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Full text of "The whole works of the late Reverend Thomas Boston, of Ettrick : now first collected and reprinted without abridgement; including his memoirs, written by himself"



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|\ BX 8915' .B67 1848 vT! 6 
|/ Boston, Thomas, 1677-1732. 
I The whole works of the late 
I' Reverend Thomas Boston, of 

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And by It tie, being dead, yet speaketh.— Hbb. xi. 4. 






The Discourses and Sermons contained in this volume are all 
printed from the manuscripts of the worthy author, my father; 
whom I must love and honour in the grave. The " Miscellaneous 
Questions," and " Paraphrase on the Epistle to the Glalatians," 
were written in his younger years, while he was minister of 
Simprin, for his own improvement, and not with any design of 
printing them ; though, it is hoped, the publication of them now 
may be for the edification of the church of Christ. The Sermons 
are also taken in his own notes, prepared for the pulpit only ; and 
therefore they are not so full as, doubtless, they would have been,^ 
had he prepared them for the press. But though these volumes 
labour under the disadvantages which commonly attend posthumous 
works, there is ground to hope they may, throuojh the divine bless- 
ing, be of singular use to the people of God. 

They who had the happiness to be acquainted with the author, 
and have heard him preach — especially those who lived under his 
ministry — will easily observe in these Discourses that clear and dis- 
tinct method of opening up texts, and deducing points of doctrine 
from them, wherein he excelled ; as also the occasional opening up 
the Scriptures in the course of his sermons; with the close and 
warm application of the several subjects to the cases both of saints 
and sinners ; in all which he " shewed himself approved unto God, 
a workman that needed not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the 
word of truth." He used to observe, that when he had continued 
for some time preaching on a subject, he still got the clearer insight 


into it, when he came to bring it home upon the consciences of his 

So great was his delight in his Master's work, and so earnest his 
desire to be found occupied therein, when he should be called hence, 
that he preached two or three Sabbaths from a window in the 
manse to the people sitting without, after that he was no longer 
able to go to the kirk. And as the two Sabbaths, or three at most, 
in which he was, by his growing indisposition, laid aside from his 
public work, were very heavy upon him ; so his Master was pleased 
to call him home on the Saturday, May 20, 1732, to celebrate the 
eternal Sabbath in that place where " the inhabitant shall not say 
any more, I am sick." 

The subjects here handled are of the last importance, both to 
saints and sinners ; and therefore justly claim their most attentive 
consideration. The character of the author is long since estab- 
lished ; and any further commendation of him, as there is no need 
for it, so neither would it be so decent from the pen of such a near 
friend as his Son, 

Thomas Boston. 

OxNAM Manse, /«7y 2, 1733. 



Whether or not the sins of believers, while unrepented of, make them liable to 

eternal punishment ? ... ... ... ... ... ... ... II 


Whether or not all sins, past, present, and to come, are pardoned together 

and at once ? ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 44 


Whether or not repentance be necessary in order to the obtaining of the pardon 

of sin? 76 

Where hath sin its lodging-place in the regenerate ? ... ... ... 99 

Why the Lord suffereth sin to remain in the regenerate ? .. ... 110 

Who have right to baptism, and are to be baptised? ... . ... 125 


A meditation on the day of expiation, and the feast of tabernacles, ... 220 


Arguments from Scripture and reason, proving conservation to be a positive act, 

or a continued creation, . . ... ... ... ... ... ... 226 


Of the origin, names, texture, and use of garments, ... ... ... 233 



A paraphrase upon the Epistle to the Galatians, ... ... ... 240 


Luke xiv. 23. — Compel them to come in, ... ... ... ... . 2Kl 


1 John iv. 14. — And we have seen, and do testify, that the Father sent the Sou 

to be the Saviour of the world, ... ... ... ... ... 294 


Luke ix. 23. — And he said to them all. If any man will come after me, let him 

deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me, ... ... 306 


RoM. vi. 6. — Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body 

of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin, ... 31 y 

IbAiAH xli. 14, 15. — Worm Jacob, — thou shall thrash the mountains, and beat 

them small, and shalt make the hills as chaflf, ... ... ... ... 328 


Luke xviii. 1. — And he spake a parable unto them, to this end, that men ought 

always to pray, and not to faint, ... ... ... ... ... ... 340 


Luke xviii. 8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily, ... ... 3;)3 


2 Cor. xii. 9. — For my strength is made perfect in weakness, ... ... 365 


LuKH xiii. 3. — I tell you. Nay: but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish, 377 


pRov. vi. 1 0, 1 1 .—Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hRnds 
to sleep. So shall thy poverty come as one that travailcth, and th) wynf 
as aL ai'Uicd man, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... i-i'.i 



Li'KK xxiii. 42. — Anfl he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest 

into thy kingdom, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 4fi8 


EccL. viii. 11. — Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily ; 

therefore the hearts of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil, 481 


Luke vi. 46. — And why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which 

I say 526 


John xiii. 8. — If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me, ... ... 6ol 


1 Tim. vi. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, ... 619 


QUEST. 1. 


