of a good conscience to God by the resurrection of Christ from the dead. If Christ be not risen in the soul, and if he raise not the soul from death, that man is not baptized indeed, though he be washed in water a thousand times. And as for Infants that they should be baptized, there is not the least intimation in all the Scriptures that they, whilst they are such, ever were, or ever should be baptized. If Water Baptism were anything, or had anything in it, yet infants are in no capacity at all to apprehend it, no not so much as in signification; yet they which make a prop of it to hold up their tottering Kingdom, can see good reason for it, and draw goodly consequences from Scripture to help forward the practice of it. William Mason {A Little Star – Giving Some Light into the Counsels and Purposes of God Revealed in the Scriptures, 1653}

Baptism: Question - Though there be nothing in it, as indeed there is not, it being an outward sign; may we not use it therefore in obedience to Christ’s command, as a sign of our engrafting into him, and as an ordinance that gives us admission into Church Fellowship with the Saints? Answer - The commands of Christ are not empty and barren commands, but full of power and efficacy. When Christ comes forth in a command, then there is a work wrought indeed. If Christ say to a dead man live, then is he quickened indeed. {Lk.7:14,15} If he commands a man to believe, then there is faith and confidence wrought indeed. If he commands the saints to love one another, then it is effected indeed. Christ’s commands where they come and he himself come along in them; {else they are not his commands;} they never return in vain, but do certainly accomplish their work, not in imagination; but in reality and truth. {Isa.55:11, Heb.4:12} Now if Christ had commanded to baptize a man, or an infant, in water, certainly some notable work would have been wrought thereby. But we see in experience, that to dip, or to sprinkle, in, or with a little cold water produceth no effect in the inward man. Therefore to baptize with water, as a command of Christ, is to offer injury to Christ and to make the commands of Christ {which are full of power and life – Jn.6:63} to be empty and fruitless commands, which is not safe to imagine. Moreover, Christ’s Kingdom is a Spiritual Kingdom, {Lk.17:21,} and is altogether inward; and as it is not attained, so neither is it enjoyed with any outward observations. Indeed under the Law, they had their outward Ordinances, and Services, and all of them had their significations, showing forth something of Christ, of his death, and resurrection, &c., and this Kingdom was more Carnal than Spiritual; {Heb.9:10;} and they were led on in it by outward and carnal observations. But now Christ having finished all his work in the flesh, and being come again in the Spirit, he exerciseth all his Kingly power in the soul; and this Kingdom of Christ is the Kingdom of Heaven, {Rom.14:17,} and there is no signification in it at all, but all is real. For it is the glory of God begun in the soul, {II Cor.3:18,} not in imagination, but in deed and in truth, which is to be perfected by degrees in this life, though not fully until the life to come. Neither is there any outward ordinance, or observation, that can hold proportion or correspondence with this Spiritual Kingdom, it being exalted above all the Hills, and infinitely above all significations. {Is.2:2} Now Water Baptism can no way show forth our union with Christ, for that is a Spiritual union, {I Cor.6:17,} and Water Baptism is a Carnal ordinance, and holds no proportion with the former. Again, we are not made one with Christ, as we are one flesh with him, but as we are one Spirit with him. Christ by taking our flesh became Immanuel, or God one with us in the flesh, but now the Lord, who is that Spirit, {II Cor.3:17,} takes us into the same Spirit, and so we are made one spirit with him. To this very end the glorious God did abase himself, and clothed himself with our flesh, and took it into union with himself; that so by this means, he might also receive all them that do truly believe in him, into union with himself by the same Spirit. So that it is not the Baptism of Water that can engraft us into Christ, or make us one with him; but by the Baptism of the eternal Spirit, {Jn.3:6,} are all the Saints united to him, and partake of the same Divine nature with him. {II Pet.1:4} And further, water baptism can give us no true fellowship with the Saints, for where the Saints have true fellowship one with another, they have this fellowship together in Christ; {I Jn.1:7;} so that this fellowship consists not in being of the same opinion, or form one with another; but in partaking of the same Spirit, and being united into one body together in Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one Body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles. {I Cor.12:13} So that it is not water baptism that can give any true fellowship with the saints, but only a carnal admission into an outward fellowship with men of the same form, which may hold for a time, and afterward come to nothing. William Mason {A Little Star – Giving Some Light into the Counsels and Purposes of God Revealed in the Scriptures, 1653}

Posted October 14, 2012

{Weekly Selection}

Divine Election and Reprobation: Question - What is God’s Decree? Answer – It is God’s everlasting determination and purpose concerning all things and persons. “For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.” {Acts 4:28} “Predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” {Eph.1:11} And as God decrees concerning all things and persons, so doth he decree the circumstance of place, time, means, and manner. “Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.” {Acts 27:31} Question – What is Predestination? Answer - It is God’s fore-ordaining all reasonable creatures, whether Angels or men, to an everlasting estate either of salvation or damnation. “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.” {I Thes.5:9} Question – What are the parts of Predestination? Answer – Two: 1. Election, which is God’s appointing some to salvation through Christ. “And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory.” {Rom.9:23} “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” {Eph.1:5} 2. Reprobation, which is God’s appointing some, both men and Angels, to destruction. There are some vessels “to dishonor.” {II Tim.2:20} “To shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.” {Rom.9:22} Question – Is not Christ the cause of our Election? Answer – No, not of God’s decreeing of it, for that he did of his own divine purpose; but of the execution of it; that is, our salvation is for and through Christ. “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world.” {Eph.1:4} Question – Is not sin the cause of Reprobation? Answer – No; for then all men should be reprobate, when God foresaw that all would be sinners; but sin is the cause of the execution of reprobation. Question - What use are we to make of our election? Answer – 1. It serves to humble us, that we had nothing of ourselves. 2. It should breed in us love to God, for his love to us. 3. It comforts, that our salvation stands not in ourselves, who daily might lose it; but in God’s unchangeable decree. Christopher Blackwood {Soul Searching Catechism, 1653}

Sin & the Sovereignty of God:  Question - Whether it is God, decreeing the works of the wicked, the author of sin? Answer – No; though God decrees the sinful works of the wicked, {for else they had not been,} as the Jews crucifying of Christ; “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain;” {Acts 2:23;} so Joseph’s selling into Egypt; “but as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive;” {Gen.50:20;} yet is nothing sin, as God decrees it, or commands it. Abraham’s killing of Isaac being commanded of God was a duty; which otherwise, God forbidding it, was a sin. God’s decreeing of sin being a way to manifest the glory of God’s justice is a good thing. Question – What is the execution of God’s decree? Answer - It is an action of God, working all things in time, according to his decree. “Being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” {Eph.1:11} “For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.” {Acts 4:28} Question - How is the providence of God conversant about sin? Answer - God preserves that nature and will that produces sinful actions. God hath a concurrence about sinful actions, as appears. “So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God.” {Gen.45:8} “For the LORD thy God hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that he might deliver him into thy hand, as appeareth this day.” {Deut.2:30} God changed the minds of the Egyptians that they hated his people. “He turned their heart to hate his people, to deal subtilly with his servants.” {Ps.105:25} But as in a chain that breaks, there is no link in fault but that which breaks; so in these concurrences of causes, none is to be blamed but the next and immediate cause, which is the will of man; so that though God will the being, yet man alone wills the nature of sin. Question - What are the positive actions of God, in and about sin? Answer – His purpose to withdraw his help and grace from the creature; both the help of light, “the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day;” {Deut.29:4;} and also the help of support, as in Hezekiah of whom it is said that, “God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart;” which two helps being withdrawn, the creature sins necessarily, but voluntarily; so that as the sun causes darkness, not by overcasting the air, but by hiding his light; and as a staff falls to the ground being not forced by the hand, but only forsaken of it; so God in withdrawing either light or support, man sins. God, who suffers sin, hath the power of hindering, without any obligation to us; and man hath the power of doing, without any compulsion. The action in God is without fault, the action in man without excuse. Secondly, God works about sin by removing the impediments that hindered us from sinning. God took away Jehoiada, and then Joash showed his wickedness. “Now after the death of Jehoiada came the princes of Judah, and made obeisance to the king. Then the king hearkened unto them.” {II Chron.24:17} So God takes away a master or father that kept such a person from wickedness, who being removed, his wickedness appears. God works about sin, by setting before us objects, whereby he knows our corruption will be enticed, as a beautiful woman before an unchaste person; wine or beer before a drunkard. God works about sin, by setting bounds to sin, that it shall go so far, and no further. “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee; the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.” {Ps.76:10} God works about sin, in that he preserves the person, nature, and faculties of the sinner, even whilst he is in sinning. “In him we live, and move, and have our being.” {Acts 17:28} As an horse man driving a lame horse is the cause of his going, not of his halting; so is God the cause of our moving, though not of the sinfulness in our moving. Christopher Blackwood {Soul Searching Catechism, 1653}

Christ – our Treasure: Question – How may we know that our affections are made alive unto God? Answer – First: When our principal Treasure is in heaven, {Mt.6:20,} and our affections are set upon it, not upon the world. {Col.3:1,2} That though worldly occasions may put off the heart from heaven for a time, yet no sooner are these employments over, but the heart endeavors after its former enjoyment of God; so that as the affections of dead men are ever and anon upon the world, because they have a dead and worldly frame of heart; so the affections of men spiritually alive, are ever and anon upon God, because they have a quickened and heavenly frame of heart. Secondly: When the heart can relish good things, {Rom.8:5,} so that as carnal men favor profit and pleasure, and carnal contents; so the affections quickened can favor communion with God, the face of God, the Word of God, the sweetness of a spiritual duty. Thirdly: When the heart esteems God above all enjoyments. {Ps.73:25,26} So that thou wilt mortgage anything for God, and the things of God; so that thou wilt count his Glory dearer than any credit, duty to him dearer than life to thyself, {Acts 20:24,} to such affections, the promise, {II Pet.1:4,} grace, {Pv.3:15,} and Christ, {I Pet.2:7,} is precious above all. Fourthly: When thy greatest care is to please God, {Tit.3:8,} and how to get thy heart weaned from the world, and how to keep conscience pure, {I Tim.3:9,} and thy greatest fear is to sin against God, {Gen.39:9,} so that thou fearest Him above reproach, poverty, or death itself. {Dan.3:16,17} Christopher Blackwood {Soul Searching Catechism, 1653}

{Writings of William Mason}

Justification & Faith: Question - But doth not the Scripture say, that we are justified by faith? What is faith? And how are we justified by the same? Answer - There be in Scripture divers kinds of faith mentioned, by reason whereof, many think, that they believe to justification, and are deceived; {Mt.7:22;} for justification is free on God’s part, and without any condition at all on our part, for if faith were a condition of our justification, then it were not free, justification being an act of God in his eternal counsel and purpose, before the world began; {Rom.8:29;} if faith were a condition thereof, then are we justified for some fore-seen grace in us, and not freely by his grace. Now faith is neither a means, nor yet any condition of justification, but rather an evidence, or demonstration thereof; {Rom.11:5,6;} for true faith is that, whereby we close with God in the promise of life and salvation, in and by Jesus Christ. {Rom.4:19,20, Jn.6:44-47} Now this faith is not in us by nature, but is wrought in the heart, by the manifestation of God in the soul. When the Lord is pleased to reveal Christ in the soul, and to discover to the same, that he is well pleased with him in Christ, and that he hath freely forgiven all his sins, merely for the merit and righteousness of his Son, and that now he accepts of him as righteous, in his beloved Son; and that in Christ he hath adopted him to himself, to be his Son; now when the soul apprehends this, then it is thereby enabled to believe it, {Rom.4:21,} and rests upon it. And thus true faith doth not act in the works of justification, but only believes it when it is revealed in the soul; and then believing, hath peace with God, and can look upon him with comfort, and can joy in him in all tribulations. {Rom.5:1,2} Now no man can believe in Jesus Christ, until he be revealed unto him by the Father; {Jn.6:44;}  and according to the measure or degrees whereby God is pleased to discover Himself to any man, so he can believe or confide in him more or less; so that it is plain, that faith is no means or condition of our justification; but by faith we believe it, and rest confidently assured of it when it is revealed, and so have joy and peace in believing. William Mason {A Little Star – Giving Some Light into the Counsels and Purposes of God Revealed in the Scriptures, 1653}

Particular & Effectual Redemption by Christ: Question - Is it not said in the Scriptures, that Christ died for all men, and that as by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation; {Rom.5:18,} so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men to justification of life? How say you then, that some go into condemnation? Answer - Christ’s death did in some respect reach forth itself unto all men. God had a glorious design in the making of man, and for this end, did bring forth this outward creation of all things, to be subservient to his glory, to help forward this design; yea, and the Lord was rich in mercy, and store, and abundantly provided aforehand to keep this design on foot; for Christ was that Lamb, prepared and slain before the foundation of the world. {I Pet.1:20, Rev.13:8} Now if Christ had not died in the purpose and account of God, before man had actually sinned, then there had been an utter subversion and dissolution, not only of mankind, but also of the whole Creation by man’s sin; but now the death of Christ, coming between Divine Wrath, and the whole creation, did still give a being unto the same, that it should be serviceable, in helping forward this glorious design. And upon this account merely it is, {namely, by the death of Christ,} that all men, even the most wicked, enjoy a temporal life, health, riches; yea, all outward things whatsoever; {Ps.36:6;} for in this sense he is said to save, or preserve man, and beast, for he doth good to all, and makes his Sun to shine, and his Rain to fall upon the just and unjust; {Mt.5:45;} namely, the Sun and Rain of his outward providence; and thus Christ died for all men, {in this sense alone,} and so he is the Saviour of all men. But there is a more especial Salvation, as the Apostle saith, He is the Saviour of all men, but especially of them that believe; {I Tim.4:10;} and this salvation is not that outward or temporal salvation, but an inward and spiritual one, and is peculiar only to them that believe in him, and are one with him; and upon this ground it is, that the Apostle saith, “as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life;” {Rom.5:18;} as if he had said, that as Adam by sinning brought all men into a state of sin, and so of condemnation, so all that are justified unto life, are made just by the free gift and grace of God, in the Righteousness of Jesus Christ; so that the words do not extend, that as all men fell in Adam, so all, without exception, should be justified and saved by Christ, but only they, who by faith, {through grace,} lay hold on the Righteousness of Christ, the which the Apostle declares at large, in the 3, 4, 5, 6  & 7th chapters of Romans. In the third chapter he proves all men to be under sin, and that by the works of the Law no man can be justified; and that God hath set forth Christ to be a Propitiation, that whosoever believes should be justified freely by his grace, through the Redemption that is in his Blood. {vs. 3:9-11, 20-25} In the fourth chapter he tells them, that even Abraham was not justified by, or for any work which he wrought, but only {by faith} in Christ Jesus, and that faith {the work of Christ} was reckoned unto him for righteousness, and so it shall be to all that do believe. {vs. 13, 22 – 24} In the fifth chapter he tells them, that justification {as perceived to reside wholly in the Person & Work of Christ} by faith, brings peace and joy into the soul, which justification by the work of the Law could not do, because the work was ever doing, but never done, and they looked upon God in that estate, as ever angry; but now, says he, we have peace with him, and can joy in tribulations; for though in Adam we were under condemnation, yet now believing in Christ, and looking to Him for righteousness, we are justified unto life. {vs. 1, 3, 18} Thus the Apostle is far from intending a general redemption, but an special salvation in Jesus Christ, peculiar only to them, {the elect,} that believe. William Mason {A Little Star – Giving Some Light into the Counsels and Purposes of God Revealed in the Scriptures, 1653}

