September 2013


Posted September 1, 2013

{Selection of the Week}

In  Defense  of  a  Legal  Relationship as  the  Foundation  of  Justification  and  Imputation: We live in an age of apostasy, and are surrounded by circumstances, factions, and speculations, which must call into exercise all the latent powers of the soul of every one who wishes to defend the Truth, expose error, and feed the flock of Christ with a sound knowledge of divine things. In my examination of all the parties which now distract the religious world, {yes, the religious world, for the world has its own natural religion,} they all have one great point of agreement, on which they are all united; and that is, that Christ died in some sense for all of Adam’s race indiscriminately; or, in other words, that the atonement made by Christ was equally for all men, if they will only embrace it on proffered or conditional terms. Now, my brother, you know that the Scriptures never taught, and the true church of Christ never believed this theory. Therefore there is, after all the long catalogue of sects and parties that so distract the world of the ungodly and persecute the church, but one great cardinal principle with them all, and that is redemption for all men. All natural men build upon this in one way or another, and only differ as they reason and infer differently from the same position. The Scriptures contain the word of the Truth of the Gospel, or the word of faith which we preach. This every child that is born of God believes, and is therefore a “believer.” I find but two general classes of people in the Scriptures: the believer is one; call these the saints, the brethren, or whatever they are called, yet these are the believers. On the other hand, call them sinners, the world, anti-Christ, or whatever they may be called, these are unbelievers; that is, they are infidels. The whole community therefore makes no more than the believer and the infidel. Whatever may be our zeal, our profession, our morality, the outward show or inward excitement of religious fervor and apparent benevolence, and display of piety and knowledge, still if we are not the believer we are the infidel; there is no medium or middle state betwixt the two. There is but one God or Mammon to be served and worshiped; there is but Christ or Belial to trust in. There is but he that believeth, and the infidel. All men love and cleave to one or the other of these, and hate and despise the other. They cannot approve and serve both at the same time. I hold that it is self-evident that on all points of reveal truth, the divine testimony never conflicts with itself; therefore in all cases where any point of revealed Truth is fully and fairly established by Scripture, there can be no other part of Scripture, when rightly understood and applied, that will contradict it. To admit such a confliction in the Scriptures, is to establish infidelity; for if the Scriptures contradict themselves, and establish conflicting points then their harmony is destroyed, their Truth impugned, and infidelity established. On any point, therefore, where I have one text, correctly understood and applied to prove it, I have all the texts in the sacred volume to corroborate and sustain it. But if I have not all to sustain my position, but find some to contradict it, I must re-examine my first position; for I must have all the Scriptures or I have none. The church of Christ, as taught by Christ and His prophets and apostles and by the Spirit of Truth, have uniformly believed and defended the doctrine of special atonement, and the redemption and eternal salvation of all God’s children, and of them only. On this point their faith has been constantly assailed by all the multiform host of infidels belonging to the religious world. My position in the examination of this issue is this: Without a legal relation, oneness or union, there can be no legal imputation either of sin or of righteousness. Without such an imputation there can be no legal redemption, and without such legal redemption there can be no legal justification, and without such a justification there can be no eternal salvation from sin and from the curse of the law. To these points let us very briefly attend, and show, as we pass, the entire universal atonement system, and all the arguments relied on to sustain it, have a natural tendency to establish infidelity, and therefore cannot be of God. 1. Without a legal relationship, oneness or union, such as constitutes Christ and His people one in law, there can be no justice in the imputation of our sins to Him; or His righteousness to us. But such a relation and union does exist. Christ is the Husband of the church and she is His bride, or married wife. He has betrothed her to Himself as a chaste virgin from eternity. As all legal contracts of the lawful wife are legally imputed to her husband and He is held, legally bound to cancel them, and His receipt of payment is her indemnity from all such debts. This imputation is legal by virtue of the legal union or oneness of the conjugal relation, but in the absence of such relation as constituted them one in law, such an imputation is tyrannical, oppressive, unjust, and a violation of all law, human or divine; therefore no debts but those of the lawful bride of Christ can be legally imputed to Him, and it follows, of course, that no sins but those of the bride, can be, in law, or justice charged to Christ. Hence, a universal atonement, or to deny the real existence of such a union, is to accuse God of injustice, violate the death of Christ and make it of none effect, and therefore has a natural tendency to infidelity. Nor will a purposed or prospective union or oneness make it any better. It is not because a marriage is foreknown or purposed by one or both the parties that the imputation is legal and just, but because such a oneness is lawfully consummated previously to the imputation, and before any demand can be legally made on the man to pay the woman’s debts. So also with the Shepherd and His flock; none but the lawful owner of the sheep can be legally held bound to atone for their trespasses; nor can his purpose to become the owner afterwards, nor his foreknowledge that these sheep will be his own sheep at some future time, make the demand on him just and legal; they must be his sheep, his own sheep by a lawful title, before he can be legally called on to atone for their trespass, for to impute their trespass to him, without the relationship of owner and property, lawfully established, the imputation and demand would be unlawful, unjust, oppressive and dishonorable in man, and it must be highly offensive to so charge the Almighty with injustice and cruelty to His own beloved Son. Hence again we see that the notion of an atonement for one more than Christ’s flock is unjust, a violation of law and legal righteousness, and has a natural tendency to establish infidelity. Christ is the Life, the Head, the Surety and the Savior of His body, the church, and, individually, they are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones, therefore the imputation of all their penal offences are legally imputed to Him as their proper and legal Head and Life. But to demand and execute the Head and Life of the church for an imputation of capital offences committed by those who never stood in any such relation to Him, as members to their Life and Head, would be an outrage on all law and justice, and strongly tending to establish infidelity. From this hasty glance, a legal oneness appears indispensable to a legal imputation of our sins considered either as debts or contracted, trespass committed, or capital offences involving the Head and Life of the offender, and that a denial of such an eternal union as will make the imputation legal and just, tends directly to charge God with injustice, vaccinates the atonement itself, and establish infidelity inevitably. Therefore it cannot be the doctrine of Christ. Hence the doctrine of indiscriminate atonement is infidelity disguised. 2. Without a legal relation and imputation there can be no legal redemption: this follows of course, for redemption from under the law, from its penalty and curse, is the legal effect of a law-fulfilling and law-satisfying transaction. The legal oneness of Christ and His bride, His flock, His body and His members, shows, as we have seen, that the imputation of all our offenses was perfectly legal; therefore redemption by His blood, or by means of His death for the redemption of their transgressions that were under the law, {committed under the law,} was a law-fulfilling transaction, by which He has already obtained for us eternal redemption. All being legal and law-fulfilling, in Him we have redemption through His blood. Christ’s blood and death could not so redeem us if it were not legal or law-fulfilling, and in the absence of such union as we have been contemplating no such legality appears; but the greatest violation of law and justice. Again, we see that the legitimate tendency of the doctrine of universal atonement, or indiscriminate redemption, is to establish infidelity; it cannot therefore be a Christian doctrine. 3. Without such a legal redemption as we have been contemplating there can be no legal justification. “It is God that justifies,” and He justifies freely, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. But if no legal relation existed no legal imputation of our sins to Christ could be made, and of course, the demand on Christ to suffer and endure the penalty was an unjust infringement of law, order, mercy, and true benevolence; and God will never justify an ungodly sinner on account of an act of cruel injustice inflicted on His unoffending and innocent Son. To deny the oneness, or eternal union of Christ and His people, in a legal sense, is to deny the legality or righteousness of the imputation of our sins to Him, and the illegality of His death would follow of course, and redemption by His death would be vitiated, and justification could not be just, nor show justice in the Justifier. Approach this subject without a legal relation existing one must deny the oneness, and infidelity is the unavoidable result of the doctrine of an indefinite or universal atonement. 4. With such a legal justification from sin, and from the curse of the law, eternal salvation is predicated upon a legal righteousness, lawfully imputed to the sinner, which so fully absolves him from all condemnation in the stern eye of the law, his sins being so covered by a full equivalent that no stain can be found upon him. “The blood of Christ cleanseth us from all sin,” and so being freely justified from all things, we are saved from wrath through Him. This agrees with the experience of every new born child of God. His comfort and hope of salvation is built upon the obedience of Christ in His behalf; but if the obedience and death of Christ was alike for all Adam’s natural race, indiscriminately, no assurance whatever that He died for me can give me one gleam of hope or comfort while I have no evidence that every one of Adam’s numerous progeny will be saved; for if one for whom Christ died is finally lost, I may be that one! And if His death has proved ineffectual in one case, it may in all cases, and so all Christian hope and comfort be forever blasted, and infidelity sustained. But we have not so learned Christ, if so be that we have been taught of God. Having thus briefly glanced at a few things under the four general propositions, I shall leave it for you and all the brethren and sisters to improve upon. From my little reading, and what I have been taught by tradition, or otherwise, I find no example of universal atonement being attempted either by the heathen in their offerings to their gods, the Moslems, Jews, or Christians. The old patriarchs offered for themselves and their tribes only, and never for all men! This practice continued from the days of Cain and Abel until the giving of the law and the authorized priesthood. Under that priesthood relation and imputation were fully set forth. The priests was the patriarch, father or head of his tribe, for whom alone he offered, until the law had organized the twelve tribes into one nation; one tribe was then chosen in the relation of a brother to the other eleven tribes {Levi,} and the law recognized that relation in the priest to all the consolidated tribes, as a type of the Gospel Church under the priesthood of Christ. And here again is the doctrine of legal relationship and imputation of all the sins of all the tribes of Israel to the victim, by the confession of the priest who bear the names of the twelve tribes, and no more, upon his breastplate. All the offerings made by these priests were specific and limited to the twelve tribes of Israel, and to them exclusively. This system of types, God ordained; but if Christ died for all of Adam’s race, and without such a legal relation as we have contemplated, then all the types were lost, and perpetual disagreement and paradox exists between the divinely authorized system of types and the offering of Christ that the former cannot be the type of the latter, and such irreconcilable contradiction exist as to forbid the application of the types to their Antitype, and the harmony of the old and new volumes of inspiration would be distorted, and infidelity established as the unavoidable result. Wilson Thompson {Signs of the Times, 1856}

{Writings of John Heydon}

Law & Gospel Distinctions: Sir, I have read in the seventh of Romans from verse 4 to 6, that there is an alteration in change of husbands, the Law being the first husband, and the Gospel being Christ, the second husband. I pray declare what ye have heard and know concerning this point? Answer: Some affirm, and I believe it, that the Law signifies flesh and all that is not Christ, although ever so glorious in the eyes of men; and by Spirit they understand the Gospel, and all the glorious hidden mysteries contained therein, namely Christ and all the benefits of his death and passion; and I conceive that there are two things considerable; the matter of benefit; namely, deliverance from the authority, dominion, offices and effects of the Law, so that it cannot curse, damn, nor hurt the true believer in Christ, the teeth of it being beaten out by Christ. Nonetheless we recognize that the Law is holy, harmless and of excellent use to the Church of God; when believers under the constraint of love, in newness of spirit and in the joy of the Lord do all that the Law requires, if it were possible and more, working from true principles, by way of gratitude, not for, but from life. Now take notice from what Christians are delivered; from the Law, sin, death, hell and curse, and whatsoever is contrary to his regulated will and reformed affections. Then by whom deliverance comes; for it is not from angels, men, nor any endeavors of our own, but from Christ, and by Christ our Lord, who was in every way fitted for that glorious work. Then the extent of our deliverance; it is not from some, but from all evil, to all good, but it is evangelically to be understood, and it extends to all the elect, and so it is universal, spiritual and eternal. Then the end is to be observed; it is that we should serve in newness of spirit, not for a day, month, or a year, but all the days of our life, in the Holiness of Truth, in which we shall be able to appear in the presence of God without fear in that wedding garment of Christ’s imputed righteousness, serving God in believing that the Lord Christ hath fulfilled all righteousness on our behalf, and this God accepts forever, and would have the Church to know, that this is the acceptable will of God; namely, that the whole will of God is run out in Christ, and men must expect no favor or mercy from God but through Christ. Men must go to Joseph alone {Christ} for bread or else they must starve. It is not our Egyptian knowledge of a god, for we are not to conceive of God according to his incomprehensibleness and incommunicableness, for the knowledge of God so is inscrutable, and this were to climb up above our Head Christ Jesus, and to thrust our heads into the fiery oven of those everlasting burnings that would devour us and put out the eyes of right understanding; but we are to know all that is to be known of God through the veil Christ Jesus, who is our Foundation, below the which, no Christian is to go, for we are not to undermine our foundation Christ Jesus in our humiliation, nor soar above our Head for our exaltation, but rest wholly upon the humiliation and exaltation of Christ Jesus for Life and Salvation, and this will produce true peace, joy and consolation. - Note also that Moses did press the Law of Faith in one place, and the Law of works in another; but they that go on in the misconceiving of Moses, who allege his words, “do this and live &c.,” for a Covenant of works, wrong Moses, wrong the Church of God, but wrong mostly themselves in making Moses a minister of a Covenant of works, whereas he was the clean contrary, a minister of the Covenant of Grace, though veiled and shadowed, as our Savior saith, “Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father; there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me.” {Jn.5:45,46} And so to speak the Truth, when Moses saith, “do this and live;” the meaning is, do it evangelically, look to the Messiah that is to come and live, believe that he is to do it for thee, and live by him in the light of his accomplishments. The whole body of the Jews were grossly deceived, when they said, “we will serve God,” per se, in our own persons, but what saith Joshua unto them, “Ye cannot serve the LORD; for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.” {Jos.24:19} Or in other words, you cannot do so by your own endeavors or in your own persons, yet per alium {Latin, meaning “he who acts through another does the act himself;”} in the person of the Messiah that is to come, you may do so; so mayest thou by Christ thy Surety that is already come, and hath fully paid the debt of service that thou could not pay, and suffered for thee, that thou shouldst have undergone; so that the Jews did not understand of Moses then, as too many unto this day have the veil upon their hearts. Christ is the true rock, our Sabbath, Law, {Is.51:4,5,} and this testimony is that which all the prophets affirmed, and Paul preached, and set forth to his Corinthians. {I Cor.2:1, Gal.2:16} Truly Christ is all that the prophets and apostles did preach, and held forth in every line, if we could but see it, and is all that ministers should hold forth in all their preaching, writing, and printing; and if he were truthfully believed upon by all the people, there would quickly be an end of all the combustions, commotions, tumults, heart burnings, bickerings, railings, invectives and the unnatural wars in hand. The Lord give us understanding in all things; {II Tim.2:7;} by his eternal Spirit whom he hath appointed to reveal the everlasting Gospel, without which there is no possibility of attaining to the mystery of the history. {Jn.16:13, 14:26} John Heydon, “Some Gospel Truths, Catechistically Laid Down, Explained & Vindicated.” 1647.