There are two things which the children of God ought diligently 
to study ; what they are in themselves ; and what they are, and 
do enjoy, in Christ. The consideration of the former will serve to 
keep them humble ; and the knowledge of the latter will be a 
store house of comfort against discouragement, a magazine of ar- 
mour, wherewith they may resist the devil in his assaults, and will 
aflFord unto them great matter of thankfulness and praise, which 
well becometh Christians, For, to exalt Christ is the Christian's great 
work ; and no wonder, seeing it is the great design of the gospel 
to exalt him, and the riches of free grace, as the Apostle Paul almost 
every where teacheth. Wherefore we may safely lay it down for 
a certain conclusion, and rule of doctrine, That whosoever doth 
most exalt Christ and free grace, so as it have a native tendency 
to a holy walk, is a gospel-truth ; which, if duly noticed, will 
readily lead us unto a true answer to the question proposed. Now, 
amongst all the privileges which believers do in their own person en- 
joy, the liberty wherewith Christ hath made them free, is not the least; 
which, how far it extends itself with respect to the sins of be- 
lievers, is the subject of the present inquiry. In which, that we 
may the more happily proceed, I shall promise these few things 
to be considered. 

1. Sin is a relative term, and denotes somewhat to which it 
hath a relation ; and that is a law ; " for where there is no law," 
saith the Apostle, " there is no transgression ; and sin is a devia- 
tion from the law of God, to which the creature, in point of right, 
is subject ; and therefore is called anomia, 1 John iii. 4. Now, 
there are two things in the law which are here to be taken notice 
of ; the command, which is the rule of life ; and the threatening, 
which is a denunciation of tlie punishment the guilty doth incur. 

Vol. YI. b 


Agreeably thereto, there are two things in sin, besides the action 
itself, (in sins of commission, which may be called the substratum, 
or the To materiale of sin, which is metaphysically good). First, 
The disconformity of the action (in sins of commission), and of the 
power and principle of action (in sins of omission,) to the law of God ; 
which may be called the Toformale of sin, being that which constitutes 
the action, or the power, sinful. Secondly/, There is the guilt of it ; 
which is an obligation to punishment: and this is a consequent ot 
sin, flowing both ex natura rei, et. ex institutone Dei ; from the nature 
of sin itself ; and the sanction of the divine law. 

2 The guilt of sin may be considered two ways (1.) In actupnmo. 
(2 )' In actu secundo. As it is considered under the former notion, 
it denotes the intrinsic demerit of sin, whereby the sinner, in what- 
soever state he be, doth indeed deserve the wrath and curse of God 
for his sin, and that so much the more as the sin is aggravated by 
light, mercies received, and the like. And thus believers are more 
guilty than others. In this sense, guilt cannot be separated from 
sin, no more than risibility from a man, or heat from the fire. The 
guilt of sin considered in actu secundo, denoted an actual obligation 
to undergo the penalty denounced in the law, whether a remission 
be to follow or not. There is a vast difi'erence betwixt these two, 
and therefore the distinction is carefully to be noticed in this ques- 
tion. The difference betwixt them is as great, as betwixt a man's 
deserving a sentence of death to pass upon him, and the actual 
passing of the sentence. And although guilt under the former 
notion is inseparable from sin, yet in this sense it is separable 
therefrom ; even as the three children in the fiery furnace were 
in actu prima combustible ; but not in actu secundo ;* the fire could 
have no power over them. The pardon of sin takes away the guilt 
of it in the last sense, though in the former it still remains. And 
so Christ took on our guilt in the latter, but it remains with us in 
the former sense. Turretine calls the one potential guilt, the other 
actual ;t the one, says he, respects condemnability, the other condem- 

3. We must also distinguish betwixt actual guilt, or the actual 
binding over the sinner to punishment ; and the execution, or actual 
inflicting of the punishment. The former may be where the latter 
shall never follow ; as the elect unconverted are lying under the 
condemnatory sentence of the law, though it shall never be executed 
upon them. The confounding of these two cannot but lead men into 
mistakes. All the three do clearly appear, if we compare the ease 

• Mares, in dist. Castan. p. 19. Ameoii medulla, cap. 12. thes. 5. t Loc. de pecatto. 

m:akk them liable to eternal punishment? 13 

of a sinner with that of malefactors committing capital crimes. 
The malefactor by his deed first deserves death, then he is adjudged 
thereto, and last ot all the sentence is executed. All these are not 
only to be distinguished, but they may indeed be divided ; which I 
need not stand to enlarge upon. 