Particular & Effectual Redemption by Christ: Question - The Apostle writing to Timothy, exhorts, that prayer be made for all men, because he will have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth; and further saith, that Christ is the Mediator between God and man, who gave himself a ransom for all; and the Apostle John saith, that Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world. How say you then, that salvation is peculiar only to them {the elect} who do believe? Answer - For the clearing of this, the meaning of these Scriptures must be inquired into. The Apostle indeed exhorts, that prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings, and all in authority, and gives a twofold reason. {I Tim.2:1,2} First in respect of themselves, that so they might live in quietness, and godliness under them. The second reason respects God; as it is his will, being well pleased with our praying for them; {vs.3;} because he will bring some of all sorts {high and low} to the knowledge of the Truth, that so they may be saved. And if he say, what must we pray for the Gentiles, for our Governors are no Jews? Is it lawful to pray for them? Yea, saith the Apostle, God will have all to be saved, {vs.4,} Gentiles as well as the Jews, {that is, God’s elect dispersed amongst Jews & Gentiles,} for there is but one God, and he is the God of the Gentiles as well as of the Jews; {vs.5;} and there is but one Mediator between God and man, even the Man Christ Jesus, who gave himself, to ransom the Gentiles as well as the Jews, {vs.6,} and this mystery was not known to former ages, but now in due time it is to be manifested; and for this very purpose, saith he, I am ordained a Preacher, and an Apostle, {vs.7,} to bring these good tidings to the Gentiles, and to assure their hearts, that if they believe in Christ they shall be saved; and thereof you need not doubt, for as Christ, who is Truth, is in me, so that which I speak is truth. And hereto agrees that of the Apostle Peter, that God is no respecter of persons, but in every Nation {Gentiles as well as Jews} he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted of him; {Acts 10:34,35;} showing plainly, that the purpose of God in bringing in the Gentiles, was a secret to that day, but now was revealed. And where the Apostle John saith, that Christ is the Propitiation for the sins of the whole world; {I Jn.2:2;} he doth not mean, every particular person in the world, but only they, who walk in the light, as God is in the light, even these the blood of Christ doth cleanse from all sin; for, saith he, “if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us;” but if we see our sins, and confess that we are sinners, his promise is, to forgive, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness; {I Jn.1:8,9;} and these things I write unto you, to warn you that ye sin not, yet nevertheless, if ye be overtaken {as who is not} be not discouraged, for we have an Advocate with the Father, even Jesus Christ, who is perfectly righteous, and he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, who are Jews, but for all them that thus have fellowship with Him, among the Gentiles also, in all Nations throughout the whole world. {I Jn.2:1,2} And that this Scripture is thus to be understood, the Apostle Paul shows plainly, “where {saith he} there is neither Greek, nor Jew, Circumcision, nor Uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, Bond, nor Free, but Christ is all, and in all;” {Col.3:10,11;} he doth not mean, that Jews, and Greeks, &c., are all one, and Christ is in them all, as to every particular person among all these, but only those among them, who, in the verses before, had put off {not as a condition of salvation; but as a result of God’s effectual grace, working in them, “both to will and to do of his good pleasure”} the old man, and had put on the new; namely, such as had mortified their earthly members; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affections, &c., in the 5th verse, and had put off anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication, &c. in the 8th verse, which were the deeds of the old man; and who also were renewed in knowledge, according to the image of God, which is Christ, the new man; in wisdom, righteousness, and true holiness, &c, {vs.10,} among these, saith he, there is no difference, though some of one nation, and some of another, some bond, and some free, for they are all one in Christ, and he is all to them, and all in them. William Mason {A Little Star – Giving Some Light into the Counsels and Purposes of God Revealed in the Scriptures, 1653}

Particular & Effectual Redemption by Christ: Question - But doth not the Prophet Isaiah say, that he {meaning Christ} was wounded for our transgressions, and by his stripes we are healed; {Is.53:5,6;} and {all} we like sheep have gone astray, and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all, even all without exception; and that he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; whereby it appears, that his death was an undertaking for all, good and bad, wicked rich men that saw no need of him. Where then is the difference; or how can God be said to be no respecter of persons? Answer - The Prophet in the former chapter, had largely declared, what joyful and glorious days should be in the time of the Gospel, {Is.52:1,2,} and exhorted them to rejoice in the consideration of the same; yea, and to account the feet of them beautiful, that should bring them such good news; {vs.7:} and under the Type of the captivity of Babylon, whether they should be carried, and from whence they should certainly return, {vs.11,} he prophecies of their deliverance from the spiritual bondage and thralldom of sin by Jesus Christ, who should both deal prudently, and also prosper in his design; and though he should appear in a very despicable form as to men, {vs.13,} and his visage should be marred through sufferings; {vs.14;} yet he should be exalted, and be very high, and sprinkle many Nations {“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.” Ps.32:12} with his blood, &c. {vs.15} But who, saith the Prophet, will believe this report, or to whom shall this arm, or power of the Lord {even Christ} be revealed? {Is.53:1} Why, what was the reason? Because the people should be very high in expectation, and look for such a Christ as should, even like David, defend them from outward enemies, war, and captivity; but it was the pleasure of God, that Christ should grow up by degrees, as a tender plant, unregarded, and as a Root out of a dry ground, {vs.2,} which no man looks after; to have no beauty or comeliness that we should desire him. A man of sorrows and grief, from whom all men should hide their faces; {vs.3,} yet surely, saith he, he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; {vs.4;} he was wounded for our transgressions, the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. {vs.5} We all, like sheep, have gone astray, and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all, &c., {vs.6;} but who are they that the Prophet is now speaking to? Or who doth he here speak of? Is he not speaking to Israel, a people whom God did own above all people in the world, and whom, by an outward choice, he had brought near to himself, above all Nations whatsoever? Yea, and moreover, was not Israel after the flesh a type of Israel in the spirit, for all were not Israel in the spirit, which were so in the flesh. Yea, and the Prophet often calls them Zion, and Jerusalem, which doth usually signify the saints and believers in the days of the Gospel; {Is.52:1,2;} and in speaking to these, he doth figuratively speak of all the Saints, who should believe in Christ. Now Christ hath for these born and endured sorrow and grief, for their transgressions was he wounded, and his chastisement was their peace, and they were healed by his stripes. {Is.53:5} These were his lost sheep of the house of Israel {Mt.15:24} which were gone astray, and turned after their own ways, {vs.6;} and that they might be reduced, and brought home again, the Lord laid all their iniquities upon him. With these he was content to make his grave, though they were wicked in themselves, that so he might be their Righteousness, and make them righteous in Himself; {Is.53:9;} yea, he emptied himself, and lay down in death, that they, who were rich and full in their own apprehensions, might empty themselves, lie down in shame, and receive of his fullness. For these did the Lord bruise him, and for these was his soul made an offering, {vs.10;} and to what end was all this? That he might see his seed, that he might thereby redeem a people from all iniquity, and conform them to himself in all holiness, and so present them to the Father in himself, spotless and blameless, for this was the good pleasure of the Lord, and it was prosperous in the hand of Christ, for he did it effectually. {Tit.2:14} Yea, Christ did prolong his days, {though he died as to the flesh} and saw the travail of his soul, and the fruit of his sufferings, and was satisfied in the same, for his blood was not shed in vain; for by his righteousness many {not all} were justified, {Is.53:11,} because he bare or suffered for their iniquities; therefore God hath exalted him, and made him glorious, because he poured out his soul to death, and bear the sins of {not all; but} many. {vs.12} Thus this Scripture being duly weighed, all men may hence judge, whether the Lord, by the Prophet, intends a general redemption of all without exception; or of a peculiar people, even mystical Israel, whom he hath adopted to himself in Jesus Christ, for sons and daughters; {II Cor.6:18;} for though the Lord be no respecter of persons, as to any outward appearance, he regards not any man, as he is a man, as he is a Jew, nor as he is a Gentile, as he is rich, or as he is poor, bond, or free; but as he is in Christ, and Christ in him. {Eph.1:6} In this sense the Lord doth accept persons, for he accepts of these in Christ, and as for others, who are not in Christ, he regards them not, be they Jew or Gentile, high or low, noble or base; he accepts of none, but in whom he appears, and manifests himself by Jesus Christ. William Mason {A Little Star – Giving Some Light into the Counsels and Purposes of God Revealed in the Scriptures, 1653}

Posted October 15, 2012

{Writings of William Mason}

Christ – the Fountain of Life: The Jews being carnal, and understanding his words carnally, strove among themselves saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” {Jn.6:52} To which he solemnly answers, “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you;” and he that “eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life;” {vs.53,54;} “for my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.” {vs.55}  By all which passages it doth appear very plain, that by eating and drinking the flesh and blood of Christ, is not to be carnally understood, of eating bread and drinking wine, but rather spiritually of believing in him, and being united, and made one with him. “He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood dwelleth in me and I in him.” {vs.56} That is, he that believeth in me indeed, he is one with me in the Spirit, and so partaking of the same Spirit together, he “dwelleth in me, and I in him.” Again, as the Father who sent me, is a fountain of life, and I live by being one with him; so he that eateth me, or so believeth in me being united to me, even he also shall live by being one with me. {vs.57} To eat the flesh of Christ and drink his blood, in an outward Ordinance of bread and wine, is but to know him after the flesh; but they in whom Christ lives, and they being made alive in Him, and taken into union with Him; they do not know him any more after the flesh, nor have any confidence in fleshly Ordinances; {Phil.3:3;} but they believing in him, or dwelling in him, and he in them, from this union in the Spirit doth flow up in them rivers of living waters, abundance of spiritual joy, peace, and heavenly consolations. {Jn.7:38,39} Alas, he that goes to the weak and empty elements of bread and wine, shall not be satisfied, but hunger again and thirst again, because there is no satisfaction in them; {Is.65:13;} but whoso partakes of Christ indeed, and is one with him indeed, he gives unto them such a water as shall abundantly satisfy their souls, that they shall never thirst; that is, they shall never be so destitute of true, and heavenly comfort and joy, as to seek for them in a carnal and fleshly Ordinance, in an empty Cistern, where is nothing to be had. {Jn.6:35} But the water which Christ doth give is Himself, which shall be in the saints a fountain of all true and sound comfort, and joy, springing up to all eternity. {Jn.4:14} In the 22nd chapter of the Book of Revelation, there is mention made of a pure River of Water of Life, proceeding out of the throne of God, and of the Lamb, {22:1,2,} and in the midst of the street of it and of either side of it, was the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month, &c. This pure River of water of Life, is that rich Fountain, or Spirit and Power of Love, proceeding eternally from the Father, in, and by the Son, out of which infinite Love, and Goodness, grows this tree of Life, eternal Life, {which is Christ} proceeding transcendently from the infinite Love of the Father, to all poor saints, in, and by his Son Christ Jesus. In the 46th Psalm it is said, “there is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.” {vs.4} Now, this City, and holy place of tabernacles, is nothing else but the saints in whom the Lord delights to dwell; and this River, whose streams make joyful this City, is that unspeakable and unconceivable Love of God in Jesus Christ, when the Lord is pleased to reveal, or manifest himself to poor saints, so as to let them see and know their adoption by Christ, and to make them understand their union in the Spirit with him in Jesus. And also that now he loves them as he loves Jesus Christ; {Jn.17:23;} from hence then grows up this tree of life. Then the poor saints apprehend life, life eternal, and they now begin to live indeed. Not any more a carnal, but a spiritual life, not only a natural, or temporal, but an eternal life. - Now they in whom Christ {who is this tree of life} thus dwells, and manifests himself, need not dig for water, or run to broken Cisterns, fleshly and carnal ordinances, and thence return empty; men may like the Prodigal, live upon husks till they are almost pined; but if ever they come to themselves, if ever the Lord be pleased to clear up their eyes, so as to let them see, and apprehend their union with him in the Spirit through Christ Jesus, then they will say, “In my Father’s house is bread enough.” {Lk.15:17} Then they will see and know, that Christ is this bread of life, {Jn.6:48,} and this water of life, and that whoso eats and drinks thereof; that is, so to believe on him as to be united and made one with God in him, shall never hunger nor thirst after any barren or empty comforts, from outward and carnal Ordinances, {Jn.6:35,} but shall have in them fresh springs of joy, and endless consolations, flowing unto all eternity. But they which believe not in him, and are not thus united and made one with him in the Spirit; though they eat his flesh, and drink his blood, namely, in the carnal and outward use of Bread and Wine; {Lk.13:26,27;} yet they have no life in them, neither shall they enjoy any true comfort in him, nor eternal life by him, but shall go into condemnation. William Mason {A Little Star – Giving Some Light into the Counsels and Purposes of God Revealed in the Scriptures, 1653}

