" Christ Exalted: A lost Sinner Sought; and Saved By Christ: Godís People are a Holy People"

 

By Hanserd Knollys

 

1646

 

"Christ Exalted: A Lost Sinner Sought; and Saved by Christ: God's People are a Holy People", and sent it to us.

 

Hanserd Knollys was one of the signers of the Old London Confession of 1689. He was in the New England colonies in the late 1630's and early 1640's in Rhode Island. He returned to England and began ministerial labors there which issued forth the cause of this publication.

 

Knollys was a contemporary of Benjamin Keach, another signer of the Old London Confession. An interesting account is given in the biography of B. Keach relative to Knollys. In 1698 B. Keach was seriously ill and his doctor despaired of his life. Hanserd Knollys visited him on his sick bed. Kneeling beside Keach, Knollys fervently prayed that God add to Keach's life time the time He had given Hezekiah. Rising from his knees, to told Keach saying: "Brother Keach, I shall be in heaven before you." Knollys died two years later, and Keach lived the 15 years of Hezekiah!

 

The front of this manuscript states the following: "Being the summe of divers sermons preached in Suffolk; by Hanserd Knollys. Who for this doctrine had the Meeting-house doors shut against him, and was stoned out of the Pulpit (as he was preaching) by a rude multitude; who were gathered together, and set on by a Malignant High Constable. Which hath been proved by divers witnesses of good reputation, before the Honourable Committee of Examination at London." Date printed is 1646.

 

The booklet is written in a mixture of Old, Middle, and Early Modern English. Since we no longer have the "s" character for the first and middle "S" -shaped somewhat as an "F", we have used the standard "S" in this reprint. Other words and spellings are left unchanged.

 

EPHESIANS. I. 4.


According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

 

IN this Chapter you have; First, the inscription of the Epistle, vers. 1. and therein is declared both the Pen-man Paul; and his office, an Apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God; also the persons to whom the Epistle was written, the Saints, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus, which are at Ephesus.

 

Secondly, A salutation, vers. 2. and therein is expressed the matter of the Salutation, grace and peace; the persons saluted you, to wit, the Saints; the Author from whom Grace and Peace comes to the Saints: From God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Thirdly, a congratulation, vers. 3. for spiritual blessings in general), Who hath blessed us with all spiritual) blessings, &c. or with every spiritual) blessing. Whereof the Apostle mentioneth some particularly, in the following verses; to wit, Election, Predestination, Adoption. In this 4. verse Saint Paul hints at us.

First, that there is an Election. Secondly, That the Elect are chosen in Christ.

Thirdly, That Election was before the Word was Sounded.

And fourthly, that the Elect of God should be holy, and without blame in his presence, in love.

Thus you see the occasion, and dependance of the words of the Text, which offers to your religious consideration, this plaine doctrine.

Doct. God will have his people to be an holy people. This point of doctrine needeth no explanation; And it is a truth so generally assented to by all professors, that I shall give you but one Scripture, to confirme it. I Thes.4.3. "This is the will of God, your Sanctification." And indeede it appeares manifestly in the Scripture of truth, that this is Gods holy will.

First, because God hath chosen them in Christ to this end, Ephes. 1.4. That they should be holy.

Secondly, God calls his to holinesse, I Thes.4.7. God hath not called us to uncleannesse, but unto holinesse.

Thirdly, God hath given to every one of his the Holy Spirit to sanctifie them, Rom. 15.16. being sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

Fourthly, God affords them his holy word, which is a means of Sanctification, John 17.17. Sanctifie them through thy truth, thy Word is truth. Yea, when they sin against God he will chastise them for their profit; that they may be partakers of his hoilnesse, Heb. 10.10 So that God would have his people holy.

REASON, I. God will have his people to be holy, that he may be justified in justifying the ungodly, Rom. 3.26. That he might be just, that justifieth the ungodly, Rom. 4.5. God justifieth the ungodly, that is, He finding men and women in their blood, or in their sins, Ezek. 16.6.8. He ( in the time of love) forgives them all their sins, covers their nakednesse with the skirt of Christ's Righteousnesse, and bids them live; This is done when God enters into covenant with them, and so they become his. Now that God may be justified in so doing, though he found them ungodly, unbelievers, impenitent, prophaine, &c. He doth not onely forgive them all their sins, and so leave them ungodly, to go on in their wicked wayes; But he gives them his holy spirit of Sanctification, who changeth their hearts, renewes the spirit of their minde, sanctifies their wills, and affection, and produceth all those fruits of the spirit in them; mentioned, Gal.5.22.23. whereby they are made holy in all manner of conversation. 1 Pet. 1.15.16. And this reason the Apostle gives, Ephes 1.4.6. That we should be holy to the praise of the glory of his grace, and vers. 12 That we should be to the praise of his Glory. And herein is God justified in justifying the ungodly, in that he doth make and keep them holy, Jude 1.