4. Punishment is taken either largely or strictly. Largely, it is 
used for the afflictions, or niala tristia, that come upon men,* 
whether good or bad, for their sin. So the scripture useth it, so 
orthodox divines use it sometimes ; and therefore we may make use 
of the word in the present inquiry without any imputation of hetero- 
doxy. Strictly so called, it respects only those evils that are inflic- 
ted for sin upon men, by the Lord as a just judge, without any mix- 
ture of fatherly love ; and so it is termed judicial punishment, in 
opposition to the evils inflicted on the children of God, flowing 
from fatherly love. In respect of the end of punishment, it is either 
correctory or vindictive. The first is inflicted for the correction of 
the offender; the other for the satisfying of justice without respect 
to the amendment of the party ; which I understand of God's inten- 
tion simply: for as to the vindictive punishments inflicted on the re- 
probates, on this side of time at least, the amendment of the party 
may be justly looked on as the Jlnis operis, though we cannot ration- 
ally suppose it to be the Jlnis operantis, seeing it is not effected. In 
respect of its duration, it is either temporary or eternal. Cor- 
rectory punishments are temporary, in regard the end of them is 
effected, therefore are they confined within the limits of time ; but 
the other are eternal, and never have an end, in regard men are 
never able completely to satisfy the justice of God. 

5. Lastly^ The sins of believers are of two sorts. First, Some such 
as they having fallen into, do lie in, at least for a time, through the 
growing power of corruption, not having risen therefrom by the 
renewed acts of grace. In this case was David when Nathan came 
unto him, 2 Sara. xii. Secondly, Some they have fallen into ; but, by 
the influences of the Spirit upon the principles of grace in their 
hearts, putting grace in exercise, they have recovered therefrom, 
having renewed their faith and repentance. In this case find we 
David, Psal. li. These things premised, we 

Assert I. That the sins of believers whether repented of or not, 
in regard of their disconformity to the law of God, make them 
liable in actu primo, not only to temporal, but to eternal punish- 
ment. This is so clear that none who know what God is, or what 
sin is, will deny it, but will cheerfully subscribe to the truth of it. 

• Lev, xxvi, 41. Lam. iii. 39. 


Therefore David testifies,* that no man living can be justified in God's 
sight ; and when the worst comes upon us here from our Father for 
sin, we must still say, " That with us he hath not dealt as we sin- 
ned. f Therefore believers not only may, but ought to confess their 
sins, mourn over them, condemn themselves for them, &c. And the 
contrary practice is s'o far from a gospel spirit, that it doth evi- 
dently argue a licentious spirit, regardless of the honour of Grod, 
and the purity of his law. Believers, so far as in them lies, by 
their sins do cast themselves into the fiery furnace of eternal wrath, 
so that if there were not one with them, " like unto the Son of 
God," the fire should actually fasten on them ; wherefore they may- 
look on themselves, as indeed they are, " brands plucked out of the 
fire ; and sing that song, " Not unto us, Lord, not to us,"J &c. And 
the truth is, as one says well,|| In some respects the sins of the godly 
are worse than the sins of others ; for they grieve the Spirit more, 
they dishonour Christ more, they grieve the saints more, they 
wound the name of God more, they are more against the love, and 
grace, and favour of God, than other men's sins are. 

Assert. II. The sins of believers while unrepented of,^ make them 
liable actually to the temporary strokes of God's fatherly hand. So 
that a guilty conscience in a believer, fearing a stroke from the 
hand of God, doth not fear where no fear is : for though God " sees 
no iniquity in Jacob, nor transgression in Israel," so as to punish 
them in a way of vindictive justice, as he does the reprobate, though 
Papists would have it so, yet no doubt he sees it in them, so as to 
punish them with the stroke of a fatherly hand ; which is manifest 
(whatever Antinomians say to the contrary) from the many instances 
thereof recorded in scripture, as Moses, Samson, David, and many 
others ; and from that plain scripture, Psal. Ixxxix. 30, 31, 32. 
" If his children forsake my law — Then will I visit their transgres- 
sion with the rod, &c." of which more anon. 

Assert. III. The sins of believers, even while unrepented of, do 
not make them liable, in actu secimdo, to the stroke of vindictive 
justice, or make them not actually liable to eternal wrath. Take it 
in hi/pothesi thus : David being a gracious man, even while he lay 
under the sins of murder and adultery unrepented of, though he did 
lay himself open to the temporary strokes of God's paternal anger, 
and deserved eternal death thereby, yet he was not actually liable 
to eternal wrath. 