Posted October 16, 2012

{Writings of William Mason}

Union with Christ: “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound, &c.” {Is.61:1-3} The Saints, though they were in the state of election in the purpose of God, yet for the present being fallen under sin, were in a condition of darkness and death, and were in slavery to sin and Satan; and being no way able to free or deliver themselves, therefore was Christ God’s elect, or his Righteous Servant, that he by undertaking for them in the flesh, and by raising and quickening them in the spirit, {I Jn.3:8,} might bring them out of prison and captivity, make them free men, and present them to the Father in Himself, without rebuke. And so also means the Apostle, when he tells the Ephesians, that now it is God’s design, in the dispensation of the fullness of times; to gather into one sweet agreement, or holy fellowship, all the saints that are elected in Christ, {Eph.1:10,} or which are in Christ in his purpose, which is all one, which are in heaven, and in earth; whether they be Jews, or Gentiles; circumcised or uncircumcised, bond or free; even in Him, as the saints are in Christ by virtue of God’s election; so God will gather them together, and so raise them by Christ, that they shall now know, and believe their union with God in Christ, and their union one with another, even in Him. And to this end, all things were made by Him, and for his glory, and still consist, to help forward his great design; for in him dwells the fullness of the Godhead, and the Saints are complete in him. {Col.1:16,17, 2:9} William Mason {A Little Star – Giving Some Light into the Counsels and Purposes of God Revealed in the Scriptures, 1653}

Election in Christ: Neither is God unjust, but most righteous, in rewarding every man according to his works; for God is so infinitely holy and righteous, that he cannot do any unjust act. {Rom.9:14} Nay, he neither doth, nor will do anything, but wherein he will appear most perfectly just and righteous; {Ezek.18:25;} for God did not elect man, and afterward reject him, or damn him; love him, and afterward hate him; but the Lord, who is infinite in wisdom, did see and behold all things, before anything was created, for all things were in Him, although they were not brought forth or manifested; and in his fore-knowledge, and in himself, he beheld all men, when as yet there was none of them; yea, even then he beheld them in their several conditions, both in their creation, and in their fall. “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} Now God thus beholding man’s several conditions at one and the same instant {for there is neither first nor last with God} did purpose in his eternal counsel, to make man an upright creature; and did also at the same instant fore-know and fore-see, that men by sin would undo themselves; and was pleased also in the very same instant, and according to this foreknowledge, out of the abundant riches of his love in Jesus Christ, to choose out some poor miserable fallen wretches, and to make known to them the exceeding and super-abundant treasures of his grace and favor in Him, {I Pet.1:2,} in their several generations, and so to unite them to himself in Christ; {Eph.1:4-6;} that they should be to the praise of his glorious grace; {Rom.9:23;} and also to let others alone in their sins, by leaving them to their own hearts lust, unbelief, hardness, and impenitency; delighting themselves in sin, and all ungodliness, and becoming one with Satan, and willingly obeying his commands, he might then declare Himself infinitely glorious in justice, in rendering to every man according to his work. And in this respect it is said, “shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, why hast thou made me thus?” {Rom.9:20} “For he hath mercy {namely, in restoring men to grace and favor in Jesus Christ} on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth,” {Rom.9:18,} or leaves them in their sins. Thus God did not elect, and afterward reject; neither doth he love and afterward hate, for whosoever God loves indeed, with an especial love, a love to eternal life, he loves them in Christ; {Eph.1:4,5;} and he loves none in Christ, but whom he hath elected and chosen in him; {Jn.13:1;} and those whom he thus elects he cannot hate, for he loves them in Christ, and as Christ. {Jn.17:23} William Mason {A Little Star – Giving Some Light into the Counsels and Purposes of God Revealed in the Scriptures, 1653}

Posted October 17, 2012

{Writings of William Mason}

Old Testament Types & Sacrifices Fulfilled in Christ: Question - What were those Ordinances and Services of the Law, or Covenant? Answer - First there was the Tabernacle, and afterward the Temple, which were representations of the flesh of Christ, and also of the Saints, in whom God would please to dwell and manifest himself. {Ps.132:14} And then there was the Priesthood of Aaron; signifying the eternal Priesthood of Christ. {Heb.7:24} And there were also many Sacrifices and Offerings, which did betoken the Sacrifice of Christ, who should by that one offering of himself to God, obtain eternal redemption for them. {Heb.9:12} And there were many and divers washings and cleansings, which did show forth the blood of Christ, which can only wash and cleanse away all sin. {I Jn.1:7} These and many others being visible representations and significations of Christ in the flesh, his perfect fulfilling of the Law, his making satisfaction to divine Justice, &c., all which were to be fulfilled and accomplished in him, which being done, the significations were to cease, {Heb.9:10;} and to be of no more use. William Mason {A Little Star – Giving Some Light into the Counsels and Purposes of God Revealed in the Scriptures, 1653}

Law & Gospel Distinctions: As the Law was spiritual, and concerned the inward man, so their obedience was to be answerable to the will of God herein. Now it was not the will of God, that they should act herein, according to the letter, and think to attain Righteousness by a strict performance of any or all those religious services; {Rom.3:20;} but that they should believe in Him, who was prefigured in all those services {which was Christ} and cast themselves wholly upon God in Him, {Jn.6:40,} for Righteousness, both unto Justification and Sanctification; but now Christ being come in the flesh, and having in himself ended all those significations; it is the will of God, that both Jews and Gentiles should believe in Him, {Mk.9:7,} and rest confidently assured, that God is graciously well with them, in Him, having for his sake forgiven them all their trespasses; {Eph.2:18;} so that the will of God being the rule of men’s obedience, it is the will of God, that they should not act according to the letter of the Law for life; but that they should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, in whom is eternal life. {I Jn.3:23} William Mason {A Little Star – Giving Some Light into the Counsels and Purposes of God Revealed in the Scriptures, 1653}

Faith & Works: Question - But doth not the Scripture say, that Abraham was justified by works? {James 2:21} What say you then of good works, as prayer, reading, and hearing the word, repentance, and all other duties of piety and charity; are not they required as good means of our justification. Answer - The scope of that Scripture is not to declare that Abraham did act anything in the work of justification; for it is said, that Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness; {Rom.4:3;} and those good works, whereby Abraham is said to be justified, do rather declare him to believe, and his faith to be alive, than any way to act in the matter of justification; {James 2:22;} for faith, as is said before, doth not justify, but believes it, and applies it; true faith works by love, {Gal.5:6,} and shows what house it comes of, by actions of piety and mercy. There is a faith which is dead, it being nothing else, but a persuasion of a carnal heart, which is deceitful, and of this many men brag and boast, and cry religion, religion; but they do not walk in love, neither toward God nor men; and this faith profited nothing, or is profitable to no man, and is no better than the faith of devils. But true faith where it is indeed, proceeds from a holy seed, being begotten by the manifestation or discovery of God in the soul, and hath for its ground a word of promise, {Rom.9:9,} not only without, but, especially within, and is real, and not in imagination; so also it acts like itself, and is profitable every way. First toward God, as it gives him the glory of all his wisdom, power, justice, mercy, and goodness, when men can say indeed, “In the Lord have I righteousness, and in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength;” {Is.45:24, 26:4;} when a man can say, now I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me; {Gal.2:20;} yea, I can do all things, be anything, suffer anything, through Christ that strengthens me. I can be abased, and I can abound; I can as well be content to be hungry, as to be full fed; to be poor as to be rich, to suffer as to reign, to die as to live; {Phil.4:12,13;} when a man can live in God, and unto God, above all this world, and esteem all things but dross and dung, in comparison of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus. {Phil.3:8} True faith is also profitable to men, when it is exercised in godly conference, building up one another, comforting one another, and {if need require} reproving one another; when it works in feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, relieving the oppressed, and by doing to every man as we would be done unto. This is living faith and it is thus evidenced to be alive. Thus we are not justified by, nor for, our good works; for we are his workmanship, created anew in Christ Jesus unto good works, that we should walk in them. Justification, where it is indeed, will evidence itself by acts of sanctification. William Mason {A Little Star – Giving Some Light into the Counsels and Purposes of God Revealed in the Scriptures, 1653}

Posted October 18, 2012

{Truth Vindicated}

Satisfaction of Christ: This Promise or Covenant is absolute, notwithstanding what you have offered against it.  God hath covenanted to write his law in their hearts, that they shall all know Him from the least to the greatest, that he will forgive their iniquities, and remember their fins no more. Now if God will make good the Covenant on his part, all this shall be done for the subjects thereof; and this being once performed, it’s impossible for the subjects thereof to break it. Can pardoned Sins break the Covenant; and have they any sins that are not pardoned? All the sins of the subjects of this Covenant are pardoned upon Christ’s satisfaction, {Col.2:13,14,} that Christ gave himself for us, not to redeem us from some particular sins, but from all sins, {Tit.2:14,} that by one oblation he hath forever perfected them that are sanctified. {Heb.10:14} All sins past, present, and to come, are remitted upon Christ’s satisfaction; and if the sins of those that have an interest in this Covenant be all pardoned, how then can they break it? “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness; that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” {Rom.3:25,26} Here is a Grant given that the Justice of God is satisfied by that one Oblation of Christ; and if Justice be satisfied, the Debtor is discharged, Justice itself pleading his Discharge. It says not for Faith and Repentance. “You, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses.” {Col.2:13} It's inconsistent with the righteousness of God, to hold a person under obligation unto Wrath, for whom the debt is paid by a Surety. It's true, it was at the pleasure of God whether he would accept of satisfaction by a Surety or not; he might have required the uttermost farthing of the sinner; but having in Grace and Mercy declared, that he would receive the debt at the hand of a Surety, and not only declared it, but bound himself by his Oath so to do. “By so much was Jesus made a Surety of a better Testament.” {Heb.7:22} Christ was made a Surety by the Oath of God; the Lord did not only swear him a High Priest, as in the 21st verse, but he did also by the same Oath swear him a Surety, verse 22. Now the Debt being fully paid, he could not in Justice hold the sinner in Obligation any longer. First, Not in Justice unto Christ, with whom he had covenanted to give up the Bond upon the payment of the Debt, and to discharge from the curse those for whom Jesus Christ should bear the curse, therefore when the Covenant was confirmed by the blood of Jesus Christ, he set the Prisoners at liberty. “As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.” {Zech.9:11} Secondly, Not in justice unto those for whom the Debt was paid by Christ, Justice itself pleads their discharge, gives up the bond immediately at the time when, and in the place where the debt was paid, the Bond was given up and canceled. “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.” {Col.2:14} Anonymous “Truth Vindicated,” London, 1695.

Reconciliation by the Death of Christ: Faith contributes nothing to Christ being a propitiation, it only applies him who is in Himself our propitiation. If I rightly understand the word, it signifies a peace-making Sacrifice, and that he was in himself, antecedent to the Application that faith makes of him. “He is our Peace.” {Eph.2:14} “Having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself.” {Col.1:20} Peace and Reconciliation were made by the Death of Christ. God was not made reconcilable only, {as some would have it,} but reconciled. “All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ.” {II Cor.5:18} “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” {Rom.5:10} God hath set forth Christ in his Word to be him that hath made peace, and he hath commissioned his Ministers to go and proclaim this peace. He “hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.” {II Cor.5:18} Having made peace, he came and preached peace; he came by his Ministers, and it is their work where they come to publish this peace. “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” {Is.52:7} They are not to put persons upon making their peace with God, but to confess that peace that Christ has made. Now God having set forth Christ as a Propitiation, he hath thereby declared how just and righteous a God he is, in the remission of sins, even the sins that were past for which God received not satisfaction till Christ was offered up. Thirdly, You say, that as soon as we believe, and resolve to lead a new life, he pardoneth our sins and receiveth us into favor. Reply. First, Either we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, or we were not. If we were, then our sins were pardoned at his death. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.” {II Cor.5:19} If we were not reconciled by the death or his Son, then we shall never be reconciled; for if Christ hath not reconciled us by the blood of his Cross, then hath he no other way of Reconciliation. Reconciliation is by his death, by his blood; he will die no more, he will bleed no more; now, to be reconciled to God, and not be received into favor are terms inconsistent. Secondly, Faith itself is either a fruit of the favor of God, or it is not; if it be, then are we in the favor of God antecedent thereunto; if it be not, then show me from whence it flows; it grows not in Natures Garden, we did not bring it with us into the world. Faith is the gift of God; is it then a gift of his Grace and Favor, or a gift of his Wrath? Thirdly, I would enquire, who they are that shall live by Faith? Whether they be the just or the unjust? If they be the just, then were they such antecedent thereunto. Fourthly, you say, that remission of sin is not granted immediately upon Christ’s satisfaction; we must believe in Christ before we shall receive remission of sins; for Christ is exalted on the right hand of God, and is become a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance unto Israel, and remission of sins. {Acts 5:31} Reply: That remission of sin was granted out immediately upon satisfaction made by Christ, which appears: First, by the Testimony of the Holy Ghost, “For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us; for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” {Heb.10:14-17} The perfection spoken of in the 14th verse, consists in the pardon of sin, and the word forever, shows that it is all sin, past, present, and to come; and this perfection or remission was by that one offering, and that there was remission by it the Holy Ghost is a witness, which plainly shows that from the time that Christ was offered up, at which time the New Covenant was confirmed, God hath remitted the sins of the Subjects thereof, and so remitted them, that he will remember them no more; now where remission of these is, {saith the Apostle,} there is no more sacrifice for sin. The reason why the sacrifices under the Law were so often repeated was because they did not do away sin; their standing daily ministering and offering oft-times the same thing, was a demonstration thereof. On the other hand, Christ’s sitting down on the right hand of God, after he had offered one sacrifice for sin, was a sufficient demonstration that sin was done away by that one sacrifice. Secondly, It appears, that sin was remitted immediately by the satisfaction made by Christ, in that those for whom Christ was wounded were then healed. “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye were healed.” {I Pet.2:24} By whose stripes ye were healed; He speaks in the preterperfect tense, our sins were laid upon Christ, he bare them in his own body upon the tree, there they were, what is become of them? Is he discharged from them, or is he not? If he be not, he must bear them forever; if he be, are they returned upon us, or are they not? If they are, then we are not healed by his stripes, and that is cross to the Text; if they are not, then was sin remitted immediately upon Christ’s oblation. Thirdly, it appears, in that Redemption was by the blood of Christ. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” {Eph.1:7} Now redemption and remission of sin is the same thing. In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sin. Either we had remission of sin by the blood of Christ, or we had not; if we had, then was sin remitted immediately upon satisfaction made by Christ, {for it was by his blood he made satisfaction,} if we had not remission of sins by his blood, then they will never be remitted, for without shedding of blood there is no remission. {Heb.9:22} Fourthly, If we were redeemed from the curse of the Law when Christ was made a curse for us, then was sin remitted from the time he made satisfaction; but we were so. “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.” {Gal.3:13} To be redeemed from the curse of the Law, and not to be discharged from sin, are terms inconsistent. If we are not discharged from sin, then we are under the curse of the Law; and how great an inconsistency is this, to be redeemed from the Curse, and yet to be still under the Curse. Fifthly, if the Bond was given up immediately upon satisfaction made by Christ, then sin was immediately remitted upon satisfaction made by Christ; but the Bond was given up immediately upon the satisfaction made by Christ. {Col.2:14,15} Now in giving up the Bond by the Creditor, there is a discharge given. Who looks for any other discharge from a debt than for the Bond to be given up and cancelled by the Creditor upon the payment of the Debt. Sixthly, If there be nothing to be laid to the charge of God’s Elect, from the time of the satisfaction made by Christ, then are they immediately discharged from the time of the satisfaction made by him, but there is nothing to be laid to the charge of God’s Elect, from the time of the satisfaction made by Christ. “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} By his death he procured our Discharge, by his Resurrection he made it manifest. The not charging with guilt is a Discharge from guilt. Remission of sin, and the Non-imputation of sin, is the same thing. “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} Anonymous “Truth Vindicated,” London, 1695.

