C H R I S T
A fountain of life and comfort,
Declaring that the whole work
of man's salvation was accomplished by
upon the cross, in that He took away and healed all His, from all sins, and
them to God holy without fault in His sight. And the Objections against this are
Answered, for the consolation of such as believe, that they may not ascribe
that which is proper to Christ's Priestly Office, to their believing.
John 19:28,30. Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scriptures might be fulfilled; he said it is finished, and he bowed his head and gave up the ghost.
Col. 1:22. In the body of his flesh through death, to make you holy and unblamable, and without fault in his sight.
Rom. 5:9. Being justified by his blood.
Cant. 4:7. Thou art all fair my love, there is no spot in thee.
Printed by M.S. and are to be sold by Hannah Allen at the sign of the Crown
in Popes-head-Alley, and George Whitington at the Anchor near the
WHO LOVE THE LORD JESUS
IN SINCERITY AND TRUTH,
(Heirs of the Purchased Possession in Christ Jesus) Who
has loved us and washed away our sins in His own blood.
Grace and Peace be multiplied.
Dearly beloved brethren, these are the last times wherein iniquity abounds and the love of many waxes cold, so as we are ready to misconstrue and take all things in the worst part from God or man, for lack of love. The times are perilous. I cannot but desire you before I go hence, that you keep yourselves pure from the error of the wicked, and from Idols and to love one another, and that you may the better do it:
1. Keep to and hold fast the wholesome Pattern of sound words which are expressed in the Holy Scriptures, 1 Tim. 6:3 and 6. For if you come once to forsake the words and expressions of Christ, you will quickly lose the Truth of Christ and receive error instead of Truth. I cannot but believe when the Apostle condemns preaching Christ in wisdom of words, 1 Cor. 2:17, 8:24, He mainly strikes at holding out the Truth in strange and curious words which tend to render man excellent, a man of great parts and incomes, falsely also flurts with the fleshly banners of the bearers; and to pass their understandings, as Circumlocution Intrinsicall etc. Which is no other to the common people then a strange Language, which they understand not. Also to take heed, that you deny not the truth of the Letter of the Scriptures, (as the manner of some is) nor so to rest in the letter, as to come short of the sense and meaning of it. If the first be admitted we may burn the Bible, for if it be not true, what shall we do with it? If some of it be false, why not the rest also? And then who can tell what is truth? And so we venture our souls upon uncertainties. This is dishonorable to Christ and uncomfortable. It is to be abhorred by all, and is the only way to bring in and defend all errors; on the other side, if we affirm that the mind of God is so expressed in the letter, in so many words as he that can read may see it, is to deny any Interpretation of Scripture, and to deny them to be a Mystery: But without controversy great is the Mystery of Godliness, and he that observes the variety of expressions in Scripture concerning one thing, may well confess that unless the Holy Spirit reveal to us the deep things of God. we cannot know them. Therefore, take great heed that you receive not any thing for truth unless for the substance if it, it clearly appear in the Scriptures which is to be our Rule both for Doctrine, and manners.
Some place justification to be only in the conscience. But we place it only in Christ where it is, and to Whom it belongs. Justification consists in taking away of sin. None but Christ can do that. Justification and acceptation are one. For without justification there is no acceptation. And seeing we are accepted in Christ, we are justified in Him. If our justification be a spiritual blessing, (as it is) then it is in Christ where all spiritual blessings are, "Blessed be God, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ," Eph. 1:3. Where our redemption and righteousness are, there is our justification. Righteousness and justification are one. This we have not in our selves but in Christ, "who is made unto us of God, wisdom and righteousness," 1 Cor. 1:30. "In whom we have redemption," Col. 1:14. Our justification is a part of our completeness. Therefore, where we are complete there we are justified. But we are not complete in our selves, but in Him Col. 2:10. If all things on which depends our happiness were accomplished, John 19:28, then was our justification also. For without that no man could be saved.
This mystery of Christ is a great mystery. Oh meditate and dive as deep as you are able into this mystery. The benefit will be great and sweet. The more I am exercised herein, the more I see into it and enjoy justification by Christ alone, and more clearly see our believing cannot justify us. Yet I deny not but the power to believe is from the Spirit, Who is the life of motion in faith. The life of faith is the life of Christ as I have treated elsewhere; what faith is, and what it does, and wherein it differs from presumption, etc. God hath given faith in His to know, assent and believe the Truth, Heb. 11:3, Acts 28:24. This encourages us to go to God for all we need, Acts 26:18. This enables us to suffer for Christ, Heb. 11. This enables us to conquer enemies, Eph. 6:16. It makes our afflictions easy to bear. It enables us to obey, Rom. 15. It helps us to cleave to God, Acts 11:23, and to His word, Psal. 119:30, 31. This helps us to hope in His mercy, Psal. 147:11. Faith causes us to depend upon Jesus Christ alone for life and salvation. What more necessary and useful in this life than faith? There is a light in faith, and as our blind eyes and dark understandings are enlightened, Eph. 1:18 and 5:13. So, accordingly, we are filled with the fullness of God, Eph. 5:19.
Fullness of knowledge is that perfection we are to press after, Phil. 3:12,17; Col. 2:2, 4:12. This sight shows us our justification to be in Christ alone. And the seeking of a further measure of knowledge is a seeking to be justified, Gal. 2:17. Because this knowledge is that which justifies our Conscience.
Also we confess that he that believes not has no knowledge of any justification. All who are without faith are visibly in a perishing state. There is not the least appearance to the contrary. No man may apply salvation to such as believe not. Nor may they apply any to themselves. Such as believe not have no enjoyment of God, no true peace, no evidence of life, noright to Baptism, or the Supper. They cannotsee the mystery of the Truth. He cannot honor God nor love the truth, nor suffer for it.
Yet faith cannot satisfy justice nor merit the pardon of the least sin. Only Christ can do that. And that exposition that gives most glory to Christ and least to man, I believe is the truth. This is that which occasioned me to write at this time. For since my Book entitled the Saints Desire has been published, I have received several Objections against what I have written in page 147. Namely, that we are justified by Christ alone and not by our believing. Some affirm the contrary. Their Reasons with an answer I here present to your considerations because I am persuaded I have written the truth, and that the contrary opinion is dishonorable to our Lord Jesus Christ, in that they ascribe not their justification to Him alone, but to something else, namely, their believing.
You know this Doctrine I contend for is the Doctrine of Grace. In the knowledge whereof you find sweetness, because the work of your salvation is finished by Christ, Whose works are all perfect. This glads your hearts and keeps your souls from fainting,. This removes all objections that otherwise would discourage us. This is the fountain that cannot be drawn dry that ever flows with sweet and strong consolation and is full of Spirit and life where our souls may drink freely at all times and be refreshed with this marrow and fatness that all is finished.
My desire is, that they into whose hands this shall come, would consider seriously what I have written and know that no man is to be believed upon his bare word. Therefore, search the Scriptures whether these things be so or no. If any thing I have written be not according to them, then let that go. My whole scope and aim in these few lines, is to prove that we are justified by Christ alone. He is our justification. And that we are not justified by any thing that is in us.
2. That faith or any thing in us is not a cause, means, or condition, required to partake of the Covenant of Grace, justification or salvation, but only fruits and effects of the Covenant.
3. That the elect were ever in the love of God, and did ever so appear to Him as just and righteous in and by Christ. We have known and believed the love that God has to us. God is love, and he that dwells in love, dwells in God and God in him. The God of love so unite all the hearts of His people to His truth and one unto another, that so we may walk in the truth, and live and die in love.
Your fellow servant and brother in the
Fellowship of the Saints, who keep
the commandments of God,
and the faith of Jesus.
THE HOLY SPOUSE OF JESUS CHRIST,
Subject to Him in the Obedience of the Gospel.
Grace and Peace be multiplied.
Dearly beloved brethren;
As there is nothing that frail man is more liable to than to mistake in the things of God and call darkness light and light darkness, so that by how much the more spiritual any Truth is, by so much the more men are apt to fall short of the knowledge of the glory of it and to intermingle with it something of their own as that which may make it commendable and beautiful in their eyes. That which this final ensuing Treaty speaks of, namely, Justification by Christ Alone, suffers from this above all others. Without having respect either to any thing in the creature, or done by the creature, this favoring so much of pure grace in respect of the love of God, and that Covenant which lies between Christ and God, as that poor creature, man, knows not how to own or receive it. Truly, it must be no less nor no other power put forth by God to cause the soul to be believe this, than was put forth in raising up Christ from the dead, Eph. 1:18.
Truly amongst those who are the beloved ones of our Lord Jesus, who have a like share and interest in Him as their life and peace, there is an aptness in men to miscarry in the knowledge of this rich grace of God. Some being apt to conceive that there is no Justification of a creature in no sense before and without faith, and so make Faith a joint-partner with Christ in the business of Justification. For, indeed, this is to me a certain truth, that whatsoever gives a being to a thing must needs be a part of that thing which it gives being to, and therefore, if there be no Justification in no sense considered, but as it has respect to faith. It is much to be feared, that that opinion claimed a great share of that glory which is peculiar to Christ Jesus alone. That the Scripture holds forth justification by faith in a sense is very clear, but yet under no other consideration, but by way of evidence, Heb. 11:1, 2. As it respects the taking away of sin from off the Conscience: For indeed the debt is paid by the blood of Christ alone, and we are therefore said to be justified by His blood, Rom. 5:9. For indeed, as Christ Jesus our Lord has paid the debt, "The Lord having laid upon him the iniquities of us all," so does He declare this satisfaction and acceptation of us in Christ by faith. Faith is the eye of the understanding whereby the soul comes to see the great things which God the Father has prepared for them who love Him.
Beloved, these are the last times wherein it behooves you to beg with much earnestness, strength from the Lord that He may put straight steps to your feet so that you may walk to His praise, exalting Him alone as your life and glory. This was the main end of the Author presenting these few lines to your consideration. Wherefore, read it carefully and noble Berean-like, "try all things, and hold fast that which is good." It shall be his desire, who desires nothing more in this world than your growth in the knowledge of Christ Jesus, and your walking as the children of the light, that the God of all grace may cause all grace to abound in you to His own glory: So prays he.
That is yours in the Lord, in all services of duty and love.
JUSTIFICATION BY CHRIST ALONE
These words contain the virtue, fruit, and effectuallness of Christ's death, and the benefit, privilege and happiness of the sons of God by it.
In these words we are to consider:
1. The persons whose sins Christ washed away, and they were all those who were given to Christ, John 17:29.
2. Who is He that washed their sins away, and that is, the Lord Jesus Christ, verse 5.
3. How and by what means He washed them away, and that was with His blood.
It is ascribed to His blood, because, "Without blood there is no remission," Heb. 9:22.
Did Christ's blood, as blood, simply so considered, effect this work?
No, there is something else included in it. As appears, "The blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God," Heb. 9:14. "The Word was God," "the word took flesh," John 1:14.
Christ, Who is God, by taking flesh, united the Elect by His flesh to Himself, and so they became one with God as God and Christ are one, John 17:22, 23. So that the flesh of Christ, which was the life and substance of all, (in an unspeakable manner) became one with the perfection of the Divine and Infinite Being, which lay hid under, "This veil that is to say His flesh," Heb. 10:20.
So that by the power of His Divine Nature, He might make satisfaction in and by the human. By reason of this union there was an infinite value and worth in Christ's blood. Therefore, it is called, "The precious blood of Christ," 1 Pet. 1:19. Yea theblood of God, Acts 20:28. So that we may not know Christ simply after the flesh, but in the flesh and in the Spirit together, 2 Cor. 5:16.
4. The time when He washed their sins away, which was then when He shed His blood. For in His blood they were washed away. Christ's blood and their sins went away together.
5. The ground and cause why He took their sins away was His love which was in Himself, nothing in us or done by us could move Him to die for us.
The sum of all is, that Jesus Christ, by once offering the Sacrifice of Himself when He was upon the cross, took away, put to an end, blotted out and utterly destroyed all the sins of His people for ever, and presented them just, righteous and holy, without spot, before God.
This will appear to be true if you consider these several Reasons which are proved by plain Scriptures.
1. Because that was the time in which Christ was to do this work. "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon the holy City, to finish the transgressions, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and Prophecy, and to anoint the most holy. And after threescore and two weeks shall the Messiah be cut off but not for himself. And he shall confirm the Covenant with many," etc. Dan. 9:24-27. Which time was at an end when Christ died. Therefore, it is said, "The year of my Redeemed is come," Isa. 63:4. Yea, "the hour is come" saith Christ, John 17:1.
2. Because, Christ was ordained of God to take away sins and to present us holy, "Who verily was fore ordained to redeem us with his precious blood," 1 Pet. 1:19, 20. "For he hath made him to be sin for us that knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him:" 2 Cor. 5:21. "Who of God is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption," 1 Cor. 1:30.
3. Because Christ was mighty to save. Therefore, He did do this work Himself alone: "Who is this that cometh from Edom with dyed garments from Bozrah? that is glorious in his apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. I have trodden the wine-press alone, and of the people there was none with me: I looked, and there was none to help; therefore my own arm brought salvation unto me," Isa. 63. So that Christ did all this work alone, for none else could help. "Then thou spakest in a vision to thy holy One, and said, I have laid help upon one that is mighty," Psal. 89:19.
4. Because Christ took flesh on purpose to effect this work: "Wherefore when he came into the world, he said; Sacrifice and offerings thou wouldst not; but a body thou hast prepared for me? in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hadst no pleasure," Heb. 10.
5. Because it was the will of God that Christ should, by the shedding of His blood, sanctify His, "by the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus once for all," Heb. 10:5-11.
6. Because Jesus Christ came on purpose to take away our sins, etc. "Then said I, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God," Heb. 10. "He was manifested to take away our sins, andin him is no sin," 1 John 3:5. "Once in the end of the world hath he appeared to take away sin by the sacrifice of himself." Heb. 9:12, 25, 26, 28.
7. Because Jesus Christ was made a "curse for us," and suffered all the punishment due to us for sin: "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us," Gal. 3:13. "Surely he hath born our griefs, and carried our sorrows: we did esteem him stricken, and smitten of God, and afflicted. He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him: the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He bare the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors," Isa. 53.
8. Because the Scriptures say He has obtained eternal redemption for us: "Having obtained eternal redemption" for us, Heb. 9. "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins," Col. 1:7; Col. 1:14. "Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world," John 1:29. And that he has healed us, "By whose stripes we are healed," Isa. 53. "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body, by whose stripes we are healed," 1 Pet. 2:24.
9. Because it was the promise of God that His work should prosper, and that He should justify many by bearing their sins: "When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. I have put my Spirit upon him, he shall bring forth judgments to the Gentiles. He shall not fail, nor be discouraged, till he hath set judgments on the earth:" Isa. 42:1-4, etc. See Isa. 55:11. "My righteous servant shall justify many: for he shall bear their iniquity," Isa. 53:11. Were these promises fulfilled concerning Christ, or no? Surely yea. Then He has justified His.
10. Because else Christ had not answered the types under the Law.
Adam was a type of Christ, who was a public person as Christ was. As truly the first Adam, by one act, made all that were in him sinners, which was true enough; so really and truly did Christ, the second Adam, by His own act, viz. the sacrifice of Himself, He make all that were in Him, righteous. That this is as true see Rom. 5:12-19 and "as by one man we were made sinners, so by the obedience of one many are made righteous." As by the first Adam condemnation came, so by the righteousness of one came upon all unto justification of life.
The Priest was a type of Christ, who is said to "make atonementfor you, to cleanse you from all your sins before the Lord," Lev. 16:30. Christ, by His death, did present all His people to God without spot, or blemish, or wrinkle, Eph. 5:25-27. "In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy, and unreproveable in his sight,"Col. 1:22. So then I hope they are free from all sin, if the Scripture says truth, as it does.
The live goat was a type of Christ, upon whose "head all the transgressions of the children were laid, who did bear them, and carry them away into a land not inhabited in the wilderness," Lev. 16:21, 22. "Which were shadows of things to come, but the body isChrist," Col. 2:17.