Argument. I. That promise Psal. Ixxix. 30, 31, 32, 33. seems to 
carry it so, " If his children forsake my law — Then will I visit 

• Psal. cxiiii. 2. f Ps^l- ciii. 10. J Paal . cxv. 1. |1 Bridge's Lifting up, p. 60. 


their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes 
Nevertheless, my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, 
nor suffer my faithfulness to fail." Where it is evident, that by the 
rod and stripes, he means only temporary strokes of his fatherly 
anger. This is a repetition of that promise, 2 Sam. vii. 14, 15. Let 
us inquire to whom these scriptures do rela,te, that it may be seen 
how they favour our purpose. To exclude David and his son Solomon 
here, and the continuance of David's line and kingdom, were unac- 
countable, especially considering that clause, 2 Sara. vii. 15. " As I 
took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee." But surely it 
looks farther than to David and his seed, even to the Lord Jesus 
Christ ; as appears from 1 Chron. xxii. 10. He is the true Solomon, 
the builder of the Lord's house, whose kingdom is established for 
ever indeed ; and of him Solomon, the king was a type. David 
himself testifieth this, while he shews that these promises were to 
be fulfilled in him, 2 Sam. vii. 21. "For thy word's sake (says he) 
hast thou done this." Compare 1 Chron. xvii. 19. " For thy Ser- 
vant's sake hast thou done all this." Where it is observed by 
Witsius* and others before him, that whom he calls in the one 
place, the Lord's Word, in the other place he calls, the Lord's 
Servant, meaning thereby the Messiah. But the Apostle puts it be- 
yond all doubt ; when speaking of Christ, he cites that scripture, 
and applies it to him, " I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to 
me a son," Heb. i. 5. From all which it seems to be plain, that the 
promise mentioned does belong to Christ's spiritual seed ; that is, be- 
lievers ; " who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, 
nor of the will of man, but of God." John i. 12, 13. Here then is a 
promise of temporary punishments, which are to be merely correctory, 
to bring them in from the extravagancies into which, by temptation, 
they may fall. And I think I may call it a promise of the covenant :f 
for it is much to be doubted, if the gospel and covenant of grace 
know any threatenings properly and strictly so called. And truly 
this fatherly nurture is that which the children of God cannot want; 
yea, these rods and stripes are the peculiar privilege of those who 
are his ; and they have as good right to them by the covenant, as to 
any other benefit. Here we have a discovery of the Jjord's way of 
dealing with his people as plainly laid down as any where else : yet 
not the least hint of any actual liableness to eternal wrath. So that 
we may justly conclude, that their liableness to temporal strokes, is 
their utmost hazard ; which will more clearly appear, if we consider^ 

* Extrc. de serm. Deo. th. 18. Rivet iu Psal. ii, 7. 
f Wits, de CBC. feed. 



uuder what notion the Lord deals thus with them ; even as they are 
Christ's seed, the fruit of his soul-travail under the pangs of death, in 
which he having taken on their guilt, they can be no more liable : 
only the rod of a reconciled God remains to them, called " the rod 
of men ,"* 2 Sam. vii. 14. 

Arg. II. If the sins of believers, even while unrepented of, do 
make them actually liable to eternal wrath, it must be by virtue of 
some law : wherefore there must be one found in this case, who may 
say of the believer, as the Jews said of Christ, " We have a law, 
and by our law he ought to die ;" or, which is all one upon the 
matter, he must be liable to death by some covenant : for however 
God might have exacted obedience of man, and threatened and in- 
flicted punishment in case of disobedience, merely upon the account 
of his sovereignty, without making any covenant with him; yet 
being pleased to enter into a covenant with man, he deals with him 
covenant-ways ; which I think I need not stand to prove. But I 
say, there is no such law, and no such covenant, by virtue whereof 
the believer can be made actually liable to eternal wrath : for if 
there were any such, it must either be the covenant of grace, or the 
covenant of works. I can scarcely think it will be said. That it ia 
the covenant of grace, by virtue whereof the believer under sin un- 
repented ought to die ; for that were to bring in the law, with its 
cursing and condemning power, into the new covenant, and so ut- 
terly to overturn it, and make it a covenant of works. The tenor 
of the covenant of grace runs thus, " Believe, and thou shalt be 
saved ;" but it does not say, " He that believeth not, shall be 
danmed ;" for the covenant of works says that completely, and se- 
cures the destruction of those that despise the covenant of grace : 
but Frustra fit per plura, &c. It must needs be said then, that it is 
by virtue of the covenant of works, or by the law. But the Scrip- 
ture teacheth us, that believers being now under the covenant of 
grace, are no more under that of works ; for a man cannot be under 
both ; they are therein incompatible. We are plainly taught in 
God's word, that believers are "dead to the law," Rom. vii. 4. 
" Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by 
the body," i. e. the sufferings of Christ in his body), (Pars pro toto, 
Senec, that ye should be married to another, even to him who is 
raised from the dead ; that is, to Christ. It seems then that the 
Apostle is of opinion, that a man cannot be married to Christ, unless 