Posted September 2, 2013

{Writings of John Heydon}

Repentance unto Life in Christ: “Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.” {Acts 3:26} {This work is Christ’s, and this is the blessing of grace he himself bestows, and a fruit of redemption by his blood.} Then the believer highly esteems the Lord, accredits every word that proceeds from his mouth, speaks of him with reverence and to him in true humility, is obedient and suffereth God to rule and reign in him at his own good pleasure; and so he offers gold, frankincense and myrrh to Christ, utterly extinguishing his own will, cleaving firmly to the promise, knowing that God is true, just, wise and gracious, and will dispose of all things for the best in this life, and hence is quieted in all tumults and changes that are allotted to him as his portion in this world. He so hath Christ who is his myrrh, that keeps him from continuing in this grave of confusions, and Christ is to him all that gold is to the worldling, or what was prefigured by the pure, beaten, and the best gold of Ophir, which covered the temple; that is to say, perfection and inestimable treasures, for Christ is his priest, altar, incense, odors and stock of prayers forever that are in heaven for him, and are a sweet and fragrant smell in his nostrils, and the Christian in a holy boldness of faith can truly and comfortably say, when his cleansed conscience maketh {by the blood of Christ} answer to God, {which is his best plea,} “Father, blessed Father, thy Son hath taken my nature upon him, and in that nature, {he being my Surety,} hath paid all my debts; he thought well, spake well, and wrought well for me; do look upon him blessed Father and see if there be any defects or the slightest blemish at all in his sacrifices; can thy pure eye behold any evil in him, for then thou mayest take vengeance upon me?” But rather thou shouldest say, “Father give me a strong faith to always eye Christ in all the benefits of his death and passion, that I may be strengthened in my feeble faith thereby; for I know thou beholdest Him always, and art satisfied forever in that satisfaction made to thy Law, by him only; therefore, O, satisfy me in that satisfaction and my soul shall live.” True religion teacheth that in Christ we are sons, and the inheritance is ours, and that we may appropriate Christ, and all that he did or hath in himself to ourselves; and that we may boldly say Christ is mine, and I am his; his perfections are mine, and he hath done away all my imperfections. Then sin, death, hell and the curse cannot hurt me, seeing Christ hath most victoriously triumphed over them. Upon this the will and affections of the believer, {according to the degree of his faith, and the Spirit received,} secretly quickens, bends to choose, affectionately delights in whatsoever is good, and acceptable to God, and he hates all sin as it is sin, totally and universally; namely, evangelically and vehemently, and though he be tempted from within and without, yet the same good Spirit of Christ mightily enables and empowers him to make resistance, and if at any time he be overtaken, he is inwardly touched and stricken at the heart, and finds his inward mind and spirit wounded, lying in great affliction under it, and hath no ease, rest or inward relief, until he is enabled and empowered by faith to look up to {the brazen serpent} Christ; then he seriously seeks God in that way of repentance, humiliation, confession of sins, mortification and self-denial; but what repentance is it, but that true repentance unto life, and that is to condemn all our own works, righteousness and judgment; yea the best things in us, and then by faith to fly to Free Grace; repent and believe, that is, distrust, disclaim and forsake your own righteousness, prayers, tears, humiliation and confession, all which are imperfect, and embrace Christ; his humiliation, tears, prayers, righteousness and the good confession that he made. This being all perfect will stand thee instead at the bar of God’s justice. It is Christ that hath by his death killed and mortified sin, and when thou believest it, thou hast true mortification indeed. True believers fetch not their comforts from anything this side Christ, they go no lower than Christ in their humiliation, neither climb up above Christ their Head for exaltation. Thus they are not comforted in the thoughts of a mitigation, dispensation or moderation of the Law upon their tears and repentance, &c., their endeavors and intentions of reforming and amending their lives are not the basis that beareth them up, but it is from the true and effectual apprehension of that plenary satisfaction and plenteous redemption wrought by Christ for all believers, for from thence alone springs true joy in believing, faith finding its resting place in Christ. John Heydon, “Some Gospel Truths, Catechistically Laid Down, Explained & Vindicated.” 1647.

Posted September 4, 2013

{Writings of John Heydon}

Afflictions under the Gospel: Question - Whether under the Gospel, God afflicts true believers for their sins and to satisfy his justice thereby or for some other ends? Answer - God’s justice was fully satisfied by the sufferings of Christ, the just suffered for the unjust, he taking away the cause, namely, sin, so the effect ceaseth; but there are other glorious ends for which God afflicts his children. To conform and make them like Christ their Head; {Rom.8:17, II Tim.2:12;} to try their faith and make themselves, and others to see and know their steadiness in the profession of this Truth, that Christ hath slain and abolished all enmity, and made everlasting peace appear to them between God and themselves, even now in the appearing of the quite contrary to their sense and reason, in which they glorify God abundantly; {Js.1:2-3, I Pet.1:7;} to quicken and increase faith, to cause the Christian in these sharp storms of crosses more diligently and firmly to gird himself and keep close to this garment of Christ’s Righteousness. Thus he knows full well that in themselves afflictions are part of the curse of God for sin, if it light on one that is out of Christ; but turning his eye on Christ that hath taken away sin and the curse, he knowing himself in Christ, is quieted in his conscience, and saith, “surely my Father doth afflict me in love, in much mercy,” and so the quiet fruits of righteousness are brought forth in his soul; that is, he is quiet in his conscience in the perfections of Christ’s glorious Righteousness in the midst of the worst that devils or devilized men can inflict upon him, for he sees the name {Christ} in the rod, and concludes “blessed be the name of the Lord, for that these afflictions have no teeth, are not curses, I thank my Christ for them, that name by which alone I comfortably and alone know God to be my reconciled Father in my greatest extremities.” {Heb.11:11, Mic.6:9, Job 1:21} Afflictions are appendages of the Law, and do terrify and deject naturally those that are thus afflicted. Truly they do not properly, immediately and simply considered, ease, quiet, or cure the consciences of believers; but the Spirit of God in and by them doth awaken, stir up our dullness and security to a more lively, effectual and enlarged apprehension of Christ and his Righteousness, the only procurer of health, peace and rest. In times of danger, the coney hastens to the rock, the hare to the thicket, the Egyptians to their houses; but the faithful to the name of the Lord; namely, Christ our Righteousness as this strong tower of defense, and thus whilst God uses the rod, scourge or psychic of affliction, which in infinite mercy, boundless love and everlasting compassion, he makes riddance of affliction by afflictions, but neither for sin, nor in his wrath, anger or displeasure. {Mt.11:28, Ex.9:20, Jer.23:6, Pv.18:10, Is.54:7,8} And though it be the nature of sin always to provoke God to displeasure, yet the pacification made by the blood of Christ hath more power with God to procurer well-pleasedness and love from him to a believer, than any sin of his hath to bring his displeasure and wrath; because that propitiation, pacification and appeasement made by Christ is of eternal value, and established by the oath of God, and yet this consent, that the same things befall the faithful and unbeliever here in this world, yet with this difference; to the faithful they are out of a principle of love and well-pleasedness from God, but to the enemies of God {all outside of Christ} they are messengers of indignation, anger and displeasure, not that God is well pleased with sin in any, for he is an eternal enemy to all wickedness, yet is always well pleased with the person of the faithful in Christ. {Heb.10:14, Is.7:11, 11:7} Also, affliction work dependency in them on God, to stir up to obedience, magnanimity, courage and patience, to prevent and beat down spiritual pride, to rouse up believers to prayer; to discover the determinations of God in his decree, and to notice the exercising of his wisdom, goodness and power in the preservation of the saints; to bring home desperate prodigals that are fugitives and runaways from God; to prevent Satan’s malice, to stop his mouth and beat him in his own plea; to damn the wicked, and fill their mouths with blasphemy against Christians who being like Christ, and not of the world, but accepted of God, and by their practice reprove the works of the wicked and are hated for it; to put an end to the discords, contentions, strife, jarring, bitterness and quarrelings of the saints, who, when they are in prosperity cannot agree, but like so many sheep will be pushing one another about indifferent things, but God sends forth his dog of affliction like the good shepherd, and puts an end to that quarrel. Latimer, Ridley, Tayler, Paul and Silas could not agree in prosperity, for one would have ceremonies and the other none; Paul would not have John to go with him because of his imbecility and faint heartedness in the profession of the Faith; but when Paul, Latimer and Ridley had lain a year, two or three in prison, then it was “brother Latimer,” and “brother Tayler;” and, “oh send for John;” or “bring John with thee,” saith Paul, when he had been well exercised in afflictions; and so now we quarrel, bite and use bitter invectives against each other; such as, Presbyterian, Independent, Antinomian, Anabaptist and Seeker, and many such like, the which I wish may be all forever buried in oblivion, and the precious name Christian only remaining. But for certain, when fire, faggot, sword, famine, imprisonments and varieties of torments and deaths shall overtake us, we shall willingly then lay them aside and use better expressions for each other. Furthermore these afflictions fortify believers in the bold profession and confession of the Faith to the faces of God’s enemies with undaunted resolution; they endear the Lord Jesus Christ unto us, who by bearing our afflictions hath made way for God to extend peace to the Israel of God forever in the midst of the greatest afflictions that can befall a believer in this life; they enable the saints to comfort others in the like calamity, with the same consolation wherewith they were comforted in their affliction, and tell others what the Lord did for them, and how he brought them out of affliction. John Heydon, “Some Gospel Truths, Catechistically Laid Down, Explained & Vindicated.” 1647.

Law & Gospel Distinctions: Thus these poor souls not discerning the delusions of these imposters, jugglers and soul merchants {Law/Gospel taskmasters} can find little joy, peace or consolation in Christ their husband, until the Lord doth undeceive them, and unlearn them of what they have learned of these ill learned ones. Then will he bring forth fruit, the effect of union, and the production of our spiritual marriage to Christ is that the believing soul may be childbearing to God; for Christ is a fruitful husband, a quickening Spirit, a living root that is full of spiritual sap; and he doth convey life really; though passively, mystically and evangelically to that one which is engrafted into him. {Jn.15:1-5, Rev.5:5, 22:16} Then liveliness in Christians comes from Christ their Head and Husband, to rejoice, to have a lively hope, to set all to love the Lord Jesus, to worship God in spirit and truth; {that is, to believe that Christ hath fulfilled all righteousness and only hath worshipped God in a way of acceptance and truth;} and the dying of our affections to the world is a fruit of Christ, the new man, the new husband, in which a Christian delights; and the believers heart is not an adulterous or a divided heart, so confidence, dependence on God, contentment in our estate, and joyfulness in Christ; the heart sweetly inclined to love, patience, and mercy, and these are the fruits of the Spirit of God, as it is clear. This it is to be taught by him, as to attribute all to Christ. {Eph.4:22-24, I Pet.3:8, Mt.13:44, James 4:4, I Jn.2:15,16, Ps.115:1} Then repentance is to be taught in Christ’s name and power, for he only can produce it; so likewise remission of sin is to be taught in his name. {Lk.24:47, Acts 4:12, 11:18} Then the knowledge of Christ is not a burden or an idol knowledge, for Christ doth not send out his to be idle or wanton; much less to live licentiously, but he enables the believer to a voluntary obedience, and this comes in the performance of what is required in the Law, for in this he walks with a willing and glad heart, and is not drawn to it by outward precept, but by the Spirit of Christ, the love of God constraining him thereto; and he thus knows the Law, for in the matter thereof it is the rule of his conversation amongst men, but it is the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, the Spirit effectually working within to bring forth the fruits of righteousness. {Gal.2:20, Rom.8:2, Is.51:4} Then there is a wide, vast and great difference between him that serves in the newness of spirit, he being a law to himself, having the mind, spirit and the effect of the Law within himself; and that one which lives under the outward ministry of the Law, serving in the oldness of the letter, that is he doth yield forth his obedience through the force and authority of the Law in his conscience, that being the dutiful and operative force behind his compliance; but whatsoever is not of Faith is sin, although it be according to the Law, and the fruit may indeed be commendable among men, yet accursed of God, unless it grow on the right tree and proceed from faith in Christ Jesus. {Heb.11:6, Rom.14:23} This discovers much hypocrisy in the religion that is now in fashion these days as men are grown very witty to cover over old Adam, as they adorn and beautify him, and to set him that is dead upon his feet again, and prop him up, still pleading for Law, and works, and yet all are but the outsides of good works, and so are but shining sins and glorious abominations; for who is there that doth not but see how proud, malicious and implacable these men are, being all or most of them utterly unacquainted with the glorious Gospel and its effects. There is a twofold Law {if I may so speak;} the one in tables of stone, which is the killing, damning and murdering Law, the Law of commandments and those that are bred by it, and seem to live in the same, are all dead at heart, though they have a form of godliness, yet they are the most dangerous men in the world, and a true believer were better to fall into the hands of the Turks, than into theirs, if he might have a choice in the matter. {II Cor.3:6, II Tim.3:5} The other Law is inward and written in the heart; it is the Law of the Lord, the Perfect Law of Liberty, the Law in which the Gentiles should trust in, that Law that freed Paul from the Law; now it must needs be Christ, who is that Spirit and Life, and is all that the Spirit brings to the soul and writes within the heart, for he is all God’s good things and all the promises of God center in him. {Gal.2:19, Jer.31:33, II Cor.1:20, Rom.15:12} Then the voice of the Christian is, “I by the Law am dead to the Law.” Christ his Law is all in all, effectual for all things, at all times, and amongst all persons whatsoever; therefore he that is received into Christ keeps all the Law without any Law; those that are Christ’s, {being the subjects of a heavenly disposition to love Christ, obey Christ and look exclusively to Christ,} look Moses in the face openly, having that all-sanctifying, all-directing, and everlasting spirit that guides them according to the Law in all things, these having the Law in their inward parts and written upon their hearts, need not the proffer of rewards to keep the Law, nor the threats of punishment to deter them from the breach thereof, but they are carried on as it were instinctively, spontaneously and graciously, Christ enabling them; and hence they look upon that exceeding mercy, love and kindness, which God hath showed them in Christ Jesus, and therefore love again, and work freely; not for fear of hell, or to quiet the clamors of their consciences, nor for hope of heaven, nor the applause of good men, or to speed the better at God their Father’s hands, but as they are made good trees in Christ, in whom they live in the Righteousness of God by Imputation, and so they bring forth good fruit amongst men for necessary uses, to edify their brethren, to win others to the love of the Truth, and to bring glory to God thereby; and as they are righteous by Imputation, so likewise are they by replication, they receiving grace for grace, love for love, zeal for zeal, patience for patience, goodness for goodness, meekness for meekness, humility for humility, chastity for chastity, mercifulness for mercifulness, redemption for redemption, sanctification for sanctification, righteousness for righteousness and wisdom for wisdom answerable as face to face in a glass, or letter to letter in wax form the seals impression. So Christ by applying his heat and enflaming our affections, {as once Elisha his type did to the child, eye to eye and mouth-to-mouth, &c.,} so we have the true warmth of the Grace of Christ put into us, and so Christ his image is in us whereby we are made to man-ward demonstrably, operatively and declaratively an epistle of Christ. {Mt.5:16, 12:33, II Cor.3:18, 2:14-16} John Heydon, “Some Gospel Truths, Catechistically Laid Down, Explained & Vindicated.” 1647.