11. Because Christ did exceed all the Priests and sacrifices under the Law. For "they could not make the comers thereunto perfect." But Christ, the substance of those sacrifices, has made His perfect. If those sacrifices could have purged them, as Christ has purged us, they should have "no more conscience of sin" than we have, that is, none at all, because we are for ever fully and freely set free, being perfected: Heb. 10:10, 11, 12, 14. The "Priest under the Law" made many offerings, and yet by all their offerings they could never take away one sin: but Christ, by one offering, has taken away all their sins for ever. "The Priests stood daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifice which could never take away sin, but this man after he had offered one sacrifice, for ever sat down at the right hand of God," Heb. 9:9-15. Oh what a difference is there betwixt them! Christ has wonderfully exceeded them. Therefore, this Priest and this offering are more glorious and happy. Yea, and all the elect are made happy by this perfect, effectual, glorious offering, Heb. 10.
12. Because there needs to be no more offerings for sin. Therefore, sin is quite gone and remitted. "Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin:" Heb. 10:17, 18, because there needs to be none. For this offering of Christ is sufficient.
13. Because there can be no more required to be done to make us just and righteous than Christ has done for us. He has done all that He was required to do to take away sin. Therefore, He has done it. "Jesus knowing that all things were accomplished, that the Scriptures might be fulfilled," John 19:28, 30; 2 Cor. 5:21.
14. Because if Christ had not fully accomplished what He came to do, viz. to make us just and righteous, He would not have ascended into heaven as He did: "This man after he had offered one sacrifice, sat down at the right hand of God," Heb. 9 and 10:12.
15. Because the Scripture says, "We are justified by his blood,"Rom. 5:9; Isa. 45:25 and 53:11; Rom. 5:19. Which could not be true, if He had not taken away and destroyed all our sins, and "presented us to God without spot, and made peace by the blood of his Cross, now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy, and unblameable, and unreprovable in his sight," Col. 1:20-22. For this end "Christ gave himself for his Church, that he might present it to himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it might be holy without blemish," Eph. 5. Therefore, the Scriptures say, all our sins are removed, cast behind His back: "Thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back," Isa 38:17. "They were cast into the depth of the Sea," Mich. 7:19. "As far as the East is from the West, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us," Psal. 103:12. This is something, but this is not all, they are covered: "Whose sin is covered," Psal. 32:1. Yet the soul is not satisfied, because a thing may have a being that is covered; therefore God says they are blotted out, "I have blotted out as a thick cloud thy transgressions, and as a cloud thy sin," Isa. 44:22. This is more, for now they are not, they have no being. But God can remember that which is not, this is answered, for God says, "I will not remember thy sins," Isa. 43:25. "I will remember their sins no more:" Jer. 31:34. I hope now you are satisfied.
16. Because the elect are holy and without spot. Therefore, Christ says of His, "Thou art all fair, my love, there is no spot in thee," Song 4:7. "My love, my fair one:" Song 2:10. "They are without fault before the throne of God," Rev. 14:5. Now this could not have been, if Christ had not in the body of His flesh, through death, made them so holy, and presented them so to God, Col. 1:21,23; Eph. 5.
17. Because Christ says that we are without sin. We "may have boldness in the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world," 1 John 4:17. How is Christ, I pray, sure He is without sin, for so say the Scriptures: "In him is no sin," 1 John 3:5; Heb. 9:28. Thus we are now, as we are in Christ in respect of His righteousness, which is ours though it be in Him. I say this, our perfection and happiness, is in respect of our justification, and as we are in Christ. For, as we are in our selves simply so considered, though we were never out of Christ, in our bodies in the flesh, we are not capable of so great a perfection in this life. For the Apostle says, "If any man saith he hath no sin, he is a liar, and deceives himself," 1 John 1:8,9. But those Scriptures are all true. Therefore, we are all fair, without fault and spot. We are so as we are in Christ. So, we were made all this by Christ when He died. And seeing it must be true also that we have sin, and do sin, that is, as we are in our flesh in our bodies, and seeing we are so notwithstanding conversion and faith, therefore, our believing, etc., has not made us so perfect. Therefore, Christ upon His cross, made us so, and so presented us to God, Col. 1:20, 22.
18. Because Christ did all that was needful to be done to make us perfect, and present us holy. For what can be more required to the justification of a sinner before God than to be free from all sin? Is not he that is no sinner a righteous person? Must not he that is free from all sin, of necessity, appear just to Him that knows he is so as God does? It is all one to be free from sin and to be perfectly righteous. 1 Cor. 5:21; 1 John 1:7. There is no medium betwixt them: "By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many: for he shall bear their iniquities." So that His bearing their iniquity was that which did justify them; and by His knowledge He knew whose sins He bore, viz. whom He justified, Isa. 53:11.
19. Christ, upon the cross, did this work for us, because the Scripture says, "He hath washed away our sins in his own blood," Rev. 5:1. Therefore, they are done away. To say that they are not done away is to contradict God in His Word. It is very dishonorable to Jesus Christ that He should be "manifested to take away our sins," 1 John 3:5, that Christ should come "to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins," etc., Dan. 9:24; 2 Cor. 5:21, and yet this work is still to do. What is this but to say, Christ came not to do it, or if He came to do it, He did not do it. For He did it not, if it be still to do.
20. Because Christ says this work is finished, therefore it is so. For He is the "faithful and true witness." Therefore, we may believe it and affirm it is done. "These words spake Jesus, I have glorified thee on earth: I have finished the work thou gavest me to do. Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished (that the Scripture might be fulfilled) saith, I thirst. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost," John 19:28, 30 and 17:1-5. The work God gave Christ to do was the work of our salvation, which consisted in taking and destroying our sins, and presenting us holy, without spot to God. This He did by being "made sin for us, this so we might be made (by his being made sin for us) the righteousness of God in him," 2 Cor. 5:21.
Therefore, if when Christ died was the time this was to be done, and if Christ was ordained to do it, if Christ was mighty to save, if Christ took flesh to do this work, if it was the will of God that he should do it, ifChrist came on purpose to do it, if our sins were laid upon Christ and He suffered the punishment the curse of them, if He has redeemed us, if it was prophesied of Him that He should justify many and that His work should prosper, if Christ did answer His types, if He has exceeded all the Priests and sacrifices under the Law; if there needs no more offerings for sin; if Christ has done all the Law required, ifChrist has done what He came to do, ifwe are justified by His blood, if He has made us holy, and presented us without spot, if we are free from all sin, ifChrist has done all that can be done to make us just and righteous, ifChrist did wash away our sins in His own blood, ifChrist has said, "It is finished;" then it's done, it's done, it's done, perfectly and completelydone. Then what I have said is fully proved namely, that Jesus Christ, by once offering, the sacrifice of Himself, when He was on the Cross, put an end to sin and so destroyed all the sins of His people for ever and presented them just, righteous, and holy, without spot, etc. before God, Col. 1:13,14,21; Col. 2:13,14.
Oh, what a fountain of consolation here! What marrow and fatness is here. What sweetness if like to this, to all who believe? Who now may say, once sin was mine, then it was laid upon Christ and now they are neither mine nor His because they are not at all: For by His blood He washed them all away; and now they are all gone, blotted out, and shall be remembered no more, no more, no more. Now Christ's righteousness is mine, as well as His, for I was "made the righteousness of God in him," 2 Cor. 5:21. And I did nothing at all to procure these things to me.
In this appears free grace. Here is Christ, and Christ alone, and nothing but Christ. All things else pass away, because they are "under the Sun," Eccl. 1:2. They are full of mutation and change. Faith may be obscured and the soul greatly deserted, so as to see no light, Isa. 50:11, yet when at the worst, they need not be comfortless, John 14:18, for still God is their God, and their lives are hid with Christ in God, Col. 3:3, "Who is the same today, yesterday, and for ever:" Heb. 13:5. We change oft, but he "never changeth," Mal. 3:6. In this is our happiness, comfort, and glory. Even then when we cannot apprehend Him, yet were we in Him, Eph. 1:4. So we are, and ever shall be in Him and one with Him, and are comprehended of Him: 1 John 5:20. "Because I live," saith Christ, "ye shall live also," John 14:19. What Doctrine in Religion is more sweet and comfortable, more necessary or profitable, yea, or more honorable to the Lord Jesus Christ? This is that which holds forth the love of God, that sets the Crown upon His head, and will not give His glory to another, Isa. 42:8; Jer. 4:2. This will have Christ to be our life, Col. 3:4; peace, Eph. 1:14; glory, Isa. 45:25. This is that which thrusts us out of our selves, our life, our righteousness, Rom. 10:3; Tit. 3:5, to His, to live in Him, and caused us to say, "O Lord thou art our righteousness," Ezra 9:15, "The Lord our righteousness", which life is most sweet and serviceable because this is sure, and more spiritual. In a word, this makes Christ all in all, Col. 3:11, and exalts Him above all, which is His place, Psal. 89:19.
Surely that which is the life of our souls, upon which the eternal happiness of our souls depends, is not in any thing in us, but is Christ in him, 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Cor. 1:10. It lies in Him, so that it may be kept safe for us. So that we might not live upon any thing within us, faith is given that by it we may live out of our selves in another, even the Lord Jesus where our life is, Col. 3:3, 4.
Surely if our life and happiness had been infused in us, we should have lived in our selves and not upon God. Adam had his life in him and he lost it. Therefore, it's better for us that our life is hid in Christ in God, Col. 3:3, 4.
This is comfortable indeed. God says: "Comfort ye my people, speak comfortably unto her, tell her that her warfare is accomplished, and her iniquity is pardoned," etc., Isa. 40:1, 2.
This is good news from heaven indeed. This great work is finished. It is not now to do, neither for faith nor thee. Oh see that ye add not, nor detract from it. If thou be Christ's, it's thine. Apply it, take comfort in it. Admire God's love and His free grace. Give God all the glory of it. Give none of it to faith nor to anything else. Rejoice in God and thy union with Him. Witness to His truth and suffer for Him. Serve, love, live, and die with Him and His.
We were not justified by Christ upon the Cross, because Christ rose again for our justification, Rom. 4:24.
If Christ's resurrection did justify us, then it was not faith that justified us: and seeing the resurrection of Christ was before we were born, therefore before we believed.
Secondly, the resurrection of Christ did justify Him Who justified us, that is, visibly declare Him, and those in Him to be just. For the resurrection of Christ did wonderfully declare Him to be the Son of God, in that He had power to raise Himself from the dead by His infinite power, John 10:17,18.
Thirdly, Christ's resurrection did, and does declare us to be just who believe in Him, because we believe in Him Who is the Son of God. Also, Christ's resurrection does justify all them who declare Him to be the Son of God, that in so doing they witness to the truth, 1 Cor. 15:15.
But the Apostle says, if Christ had not risen, they had been in their sins: 1 Cor. 15:17, therefore Christ's blood did not take away their sins.
The Apostle's words are to be understood, it had been so, if Christ had not been the true Messias, the Son of God, He had not been He that could have taken away sin, if He had not risen, seeing the Prophets and Scriptures declare that the Christ, the Son of God, should not only be crucified, but also rise again the third day, Psal. 16:9,11 with Acts 2:25-32 and 26:22; 1 Cor. 15:14, He must "rise again the third day," John 18:32. "Thereforeit was not possible that Christ should be holden by death" Acts 2:24. Also Christ said, that He would "rise again the third day," Matt. 20:19 and 16:21. And if He had not risen, He had been a false witness and not He Who could take away sin. And, if so, they had been still in their sins and their faith vain, to believe a lie. This is the scope of the Apostle's words, 1 Cor. 15:17. But seeing Christ did rise again, He must needs be the Son of God, and the true Messias, declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness by the resurrection from the dead, Rom. 1:4. Because else He could not have raised Himself from the dead as He did. Therefore, it must follow, that seeing He did rise again, they were not in their sins because He had justified them in washing their sins away in his own blood, Rev. 1:5.
In as much as Christ's satisfaction was sufficient, it was impossible but it must be effectual, and could not be in vain. But it had been in vain, if notwithstanding the payment of that price, it had been still due, and we in our sins. What were they the better for to have their sins laid upon Christ, if notwithstanding they were still in their sins? Yea, and how were they laid upon Him, if they were never taken from us, and laid upon us again? How was all things accomplished, and finished, if our justification were not finished? All had done us no good.
If Christ's merits were not of greater merit than satisfaction for sin, and so our justification, how could we be said to enjoy sonship and glory by His satisfaction, seeing to forgive and pardon a traitor is one thing, and to confer glory and honor upon him is another? So that we may be said to be adopted and glorified by His merits, because all the grace and glory we shall enjoy is given for Christ's sake by virtue of His mediation and consequently by His merits, Eph. 1:5,6; Gal. 4:5; Luke 22:29; Eph. 2:14; and Col. 1. Although I see not that Christ's resurrection is a part of our justification, yet unless He had risen again, we should have been so far from enjoying everlasting life, that we must have lain in the grave, as appears, 1 Cor. 15:23.
Many contend, whether we be justified by Christ's active or passive obedience; all that Christ did for man's salvation was nothing else but obedience, as may appear, John 12:49 and 14:33, His dying also, John 10:18. "By the obedience of one, we are made righteous," Rom. 5:18,19. So long as anyone places and ascribes the whole work of man's salvation to God, and Christ, I am satisfied. I only exclude all created graces and qualifications in us to be any cause of our justification or salvation.
The work of man's salvation is not yet accomplished, because Christ in now speaking, and making intercession for us in heaven; for He does advocate to God for us, when we sin, therefore our sins are not fully pardoned, Heb. 7:25; 1 John 1:1,2.
These Scriptures hold forth to us (not that Christ speaks and so intercedes for us in heaven) the continuance, virtue, fruit, and efficaciousness of that sacrifice, Christ offered upon the Cross, that it does for ever remain in force, which makes much for the consolation of those who know they have interest in it. Compare Heb. 12:24 with Heb. 11:4. The ground and Reason why this must needs be the meaning is:
1. Because the Scriptures declare, that this work was fully done on the Cross, John 19:28,30; Heb. 10:14.
2. Because He is said to be set down, now sitting declares this work is fully done. Therefore, it is said that the Priest stands daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices and which can never take away sins. But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down at the right hand of God, Heb. 10, 11, 12.
3. There is none of this work now to do in heaven, because we need no speaking for us, seeing that by His stripes we are healed, Isa. 53:5; 1 Pet. 1:24. We have Christ's word for it. God from heaven has declared that He is well pleased (with us) in Christ, Matt. 3:17. And the Spirit has witnessed that "our sins shall be remembered no more," Heb. 10:17,18.
4. Because, if Christ should speak now for us with a voice, as some ignorantly say, it would follow that there is no perfection in heaven, no not in God, that Christ should need to speak words to God, that so He might know His mind, and so prevail, etc.
5. This calls in question the immutability of God, and makes Him changeable in that He did love us and elected us, give us Christ, yet now He is unsatisfied, is as one Who is changed and repents and is ready to destroy us for our sins, which is contrary to the Scripture, "I am the Lord, I change not," Mal. 3:6.
6. This implies that there is less love in the Father to us than there is in Christ, so as He stands in need to be prayed and beseeched to pardon, etc. But Christ needs none to pray Him, whereas if there were more in one than another, it would appear to be more in the Father, in that it speaks as if He had been the original fountain of love, in choosing us, and sending Christ to die for us. And yet we may not once think but the three are one, 1 John 5:7, alike equal in love, and whatsoever else ye can name, And the Father needs no more entreating to show mercy to us than Christ does, that is none at all. Also, as the Scripture declares, Christ died to reconcile us to God. But it is not said, that Christ (purchased love, or) reconciled God to us, which is worth the observing. More might be said, but I forbear.
If Christ's shedding His blood took away our sins, then before His blood was shed there was no sin taken away, and so they before Christ died did perish in their sins.
They who belonged to the election of grace before Christ came, were saved, and in the same way we are; "We believe that through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we shall be saved even as they," Acts 15:11.