' Be She Bot Ana Shim, with the rods of old or weak meu : for even as an old man 
lajeth on hut a weak blow, so doth the Lord correct his children but with a faint blow. 
IVeems til. Leigh in Crit, 


he be dead to the law, more than a wife can be married to two husbands 
at once ; that is plainly, one cannot be both under the covenant of 
works, and the covenant of grace, at one time : for if to be married to 
Christ, signify the bringing of the man within the covenant of grace, 
which I think cannot be denied, with any colour of reason, by those 
that acknowledge consent of parties necessary to the making up of 
the covenant ; the being dead to the law, must be freedom from the 
covenant of works. Now, I pray you, what is it that makes the be- 
liever liable, in any case, to eternal punishment ? If there be any 
thing, it must needs be the law; but we hear he is dead to it; but if 
dead to it, how can it have any jjower over him ? To be dead to 
the law, says Luther,* is to have nothing at all to do with it ; not 
to be held by the law, but to be free from it, and not to know it. 
And so the orthodox teach with one consent, that believers are free 
from the law, as to its cursing and condemning power ; for " Christ 
hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for 
us."f And indeed, according to the Apostle's reasoning in the fore- 
cited place, the law, as it is the covenant of works, and as to its 
condemning power, has no more to do with believers, or no more 
authority over them, than a man has over her, who alive was his 
wife, but is now dead ; and therefore the believer needs no more 
fear the threats of the law, nor concern himself with them, as di- 
rected against him, than a dead wife, the threatenings of him who 
sometime was her husband ; for what has the law to do with him 
now, when death hath dissolved the relation ? The Apostle teach- 
eth the same doctrine, Rom. vi. 14. where, speaking to believers, he 
tells them, it is their privilege, that " they are not under the law, 
but under grace." The law and grace have two distinct dominions ; 
therefore a man under grace is not liable to answer at the court of 
the law, he not being under the jurisdiction of the law, or covenant 
of works. So that the law, with its condemning power, can no 
more reach the believer, than the laws of this kingdom, those that 
dwell under the great Turk.J From all which I may thus argue, 
He that is thus divorced from the law, that lives not under its 
dominion, but is as a dead man unto it, cannot be condemned by it, 
nor by virtue of it made liable to punishment ; but such is every 
believer. Ergo. And I doubt not, but if we were as much dead to 
the law in point of practice, as we are in point of privilege, we 

* Luih. Com. in. Gal. ii. 19. f Gal. iii. 13. 

% The godly often think that Christ will accuse and condemn. This comes hence; 
they are not free of the flesh, therefore the terrors of the law return, &c. Luth. in 
Gal. iv. 4. 


would more easily believe this. But the truth is, that, in respect of 
practice, believers are rather dying than actually dead to the law. 
And it is not easy for a man that is exercised, to quit living to the 
law : and therefore Luther,* speaking of this privilege of believers, 
Las that feeling expression, " These things (says he) are easily said, 
but happy he who knows them well in the conflict of conscience ; 
that is, who, when sin rushes on him, when the law accuseth and 
terrifieth him, were able to say. What is that to me, that thou, 
law, makest me guilty, and convincest me that I have committed 
many sins ? That is nothing to me. Now am I deaf, I hear thee 
not, because I am dead to thee." This will be yet more clear and 
convincing, if we consider, that the law is dead to them, as well as 
they to it, Rom. vii. 1. " Know ye not, brethren, how that the law 
hath dominion over a man, as long as he liveth ?" So our transla- 
tion reads it : the words in the original are, epJi' hoson chronon ze ; 
and may as well be rendered, "as long as it liveth, referring the life 
to the law, not to the man. And I think the context does fairly carry 
it this way : for all along this discourse, the Apostle speaketh of the 
law under the notion of an husband, even the first husband to elect 
sinners ; and it is clear, that in the two verses immediately follow- 
ing, he speaks of the life and death of the husband : " The woman 
is bound to her husband so long as he liveth ; but if the husband be 
dead," — ver. 2. " If while her husband liveth — but if her husband 
be dead," ver. 3.f So the connection of the fourth verse with the 
former, plainly appears; for having premised that the law is dead 
to the believer, he concludes, that therefore they are dead to it, and 
their relation to it is now ceased. And thus it is read and under- 
stood by several judicious interpreters, both ancient and modern. 
The Apostle more clearly asserts this, ver. 6. "That being dead 
wherein we were held ; apothanontos en ho cateichometha.^' The con- 
text also cleareth this exposition: for the Apostle adds, "that we 
should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the lat- 
ter ;" importing so much, as that " that wherein we were held," 
made us to " serve God in the oldness of the latter," viz. of the law : 
which cannot be properly said of the flesh, or of sin, for that stirs 
up, even to sin against the letter of the law ; but well may be said 
of the law, Avith its threatenings, which forcibly sets on even the un- 
regenerate to outward obedience. Whereunto well agrees the term 
used by the Apostle, speaking here of the law, " in which (says he) 
we were held ;"* the word signifies forcibly holden, and is used of 