REASON 2. God will have his people to be holy, for the honour and glory of his Son Jesus Christ to whom he hath given them. "All mine are thine" (saith Christ in his Prayer to his Father, John 17.1.10) and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them," also vers. 19. "And for their sake, I sanctifie myself, that they also might be sanctified." Christ shall be glorified in his Saints, especially in his Kingly office, Revel. 15.3.4. Just and true are thy waies; Thou King of Saints; Who shall not fear thee, 0 Lord, and glorifie thy Name, for thou only art holy. And albeit, now Christ, and his poor Saints are scorned, and despised of men; yet that Prophesie of Enoch, the seventh from Adam, will have its accomplishment, Jude 14. Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints. The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty Angels when he shall come to be glorified in his Saints, 2 Thes. 1.7,10. And in that day it will appear to all the world, that it is the great glory of Jesus Christ, that his Father hath given him so many ten thousands of Saints to be his subjects, and himself to be their King. Isa. 33.37,22.

REASON 3. God will have his people holy, that they may enjoy Spiritual) communion with him in this life, and eternal) communion with him in heaven. The Saints do enjoy spiritual] communion with God in this life, 1 John 1.3. Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ, and with the Spirit. Phil.2.1. And they shall have eternal communion with God in Heaven, in that Kingdom prepared for them, which then they shall receive, Matth. 25.34. Now this communion with God, none can have without holinesse, Heb.12.14. Therefore God will have his people to be holy. 1. USE. Will God have his people to be holy? Let it be useful) to us, first for enquiry, what Holinesse is? And how God makes His holy? I Thes. 4.3.7. Holinesse or Sanctification is a real) change of the whole man, from the pollution of sin, to the purity of the Image of Christ. Rom. 6.22. "But now being made free from sinne, and become servants of God, ye have your fruits unto Holinesse". Here was a real) change in them from the pollution of sinne, 2 Cor. 3.18. But we all with open face beholding as in a glasse, the glory of the Lord, are changed into the Image. Here was the other part of that real) change in them; to wit, into the purity of the Image of Christ. For as men in their natural estate bear the Image of the earthly first Man Adam; so men in their spiritual) estate bear the Image of the heavenly second Man Christ. 1 Cor. 15.47,48,49. This Holinesse or Sanctification ( if you have respect to the Author and efficient cause thereof ) is called the Sanctification of the Spirit, 2 Thes. 2.13, and 1 Pet. 2. ( If unto the divine act of God ) it is called Renovation or renewing of the minde, Ephes 4.23. and Rom.12.2. ( If unto the acts and fruits of holinesse in Believers ) it is called Faith, Love, long suffering, gentlenesse, goodnesse, meeknesse, temperance, &c Gal. 5.22. (if unto the root, fountain, and foundation of holinesse) the Scriptures saith; "Christ is our sanctification", 1 Cor. 1.30. Thus you hear what holinesse is. Now God maketh His holy by his Spirit and Word; Whereby he doth convince them, that they are without Christ, Ephes.2.12. Maketh discovery to them of the worth of Christ, their need of him, and God's offer (sic) of him in a Covenant of grace upon Gospell Termes; changing their hearts into the Image of Christ, 2 Cor. 3.18. Gives them Faith in Christ, Repentance from dead workes, Love to all the Saints, &c. "And so the very God of Peace sanctifie this People," ! Thes. 5. 23. Thus much may suffice touching the inquiry.

2. USE. Will God have his people to be holy? Let us make use of this, to discover who are the people of God, and who are not. Those people, that are ungodly, unsactified, are not the people of God, such may boast of their justification, but they deceive themselves, for God hath not justified unsanctified people, 1 Cor. 6.9,10,11. They may talk of the free grace of God manifested to them, and bringing them Salvation, but they are deluded; for the grace of God, that bringeth Salvation, teacheth us to deny ungodlinesse, and to live godly. Titus 2. 11,12. Now there are three sorts of Professors, who would be esteemed the people of God, and yet are not sanctified by the holy Spirit, they are not holy, and therefore are not the Lord's people in Covenant.