Posted September 5, 2013

{Writings of John Heydon}

Everlasting Consolation in Christ: Christ is eyes to the blind, ears to the deaf, legs to the lame, clothing to the naked, riches to the poor, honor to the contemptible, life to the dead, liberty to the captives, joy to them that are of a saddened heart, beauty to the deformed, that garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, peace to the troubled conscience, consolation to the sorrowful; light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, that wander in the wilderness of sin, death and desperation; to such Christ is a guide by his Spirit and Word, to bring them to the door of hope {himself,} the way of peace, truth, and that life of fullness and plenty in Himself. {Ps.116:1-9, Heb.6:18, Lk.1:79, Mt.11:28} Thy Savior is God blessed forever, the Almighty, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, able to do abundantly above all that we can ask or think. {Eph.3:20, I Tim.1:17, Rev.15:3} But thou art ignorant, and you dare not approach his presence; but the Lord Jesus is the key of knowledge, that great Prophet, Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, and his knowledge is thine, and he hath laid down his life for thee. {Lk.7:16, Rev.3:7, Lk.24:45, I Pet.5:4, 2:25, Jn.10:15} But I am blind, sick, and most poor; but Christ is thy treasure, the pearl of great price, the true bread, the meat and the drink; indeed, all God’s good things; the wedding garment, the heavenly Physician that hath cured thee in the presence of his and thy Father. {Mt.13:44,46, Jn.6:33,55, I Cor.10:3, Gal.2:20, Phil.3:9} But I am a beast in understanding, and a very child in the knowledge of the Truth; but thy Savior Jesus Christ is wisdom itself; yea, the manifold wisdom of God; and God makes over {to the believing child of God} all his wisdom, goodness, mercy, truth and understanding. {I Cor.1:30, Mt.13:11, Eph.3:10} But thou wilt reply, my heart is sad, I droop and go heavily; but the Lord Jesus is styled the consolation of Israel, the glad tidings of the kingdom, strong consolation, and that everlasting sign erected to be a present cure for all soul maladies, and the expectation or desire of all nations. {Lk.2:25, Heb.6:18, Is.55:13, Hag.2:7} If thou say that thou art unrighteous, thy Savior is styled a righteous man for thee, and hath made thee the Righteousness of God in himself. But alas, I am pestered with the old man; thy Savior is the new man, the inner man, the hidden man of the heart, and the new creature, and it is all for thee. {Gal.2:20, 6:16, Eph.3:16, 4:24} But O, poor soul that I am, for I have no sweet odors to offer to my God, neither any pure, perfect, and undefiled sacrifices; but thy blessed Savior is an offering and a sacrifice to God for thee, and of a sweet smelling savor in thy nostrils, and all the churches from generation to generation; he is the glory of God, the Righteousness which is of Faith, the end of the Law, that perfect and acceptable will of God; yea the prayers, patience and righteousness of the saints. {Rev.8:3, Rom.12:2, Eph.5:2, Rom.5:2, 9:30, 10:4} But alas, I am a condemned man in my conscience; but thy Savior hath purchased a pardon at the hands of God the Father, and given it thee, and he is the glad tidings of Salvation. But alas, my faith is not operative in me, neither doth it work as I desire; but thy Savior {to thy great consolation} is styled the faith of the operation of God. {Eph.4:32, Col.2:12} But I am weak; yet thy Savior is God’s strength, the all sufficient grace of God for thee. But I am full of loathing; thy Savior is the fullness of God, that faith which works by love, and thy weak faith serves to lay hold upon him. {II Cor.12:9, Lk.9:43, Eph.3:19, Gal.5:6, Jn.6:29,40} But I am faint, and am ready to die; but thy Savior is thy life, the hope of glory, and the firstborn of every creature. But I am subject to undergo the miseries of wars, sickness and many crosses; yet thy Savior is the Lord of peace, and the great General of heaven, the Captain of thy Salvation. {Heb.2:10, II Thes.3:16} But I am much and frequently wronged; thy Savior is the righteous Judge and will right thee. But none pities me in my perplexities; thy Christ is touched with thine infirmities. But my heart is sad, and I am much indebted; thy Christ hath paid all thy debts to his Father, and hath in his hand the disposing of all in heaven and earth, and is thy eternal consolation. {II Tim.4:8, Heb.2:17,18, 4:15, 6:18, Mt.28:20} But I live amongst a perverse, crooked and polluted people, in a land where the true Gospel is hated, {if preached in the purity and power thereof;} yet thy Savior is separated from sinners, is an heavenly country, and all that is contained in the Gospel. But I want many natural parts, and decay much in the acquired parts, that I have attained unto by industry, &c.; but thy Savior never decays, but lives and abides forever, and all his parts are thine, and his excellencies decrease not. But Satan accuses me unto God and my conscience; but the Lord Jesus Christ is thy friend in heaven, and hath unsuited them all, and is thy propitiation, and the faith of the mystery in a pure conscience. {I Tim.3:9, I Jn.2:2} But the devil is a roaring lion, and too strong for me; but thy Savior is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and hath conquered, and goest forth conquering, he is the serpent that hath devoured all serpents. {Rev.5:5, Col.2:15, Mk.3:27, Heb.2:14} But I am in contempt, trodden underfoot and a imperfect creature; but thy blessed Savior Jesus Christ is the crown of life, the seven spirits of God which signifies all perfections, a Lamb having seven horns, and seven eyes; that is, all power, and clear understanding, whose horn is exalted to heal the poisoned waters; that is, all poor souls freely, perfectly, invisibly and permanently. {Ps.92:10, Mal.4:2, Rev.5:6} John Heydon, “Some Gospel Truths, Catechistically Laid Down, Explained & Vindicated.” 1647.

Posted September 6, 2013

{Writings of John Heydon}

Inseparable & Eternal Union in Christ: Question - God sees no sin, nor beholds iniquity in Jacob, and what think you of that expression, and how are we to conceive of God in it? “He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel.” {Num.23:21} “In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found; for I will pardon them whom I reserve.” {Jer.50:20} Answer - Happy is he that knows the true sense thereof. Now I conceive that it is this, that God sees himself satisfied, and the Church washed from all her sins by the immaculate blood of Christ; and so judges his people as Christ hath made them, and would have the Church so to conceive of himself as a reconciled Father, and not to soar above their Head Christ for consolation in their speculations, nor to go below their Foundation Christ for their humiliation, nor once to conceive of God according to his incomprehensible Majesty, but in this relation only, for we are not to know anything of the mind of God in reference to ourselves and our condition before him, but as we find our condition according to Law or Gospel. {Heb.9:26, Eph.5:26,27} Jesus Christ our Surety had all our sins charged upon him, standing as the only Malefactor in the presence of Divine Justice, and appearing under this form a Representative Person, Divine Justice charged our sins upon him and put him to death. So then, the principal, namely that Christians are declared righteous in their Surety Representative in the court of justice, their sins being satisfied for by Christ, there is nothing in heaven against them. {Rom.8:33, Col.1:22} Faith sees an everlasting expiation of sin, which causes shame to fly away, God having blotted out our sins from the book of his remembrance. {Heb.8:12} And the believer in this case and condition is most cheerful; for a certain Spiritual and Divine Person, the Son of God, the heir of the world; and evangelically, the Conqueror of the world, sin, death, curse, hell and the devil; and so we are not to conceive of the believer apart from Christ, but as Christ hath presented him to God the Father, and the Father never looking upon the believer out of his Son; and therefore as sin originally came on all men by the first Adam, so Righteousness came by Jesus Christ on all that are his, {his purchased possession,} in whom God sees all things new, Christ being the new Adam, the new Creature. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” {II Cor.5:17} In this text take notice of two things; what is meant by being in Christ, and what is meant by the new creature. To be in Christ is to united to his Person; being one with him by faith; {faith perceiving its placement into Christ; and note also, that divers times Christ and Faith are put one for the other, and this is in regard of the relation Faith hath to its Object;} as those that want faith are said to be without, and such as have received faith are said to be all glorious within; being received to their own knowledge and perception {faith} into union and communion with Christ; the new creature is proper to Christ only, and secondarily to us, for Christ is the new creation of God, the new heavens and earth, {that he would create, and prepare for us,} in which dwelleth righteousness, the Sure Foundation and Precious Stone, the New Man created in righteousness, which we by faith is put on; the firstborn of every creature, that makes us the firstborn of God, he being the hidden Man of the heart, that virtue and righteousness that is so much esteemed of God and in which we are clothed. The Christian receives his denomination from Christ, who is the new and living way, in which the believer comfortably comes to God in and by, in more fuller and clearer demonstrations of Grace than those believers in former ages, as many scriptures will prove. So that whatever enjoyments we have of God, incomes from God, grace in this life, or glory in another world, it is from God, in Christ, for him and through him, he being the Fountain, Root and Head from whence this cometh to us; {Zech.13:1, Ps.36:9, Rev.22:1, Jn.15:1, Rom.8:32;} and God will have it so, it being his way, he will convey all mercy to us, in his own way; having made all promises to Him, and from him to us, the word, shadows and types do all direct to Him, that is the Fountain of Life; yea, life itself, and that life which is derived to us from him alone. And herein God’s infinite and exact wisdom, free love, and special goodness is seen, in out-shooting the devil with his own bow, bringing in Everlasting Righteousness by Jesus Christ, who maketh believers everlastingly happy thereby, he being their good Tree, they are made good trees in him; their estate is safe, perfect, rich, honorable and permanent; their souls are so replenished with all the goodness in Christ Jesus, that they may live merrily, sleep quietly and rejoice eternally as so many scriptures set forth. John Heydon, “Some Gospel Truths, Catechistically Laid Down, Explained & Vindicated.” 1647.

Posted September 7, 2013

{Writings of John Heydon}

Afflictions under the Gospel: To be pettish, peevish and froward in afflictions or to use unlawful means to get out of them is no part of the believer, neither is it from Christ, but old Adam; for there is more cause for believers to rejoice and be cheerful in their afflictions than to be sad. Have they not faith, the Spirit and a good conscience? Was not Christ afflicted for them; and loves them then, and is with them in all their afflictions; succors them and will fill their hearts with joy? It is faith or the Spirit of God that quiets the soul in afflictions, produces prayer and enables us to confess our sins, check unbelief, wait on the Lord for help; and to look more on the Author than on the instruments, to submit to the Lord, to purge the conscience from sin, to cry to God for help against it, to expect good tidings from heaven; to put valor, invincible courage and magnanimity into the hearts of believers, even in the greatest afflictions, sometimes to the astonishment of their adversaries and tormentors themselves. It is the Spirit of God that discovers to believers that prodigality, idleness, voluptuousness and infidelity are sins that hinder most men from helping such as are in afflictions; and it directs the believer to help those of like faith, those in whom the imprint of Christ hath been detected, and to prefer their good before their own; and then to help any in affliction, and to make our afflictions no greater than God makes them; yea, to take comfort as it is propounded to them from the world by any instruments whatsoever God will use to that end and purpose; for it is the Spirit of the Lord that persuades believers patiently to accept their afflictions evangelically, from such considerations as these, but mostly from the fact that it is God that afflicts, not to destroy them, but in love, and for their good; yea, verily for the best good, and that he will remove when he sees it best, and that there is no proportion between the countless mercies we enjoy in Christ and our small afflictions, and how he will give strength to the believer in the firm persuasion that his afflictions shall end well. Likewise it is the Spirit of God that silences the devil, evil men and even our own mouths which are so apt to clamor against God; and faith continually clears God, splits the heart and teaches believers to run upon the evil of sin, to wait upon the Lord in an evangelical obedience, to promise and perform in and by their Mediator, to call to mind times that are past, present and to come, {and the Lord who hath “delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver; in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us.”} What is the benefit which comes by our afflictions, but to partake with Christ, in comfort and honors; and though God cross thee in means, it is but to unbutton thee, and to supply thee in Himself. Grant that it was thy indiscretion that brought it upon thee, yet God will exercise his exact wisdom and turnabout all for his own glory and thy good. What if thy afflictions are great, but know that God is greater, and it may be that he will give thee great faith; and what if no man take pity upon thee; yet know that the Lord doth, if we may so speak, for he will deal with us as one whom his mother takes great pity upon, most gently, and carry thee in the cradle of his love. But of all that ever befell thee in thy life, this grieves thee the most, that it was the people of God that brought this great evil upon thee; nay, such as thou believest thou shalt live eternally with; yet worse than this, perhaps it was thy own pastor. “True sir, I would have trusted him with my own life, goods and all, yet he did deceive me.” Oh! Sir, did not you commit idolatry with him; and would God leave you in such a condition? No, no, God will take thee off from men and means too, and give thee to know that there is nothing on this side Jesus Christ but will deceive thee, and that he will carry thee above all these, and will have thee to know that he will have mercy and not sacrifice. That is, God would have thee and all men to know that Jesus Christ is the same forever, as good to thee as ever to any hitherto, and will be every way as beneficial to those that are yet unborn, as ever he was to any kings, priests or prophets that lived in former times, and that he is that Pastor that will not deceive, lie or fail us. John Heydon, “Some Gospel Truths, Catechistically Laid Down, Explained & Vindicated.” 1647.

Posted September 8, 2013

{Writings of John Heydon}

Gospel Conversation in Christ: The Spirit of Christ doth freely, sweetly and willingly incline the heart, both to love and the duties of love that are commanded; for the believer knows that God both wills good works and ministers occasions for the performance of the same, and that by outward deeds and a Gospel conversation in Christ, he may manifest his faith; and he knows that sanctification is passive, and that in true gospel sanctification the very performance of works is a mere passive thing, as the King’s Highway in which he walks in, freely, and not for fear of hell’s punishment or heavens reward; and where Christ commands to love one another, it is to be understood of Christ’s love for the expression of our love effectively. As for our conversations, it is not Christ’s Law to beget life and love in believers, but to believe on his name is the form of Christ’s Law in this unto Salvation; and though a believer should attain to an abundance of love, knowledge and faith in this life, he does place perfection where it is, in its proper place, namely in Justification alone, and not in the flesh. It is most true that there is the perfection of the thing; namely that a believer is perfected in Christ, but to affirm perfection of faith in this life, works or the apprehension of Christ, so fully that nothing can be added to it is false; so then Christians are perfectly saved by Christ, and yet imperfectly as to to their own works, performances and conversation, yet these will commend them to men and go current in their approbation, according to the judgment of charity, and being kept in their proper places, among men, they are of excellent use as the candle in the candlestick; so works rightly placed are of excellent use in the assembly, but being brought up to heaven and set before the eyes of justice, they will not pass, but prove too light there, yea a very plague; so then it is the adultery and fornication that men commit with works that is detested and reproved by the true ministers of the Gospel, and not works in their proper place. John Heydon, “Some Gospel Truths, Catechistically Laid Down, Explained & Vindicated.” 1647.

Our Life in Christ: True believers are saved by Jesus Christ already, the work of redemption being fully accomplished and wrought freely and fully by Christ alone; so it is not a working or to be wrought, as most falsely fancy from the apostles words, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;” but the meaning is this, your part is in all the ordinances of God, to wait upon the Lord for the further discoveries of that Salvation so fully, freely and already wrought by Jesus Christ for you, who is our alone and complete Savior, as all the Scriptures prove most emphatically; and Christ apprehends the believer perfectly, and is our perfect Object which we lay hold upon, and God gives all of Christ to believers, and they detest the thought of perfection in the flesh, though their salvation be perfect, yet they apprehended but in part, wait for the full revelation thereof, so that they are perfectly justified in Christ. And Christ saves two ways; by doing all things that are needful to Salvation; and then he gives himself, faith to receive him, affords the gracious means to grow up into him, and enables the believer to work freely and joyfully the things that are good to the view of men in love. And it is in this new manner, and for new ends, from the power of the Gospel, Christ and faith, in the operation of the Spirit, that we that are justified do live and act accordingly. To work out our salvation is passively to be understood to believe that Christ hath wrought it for us, and therefore we are bid withal to work with fear and trembling as regarding our own selves. The Philippians were commanded to continue working, that is, walking in the faith received, till the day of their sensible manifestation, and it implies no more, but the necessity of believing and diligence in the means of revealing Christ, breeding and nourishing faith, whereby we apply that Salvation wrought to ourselves and perfected by Christ alone; and this is to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, when we in the use of all means are watchful, fervent and careful to have our hearts strengthened, faith corroborated, and we ourselves confirmed in the true Grace of God in which we stand, not doubting of that free and full salvation wrought already by Christ; and so I understand believers to be workers of righteousness; mystically, passively and evangelically. Therefore all the great works done by the saints are but evangelical obedience, if we will speak truly and as the thing is, they obeying passively, mystically, perfectly and evangelically in God’s sight or to God-ward in Christ their Surety, and actually, imperfectly, and by way of gratitude do work declaratively to man-ward in the labor of love. The saints walk up to the top and height of holiness, to the utmost accurateness, exactly and sincerely in the perfect Holiness of Christ, in which we see and serve God spiritually, universally and eternally. So, Luke 1:79 & Heb.12:14 is to be understood; {“To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord;”} and to affirm the contrary is to confound evangelical obedience, and mix our own obedience with Christ’s which is too fleshly and gross a conceit, and cannot agree with the Gospel, or stand before it, no more than Dagan before the ark, gross darkness before the light; for it must all fall and be consumed, it being hay and stubble before the Eternal Spirit that reveals and works by the Gospel, and it is the office of the Spirit to take off men from false bottoms and pitch them upon Christ, to discover Christ the Lord and to fix their eyes on that all sufficient Object; the Spirit, I say, takes of the Person and Work of Christ and reveals him more and more, keeping them in the way of the Gospel, which is spirit and life, and this is to walk in the Spirit, and to live in the Spirit, believing that Christ is our life and disclaim all others when we have to do with God. To drive them more and more out of themselves that so they may cleave the closer to the Lord Jesus Christ, their blessed Savior. John Heydon, “Some Gospel Truths, Catechistically Laid Down, Explained & Vindicated.” 1647.