2. If any thing but Christ could save them, why not us also? But salvation is in Christ, Acts 4:12.
3. Christ is said to be "the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world:" Rev. 13:8. Christ being appointed to die, "Who verily was ordained before the world," 1 Pet. 1:19,20. God looked upon Him as slain.
4. For the sins that were past before Christ had paid the price of them, God was content to trust Christ for payment and this is called God's forbearance, "to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past through the forbearance of God:" Rom. 3:25, as a debtor may be released by the sureties undertaking to pay it before actual payment be made. So it's here. But Christ, by His death, made actual payment for all the sins of His from the beginning to the end of the world. Therefore, God did accept of Christ's payment. So God "was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputingtheir trespasses unto them," 2 Cor. 5:19; Psal. 32:1,2.
Men's sins are not pardoned before they be committed.
1: All the sins of the elect, past, present, and to come, are pardoned by Christ. He died "once for all," Heb. 10:10, "for ever," v. 12. "For by one offering (they were destroyed) he hath perfected for ever them that are set apart," v. 14.
2. If it were not so, Christ must come and suffer again, or else we should perish in the unpardoned sin, for "without blood there is no remission," Heb. 9:22,26. There is no blood in faith; and if faith, or any thing else could pardon one sin, why not two, and why not all? And if so, Christ's death might have been spared.
3. Our faith ought to be of as large an extent as Christ's death is. Therefore, seeing the death of Christ was of so large an extent as to comprehend all sin past, present, and to come, so likewise by one act of our faith, we are to apprehend the pardon of them all past, present, and to come. So that we believe those sins we shall commit are as fully and freely pardoned as any sins we have committed. See Rom. 5:11-21.
Rom. 3:25 is brought against this. But by sins past there we are to understand those sins which were committed before Christ died, whereof some might doubt. Also, if Christ has not pardoned and done away all our sins to come, as well as the rest, tell me who shall take them away and destroy them?
This Doctrine opens a gap to licentious liberty.
1. We have the Scriptures to warrant this for truth.
Secondly, the contrary Doctrine to this is to be abhorred, in that it says, we are but partly justified, and are not "perfected for ever", which is contrary to Heb. 10:14.
Thirdly, none shall stumble and hurt themselves by this truth, but such as shall perish, and it's no matter for them. The children must have bread though dogs may snatch it.
Fourthly, the Apostle says, "If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ," 1 John 2:1. May not men cavil as well at this, and take encouragement to sin?
Lastly, they that are contrary to us herein, that say no sin is pardoned till after it be committed, do affirm and teach that all the sins of the elect shall all be pardoned. It is impossible for them to perish, no sin they can commit can separate them from the love of God, life and salvation. We say they are pardoned. They say they shall certainly be pardoned. If it be sure to be pardoned, a corrupt heart will be as bold to venture upon that principle as this.
If all our sins be pardoned, then we need not pray for pardon of them, as Matt. 6.
1. By pardon in Matt. 6, we are to understand the manifestation of pardon, the assurance and enjoyment of pardon in the conscience, the effect is here put for the cause.
2. It must be so understood, because there is no pardon but this now attainable, therefore not to be prayed for. For seeing Christ will die no more, "there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin," Heb. 10:26. It's in vain for any to pray for the pardon of the remission of that sin; which is not remitted before in Christ, Heb. 10:18; 2 Cor. 5:19.
3. There is that which attends the act of sin, which darkens, sads and clouds the soul's peace, (though it ought not so to do) which we are to pray to God to prevent or remove from us. David, when he was converted, did thus pray.
Unbelievers are still in their sins, and therefore they are not justified.
The elect are in their sins visibly, until they believe, and declare it by good works.
They have sin in them and they are free from sin. They are charged with sin, and yet they are free from all charge, Rom. 8:33, and clean from all sin. He does sin and he cannot sin. This is a mystery:. They have sin, 1 John 1:8,10; Ezek. 16:8, they are chargedwith sin, James 5:17; Gal. 2:11-14. Yet, they are free from sin, Isa. 53:5,6; 2 Cor. 5:21; Song 4:7; 1 John 4:17. "They cannot sin," 1 John 3:9.
This is a mystery when Christ said, "A little while, and ye shall see me, and a little while, ye shall not see me. They said, What is this that he saith? we cannot tell what it is that he saith," John 16:16-18. Shall, and shall not was a contradiction in their understandings: so will what I say be to many.
Men's sins are not forgiven till they be redeemed from a vain conversation.
Then no man's sins are forgiven though they believe, and so cannot enjoy forgiveness of sin in this life, seeing every act of sin is a branch, and so a part of a vain conversation, and "in many things we sin all." Then David, notwithstanding he was converted and enjoyed the pardon of his sins, Psal. 51:12, yet he was not delivered from a vain conversation, as appeared in the matter of Bathsheba, and Uriah. And, if our justification and remission of sin did depend upon our holy walking, then the Papists do well to teach justification by works.
All men are by nature children of wrath, and under the curse till they believe, Eph. 2:3.
I grant all the elect are so by nature, under a state of wrath and curse, and they had perished in it, had not Jesus Christ by His death redeemed them out of that state. And although they were so by nature, yet at the same time they were also sons of grace and love. By nature accursed, by grace in election sure to escape it, and blessed. By wrath, I understand is meant the curse of the Law, the punishment due to sin. By nature I understand the state of nature, viz.: the state and condition of man by reason of Adam's fall, for all men were considered in him, and by his fall he made them all sinners, Rom. 5:18. So, all the elect were considered in Christ, Who by His death, did free all the elect from this fall of sin and death; so as never since Christ's death, none of the elect were under that state of wrath or curse, nor indeed could possible be for these Reasons.
1) Because then "Christ redeemed them from under the Law," Gal. 4:4,5. "Thou hast redeemed us by thy blood," Rev. 5:9. "Christ was made under the Law," that we might be taken from under it. "We are the children of the free woman," Gal. 4:26,31. "We are delivered from the Law, wherein we were held:" Rom. 7:1, etc. "Now we know, that whatsoever the Law saith, it saith to them that are under the Law," Rom. 3:19. But we now are "not under the Law," therefore it has nothing to say to us, we "are under grace," Rom. 6:14.
2) Because Christ, by His death, put an end to the Law, the Law was not to last any longer then till Christ came; "The Law was added till the seed should come," Gal. 3:19. "Christ is the end of the Law:" Rom. 10:4. It was never in force against any of God's elect since Christ's death. "We are freed from the Law by the body of Christ," Rom. 7:4. Christ in "his flesh did abolish the Law of Commandments:" Eph. 2:15,16; Col. 2:13,14. "Now we are delivered from the Law," Rom. 7:6. "Against such there is no law:" Gal. 5:23. If the Son shall make you as free in your consciences, as the elect are free in Him, you shall see, and say you were free indeed, John 8.
3) Because the Law is dead to us, and we to it, "As a woman is freed from the law of her husband if he be dead:" so are we from the law. "Wherefore my brethren, we are become dead to the law by the body of Christ, that we should be married to another, even to him, that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter," Rom. 7:1-7. This new husband is better than the old. Welcome Christ, and farewell Law. Now we have nothing to do with the Law, nor the Law with us, "Our old man is crucified with him," Rom. 6:6. "He that is dead is freed from sin:" v.7. "We are dead with Christ," v.8.
4) Because there is none of Moses' law now in force, to the elect, with curses to be under, no law, no transgression, no curse, no penalty in force now. For when the Law ceased, the curse of the Law ceased also with it. The Law said "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them," Gal. 3:10, Deut. 27:10,26.
5) Because "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us, that the blessing of Christ might come upon us," Gal. 3:13,14. Christ has underwent all the curses, that all His chosen might not suffer any at all of it. And seeing none could be redeemed from the curse without His death, Christ did die. There shall none be saved, but such as were then redeemed by His death, for He will die no more, Heb. 9:25,26.
6) Because that liberty which the Saints stand in and enjoy when they believe, was not procured by their conversion and faith, etc., but by Christ upon the Cross. "Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free," Gal. 5;1. This liberty believers now enjoy, but it was purchased then by Christ's death. For then, we were perfected for ever, Heb. 10:14.
Yet until men be converted, they are visibly in a state of wrath and death.
7) We were never since in our sins, therefore the curse has no place, it has nothing to do with us, we have no sin, for "all our sins were laid upon Christ," as Isa. 53:6. "Christ was made sin for us," 2 Cor. 5:21, "and Curse for us," Gal. 3:13. He then "destroyed the power of death and the Devil for us," Heb. 2:14, or else we cannot be saved. Consider, Rom. 5:18 and 19, the head and the members, viz. Christ and all the Elect are but one, Heb. 2;11, they make but "one body, one Christ," 1 Cor. 12:12, therefore "we were crucified with Christ," Gal. 2:20, dead and "buried with Christ," Rom. 6 and "were quickened together with Christ," and "raised up together with Christ," Eph. 2:5,6, "we were without God afar off,and made nigh by the blood of Christ, the enmity was slain andreconciliation" was made "by the Cross," and by nothing else, Eph. 2:12-17. So that never since Christ's death, none of the Elect are under wrath or curse, for Christ has fulfilled the law for us.
Lo, this is the liberty of the Sons of God; (though none but Believers can know that they are Sons or elected). A Believer may triumph and say, "Blessed be God who has given us, victory by Jesus Christ; the law with the curse is dead, the visage of it terribly affright many. But I see it is without any life, therefore law I care not for thee, I fear thee not, do thy worst, thou hast no power to hurt me, I will not be justified by thee, I will not let thee come into my conscience to trouble me, I will not hear thee, nor have any thing to do with thee, no law, no curse, no Devil, no death, nor any thing else, cannot hurt me, nor any of the Elect, For we are not under the law, but under grace," Rom. 6:14.
It may be this light will offend some, for when the Sun breaks forth, and shines in its strength, it's an offense to weak eyes because they are not able to behold it. It's reported of the Eagle, that she can look upon the Sun, and she tries and rejects those to be her young, that cannot look on the Sun when it shines its strength. So none but Eagle-eyed Saints, can endure to look upon the Son of righteousness, thus shining in His glory. And as it is also observed, that the light of the Sun puts out the fire, and the light of the Candle, etc. as not enduring any light but itself: So it's here where this Son Jesus Christ comes, out goes all fire and candle light. Not a spark of our own fire remains, but all is in an instant put quite out, not one spark is left to warm or comfort us withal, Isa. 50:10. All our good works and righteousness is departed from us, but it is no matter, let them all go, because Christ is come: he is light and heat, and a better strength and comfort, we need no other light, now Christ is come and shines most powerfully and gloriously in his brightness without the help of any thing else, that so Christ may be all in all, Col. 3:11, 1 Cor. 15:28.
What then shall we sin, because we are not under the law but under grace? God forbid, Rom. 6:15.
When the Apostle had taught that we were redeemed from the law, and the law was abolished by Christ, and we were dead to the law, etc., it seems by the Apostle's words, that some did judge that He destroyed the law. Therefore, he says, "do we then make void the Law, God forbid, yea, we establish the law," Rom. 3:31. The law is "holy, just andgood." This was necessary to silence Cavilers, and also to inform such believers, who through mistake might think that they were lawless now and they might do any thing. This is a miserable mistake. All who believe are bound to observe the moral Law. Now we are dead to Moses' Law, but not to Christ's, "now we are married to another," Rom. 7:4, to Christ; we ought to be subject to him and obey his commands, and though we may not bear Moses, we must bear Christ, He has a yoke for our necks and we must put it on, and bear it, "Take my yoke upon you," Matt. 11:29. Christ gives the same law, to be a rule to all His to walk in, and obey Him in. Christ's Testament is His will, which is full of His commands.
I grant we have nothing to do as a cause or means of our acceptation, justification, or salvation, etc.. Yet we have much to do, for to honor and glorify God, and herein is my father glorified, that ye bring forth much fruit, John 15:8. And although there is no curse or wrath annexed to Christ's commands, (as there was to Moses' law, Gal. 3:10) to constrain us to keep the law, or to be inflicted upon us, when we fall and come short, yet know that the power of divine love sweetly and violently constrains a soul to obey Christ's words, "The grace of God that bringeth salvation, teacheth us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly and righteously and godly in this present world," Titus 2:11,12. Christ says "if any man love me, he will keep my words," John 14:23 and 15:16. See Eph. 2:10.
Therefore, if there be any who love sin, live in sin and take liberty to sin, live basely, in lasciviousness, or drunkenness, or uncleanness, or lying, or cheating, or in any sin, let them say what they will, they are Liars, 1 John 1:6, they mock themselves and others, let them consider, Gal. 5:13-23 and 6:5,7,8; Rom. 2:17, etc. and all men are to look upon them to be liars, yea, and the basest among men, who turn God's grace into wantonness. For as a man believes, so he obeys, and as a man's works are, so is his faith good or bad.
Where Christ comes, all old practices are done away, and all things become new, 2 Cor. 5:17. They cast not off the commands of God, but desire and endeavor with all their souls to obey them. Though we are not capable of perfection in our obedience, it is as natural that where the love of God has appeared, where it is in truth in the soul, as for fire to burn, there it constrains the soul to submit to Christ in obedience, and fire shall as soon cease to burn, as for such as are converted for to cease to live godly, and live wickedly.
The saints Christ's yoke easy, and a sweet mercy it is for them to observe it. It's good to do good and to cease to do evil as I have proved elsewhere. Christ says, "He came not to do His own will, but the will of Him Who sent Him", John 6:28,29, therefore far be it from us to think that we have liberty to do our own will, no, no, we must serve the Lord Christ, yet in visible appearance before they be called there is no difference.
Such as believe not cannot please God, Heb. 11:6, therefore they are not justified.
The Apostle speaks of actions that are done without faith as sinful, because the goodness of an action is required, that all the parts and circumstances of it be good also, whereof faith is one, and when that is wanting, the action is sinful, and condemned by God; therefore he says, By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent Sacrifice than Cain, Heb. 11:4.
But God hates all the workers of iniquity, Psal. 5, unbelievers are workers of iniquity, therefore God does not love them, and so they are not justified.
Then it seems that God's love and Grace, is to men according to their works, and as they deal with Him; this is the old principle of the Papists, and quite contrary to the Scriptures, as appears, Rom. 5:8-10, Psal. 103, and 130:3-8.
The Elect before their calling, and after, do many actions that are sinful, in which they are workers of iniquity, yet God was ever pleased with their persons in Christ, "in whom they were accepted."
God never hated the persons of those who belong to the election of grace, he loved them before the world began, so as to choose them, although he knew what they were, and what they would do: is he so changeable, as now to hate their persons when they sin, and afterwards to love them again when they believe; God says (otherwise) I have loved them with an everlasting love, therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee, Jer. 31:3. "I am the Lord, I change not, therefore the sons of Jacob are not consumed," Mal. 3:6. And to say that God did purpose to love them but He did not love them, is ridiculous. For God loved them as much before they believed, as he does when they believe, though it appears not.
Before conversion men are dead, and cannot believe till God give faith, Phil. 1:29. Is conversion and faith a fruit of hatred or love? If you say, of love, for so it is, then it will follow that God did love the elect when they did work iniquity, yea before they did believe, else he would not have given them faith; therefore those, Psal. 5:5, are such as belong not to the election of grace; for the next verse says, Thou shalt destroy them: v.6. But the elect shall never be destroyed; or else the Scripture is to be understood, that persons who live in sin appear to be such as shall be destroyed. Which I grant, and when they believe and forsake such ways, it appears otherwise, that even then when they were at the worst, they were in the love of God, and ordained to life. See 2 Tim. 1:9,10; Eph. 1:4; Acts 13:48.
All who do not believe are in a state of condemnation, yea they are condemned already, therefore they are not justified, Mark 16, John 3.