The first Sort are all those legall professors who having beene by the Spirit, and Word of God much convinced of sin, John 16.8 Sorely wounded in their consciences, Proverbes 18.14. and somewhat reformed in their conversations, by hearing godly Preachers, as Herod was, Mark 6. 20. after all this, go about to establish their owne righteousnesse, and rest upon their duties, humiliation, and legall reformation; And never have their hearts changed, and renewed, nor Christ given of the Father unto them: These are not sanctified, are not the Lords. Heare what the Apostle speakes to such among the Galatians. "Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vaine? If it be yet in vaine." Well such of you as God hath chosen in Christ, that you should be holy, &c. He will also by his Spirit and Word convince you of righteousnesse, to wit, that all your owne righteousnesse are as filthy rags, Ha. 6.6. That being ignorant of God's righteousnesse, you have gone about to establish your owne righteousnesse, Rom. 3.30. and that you must be found in Christ, not having your owne righteousnesse, which is of the Law; but that which is through the Faith of Christ, the righteousnesse which is of God by Faith. Phil. 3.9.

The second Sort are all those formall professours, who seeme to be onely religious, James 1.26. "Having a forme of Godlinesse, but denying the power thereof." 2 Tim. 3.5. These will tell you they rest not on duties, trust not to their owne righteousnesse, confide not in their Humiliation, as legall Professours do; But they ( after much trouble of conscience for their sinnes ) got comfort, joy, and peace, in applying some promises of the Gospell to themselves: Consider I pray you, the Parable of the stony ground hearers: They on the Rocke, are they, which when they heare receive the Word with joy, and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away, Luk. 8. 13. Here was some (plowing though it went not deep enough) and some Harrowing also, to cover the good seed; after this there was some joy, but no root; Here was the Word convincing, and wounding, and comforting but no Christ, (who is called the root, Colosse 2.6,7) to quicken, renew, and sanctifie: And therefore, though they believed a while yet they fall away, in the time of Temptation. And this is the condition of formall Professors, they get comfort in promises, but they receive not Christ and his sanctifying comforting-spirit in the promises: let such hear what the Lord by his Prophets speakes to a formall professing people, Isa. 50.11. "Behold all ye that kindle a fire that compasse your selves about with sparkes, Walke in the light of your fire, and in the sparkes that ye have kindled. This shall ye have at my hand, ye shall lye downe in sorrow."

The third Sort are all those carnall Professors, who say they are the people of God, and hold the common Faith, Titus 1.4, which is the faith of God's Elect, Titus 1.1, And believe the common Salvation: Jude 3. That is to say, common to every one that believeth, both Jew and Gentile: Rom. 1.16. But notwithstanding all this profession of generall redemption, they themselves are the servants of corruption: 2 Pet.2:19. For they take liberty to live in sin, and walk after the flesh, fulfilling the lusts thereof; turning the grace of God into lasciviousnesse, and denying the onely Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ: Jude 4. They are so far departed the Faith, which they sometime professed, and seemed to have, 1 Tim. 4.1, that they question whether the Scripture of truth be the Word of God? Whether Christ be the Son of God? Whether the first day of the week be the Sabbath of God? And they are so farre from living godly, and walking in the way of holinesse; that they totally omit all holy duties, they refrain prayer, they speak not the word of God when they rise up, nor when they lye downe, nor as they sit at the house together with their familie: They do not partake of any Ordinances, nor performe any worship to God. And as for sin, they make a mock at it; some of them say God takes no knowledge of their sins, he sees no iniquitie in them; others affirm, that they have no sin, they are borne of God, and they cannot sin. And some others are bold, to say, they are justified persons, and therefore all their words and actions are alike acceptable to God, and well-pleasing in his sight, &c. But these carnall Professors are not holy, are not the people of God. This may make some discoverie of those, whose hearts are not right with God; to whom I would give the Apostles exhortation, Acts 8.22.