{Selection of the Week}

Mystical Babylon Unveiled: Ingenuous Reader; It is an Astonishment beyond Comprehension of Nature, Reason and Religion, that the Papists; especially the Priests and Jesuits of the Church of Rome so odious in their bloody Tenants, so prodigious in their Hellish Plots, such incurable Incendiaries, and furious Assassins for murdering of Princes, should be suffered to increase, and indulged to multiply in a Protestant Nation, as of late years they have done in this Kingdom. Assuredly it could never have been so, but that the Lord in his Just Indignation against us for our God-provoking Sins of Atheism, Idolatry, Profaneness, Adultery, and other heinous wickedness, intends {and suffers us to ripen, and be prepared for some} dreadful Judgment, which God may justly bring upon this Land and Nation by the hand of the Papists, if we Repent not of those Abominations, and do not reform them. It is more than Manifest by woeful Experience, that the main End of the Papists in all their Plots and Conspiracies is the utter Destruction of the Protestants {whom they call Heretics} and the Protestant Religion in England especially, and the Re-establishment of the Popish-Religion of the Church of Rome in this Kingdom; which End the Popish-Recusants in England in this Bloody and Traitorous design, that Damnable and Hellish Plot contrived and carried on by them for Assassinating and Murdering the King, Subverting the Government, and for Rooting out and Destroying the Protestant Religion, as the King and Parliament have voted and declared, are still endeavoring to effect, and bring to pass. {Note: This reference is to that which was otherwise known as the Popish Plot, having burst onto the English political scene in the fall of 1678; which was a supposed plot by the Jesuits, with the blessing of the Pope, to murder the king, Charles II, and put his Catholic brother and heir, James, the Duke of York, on the throne so he could re-establish Catholicism in England.} Our grand and greatest Enemies in the World durst not entertain a Thought of Invasion, did they not Hope, {when Time serves,} to find amongst us a Side and Faction of numerous and Seditious Papists to join with them. Were we rid of the Papists, and were Idolatry, Atheism, Whoredoms and Blasphemy put away, as in Policy, Reason, and Religion these ought to be, the Royal Person of the King would be safe from Assassination, and the Government secure from Subversion; and the Protestants and Protestant Religion free from utter Destruction, by the blessed Protection of Almighty God.

A Call to all the People of God to come out of Babylon.

“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” {Rev.18:4} This Call is the Call of God our Saviour unto all his People in Mystical-Babylon {Papal-Rome} to come out of HER. “Come out of her my People;” which Call of Christ was given by an audible voice, and I heard another voice from Heaven saying, &c. And this Call from Heaven is urged and enforced upon the People of God by two Cogent Arguments or Reasons, 1. That ye be not partakers of HER Sins. 2. That ye receive not of her Plagues. Two things in this Call need Explanation; 1. What this voice was? 2. What it is to come out of HER? To both these I shall speak briefly, and then proceed to speak more largely of this Call. First, this voice hath Heaven's Authority. It was from Heaven, to wit, the voice of Christ in the Ministry of the Gospel ordinarily, and by the powerful Efficacy of the Holy Spirit. “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.1:5} So had the voice of the Angels of God by whom Christ then Spake unto his Servant John, “with a loud voice,” {Rev.14:7,} which John heard from Heaven, {ver.13;} and so have the voice of the faithful Ministers of God, by whom Christ also now speaks unto his People. “He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me;” {Lk.10:16;} to wit, Heavens Authority. Secondly; to come out of HER, is to Separate themselves from the Church of Rome, which is now become a false Church, called the great Whore, and Mother of Harlots. “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” {II Cor.6:17} The Lord Jesus Christ would have his People to be Separated under the Gospel from the unbelieving Jews, and their false worship, which Christ calleth vain worship, {Mt.15:8,9,} and Paul did Separate the Disciples from the Jewish Synagogue of unbelievers, {Acts 19:8,9,} and also from Idolatrous Gentiles, that worship Images, {as the Church of Rome doth,} and from their Idol-Temples, Churches, and Chapels; for the Gentile Papists, and Church of Rome, their Pope, Cardinals, Jesuits, and all the Roman-Priests do tread underfoot the holy City, {Rev.11:2,} Jerusalem, viz. the Church and People of God. “What agreement hath the temple of God with idols; for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said,” {II Cor.6:16,17,} “I am the LORD your God, which have separated you from other people,” “and ye shall be holy unto me; for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine,” “and I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.” {Lev.20:24,26, 26:12} The Papists Images, Crosses, Crucifixes; their Consecrated Wafers, holy Waters, and Saints Pictures, the Image of the Virgin-Mary, and of our Saviour upon the Cross, unto which Images the Papish Priests and people fall down and worship; yea their Ave Maria, and prayers to Saints deceased, all their holy Bells, Beads, Prayer-Books, and Candles, &c., are all as an unclean thing, and ought to be separated from, and not touched by the People of God, whom Christ calls upon with a loud voice to come out from among them. These two particulars explained the Argument which Christ urgeth to enforce this his Call unto his People followeth; “that ye be not Partakers of HER Sins, and that ye receive not of HER Plagues;” as if Christ had said, I do by the voice of my faithful Ministers Call and Command you my People to Come out of Mystical-Babylon {Papal-Rome} and to Separate yourselves from the Church of Rome, which is fallen, is fallen from her Apostolical Purity in Doctrine, Worship, and Discipline or Ecclesiastical Government, and is become an Harlot, a false Church, the great Whore, the Mother of Harlots, and Abominations of the Earth, the Synagogue of Satan, the Habitation of Devils, the Hold of every foul Spirit, and a Cage of every unclean and hateful Bird. But if you my People {as if Christ had said} will not obey my voice, nor hear my Call, if you will not come out from the Church of Rome, and separate yourselves from the Papists, and leave going to and worshiping in their Popish Temples, Churches, Chapels, and private Cloisters, Nunneries, Priories, Religious Houses, Meeting-places, and holy Roods of Auricular Confession, &c., then in the first Place you will be Partakers of their Sins; that is, you will become guilty of their Will-worship and spiritual Fornication; {Rev.17:2;} of their Idolatries, Adulteries, Thefts, Murders, &c., {Rev.9:20,21;} and of their Impenitency added unto their Iniquities. And in the next Place you shall receive of her Plagues, Death and Mourning and Famine, &c., {Rev.18:8;} and these shall drink of the Wine of the Wrath of God, which is poured out without Mixture into the Cup of his Indignation. {Rev.14.9-12} The Motives and Encouragements I shall propound to the People of God to Come out of Mystical-Babylon, and to Separate from the Church of Rome are these: 1. You cannot come to Zion, until you come out of Babylon. “And the Ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with Songs, and everlasting joy upon their heads.” {Is.35:10}  2. You cannot worship God in Spirit and Truth, unless you first separate yourselves from false Worship and Worshipers. “Ye worship ye know not what,” “the true worshipers shall worship the Father in Spirit and Truth.” {Jn.4:22-24} 3. You cannot enjoy Communion with God, whilst you hold a Communion with Idols, and Image-worshipers. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness; and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial; or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols; for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” {II Cor.6:14-18} Consider whilst you continue in Babylon, {the Church of Rome} you are under the Guidance of the Pope and Roman-Priests, who are so far from being infallible Guides, {as they pretend} that they are erroneous, false, and blind Leaders of the blind into Perdition. The Roman-Priests are those false Teachers, Seducers, Deceivers; which were foretold by the Apostles of Christ. {II Pet.2:1,2; II Jn.7; II Tim.3:13; I Tim.4:1 & I Jn.2:26} “These things have I written unto you concerning them that Seduce you.” Therefore “look to yourselves,” saith the Apostle. {II Jn.8} “Beloved” {saith he} “believe not every Spirit, but try the Spirits, whether they be of God, for many false Prophets are gone out into the World.” You may do well to Consider also, what Diversities, and Divisions in Principles, Opinions, and Practices in Religion there are at this Time in the World, especially among Teachers, false Teachers, who privately bring in Damnable Heresies; and many follow their pernicious ways, by Reason of whom the WAY of TRUTH is evil spoken of. {II Pet.2:1-3} Now God hath in great Mercy unto the Souls of his People out of the exceeding Riches of his Free Grace, and marvelous loving Kindness towards them, {that they might not be led away with the Errors of the Wicked,} appointed them a threefold Guide, which God hath plainly declared in the holy Scripture of Truth to direct, lead and guide his People in the WAY of TRUTH until they come to Heaven; namely, His Holy Spirit; His written Word; and, his faithful Ministers. First, God hath given his Holy Spirit unto his People, {Gal.4:6;} to lead them, {Rom.8:14;} and guide them into all the Truth, {Jn.16:13;} and to Teach them all things. {Jn.14:26, I Jn.2:20,27} And least his People should be deceived, deluded, or seduced by Satan’s transforming himself into an Angel of Light, or by false Apostles, deceitful workers, {who are his Ministers} transforming themselves into the Ministers of Christ. {II Cor.11:13-15} God hath Secondly given his People a Sure Word; his written Word to Guide them. “O send out thy light and thy truth; let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.” {Ps.43:3} “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” {I Pet.1:19} And thus God Counseled and Cautioned his People of old by his Prophet. “To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” {Is.8:20} And the Apostle testifies; “that all Scripture is given by Inspiration of God, and is profitable for Doctrine, and for Instruction in Righteousness, &c.” {II Tim.3:15-17.} Thirdly; God hath also given his people able Ministers of the New-Testament, not of the letter only, but of the Spirit. {II Cor.3:5,6} “And he gave some Apostles, and some Prophets, and some Evangelists, and some Pastors and Teachers, for the work of the Ministry, &c.” {Eph.4:11-13} And God Set them in his Church, {I Cor.12:4,28,} to be Guides unto his people. Remember your Guides; Obey your Guides, and submit your selves, for they watch for your Souls, as they that must give account. {Heb.13:7,17} Will any godly wise Man or Woman judge in themselves, that it is safe for them to forsake and refuse this threefold Sure Guide of the Spirit, Word, and Ministry of Christ; which God hath ordained, and to give up the conduct of their Souls unto the Church of Rome, to be guided by her Laws, Canons, Councils, Popes, Cardinals, Jesuits, and the rest of the Roman-Clergy, who are blind Guides, and Anti-Christian Ministers; and so to hazard their own eternal Salvation? Which false Teachers, and their false and damnable Errors, Doctrines, and Practices our blessed Saviour and his holy Apostles have forewarned us of in the Scripture of Truth. Hanserd Knollys {Mystical Babylon Unveiled, 1679}

Posted September 14, 2013

{Writings of John Johnson}

Human Learning - None of Christ’s: “And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.” {Rev.8:2} The smoke of the pit is the doctrine of devils, under the name of the doctrine of Christ; and the opening of the pit was the propagating of those doctrines by the sons of Antichrist. Men’s hearts being deceitful, and desperately wicked, {Jer.17:9,} and the spirit of devils joining with them against the Lord, and against his anointed, undertook the most daring enterprise, to thrust the Son of God out of his throne, and to dignify man in his place. {II Thes.2:4} For instead of learning from Christ, the true prophet and teacher, they set up schools, academies, colleges, and universities; to teach the things of heaven by earthly wisdom. And hereby the true Sun of righteousness, the light of Christ, in the word of his grace; and the pure air, the vital influence and special guidance of the Spirit of truth were totally obscured. For where this smoke of the bottomless pit, {human learning,} is introduced into the church, the true light is so darkened and confounded by the false light, {Lk.11:34,35,} that the truth, as it is in Jesus, has no residence there. For this earthly learning and wisdom of men is so idolized and taken into the place of the true light of the Spirit, that wherever it so prevails, as for the knowledge of God to have any dependence thereon, the Son of God has no longer the dominion in that church, or in that soul. But the traditions of men, as the smoke of a great furnace, drive away the pure light of the gospel; and under this veil of darkness, the authority of Christ is rejected; and men take upon them to dictate what is to be believed, and what is to be practiced, and to have dominion over the people’s faith. To take, without license, what pertains to another, and put it to our own use, is theft; so for persons to take upon them to preach the gospel, when Christ has not called them to it, or given them authority by committing it to them; to arrogate to themselves the power which Jesus gave to his disciples, to bind and to absolve upon human authority; to apply the scripture according to men’s opinions to those purposes for which it was never intended; and to claim to themselves, or to teach others to claim the promises of God, which were never adapted to them, or designed for them; or to call themselves of the kingdom of heaven, when God has not sealed them thereto; this is diabolical theft. {Deut.28:20, Jer.23:30,31} For this I appeal to the conscience of every man that esteems himself unlearned, and yet thinks human learning necessary to the knowledge of God, that he has no faith of his own, but that for which he is dependent on some learned man, or men, therefore it cannot be faith in God. And forasmuch as learned men of every denomination clash, dispute and contend one against another, almost in everything, which party must the poor man follow? In this he can have no director but his own fancy. This way it came about, that the mystery of iniquity, the unfathomable deeps of darkness and corruption prevailed; and the nominal church became an habitation of devils. {Rev.18:2} John Johnson {Book of Revelation, 1779}

Protestant Reformation: Perhaps some conceive of these seven thunders to be the thunderings of the first Reformers, and Protestant writers, against the abominations of the Roman Church, which they call thundering against Antichrist. And we find their writings full of thunders against the most gross tenets of that great whore; such as the supremacy of the pope, and infallibility of the church of Rome; keeping the people in ignorance, prohibiting the reading of the scriptures, and having their worship in an unknown tongue; adoration of saints and angels, and worshipping images; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats; the priests assuming authority to grant pardons and indulgences; transubstantiation, or priests pretending to change bread and wine into the substance of the body and blood of Christ; the doctrine of purgatory, and praying for the dead, &c. &c. &c. Yet these are only amusements, to draw people’s minds from the life and substance, by making them imagine, that if they escape these gross abominations, they are free from Antichrist, whereas a man may avoid all these, and yet be as far from the very truth, as it is in Jesus, as those that are involved in the depth of them. Howbeit, the grand point which the angel of the covenant had in view, he would and did accomplish; to bring forth the scriptures of truth into full and open light. Yet the prince of darkness followed with another of his devices, persuading the people, that notwithstanding they had the gospel light set open before them, they must not pretend to understand it, nor expect the illumination of the spirit of truth to guide them into it; but must depend on the learning of schools and universities to inform them what was the meaning of it; and to this all the people in general were content to submit, and to shut themselves up in darkness as close as the pope had shut them up before. And as the fathers did, so do the children to this day, they are willing to abide in darkness, and be lulled into a dead sleep, with the word of the living God open in their hands. Again; it may be, that some think these thunders to be a number of worthy and gracious men, who were thunderers against Antichrist; such as John Wickliffe, Jerome of Prague, John Huss, Peter Waldo, Martin Bucer, Luther, Calvin, &c. But what zeal soever these men might show, in testifying against the innovations and heresies of the church of Rome, they were not of the number that dwelt in the wilderness, or that had gone out without the camp; for they endeavored to make a figure in reforming the camp, or the city Babylon; a work which it is utterly out of the nature of things for a faithful minister of Jesus Christ ever to attempt. It is the work of every faithful minister of the gospel, to the utmost of his power, to open the blind eyes, and to turn men from Satan unto God; to call them out of the world to the knowledge of the Father and the Son; but I am persuaded there is not a man living under heaven, who truly understands the nature of a gospel minister’s commission, that could be made to believe, that a minister qualified and sent by the Lord Jesus could ever attempt a thing so foolish as to reform nations, countries, cities, or national churches. To reform the world belongs only to the men of the world, and had these famous men come in the simplicity of the gospel of Christ, they never had been famous; for had they not brought some mixtures adapted to the carnal mind, they had never been renowned in the world, we probably had never heard of their names. John Johnson {Book of Revelation, 1779}