We are to understand these and the like Scriptures, to speak what men are according to visible appearance, and not what men are in respect of God's eternal decree and appointment. If it be said, the Word of God is the will and mind of God, I grant it according to the true sense and meaning of it, and if it be the will of God that they shall be damned, then I say they shall never be saved, because the Lord says, "Mycounsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasures," Isa. 46:10. See Acts 2:23, Heb. 6:17. Yea, and if they be "condemned already," there is no way to escape it. Also, seeing all who now believe, were sometimes unbelievers, and if it was the will of God then that they should be damned for their not believing for the Word says, "Whosoever believed not shall be damned," Mark 16:16, according to your exposition, God has or must change His will, or else all men must of necessity perish for their former unbelief. See Isa. 14:24.
2.The elect are not under the Law, but under grace: Rom. 6:14. Therefore the Law has nothing to do to sentence and curse them, they being in Christ, Eph. 1:4. There is no condemnation to them, Rom. 8:1,33.
The Scripture says, he shall redeem Israel, and he shall justify many; but they are not redeemed, nor justified until they believe, Psal. 130:8; Isa. 53:11.
We are to consider when these and the like places were written, which was before Christ died. From hence it is, that they are most commonly expressed in the future tense, He shall, and that not only in the Old Testament but also in the New, it is said, "He shall save his people from their sins." For as yet Christ was not born, as appears, Matt. 1:20, 21. But after Christ's death, the Scriptures speak in the present tense as done, because, indeed, He had actually done it. Therefore, it is said, "We (are) sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus," Heb. 10:10. "He hath offered one sacrifice for sins for ever," v. 12. "By one offering he (hath) perfected for ever," v. 14. "Having obtained eternal redemption for us," Heb. 9:12. "So he hath loved us, and washed away our sins in his own blood," Rev. 1:5. So that it is already done. It is not now to do.
Men are not justified until they are in Christ, and men are not in Christ until that they believe, for men are in Christ by faith. Andronicus was in Christ before Paul.
The Scripture says, that "Christ dwells in our hearts by faith," but where does it say, that we are in Christ by faith? The in being in Christ, in Eph. 1:4 is by election, and not by faith. The visible Church is called Christ, and those in the visible Church are said to be in Him. This is the being in Christ that is spoken of in John 15 as appears, v. 2-4. A contrary exposition enforces falling finally from grace. In this visible Church, one is in before another, as Andronicus was.
Also he being converted before Paul. He appeared to be in Christ before Paul did so appear. But, the being in Christ, Eph. 1:4, the elect are not in Him one before another and a third being in Christ we know not.
The Scripture does not say that any shall be saved but such as believe, therefore faith is essential to salvation.
No more do the Scripture say that any shall be saved but such as obeyhim: 2 Thes. 1:8, 9; Heb. 11:14, and 5:9; Prov. 28:18; Matt. 19:17, 23; John 14:23. Who can do this? It will follow by your reason that good works are absolutely necessary to salvation and perseverance to the knowledge of it, (because the Scripture says, "He that continues to the end shall be saved," Mark 13:3, as well as "he that believes shall be saved," John 3:16) and so when men have persevered to the end of their days they may know it.
Secondly, the Scripture declares unbelief to be a sin, and that the sins of the elect shall not deprive them of the love of God nor salvation, Psal. 89:28-39 with Rom. 8:33-39. What the Lord has purchased for His, they shall enjoy in His time because "he is faithful that hath promised it," Heb. 10:23. If "we believe not, yet he abideth faithful, he cannot deny himself:" as 2 Tim. 2:13. And if "not any thing shall separate them from the love of God," unbelief shall not, Rom. 8.
But God has decreed the means as well as the end, and faith is one of the means.
1.We grant God has decreed the end and the means, and whatsoever God has decreed shall unavoidably come to pass.
2. But we deny that faith is any means of our Redemption, Justification, or Salvation. Nothing but the Lord Jesus Christ is the means of our salvation.
3. There are means that are necessary to the revealing and enjoying the comfort of it, as the Holy Spirit, and as Ministers to reveal it, and faith to receive it.
4. Also there be fruits and effects of the love of God, and calling, etc., as faith, love, and our obedience to Christ, which all those who are the Lord's, prize in their place, yet these are no means of our salvation.
Faith makes us sons, for we are the sons of God by faith: Gal. 3:26. So that application of Christ, makes Him ours.
1. By faith we know our selves to be sons of God.
2. Faith makes us not sons, but predestination: Rom. 8:29. We were made the sons of God when we were predestinated, "Having predestinated us to the adoption of children," Eph. 1:5. By being given to Christ, we became sons, and brethren to Christ, John 17:6; Isa. 8:18; Heb. 2:13, we "were given to Christ" before Christ died. "In bringing many sons, unto glory through suffering," Heb. 2:10,11. "For he that is set apart, and theythat are set apart are one, for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.: So that adoption is acceptation of us in Christ; and our being Christ's makes us the seed, (sons) Gal. 3:29. Therefore, not our believing, for adoption is without and before our believing, Eph. 1:5, 6; Heb. 2:10. Adoption is before our redemption and comprehends all spiritual privileges, as redemption, reconciliation, justification, and glorification, Rom. 3:24 and 8:29, 30. The elect were sons before they believed; "Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts," Gal. 4:6, unless they could believe without the Spirit, Gal. 5:22. They were sons before they believed. Because they were sons, God sent them the Spirit of His Son so that by Him they might believe and know that they were sons, both then, and before they believed.
(Note: In the above statement we beg to differ on one point. We do not believe that adoption made us God's sons. We have always been God's sons in His Covenant, plan, purpose and mind. True, we are predestination unto the ADOPTION OF SONS, but not unto our eternal sonship. Adoption is a blessing which must come to the Elect because of their union with Jesus Christ. That means Christ was God's Son before His adoption. Did Chist's adoption make Him God's Son? If Christ were not adopted, then from Whom do we receive our adoption? Don't we have all things through our union and standing in Jesus Christ? Adoption is the manifestation and testimony of our Sonship as it concerns our PHYSICAL BODY!)
And to say they did not appear to be Sons until they believed, is true, but to say the Elect are not one with Christ and no sons until they believe, and that believing makes them sons, is to say our believing makes Christ ours. This we cannot assent to. For this is to set faith above Christ and makes our happiness to dependnot upon Christ, but upon faith, making faith give us our interest and union with Christ, so that unless we believe, Christ is not ours nor is He any puprose to us. So then Christ died for the sins of no man, or so died for men's sins, as He saved no man by His blood. And so Christ must die for us, but our faith must save us. Thus many make Christ a servant to wait and tend upon faith, and to be at the command of faith. This we may not bear.
The Place Of Faith In Justification
The Scripture says, we are justified by faith, Rom. 5:1.
How Faith is Put For Christ
1: The word Faith is diversely understood. Sometimes by faith is meant knowledge, Rom. 14:22. And sometimes faith is meant the doctrine of faith, Jude 3. So also for the profession of faith, Rom. 1:8. Thus, Simon Magus believed. Also, by faith we are to understand the power by which we believe, Gal. 5:22. Sometimes by the word faith, we are to understand Christ, Rom. 4:13; Gal. 3:16 with 19-23. Ten times at least in this chapter, the word Faith is put for Christ.
Also we are to consider, the Scripture speaks the same things of works that it speaks of faith: "He that believes shall be saved:" Mark 16:16. "He that walks uprightly shall be saved," Prov. 28:18. "If thou wilt sell all, and give it to the poor, and follow me, thou shalt have treasure in heaven." "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the Commandments," Matt. 19:17-23. "He that continues to the end shall be saved," Mark 13:3. "A man is justified by works, and not by faith only," Jam. 2:24. "Take heed unto thy self, and unto the doctrine: continue in them; for in doing thus, thou shalt save thy self, and them that hear thee," 1 Tim. 4:16. "What knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?" etc., 1 Cor. 7:16. So salvation is ascribed to faith: "And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven thee, thy faith hath saved thee," Luke 7:48-50. "We are saved by hope," Rom. 8:24. "Baptism saves us," 1 Pet. 3:21. Yet "Christ is he who saves His people from their sins," Matt. 1:21.
To Show Our Union With Him In His Faith Which Becomes Our Saving Faith
So the Scriptures do oft give that to faith which is proper to Christ, as
"we live by faith:" Gal. 2:20; "by Christ," John 6:57.
"We have remission of sins by faith," Acts 13:38, 39; "by Christ," Eph. 1:7, Col. 1:14.
"We are justified by faith," Rom. 3:28, Gal. 3:24; "by Christ," Isa. 53:11, Rom. 5:9.
"We have peace with God by faith," Rom. 5:1,2; "by Christ," Eph. 2:3 and 3:12.
"We are sanctified by faith," Acts 15:9; "by Christ," Heb. 10:14, 1 Cor. 1:30.
"We overcome the world by faith," 1 John 5:4,5; "by Christ," John 16:33, 1 Cor. 15:57.
"We are the sons of God by faith," Gal. 3:26; "by Christ," Eph. 1:5. We "have an heavenly inheritance byfaith," Acts 26:18; "by Christ," Gal. 4:7.
"We have eternal life by faith," John 3:16 and 5:24 and 6:47; "by Christ," 1 John 5:11,12.
"We are saved by faith," Eph. 2:8; "by Christ," Matt. 3:21, John 3:17.
These things are not proper to faith, but only to Jesus Christ alone.
Also the Scripture says, it's "God that justifieth:" Rom. 8:33 with 3:24. "Christ is said to justify:" Isa. 45:25 and 53:11, that we "are justified by his blood," Rom. 5:9 with Rom. 8:34,35. The Spirit of God is said to justify, 1 Cor. 6:11. "These three are one," 1 John 5:8.
The question then is, by which of these we are justified before God? We conceive that is only by Jesus Christ.
Our Reasons why we ascribe it to Christ alone are:
1. Because it promised of Christ, that He should justify many, Isa. 45:25 and 53:11.
2. Because when the Scripture expressions seem to contradict one another, those expressions that ascribe most to Christ are the clearest and nearest the center. The rest are to follow that point, and be interpreted by them. For the Scriptures are to be interpreted for Christ, and not against Him.
3. Because the whole voice of the Scripture being laid together, does wholly drive to set up, and exalt Jesus Christ alone, to acknowledge Him to be as He is all in all, Col. 3:11. Therefore, He is called, "The Author of salvation," Heb. 5:9, and the means of our salvation through His blood, Eph. 1:7, Col. 1:14; and Salvation itself, Isa. 49:6. If we should not ascribe our justification to God, to Christ alone, God could not be all in all, 1 Cor. 15:28; Col. 3:11.
4. Because all things else besides God are but means of our knowing and enjoying him that is the substance.
5. Because all that faith can do, is only to receive remission of sins, Acts 26:18. It cannot give remission of sins. Faith cannot satisfy justice nor merit pardon for the least sin, etc.
6. Because the Scripture says, "We are justified by his blood:" Rom. 5:9, etc. These and the like Reasons cause us to conceive that we are justified only by Christ alone.
Therefore, when the Scripture says we are justified by faith, by faith, we are to understand Christ: or else to understand it not properly, But in a large sense, not as if faith did justify us, but only Christ. For:
1. It is the language of the Scripture to give the names of things to that which is not the thing, but the similitude of it; thus the similitude of Samuel is called Samuel: 1 Sam. 28:14,15. And an Image is called a God: So the Priests' offerings are said to cleanse men from sin, Lev. 20:30, and yet they nor their offering did not take away sin.
2. So we may be said to be justified by faith, as well as we are said to be justified by our works, Jam. 2:24, because by it we are justified to men, and cannot be justified before men without faith and works. James 2:24.
3. Because faith has a relation and dependence on Christ, the one implies the other as a father implies a son; and a husband a wife, they are relatives. Faith looks only to Christ, and fixed in God: "That your faith and hope may be in God," 1 Pet. 1:20,21. Faith and Christ go together, where one is present, the other is present also.
4. Inasmuch as faith most honors God, and is all for God, and we enjoy the comfort of our justification through faith, Phil. 3:9; Rom. 5:1, it may have the name in as much as faith is an effect of justification. Now it is the manner of Scripture to put the effect for the cause, Rom. 9:33 with Isa. 28:16, for making haste in Isa. Paul says, shall not be ashamed. Shame and confusion being an effect that follows haste. So sinners are said to love death, because they love sin which is the cause, and death the effect. Some affirm faith does justify, because by faith we receive our justification, by the same reason the hand that receives a pardon from the Prince, it may be said his hand pardoned him, and why may he not as well say he pardoned himself, because his hand did receive it? I thought giving and receiving had been two things. And if faith may be said to justify, because it receives justification, sure it is in a very large sense. And seeing we, by the act of faith, receive justification, etc., then it's the acts of faith that justifies. Which yet some evade.
Secondly, our faith, that is to say, our believing cannot justify us, because it is not our righteousness. For not any thing can be our righteousness or justification unto us, but that which is made sin and curse for us, only Christ is both these to His: "He hath made him to be sin for us, Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us," Gal. 3:13. Therefore he "bare our sins, and was wounded for us, that he might bring us to God," 1 Pet. 1:18.
Nothing can justify us, but that which is our reconciliation, our righteousness and peace. Nothing can procure peace to us but that which justifies us and covers our iniquities that "separate us from God," Isa. 57 and 59:2. "For he is our peace, who hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us," Eph. 2:14, 15, 17. Can faith do these things for us? Surely not. Christ became our righteousness by His obedience. Or more strictly by His obedience to the death of the Cross: Col. 1:20, Eph. 2:16. God did ordain Him to be our righteousness, 1 Pet. 1:18-20, and therefore, we ought to look upon Christ to "be our righteousness," because God "hath made him" so: 1 Cor. 1:30, 2 Cor. 5:21. Nothing can redeem us, and set us free from bondage but Christ: Heb. 2:14, 15; Heb. 9:26, 28. Nothing can present us holy, and unblameable, but Christ: Col. 1:22. Therefore, Christ's Testament declares that all the parts of our redemption, justification, reconciliation, and salvation, are attributed to Christ's blood, to His death: Col. 1:20, Eph. 2:16, Heb. 9 and 10, and Rom. 5:9. The "slaying of our enmity," the destroying "our spiritual enemies," etc. is attributed to "His Cross." Therefore, the word of the Gospel is called the Word or preaching of the Cross, 1 Cor. 1:18, 23. The main and special thing the Apostle desired to know, and drove at in all his Preaching, was nothing else but "Jesus Christ and him crucified." And if the preaching of Christ in wisdom of words, the Cross of Christ might be made of no effect, 1 Cor. 1:17, much more do they make the death of Christ of no effect who will have any thing besides Christ alone to be their righteousness, in whole or in part.
Men please themselves with a conceit that they do not dishonor Jesus Christ in ascribing their justification to faith, because faith is a grace of Christ, and so from Christ. But, by the same reason, we may ascribe our justification to love, patience, temperance,goodness, etc., because they are from Christ and fruits of the same spirit faith is, Gal. 5:22. And may we not also by the same reason ascribe our justification to all our spiritual performances such as prayers, tears, and all our good works, because the power by which we do these is from Christ: "For without me," Christ says, "ye can do nothing," John 15:5. O all ye sons and daughters of the most High, lift up your voice, and cry, No inherent holiness to justification, as well as no works of the Law; for whatsoever is in us, and acted by us, and passes through us, is defiled by us, "All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags," Isa. 64:6. Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us," etc., Tit. 3:5-9. "But in the Lord have I righteousness," Isa. 45:24, 25. "He is our righteousness," Jer. 23:6. "I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only," Psal. 71:16. "My tongue shall talk of thy righteousness all the day long:" verse 24. For no other righteousness can be compared to this. As it is acted by us, it is not worth the talking on.
3. Our believing cannot justify us because nothing that we do (though by grace) is perfect. Our best acts and works of righteousness, by reason of the sin and corruption in us, that cleaves to all we do, is defiled with some spot of sin. Therefore, it has not that perfection the Law of God requires. So that our believing is so far from justifying us, as God may reject it as sin; as when our love is not so much or such as it ought to be, then it is imperfect, and we sin. So we say of our faith, our believing is called unbelief, Mark 9:24.