3. USE, Will God have His people to be holy? Then may this doctrine occasion a deep Humiliation, and godly sorrow in believers for their unholinesse, carnalnesse, and sinfulnesse in heart or life. 0 beloved, let you and I commune with our owne hearts, how much unbelief, hypocrisie self-filthinesse, formality and wickednesse, shall we upon diligent examination finde still remaining in us? What vanity of minde and carnality is in our heart? How many hard thoughts of God have we still? Notwithstanding all the experiences God hath given us of his unchangeablenesse, his faithfulnesse, and his everlasting loving kindnesse in Jesus Christ: How apt are we by an evill heart of unbeliefe, to depart from God? Alas what sinfull contemplations have we in our spirits? What evill concupiscence? How do our hearts run out after the creature-comforts of this world, and how are our affections still set upon the things below Christ and God? How many Idols are set up in our hearts? How great is our self-love, self-seeking, self-confidence, self-dependence, and self-sufficiency! 0 what high thoughts have we sometimes of ourselves, our gifts, our graces, our experiences, our performances? Surely we have just cause (if God will in mercy work in us godly sorrow ) to be ashamed to mourn after a godly manner, and to loath ourselves for the abominations of our owne hearts. But my brethren, let us examine our lives, and search and try our wayes, as well as commune with our hearts, for the eye of the world is open upon us; God, and Angels, men and devils, all observe us ( who are believers) they hear what we say, and take knowledge what we do.

O beloved, how much vain, carnal, and sin full communication comes out of our mouthes, that ministers no grace to the hearers? How many idle words do we speak? What unprofitable talke have we among ourselves and with others; not gracious, not seasoned with the salt of truth and holinesse, but very unsavory speeches. And when we meet together, and speak one to another of religion, we are apt to speak slightly, rashly, formally, inconsiderately, and not soberly, humbly, and graciously, as becomes the Saints. Yea, our conferences sometimes turns to vain janglings, and un-edifying disputes, wherein we strive for victory, or to maintaine our owne opinion, more than truth; But besides all this, How much ungodlinesse is there in our actions? Albeit God preventeth us by his grace, from doing actions simply and grossely evill and ungodly, as drunkennesse, uncleannesse, &c. Yet in doing lawful things, we often mis-carry; the Messengers of Christ do sometimes preach themselves, Fathers of families do correct their children sometimes after their pleasure, provoking their children, being bitter to their Wives sometimes. Oh how uneven do we walke in our callings and relations, wherein we should especially shew forth the power of godlinesse! Oh had we tender hearts, and were we truly sensible of our sinfull miscariages, we could not speak of those particulars without teares of godly sorrow. Can we consider how many yeares we have possessed the Gospel], how long we have enjoyed the word preached in season and out of season unto us, and yet how little our conversation is as becomes the Gospel], how little we have profited, how little we have grown in Grace, and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and not be affected to mourne under the feeling of our unprofitablenesse, and great barrennesse. But I hope God will give us repentance unto Salvation, not to be repented of for all our unrighteousnesse.

4. USE, Will God have his people to be holy? Let it be useful for the consolation of every true Believer; especially such as at present groane under the tyrannical] power, or captivating bondage of any corruption; And sigh to God for supply from Christ of any grace wanting, or weake in their apprehension, sence, and feeling. Hearken poore mourning soule, and consider what may be said for thy comfort, and search the Scriptures, whether it be so or not.

Know first, That Gods eternall purpose toward thee (who art a true Believer) in chusing thee in Christ, was, that thou shouldest be holy, Ephes. 1.4. and Rom. 8.30. "I have purposed it (saith God) I will also do it," Isa. 46.11.

Secondly, That God hath made with thee an everlasting Covenant of Grace and Holinesse, wherein he hath given thee many great and precious promises, to pardon sin, to subdue iniquity, and to put his Law in thy minde, and write it in thy heart. Jer.3.31,34 and 32.40, with Heb.8.10,11,12, Micah 7.18,19,20, with 2 Pet. 2.3,4, to the 11 verse.

Thirdly, that Christ hath prayed to his Father for thee, that bee would sanctifie thee, John 17.1 and 17.20.

Fourthly, that Christ sanctified himself for thy sake, that thou also might be sanctified, John 17.19,20.

Fifthly, that God hath given thee the Spirit of his Son, Gal. 4.6. who is a comforting sanctifying Spirit, yea the Comforter, John 14.16,17,18, And he that sanctifieth all the people of God, 1 Thes. 5.23.