Christ – Our Altar: “And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.” {Rev.8:3} This angel could be no other but the Lord Jesus Christ; called an angel, as he was the great Messenger of the Lord of hosts. For he is represented executing the priest’s office; and the gospel church knows no priest, but the Son of God. He came from God, and stood at the altar, to execute the high priest’s office, to which he was appointed. {Ps.104:10} When the altar is simply mentioned without any distinguishing epithet, we understand the great brazen altar for burnt offerings and sacrifices; this is a representation of the Son of God, in taking away sin by the sacrifice of himself. The human nature being the sacrifice, the Eternal Spirit is the altar whereby it is sanctified. {Heb.9:14} Here stood the holy one, when he gave his life a ransom for us; himself being both altar, sacrifice, and priest. {Heb.13:10} Upon this altar of brass, he stood the fiery trial; and he still stands by it, not offering sacrifice, for this he did once when he offered up himself, but as our Advocate, pleading before the throne, the virtue of that one perfect sacrifice. {Heb.9:12, 10:14} But now, having made an end of sins, and brought in everlasting righteousness, he is represented in his own perfection, by the golden altar before the throne, where he is about to offer the holy incense; but the fire to burn the incense, must be taken from the great altar of the fire which came down from heaven. And thus every believer by faith beholds him first standing at the altar of the great sacrifice, and then approaching the altar of sweet savor. The golden altar is Christ himself; the incense is the fullness which the Father pleased should dwell in him; the censer is his human nature, in which that fullness dwells, {Col.1:19, 2:9,} and the fire is the vital flame of the Eternal Spirit; and this incense is offered with the prayers of all saints. {The golden altar before the throne of God was a clear representation of Christ in his ascended glory, the priest that approached the altar was a representation of Christ in his high office; and the incense offered thereon was a representation of Christ in his essential preciousness, as the delight of God, ascending in his effectual intercession to give access to the prayers of his people. This altar was of shittim wood, a figure of the human nature, it was entirely covered with gold, to show that the man Christ Jesus is perfectly enfolded in the Divine Essence and the horns were of the very same, which were both for ornament and defense, and might resemble the love, the truth, the wisdom, and the power of Christ; going forth towards his church. - As Christ is the altar, with all its appurtenances, the sacrifice, the fire, the incense, &c., so we must take heed that we embrace nothing as matter of redemption, righteousness, peace, purification, or acceptance with God, but what is of Christ alone, for nothing can come before God acceptably, but alone in his Holy One.} This holy fire of the altar {Christ} must diffuse the sweet savor through their whole souls, as the experience of every believer testifies. For he beholds the extirpation of sin by the great atonement; then he beholds the golden  altar, Christ in his absolute perfection, before the Father; then he beholds the fullness of grace and truth which dwells in Jesus, offered in his intercession; and in the golden bowl, the word of truth, the sweet savor is brought to his conscience, where it is kindled into a vital flame by the Spirit of Holiness. And in this spirit, he comes by prayer and supplication to his Father which is in heaven, and finds access to the throne of grace. “And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.” {vs.4} Christ offered himself to God for a sweet smelling savor; and forasmuch as he is the ultimate delight of God, whatever he does is well pleasing to the Father; and whatever soul he presents to the Father, is accepted. Incense made according to the direction of the Lord, is the richest composition, sends the most delightful perfume, and is the most precious odor that can be produced by the hands of man. The man Christ, in the essential perfection of the Divine Nature, is the glory of all excellency; the object of the highest delight that God could possibly bring forth. Therefore, this is the height of all blessedness, that the saints are presented before the throne of God, in this most pleasant odor; their persons having access to God, and their prayers made acceptable in him that is the brightness of all glory; for whatever delight the Father has in his beloved Son, he has the same in them; his incense and their prayers ascend in perfect conjunction, directly before God, out of the hand of the great High Priest, from whose hand nothing ever was rejected of the Father. Therefore, as the excellency of the riches and fullness of the glory of the Son of God, is presented to his Father in behalf of his saints, and their souls offered therewith, in the living fire of the spirit of holiness, they are incontestably as perfectly accepted in the sight of the Father, as the Son of God himself is, {Is.45:7, Ez.20:41, Jn.17:23,} and their prayers presented in the faith of the Son of God, and in the breathing of the spirit of grace, are as certain to be heard, and their petitions granted, as that the God of truth exists. {Mt.21:22, Jn.15:7, I Jn.3:22} John Johnson {Book of Revelation, 1779}

Gospel Glory of Christ: “And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey; and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.” {Rev.10:10} The gospel is called a little book, because it is little esteemed, and scarce known in the world; and even among those that make the highest profession of it, the life and truth is scarce known at all. It is little, notwithstanding it contains things of the greatest excellency; as it is in the wisdom of God, accommodated to our little capacities. It looks to men as it were contracted, because it does not direct to a multiplicity of objects; but to one single object, Christ Jesus, in whom all fullness dwells. And though it contains all the completion of blessedness that creatures in a mortal nature can possibly enjoy, it is but a little portion, compared with what the saints shall enjoy of God in immortality. {I Cor.13:9-12, I Jn.3:2} And this book, or message of grace, or testimony of God, the saints take out of the hand of Christ, as given from himself; not as from men, or as it were the word of men, but with their whole hearts, and their whole souls, they receive it as it is in truth, the word of God, they embrace all his salutary doctrines, and have respect to all his commandments; they do not mince nor mangle the word of God, they eat it up; for every word which the Lord hath spoken is meat and drink to their souls, it is the very delight of their hearts, sweeter than honey, or the honey-comb. For here they taste all the blessedness that possibly can exist, so far as their present constitution can be made partaker, or their earthen vessels can contain; the everlasting, essential, immutable, superlative love of the Father; the infinite fullness of grace and truth in the Son; the light, comfort and power of the Holy Ghost, with the everlasting felicity and glory of the world to come. And they can never cease desiring to be more and more sanctified by this Word of Truth. But still all real believers who are alive at this day, do find their bellies made bitter, or their hearts deeply grieved, to see how their Lord is despised, and his word rejected by all sorts of men; by profane and professors equally dishonored. Some disregarding the Divine Record, as if it had no existence; some profaning it, as if it had only come from an heathen idol; some treating it as a fable, denying its authenticity, some pretending to read it, as the rule of their faith and worship, but in the matter of faith and worship, the traditions of men bear all the sway, and the Word of God is only regarded as an empty speculation; some attend to it only as an amusement; some attend to it only to pervert, corrupt, or handle it deceitfully, to gratify some base principle. But the greatest grief of all is to see those that pretend to acknowledge Christ as all in all, salvation by free grace, the power of the Spirit, &c., that they are endeavoring to draw a veil over the glory, to represent all in a low, flat and dry light, so as every man, however distant he be from it, may think he knows and enjoys it, and may fancy himself to be a Christian. Thus to depreciate the glory of gospel grace; turning the life and power into bubbles and chimeras; to accommodate the things of the Spirit of God to the carnal mind, to seduce the weak and ignorant, and to buoy up hypocrites to imagine themselves to be saints, &c. John Johnson {Book of Revelation, 1779}

Posted September 15, 2013

{Selection of the Week}

Comfort for Believers in Christ: Faith shows things with more certainty than anything else can; for reason and sense may be deceived, because grounded on man, and Satan oft deceives them both; he deceived Eve’s reason in innocency {for she is said, “to be beguiled,”} because she fled not to Faith; but Faith is grounded on God, and so is as sure as God is; wherefore nothing can give such strong grounds of comfort as Faith, and no Faith like Faith in Jesus Christ; and that for these reasons. First, because it gives boldness towards God. “In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.” {Eph.3:12} The word translated ‘boldness’ signifies an appearing in glorious liberty, lifting up the face, receiving liberty of speech, and an undaunted or open and uncovered face; not only as opposite to Moses under the Law, whose face was covered to show obscurity and hiddenness of his ministry; or opposite to persons under conviction of sin, whose faces are covered for shame, but also it is opposite to that abasement which is in holy angels, expressed by the covering of their faces, {Is.6:2,3,} and all this because they have access or a manifestation by Christ, as he leads them by the hand to God, and therefore they come with all boldness; whereas Adam was shut out of paradise, and Israel at Sinai stood afar off and trembled; but believers by Christ come nigh with boldness; and Faith in Christ gives this boldness upon these grounds: Faith in Christ presents God nearer to them, for it shows them God in their own nature; God whom they may see, hear and handle. {I Jn.1:1-3} And so they may be more acquainted and bold, for it is a likeness or nearness of nature which makes boldness and confidence. By Faith in Christ there is hold laid on God’s Justice, as well as on his Mercy; God in Christ is just and a justifier of the believer. “To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness; that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” {Rom.3:26} That is, he doth not only declare his mercy in a free pardon of sin, but he also declares his justice in the full satisfaction for sin. Wherefore as by Christ, believers may plead with his mercy, and so they may also with his justice, in that there is not only a way opened unto mercy, but Christ hath merited and of justice purchased Divine favor, for he hath satisfied the Law, both in suffering what was due for its transgression, and also in fulfilling of its Righteousness; and all this on their behalf, and for their use and benefit, who believe in Him; so that whatever boldness an Angel can have, or Adam could have had, {if he had stood in innocency,} by virtue of God’s justice, all that boldness through Christ a believer hath, because the Law is in Christ kept by him; and so the Law’s Righteousness is fulfilled in us through Christ, who believe and manifest our faith, by walking after the Spirit, and not after the flesh. {Rom.8:4} Inasmuch that believers in Christ may appeal to God’s justice, as well as to his mercy, and hold God by both hands, having as clear a title to him in justice as in and by mercy in the Person of Christ, who hath undertaken for them, to satisfy justice and merit mercy which cannot but give great boldness. By Faith in Christ there is an access with boldness to God’s Holiness. Holiness is the brightness and beauty of God which dazzles the eyes of all creation; therefore he is thrice called holy, not only to show forth his tri-unity, {Is.6:2,3,} but complete gloriousness of Holiness. “Who is like unto thee, O LORD…glorious in holiness.” {Ex.15:11} Now in Christ; we as partaking of Christ’s Righteousness, which is God’s, and so doth fully reach and answer his Holiness, as well as his Justice, we come into his presence with faces uncovered or undaunted. “In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.” {Eph.3:12} “For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” {Eph.2:18} By Faith in Christ there are raised unlimited expectations from God; for whilst that God is set before us, married to our nature, and in our nature, working Righteousness, making atonement for sin, meriting blessedness for us, what may we not expect? What sins are too great to be pardoned? What blessedness or love so high as may not be conveyed to us? “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} In Christ there is set up for us a middle one, or Mediator between God and us, who equally partakes of God’s nature and our nature, and so is equally interested in both; from whence cannot but arise much boldness, for between God and us there is such infinite distance as that, although there were no breach, yet there could not be such boldness and free access, as now is by this One, who is a middle Person between both; therefore it is not a marvel that popish faith yields so little settling and comfort, since they make so little of Christ. Thus in these respects, Christ and faith in Christ gives great boldness towards God, and so the stronger grounds of comfort. Another ground of comfort for believers may be gathered from the fact that; “all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” {II Cor.1:20} All for the elect in Christ; whom God chose in him, and gave to him to be his offspring and spouse, and so through and from him to be endued with all the riches of the promises; though God loved them, and chose them all to enjoy the promises, yet in Christ, and through, by, and for him to inherit. {Eph.1:4} He did not choose us with him, but in him; wherefore as the Israelites must come to enjoy the promises not by laying hold first on them, but by being firstborn of Isaac, and having that Union of flesh with him; and as a woman hath right to the man’s estate, not immediately, but by being first made one with him, even so must people be first of Christ, married to him, born of him, drawn out of his loins before they can lay hold of or claim title to those promises. This Christ, I say, is the only and immediate fountain of all joy, and that in two respects; first, because all the promises are in him only; he is that one Sea, out of which do issue all the springs of promises; wherefore in him must be all the springs of joy and comfort; as they are all said to be in the Church, because of his presence there. “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.” {Is.12:3} Yea, and the promises are better in him, and much more strong to comfort than they are out of him; not only because he is the chief and best promise Himself, for his Person is better than all the promises, but also, because the promises in him are in their Root, in him they live, and so are best in him, as the sun beams in the sun, and the streams in the spring are better, and live more than in themselves, having indeed no being, but in and from him. Better because in him they are eternal and have been promises actually existing from everlasting, and so they are in no other respect, and so cannot be disannulled by the Law and sin, which came in but in time, as the Apostle reasons. “And 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} Better, because in him is their efficacy towards us, they being his only, were not sure to us, till he had confirmed the bequeathment of them to us upon his death, for on that supposition were they bequeathed to us. Better, because in and from Christ they are exhibited, administered and performed to us, as he is their Owner and Testator, who by his death ratifies them unto us, and makes them truly ours; so he is the Executor and Administrator of them, who dispenses them to us. “If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.” {Jn.14:14} He doth it and therefore he saith, “all power;” that is, of administration and of execution in heaven and earth is put into his hands, therefore the promises; and through him streams forth the most sweet comforts in which respects he is the immediate spring of all joy. Jesus Christ is the immediate spring of all joy as he is the seat and receptacle of that joy, which is communicable from God to the creature; whatever comfort or joy, God intended to make the creature a partaker of it, he put it all into Jesus Christ, {as the light of the world is in the sun,} as “in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” {Col.2:9} So with it dwells in him all the fullness of joy and comfort; for it being all from God, it must be all in him, in whom dwells the Godhead’s fullness, and thence comes to us; just as all our light is from the sun, who conveys his light to us through the air, therefore all the light that we have is in the air; and so likewise in Christ are hidden all treasures of wisdom and knowledge; {Col.2:3;} so are all treasures of joy and comfort, as he is the light that enlightens. {Jn.1:4,9} So is he the comfort that comforts every man with any true comfort; for God is indeed the first original, and Christ is the immediate fountain in which is all joy. Our life is hid in God, but with Christ, {Col.3:3,} so that indeed, Christ is not only the root of all promises, but of a better comfort than the promises yield; for Christ is nearer to God than the promises are, for he is of his nature, and the offspring of his Person; whereas the promises are the issue of his mind and will. “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.” {Heb.1:3} Whereas the promises are but the expressions of his purpose; and the further setting forth of his glory. This sight of Christ’s glory and our union and communion with him is the heart of the Christian life; by faith to see the things that are invisible; to live by faith, {Heb.10:38,} which faith is described, as the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen; {Heb.11:1;} which though it also reveal those things which once by reason might be seen, as the creation, {vs.3,} yet it also, {and that which it chiefly aims at,} reveals what which never was or could be seen in innocency or by reason; as God’s electing love in Christ, Heaven’s Glory, our participation of all Grace and glory from Christ by union with him, &c., and on these considerations to love, obey, be patient, &c. This is the life of a believer; seeing by Faith and Divine Revelation the glory of Christ, and being turned into it, and unto it, as the sum of all Christianity. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” {II Cor.3:18} Christ living in the believer, {by virtue of his Word and Spirit,} and thus he living by faith in him. “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” {Gal.2:20} Increase of life is all put in the apprehensions by faith of the Revelation of Christ, and the glory thereof. “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love; may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” {Eph.3:16-19} Now in this work, it is the Gospel which sets the objects, or the heavenly things before us. Then the Holy Ghost in convincing or persuading of the reality of those things to our understanding, is as the light which shines on those heavenly objects, and makes them visible; and faith, by Holy Spirit conviction or persuasion is as the prospective glass which enables our understanding to perceive the reality of them, which else it could not; wherefore with this light of the Holy Ghost, and this prospective glass of Faith, with our spirits and understandings, we view in the Gospel again and again the things of heaven and of Christ. Furthermore consider that, though you use yourselves and put forth your own reason; yet that you trust not in yourselves and reason, but that in the whole work we expect nothing from our own work, but being emptied of all sufficiency or fitness in ourselves, ye do wholly and only expect the fruit from the Holy Ghost, as he is the Spirit of Christ, pertaining to us, as united to Christ. Wherefore be careful not to lean on your own spirit, memory, wit; no, nor on grace itself; but know that you must have a fresh influence from the Spirit, and his assistance. As your Faith cannot act itself, for spiritual things cannot work without a fresh concurrence of God; “for in him we live, and move, and have our being.” Wherefore his suspending and not assisting the fire, caused it not to burn the three children, though ye put no impediment in its way; and though Grace be stronger than nature, yet it cannot act, or move itself, without the concurrence and assistance of the Holy Ghost; for it comes from Christ, as light from the sun by an efflux; {Mal.4:2;} which ever supposes a fresh act to every shining. The Grace is in Christ, though it work in us, as the light is in the sun, though it shines on us. “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” {II Tim.2:1} Wherefore, Christ must, by a fresh act, put it forth, if it work in us. Wherefore all things are said to be done by Christ strengthening; {“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me;” Phil.4:13;} not only by strength which he had given, but which he is at the present in a continual giving; for every act of Faith requires the power of God afresh administered. “Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power.” {II Thes.1:11} Fulfill the work of Faith with power; that is, God’s power, for one act is to evidence things, which to do, he begs strengthening by might from the Spirit. “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.” {Eph.3:16} And as the Holy Ghost must assist the Grace of Faith, before it can act; so must he do somewhat to the objects of Faith, before they can work upon Faith; as the light must shine on colors before they can move the eye; that is, the Spirit must show them to the soul, which is called a revealing of them; {“God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God;” I Cor.2:10;} not only at the first, but every time that they draw forth Faith, he must reveal them, which is done by giving in convincingly his own testimony of those things, which presents them to the soul as light doth colors to the eye; wherefore he so prays, that by the Spirit, they may have revelation to know the things they believed, and hoped for. “The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know.” {Eph.1:17,18} So that without the Spirit’s aid, nothing can be done in believing, as in praying, it must be in the Holy Ghost; {“building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost;” Jude 20;} that is, in his strength and assistance; so also, must it be in believing, therefore he joins building up in Faith and praying, because without praying we cannot make advancement in our believing. Consider, that the Holy Ghost assists only as he is Christ’s Spirit; that is, sent from him and merited by him, as he is God and Man, and the Head of the Church; for in no other way or respect doth the Holy Ghost assist. Wherefore all that he doth, is said to be of Christ’s; {“He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you;” Jn.16:14;} and it is called Christ’s strengthening. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” {Phil.4:13} “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” {vs.19} Whereas it is the Spirit which doth it; and if thus he be not considered, he is taken under a wrong notion, and Christ is wronged, for he is not glorified in accordance with the direct work of the Spirit. Ye must be careful to consider, that the Holy Ghost assists you as members of Christ, by virtue of your union with Christ; for how can the Spirit of the Head, come into one but by its union with the Head; and how comes the sap to flow from the root into the branch, but as it is joined to the root? {Eph.4:15,16} And, lastly, ye must be careful to look up unto the Holy Ghost to assist you; cast an eye on him as ye do on that whose help you expect; and in the expectation thus of him, must ye set upon the anticipation of Faith. John Archer {Comfort for Believers, 1645} 