Our purity cannot justify us, for it is not perfect, if "all our righteousness be as filthy rags:" Isa. 64:6, Tit. 3:5, is "not our act of believing" so does not Daniel include his most holy acts, when he names his righteousnesses? Dan. 9:18.
The perfect love in 1 John 4:18 is the love of God manifested to us, not our love to Him.
Fourthly, our believing cannot justify us, because the act of faith is a work, and if we be justified by our faith, then we are justified by works. That the act of faith is a work, appears:
1. Because we are commanded to believe (as we are) to love one another, as he gave us commandment, 1 John 3:23.
2. To obey a command, is a work; but to believe, is to obey a command, 1John 3:23, 24. Faith is an obeying of the will of God; therefore it's a work, and a good work.
3. It's a work, because we are reproved for the smallness of our faith: Christ said, "O ye of little faith," Matt. 6:30, "why are ye fearful? wherefore do ye doubt, O ye of little faith," Matt. 8:26. If faith were not acted by us (although the power is of God) why are we reproved for not believing?
4. It's a work, because the Saints are exhorted to exercise faith: "Let us draw near with full assurance of faith," Heb. 10:22. We are not exhorted to nothing but to that which is our duty, as it is to do a good work, as believing is.
5. It's a work, because to believe is a work of all the faculties of the soul, viz.: memory, conscience, affections, principally the understanding and will, Rom. 10:9,10.
6. To receive a thing is an act of the whole man; but to believe in Christ is to receive Him: 1 John 1:12. Therefore, to believe in Christ is a work.
7. Because unbelief is a work of darkness; therefore to believe is a work of righteousness, Tit. 3:5.
8. Because, to a good work faith is required, therefore, it partakes of the nature of a good work, and so is a part of every good work. (Heb. 11:4)
9. It's a work, because we are said to do it: If thou believest, I do believe, Acts 8:37. To believe is the action of the heart, viz.: will: With the heart man believeth. He does it as truly as he confesseth with his mouth, Rom. 10:9, 10.
10. If to confess Christ be a duty and a work (though by grace we do both), then is the act of believing a work also, and a work that we do, and is one of those works of righteousness that we have done, Tit. 3:5 with Isa. 64:6.
If it be objected, that faith is put in opposition to works, therefore faith is not a work.
I answer, when faith is put in opposition to works, then by faith is always to be understood, Christ. He alone is the mater of our righteousness. Therefore, when the Apostle excludes works from justifying us, we are to understand all our outward and inward acts, and all internal virtues, faith itself: Rom. 3:28. For no command of the Law could be obeyed without faith. Therefore faith was a part of the fulfilling of the Law. That faith was required appears, Matt. 22:37, 38, 40. The Law requires purity, but such as "believe not are defiled, their minds and consciences are defiled," Tit. 1:15. Therefore, faith was required as a deed of the Law, Rom. 3:28. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saves us," Tit. 3:5. Does not the Apostle in these words exclude all in us, or that we do, to justification? And inasmuch as to believe is required the power of God, so that in respect of the power by which we believe in Christ it may be said to be a work of God, John 6:29. And as acted by man, a work of man by God's grace, Rom. 10:9,10.
Fifthly, if we speak of justification in the conscience, in a strict sense, faith cannot be said to justify the conscience, for this is the work of the Christ's Spirit which speaks peace to the soul: "The things God hath prepared for us, he hath revealed unto us by his Spirit," 1 Cor. 2:9,10, saying, "I am thy salvation, I have done away thy sins, I will remember them no more," Heb. 10:15, 17. "The Spirit beareth witness to our spirits, that we are the children of God," Rom. 8:16. Now the work of faith is, to assent to the truth of this testimony, and receive it. Now to assent unto, and receive a thing, is not to manifest it; for giving and receiving are two things; as to declare a thing, and to believe the Declaration are two things, Eph. 3:5.
"There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Spirit, these agree in one," that our sins are forgiven. "There are three that bear witness on earth,"
1. the Spirit,
2. water, viz. dipping Baptism,
3. Blood: viz. the Sacrament of the Supper, wherein Christ's blood is shed, and His body broken.
These three agree in one, that is, they witness, hold forth, and declare the "record, which is, that God hath given unto us eternal life, and that this life is in his Son," 1 John 5:7, 8, 11, 12. By which it appears that faith is none of the three witnesses in heaven, nor any of the three on earth.
If faith did justify us, would it not follow that faith were greater and more to be prized than love? Yet love is greater, 1 Cor. 13:13.
We may, more properly, be said to be justified by the Scriptures, the Word of God, than by our believing. For they evidence to us our justification by Christ and happiness by Him. For how could we know the safety and happiness of a believer without the Word? Or that "the world was made of things that did not appear but by the Word," Heb. 11:2,3. How could we try the spirits, but by the Word of God, which is more pure than our believing? I will rest upon that more than on my believing, Psal. 119:42,89.
Sixthly, we are not justified by our believing, because all that are justified are justified before they believe, which will appear if ye consider:
1. The titles given to such persons whom Christ justified, they are termed sinners, enemies, ungodly, Rom. 4:5 and 5:8,10. The Scripture does not call any that are believers, ungodly. They have their name from their better part. Therefore, believers are called holy, Saints, living stones, babes in Christ. And, therefore, seeing they were justified when ungodly, they were justified before they believed. Their believing did not justify them. Christ justified many, by bearing their iniquity; He in taking away our sins made us righteous. This was our justification: Isa. 53:5,6,11 and Rom. 5:9.
2. If I am to believe I am justified and that all my sins are forgiven me, is it true or false? If it be true that I am to believe, Isa. 40:1, 2, then I was a justified man and free from all sin before I believed it. Therefore, I am to believe it because it's true. If it be not true, and so is false, then it seems I am to believe a lie. For me to believe I am justified when I am not, is to deceive my self in believing that which is false. Also if I am to believe I am justified, when I am not justified, so I may be justified, this is to believe that which is false that it may be true, which is unreasonable. Because neither faith nor unbelief can make any thing true or false, nor cause the being of that which had no being before.
Therefore, when Christ, by His Spirit and Word of truth, declares and reveals to a soul that all his sins are forgiven and washed away in the blood of Christ, etc., it is a certain truth, and it is "the Holy Spirit Who bears witnesses because the Spirit is truth," 1 John 5:6. Therefore, seeing we are justified by Christ before we believed it, may we not believe that faith in us was either a cause or a means, or any instrument of it, but only a means of our receiving the knowledge of it, and of our enjoying the comfort of it.?
As for such as are troubled because they cannot believe, as they think; all that I can say to them is, Use the means to know where life is. Wait upon God, He calls one at the third hour, and another at the eleventh. Thou knowest not but there may be life in the Son for thee. It is there for thee if thou belong to the election of grace, else not. Also if thou hunger and thirst after righteousness, viz.: Christ, Matt. 5, said thou art blessed, and shall be saved.
Seventhly, they that say they are justified by their believing, know not what to stand to. Sometimes, it is the act of faith that justifies them. Sometimes it is not the act, but as it is a grace, then not for the excellency of it, but because God imputes it for righteousness. Then, there is a righteousness in faith itself. We place justification in Christ alone, by which means we are at a certainty.
They that think otherwise, if they please, let them satisfy me in these few questions:
1. Whether faith in the nature and power of it unacted do justify, or no: if yea, I desire to know how the power to believe apart from the exercise of it, can be known to us.
2. How it may fitly be called faith, when there is no believing, as there is not without the act, seeing faith and to believe is one thing? Whether the same light and power, etc. be not the same power by which we obey the rest of God's commands? And if it be, how you can distinguish it apart from it's act? And if it justify as it is a grace unacted, can you tell how, and when you were justified? And if it may abide in the soul one hour, and not act, why not two, and so two seven years? And whether then this opinion does not imply that a man may have faith in him, and be justified by it, and yet he never believe, nor know it? And if Faith justify in respect of the righteousness or meritoriousness of it, whether it will not follow that we are righteous in our selves and so, stand in no need of any righteousness in another, and so need not live by faith in the Son of God, seeing we have our righteousness in us?
If there be no merit, no righteousness in the act of our believing, but only God is pleased to accept it for righteousness, and reckon it so; whether it will not follow that God esteems and accepts of that for righteousness and imputes if for righteousness which is not so in itself? And whether this is for His honor or no? And whether it tends not to the dishonor of Christ that His righteousness in Him is not sufficient, and may not be that which justified those He died for?
Also whether one act of faith justifies, or many? If but one, how we shall know and distinguish it, that we may know we are justified, that we may not, after that act, act it so again in like manner needlessly? For what need is there for more than one, if one be enough?
If many acts of faith be required to justify a sinner, then it's necessary to know how many, that so we may know when we are justified? If we are continually to act our faith, because we sin continually, then it will follow, that we are not fully and completely justified, and that we may despair of ever having one quarter of an hour's sweet enjoyment of justification, because in less time than that, yea in the 10th part of an hour, no man can say he has not sinned in that time. And if so, then he is to be justified again, because he is unjust, and appears so to God? So a man cannot say three minutes together he is a justified man, till by faith we be justified again. And whether this be not for a man to justify himself, as Luke 16:15, surely it was not well done that will last no longer, and is to so little purpose. But this 'tis for a man to justify himself, he may see himself in the Priest under the Law, and his work to as little purpose, Heb. 10:1, 2, 11.
Also the holding that our believing justifies us, draws in many errors:
1.That faith is the matter of our righteousness, and makes us righteous.
2.That God accepts of faith, and so of us for it; that for that He justifies us.
3.That God looks at, and respects our faith as much if not more than Christ, because all the fruit of Christ's death, etc., is made of no effect without faith.
4.That faith is a means essential to salvation, and so a cause. This denies that salvation depends alone upon Christ, that He is not the means, but a part of the means of our salvation.
5.They limit God in His love, in saying, some sins are forgiven, but not all.
6.They make faith the greatest means of their salvation, in saying, all other means are not to any purpose, or not effectual without it.
7.They attribute righteousness in part to themselves, in attributing it to their believing.
8.They quite overthrow the grace of God, in bringing in their work of believing.
9.They make justification not to consist in pardon of sin, but in a work of obedience, viz.: their believing; and deny Christ to have satisfied Justice for the sins of the elect.
10.They rob Christ of the greatest part of his work his glory, and give it to faith, and set faith in Christ's throne. And an hundred errors more may be reckoned up that will follow their opinion.
We do not say, that we are justified by faith alone, but Christ and faith together, etc.
1.This is as bad to us, in that you give not Justification to Christ alone; in that you say, that Christ does not do it, but Christ and faith together. So Christ is but half a Savior, if you make Him so much.
2. I desire to know why you may not add to Christ and faith, prayer, seeing the Apostle says, that "this shall turn to my salvation through your prayers, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ," Phil. 1:19. Ye see our salvation is attributed to be through our prayers as through faith, Eph. 2:8. Why do you leave out good works, seeing James says, "A man is justified by works, and not by faith only," James 2:24. Also Paul says, "Therefore I suffer all things for the elect's sake, that they may obtain salvation," 2 Tim. 2:10.
3. In that ye join any thing to God, to accomplish this work as a co-partner with Christ, Christ cannot have all the glory of our salvation. Faith must have a part of it, if not we our selves, for we believe, Rom. 10:9, 10.
4. Ye deny that Christ has justified those for whom He died upon the Cross. You deny we are justified by Him, by His blood, that He has not washed away all our sins in His blood, Rev. 5:1; Psal. 89:19 with Isa. 45:25 and 53:11; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14, in saying, Christ has not presented us holy to God before we believe, Ye contradict Christ Himself, Eph. 5:27; John 19:28,30. O treason, treason! Thus many ways ye dishonor Jesus Christ, Who is only to be honored. Therefore, ye are guilty of treason against the King of Saints, our Lord Jesus Christ. Take notice of that, and consider of it.
We grant faith does not justify, but it's God Who justifies. But yet He does it through faith, therefore, not without it, Rom. 3:25.
Through faith, that is through Jesus Christ, "In whom we have redemption through his blood," Eph. 1:7. "Through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ," Rom. 3:24. So the word through Himis used, 1 John 4:9 through Him, and by Him is all one, Eph. 1:5, 7. "That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ," Gal. 3:14,8. So that through faith is through Christ. But if you will have it through faith, then it must be as through a pipe of conveyance we come to receive it: "That we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith:" Gal. 3:14. And that is not to be justified by faith, but to receive it, and so as through a prospective glass we see all our righteousness to be in Christ. By faith we receive it and come to enjoy it in our consciences. This we grant, and this will stand with justification by Christ alone.
When we say, that we are, and ever were, just and righteous before God in and by Christ, we learn to distinguish between our own sight and the sight of God. Ezekiel 20:43 speaks of our own sight. Job speaks in the sight of God. For that is in the sight of God that is not in our own sight. So, that no man is justified by the law in "the sight of God," Gal. 3:11. So to be just with God, "is to be cleared in his sight," Job 9:20, Rom. 3:20.
So that when Christ was made our righteousness in the sight of God, then we were justified in His sight, which was before all time? For those who appear without sin, must needs appear just. But the elect appear so to God in Christ. "They are without fault before the throne of God:" Rev. 15:5; Song 4:7.
Those whose sins were laid upon Christ are just, and therefore appear so to God, Isa. 53:11.
Those against whom nothing can be charged, are just, and appear so to God, Rom. 8:33.
Those who are in Christ are just: but the elect were so before the world, Eph. 1:4.
Those who are reconciled must needs be just: but this the elect were before the world. "God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself," 2 Cor. 5:19, and they were actually reconciled, in and by Christ on the Cross by "the death of his Son," Rom. 5:10. Therefore, this was before we believed.
Those who are justified are just: but this the elect were by Christ's blood, Rom. 5:9.
Those who are redeemed by Christ, are made just: "In whom we have redemption by his blood," Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14, etc.
Those whose sins were all remitted are made just: but so are all the sins of all the elect by Christ, 2 Cor. 5:18-21.
Those who have a share in Christ's righteousness, they are righteous: but so have all the elect, 2 Cor. 5:21.
Those to whom God imputes no sin, they are just and righteous, but God imputes no sin to the elect. "God was in Christ, not imputing their trespasses unto them," 2 Cor. 5:19, therefore they were then blessed.
All the elect were made these by Christ upon the Cross. Therefore, they were then justified. They were justified before they believed. Yea, "God gave them grace in Jesus Christ before the world began, but manifested by Christ's appearing," 2 Tim. 1:9,10. But it's objected that these Scriptures are to be considered to be spoken unto believers, and whom God did so look upon because believers. I answer, if it were so, that is enough for me, if they appear so to God. Now they believe, they appeared so to God from eternity, for what God now sees, He ever did, and ever has. Knowledge is His sight, or else He was not ever infinite in knowledge. But that He was. Therefore, the elect ever had a being in the knowledge and love of God. Therefore, God looks upon the elect before they believe as well as after. And seeing the love of God is and ever was infinite, for God is love, 1 John 4:16, God has loved them as Christ was loved, John 17:23. Therefore, God loves not any the more, or the better because they believe.
The Scripture does not call Christ faith, therefore by the righteousness of faith, Rom. 4:13, is not meant Christ, but the grace of faith that is in us by which we believe.
By faith in this place we are to understand Christ (as we are in some others) because He only is our righteousness, which I prove by these Reasons.
1. Because faith and Christ's righteousness are two several things: "To them that have obtained like precious faith through the righteousness of God, and our Savior Jesus Christ:" 2 Pet. 1:1, therefore faith is not this righteousness.
2. Because "God hath made Christ to be our righteousness," who of God is "made unto us righteousness," etc., 1 Cor. 1:30. Therefore faith is not our righteousness, Phil. 3:9.
3. Because the title righteousness, is only proper to Jesus Christ, Who is our righteousness, "this is his Name, whereby he shall be called, the Lord our righteousness," Jer. 23:6. And the righteousness in Matt. 5:6 is meant Christ. "Righteousness belongs to God," Dan. 9:7. Faith is not God.
4. Because faith shall cease, and be done away: 1 Cor. 13. But this righteousness shall never cease, therefore faith is not this righteousness: "My righteousness shall be forever," Isa. 51:8. This is God's righteousness.