Ubi supra, 
■f Origcn, Ambiose, Tiiidal, Erasni. cit. Mar. of Mod. Div. p. 142. So Aretius. 


those who are detained in prison and custody, which the Apostle 
Gal. iii. 23. doth plainly speak of, the " keeping under the law ;" — 
" "We were kept cphrouroumetha" kept as in a prison, and shut up, 
&c. And this word held, seems plainly to answer to that, ver. 2. 
" The woman is bound to her husband." Now, that husband is 
dead, even the law wherein we were held. Thus said Luther,t 
"The law which bound me, and held me captive, is now bound and 
holden captive by grace." The law then is dead to the believer. 
Christ, by his death, hath been the death of the law, in point of con- 
(lemniug power: the law, which was the strength of sin, that is, 
whereby sin had a power of binding over the soul to eternal wrath, 
is now gone by the death of Christ, 1 Cor. xv. 46. By his blood 
he hath " blotted out the hand-writing, (Col. ii. 14.), nailing it to 
his cross." For to the cross two were nailed, the Son of Grod, and 
the law of God. The law nailed Christ to the cross, and Christ 
would not die alone, but crucifies the law that crucified him ; as 
Samson at his death was the death of those that were the cause 
of his death. Upon which consideration, LutherJ brings in the be- 
liever insulting over the law, with a kind of holy pride, and thus 
speaking to the law : " I do nothing value thy terrors and threat- 
enings, because thou hast crucified the Son of God. Therefore the 
sin which thou hast committed against him, is unpardonable ; thou 
hast lost thy right ; and now hereafter thou art not only to Christ 
conquered and strangled, but also to me believing in him, to whom 
he hath gifted that victory." Thus he. All which being considered, 
I think it will be very hard to shew, how a believer can ever be 
actually liable to eternal wrath. 

Aku. III. Those scriptures which declare the believer to be " free 
from condemnation," plainly teach this doctrine which we now 
prove. John iii. 18, " He that believeth, is not condemned ; but he 
that believeth not, is condemned already. It is easy to see what 
the meaning of this is, which is said of him that believeth, if we 
consider the antithesis in the text; "He that believeth not, is con- 
demned already ;" not that the sentence is already executed upon 
him, but that he is sentenced by the law, and so liable, in actu 
secundo, to eternal wrath : so he that believeth is under no sentence, 
or is not liable so as the other is. So John v. 24, " He that believeth, 
shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death to life ;" 
where it is plain, that the same thing is taught ; for passing from a 
legal death, to a legal life, which is nothing else but the taking oflT 
of the sentence of death, whereby the soul is made actually liable to 

' Leigh's Crit. Sac. f Ubi supra. J Com. in Gal. iv. 4. 5. 