Posted September 18, 2013

{Writings of John Johnson}

Beast of Revelation: “And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.” {Rev.11:7} But who is this beast? It is not men, kingdoms, or states; for however these may be corrupted with the stench of the bottomless pit, yet as men, or as powers, they did not proceed from thence. This is no other than the false Christ, or the darkness, false doctrines, false worship, false ideas of God, and false objects set up with a pompous appearance of devotion, religious zeal and formality, to stand in the place of the true Christ. {II Thes.2:4} But how shall the witnesses be killed? They can no otherwise be killed than in their testimony, nor by any other power than that of religion; profaneness may slay its thousands, but it is religion that slays its ten thousands. The delusions of the devil, with the delusive wisdom and sophistical traditions of men, presenting such pleasing images, with such enchanting seductions to the carnal mind, that the deception shall universally prevail in the hearts of men, and the truth of Christ shall totally be despised, and, at least to the view of the enemies, shall be entirely banished out of the world. And in this, not only Protestants, but Dissenters of every denomination may be expected to have as high a hand as Papists, Mahometans, or any people whatsoever. John Johnson {Book of Revelation, 1779}

Church in the Wilderness: “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.” {Rev.12:6} The travail of the saints to see Christ brought forth in the glory of his gospel in the world, and the riches of his grace in his church, in the abundance of life in their souls and in their communities, was not a period of a few days; nor was the bringing forth, one transient act; for it continued several hundred years. For her flight into the wilderness does not appear to be fully completed, till Antichrist was grown so powerful that he actually took the throne in the nominal church, {II Thes.2:4,} not when he first began to appear, for that he did in the days of the apostles, {I Jn.2:18,} but when he obtained despotic power, so as the voice of truth could be no longer heard. And this absolute dominion he openly proclaimed, in setting up a viceroy, or lord lieutenant, the pope, to govern in his name, and put his laws in execution. The pope, or popish power, is not the Antichrist, nor did the pope ever govern all the kingdom of Antichrist, but being one of his chief captains, he ruled with arrogance, so far as his jurisdiction extended, with such arbitrary and uncontrolled dominion, as showed his master to be an absolute despotic monarch. And now it was high time for the subjects of the King of glory to quit the camp, and speed their flight, going forth after their Lord, bearing his reproach. {Heb.13:13} This flight was a great victory, like that of the departure of Israel out of Egypt; for now it did appear, that all the wiles of Satan could no longer deceive, nor was all his power able to hold them in bondage. How long the saints had been in removing, or preparing for their removal, before their total departure, or whether they all fled together at the same time, we cannot tell; for all the writers of church history give us no intelligence respecting the real children of light; all they inform us relates only to the outer court, and the worldly sanctuary. But a safe retreat was actually prepared for the Lord’s hidden ones, and thither their God carried them; and there they dwell unto this day, sequestered from the religious professing world; and so shall remain, till the time of the reign of the beast shall be fulfilled. The Holy Ghost has given us to understand the time of the total flight of the church, from the habitation of false worshippers, in that he has stated it as coeval with the unresisted usurpation of the beast of Antichrist; and that her continuance in the wilderness, and his dominion, shall be of the same duration, and they shall both terminate at the same period. For a time, times, and half a time, forty and two months, and a thousand two hundred and threescore days, all come to the same measure; and so long as the beast reigns, the Gentiles shall tread underfoot the holy city, and so long as the church is in the wilderness, the two witnesses shall prophecy in sackcloth. At this day, the children of God are unknown to the world, but hid and fed in the wilderness. John Johnson {Book of Revelation, 1779}

Deceptions of Antichrist: “And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.” {Rev.13:6} The spirit of falsehood and delusion opens his mouth in the mouths of them in whom he dwells; and the most religious people are the most detestable blasphemers; for while the abominable wretches of the profane world blaspheme the name of God in derision, and bid him open defiance, these blaspheme his name with serious grimace, as if they did it by sanction, and maintain their blasphemous assertions as if they were heavenly doctrines; which is much more bewitching, and tends more to establish base ideas of God in the minds of men, than those of the most abominable conversation, or the openly wicked in the street. They {like Arminians, and all who tread in their unhallowed paths} blaspheme the name of God, and make it contemptible, by the mean, base, low, degrading light in which they represent the God of glory, in all his ways and works, even when they pretend to praise and magnify him. In like manner they blaspheme his tabernacle; the Son of his love, the delight of his soul, in whom the Godhead dwells. Yea, they blaspheme them that dwell in heaven; even the God of all grace, in all his glorious characters, relations, and manifestations; the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, the Three that bear record in heaven, which Three are One, by the most dishonorable and inglorious representations, when they mock them with feigned adoration, they make them the scorn of fools. “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} The deceptions of a false Christ, and a false profession, are certain to prevail over them whose dwelling, and portion, and names are written in the earth. Some exceptions may be; but in general, it is not at all a difficult matter to persuade persons to be religious; for in all religion, in common, there is something adapted to the fleshly mind, to gratify the carnal principle. {Note: Religion is the element of false professors; but the truth, as it is in Jesus, is the element of believers. The word religion is seldom heard in a believer’s mouth; the meaning of it is so general and so vague, it conveys no determinate idea; only it supposes some kind of duty, homage, or devotion, paid to some being, either to the true God, or the devil. But they that seek truth choose to avoid ambiguity, and use such expressions as are peculiar to the thing intended; as, the faith of Christ; to be born again; to worship God in spirit & truth; to keep the ordinances as they were delivered, &c., and the saints are certain to rejoice, when they gain the victory over the world’s idol, religion; leaving it to them that feed upon husks with the swine, that themselves may enjoy the liberty wherewith Christ has made them free, to worship the Father in spirit and in truth.} For as it is of men's own invention, they are sure to form the image to please themselves; and they order it so suitable to their own taste, that they worship it, and give it such an alluring aspect, that those who know not the true God, are easily induced to join with them in the devotion; for what Jesus Christ is to the believer, that religion is in the imagination of the carnal professor; they adore it, fancying it to be divine, and trust in it for salvation; they admire and serve it with zeal and fervency, and are all in a flame if it be opposed; for men are strongly addicted to worship the works of their own hands, and the imaginations of their own hearts. I never yet knew any denomination of professors, taking them as a denomination in a body, but more than nine tenths of their religion was the tradition of men; notwithstanding the great noise they make about the Holy Scripture and pretending to make it their standard. And indeed they are very tenacious of some parts of Scripture, the sound whereof seems to please them; and dropping the spirit and life, with a little of their own comment upon the letter, they set them up for posts and boundaries; but they are commonly so mutilated, and set up in such a straggling manner, that they signify very little, only as cyphers. So that all the dwellers upon earth are worshippers of the beast, except the elect few. In the fore-ordination of God, the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, the Son of his love, was slain from the foundation of the world, {I Pet.1:20,} and in the same everlasting appointment, all God’s elect were secured in his book of life, engraven in the bosom of the Father’s love, before the world began. {Jn.17:23,24, Eph.1:4, Tit.1:2} These the Father sent the Son to redeem, and to bring them to God; the Son brings them, presents them to the Father, and commends them to his care; the Father seals them with his Holy Spirit, and establishes them secure upon the Rock, against which the gates of hell shall not prevail. “My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and none is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.” John Johnson {Book of Revelation, 1779}

Posted September 22, 2013

{Selection of the Week}

Contending & Striving Together for the Truth of the Gospel of Christ: Pilate saw that our Lord laid great stress upon the truth; and though he despised truth as a means of setting up a kingdom, when he proposed that scornful question, “What is truth;” and waited not for an answer; yet it becomes us diligently to inquire, till we be satisfied, what this truth is; and though it was not fit that Pilate should know it at that time, seeing, as we may hear, it respected Christ’s cross; yet it is of the utmost importance and advantage to us to know it now. We find God’s mercy and his truth much spoken of and celebrated in the Old Testament. It is the promise of Christ that is intended; and truly God’s mercy and truth together are nowhere to be found but with him. “My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him; and in my name shall his horn be exalted.” {Ps.89:24} They that saw his glory, when he came in the flesh, found him “full of grace and truth.” {Jn.1:14} He testifies of himself, “that he is the truth.” {Jn.14:6} “In him,” the Son of God manifest in the flesh, is “the end of the law for righteousness unto every one that believeth,” and “all the promises of God are yea and amen.” {II Cor.1:20} So that he is the great subject of this his testimony in the Gospel; and in order to understand what he mainly intends by truth here, we must consider how he is especially set forth in the gospel, to be believed in unto salvation, and what doctrine of the gospel it is whereby it is especially distinguished both from Judaism and natural religion. We shall find, that the great thing testified of him in the gospel is that he is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth; that he was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification; and we are told that he that believeth this in his heart, and confesseth it with his mouth, shall be saved. {Rom.4:24,25, 10:4,8-10} When the Apostle declares himself not ashamed of the gospel, and calls it the power of God unto salvation, he tells us, it is because “therein is the righteousness of God revealed,” from the faithfulness of God to the faith of every believer. {Rom.1:16,17} When he gives an account of the great subject of the gospel message, he tells us it is this, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them;” “for he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." {II Cor.5:18-21} And when he speaks of the testimony of God, the object of faith, he tells us, “it is Christ crucified.” {I Cor.1:23,24, 2:1-2} This was the great intent of the prophecies, which spoke of the sufferings of Christ, and the following glory; “for to him gave all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him, shall receive remission of sin.” {Acts 10:43} This therefore is that truth of the gospel which is especially witnessed unto, and whereby Christ says that, “his kingdom is advanced in the world;” and this may be further clear unto us if we consider: 1. That this is the distinguishing truth of Christianity, whereby it is differenced from mere natural religion, and from all the religions in the world that anyway compete with it. This is the great thing, the first thing that any religion can propose to sinful men; how they should be pardoned, reconciled to God, and justified in his sight. “I know it is so of a truth; but how should man be just with God?” {Job 9:2} If the Christian religion differ from others in anything, it is in this; for they all propose other ways of coming into favour with God, and false ways; but Christ has made peace by the blood of his cross, and thereby reconciled all his people, of all nations, unto God in one body; and has come and preached this peace to them that were afar off, and to them that were nigh; and this is the truth wherein the true God is gloriously manifested and distinguished from every religious idol. 2. God’s truth in the just sentence of his broken law, and in the promise of life to sinners, meets and consists only in Christ, our Redeemer from the curse of the law, by being made a curse for us, that the blessing might come upon us; and therefore this may well be called the truth. The Law condemned us in a head and representative; and there was nothing in it to hinder our suffering in another head, if God should think it meet; and they who are justified in Christ, were as verily punished in him, and as verily fulfilled the law in him, “as they sinned in Adam.” {Rom.5:15-19} Thus, when God pardons a sinner, and justifies him in Christ, he in no wise makes void the law; seeing we have fulfilled it in Christ our Head unto far better purpose than if we had undergone the curse by ourselves without him. 3. This is the truth of the legal shadows. The law was given by Moses, but truth came by Jesus Christ, who is the end of the law for righteousness unto every one that believeth. {Hebrews – chapter 9 & 10} And in this truth the promises of God are Yea and Amen; for it is either the accomplishment, or the foundation of the accomplishment of them all. {I Pet.1:11,12} 4. This truth concerning Christ delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification is that wherein the stamp of divine authority on Scripture revelation is chiefly manifest. All the parts of this revelation depend on this, and are connected with it; so that, take away this truth out of the gospel, it will be another gospel, and the whole doctrine of the prophets and apostles will be utterly made of none effect, as to eternal life and salvation. That faith whereby we believe Scripture revelation, is faith in the blood of the Son of God; and by this faith we receive the whole Scripture revelation, which does all, from beginning to end, one way or other relate unto this. And this is the great touchstone for the trial of true and false doctrine. {See Heb.13:7-10, Eph.4:13-15} “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed.” {II Jn.1:10} 5. This truth, witnessed unto in the gospel, is that by which the power of God is put forth in the salvation of sinners, and to subject them to himself in his kingdom. {Lk.1:77, Gal.3:2, Rom.1:16,17, I Cor.1:18,23,24, Col.1:13,14} It was by the revelation of Christ’s righteousness in the gospel, that Christ’s kingdom was at first set up and advanced in the world; and it was by the revival of this great truth, after it had been buried under Antichrist’s reign, that the Lord began to consume that wicked one at the Reformation. Luther said, “this article reigns in my heart, and with this the church stands or falls.” Without this great truth, all other means for promoting or defending the kingdom of Christ will be altogether ineffectual; yea, on the contrary, serve to advance the kingdom of Satan. The strength of Christ’s kingdom, and its safety, lies all in this truth; so that they who would advance this kingdom in the world, must bear it about with them in their hearts, in all their preaching, and in all their conversation in the ministry. And truly this would be a spring of daily refreshment to themselves, and of great liberty and boldness in all the labour of the gospel ministry, and in all the sufferings that attend it. 6. To the same purpose also we might consider the name whereby Christ is called among the subjects of his kingdom, “the Lord our Righteousness;” and that great motto of the church whereby it is distinguished from all other societies; “in those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely; and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The Lord our Righteousness.” {Jer.33:16} Thus we see the connection between the kingdom of Christ and his Priesthood. This King is Melchisedec, King of Righteousness, and a priest on his throne; and the influence of his priesthood on his kingdom is set before us. {Psal.2:8, 100:1-7} All the glory of Christ’s kingdom follows upon and flows from his sufferings; and they never served him in his kingdom, whatever they may pretend, that did not first submit unto his righteousness. We have had some account of that truth by which our Lord here describes his subjects. Now, it concerns those that would know if they have any part in this kingdom of Christ to understand well what it is to be “of this truth.” There is an expression, which seems to have a near alliance with this, and may serve to clear it; “Ye were the servants of sin; but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you;” {Rom.6:17;} or, more agreeably to the original language, “that type, or frame, or mould of doctrine, into which ye were delivered.” The doctrine here pointed to by the Apostle seems to be the same with that truth of which our Lord speaks, even the gospel of Christ; as it “reveals the righteousness of God from faith to faith,” that the justified may live by faith; and manifests the righteousness of God without the law, “which is witnessed by the law and the prophets.” {Rom.3:20,21} Of this great doctrine the Apostle had been treating in the foregoing part of the epistle; and in this chapter he is showing the connection between justification and sanctification, and declaring the influence that this blessed doctrine of justification has upon sinners to sanctify them; {to separate them unto Christ, and bind them together in the unity of the doctrine of Christ;} and this in opposition to a common objection, and an error into which men are very ready to fall, who have not a true insight into the doctrine of God’s glorious free grace in the justification of guilty sinners through the righteousness of Christ alone. To this purpose he had said that “sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law, but under grace;” {Rom.6:14;} and here he tells them to whom he writes, that “they were the servants of sin;” but it was matter of thankfulness to God, that they were delivered from that slavery; and by what means were they delivered from the bondage of sin and made servants of righteousness? He tells it was by that doctrine. Yet the bare outward revelation, and their hearing and having a notion of that doctrine, as they had of other doctrines they heard, was not sufficient unto this. “Ye have obeyed,” says he, “from the heart that mould of doctrine into which ye were cast;” and so being freed from the service of sin, they became servants of righteousness. That blessed doctrine was as a mould unto their hearts, into which they being cast and new framed, became answerable unto it; and so were freed from the yoke of sin, and fitted unto the service of righteousness. Thus the Apostle expresses the work of regeneration, and our union with Christ, by means of the doctrine of justification by the free grace of God, “through the redemption that is in Christ’s blood;” and so he shows the influence that this doctrine has upon our sanctification; as he does further. {Rom.7:4-6} And by this we may see what it is to be “of the truth.” To be of this truth, is to be, as it were, cast into it as in a mould, and framed according to it; “that form of doctrine whereunto ye were delivered.” They in whose minds and hearts this truth is engrafted, and who are begotten and born again of this incorruptible seed, are “of the truth;” and these are they whose souls are cast into the mould of the Gospel-revelation of righteousness in Christ, “who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” {Rom.4:25} So then, whosoever is verily persuaded of this truth that Christ bears witness unto, and that upon the credit of his testimony, and the evidence that it carries in itself, is of this truth; and this faith or belief is the fruit of the soul’s being cast into the mould of that doctrine, without which no obedience can be given unto it. They that are of the truth obey it from the heart, for they love it. As this testimony of Christ is received by faith, whereby we set to our seal that God is true, having the witness in ourselves; so there is the greatest good proposed in this truth to be embraced by us. “He hath showed thee, O man, what is good.” {Mic.6:8} “Eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.” {Is.55:2} This is the proper object of love; as faith respects the truth witnessed unto, so love respects the good in this truth. This love is an immediate effect of grace, flowing from true faith; and is never, nor can ever be separated from it. We read of some professors of the truth perishing because they received not the love of the truth, and this is made an evidence of their not believing it. {II Thes.2:10-13} This love acts upon Christ in this truth in a way of esteem, valuing him above all things, and counting all things besides him, all things that stand in competition with him, “loss and dung.” Thus they that truly find Christ, are with him, as the wise merchant with the pearl of great price, which when he hath found it, selling all to buy that pearl. Christ is indeed precious to all them that believe, and that to such a degree, that he is their only glory. The subjects of Christ’s kingdom are “everyone that is of the truth;” and these things are imported in this: By this truth Christ’s subjects are all distinguished and differenced from all others, howsoever agreeing with them in other things, and however related to them, and bound together with them by many other ties. The church stands distinguished from all other societies, as has been noticed, bearing this motto, “the Lord our Righteousness.” This truth lies at the bottom of all that division and enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, and of all that hatred of the men of this world at the subjects of Christ’s kingdom; for whatever fair pretenses the world may make for this hatred, yet our Lord tells us the true cause of it, when he says that, “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” {Jn.17:14} The men of this world may love Christ’s subjects on account of other things common to them with the world appearing about them; but as they appear to be of this truth, and keep the testimony of Jesus Christ, they cannot love them; neither do they hate them for those same things that they find with others who are not of this truth, in whom yet they take pleasure. However we be joined with the people of Christ, if we be not with them in this, we are none of Christ’s subjects, nor have we any part in the kingdom of Christ. And all separations from the world, that flow not from this truth, are none of that controversy which the Lord hath established in the earth between the seed of the woman and the serpent, and are not separations from the world, but divisions in it. In this truth all Christ’s subjects are one, however otherwise differenced. They are of different nations, different stations in the world, and of different parties in the world; they have different measures of gifts and grace, different measures of light, whence differences of opinion and practice will be found among them, and they are liable to error in many cases while they are in this world; so that uniformity, in all these things, which some of them may judge very necessary, is not to be expected here; but herein they are all one, they are every one of this truth. This is that unity of the faith wherein all the members of the body of Christ, even the babes not very skillful in the word of righteousness, are everyone according to their measure, growing up into him. “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” {Eph.4:13} Thus they are united by Christ’s word, according to his prayer to the Father, that they may be one. “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” {Jn.17:20,21} They are more closely joined together in this truth, than they can be by any other means whatsoever; and it is of more force to unite them than anything can be to divide them; so that it is impossible for any difference to break this union. Here is Christ their peace, on whom all their iniquities met; and his righteousness, which is unto them all, and upon them all without difference, and is the foundation of one and the same hope unto them all. {Is.53:6, Rom.3:22, Gal.4:5-7, 5:5} His blood, his cross, whereby the enmity is slain, and they all reconciled to God in one body. By this truth they are all made to drink into one Spirit, which they receive through the hearing of faith, and are all related to God as their Father, “and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ,” their one Lord Redeemer; and in being of this truth, they are all united to Christ in it, as fellow-members of that one and same body whereof he is the Head; and though the members be many ways differenced, yet there is but one body, wherein all the members are growing up in this unity of the faith, and knowledge of the Son of God. Ought they not therefore to “endeavour to keep the unity of spirit in this bond of peace, forbearing one another in love,” as to other differences? Should any party of them rise up to oblige all others to uniformity with them in matters of difference, and so to establish another bond of peace, to the dividing of the body of Christ, which yet must remain united in this bond in spite of all differences? Or dare we exclude from the privileges of Christ’s kingdom, and reject from our church-communion, the least of them that are of this truth, because they follow not with us in our uniformity; and this after the only Lord of the church has declared that, “to this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.” {Jn.18:37} John Glas {Testimony of the King of Martyrs, 1729}