5. Faith is a fruit of the Spirit Who is within us, but Christ's righteousness is without us, and not in us; it covers us, and makes us comely, beautiful, and glorious: "Unto her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, white and clean: the fine linen is the righteousness of the Saints," Rev. 19:8 and 7:9,13,14. "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God: for he hath covered me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness," Isa. 61:10.
6. Because this righteousness in which is our happiness and joy, by which we are accepted is in Christ, and not in us. It is the "righteousness of God in him:" 2 Cor. 5:21. "In the Lord have I righteousness," Isa. 45:24; Rom. 4:24. But faith is in us, therefore faith is not this righteousness. All this is out of us, and without us, 1 Cor. 1:30.
7. Because this righteousness of which we speak, was not brought in in Daniel's time, but was to be brought in after the end of Daniel's seventy weeks: "Seventy weeks are determined, to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness," Dan. 9:24. "My salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed," Isa. 56:1. But faith was not this righteousness, because that was within long before Daniel's time; for Abraham and the Saints believed. Also if faith had been this righteousness, Christ had not brought it in, because it was in before He came.
8. The Saints did not count faith this righteousness, nor their own righteousness, Christ was that to them. They said, "In the Lord have I righteousness," Psal. 71:16. "The Lord our righteousness," Jer. 23:6, they comforted themselves in this righteousness. "He will bring me forth into the light, I shall behold his righteousness," Micah 7:9. He then believed, therefore faith was not this righteousness. For righteousness and glory do not consist in faith, but rather subsists in us by it. I mean the comfort of this righteousness.
9. Christ only is our righteousness because He fills all in all things: Col. 3:11. "The fullness of him that filleth all in all," Eph. 1:23. "Who is the beginning, the first born from the dead, that in all things he might have the pre-eminence: For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell," Col. 1:18,19. He that places any righteousness in any thing but Christ, denies Christ the pre-eminence in all things. Therefore we say, "O Lord, thou art our righteousness," Ezra 9:15.
10. Man, when at the worst, all that he stood in need of was only a full and perfect righteousness by which he might be justified. Which, if faith could have been that to him, Christ might have been spared because God could have given us faith in Himself, if faith could have taken away our sins, and so justified us, Heb. 9:26.
11. It appears that faith is not this righteousness, because this righteousness of God is through faith: The righteousness of God through faith, Phil. 3:9. "Through faith:" Rom. 3:25. Therefore faith is not this righteousness.
12. Because the Saints expect not acceptance for any thing that is in them, or acted by them, therefore they say, "We do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousness, but for thy mercy sake:" Dan. 9:18 with Isa. 64:6. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he save us," Tit. 3:5, (our believing must come in amongst the rest of the righteousness which we have done:) therefore they say, "I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only," Psal. 71:10,16.
13. That faith is not this righteousness will appear if you consider what faith is (in itself, simply so considered apart from Christ) it is no righteousness at all, much less this righteousness we speak of. The Apostle speaks of the faith of such as did truly believe. He tells them that if Christ was not risen, their faith was vain: that is, worth nothing, 1 Cor. 15:17. So that if Christ had not been the true Messias, and so the right object for their faith, their believing could not have done them any good, for all their believing, they had been in their sins. So that faith considered apart by itself, it's like a picture without life, an empty and cold business, only to please the fancy. But if faith be filled with Christ, with light and love, it's the most powerful thing in the world, Heb. 11, Eph. 3:16, etc.
Man at the first was earth, till God breathed in him life, Gen. 2:7. Such as are His, in life is, such is his food, earth, bread; yet he "lives not by bread only, but by the Word of God:" Matt. 4:4. Bread, 1 Cor. 11:28, etc., strengthens the senses and they faith. The Spirit gives life to faith, 2 Cor. 3:6 and 4:13. Christ is this bread, John 6:35. He is our life, Gal. 2:20; Col. 3:3. This life is discovered and made known to us: 2 Cor. 14:10,11. "Our life is hid with Christ in God. We shall live with him," 2 Cor. 13:4; Col. 3:4. In this life we enjoy our life by faith: "Faith is the evidence of things not seen, Heb. 11:1." In this world crosses are frequent, and comforts few, if the Saints were to have no more than they have in this life, they were of all men most miserable, 1 Cor. 15:19 and 10:15. According as Christ shall fill our faith with the discoveries of life and love, our lives shall be sweet, and comfortable, and serviceable, etc. "Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge, had all faith," yet this alone profits nothing. See 1 Cor. 13:3,9; 2 Pet. 2:20; Heb. 6:4-6 and 10:26,29; Isa. 48:1,2 and 58:2; Luke 8:13,14.
Many make a god of their believing, and depend upon it, and fetch all their comfort from it, and venture all their salvation on it. If men did live upon, and prize Christ as they do their believing, I had spared this labor.
Because men believe, some fly out in high expressions saying, "their faith is God," and they are goded with the God-head of Christ and that the divine nature is in them.
I grant we are made partakers of the divine nature, but how? By union, not by infusion. The seed that remains in us, is not God, but the Word of God, Rom. 10:8, We are born of God, 1 John 5:8, that is, made the sons of God. He sins not, that is, so as the wicked one can touch him, or come near to hurt him for it, 1 John 5:18. He is freed by Christ, he is free indeed. He need nor fear curse, nor wrath, hell nor devil, etc. He that believes has the witness in him, 1 John 5:20. But faith is not that witness, 1 Cor. 2:10; 2 Cor. 4:13.
If you search the Scriptures above-named, it will appear "our life in hid with Christ in God", we enjoy not life itself, but the knowledge of it, and the comfort of it. We can tell you what great things are provided for us; and though we have them not now, we shall have them. Therefore Paul prays that this mystery may be revealed to us. Christ prayed that Peter's faith might not fail, Christ's prayer was heard: that which keeps the Saints is not their faith, but the power of God, 1 Pet. 1:5; 2 Cor. 13:4; Col. 3:3,4. Because I live, says Christ, ye shall live also, John 14:19.
It does not appear that there was any difference in the house that fell, and that which stood, save only in the foundation. The one being built on the Rock, Christ. The other was built upon the sand, not upon Christ, something else, qualification, faith, etc. Faith is to have it's denomination from the object of it, and the foundation of it. The confidence of a hypocrite may be as great that he shall be saved, as his is that shall be saved: as I have proved elsewhere, out of Isa. 44:20.
Abraham believed, and it was imputed to him for righteousness.
So Phinehas executing judgment was counted, viz.: imputed to him for righteousness unto all generations, Psal. 106:30,31. That is, it was a good act, a righteous action to be commended.
If God did impute Abraham's believing to him for righteousness, then it was made his righteousness. But it was Christ, the object of his faith, Who was his righteousness. Nothing can make us righteous but Christ, "By whose obedience we are made righteous," Rom. 5:19.
Righteousness is imputed not faith. So much the word believing does import that our righteousness is else where and not in faith, nor in our selves. For faith apprehends that which is out of us and in another, "the righteousness of Christ," Rom. 4:7, 8, 11. "Who is our righteousness," Jer. 23;6; 1 Cor. 1:30. Our propitiation, Rom. 3:25; 1 John 1:22. Our peace, Eph. 2:14. Our sanctification, Tit. 2:14. Our victorious Conqueror, Col. 2:14,15. Our Redeemer, Savior, eternal life: 1 John 5:11, 12, 20. He who has Him, has all. He that has not Him, has nothing at all.
The Place Of Christ In The Covenant
Calling Is First and Then Is Justification
A man is first called before he is justified, for justification is after calling, Rom. 8:30.
Then men are not justified by faith. For if they be called, they believe,or how else are they called? And if they are believers, and yet are not justified, it was because their faith could not justify them.
Although the elect are justified, yet no man can know that he is justified until he believe: "whosoever believeth on him shall receive remission of sins," Acts 10:43. So that men receive not remission of sins till after they believe. So that God dispenses out these privileges, and that we receive them in this order, as 1. calling, then 2. justification, and after 3. glorification, which seems to be the meaning of the Apostle's words. This I deny not that we receive them in this order.
He that believes, and is baptized, shall be saved: and he that believeth not, shall be damned, Mark 16:16. Therefore faith is a condition required to salvation.
Faith saves not as a cause or condition. As Ministers remit sins, so faith saves declaratively, Job 20:23 and 3:16; Mark 16:16. These words declare how the Gospel is to be preached and applied by the Preachers and hearers thereof so that neither of them may apply to themselves nor unto any other's salvation until they believe. And therefore, this is a rule to direct how the Gospel is to be preached. When he sent them forth, he said "unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature: He that believes, and is baptized, shall be saved: and he that believeth not, shall be damned," Mark 16:14-16. And so they preached the Gospel.
2. If faith and Baptism be a condition required absolutely necessary, without which no man can be saved, then our salvation depends upon works now, as it did under the Law. (Editor's Note: He does not mean eternal salvation was ever conditioned under the Law, but the temporal Salvation of the Nation of Israel, R. E. P.)
3. If faith be a condition required to partake of the Covenant of Grace, then there is a condition required. The Covenant of Grace is not absolute, nor free. If it be said, "God gives what he requires." I answer, that makes the condition easy to be performed. But still, if faith be as a condition required, there is a condition. But the Covenant of Grace is absolute and free,and unconditional on our part. And that this appears:
1. Because the Covenant of Grace is not made with man, but is only between God and Christ: "Thou spakest in a vision to thy holy One, thou saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty, I have exalted one chosen out of the people. My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him: I will make him my first born, higher than the Kings of the earth. My mercy will I keep for him, my Covenant shall stand fast with him," Psal. 89:24, 27, 28. So that all the conditions of the covenant did only belong to Christ to perform; seeing Christ had undertaken it, and he only was engaged to it, and he did it to the utmost, which was, that Christ "should be made a sacrifice for sin, and he should see his seed, and prolong his days: and the pleasure of the Lord should prosper in his hands," Isa. 53:10,11. See also Psal. 89:35-37.
2. And seeing no covenant is made with the elect, there is nothing required from them as any cause or conditions without which they cannot be saved: as appears, Heb. 8:10-12. For our salvation depends not upon our believing, but upon Christ. "Because I live, ye shall live also," John 14:19. And that there is not the least condition required from man to partake of the covenant of life and salvation, appears by these words: "His seed will I make to endure for ever, If his children forsake my Law, and walk not in my judgments; if they break my Statutes, and keep not my Commandments: then will I visit their transgressions with the rod, and their iniquities with stripes. Nevertheless my loving kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. My Covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my mouth. Once have I sworn by my holiness, that I will not lie unto Christ," Acts 2:25. His seed shall endure for ever, Psal. 89:29-32.
3. Faith is a fruit of the Covenant, and a branch of the Covenant, but not a condition on our part to perform.
4. All the elect were ever in this Covenant, for they were ever in Christ: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings (in Christ) according as he hath chosen us (in him) before the foundation of the world," Eph. 1:3, 4. Christ is this Covenant: "I will give thee for a Covenant of the people, for a light to the Gentiles to open their eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house," Isa. 42:6-8 and 49:9. Therefore faith is not required as a condition to partake of this Covenant nor salvation. "My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee," Isa. 54:10. "Thus God to shew unto the heirs of the promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: that by two immutable things (oath and covenant) in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation," Heb. 6:17, 18 with Psal. 89:35, 36. Oh this is strong consolation indeed, behold the liberty of the sons and daughters of God.
The Place Of Justification By Christ Alone In The Covenant
To be justified is to be declared or pronounced just by sentence.
The word justify, properly signifies to make just, and men are made just.
1. By infusion, when the habit or virtue of justice is put into a person, so God made man upright, or just: Eccl. 7:29.
2. Men are made just, by the justice of another. So were we by Christ: "As by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one many are made righteous," Rom. 5:18.19; 2 Cor. 5:21. So that Christ's satisfaction is our justification. And to affirm we are not made just by Christ's justice, is to overthrow the foundation of Religion and man's salvation.
3. Men are said to be made just, or justified by sentence, or pleading one to be just, in this sense a man may justify himself, Job 9:20 and be justified by witnesses, Isa. 43:9, 26. In this men are said to give righteousness, and to take the righteousness of the righteous from him, Isa. 5:23. This is not to be understood strictly, but in a large sense. For although this has the name of justification, yet sometimes it is worth nothing, having only but an appearance or shadow of justification, and does men no good at all. It is of no force, except only with such as are ignorant and deluded. It is to be abhorred, as when persons are declared to be just when they are not so. This is to justify the wicked, Prov. 17:15 and 24:24.
1. If to declare one to be just does make a man just, then he was not just before.
2. God and wisdom are said to be justified by men; Rom. 3:3,4, Matt. 11:19, Luke 7:35. But if to declare him to be so, makes him so, then he was not so before. Which to affirm, is blasphemy.
3. If to declare one to be just, does make him so; is it not good to justify the wicked, and their actions? Because it must needs be good to make the unjust just. But all the declarations of justification that the wicked and their actions can have, they remain wicked and their actions sinful still.
4. We grant, God by His Spirit declares to the soul that he is just and righteous. But if they were not made just (by Christ upon his Cross) before, will it not follow, that "he justifieth the wicked?" which, He says, "is abomination to him:" Prov. 17:15. For they must either be just or wicked. If just, then the declaring them to be so by sentence did not make them just. And if they were not just, what were they but wicked? Is there a third state? God has said, "He will by no means clear the guilty," Exo. 34:7.
5. Men are not just and righteous, because they are declared to be so. But they are declared to be so, because they were so before. Therefore, such as God declares to be just, they were made just, justified in and by Christ. He looked upon them to be just (as they were) before He declared them to be so. And no man may declare another to be just and innocent, before he appear to be so.
1.Persons that need to be made just, sinners; a perfect man neither need nor can be made just.
2. One that can and will make just, and that none can do but God. Rom. 8:33. It's "God that justifieth."
3. The means by which he must be made just, and that is Christ, "By Jesus Christ:" Eph. 1:5. "Through the redemption of Jesus:" Rom. 3:24. "Christ is God:" Heb. 1;2. "He hath redeemed us by his blood:" Rev. 5:9. "My righteous Servant shall justify many:" Isa. 53:11; Rom. 5:10. He is our justification itself, for he is our righteousness, 1 Cor. 1:30. Righteousness and justification are one. Isaiah prophesied of Christ that He "should justify many:" Isa. 45:25, which He fulfilled when "He was made sin for us," Isa. 53; 2 Cor. 5:21 with 1 Pet. 1:24.
And this must needs be so, for those who are made just, or justified by satisfaction, they are made just where the satisfaction is, and that is in Christ, 2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 3:24; Phil. 3:9. And seeing we were made perfectly righteous in Him, therefore we are perfectly just.
As in the first Adam we were made sinners, so in the second Adam the elect were made righteous.
As by the first Adam's disobedience we were made sinners, so by the second Adam's obedience all in him were made righteous: Rom. 5:14-20.
As Christ is the author, and means, and justification itself; so He is the author of our salvation, and the means, and salvation itself; as is above proved. So that Christ is all in all.
Justification is first to be considered in the will of God. This will is sometimes called purpose, counsel, choice, election, predestination, love, and the good pleasure of His will, Eph. 1; Rom. 9; Isa. 45:10; Eph. 3:11. We may seek no further to ask a reason of His will. It had no cause going before to cause it to be, or so to be. If it had, how can it be eternal, and infinite? Surely it had no beginning. And thus the elect are said to be saved before the world, 2 Tim. 1:9,10. And this is called justification, Tit. 3:4, 7. Then our life was hid with Christ in God, Col. 3:3. This is justification in purpose.
Secondly, justification is to be considered in the act or execution of it in the means of it, when it was effected in and by the means, viz.: Jesus Christ, "By his obedience did justify many," Rom. 5:19; Isa. 53:11. And now justification is actually done. For there were all the elect then present, considered in Christ, Eph. 1:4. He comprehended all that were given to Him. See John 17:2,9 and 6:37-39; Rom. 11:7 set apart, Heb. 10:10. As the Priest did bear the names of the children of Israel before the Lord, Exo. 28:21, etc. so Christ, a public person, did bear, and represent all the names and persons that shall be saved, that were given to Him to justify and save; yea they were one with Him, Heb. 2:11.