eternal wrath, is opposed to coming into condemnation. The words 
in the original press this more strongly; eis laison uk erchetai alia 
inetabebeken ek tu thanatu ; cometh not, in the present time into 
judgment, but hath passed, &c. ;* the word krisis here, and krmomai 
in the former, being simple words, do no doubt signify judgment, 
and to be judged, but tropically condemnation : only properly, I 
think the judgment or condemnation here spoken of, relates not only 
to the judgment and condemnation to come, but also to that which 
is in this life. But nothing can be more plain than what the apostle 
hath, Rom. viii. 1, " There is therefore now no condemnation to 
them that are in Christ Jesus." But believers even lying under 
sin unrepented of, are in Christ Jesus ; therefore there is no 
condemnation even to them. I shall not say with Jackson,t that 
the meaning is, there is no cause of a damnatory sentence in 
them ; but I shall say with judicious interpreters, J that it holds 
forth freedom from guilt, whereby they might be bound over to 
eternal punishment ; and am well content to hold by the argu- 
ment from this place, which Wendelin says the orthodox use 
against the Papists for the perfection of justification. The argument 
is this " Where there is no condemnation, there is no punishment ; but 
to the justified there is no condemnation : Ergo, To them there is no 
punishment; or, they are bound over to no penal satisfaction. The 
proposition is proved, because condemnation is an adjudging to 
punishment." II Thus he. How shall the force of this argument be 
invalidated ? "Will any say that this privilege is restricted by the 
following clause, " that walk not after the fiesh, but after the 
Spirit," and so belongs not to those who lie under unrepented-of 
guilt ? This were to make two sorts of persons in Christ ; some in 
Christ, that " walk after the Spirit ;" and others in him, that " walk 
after the flesh :" and if there be such, let us no more ask, what con- 
cord Christ can have with Belial, light with darkness ? But the 
apostles plainly applies the not walking after the flesh, but after 
the Spirit, to all believers, to all in whom the " righteousness of 
the law is fulfilled, ver. 4. And the walkers after the flesh, he 
makes the same with them that are in the flesh, ver. 5, who cannot 
please God, ver. 8. have not the Spirit, and are none of Christ's, 
ver. 9. If any shall say, that the meaning is, There is no actual 
condemnation to them, though there want not something condem- 
nable in them ; it is the truth, and the very thing we plead for, viz. 

* Leigh's Crit. Sac. 
f Concord. \ Piscat. annal. in loc. Zanch. torn. 4, loc. de pecatto, col. 81 . 
II S>st. Theol. p. 599. 


That though by their sins they deserve to be damned, yet there is no 
sentence passed against them, binding them over to eternal wrath, 
even though this sentence should never be put in execution. But 
this is not the meaning of those that make this exception ; but thus 
they understood it, as we commonly say. They shall never be 
damned ; that is, the sentence shall never be executed upon them ; 
the wrath they are actually liable to by their sins, shall be diverted ; 
the antecedent being put for the consequent, condemnation for the 
execution of it. But if so, I would fain learn of those men, what 
the apostle hath done, in asserting this, seemingly at least, great 
privilege of believers beyond others ? and why he adds this now to 
it, importing, as it would seem, somewhat which those persons had 
not before ? Are there not thousands out of Christ, that are as 
highly privileged as they ? Are there not many that are yet ene- 
mies to Christ, walking after the flesh, regardless of the Spirit, who 
shall never have the sentence of condemnation executed upon them, 
but shall certainly be saved ? Is it not as true of the elect uncon- 
verted, that the sentence shall never be executed against them, as 
of believers ? Yea, surely. It must needs then be meant of this 
actual liableness to eternal wrath, the freedom from which is the 
peculiar privilege of believers.* 

ArGt. IY. If believers under sin unrepented of, be actually liable 
to eternal wrath, or the strokes of vindictive justice, then they are 
liable to pay a debt over again which hath been once already paid 
to the full ; which is absurd, and unworthy of the divine Majesty, 
irapeacheth his justice, as our divines say against the Papists, and 
reflects dishonour on the merits of Christ's death. "SYe believe, that 
" by once ofi'ering Christ hath perfected for ever them that are 
sanctified ;" he hath fully paid the believer's debt, and satisfied for 
all his sins past, present, and to come : and shall the believer him- 
self be yet liable to pay that debt? This argument Beza hath 
pithily holden forth in his confession of faith, f " Thou wilt say 
then," says he, " that there be infinite iniquities in me, which de- 
serve eternal death. I do grant ; but I add more to it, which thou, 
(Satan) hast maliciously omitted : that is, tliat the iniquities which 
be in me, were sufiiciently revenged and punished in Jesus Christ, 
who hath borne the judgment of God in my stead. So upon this I 
make my conclusion contrary to thine ; that is to say, Forasmuch 
as God is righteous, and will not be paid double, and Jesus Christ, 

* Sin hath a potential, but not an actual guilt, as the sins of the godly ; here is 
reatus concupiscentia:, sed 7L0n persona. Weems Christ, Syn. p. 294. 
j" Confess, point 4. art. 10. 