Posted October 21, 2012

{Truth Vindicated & Selection of the Week}

Conditionalism: You say, that God requireth Conditions to be performed by us, in order to obtain his Blessings. Reply: That there are duties required of the Subjects of this Covenant, I grant; but that these are Conditions, I deny; for whatever God requires of the Subjects of this Covenant, he hath promised to give them a Heart to perform, and that must be made good on God’s part, antecedent to anything done by them, that is any way pleasing unto God. Without Faith it's impossible to please God; and Faith they have not till God gives them a new Heart; “so then they that are in the Flesh cannot please God.” {Rom.8:8} I say, what God requires of them, he hath promised to give them an Heart to do. “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh; and I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” {Ezek.36:26,27} Secondly, if God requires Conditions of us, then these Conditions must be performed, antecedent to the receiving of the Blessings; and who then shall ever be the better for them, for who hath given to God first? Thirdly, a new Heart is one of God's Blessings. {Ez.36:26} A Will to do what God requires is one of God’s Blessings. “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power,” {Ps.110:3,} and what can be performed acceptable unto God before these Blessings are given out? Fourthly, when God gives out these Blessings he doth not bestow them on us for what we have done; nor yet according to what we shall do. “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} “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” {II Tim.1:9} You say, that the Covenant on God’s part hath this Seal; the Lord knoweth who are his, he will own and reward them that are faithful to him. Reply: That God will own and reward them that are faithful, I grant to be a great Truth, but I can’t think it’s the genuine sense of this Text; for the Text tells you that, “the Foundation of God standeth sure, having this Seal, the Lord knoweth who are his.” {II Tim.2:19} This I look upon to be his Decree of Election, which was his Foundation-Act of Grace, that standeth sure, and the Seal is his Knowledge of them; he knoweth whom he hath chosen, and he will own them, stand by them, and preserve them in an apostatizing time. And though Hymenaeus and Philetus, {II Tim.2:17,} who once seemed as stars of the greatest magnitude, had by their Apostasy discovered themselves to be but comets, yet such as God had chosen should be preserved. You say, that we on our part set to our Seal, and oblige ourselves to depart from iniquity. Reply: If you cast your Eye again on the Text, you may see that it's the Lord that obligeth us to depart from Iniquity; it’s not historical, but perceptive. “And let everyone that nameth the Name of Christ depart from Iniquity.” You say, that place in Jer.31:33, expressly declares the Condition of the New Covenant, both on God’s part and ours too, that he will be our God, and we shall be his People. Reply: I think a man must be very quick-sighted, that can espy a Condition in a Text that is wholly promissory; he must needs be a very great Artist that can turn a Privilege into a Condition; “I will be their God, and they shall be my People;” is a choice Promise, and holds out the Privilege of the Subjects thereof; you may as well make the next words a Condition as these; “They shall all know me, from the greatest to the least;” and if you do, by the People of God understand such as are his by Vocation, then their call is here promised, they shall be my People; but how shall this be effected? The Text tells you, “I will write my Law in their Hearts, and put it in their inward parts.” This is that which doth dispose them to answer a Gospel-call; this is absolutely promised, and what farther assistance may be needed shall not be wanting. Those that God loved with an everlasting love he will draw unto Christ with cords of Love, for he hath engaged to afford them the Assistance of his Spirit to enable them to answer a Gospel-call. You say, unless we are obedient unto God, and behave ourselves as his people, he will not be our God to bless us, and to crown us with Happiness. Reply: First, God must bless us with a principle of Obedience, before we can yield an act of Obedience; that is, an act of sincere Obedience; and if it be not sincere, it's neither acceptable unto God nor spiritually profitable unto ourselves. The carnal mind is enmity against God, and is not subject unto the Law of God, neither indeed can be. So that an act of Obedience is not antecedent to the blessing, and therefore not a condition thereof; and though obedience be antecedent to happiness, {by which I suppose you intend a Crown of Glory,} yet it is not the condition of that happiness. Glory may be considered as an end following obedience, preparing, fitting and disposing to it, but not as an end depending on obedience, as a means procuring. Anonymous “Truth Vindicated,” London, 1695.

Conditionalism: You say, the great blessings of the Gospel are promised on condition of Faith, and sincere Obedience. Reply: Here I would query; Whether Faith and sincere Obedience be not great Gospel Blessings themselves, or whether they will be found to grow in Natures Garden? Must not the heart first be changed, before a man can believe, or yield sincere obedience? The essence of Faith lies in the act of the Understanding, and of the Will, neither of which can be put forth till the heart be renewed, for natural understanding cannot behold Jesus Christ. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit, nor can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned.”  and such a one lacks a spiritual eye. “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God;” {I Jn.5:1;} and to know God to be the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent, is the gift of Jesus Christ; {Jn.17:2,3;} and this gift is bestowed on them only that are given unto Jesus Christ. And as for the act of the Will, that also is a New-Covenant blessing. “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.” {Ps.110:3} What is sincere Obedience but a New-Covenant Blessing also, a fruit of the free-grace of God? “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” {Phil.2:13} I doubt not but faith and sincere obedience may be called great Blessings of the Gospel as well as others, and what I pray are the conditions on which these are bestowed? You bring three places to prove that Faith and Obedience are the conditions on which the great Blessings of the Gospel are given out. “Whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” {Acts 10:43} Reply: It is one thing for sins to be remitted, and another thing for a person to receive remission. Sin was remitted from the time of Christ's oblation, as remission of sin lies in our reconciliation, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them;” {II Cor.5:19;} then was the Atonement made, but we receive the Atonement when we believe. “By whom we have now received the atonement.” {the ‘reconciliation’} {Rom.5:11} Our receiving remission is not the condition of our pardon, that was procured by Christ long before; that of Prov.28:13, shows us the way in which God will be found; “he that covereth his sins shall not prosper; but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” God doth not set his grace and mercy for sale, for he pardoneth freely; and repentance is not the condition of pardon, but the way to attain the sense thereof. The other Scripture, I John 3:7, is plainly an evidence, not a condition. “He that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.” You say, that without obedience we shall never enter into happiness; and without holiness none shall see the Lord. Reply: This is readily granted, yet is not the holiness and obedience of sanctified ones the condition of their interest in the covenant, but the fruit thereof. You say, that God will not pardon sins while we continue impenitent; “for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.” {Rom.1:18} Reply: That the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven is granted, and the greatest wrath is revealed against the sins of those that are the subjects of this covenant, for whom Jesus Christ stood as a Surety. God laid all their sins upon Christ. “The LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all;” {Is.53:6;} and poured out all that wrath upon Christ that was due to them. “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows;” that which we should have borne and carried, “yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” {Is.53:4} “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” {Is.53:5} All this wrath was born upon the account of the subjects of this covenant. “For the transgression of my people was he stricken.” {vs.8} Jesus Christ in bearing this wrath for us hath born it from us. “Even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” {I Thes.1:10} When Christ was made a curse for us, then did he redeem us from the curse, in which redemption there is remission; then did he consummate that New-Covenant, at which time God pardoned all the sins of the subjects thereof; when the Testator was dead, the Testament was of force, and from that time there is a challenge made, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.” {Rom.8:33} You say, if this Doctrine were generally embraced, and put in practice, it would destroy the Christian Religion. Reply: I take this to be a hasty conclusion, which the premises will not afford. I know no one duty destroyed by it, neither Faith nor Repentance, nor any act of Obedience, either to moral or Evangelical Precepts; for there is enough for us to do, though not as conditions; though we are not bound to work for life, yet is there work enough to be done from life, and our capacity to obey where God commands is a fruit of our interest; “a new heart and a new spirit,” {Ez.36,} the Spirit enabling us to pray is a fruit of our relation to God. “Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” {Gal.4:6} The Doctrine of the freeness and absoluteness of this Covenant never opened a gap to licentiousness to a gracious soul, though possibly others may abuse it as they do the Scriptures, wresting them to their own destruction. I know no Doctrine that is more binding to a gracious soul than the Doctrine of Free-Grace is; “teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” {Tit.2:11} Anonymous “Truth Vindicated,” London, 1695.

Conditionalism: You say, that none but those that confess their sins, and forsake them, shall have mercy. {PV.28:13} Reply: First, there is Mercy extended to Men in the change of the Heart, by which they are made capable to confess their sins and forsake them. {Tit.3:5} This mercy they must have, antecedent to their Confession. Secondly, there is the mercy of the sensible enjoyment of the pardon of Sin, and this mercy I grant you, none shall have till they confess and forsake their sin; but to say, that none shall have mercy till they confess their sins, without any distinction of Mercy, will run a man upon great absurdities; for the Scripture tells us, “the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him.” {Ps.103:17} God extends much of mercy before ever the soul can confess and forsake sin. You say, that if the sins of the Elect are forgiven upon the bare satisfaction made by Christ, then they would be justified before Conversion, and be at once in a state of pardon and salvation, and in a state of Wrath and Condemnation too; but as long as they continue in their sins, so long they are liable to the Wrath of God, so long they are liable to condemnation. Reply: First I would query, whether there be anything to be laid to the charge of God’s Elect? If there be, then pray answer the Apostles challenge; {Rom.8:33;} if there be not, then are they discharged upon the bare satisfaction made by Christ. Secondly, I would enquire, whether the bare satisfaction made by Christ, be full satisfaction unto the Justice of God or not? If it be not, by whom then shall the Justice of God be satisfied? If it be, then Justice itself pleads their discharge, gives up the Bond, holds the principal in obligation no longer. {Col.2:14} You say, that then they should be justified before Conversion. Reply: I grant it; this runs me upon no absurdity. He “justifieth the ungodly.” {Rom.4:5} You say, that then they must be in a state of Justification, and in a state of Condemnation at the same time, for so long as they continue in their sins and their impenitency, so long they are liable to wrath and condemnation. Reply: First, I would enquire how the Elect may be said to be under Condemnation, seeing the Word declares, that there is nothing to be laid to their charge, and that it is God that justifies. {Rom.8.33} That Interrogation, “who shall say anything to the charge of God,” implies a negation, for None shall – “who shall condemn?” There is another Interrogation, which also implies a negation, “none shall condemn; it is God that justifies” and sure I am, that none can condemn where God justifies; “it’s Christ that died; yea, rather that is risen from the dead.” Their Discharge bears date from his death, and the manifestation thereof from the time of his Resurrection. Secondly, how can the Elect be said to be under the wrath of God, seeing all that wrath that was due to them, was poured on the Lord Jesus as their Surety, and in their stead. “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows;” {Is.53:4;} that which was due to us, and which we should have born, verse 5. He was “wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” {Is.53:5,6} Thirdly, how the Elect can be said to be under the Wrath of God, that are delivered from it by Christ. “Even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come;” {I Thes.1:10;} when he bore it for them, he bore it from them. Fourthly, I would query, how this Wrath should be appeased if the Elect are yet under it? I know no way to appease the Wrath of God, but by bearing of it; Jesus Christ had no other way, he hath born it already, he will bear it no more, he is discharged, he is justified. The Elect can't bear it, it would sink them down to Hell; the wicked that are damned for their own sin shall not bear it, they shall only bear that which was due for their own sin, not that which was due to the Elect; what then shall become of this Wrath? Fifthly, if the Elect are under the Wrath of God till they do believe, and upon believing it's removed, whether there be more virtue in an act of Faith than there was in all the sufferings of Christ; or whether the efficacy of Christ's sufferings depends on the will or act of the Creature? Sixthly, how the Elect of God could ever have believed and repented, if they had been still under the Wrath of God? They must be delivered from the curse of the Law, before the blessing of Abraham could come upon them. “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree; that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” {Gal.3:13,14} They must become dead to the Law by the Body of Christ, before they could be married unto Christ. {Rom.7:4} Seventhly, Whether the Wrath of God, strictly and properly considered, be not a will in God to punish? And if so, whether it be still the Will of God to punish the Elect, now he hath laid that which was due to them on the Lord Jesus? Or whether the will of God be mutable, and so changed when they do believe? You say, that it is possible for us, through our own default, to neglect that condition, and so to frustrate the means of our own Salvation. Reply: Setting aside the word condition, {for I own no such thing,} I deny that it is possible, for the subjects of this Covenant to live and die unbelievers, and so to frustrate the means of their Salvation. For, they are chosen unto holiness; {Eph.1:4;} predestinated to be conformable to the Image of his Son; {Rom.8:29;} elected to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the Truth. {II Thes.2:13} It was the end of Christ in Dying, that he might sanctify and cleanse them, {Eph.5:25,26,} that he might purify them unto Himself. {Tit.2:14} God hath promised to write his Law in their hearts, that they shall all know him from the least to the greatest. {Jer.31:33} Christ stands engaged by Covenant with the Father to bring them to believe, “and other sheep I have, which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” {Jn.10:16} Christ hath assured us, “that all the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” {Jn.6:37} Now unless the Decree of God be altered, the end of Christ in dying frustrated, the promise of God of none effect, the Covenant between the Father and the Son broken, and the Assurance that Christ hath given fail us, it is not possible that the Subjects of this Covenant should live and die Unbelievers. Anonymous “Truth Vindicated,” London, 1695.