Christ took not only the nature of man, but the persons of the elect. Else how did He answer the type, Exo. 28? Else how could He bear the sins of many, if He bore not the sins of any persons? And how did Christ wash us, and present us holy to God, as He did, Rev. 1:5; Col. 1; Eph 1:5, if He did not present our persons? Also if Christ took only our nature, the nature of all men being one and the same, it will follow He did as much for all men as for one; and that he bore not the sins of any man. For the nature of man may be considered as apart from the person of a man, or else they know not what they say, who affirm that Christ took our nature, but not the person of any.
Justification, being accomplished by Christ, it is His good pleasure to reveal the same to those to whom it belongs. This is by His Spirit and Word and His people and ordinances. All of which hold forth and declare this, His infinite love and free grace to their souls, that so they may enjoy the comfort of it.
The effect of this revelation of love, etc., begets love in the soul to God, and carries the soul out of itself, it's own life and it's righteousness, to Christ and His righteousness, looking to Him as all in all. It to sets Him above all (Col. 3:1). Now the soul falls into admiration of free love and free grace, highly prizing it them, it is satisfied in them, and thankful for them. Now the soul, according to the revelation of this love, etc., is so filled with love to God, peace and joy in God, etc. So he submits to Christ's yoke, obeys Him, and suffers for Him. Now he follows God more abundantly and freely than ever before.
1. The love of God, the good pleasure of His will, this is called the efficient cause of our salvation.
2. The material and instrumental cause is Jesus Christ by His death, in dying for us.
3. The final cause is the end why God chose and saved us, that was His glory, "to the praise of the glory of His grace" (Eph. 1:6).
The work being accomplished, the Spirit reveals it is done for him. Rom. 8:16 says believes it's done for him and he receives it, Acts 26:18. Good works declare that it's done for him, Jam. 2:24.
Justification is no where but in the conscience, and it is a taking of sin out of the conscience; therefore until sin be taken out of the conscience men are not justified.
1: Justification is to be placed in Christ where it is: see Epistle.
2. If Justification consist in taking sin out of the conscience, then faith does not justify, because it does not take sin out of the conscience. No, nor assure the conscience that he is a child of God, to speak strictly, for that is the work of the Spirit, Rom. 8:16.
3. A man may fear the Lord, and obey the voice of His Servant, and yet he may walk in darkness, and see no light, as appears, Isa. 50:10,11. If he were not a believer, how does it appear that God is [his] God if sin be taken out of his conscience. And if he is assured that God is his God, how does he walk in darkness and see no light? Surely to see all that Christ has done is for us, and to see all sins taken out of the conscience is a great light.
4. If the knowledge that a man is a believer takes away his sin, then faith takes them not away. For it is one thing to believe, and another to know I believe. As it is one thing to see and another to know I see. This latter is by a reflection. So by your reason it will follow, that neither God, nor Christ, nor the Spirit, nor faith, does not, neither together, nor apart, justify a sinner; but only does the knowledge or taking sin out of the conscience, which is assurance Christ is the Lamb that took away all sin, 1 John 1:7 with Isa. 53:6.
5. If assurance of justification be justification, then a believer may be an unjustified man, because he may have sin in his conscience, yea he may be so clouded and deserted, that he may not enjoy the assurance of pardon, but very much doubt whether he be a believer, and shall be saved or no, thus it was with Heman, Psal. 88, who yet was a believer.
6. If justification consists in taking sin out of the conscience, it will follow that every act of sin a man commits, makes a man an unjustified man, until he does act faith, to take sin out of his conscience. So a man shall be a justified man, and an unjustified man (and appear so to God) in less than ten minutes: because in less time he may sin greatly; also it may lie heavy upon his conscience, and greatly accuse him. Thus it was with Peter, and David, etc.
Also by the same reason it will follow that those are unconverted and have no faith, until they have assurance. And until all sin is taken out of their conscience, they remain unjustified persons and still in their sins. So there is no faith but assurance, and yet assurance is no faith at all. For faith and assurance are two things, as appears, "We believe, and are sure," John 6:68, 69. It is an error therefore, to think men must believe, and be assured of remission of sins, to the end they may be remitted.
Thus, in placing justification to consist in assurance, many of the children of God who as yet enjoy not assurance, but walk in darkness and see no light, are concluded to be in their sins and unjustified persons. This is contrary to the Scriptures and the experience of the Saints, as I have largely proved in my Treatise of The Saint's Desire.
Justification in the conscience is not justification itself, but only the knowledge of it. It is necessary to our comfort. Justification depends not upon our knowledge of it, nor assurance of it. That which saves us, justifies us. And that which justifies us, saves us. That is only the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is our justification and salvation, and all in all.
An Answer to a Treatise Entitled,
Sins Suffered For, But Not Remitted, etc.
Mr. Huet, and some others.
You may say, Man is delivered from the curse of the Law, etc. in the time of his justification.
The Difference Between Us Is WHEN Is The Time of Our Justification?
We say the same; only the difference betwixt us is, when the time of Justification is. It seems by your discourse that you judge that time to be after we believe. We judge that we were justified by Christ upon the Cross. Our Reasons you may see in this Treatise.
You speak of judgments and punishments of sin. We desire you to prove, if you can, that Christ has not made satisfaction for the sins of the elect, or that God does inflict any thing on His people for sin, in anger or revenge, for them to suffer by way of satisfaction. If you say not this, you say nothing against us. We say that which is in itself a great plague and judgment, is sent in love to them, and is a mercy to them: as appears, Psal. 119:11; Rom. 8;28; Heb. 12:5-12.
You say, that sin was not before the sinning person had a being, and was fastened to his soul, etc.
It seems by your words that sin was not till we were born, etc. But if our sins cannot be considered in any sense to have a being till we be born, then before we were born we had no sin. Then, when Christ died, He did not bear any of our sins, because they were not. And how can it be just that Christ should be punished for that which was not? If Christ did not then bear our sins, as Isa. 53:4-6,11 we cannot be saved. For Christ will die no more, and "without his blood there is no remission," Heb. 9.
By faith we receive pardon, therefore we are not pardoned before we sin.
We grant no man does receive it till he believes: yea sin was destroyed and blotted out before we believe; as I have proved in this Treatise.
The Advocate has nothing to do for us concerning sin, except we commit it, 1 John 2:2.
We believe Christ has finished this work before we were born, as the Scriptures declare.
After sin is committed, Christ does advocate for us.
This is answered afore.
We put a difference between the Covenant, and the performance of it.
So do we. We say that when Christ died, He performed the conditions of the Covenant.
Heaven was then purchased, and they may as well say they have that now, as pardon of sin before it be committed.
You may as well say, seeing we have not all that was purchased, as heaven, although we believe; therefore we have no pardon of sin. The Scripture says, "He washed away our sins in his blood," Rev. 1:5, etc. But the Scripture does not say, we are glorified in His blood upon the Cross. Therefore, the reason is not the same.
The Pope's Bull was in that manner sins past, present, and to come: but the Scriptures speak only of sins past. Rom. 3:25.
Your Exposition is a mere bull, and quite besides the Scripture, as I have proved in the Answer of this Objection.
We put a difference between the Salve in the healing, and the healing of the wound, etc.
So do we, yet we say, when Christ was upon the Cross, "He bore our sins;" and "by whose stripes we are healed," Isa. 53:1; 1 Pet. 1:24.
We believe that the fountain is set open to wash in, because some whose sins Christ bore upon the Cross are yet unwashed: Zech. 13:1.
Zech. 13:1 is a prophecy of Christ to come, at which time He should wash away the sins of His people. This Christ did when He shed His blood, Rev. 1:5. And if our sins were not then washed away, we cannot be saved. But they are not now to be washed away.
We believe that Christ does the work upon His Saints, in purifying them as often as they shall be defiled with sin, Mal. 3:2.
We believe Christ, by one offering, did effect this work fully upon the Cross. And that there is sin in the Saints, as Rom. 7:20 and that Christ by His Spirit does strengthen them against it so often as they oppose it.
Christ has ever something to do for the Saints concerning sin, which Priesthood and advocation is one.
This is answered before.
Christ does give remission of sins; forgiveness of sins is after they are born.
The question is not when Christ gives, and we receive remission of sins, this is when men believe. But the question is, when were our sins were destroyed, and when were we made just? We say, and have proved, that it was when Christ died, and not after we believed. If there had not been remission of sins in Christ for us, how could He have given it to us when we believed?
We believe that all the sins the Saints shall commit, shall be pardoned, Matt. 12:31, Mic. 7:8. (shall be, is not)
The question is, what you mean by pardon. The manifestation of pardon, which is the revealing and assuring the soul that his sins are pardoned, this you call pardon. The taking away of sin, as Isa. 53, the destroying of sin, we call pardon. In time we know it and enjoy it. Do you call the manifestation of pardon, pardon? It shall be manifested to all the elect (and shall be, is not). We place the substance of all to consist in what Christ did for us upon the Cross. There is our pardon, rather than the revealing of it.
It's a mocking of God to ask him to do that he has done already.
So then God has not as yet pardoned your sins: or if he has, you ought not to pray for pardon of sin any more.
As for that text, Heb. 9:28, you say, we acknowledge it to our comfort that Christ did bear our sins, they being foreseen. He satisfied for all that the Saints should commit. But there is a difference betwixt bearing them, and giving us a pardon for them. As, Acts 5:3.
If Christ satisfied for them all, then they were satisfied for before they were committed. God has nothing to charge upon the elect for any sin because full satisfaction was made by Christ upon the Cross. He so did bear them, as He destroyed them and freed us from them. Ater that, He reveals to us that they are pardoned. You seem to say no less. So you expound 2 Tim. 1:9, as to be understood concerning His purpose.
We grant it to be so, and that we were justified in time, viz.: when Christ was upon the Cross. When we believe, then we know it is done for us.
Heb. 10:10 does prove, that by one act, Christ's death, God was satisfied.
Now the Law is satisfied by Christ. It is enough to satisfy us, though men may cavil and be unsatisfied.
Forgiveness of sins conveyed by the Spirit is called pardon.
We call it the manifestation of pardon. If you please to call it pardon, this is not that we contend for.
Heb. 10:14. Perfecting is not meant pardon of sins, for 1 Cor. 6. They were sins, and after washed.
What then does it mean, tell me who is he who is perfected? Is not he without fault, holy? etc. Christ's blood washed the elect enough, and to purpose: as Rev. 1:5. "Christ by himself purged our sins," Heb. 1:3.
O but, say they, God's people cannot sin in God's account.
We neither say so, nor think so. But we think and say the contrary. Such as believe, do sin. Man does see it, therefore God much more. God accounts it as it is, sin. Does not the Scripture say Christ's blood has cleansed us, has washed our sins away? God sees us to be clean, seeing we are so? Also we say that there is no condemnation to be inflicted upon the elect for their sin. So you say Israel stood without sin. Consider what you say, and see if we say more.
They also allege, 1 John 3:9 and 5:18. Whosoever is born of God sinneth not.
If we do, I hope we do but as the Apostle did, and yet we say with the Apostle, we have sin, and do sin, etc.
The reasons why we cannot have communion with such as say, sin is pardoned before it is committed, etc., is:
1. Because they know not the posture of a redeemed child of Christ, whose Covenant revealed rejoices the heart.
2. Because they do not feel the sense of sin, if they did they would cry to God, nor know the sweetness of pardon.
3. They stumble the weak in not asking for pardon.
To the first, if we know it not, I wish you had revealed it to us, if you know it. You say, Christ's Covenant rejoices the heart, and this we know, blessed be God.
If you mean by sense, the feeling of horror and terrors for sin, if you desire such a sense of sin, we do not wish it you. We wish you not to fetch your comfort from your sense of sin, tears, or crying, but only and alone from God's free grace. We have not made a god of our tears and crying, etc.
See page 15. Also it's your opinion that stumble the weak, it's you that say, if it be pardoned they need not pray for it. We pass not what you judge, nor for nothing you say, unless you can prove it by Scripture.
An Answer to a Treatise entitled,
An Antidote against Antinomianisn:
In that he entitles his book, An Antidote, it seems to declare that his book is (not poison, but) some rare extract to expel poison. So he crowns the truth we contend for with odious names of disgrace (which is powerful to deceive the simple) calling it unjustifiable and Antinomianism. But this is easier said and proved. I wish we had no cause to say that such as have taken down his Antidote are soundly poisoned, and stand in need of a contrary Antidote. What you say will be current with many, but the wise will try the spirits, 1 John 4:1.
He confesses that actual justification is by union. If it be true, he has overthrown the substance of his whole book. Then we were actually justified before we believed, because we were united to Christ before we believed, Heb. 2:11; John 1:14. The Scripture says, "we were crucified with Christ:" Gal. 2:20, which could not be, unless the elect were considered in Christ, as Eph. 1:4, and united to Him.
The instant of union is when Christ is in us by faith, Eph. 3:17; John 3:last; John 1:12.
These places speak not a word of union, much less the time of our union. A thing may be in us, when the thing itself is not in us, but the comfort of it. Christ is said to be in us by faith, Eph. 3:17, because by faith we enjoy the presence of that which is not present, nor seen, Heb. 11:1. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen."
Secondly, sin is in us, yet are not we united to it, it's "not I, but sin that dwelleth in me" Rom. 7:20. If they were one, then he could not truly say, "it's not I". Sin and I are two things, though sin dwells in me. A man dwells in a house, yet is not united to it, so as to be one with the house. So it's here. As for John 6:36, that declares who has everlasting life. He who believes has it. But what is this to union with Christ, or the time of union? Although we say not that men have not life till they believe, yet, we say there is life in the Son for the elect before they believe, and they shall have it, see John 5:11. As for John 1:12 declaring, that such as receive Christ are sons, and they have right to the privileges of sons, this we grant.
Eph. 2 declares, that believers, before they believed, there was no difference between them and others. For they were, by nature, the children of wrath afar off, and unreconciled.
The same chapter declares that they were made nigh by the blood of Christ, verses 13-18. We are to consider what it was that made them nigh and reconciled them? And when they were made nigh and reconciled? This was effected by Christ upon His cross, see Col. 1:21, 22. And if we were not reconciled then, why does the Scripture say we were?
For sin to be crucified and to be mortified is one, and is a part of sanctification, Gal. 5:22.
We know that our old man is crucified with Him, etc. Rom. 6:6 and 7:24, 25. Sin is a work of the devil, etc. Christ destroyed it upon the Cross. Christ has made an end of sin, Dan. 9; Psal. 103:12, etc.
Justification by faith, Rom. 5:1, is justification itself, and not the manifestation of justification.
The first verse of chapter 5 belongs to the last verse of the former chapter and is to be read with it. The misplacing the stops, and cutting asunder books into chapters and verses, hinders the right reading and understanding of the words. The division of chapters and verses, you know, are but of late invention. As I understand by the doctrine of the Scriptures, the words are to be read thus: "Who was delivered for our offenses and raised again for our justification: Therefore being justified. By faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." And then the sense is this, that we are justified by Christ, and by faith we enjoy it. The effect of which is joy and peace.
Without faith it's impossible to please God: the word please signifies a delight to Him. So Bassl and Bud, etc.
This is answered before. And seeing the Scriptures do declare that God's well-pleasedness with us depends not upon our pleasing of Him, we are satisfied. We regard no man's testimony, we own no Doctors but Christ.
Can God approve of a greater thing without faith, namely, our persons, and yet not approve of a lesser thing, namely, our actions without faith? This is strange.
It's not faith, but Christ that makes our persons accepted. Unless the action be according to the rule, it is not accepted, but condemned of God, in them whose persons are accepted. Faith is a part of a good action. Unless the other parts of the action, as matter, manner, measure, time, and end concurs, the action comes short of the rule, and so far it is sin, and is not accepted neither for Christ nor faith.