Posted September 29, 2013

{Selection of the Week}

Suretyship-Righteousness of Christ - Proposition: This Righteousness is the Righteousness of Christ, and not our own. So the Apostle useth those Expressions setting our own righteousness in opposition to this Righteousness, {Phil.3:9,} though there be a sense wherein this Righteousness may be said to be ours. When I say it is the Righteousness of Christ, I mean, it is the Righteousness whereof Christ is the original, first and native Subject; it is the Righteousness which he brought in, as the word is, {Dan.9:24,} a phrase taken from the Old Testament Ordinance wherein it was commanded that the Priest should carry the Blood of the Sacrifice which was shed at the Altar of Brass without the Tabernacle, into the Holy of Holies, and there present it unto God. And this Righteousness of Christ is justly called the Righteousness of God, both because it is a Righteousness of God’s ordaining and providing, or devising, as the word is, speaking of this very thing, {II Sam.14:14,} and also because Christ, whose it is primitively and originally, is by Nature God over all blessed forever. And I think the Apostle delights to set forth this Righteousness by that Epithet, that it is God’s, and of God, the more to commend it to our Consciences and Hearts, as that which beyond all comparison is to be preferred before, and rather chosen by us to stand in, than that righteousness which may, in a sense, be called our own; that is that which the Lord in conforming us unto Christ by his effectual Word & Spirit works within us; or wrought out by us, in works well pleasing unto the Lord through and in Christ by his Grace. But this Righteousness of Christ as it is called the Righteousness of God in another sense, and on another ground than our own righteousness can be said to be God’s, or of him; so this phrase is used of it for this end, namely to denote such a transcendent Excellency in it, that in comparison of, and in competition with this Righteousness, the righteousness of Men and Angels is to be despised and abhorred by us. And, it is that Righteousness in which we stand justified freely by Grace; and it is that Righteousness which contains a price of Redemption, and which hath Propitiation or Atonement in it, and whereof the Blood of Christ is a part; all which are true of the Righteousness of Christ and of no other. Proposition: This Righteousness of Christ is the Mediatory Righteousness of Christ; namely, that Righteousness which he as Mediator doth bring in for us and present unto God, and therefore in which he acts as Mediator between God and us. I mention this because I would set by and seclude the Essential Righteousness of Christ, from being any part of this Righteousness. By his Essential Righteousness, I mean that perfection of the Divine Nature which we commonly do also call Holiness and Justice; and this belongs to Christ as he is God co-equal with the Father and the Holy Ghost, being one of the blessed Perfections of the Divine Essence. But this Righteousness cannot be said to be upon us, for then we might be said to be justified by the Righteousness of the Father and of the Holy Ghost, as we are by the Righteousness of Christ. Atonement or Reconciliation with God is not made for us by this Essential Righteousness of Christ, nor is it brought in before God for us, nor are we said to have it, nor do we stand accepted in it, nor is it imputed to us, all which the Scripture speaks of this Righteousness of Christ in the Text. I conclude therefore, it not being the Essential Righteousness of Christ as God, it is his Mediatorial Righteousness, that Righteousness which Christ as Mediator, and by Virtue of his being clothed with that Office, doth bring in before God for us. Christ doth administer his Kingly-Office in Righteousness; he gives Righteous Laws and Ordinances, and Executes Righteous Judgments, and administers all the Affairs of the World and of his Church most Righteously. {Isa.32:1} He is a King that reigns in righteousness. {Psal.145:17} All his ways are holy and all his judgments just. {Rev.15:3, 16:5,6} The Judgments which he executes on his Enemies, and for his People, are Holy and Just, and he is True and Righteous in executing of them. But this Righteousness of Christ in his Administering his Prophetical and Kingly Offices is not the Righteousness which here in the Text is said to be upon us. For in his Prophetical and Kingly Administration he acts from God towards us, but in bringing in this Righteousness which is upon us, and wherein we stand justified, he acts towards God for us, which is the proper work of his Priestly-Office, as the Apostle expressly declares and asserts. {Heb.5:1, 8:3} Proposition: Among the performances of Christ as a Priest, this Righteousness is his Sponsory, Fide-jussory, or Suretyship Righteousness, viz., that Righteousness, which as our Surety, he was obliged to bring in for us, and did so. I do thus bring down and confine this Righteousness of Christ which is upon us, unto his Suretyship-Righteousness, {which is somewhat narrower than the whole of Christ’s performances as a Priest} because there are some things which Christ did as a Priest, which yet cannot be said to be any part of this righteousness which is upon us. As for instance, Christ doth intercede, and in his so doing he fulfills the Law of his Priestly Office; for it was Typified by the Priests offering up Incense, and by his bearing the Names of the Twelve Tribes on his Shoulders, and on his Breast-plate. But the Intercession of Christ cannot be said to be any part of this righteousness which is here said to be upon us. Though it be of precious and effectual avail for us, and doth procure all our saving Mercies, yet it is not imputed to us; it is no part of his Suretyship-Righteousness which he hath brought in for us before God. Proposition: This Suretyship-Righteousness of Christ is his perfect Conformity to the Law in all that which the Justice of God did by virtue thereof demand in behalf of the Elect from Christ as their Surety; that they might not only in a way of Grace, but in a way of Justice, be brought to that Eternal Blessedness and Glory whereto God in his infinite love had appointed them. The ground of Christ’s bringing in this righteousness, is his being our Surety; so he is made by God the Father, and by his own undertaking; in that Covenant between God and him was he constituted a Surety. So he is called expressly, {Heb.7:22,} and the thing wherein Suretyship doth consist is abundantly affirmed of him in the Scripture. He who is obliged to pay another’s Debt, or any part of it, is properly and in strictness his Surety. Now so it is between Christ and us, he was obliged to pay our Debt, and hath done it accordingly. His name was put in, into the original bond, in which we by the Law and Covenant of our creation were bound. Herein as God hath in his Infinite Love and Grace consulted well for us, so he hath acted according to his own blessed Supremacy, and adorable Wisdom, without even the least impeachment of his Justice or his Truth in his Law. For though the Law name only us, and do directly, firstly and immediately bind us as the principal Debtors, yet God in substituting his Son to be our Surety, doth not in the least recede from his own Truth, or from the equity and justice of the Law. For as in Contracts between man and man, the end and intendment is that the debt be paid, whether by the original Debtor himself who contracted it, or by another for him, it is all one as to the rights of the Creditor, they are justly preserved and provided for either way. So it is here; the highest end and main intendment of the Law is the preserving and securing unto God the honor of his Supremacy, Wisdom, Holiness and Justice; and this is not departed from but provided for and pursued {and that with much advantage unto God’s glory as well as our good} in his constituting Christ our Surety. And therefore in God’s calling Christ unto the work of bringing in this righteousness for us, he doth neither revoke nor make void the Law, nor recede from his own immutable Truth and Holiness shining in it, but establishes it, as the Apostle declares. {Rom.3:25,26,31} Proposition: The end of this Suretyship-Righteousness of Christ is, with reference to us, that we might; and its attainment is that we must and shall be brought in a way wherein Justice as well as Grace is glorified unto that blessedness to which God in his Infinite Love hath fore-appointed us. Hence it appears that Electing Love is not the effect or fruit of this righteousness, but is indeed the cause and spring of it. Election is not procured by it, but the bringing in of this righteousness for us is ordained by the Electing Love of God to us; so the Scripture speak. {Jn.3:16, I Jn.4:9,10} God in his electing us, appointed us unto a higher bliss and glory than was proposed to the first Adam in his Covenant or than he could ever have brought his Seed unto. He was of the Earth Earthly, Christ is the Lord from Heaven, {I Cor.15,} and the Elect are appointed to be married to the Son of God, made members of him, and co-heirs with him, and to be Sons of God, as in Christ their Head, to whom they are predestinated to be conformed in their Dignities and Privileges, as well as in their qualities, spiritual Principles, and the frame of their Hearts. {Rom.8:29} They are to judge the World, yea, to judge Angels at the great day, {I Cor.6:2,3,} and in the meantime while they are here they are to be served and ministered unto by them. {Heb.1:14} And at last there will be a day when the love wherewith the Father hath loved Christ shall appear to be in them, and Christ in them, and the World shall know that the Father hath loved them as he hath loved Christ. {Jn.17:23,26} These are things higher than Adam or his Covenant would have brought them unto. Yet unto these things must they be brought in a way wherein not only Grace but Justice also shall shine forth and be glorified. And therefore God in setting a Crown of Glory on their heads exerts his Justice as well as his Grace, his Righteousness as well as his Mercy, {II Tim.4:8,} it is a Crown of Righteousness given by the Lord the Righteous Judge. And as in our being glorified, the righteousness of God is exerted and shineth forth, so it is likewise in our being justified, {I Jn.1:9, Rom.3:25,26,} and indeed throughout the whole of our Salvation, he is a just God and a Saviour. {Isa.45:21} Hence appears the necessity of this Suretyship-Righteousness of Christ. It must be provided and brought in that God may be Just in showing Mercy, and appear Righteous in extending Grace unto us, and saving us with that great Salvation, to which he hath appointed us. For it is the unchangeable Constitution of the unchangeable God, to glorify the one Attribute as well as the other, Justice as well as Grace in our Salvation. Proposition: Of this Suretyship-Righteousness of Christ there are two parts, without either of which, it would not be complete and perfect, and would not serve our turn; and the reason thereof is, because Christ being our Surety, is thereby under an Obligation to pay our Debt, and we owe a double Debt unto the Law; viz. a Debt of Satisfaction, by suffering the penalty, as transgressing guilty Creatures, and a Debt of Service and Obedience to the Precept of the Law. Hence there are two parts of Christ's Suretyship-Righteousness. This is that which the Apostle saith, and on which he puts so much Remark and Emphasis. {I Jn.5:6} This is he who came by water and by blood, Jesus the Christ, not in water only, but in water and in blood. The Language and Phrases are Levitical, and we conceive the meaning of them thus. The first Adam came by Water, in a Spotless Cleanness, and Purity, as to all that the Precept required of him; but Jesus Christ came not by Water only, not only in such Purity and Cleanness as fully answered all the Demands of the Precept of the Law; but he came by Blood also, {which neither Adam nor Angels did,} Jesus Christ the Son of God came in a way of satisfactory Sufferings to Expiate and make Atonement for the Sins against the Precept which we were guilty of; this he did by his Blood. The reason is that he was made our Surety! Proposition: His subjection to and suffering of the penalty of the Law. This is commonly called the Passive Obedience or Righteousness of Christ, because it consists in his Suffering the penalty or curse of the Law. The Scripture calls it the Blood of Christ, {Eph.1:7,} and the Death of Christ, {Rom.5:10,} under that eminent part including and intending the whole of his Sufferings. And also Christ's being made Sin, {II Cor.5:21,} and being made a Curse. {Gal.3:13} The ground and reason of this Suffering of Christ under the Curse of the Law is because our Guilt, our Sins were upon him, and thence he suffered in our stead for them. {Isa.53:5,6} God the Father with his own consent put upon him the Garments of us Sinners, and then awaked his Sword against him, even the Sword of his Revenging Justice, and ran him through, and poured out his Blood as if he had been guilty. {Zech.13:7} The end of it with reference to God is the restoring to him the Honor of his Authority and Supremacy over us, and of his other perfections which shine forth in the Law, which we by disobeying him had robbed him of. {Psal.69:4} With reference to us, the end and attainment of it is reconciling us to God. {Rom.5:10} Thence Christ is said to reconcile us, and make peace between God and us by the blood of his Cross. {Eph.2:14-16, Col.1:20,21} The necessity of this part of Christ's Suretyship-Righteousness being brought in for us, ariseth partly from the glorious Holiness and Justice of God’s Nature, whence he cannot but maintain his own Supremacy, and the Rational Creatures Moral dependence on, and subjection to himself; which being violated by Sin, can no way be restored but by satisfaction, nor satisfaction be made, but by the suffering of Punishment; and partly from the veracity of God in his threatening, wherein he hath in Wisdom and Justice established a connection between Sin and Death, and made the latter to be the wages of the former. {Gen.2:17, Deut.27:26} Insomuch as in regard of the Sanction of the Law, that of the Apostle, {Heb.9:22,} takes place, and holds true, without blood there is no remission. Proposition: His subjection to, and fulfilling the precept of the Law is also a part of Christ's Suretyship-Righteousness. This is commonly called Christ's active obedience, and by the Apostle his Obedience, {Rom.5:19,} viz., obedience not only in Suffering, but Obedience to the precept of the Law; as Adam’s Disobedience, to which it is there opposed was a violation of the precept. By Christ it is called his fulfilling all righteousness, {Mt.3:15,} and his doing the will of God. {Psal.40:8, Heb.10:7,9} The reason and ground of Christ’s obligation to bring in this part of righteousness for us, is, because he is our Surety and we owe this Debt to the Law of God. And there is a necessity of it, because God will magnify his Law, and make it Honorable in his being well pleased in Christ with us for his righteousness sake. {Isa.42:21} And because it is the unchangeable constitution of God that all the saving Good and Blessing which shall be given us, shall be given not only from Free Grace, but by the hand of Justice, and in the way of being purchased for us by a just price. Thence, as in the former part of Christ's Suretyship-Righteousness, God's vindictive justice appeared and was glorified, so in this part of it his remunerative justice shines forth and is exerted. For by this part of Christ's righteousness he hath obtained for us in a way of purchase or merit, by paying down a just price, Salvation and Eternal Life. {Heb.9:14, Eph.1:14} Proposition: This righteousness itself is upon Believers by the free and gracious gift and imputation of God. The Holy Ghost useth both these expressions in this matter. You read of the Gift of Righteousness, {Rom.5:17,} and of the Imputation of Righteousness. {Rom.4:6,11} With respect to us it is wholly free and gracious, for those to whom it is given and imputed do no more deserve it than those who never shall be interested in it. Though with respect to Christ it is just and equal that it should be imputed to us; in as much as he did bring it in for us, and that under an Expectation and Assurance built upon God the Father’s Covenant with him, that it should be