{Truth Vindicated}

Justification & Faith: You say, that we must believe in Christ before we shall receive remission of sin. Reply: I grant it, it's one thing for God to remit sin, and another thing for us to receive it; remission of sin is the Gift of God; now a Gift maybe bestowed upon a person long before he receives it; a Legacy may be given upon will, and when the Testator is dead the will is of force, the gift is his, yet he may not know of it, nor receive it till sometime after. The Atonement was made by the death of Christ, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life;” {Rom.5:10;} but we receive it not till we believe, “and not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” {vs.11} Justification is sometimes held forth before Faith, “him that justifieth the ungodly.” {Rom.4:5} An Ungodly Person and a Believer are two things; he justifieth the Elect, {Rom.8:33,} and they are more in number than Believers. It is sometimes held forth by Faith; now when Justification is held forth antecedent unto Faith, and also by Faith, it must be taken in a different acceptation. As it's strictly and properly considered a discharge from guilt, and a title unto Life and Glory, so it consists in the Imputation of Righteousness, not in the Application thereof. {Rom.4:6,7,8} “The free gift came upon all men unto justification of life;” {Rom.5:18;} that is, all men that stand related to the Second Adam; and how did it come on them? Why together and at once, even as Condemnation came on all Men together and at once; but as Justification is considered in point of Acceptation, and Termination in our own Consciences, so it is by Faith; “even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the Faith of Christ.” {Gal.2:16} In this sense Faith hath that hand in our Justification that no other Grace hath; for it is the nature of Faith to empty the soul of all self-righteousness, of everything of our own, and to carry the Soul to Christ, to receive all from him; “and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” {Phil.3:9} Faith never pleads good Works performed by us as the condition, and so challenges remission upon it, as the effect of such performance. Anonymous “Truth Vindicated,” London, 1695.

Unconditional & Everlasting Covenant of Grace: You say, though Christ gave himself to redeem us from all iniquity, yet none are actually freed from the guilt of sin till they forsake it. Reply: To be redeemed from sin, and to be under the guilt of sin are terms inconsistent, for redemption from sin, and remission of sin, is the same thing. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” {Eph.1:7} Either Christ {when he gave himself to redeem us from all Iniquity} did what he gave himself to do, or he did not; if he did, then are we discharged from guilt; if he did not, it was for want of Merit in his Blood, and that is Blasphemy to assert. You say, that we need no new Oblation to merit remission of sins; for by one Offering he hath forever perfected them that are sanctified. {Heb.10:14} Yet we must be in Christ, and sanctified, before we can be perfected; that is, pardoned, and acquitted from the guilt of sin. Reply: First, here is a grant that sanctified ones are perfected; that is, pardoned, and acquitted from the guilt of sin. This being granted, it will follow undeniably, that they are forever pardoned; now this will do my Business; for, all the Subjects of the New-Covenant shall in time be sanctified. First, Christ gave himself to that end. Christ “loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it, with the washing of water by the word; that he might present it to himself a glorious church.” {Eph.5:25-27} Secondly, God hath promised that he will write his Law in their hearts, that they shall all know him. {Heb.8:10-12} Secondly, when sanctified, they are forever pardoned. “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more;” {Heb.8:12;} and this also is in effect granted by yourself in the preceding lines, so that I have now gained the second point, that the Subjects of the Covenant of Grace cannot break it; their sins being all pardoned, and pardoned sins can't break it. You say, the Subjects of this Covenant must be in Christ, and sanctified, before they be pardoned. Reply: First, I have already proved that the Subjects of this Covenant are in Christ, antecedent to their sanctification. {John 17:2} They were given to Christ by the Father, before eternal Life was given to them by the Son, they were Christ’s people before they were a willing people. {Ps.110:3} The word sanctified is diversely taken, some times for a Separation; “say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest;” {Jn.10:36;} what is that sanctification but a separation? God had chosen Christ and set him apart for so great an undertaking, and in this sense I take the Word sanctified in the text that is before us. “For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” {Heb.10:14} Them that God had set apart for himself, for they only were the Subjects for whom Christ was offered up. “For the transgression of my people was he stricken;” {Is.53:8;} but if the word sanctified must be taken properly, as you would have it, then must it be considered as the Mark or Character of those who in time may be known to be of the number of those that were forever pardoned by that one Oblation; we can no more conclude that they were sanctified before they were pardoned, than we can conclude that those for whom these great things that eye had not seen, nor ear heard, nor had entered into the Heart of man, were prepared, did love God before they were prepared for them. {I Cor.2:9} It was solely by that one offering, without any act of theirs, that they were forever perfected or pardoned; the Holy Ghost is a witness to this truth, that upon this one offering God would remember their sins no more; this perfection or pardon that was by this one offering was antecedent to his sitting down on the right hand of God, verses 12,13, “but this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God;” and why so; but because by that “one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” It was the end of Christ in offering up himself to put away sin by this one sacrifice, for “now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself;” {Heb.9:26;} and this end of his was answered before he ascended to the Father. “When he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” {Heb.1:3} Eternal redemption was obtained for us, before he entered into the holy place. {Heb.9:12} Anonymous “Truth Vindicated,” London, 1695.

Eternal Redemption by the Blood of Christ: “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.” {Rom.8:33,34} He dates their discharge from the time of Christ’s Oblation. Now the Debt paid was not this or that particular Sin satisfied for, but this and that, as Sins past, present, and to come. It was the design of Christ in dying to redeem from all Sin. “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us…” {Tit.2:14} Either Christ hath done what he gave himself to do, or he hath not. If he hath, then are they redeemed from all Iniquity; if he hath not, it must be for want of Merit in his Blood, and that were blasphemy to assert. What Christ gave himself to do, that he did. “For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” {Heb.10:14} This Perfection consists in the pardon of Sin; and the Word forever shows it to be all Sin, past, present, and to come. Now where Remission of these is, there is no more sacrifice for Sin. Either sin is remitted upon the oblation of Christ, or it is not; if it be not, it will never be remitted; for without the shedding of Blood there is no Remission. Those that are redeemed are eternally redeemed, never to come into Condemnation more. “By his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” {Heb.10:12} And it is with respect to the Consummation of the New Covenant by the Death of Christ, that God is said to be merciful to their unrighteousness, and to remember their Sins no more. Now then, if the Sins of those that have an interest in this Covenant are all pardoned, how can the subjects thereof break it? If this Covenant be broken, it must be by Sin, but pardoned Sin cannot break it. Anonymous “Truth Vindicated,” London, 1695.

Preservation of the Saints: You say, though God will not fail to afford us Grace sufficiently to enable us to keep his Covenant, {“and I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me” Jer.32:40,} yet it is also possible for us, through our own default, to receive his Grace in vain. Reply: If God will never turn away from us to do us good, but will put his fear into our Hearts, that we shall not depart from him, then it is not possible for us to receive his Grace in vain; and if you intend for the proof of your Assertion, I Cor.6:1, {“we then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain,”} that will be no evidence for you in this matter; for it is not the infusion of Grace, but the Doctrine of Grace that is there intended, as appears by the coherence; and that I grant may be received in vain; and is, when it is received into the Head, but not into the Heart; when it is received in the Notion, but not in the Life and Power thereof. Anonymous “Truth Vindicated,” London, 1695.

Covenant of Grace: When the Covenant was abolished, the Ordinances were abolished too, which Ordinances were but the adjuncts of the First Covenant, distinct from the Essence. “Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service;” {Heb.9:1;} for these were God’s own appointments; privatively faulty they were not, for they did answer the end for which they were appointed; they did shadow out Jesus Christ, the Elect were brought to a light of Christ by them, not one of them miscarried, but the Covenant itself was faulty, not positively, for it was a good Covenant, though not so good as the New Covenant, yet it answered all the ends of God in making it; one great end of which {as I conceive} was the keeping the Seed of Abraham in an entire Body, till the Messiah was brought forth, that it might appear that God had made good his Promise made to Abraham, that in his Seed all the Nations of the Earth should be blessed; but though this Covenant was sufficient to answer all the ends for which it was made, yet it was not sufficient to answer all the ends of God, to relieve all the necessities of his People. Pardon, and Peace and Reconciliation, a new Heart, and a new Spirit, Grace here, and Glory hereafter, were never put into this Covenant; “if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.” {Gal.3:21} Dr. Owen well observes upon this place, that though many of Israel that were under this Covenant went to Heaven, yet there was not one of them that went to Heaven by virtue of this Covenant, but by virtue of the Everlasting Covenant of Grace. Anonymous “Truth Vindicated,” London, 1695.

Posted October 22, 2012

{Truth Vindicated}

Operations of Grace: You say, that when God is said to do all in the work of our Sanctification, there our endeavors are always supposed. Reply: The principle of Grace must be wrought in us without our own endeavors, that by which the understanding is enlightened, and the will renewed, these Blessings are freely bestowed upon us, not for any work of righteousness that we have done. Whatever endeavors are put forth by us, they are the fruits of his Grace. “It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” {Phil.2:13} “I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” {Ezek.36:27} Where there are the greatest endeavors put forth by us, future Blessings do not depend on them as means procuring, so then it is “not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” You say, that where the Scripture seems to say the whole work of Sanctification on us, and requires us to purify the heart, there the Assistance and Operation of God's Grace is still supposed. Reply: It is one thing to have the assistance of God’s Grace supposed, and it's another thing to have it promised. I deny that God hath promised Grace to enable all to cleanse and purify the heart; that he requireth so to do, produce a promise it you can. Nothing short of true Faith will enable us to cleanse and purify the heart, and that's not afforded unto all; all men have not Faith, no, nor all men where the Gospel cometh. {Jn.12:37} We cannot purify our hearts till God giveth a new heart, and when that is done, he will put his spirit within us, and cause us to walk in his statutes. You say, God will not put his fear in our hearts, make us holy and preserve us in the way of Salvation without our own consent and endeavor. Reply: First God doth never ask our consent when he bestows on us the principles of Grace, they are freely given. The Promise is that God will put his fear into our hearts. “I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.” {Jer.32:40} “This shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” {Jer.31:33} “I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” {Ez.31:33} All absolute; and whatever endeavors are put forth by us, are the fruits of his Grace. {Phil.2:13} The fear of God once planted in the heart, will so operate in the soul by the Influence of the Spirit, that the Soul shall not depart from God; it's a great means of perseverance. Where the fear of God is, the Soul dares not to allow itself in sin, it cries out, how shall I do this wickedness and sin against God; and it's a means to put us forward in duty, as we are bid to perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord. {II Cor.7:1} Anonymous “Truth Vindicated,” London, 1695.