Our happiness does not consist in God's acceptance of our actions, but in our union with Him, and in that our sins are not imputed to us, John 17:23, 24; Heb. 2;11; Eph. 5:30; Psal. 32:1, 2.
Our actions are accepted because our persons are accepted, Gen. 4.
It's strange to me that you should say so. Oh the horrible and tragic all effects that naturally flow from this doctrine! Was not David a believer before he fell so foully concerning the matter of Bathsheba and Urijah? And was not Peter a believer when he denied Christ, and Peter and Barnabus when they dissembled? Gal. 2. Many of the actions of believers are in some respect worse than the same actions in unbelievers. God in His Word is so far from accepting them that He condemns them as deeply as the actions of others. If God accepts of men's actions because He accepts of their persons, it will follow, that when a man is a believer, His person is accepted. Therefore, all his actions after are accepted because his person is accepted. So, that after a man is once a believer whose person is accepted, he cannot sin in any of his actions, or if he do sin, his sinful action is accepted. Weabhor to open such a gap for sin to enter. If you speak even of the best actions of a believer, you cannot free them to be without sin, for "all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags," Isa. 64.
The word reconcile declares that God is at enmity with us, and us with him. Re signifies again, con, signifies together, ciliation, to call or move to. How is there a moving where there was never a removing? How together of those who were never asunder? How again, unless there had been once an oneness which was broken apieces?
Though the word signifies so, yet it will not follow that God was never at enmity with the elect; "Fury is not in me:" Isa. 27:4. There are movings and removings in us who are changeable, but it is not so in God because He is unchangeable. Love in Him is unchangeable. You confess God's essential purpose is like Himself, eternal and unchangeable, etc. "God is love," 1 John 5. Although the elect did sin, and so depart from God, yet the Scripture does not say, that they fell from the love of God, or that God hated the elect for their sin. Consider John 17:23, 24; Heb. 13:8; Rom. 5:9, 10.
In saying God was never an enemy to the elect, you make the fall of Adam (in whom the elect are included) a fiction. You make the Story of the Gospel, touching Christ's sufferings, a fable, and Christ's passion a vanity. You overthrow the nature of God Whose purity cannot endure sin. You deny many Scriptures that testify that God was at enmity with the elect, Eph. 2; Isa. 63:10, 11; Lev. 26:40-42; Ezek. 16:62, 63.
Alas, alas, here are many high charges, and hard speeches indeed: Jud. 15.13, are not these "raging waves of the Sea," that look big, and rise high, and fall as suddenly into mere fables? For no such thing will follow that we profess.
We say what the Scriptures speak concerning Adam's fall and Christ's sufferings and death, etc.. They are not fictions, but real things. Unless Christ had died, we had perished in our sins. We were in sin, and under the curse.
We were children of wrath, viz.: the curse, not only in appearance, but we were so in deed, and in truth. So Christ was made a curse for us, not in appearance, but in deed, and in truth. He was so made under the Law, that so He might free us from under it. Christ not only revealed love, (for seeing men can reveal love each to other without dying, much more could God) but also freed us from the curse of the Law wherein we were held. Therefore Christ did die. So that in the love of God, and Christ's death, lay our eternal happiness. And this doctrine does well agree with what we contend for.
We say, Christ paid a full price, and satisfied the Law to the full. Neither do we say God accepts of any sinful action, nor of any sin. God's purity hates sin in believers, as well as in others. Now, which way does this doctrine destroy the nature, or the purity of God?
We deny no Scriptures at all. We only deny such interpretation of them as are not warranted in the Scriptures. Also, you presume above what is written in that you have no Scripture to warrant your exposition.
We entreat you to tell us in what place of the Scripture we shall read that God was ever at enmity with the elect, either before or after conversion? You say that till conversion comes, God is as well at enmity with the elect, as they are with Him. The Scriptures you allege to prove it do not say so. Nor do we know where to read these words in the Scripture, but to consider what the Scriptures you bring say.
Eph. 2 says no such thing. There is the word wrath, but this is answered before. In Isa. 63:10, 11, there is the word enemy, which is to be understood, God was so in some acts of His dispensation. The text says, He fought against them, so He appeared to be their enemy, Lev. 26:40, etc.
God did walk contrary to them, yet it will nor follow that He did so from any enmity or hatred He had to them. For then He loved them and owned them for His people, as appears, v. 45, etc. "I have given the dearly beloved of my soul into the hands of her enemies," Jer. 12:7, then they were dearly beloved. As for the word pacified, Ezek. 16:62, 63, "When I am pacified towards thee," that is, when "I shall let thee know that thou art a son or daughter of my eternal love:" if you compare the 4 last verses together, it will appear He spoke of their knowledge of His love, for He says, "I will establish my Covenant with thee, and thou shalt know that I am the Lord [thy God]," verse 62 with John 14:20. Howsoever God may hide Himself, and seem angry, and handle them roughly, yet He loves them not the worse for that, Jer. 31:20. Even then He loves them dearly. As appears, John 17:23, 24, "At that day ye shall know I am in the Father, and you in me, and I in you," John 14:20. He says, He is "the same yesterday and today, and for ever," Heb. 13:8. (If you please to believe him) "I am the Lord, I change not," Mal, 3:6. He never changes: "Fury is not in him," Isa. 27:4. Therefore, your brother was very much mistaken, to think there was anger in God against the elect till He was pacified.
If God's enmity had not concurred with Eve's enmity against him, she had not in all likelihood eaten the forbidden fruit.
The fall was not from any enmity in God against her, but God would by that means bring about his glory. See Eph. 1:6-12 and Rom. 3:19.
God is a God of wrath to us till faith in Christ comes: Eph. 2, Rom. 5:1, 2. It is as evident as evident may be, that by faith in Christ, God is reconciled to us, and we to him.
I wonder that ye are not afraid to say so, seeing the Scriptures say no such thing, as we have already proved. Read me what you say in the Bible, either in the Old Testament or New, and I will Print my Recantation. If you cannot; I would entreat you to Print yours. Oh that you did but know what you have done. For in that you deny any reconciliation to be before we believe, you deny that Christ has reconciled any upon the Cross; which is contrary to many plain and express Scriptures. As Eph. 2:13,14,16 with Col. 1:14,20,21 and 2:13,14; Eph. 5:25-27, etc.
Also in ascribing our reconciliation to faith, in whole or in part ye slight our Lord Jesus Christ, and trample upon him, in making him but a half Savior. So also you say, that faith is a cause of justification: do not our eternal happiness depend upon our reconciliation and justification? and do you ascribe these, and the like to faith?
But God is not pleased with the elect till they believe. Rom. 9:25.
By my people, we are to understand those that I have declared to be mine in a special and peculiar manner: I have owned them, and they are mine by profession. So the Nation of the Jews were called the people of God, as Isa. 5:13, because God had owned them to be his people which were not my people before: In this sense, as appears, verses 26,27 but in another sense, the earth and all in it is his: and in respect of choice and love, the elect were ever his, Eph. 1:4; 2 Tim. 1:9.
I say then actually God cannot be said to be reconciled to man, while man is not reconciled to God.
We say, that we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, Rom. 10:9,10; 2 Cor. 5:18,19. What Christ did was actual. Will it not then follow upon your grant, that the elect were then reconciled? And seeing Christ died before we believed, it will follow we were reconciled before we believed. Notwithstanding we grant that no man can know or be assured that he is one of them that is justified, and shall be saved, until he believes. And whereas you ask what conversion that is, that is without calling? We answer. None at all: neither is any man called in this sense until he believes. We grant with you, that what was done before the world concerning our salvation, was only in God's decree, purpose and love.
Faith brings us into Christ, Eph. 2:8,9; John 6:37; John 3.
You do but say so, the Scriptures do not say (as you would have them say) faith brings us [into Christ] so you say that faith is a part of Christ: But if it be so, I would gladly see that proved. Also you say, that faith is a part of the Divine Nature, 2 Pet. 1:4,5. The Divine Nature is God, if God can be divided into parts, he is not infinite: the Divine Nature is incommunicable; we are made partakers of the Divine Nature by union, not by infusion. It is no wonder that you ascribe all so to faith as you do, if you think faith is God.
So you ask, if God saves us without our being in Christ, and whether God does not love to see is in Christ, rather than out of him. I answer. If God considered the elect to be in Christ, Eph. 1:4, can you tell when God considered them out of Christ? or can you tell i what place of Scripture it is said, that the elect were ever out of Christ, or that the elect by sin fell out of Christ, or out of the love of God? show me the Scripture that say these things, and I will say it too. Eph. 2:4,5.
When in Eph. 2:5 does not import a difference in time.
But it does; for when we were dead, then was the time that we were not alive, Eph. 2:5.
Evermore say the godly learned Schoolmen (we call not the Papists in) put a difference between God's decree, and the execution of it.
So do we, but not because they say so: if the Scriptures be clear, why call you in any at all, we will not believe men: therefore spare that labor when you write again.
We do not say, we were actually justified from all eternity; we say we were in the knowledge and love of God from all eternity: we say we were actually justified in time when Christ upon the Cross presented us holy to God without spot, etc., Eph. 5:27. So you tell us, that what ever appears in time, appeared before God before all time, therefore faith appeared then also. This we freely grant, and also tell you, that all that did appear before God was not the cause, means, nor instrument of our justification.
[????-word(s) missing] God said to be wroth with the same Ephesians while out of Christ? Eph. 2:1,2.
You abuse the Word of God: for the Scripture does not say, that they were ever out of Christ; or that God was wroth with them.
Tremble to say, that God loved Paul with as great love when he persecuted the Church, as when he preached the Gospel.
Let them tremble that teach such doctrine as you do, or that say, that persecution of the Saints is as good as preaching the Gospel. I wonder if you did not tremble when you wrote your Antidote against the truth, in which you make God so changeable, and love in God not to be finite, in affirming there are degrees in love in God, and sometimes more, and sometimes less; and that sometimes God was without any love at all: for you say, it was but a purpose of love, not actual love; and that purpose and an act of love are immediately contraries. It seems I was mistaken, I thought a purpose of love could not be without love; and that a purpose of love was love in act. Consider Jer. 31:3; John 17:23,24; John 3:16; Eph. 2:4,5; Rom. 5:9,10; 1 Tim. 1:14-16.
Therefore concerning your distinction of God's love of benevolence to the sinner before conversion, and his love of complacency after conversion; there is no light in it. Show me where I shall read this distinction of love in God in the Bible, or else I shall be ready to believe it came out of the brains of dead men, from the impure fountain of the blind Schoolmen.
However this may be with men I know not, but to refer this to God is to make him imperfect: God saved me, and gave himself for me, Gal. 2:20. I did not believe when Christ gave himself for me.
I wonder why you contend so for this expression, that God loved the elect from all eternity; seeing the Scripture for once calling it love, calls it purpose, choice, counsel, election, predestination, etc.
It's no wonder we contend for it, seeing there be many that deny it to be love: A little leaven, leaveneth the whole lump, Gal. 5:9. And when men will confess it is love, as the Scriptures declare, we will cease contending. We believe also that all those expressions do hold forth love, and are one with it.
And seeing you confess it's called love, we earnestly entreat that you, nor no other do deny it to be love: for as God's purpose and will is eternal, and unchangeable, so is his love; God is love, 1 John 4:16; Heb. 13:8.
So you ask where is life, and where is peace till faith comes? I answer. It is where it should be, it's in Christ: Col. 3:3,4. Who is our peace, Eph. 2:14. And when we believe, we enjoy the comfort of our life, and not till then.
So you object against this doctrine (of justification by Christ alone) what need we take care what we do, if we believe he will not love us the better; if we believe not he will not love us the worse: then a man may die without faith, and yet be saved. Answer: if this be all, the Papists say as much against you for denying that men are loved, justified, or saved for their good works. Say the Papists, if our good works cannot make us to be loved, or justified, etc., what need we take care to do good works, if we do them God will not love us the better; if we do them not, he will not love us the worse: if we die without good works, yet we may be saved. Consider what answer you will give them, and take it to yourself, for we say the same of faith. So you tell us a story of a Maid led away with this doctrine, said boldly to you, that she knew not how she could offend Jesus Christ by any thing she did: unless we did know what she meant by the word offend, we can say little to it, seeing it may bear a good or a bad conclusion. If she had said, Whosoever was born of God sinneth not, 1 John 5:18, and she was born of God, it may be you would have cried shame of her. And if she had said that which was not fit, there was no necessity you should have made such an out-cry of it, unless you did it to expose us and the truth we profess to contempt and hatred. You might have taken it in the best sense, or passed it by. We entreat you to consider whose work it is to be the accuser of the brethren: the doctrine of Christ is not the cause of the sins of men. If we cannot prove scores of errors, and blasphemies, and tragical effects that show from your Doctrine, and such as profess it, blame me.
So you appeal to the world for the truth of what you say: I say, if they do not justify you, who will? the world are blind, etc., the natural man cannot perceive the things that be of God; the Saints who know and enjoy the truth will confess with me, that your doctrine does contradict the Scriptures, and contain many mistakes. As, that sin was not crucified with Christ, that the elect are sometimes in Christ, and sometimes out of him; that faith takes a man out of the state of damnation; that God does not love the elect before they believe; that there are degrees of love in God, etc. And such strange doctrines you teach quite besides the Scriptures, and such as the Bible never knew: and tends very much to the dishonor of Christ, and obscure the Gospel; and to fill the Conscience, instead of joy and peace, with much trouble, fear, and sorrow. Whereas the sum and substance of the doctrine we (or rather the Scriptures) teach, is only to exalt Christ alone, and abase man; and all that he can do for his salvation, we trample upon it, in affirming none of his best works can cause God to love or accept of him, justify or save him: all spiritual blessings are freely given without our works, no man can make himself righteous, or holy, by any thing he can do: only Christ's righteousness is that which made us righteous; and that sin cannot deprive us of Christ's righteousness; and that we are, and ever shall remain, holy, and blameless in the sight of God by Christ, who fulfilled all righteousness for us the elect; his righteousness and sanctification is theirs, we are complete in him, and incomplete in our selves: there is no perfection in this life in the flesh; and yet we are without fault before the throne of God; therefore no sinners: because as Christ is, so are we in this world. Therefore we are all fair, without spot. Consider well these Scriptures, Isa. 53:56,11; 1 Pet. 1:24; Eph. 5:27,30; Col. 1:22; Eph. 1:7; Rev. 1:5; Col. 1:14; Heb. 1:3; Heb 10:14; 1 John 1:7-10; Rom. 8:33; Matt. 3:15; 1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 5:21; Col. 2:10; Rom. 7:18,24; Rev. 14:5; 1 John 4:17; Song 2:10 and 4:7. He that knows the meaning of these, knows a great mystery, and lives in the comfort of it, and will not be beaten from it what ever men say of it. Is not Christ's perfection the ground of all our happiness? And does not justification imply freedom from sin? Men are either sinners or no sinners: I desire to know, if he that is a sinner be not under the curse, Gal. 3:30, and how he that stands justified by God from all sin, stands accountable to him for any sin; if Justice be satisfied, what is there in heaven against him?
To conclude, inasmuch as the former part of this Treatise was finished, and much of it printed before I knew of your book, I refer you to it for a fuller answer. If you, or any deny what I have said to be true, let them answer this; I am resolved to answer them till I die. If they will answer my Reasons and Scriptures, I will do so to theirs; I will oppose all fantastic enthusiasms, and fantastic dreams of men's brains (which will very much abound in this age. Oh that all that fear the Lord would be so wise as to search the Scriptures, and reject all men's Writings and Interpretations) which appear not in the Word of God. I will stand to the trial of the Word of God: come let us lovingly try it out: if you will oppose Justification by Christ alone, which is the doctrine of free grace, I doubt not but I shall take all your props and superstructures easily down, to the end that Christ may appear to be (as he is) all in all, Col. 3:11. That God may be all in all, 1 Cor. 15:28.
Some believed the things that were spoken, and some believed not, Acts 28:24.