Sixthly, That faithful is God who called thee, who also will do it, 1 Thes. 5.24. He called thee unto Holinesse, 1 Thes. 4.7. and he will both make thee holy. ( He hath said thou shalt be holy, Levit. 11.44,45. and 19.2. That is such a command, as hath the force of a promise in it; and though that place, Levit. 20.7. is, ...Sanctifie your selves therefore and bee ye holy; yet the 70 Interpreters (Greek and Hebrew quotes omitted) and... Chaldees Paraphrast render it, and Hierome translates that place, in 1 Pet.1.16 "Be ye holy" same as "Ye shall be holy". . . ) And therefore be of good comfort, thy sinner are forgiven thee, Matth. 9.2 And sinne shall not have dominion over thee, Rorn. 16. 14. The Grace of Christ is sufficient for thee, 2 Cor.12.9. He is full of grace, John 1.16. According as his divine power hath given us all things, that pertain unto life and godlinesse, 2 Pet.1.3.

5. USE, Will God have his people to be holy? Let me conclude with an use of exhortation to holinesse; "As he that called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation," 1 Pet. 1.15. God will have his people holy at all times, in all relations, and in every condition.

Therefore I beseech your brethren, and exhort you in the Lord, and for his sake, to be holy in all manner of Conversation, holy in your callings, for godlinesse is great gaine: holy in your Families, in your shops, in your journeyes in all your wayes, and in all your relations Godlinesse hath the promise both of this life, and that which is to come. Piety hath a majesty in it, it will give you a throne in the Consciences of others, that they dare not sin in your presence. Holinesse is an ornament to your callings, to your persons, to your Families, and to the place where you live. The more holy the more like your Heavenly Father, and the more you glorifie your Heavenly Father, and the more you adorn the Doctrine of Christ; yea, the more communion you have with the Father and with Christ. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse our selves from all filthinesse of the Flesh and Spirit. "Perfecting holinesse in the fear of God," 2 Cor 7. 1,4. great is my boldnesse or speech toward you in this exhortation, because I desire fruit that may abound to your account: and give me leave to presse this exhortation upon such believers present who have carnall parents, yoke-fellows, or other carnall friends. You would have your naturall friends converted, and to that end you pray for them, mourn over them, many a sigh, and many a tear, it may be, they have cost you; but they live in the flesh still, are carnall still.

Oh let not an holy conversation be wanting, that may further their conversion, 1 Cor. 7. 16, 17. And if any obey not the Word; they also may be wonne, without the Word, by your godly conservation, 1 Peter 3,1. And if they be not drawne thereby to a love of the Truth, yet their mouthes will be stopped that they cannot speake against it. Would it not be a comfortable thing, to have a carnall Father speake thus of his godly Sonne, or Daughter; to wit, I was unwilling my Children should go so often to hear Sermons, and be so often at conferences, and private fasts, and the like; But I have observed, that since they professed Religion, and gave themselves to pray, and read the Scriptures, they have been much more dutiful to us their parents then before, and they are more diligent in their callings. If this be the the worst, they shall have liberty to professe the Gospell still. The like I might speake of other relations. But should carnall parents or friends have cause by your loose or uneven walking to speake evill of the wayes of God, it would be very uncomfortable to you, and dishonourable to the Gospell. I shall conclude in the words of the Apostle, Phil. 4.8. "Finally, Brethren, Whatsoever things are truth; Whatsoever things are honest, just, pure, lovely, or of good report, If there be any vertue, and if there be any praise, thinke on these things, and the God of peace shall be with you, verse 9.

One objection had need to be answered, before I end, and that is this: May some say, you have exhorted us to holinesse, and the Apostle tells us, 2 Tim. 3. 12. "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution."

OBJECT. How may we be encouraged and strengthned against the feares of persecution?

SOLU. I answer, First pray to God, that he will furnish you with suffering graces, against persecuting times, Col. 1. 9, 10,11. Secondly improve your interest through Christ in the promises, and believe, that the more sufferings for Christ, the more comfort by Christ, 2 Cor. 1.5. The more sufferings the more holinesse, Heb. 12.10. The more sufferings the more happinesse 1 Pet. 4. 14. Onely take heede of sufferings as an evil doer, verses 15,16. And if any suffer as a Christian, Christ will suffer with him, Isa. 63.9. Christ will share with you in your suffering persecution. Acts 9.4,5. And you shall share with Christ in glory, Rom. 8.17. But you must be holy in sufferings, also praying for them that persecute you, as Christ taught and praticed: and so did his Martyr Steven, Acts 7.60. "Lord lay not this to their charge:' And so let us pray for them that now disturbed us.

 

FINIS.
**********