Posted October 23, 2012

{Truth Vindicated}

Believers Security in Christ: I shall endeavor to prove, that a sanctified Soul, one that is born of God, one that is a true Believer, is in such a secure State that he shall not fall away. First, He is secured by Acts of Grace without him. Secondly, By Principles of Grace infused into him. Thirdly, By Acts of Grace exerted by him. Fourthly, By Gracious Promises given to him. Fifthly, By the Prayer of Christ for him. First, A Believer is secured by Acts of Grace without him; and here are four Acts of Grace that I shall mention: First, Every Believer is an Elect Person. We may go by the Streams to the Fountain, we may argue from the Effect to the Cause. Faith is that we are elected to; “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.” {I Pet.1:2} What is that but Faith; whereby in Obedience to the Will of God we apply the Blood of Christ. The Apostle had no other ground to stile them Elect in the First Epistle, than he had to stile them Believers in the Second; they were such as had “obtained like precious Faith,” which is called, “the Faith of God’s Elect;” {Tit.1:1;} it being peculiar unto them. The Elect obtained this Faith, as well as other Blessings of the New Covenant, and “the rest were blinded.” {Rom.11:17} It was upon the evidence of their Believing that the Apostle concluded the Thessalonians the Elect of God. “Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God; for our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance.” {I Thes.1:4,5} The Elect shall not fall away, but shall certainly obtain Salvation. “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} Secondly, Every Believer is a Child of God. “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” {Gal.3:26} “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” {Jn.1:12} Secondly, Those that are once the Children of God, are forever his Children. “The servant abideth not in the house for ever; but the Son abideth ever.” {Jn.8:35} “Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” {Gal.4:7} “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” {I Jn.3:2} Those that are at present the Children of God shall be greatly advanced when Christ shall come, for they are at present Heirs of God, and joint Heirs with Christ, and then they shall be put into the full enjoyment of Him. {Jn.14:2,3} Thirdly, Every Believer is one with Jesus Christ, and once united to Christ then forever. First, Every Believer is one with Jesus Christ; this appears in that Faith is the Fruit of the Vine, the Believer is the Branch; Christ is the Vine, the Branch cannot bear this Fruit of itself, unless it be in the Vine. “Without me ye can do nothing,” saith Christ, or severed from me, as the margin reads it. {Jn.15:5} Though Union with Christ, antecedent unto Faith be denied by some, I know none that do deny Believers to be one with Christ. Secondly, Once in Christ then forever; for “a Bone of Him shall not be broken,” not only of his natural Body, but of his Mystical Body also. “I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me; and this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” {Jn.6:38,39} Fourthly, Every Believer is justified. “By him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.” {Acts 13:39} Justification consists of two parts, there is a discharge from Guilt, and a Title to Life and Glory; both these are the privileges of Believers. A Discharge from Guilt, and that from all guilt, past, present, and to come. “For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” {Heb.10:14} That a Believer is sanctified, none can deny; take sanctification for a separation, or take it properly; that perfection here is to be understood of the pardon of sin, and the word forever shows that it is all sin, past, present, and to come; so that here is nothing left to damn. God damns none but for sin, nor will he damn any whose sins are all pardoned. Secondly, Justification consists in a Title to Life and Glory; {Rom.5:18;} and this is a Believers privilege too. “Whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” {Jn.3:16} Secondly, A Believer is secured by principles of Grace infused into him. “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” {I Jn.3:9} The seed of Grace is of an immortal nature, it never dies away. “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life;” {Jn.4:14;} that is, he shall never die for thirst, for there is a well of water in him, and it is a springing well, and shall remain so, till the Soul is made perfectly happy. Thirdly, Every Believer is secured by acts of Grace exerted by him; there is not one Believer but is built upon a rock, he bottoms all on Christ, or he is not a Believer; and being founded there, he is secure. “Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” {Mt.16:18} The House that was built upon a rock stood; when the wind blew, and the flood arose, and the rain fell, the house fell not, for it was founded upon a Rock. {Mt.7:24-27} Christ hath promised that the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it, and if all the powers of Hell cannot remove him from the rock, what can? A Believer hath taken hold of Him who is that Anchor within the veil, both sure and steadfast. {Heb.6:19} A Believer lies at Anchor as it were, and there he is secure; whatever storm may come, he shall never make shipwreck of Faith and a good Conscience. But you will say, may not the Cable break, Faith be lost, and the Soul shipwrecked? I answer; No, for there is a double Cable, as the Soul apprehends Christ by Faith, so Christ apprehends or comprehends the Soul by his Spirit. “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” {Phil.3:12} Christ will not let go, and so long the Soul cannot let go Jesus Christ, for “he is kept by the power of God through faith to Salvation.” {I Pet.1:5} God does not keep the Soul that keeps itself in the faith, but he keeps the Soul of a Believer through faith; so that he shall certainly receive the end of his faith, even the salvation of his Soul. {I Pet.1:9} Fourthly, A Believer is secured by gracious promises given to him. “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises.” {II Pet.1:4} Now the Promises that are given to a Believer I shall rank under three Heads. First, Promises of Security against Sin and Satan. Secondly, of perseverance in Grace here. And, Thirdly, of Glory hereafter. First, He hath the Promise of security against sin. “Sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” {Rom.6:14} Not under the Law as a Covenant of Works, but under Grace, or the Covenant of Grace; sin may rage, but it shall not reign; it may assault, but it shall not overcome; it may captivate, but it shall not subject; it may wound, but it shall not kill; for the power of sin is broken; that is, the killing power, in our deliverance from the Law. The strength of sin is the Law; but a Believer hath victory over it through Christ. Secondly, He hath the Promise of security from Satan. “Upon this Rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” {Mt.16:18} Secondly, A Believer has Promises of perseverance here. “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is; for he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.” {Jer.17:7,8} “They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth forever. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even forever.” {Ps.125:1,2} “He that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” {Jn.6:35} He shall never die for hunger, nor for thirst. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” {Jn.10:27,28} These Promises, and many more that I could offer, are all absolute, and every Believer has an interest in them. Thirdly, A Believer has Promises of Glory hereafter. “Whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” {Jn.3:16} “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” {Mk.16:16} “And this is the will of him that sent me, that everyone which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” {Jn.6:40} Fourthly, Believers have security by the Prayer of Christ for them. He prayed for them that did believe, and them that should believe. {John 17} God would keep them in the world, from the evil of the world. Secondly, That they might be with him where he is, to behold his Glory. Christ never prayed but God heard him. “And I knew that thou hearest me always.” {Jn.11:42} I hope by all this I have put the business of the perseverance of every true Believer beyond dispute, and have hereby strengthened my Arguments to prove that the Covenant of Grace cannot be broken by the Subjects thereof. Anonymous “Truth Vindicated,” London, 1695.

Believers Security in Christ: You say, the great Question is, whether we may not through our own default separate ourselves from Jesus Christ? Reply: Though you call this the great Question, yet it seems to me there is no room for such a question in the Text. Is not the power of the Son, and of the Father, that stands engaged to keep us, sufficient to prevent such a Departure from Christ? Secondly, If it be the will of the Father that of all those that he hath given him that he should loose nothing; then, we cannot separate ourselves from Christ; but it is the will of the Father that of all that he hath given him he should loose nothing; therefore we can't separate ourselves from Christ. If sheep be lost, it's the same thing to the owner of them, whether it be by taking away or straying away; will the Shepherd be less blameless if the sheep stray away and be lost, then he would be if they were stolen away? I wonder what kind of Shepherd you would make of Jesus Christ, that has a charge from the Father to keep his sheep, so that none of them be lost, and yet that he should take no more care, but suffer them to stray away and perish, to get out of his hands and be gone, when he must needs see the going of them. Was Christ; so tender as to come down from Heaven to Earth to seek them out, when they had lost themselves? Was he so ready to do the will of his Father, that he came down from Heaven not to do his own will, but the will of him that sent him, and will he now regard them no more, nor the will of the Father any more, but suffer them to wander, to stray away, and be lost again? How will the Lord take this at the hands of Christ? Will he not require his flock at the hands of his shepherd? See what the Lord saith to the Shepherds; for he brings a charge against them, because they had not “brought again that which was driven away,” neither had they sought that which was lost. In verse 10 he tells them plainly, that he will require the flock at their hands. He who was so faithful to his Engagement as to bring them into his fold, will not be less faithful to keep them there once brought in. And this may be said also for the sheep, that when once they know their Shepherds voice, they will follow him; a stranger they will not follow, for they know not the voice of a stranger. {John 10} Such as do fall finally and totally are none of Christ's. “They are gone out from us, but they were not all of us, if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us;” {I Jn.2:19;} their total and final Apostasy made it manifest that they were not all of us. Anonymous “Truth Vindicated,” London, 1695.

Posted October 24, 2012

{Truth Vindicated}

Unconditional Grace of God in Christ: We are freely justified. “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” {Rom.3:24} There are two parts in Justification, there is the Pardon of Sin, and a Title to Life and Glory; and both these are free. The pardon of Sin is free. “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” {Is.43:25} If you find any Condition here, either required of, or performed by the subjects antecedent to the blotting out their Sins, pray show it me. There are a great many things laid to their charge in the preceding verses, but not one word by way of Commendation, and yet their Sins are blotted out for the Lord’s sake alone. “And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift; for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.” {Rom.5:16} For a Gift to be free, and yet conditional, are terms inconsistent. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” {Eph.1:7} One great branch of this Covenant is, “I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” {Heb.8:12} The accomplishment of which Promise was when Christ was offered up, and the evidence of the Spirit in this matter is produced to prove, that Sin is forever pardoned from the time of Christ's oblation, {Heb.10:14,15,} and that is the reason that Sacrifices have ceased ever since, because sin was then remitted; so that the time when Sin was pardoned, was before many of the subjects of this Covenant had a being, before they had actually done either good or evil; and this is sufficient to demonstrate that Sin is freely pardoned. No Condition could be performed before we had a being. You say yourself, that saving and calling {II Tim.1:9} are both absolute, without any work of Righteousness performed by us; now what do you understand by the word Saved? It can't be meant of Sanctification, for that is comprehended in Vocation; nor can it be understood of Glorification; but saved here must necessarily be speaking of Justification, and so the word ‘Saved’ is taken frequently in Scripture. “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ; by grace ye are saved.” {Eph.2:5} And this Salvation is free. “Thou shalt call his name JESUS; for he shall save his people from their sins.” {Mt.1:21} Secondly, there is in Justification a Title to Life and Glory, and that also is free. “By the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” {Rom.5:18} The Righteousness of Christ is freely given to us of God, and that is which covers our guilt, and entitles us to Life and Happiness. Also, the increase of Grace is freely promised, and freely given. “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree; he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God.” {Ps.92:12,13} Where is the Condition of this Promise? “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.” {Is.40:29} “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ;” {Phil.1:6;} or finish it, as the margin has it. Thirdly, glorification is free. “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” {Rom.5:21} Eternal Life is not called wages, as Death is. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” {Rom.6:23} “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” {Lk.12:32} It is the Righteousness of Christ that is freely imputed unto us that entitles unto Glory, and not any Condition performed by us. “They which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.” {Rom.5:17} “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” {Rom.8:32} But things given us on Condition are not free, as we are assured by the Word, that all the parts of our Salvation from first to last are of the Free Grace of God. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation.” {Tit.2:11} In the word “it hath appeared” there is not one New-Covenant Blessing but that which flows from the Free Grace of God in Christ, and if it be of Grace, it's no more of Works. There are no New-Covenant Blessings that hang on Conditions, the performance of which entitles us thereunto, but are all free, and the Covenant itself a free Covenant. Anonymous “Truth Vindicated,” London, 1695.