accepted, and of avail for us, and given and reckoned to us. By being imputed, I mean that it is looked on by God as belonging to us, in order to our being judicially dealt withal according to the merit thereof. To deny that Christ’s Suretyship-Righteousness itself is imputed to us, is to fall in with the Socinians, and the very thing which they contend for. And indeed the thing is plain, that in our being justified, either this Righteousness of Christ itself, or a Righteousness of our own must be imputed to us. For there cannot be Justification without the Imputation of a Righteousness, any more than there can be Condemnation without the Imputation of a Crime; and besides, the Scripture speaks so much of Imputation in the Business of Justification, that I know not any who would be called Christians that have denied Imputation in that matter. And thence it is, that those, who have either out of Darkness, or out of Hatred against standing in the Righteousness of Christ denied the Imputation of that very Righteousness itself unto us, have all of them substituted another righteousness, even a righteousness of our own for us to stand in before God, and be justified in. Proposition: This gratuitous Imputation is valid and effectual to constitute Believers righteous. So the Apostle tells us most expressly. {Rom.5:19} As by one man’s disobedience many were made Sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. The word which the Apostle there useth, and is rendered ‘made,’ signifies constituted, and points to Imputation, as the way how we are made Righteous. And besides, he tells us it is in the same manner, as we are constituted Sinners by Adam’s disobedience, so in like manner we were made Righteous by Christ's Obedience. But the former, namely our being made Sinners is by the Imputation to us of Adam's disobedience, by it Judgment was, or Criminalness came upon all Men to Condemnation, as ver.16 & ver.18, and therefore by the free gift and gracious Imputation of this Righteousness of the Second Adam doth Justification, even Justification unto life come upon us. Such a validity and efficacy there is in God’s Gift and Imputation, that by this Righteousness of Christ it being imputed to them, Believers have a Title and Right to pardon, to the Favor of God, to Adoption, and to Eternal Life. On account of this Righteousness being thus made theirs, it is, as I conceive, that they are said to be Worthy, {Rev.3:4,} to walk with Christ in white; worthy of Joyful Communion with Christ, not in themselves, but as in him, and having his Righteousness upon them, in whom they are made the Righteousness of God. Of this mind was the Apostle Paul, when with so much vehemence and patheticalness he renounces his own Righteousness, and shuns standing in it for Justification unto Life, {Phil.3:9,} as dross that was of no worth, as loss that would undo him, yea, as dung which would defile him, and render him abhorred. This he speaks of his own Righteousness, and thus his heart stood affected towards it in the business of his Justification. Bellarmine {Robert Bellarmine, 1542 - 1621, an Italian Jesuit and a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church,} indeed would have Paul there by his own Righteousness, to mean nothing but his own hypocrisy or formality, and is so very angry with Chemnitz, {Martin Chemnitz, 1522 –1586, a second-generation Lutheran theologian, reformer, and confessor,} for interpreting Paul's own Righteousness there, and the {all things} which he renounces as comprising them under his Grace of Sanctification, and his new Obedience, that he charges him for it with blasphemy. And indeed 'tis no wonder, if depreciating and crying down a Man’s own Righteousness be resented as Blasphemy by a proud Cardinal, a haughty Jesuit and blind Papist. But the Light and Pregnancy of the Apostles Expressions are so strong and clear, that it is somewhat surprising, that any pretending to be a Protestant should lick up that Popish Self-justifying vomit. Grotius indeed goes the same way; and I learn by Mr. Rutherford, {in his Covenant of Life Opened,} that Arminians and Socinians do so too; but I do not reckon them among Protestants. But vain man would be wise, though he be born like the wild Asses Colt. There is in us an obstinate adherence to our own Righteousness, and a desperate loathness to forego it, and be beaten off utterly from it. And thence, if we see we cannot have anything of our own before Conversion to bring us into a justified State, yet we struggle as for Life, that somewhat of our own, something done by us, or inhering in us, may some way or other be our Justifying Righteousness, or a part of it, may have some hand in continuing us in that Estate, though it could do nothing to bring us into it. But doubtless David’s heart was under the conduct of the Blessed Spirit of Wisdom and Grace, when he resolved to make mention of the Righteousness of God, and of it only, for his acceptance, as well as to walk in the strength of the Lord God, for his Assistance. {Psal.71:16} Arminians will have Faith to be a condition, as that the foresight thereof moves the Will of God as a Judge to give us the reward of Life. And another among us asserts that all the benefits of the Covenant of Grace {among which surely Justification, Adoption, the Righteousness of Christ being upon us, and our being united to him, are none of the least} are rewards given. Another, who speaks clearly and less covertly, saith expressly, that God justifies and saves none but for their believing. And another who searched and saw as far as either of them, and speaks out, saith plainly, that we are Pardoned, Justified and Adopted to Eternal Life as a reward to Believers for their Faith and Obedience; and withal tells us in the same Book, that Reward and Merit are Relatives, so as that wherever there is Reward following, there Merit went before, and that there is no Reward, but it is a Reward of Merit. 'Tis true indeed, he will have the Merit of our repenting and believing, but a subordinate Merit, and Christ's the principal. But what is this better than the old Popish Notion that Christ Merited that we might Merit, and we Merit in the virtue of his Blood, and by God’s Grace? And indeed he expressly owns this Tenet of theirs. But surely this is another Gospel, that we are pardoned, justified, adopted, and vested in the Privileges of the New Covenant Estate as a reward of or for our believing, repenting, or new obedience; and a Doctrine grosser than many Learned Papists hold, as great Merit-mongers as they are; for they insist upon it as one condition requisite unto Merit, that the Person Meriting the Reward must first be in a State of Grace and Favor with God; and therefore Justification and Adoption cannot be Merited by us, nor are conferred upon us as a reward of anything that we do. Yea, methinks it is a very pernicious and Soul-destroying Error, if there be or ever have been any such in the World. For if a Man’s Heart be influenced by it, and molded according to it in all his treating with God and applications to him for pardon of Sin, and Justification and adoption, he is wholly led aside quite off from the way of the Gospel, and it is utterly impossible he should ever truly believe. For Faith receives and looks for Union to Christ, interest in this Righteousness of his, Pardon of Sin, Justification and Adoption, not as a reward for or of anything that we do, but merely of Free Grace, and wholly for the sake of Christ and his Righteousness. Proposition: This free, effectual, valid, abiding imputation of this righteousness unto Believers is such that they are thereby constituted as righteous as Christ is righteous as their Surety. When I say they are by its being upon them made as Righteous as Christ is Righteous, as he is their Surety, I mean it not in a way of Similitude only, but in a way of Equality. I am well aware that this is looked on as a monstrous absurdity and horrid impossibility by Papists and others, who contend against the Imputation of the Righteousness of Christ unto us at all; and no wonder, for Christ and his Righteousness are a stumbling stone and rock of offence to many in Israel; it was so of old, {Rom.9:32,33,} and it will be to as long as that word, {I Pet.2:8,} stands firm, that there are many in the World who are appointed to stumble at that stumbling stone. But we must not forego a truth so certain, so clear, so comfortable, though all the Unbelievers in the World stumble and quarrel at it. It is a clear and certain Truth that believers by the Imputation of it to them are as righteous as Christ is Righteous as their Surety. For as he is perfectly righteous, having fully paid their Debt and being fully discharged, so are they in him. There is no condemnation to them no, not one. {Rom.8:1} Their sins though in themselves as Scarlet, red as Crimson, are yet made as Snow and white as Wool. {Isa.1:18} Their Iniquities though sought for, yet are as if they were not, and though searched for, yet shall not be found. So perfect and full is God’s pardon, so complete is God's justifying of them. {Jer.50:20} There is none can condemn them, there is none can lay anything to the charge of those Elect of God. {Rom.8:33,34} They do stand before the Throne of God without fault, {Rev.14:5,} for they are made the Righteousness of God in Christ, {II Cor.5:21,} then which no higher, no more full or emphatical Expressions are anywhere used of Christ's being righteous as their Surety, nor can be readily invented. Moreover those very words which the Holy Ghost useth by the Prophet with reference to Christ's acquittal and righteousness, as the Surety of Believers, {Isa.50:7-9,} viz. that he shall not be confounded, that he shall not be ashamed, that he is justified; that there is none that shall condemn him; these very words doth the same Spirit by the Apostle use, and that in the same sense concerning the discharge and righteousness of Believers, through this righteousness of Christ’s being upon them, namely, that they shall not be ashamed, and that they shall not be confounded, that they are justified, and that there is none that shall condemn them. {Rom.10:11, I Pet.2:6, Rom.8:33,34} Indeed the thing is so obvious and plain, that the Original Debtor is as clear and free as his Surety is, considered as his Surety, when the Debt is paid and that Payment accepted for, and adjudged to the Original Debtor by the Creditor; that I see not what can possibly cause any to doubt of Believers being as righteous as Christ is, considered as their Surety, if he be not influenced by a secret disbelief of our being constituted Righteous by this Suretyship-Righteousness of Christ being upon us, and imputed to us, or by a loathness of heart to stand justified in it only, and a desire to stand righteous in some righteousness or other of his own. And it is but too manifest that this lies at the bottom with many who exclaim against it as an impossible thing, and a monstrous paradox. Proposition: This Doctrine shows you the reason and spring of that precious acceptance and sweet communion with God which Believers are admitted into and do enjoy; and also of their humble rejoicings, and gloryings, and triumphings before God; notwithstanding their guiltiness and vileness in themselves by their many and great sinnings against him, and notwithstanding their abasing Convictions, and heart-wounding, heart-breaking sense thereof. Though they were afar off, yet they are made nigh, {Eph.2:13,} and they have boldness and access with confidence unto the Father. {Eph.3:12} Now if you ask whence is this, and how comes it to pass that God deals with them in a way of such marvelous Grace, this Doctrine tells you, the righteousness of Christ is upon them. Moreover, the hearts of Believers are sometimes raised up unto, and filled with enlarged rejoicing, humble glorying and triumphing, and that before God, and so the Apostle declares. {Rom.5:2,3,11} We rejoice or glory in hope of the glory of God, and not only so, but we glory in tribulations also; and he comes over with that word ‘again,’ {vs.11,} saying, and not only so, but we glory in God; 'tis the same word in the Greek in all the three Verses, though differently rendered in our Translation. How do they thus glory in God? It is through Jesus Christ, who hath brought in this righteousness for them, and by whose Death they were when Enemies reconciled to God, and by whom they have received the Atonement; {that is, the Reconciliation.} They do glory before God in him only, in whom they are, and who is of God made righteousness unto them, {I Cor.1:30,31,} and in the unchangeableness of the Love of God towards them in Christ, they do triumph even while they have before their eyes their own guiltiness in themselves, and how much matter for Eternal condemnation there is in them; for it is upon Christ's not being spared or abated anything but being delivered up and dying, and God's justifying {all which plainly speak them in themselves obnoxious to condemnation, and worthy of Death} upon these things it is that the Apostle bottoms that challenge, and raiseth that triumphant persuasion, and Song of assurance which he there uttered in the Name of all Believers. {Rom.8:32-39} Believers have given them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, and they do greatly rejoice in the Lord, even in the Lord. Whence is it then and how comes it to pass that Believers are made even in the view of their own endless sin and guiltiness yet to triumph and rejoice with Joy unspeakable and full of Glory! It is hence, God hath clothed them with the Garments of Salvation, he hath covered them with the Robe of Righteousness, as the Prophet, speaks. {Isa.61:10} This righteousness of Christ is upon them, and thence they have the consolations of God, delighting their Souls, and abounding in them. Conclusion: It may be that some or other who do believe these things to be blessed and glorious Truths may think it had been better not to have spoken them out. I must crave leave in this to dissent from them; I do not think that in such a Subject we should at such a time be mealy-mouthed. Had Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Zanchy, and others of the first Reformers been as faint and complying in their expressions, as some very great and good men then were; and as Peter Martyr himself for some time was, the precious truths of God had been greatly obscured, and the Light thereof not propagated down to us, as it is at this day. Nathaniel Mather Preacher of the Gospel, 1694    

Biographical Information

Nathaniel Mather {1631 – 1697} was an Independent Minister, and the second son of Richard Mather; born in Lancashire, on 20th March 1631. In 1635 his father took him to New England, where he graduated M.A. at Harvard College in 1647. He finished his studies in England, probably returning with his brother Samuel in 1650. In 1656 he was presented by the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell to the sequestered vicarage of Barnstaple, Devonshire, in which the vicar, Martin Blake {1593–1673,} was reinstated at the Restoration. At the Restoration, he lost all his preferments; and, retiring to Holland, became pastor of the English congregation at Rotterdam. Upon the death of his brother, Mr. Samuel Mather, in 1671, he went over to Ireland, and succeeded him as pastor of a congregation at New Row, Dublin, where he continued several years. In 1688, the year of the English Revolution, he left Ireland, and moved back to England, to take the pastoral charge of a large congregation in Lime Street, London, vacant by the death of John Collins. {1632–1687} Mr. Mather was likewise chosen one of the Merchants' lecturers at Pinners'-Hall. Several sermons which he delivered in his turn at that lecture were afterwards printed. At length, after a diligent and faithful discharge of his ministerial duties, for the space of forty-seven years, he died on 26 July 1697, and was buried at Bunhill Fields, London. Works: 1. The Righteousness of God through Faith, etc., Oxford, 1694, {his first lectures at Pinners' Hall.} Posthumous works: 2. The Lawfulness of a Pastor’s acting in other Churches, etc., 1698. 3. Twenty-three select Sermons … at Pinners’ Hall, etc., 1701.

Posted September 30, 2013

Biographical Information regarding Robert Sandeman Completely Revised.


Home Page

                 Index of Authors                

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