Posted October 28, 2012

{Selection of the Week}

Royal Prerogative Power of God: “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?” {Rom.9:21} Notwithstanding this Scripture is clear for the Royal Prerogative Power of God as it lieth in the connection thereof, as also the chapter is full of the same matter, confirming that God must needs do with his creature what he pleaseth, otherwise to what end should he have created any living being in his presence, if the creature had power in itself to be saved or damned at his own will and pleasure, surely then were it a madness in any creature to fear damnation, or be troubled at anything he doeth, and that because it lieth not in the power of God that formed thee, but in thyself. Oh herein lay my sorrow, to consider that most part of the world are plunged into this chaos of eternal darkness, to believe without any true and heavenly testimony, that God should not have the power of a mortal king, when you see it daily in the rulers of this world, who will put to death, and preserve alive whom they please, and yet Christ Jesus the Creator of heaven and earth must by his creature be put to death, yea judged a Tyrant by the seed of the serpent, for saying, “I will have mercy on whom I will, and whom I will I harden,” {Rom.9:18,} which is no less than if he had said, “whom I will damn, I will, and whom I will save, I will, what is that to any man? Shalt thou that was formed by me, say unto me, why dost thou deal so hardly with me?” I say man must have power to put Christ to death, not only in his own person, but in his word and people, and none shall say against it; when as if God doth but write a word, that he hath all power in heaven and earth, man grumbles that he should assume a power to damn, when you see that one creature is lord over another, to devour its inferior, as a great dog worries a little dog, and great fishes swallows up the little ones, and so great men murder poor men, and yet God must have no power over his creature, but only a name of a god, but no power as a God, unless it be to pardon and forgive all the bloodshed that hath been acted by the seed of reason against the Seed of Faith. I say this cursed  brood will allow God this prerogative, to feed them with riches and pleasures of this world, to oppress and tyrannize over the poor seed of faith, and when death comes, they would have God ask them whether it be their will to be damned, or no; that privilege Christ could not have of his creature, to know of the Jews whether the sentence of his death might lie at his own disposing or no; this privilege that God could not have of man, man would have of God; but know this, O wretched rebellious creature, that thou shalt find in thy soul, with that blasphemous devil largely, whoever thou art that lives and dies in disbelief of thine, that thou shalt be eternally damned, and yet not know who it was, though thou canst not to believe what now I write, yet thou shalt find with a witness the truth of thy eternal misery, in that I fear that thou art fitted for destruction. Now the main ground of all this floweth from thy ignorance, not knowing what God and his nature is. Thy knowledge in these things would yield a submission to the Royal Prerogative Power of God, and not stand caviling whether God had a power to damn as well as to save. For this is truth, that if God can damn none, then he can save none; but be not doubting, but believe, that if he hath power to save, he hath power to damn, otherwise all power was not given Christ in earth, as well as in heaven. If you will believe Scripture, you shall find that God doth damn as well as save, if ever thou art brought to truly know Him as he is God. “Hath not the potter power over the clay.” {Rom.9:21} What say you? Hath not a living man power over a dead lump of clay? Can you deny it? No surely, it is consented to by all, that man hath this power, but it is much questioned whether God hath this power as the potter hath, and that because one they see, and the other they cannot; the one is evil, the other is good; for what is the thoughts of reason, think you? It is a tyrannical act in God to make a vessel for damnation. Now thou proud reason, devil, what wouldest thou have God to do? Thou wouldest have all been made vessels of salvation, and what then, shall not all be saved? For surely as the vessel is made, so it shall continue, for though a glorious vessel in the using of it may gather dust and filth, according as it is used, and so become as a vessel dishonorable, in respect of that corruption it is clothed withal, but when the vessel is washed, then it looks as glorious as before; but that vessel that was made deformed, notwithstanding all washing, it will look deformed still; and therefore if all souls had been made vessels of salvation, notwithstanding in their lifetime they may gather corruption by sins and iniquities, yet all this while they are vessels of honor, as in relation to their Eternal Surety, or that seed of faith in them; for all the time that Paul was clothed with a corrupted persecuting spirit, he was a vessel of honor as in the account of God. Now you that are not appointed for destruction, may undoubtably believe that there is a secret knowledge in the breast of the Lord Christ, who are the vessels of mercy, and who are the vessels of reason, in this infinite wisdom hath appointed the means when, in which way this vessel of mercy shall come to the knowledge of this glorious Person, as my soul can witness, which on the contrary the seed of fleshly and religious reason shall never come to the understanding of this Royal Prerogative Power of God, but shall weary out themselves with fasting, weeping, and prayer; and yet come short of the knowledge of the true God. “For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” {Mt.13:15} You seed of reason, that say it is in your own power, why do you not hear? Why do you not see? Why do you not understand? Christ the eternal God is preached to all, you have as much privilege to hear as another, and yet you understand not what you hear; you think that you are righteous, you judge yourselves wise; yea so wise, that none understands more, nor so much as you, and why do you not understand that Christ is God, as those simple hearted ignorant fools so detested by you? Can you tell me what is the ground why you do not hear? Are you wiser than your fathers the Jews, the seed of Abraham? If you were wiser, as you are not, as they could not, no more can you, as in them you may read your own destiny. “Why do ye not understand my speech; even because ye cannot hear my word.” {Jn.8:43} You talk of God being your Father. “If God were your Father, ye would love me; for I proceeded forth and came from God.” Ye are witness to yourselves what seed you are, the seed of Abraham according to the flesh, but not according to Grace, for Abraham saw me not, but believed, and you see me, yet I am he that speak unto you, and yet you believe not. “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do;” “and because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.” The god of this world hath blinded your eyes, lest you should see the rise of your misery, or the way to eternal life. “He that is of God heareth God's words; ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.” {Jn.8:47} What say you Millenarians; what say you Quakers; and what sayest thou, Richard Coppin; {Arminian Universalist;} with all other of this cursed opinion. Do ye not believe the words of Christ the eternal God? Do you not read that all is not of God, therefore of the devil, so you will not come to Christ that you might have life? And why will they not come? Because they do not believe that Christ was the Son of God, and why do you not believe? Because your light of reason hath blinded the light of faith; and why is your faith blinded; but because you are of your father the devil. Now herein appears your madness, that God hath this Prerogative Power. Therefore hear the words of Christ by his prophets, saying, “Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, what makest thou; or thy work, He hath no hands? Woe unto him that saith unto his father, what begettest thou; or to the woman, what hast thou brought forth?” {Is.45:9,10} O woe unto you Richard Coppin, and the rest of the same faith with thee, that thinketh that there is unrighteousness in God, because he hath ordained some to condemnation, and therefore that they may have no hard thoughts of God, they will not believe that ever God did purposely create a man to damn him, for what saith this thievish brood, as they cannot stand with Divine Justice, because their unjust heart saith so, when it is written in Jude that there are creatures of old ordained to condemnation; and others that are appointed to wrath. {Jude 4} “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation;” {I Thes.5:9;} from the Lord Jesus Christ; against all the seed of reason I affirm, if Christ, by his own Divine Power had not created a seed to be damned, as well as a seed to be saved; then, I demand of thee, why dost the Scripture all along speak of two seeds, as Cain and Abel, Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, Peter and Judas, Salvation and Damnation, Faith and Reason; the one for heaven, and the other for hell. Abraham was grieved that there should be any difference between Ishmael and Isaac, they being both of his own begetting, so both of his own flesh; notwithstanding there was a promise to Isaac according to the spirit or seed of faith, wherein it is written; “and Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!” Yet, the Lord’s answer was, “as for Ishmael, I have heard thee; Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation;” but Abraham knew this, “my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.” {Gen.17:18-21} Now that all you that have ears to hear may understand, that the Promise and Covenant of Eternal Life was invested upon Isaac and his Seed; {“Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy Seed, which is Christ, Gal.3:16;} although Ishmael was his eldest son; but now you may plead the difference of these seeds did only consist as one was of his servant, and the other of his wife; so one a Gentile bondwoman, and the other a Jewish freewoman, and so they are two as in relation to the flesh and not the spirit; but then what will you do with Esau and Jacob, they were one flesh by father and mother; yea both in one womb, and Esau was the elder, yet they were two nations, and two manner of people, “and the elder shall serve the younger.” For it was revealed unto Rebecca, that God hated Esau and loved Jacob. Now was not this eternal love, and eternal hatred, from whence Esau was eternally damned, and Jacob eternally saved, though not revealed to either of them? For if Esau had known what I now write, he might have had more ground than any of you to upbraid God with cruelty, that before he was capable to think, much more to act any evil, he should be damned. I say, here was matter of enough for Esau to have hard thoughts of God, and to reply, and to say, “why should I not be saved as well as my brother Jacob; what evil have I done more than he; I was begotten by a faithful man, and born of a faithful woman; nay, and was the first born from the same womb as my brother Jacob was, so that what justice can be in this God to damn me and save him?” Truly from the spirit of all-knowing faith, {I Jn.2:20,} against, yea against all the seed of reason that is in either angel or man I affirm, that if Esau had known what I now write, and should have replied against God as aforesaid, that this, or to this effect had been the answer of God: “Esau, thou sayest that I have not done thee justice, thou canst not tell whether I have or no, for thou knowest not that thou wast dead, neither dost thou understand that of that dead lump I have made thee this living form. Canst thou deliver thyself; and may not I do with thee as thou hast done with thy fellow creatures in the day of thy power? May not I by my power keep thee under eternal death to all eternity, therefore in that I have given thee life out of death, I will make thee death out of life, for this purpose have I raised thee, that I might show my power in thee, otherwise where had my Royal Prerogative Power been known?” If the Lord had not brought forth another seed, and given it a great power to encounter with Him, the God of all power; I say, if God did not by his word speaking bring forth another seed contrary to his own, and so another wisdom and power continually to war and oppose him in his Word and people, he had not been known to have been a God commanding all power in heaven and earth whatsoever, neither had there been any mention in the Scripture of two, nor no need of any creation at all, so no necessity of such titles as devil, hell, or damnation. But this as by experience I know now that there is two; so I know it was resolved in the spiritual breast of the Lord Jesus Christ, that from the beginning there should be two, and for this very end and purpose. “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world;” {Jn.18:37;} to raise my own seed, to live in eternal glory with me, and to keep the contrary seed under a living death to eternal misery. Surely; if salvation were at my disposing, I should not have either secret or public fears of being eternally damned; for if so, I would take my pleasure to satisfy my lust, and please my mind in all that my heart delights in, so long as I have health I would not cease to do anything unjust, that thereby I might grow rich, famous, and honorable in this world; for what matter though these be the fruits of damnation; yet it lieth in my power whether I will be damned or not, and therefore when I think that death is at hand, then I will leave off all that is evil, make compensation and begin to seek the Lord. Ah pitiful soul; what filthy cogitations lodgeth in thy heart, that thou hast a power, and it lieth in thy power whether thou wilt be damned or no. “If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least,” {Lk.12:26,} much less save or damn thy own soul; thou shalt to thy cost know, that “it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy;” for as it is written, I “will have mercy,” on whom I will have mercy, and whom I will, I will harden; {Rom.9:16-18;} with many such places, and yet what a noise mortality makes that salvation and damnation is not from God. Whatever you, the seed of reason, believe, or from the imagination of your own darkened heart suppose; yet this I assuredly know, whether you believe Scripture or no, or whether you own what I write now or no, it matters not; yet from Christ Jesus, who is the Resurrection and the Life, I declare unto you, that whosoever cannot believe, that the salvation and damnation of all souls floweth from the Royal Prerogative Power of God, without any relation to either good or evil done by thee, let me tell thee, that thou art a thief; yea a spiritual thief, for thou hast in thy thoughts robbed Christ of his Glory, which he hath so often said he will not give to another; no, not to man or angel, and yet thou pitiful poor mortal soul, thou who dost reply against God, in that thou wouldest not have such a thought of God, that he should create a soul to damn it, and so you become a rebellious traitor, in that thou wilt assume damnation into thine own power, as aforesaid, and upon this account stand guilty before the Divine Justice of God, shut up in darkness of unbelief until the Day of Resurrection; at which day thou shall be raised all reason, and no faith. These thy thoughts, words, and actions shall be the dreadful accusing Fiery Law that shall never quench, no never, never end! For this ye faithful of the Lord may be confident, as by the eye of faith I see perfected in my soul, that so long as a subject stands questioning with a king then in being, of his prerogative power, that king at last will demand his head from his shoulders, then how much more may thou expect that dares attempt to call God to an account as touching his Royal, Eternal, Prerogative Power; that hath all power in heaven and earth, to do with his creature what he will? Who shall question Him, or by a Law try Him for injustice, when he made heaven and earth, with all creatures in them, and gave a Law for man to be obedient unto him? I wonder that man should not tremble at any such thoughts of God? Therefore this know, that soul that cannot believe this, and so yield to the Royal Prerogative Power of God in this shall be eternally damned by this. All Scriptures that are seemingly against this, you do not understand concerning this, as now by the spirit of faith shall be infallibly interpreted, for the confirmation of this point in hand, as you have it written. “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” {Tit.2:4} “As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” {Ez.33:11} Now, here seems to be a flat contradiction to all that I have written in the preceding matter, therefore I shall reveal what death this is the Lord hath no pleasure in, and what not, that so you may not, as your forefathers have done, count the ways of the Lord unequal for lack of understanding herein, as those who worship at the shrine of freewill have to their own destruction made the Royal Prerogative Power of God of none effect. Concerning this it is written; “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” {Deut.30:19} Now ye rebels, what say you; have you not your desire? That before you have so much caviled about your Law, which if you keep you shall live by it, but if you break it, you shall be destroyed; as observe, “if ye be willing and obedient you shall live;” that is, you shall eat the good of the land, but “if you refuse and rebel, you shall die;” that is, you shall be destroyed by the sword; as touching this death the Lord hath no pleasure, but that all the house of Israel should keep his Law and be saved, and if they were destroyed they might blame themselves, for they had a Law according to their own desire, which they did promise to keep. “Speak thou unto us all that the LORD our God shall speak unto thee; and we will hear it, and obey it;” {Deut.5:27;} but they were as “a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD;” {Is.30:9;} which if they had performed they had not died; and if possible they might live and not die, he caused the Law to be daily read unto them, and to exhort them again and again, that they might not forget, but walk in obedience thereunto. Now whereas it is written; “As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked,” was as I told you, “the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls;” {Hab.3:17;} “therefore their goods shall become a booty, and their houses a desolation; they shall also build houses, but not inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, but not drink the wine thereof.” {Zep.1:13} {See also Leviticus 26:1-33 &c.} This is the death and destruction that Christ Jesus hath no pleasure in; as it is written, “and when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace; but now they are hid from thine eyes.” {Lk.19:41,42} These, with many such like places, do all threaten an external death, as unto the death of their bodies, their goods, and their cattle, the Lord hath no pleasure; but as from this death he would have all men to be preserved; which if they had observed his statutes and ordinances, it had been well with them, but as they did not, he will wipe them off the face of the earth, and therefore attend and give ear thou caviling rebellious spirit unto the words of Isaiah the Prophet against the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, saying, “Judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? Wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard; I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down; and I will lay it waste; it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant; and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry;” for they “call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight;” and who “justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!” {Is.5:1-23} Now what could the Lord do less then to send them to captivity, and utterly destroy them root and branch; which if they had kept his Law, he had continued his mercy, “for as I live I have no pleasure in selling them into the hands of the heathen.” Therefore Richard Coppin and the rest of you Free-willers; what advantage can you reap from this? Or wherein can you find that the eternal death of all souls is not reserved in the spiritual breast of the Lord Jesus Christ, though you say it lieth in your power to commit evil or no? Yet let me tell you, very few of you can so far keep the Law, so as to preserve yourselves from prison, but for all your power of freedom in the flesh, you are now and then curbed by a power of flesh; but however you may now and then escape this, yet mind what I say, for you can no ways free or deliver yourselves from Divine Justice, though you shall never know how, nor which way it comes; no, not any of you that shall be damned, shall but only understand that your destruction is of yourselves, though I know the actual cause of your damnation is from the Royal Prerogative Power of God, as is confirmed; “Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.” {Is.6:10} So likewise; “What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded; according as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear; unto this day.” {Rom.11:7,8} “Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith; or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it; as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood.” {Is.10:15} So as Isaiah said to your fathers, so I say unto you, as if it lay in your power to damn or save your souls, you boast yourselves against Christ Jesus the Lord of Glory. Therefore cease their pen against them, and write against thyself, you being all non-commissioned, so not sent to preach, therefore ought not to judge one another, you being carnal, and not spiritual, reason, and not faith, cannot judge with righteous judgment, for that alone belongs to the household of faith, the spiritual revelation thereof judging all things, yet cannot be judged of any; {I Cor.2:15;} and therefore mind what I say unto thee, even the same that I have said concerning the Quakers, that though thou canst not now believe it, yet when it is too late thou shalt find the truth of what I now write unto thee. So to conclude, take notice when I say unto thee, and all of the same faith with thee, that so many of you that live and die in that belief of thine, will both soul and body perish to all eternity. Laurence Claxton {A Clear Confutation of all Arminians – called Free-Willers – that deny God’s Prerogative Power in Matter of Damnation & Salvation, 1659}

{Biographical Sketch of Laurence Clarkson}

Laurence Clarkson (1615–1667), also called Claxton, was born in Preston in 1615. A Tailor {by occupation,} English Theologian and Reputed Heretic. Brought up as an Anglican, by 1642 he made the switch to Presbyterianism, then became an Independent. Influenced by Tobias Crisp; met Captain Paul Hobson between Oct.1644 – April 1645, and served briefly with him as an army chaplain in Yarmouth. Started preaching around 1644 in Suffolk, and was baptized by Thomas Patient, whilst in London. In 1645, he was arrested with the Baptist, Hanserd Knollys, and charged in Suffolk with dipping. Subsequently under the influence of William Erbury, Clarkson became a Seeker. In 1648-49 he was called as a preacher to Col. Philip Twisleton’s New Model Army foot regiment. Whilst in route with soldiers from Lincs to London he fell in with Ranters, and soon thereafter gave up his army preaching. Remained with the Ranters for much of the 1650’s, preaching & writing. By 1660 he joined the Muggletonians, followers of John Reeve and Lodowicke Muggleton. “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” {John 15:6} As gathered and scattered by the slight of religious men, some of which, it is to be feared, were those of “corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth,” his writings embody the sentiments of one that was “carried about with every wind of doctrine.” His writings, though for the most part muddied with vain imaginations; yet in this treatise; {Clear Confutation of all Arminians,1659;} we find an exceptional exposition of Christ Exalting Truth. From the HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH BAPTISTS, by Joseph Ivimey, {1814} in Volume 2, we read this concerning Clarkson: “There was a zealous Baptist minister named Laurance Clarkson in the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, in the year 1644. He had been recently baptized, and is an instance of a Baptist minister retracting his sentiments, and again returning to the profession of Paedobaptism! The Committee of Suffolk sent him to prison for daring to immerse persons professing faith in Christ. After six months he petitioned for his liberty, on account of having retracted his sentiments, and promising not “to dip or teach the same.” The Committee required him to sign the following recantation which was entered in due form in their books. “This day Laurance Clarkson, formerly committed for an Anabaptist, and for dipping, doth now before this committee disclaim his errors. And whereas formerly he said he durst not leave his dipping if he might gain all the committee’s estates by so doing, now he saith that he by the Holy Scriptures is convinced, that his said opinions were erroneous, and that he will not, and dare not practice it again, if he could gain all the committee’s estates by doing it. And that he makes this recantation not for fear, or to gain his liberty, but merely out of a sense of his errors, wherein he will endeavor to reform others.” LAURANCE CLARKSON. {July 15, 1645} From this time Mr. Clarkson was separated from the Baptists as an unworthy member. In his own vindication he published a pamphlet entitled, “The Pilgrimage of Saints, by Church cast out, in Christ found, seeking Truth.” In this he endeavored to acquit himself by observing, “That he did not assert the baptism of believers by immersion to be an error, but only intended it was erroneously practiced, there being now no true churches, nor true administrators of the ordinance.” From this account it appears that the Paedobaptists had not much cause for boasting of their convert; nor the Baptists for regret in losing such a quondam brother from their communion. If Edwards and Bailie are to be believed, Mr. Clarkson was both a “Seeker,” and an Antinomian; but our readers must be again cautioned that both these bitter Presbyterian writers, blackened the characters of all who opposed the impositions and uniformity of a national church.”

{Truth Vindicated}

Unconditional & Everlasting Covenant of Grace: The Covenant of Grace is a Mutual Compact between the Father and the Son, before the World was, in behalf of the Elect of God, wherein the Son undertook the performance of certain Conditions on his part; and the Father engaged himself by several Promises on his part, some of which were peculiar to the Son, others made to the Son in behalf of the elect who were the Subjects thereof. The New Covenant was transacted between the Father and the Son before the world was. “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” {Tit.1:2} This Promise was made to Christ, for there was none in being but the Son to whom a Promise could be made; before the World had a being it was made to him for the Elect, or else the Apostle could not have bottomed his hopes upon it. “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” {II Tim.1:9} How could this Gift of his Grace have been bestowed on us in Christ, but in the transact of the New Covenant? This Grace, or Love, or Good Will of God is a New Covenant Blessing. God hath made over himself by Covenant; and in so doing he hath made over his Grace; he could not make over himself, but he must make over his Grace, it being essential in God; now this was done before the World began. It was promulgated as soon as Adam fell, “The seed of the Woman shall break the Serpents head;” {Gen.3:15;} therefore it was in being before he fell. The Mediatorship of Christ commenced as soon as sin had a being, he was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the World, therefore the New Covenant was in being from the foundation of the World. {Rev.3:18} When Christ took our Nature upon him, he renders this as the reason; “in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my heart.” {Ps.40:7,8} This was not the Book of the Scripture, it was not written there antecedent to the penning of this Psalm, therefore take it of the Book of the Covenant, {to speak it after the manner of men,} that which is called the Lamb's Book of Life, which the Subjects of this Covenant had their Names written in; “whose names were {not} written in the book of life from the foundation of the world.” {Rev.17:8} This Covenant was transacted between the Father and the Son, in the behalf of the Elect only. Here I shall premise two things. First: That God hath an Elect People. Secondly: That this Elect People were given to Jesus Christ; and then prove that this Elect People that are given to Jesus Christ, are the only Subjects of the New Covenant. That God hath an Elect People, a certain number of particular Persons, both Jews and Gentiles; that he hath chosen in Christ Jesus to Salvation. God hath an Elect People. “For the elect's sake those days shall be shortened;” {Mt.24:22;} “for there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” {vs.24} But that is impossible, they are so secured by the Decree of God, the Merits of Christ, and the Promises of this Covenant. “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” {vs.31} “Mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.” {Is.65:22} These Elect are a certain number of particular Persons. “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love; having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” {Eph.1:4,5} “For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth; it was said unto her, the elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” {Rom.9:11-13} Now these Elect are known to God, they are not known to us. “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his;” {II Tim.2:19;} each individual Person are known to him. The Lord knoweth them by Name. “Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated.” Their Names are written in Heaven. {Luke 10:20} They are written in the Book of Life. {Rev.20:15} The second thing to be premised is this, That this Elect People are given to Jesus Christ. “Thine they were, and thou gavest them me.” {Jn.17:6} Thine by Election, and thou gaveft them unto me by federal Relation. Either they must be considered the Fathers in respect of Election, or in respect of Creation. In the second sense we cannot possibly take it; for, First, In respect of Creation the whole World is his, but these are not all given to the Son. Those that are given to the Son are distinguished from the World. “I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.” {Jn.17:9} They are not only distinguished from the World, as they are given to the Son, but as they belong to the Father too; “they are thine;” and that in a peculiar sense. Secondly, Christ declares that all this Number belong to the Father, and that those who belong to the Father are his. “All mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.” {Jn.17:10} They are the same individual Persons. Thirdly, Christ gives Eternal Life to as many as are given him by the Father. “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” {Jn.17:2} “The Election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.” Therefore they are the Elect only that are given to Jesus Christ. They are the Elect only that are given to Jesus Christ, that are the only subjects of the New Covenant. First, it appears, that they only are blest with the Blessings of the New Covenant. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ; according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” {Eph.1:3,4} But who are they that are thus blessed? Are they not those that were chosen in Him before the Foundation of the World? Secondly, It was upon their account only, that Jesus Christ underwent all his Sufferings. “For the transgression of my people was he stricken.” {Is.53:8} He laid down his life for the sheep. {Jn.10:11,15} Christ “loved the church, and gave himself for it.” {Eph.5:25} Thirdly, It was upon their account only he had his Name Jesus given him. “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” {Mt.1:21} Fourthly, It's only they that are the Heirs of the Promise. “And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.” {Gal.3:29} Fifthly, They only are justified by his Blood. “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.” {Rom.8:33,34} Sixthly, They only shall be glorified. “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” {Rev.20:15} Fifthly, In the Transact of this Covenant between the Father and the Son, the Son undertook the performance of certain Conditions. He was to raise up the Tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel; He was to be a light to the Gentiles, and for Salvation unto the ends of the Earth. First, He was engaged to take our Nature upon him, he must be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining unto God. He had covenanted so to do, and he must make good his Promise. “Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me;” “then said I, Lo, I come {in the volume of the book it is written of me,} to do thy will, O God.” {Heb.10:5-7} He hath respect to the Covenant here, as being engaged thereby to take a Body. Secondly, He was engaged by Covenant to fulfill the Law in our Nature. “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” {Mt.5:17} He came not only to fulfill the Law, but to fulfill it upon the account of the subjects of this Covenant. “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.” {Rom.10:4} He hath yielded that very Obedience that the Law aimed at. He was in Covenant to do whatever the Will of God was. “Then said I, Lo, I come; in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my heart.” {Ps.40:7,8} Now this was one part of the Will of God, that he should fulfill the Law, by yielding active Obedience thereunto. God sent him into the World on Purpose. He was not only sent to make an end of Sin, but to bring in Everlasting Righteousness.  “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” {Dan.9:24} Thirdly, He stood engaged to offer up Himself a peace-making Sacrifice for the satisfaction of Divine Justice. “Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me.” “Then said I, Lo, I come {in the volume of the book it is written of me,} to do thy will, O God.” {Heb.10:5-7} This was the Will of God, that he should offer up this Body; it was so the Will of God, that there was no avoiding of it; he must drink that bitter Cup. Therefore when he prayed, “Father, if it be possible, let this Cup pass from me;” he resigned up his Will to the Will of the Father. “Nevertheless, not my Will, but thy Will be done.” Whatever was the Will of God that Christ should do, that Christ was in Covenant to do; and therefore it saith, that in the Volume of the Book is was written of him to do the Will of the Father. Fourthly, He was engaged by Covenant to bring in all the subjects thereof, to accept of himself on Gospel Terms, that so they might enjoy the good and Benefit thereof. “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” {Jn.10:16} He doth not say, I may bring, or I will bring, but I must bring; and why must he bring them in? Because he was in Covenant so to do. Fifthly, He was engaged not only to seek, and to save that which was lost, but also to keep them, when he had sought them out, that they should stray away no more. “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” {Jn.6:37-39} Sixthly, Jesus Christ stood engaged to confirm the Covenant by his Death. “For this cause he is the Mediator of the New Testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead; otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.” {Heb.9:15-17} The Promises made to the fathers were not confirmed until Christ was offered up. “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them,” {Heb.11:13,} “God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” {Heb.11:40} This Provision was made in the New Covenant, where all our Mercies are wrapped up. These are the Conditions that the Son undertook the performance of. Now what he was engaged to do and suffer, he hath made good. “I have glorified thee on the earth; I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” {Jn.17:4} “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished; and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” {Jn.19:30} So that the Covenant is completed on Christ's part, with respect to what he was to do and suffer, both which are of Eternal Efficacy, and being completed on the Son’s part, all the Promises made by the Father are confirmed and fulfilled. “And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again.” {Acts 13:32-33} The Promises were confirmed by his Death, and his Resurrection was a signal Manifestation of the fulfilling or Confirmation thereof; so that the New Covenant is now of force, the Death of the Testator hath confirmed the Testament. Sixthly, In this Compact between the Father and the Son, the Father engaged himself, by several Promises, some of which were peculiar to the Son; others made to the Son in behalf of the Elect, who are the Subjects thereof. {Is.49:5-8} The Promises that are peculiar to the Son are as followeth: First; that he should “be glorious in the eyes of the LORD,” and that God would be his strength. {vs.5} Secondly, that God would stand by him, and help him. “In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee; and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people.” {vs.8} Here are two things to be considered. First, Jesus Christ took hold of these Promises, and bottomed upon them. “For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded; therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.” {Is.50:7} Secondly, the Father made good these Promises to Christ when he was offered up. “For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee; behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” {II Cor.6:2} When God was in Christ reconciling the World to himself, not imputing unto them their Trespasses, then were these Promises made good; then was the acceptable Time, then was the Day of Salvation. He “was heard in that he feared;” then was he supported under all his Sufferings. The Father engaged himself by several Promises made to the Son in behalf of the Elect. “Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee; and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; that thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves.” {Is.49:8,9} “I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.” {Is.49:6} “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” {Tit.1:2} I suppose that Eternal Life here, comprehends all the good of the New Covenant. As Death is a comprehensive of all Misery, so is Eternal Life a comprehensive of all Happiness. This Promise was made to Christ before the World began; and it was made to Him in behalf of the subjects of this Covenant, or else Paul could not have grounded his hopes upon it. I doubt not but all the Promises that are now in the New Covenant, containing Temporal, Spiritual, and Eternal Blessings, were made in the first Transact of the Covenant. As Christ did then engage to perform all the Conditions, so the Father engaged to bestow all the Blessings that were contained in the Promises; he did give Christ for a Covenant to the People in the very first Transact, and are not all the Promises Yea and Amen in Christ Jesus? All the Promises were confirmed by Christ, as he was considered the Testator; therefore I conclude, that they were all made in the first transact of the Testament. There are Promises put into the Covenant with respect to the subjects thereof, and nothing but Promises. The New Covenant is a bundle of Promises, there is not one Precept, nor one Threat to be found there; on the Son’s part it contained Conditions, that were to be performed by Him, and that upon account of the subjects thereof. On the Father’s part it contained only Promises, the fulfilling of which depended on the performance of the Conditions by the Son. These are the two parts of the Covenant, and the whole thereof; there is not a third part to be produced. That this Covenant is made up all of Promises, with respect to the subjects thereof will appear in a few particulars. First: There are nothing but Promises to be found in that which God calls the New Covenant. “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” {Jer.31:33,34} God himself calls this the New Covenant. “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah;” {Jer.31:31;} and this is that New Covenant which is contained in the 33 & 34 verses. And sure I am, there are none but Promises here. If we look at Gen.17:7, Ezek.36:25-27 & Heb.8:10,11, in which Scriptures the New Covenant is most largely described, you will see nothing but Promises. Secondly, It appears, in that the New Covenant is called the Promise, or Promises. First, The Promise, in the singular Number. “And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David.” {Acts 13:32-34} And these are the Mercies of the New Covenant. “And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.” {Gal.3:29} “This I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.” {Gal.3:17} That which is there called the Promise, is in the former part of the same verse called the Covenant that was afore confirmed of God in Christ. Secondly, It is sometimes called Promises, in the Plural Number. “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers.” {Rom.15:8} “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” {Gal.3:16} Thirdly, It appears, in that the subjects of this Covenant are stiled the Heirs of the Promise. “Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath.” {Heb.6:17} What did God confirm by an Oath? Was it not the New Covenant? Gal.3:17. And what was the New Covenant but the Promise? Fourthly, It appears, in that it 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 that entitles, and not anything done by them. I Cor.3:22,23, Gal.3:29. You can't 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. There is not an internal and an external part in the New Covenant, {as some would have} the Covenant containing nothing but Promises, with respect to the subjects thereof. What can we suppose the external part to be, that a Person may have an interest in, that hath no Interest in the Promises? Such as have an Interest in the Covenant, have certainly an Interest in the Promises. To Abraham and his Seed were the Promises made. And here take notice of a few things; First, There is not one Subject of the New Covenant that shall go without the Blessings thereof. Justification, Sanctification, and Glorification. “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people; and they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” {Jer.31:33,34} There is not one subject that shall not know the Lord, not one that shall miss of the Pardon of Sin; and consequently not one that shall come short of Salvation; for such as are Justified, and Sanctified, shall certainly be Glorified. Secondly, There cannot be one subject brought into this Covenant by the Faith of the Parent, there are as many in already as ever will be. Their Names were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life from the Foundation of the World. “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” {Rev.13:8} We are not here to understand every individual Person of the World, but only such, whose Names were not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life from the Foundation of the World. God had his two Witnesses at the same time, these did not admire the Beast, they bore their Testimony against him; and if so, then their Names were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life; and that long before they began to bear their Testimony against him, even from the Foundation of the World. We can no more add to the Subjects of this Covenant, than we can add to the Decree of Election. Thirdly, It is not possible for a Person that was once a subject of this Covenant to lose his Interest therein. “And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.” {Jer.32:40} God Covenants here for himself and them too. First, For himself; that he will never turn away from them to do them good. He hath engaged all his Attributes to be exerted as the Case requires, his Wisdom to direct, his Power to protect, his Grace and Mercy to save. He Covenanteth for them too, that he will put his fear into their Hearts; that they shall not depart from him. This Covenant is free and absolute, and is now confirmed by the Death of the Testator; and therefore, there is no disannulling or adding thereunto. No Name to be struck out, nor yet put in, no Legacy to be altered or changed. This appears by the instance that the Apostle gives of a Man's Covenant. “Brethren, I speak after the manner of men;” if it be but a Man's Covenant, when it is confirmed, “no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto;” {Gal.3:15;} this he brings to show from the very Nature of a Covenant, {or Testament,} how unalterable the New Covenant {or Testament} is; being confirmed by the Death of the Testator. Anonymous “Truth Vindicated,” London, 1695.


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