God and man, liath, by one infinite obedience, made satisfaction to 
the infinite Majesty of God ; it followeth, that ray iniquities can no 
more fray nor trouble me, my accounts and debts being assuredly 
erased and wiped out by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, who 
was made accursed for me." But here it will perhaps be said, that 
if this prove anything, it proves too much, viz. that the elect uncon- 
verted are not actually liable to eternal wrath, for Christ hath 
satisfied for their sins, as for the sins of believers. In answer to 
this, it would be considered. That there is a vast difference betwixt 
a man's paying his own debt in person, and another's paying it 
for him. "When he pays it himself, he is ipso facto discharged of it ; 
but when another pays it for him, the debtor is not presently dis- 
charged from the debt, in regard of the surety, but to be discharged 
when the surety pleaseth. Now, our sins were charged on Christ 
as our surety, and he did pay our debt ; look therefore, when he 
pleaseth, we are discharged from them, and that (saith he"^) is upon 
your believing, not before, Rom. v. 1. So Bridge.f It is 
certain, the remission of sin, which takes away actual liableness to 
eternal wrath, is not communicated but to those who believe ; for as 
Parisiensis saith, As the damnation of Adam doth not pass, but by 
natural generation, upon those that are carnally generated of him ; 
so the grace of Christ, and remission of sin, doth not pass but 
by regeneration, to those who are spiritually regenerated 
through him. Further, it is to be considered, that although 
payment be made by the surety, yet the debtor is still liable 
in law, till it be instructed that the debt was paid for him 
in particular ; the ground of which is the union betwixt the cau- 
tioner and the princpal debtor. Now, it is certain, that the union 
betwixt Christ and a soul is made by faith only ; that is, when the 
soul believes, and not till then. It is true, that from all eternity 
there was an union betwixt Christ and the elect, in the designation 
and decree of God ; but as sure it is, that Decreta Dei nihil pomunt 
tn actu. To this purpose speaks Mr. Durham, | " It is not," says 
he, " the cautioner's payment simply, that is sustained, as a relevant 
defence in judgment, till that be instructed, and except the defence 
be founded thereon ; for so the law provideth : so it is not Christ 
sufi^ering simply, but his satisfaction pleaded by faith, and fled unto, 
that justifieth." And thus I think there remains nothing in this 
exception to invalidate the argument : for the elect unconverted are 
still liable to eternal wrath, in regard the time set by the surety 

"Christ in Travail, p. 101. f Ct. Brirlge, ibid. p. 114 in Marg. 
J Cum. on Rev. iii. p. 145. 


for their personal discharge is not yet come ; they are not yet 
Christ's seed by regeneration ; they are not yet united to Christ ; 
nor hare they by faith pleaded his satisfaction before the bar of the 
court of heaven. But believers being united to Christ by faith, 
even then when they lie under sins unrepented of, cannot be liable. 
And therefore the believer, even in this case, may look the law in 
the face, and say, "It is God that justifieth, who is he that con- 
demneth ?" I was crucified with Christ, in him I obeyed, in him I 
satisfied thee, law, in whatsoever was demanded ; I am therefore 
no more liable to thy condemnation : and with Luther,* " law, 
thou hast no power over me, in vain dost thou accuse and condemn 
me ; I believe in Christ, he has poured out his life most largely for 
me, besides him I will hear and see nothing." This I say a believer 
may do de jure, though he cannot de facto, under those sins that 
waste the conscience, and darken the sight of his interest in Christ. 
If it be alleged, that there must still be a fresh application of 
the merits of Christ's death, before the soul have the benefit of them 
for the particular sin, and repentance must be renewed for the same 
end : this is a mere begging of the question. But I truly wonder 
how repentance comes in here : for it can have no instrumentality 
here, consistent with the nature of the new covenant ; for it is a 
giving, not a taking grace ; and therefore the Lord hath made it to 
be " of faith," not of repentance, " that it might be of grace," Rom. 
iv. 16. As for that of the necessity of faith, it is more tolerable ; 
and there is no doubt but it is necessary in order to the attaining 
of the comfort of the pardon of after sins, as repentance may like- 
wise be. But I believe, that the righteousness of Christ is a perfect 
righteousness ; and that at the first moment of believing, we put on 
the Lord Jesus with his perfect righteousness ; that the Lord seeing 
us clothed therewith, declareth us perfectly just ; and that we 
remain for ever without interruption clothed with the same, and 
are thereby kept from all liableness to eternal wrath in actu secundo. 
So that there is no need of fresh application here for this end, 
the thing supposed being false. But I would gladly understand 
what they mean by a fresh application of the merits of Christ's 
death here : for either they are applied to them before that appli- 
cation, or not till then ; or that righteousness is theirs before the 
fresh application, or not till it be anew applied. If they say the 
latter, then the state of justification is interrupted by the believer's 
after sins ; if the first, then they cannot be liable to eternal wrath. 

* Com. on Gal. iv. 4, 6. 


This mast only be needful for the comfort of their privilege. And 
this leads as to another argument ; which is, 

Arg. Y. Believers, even in their worst case, have a perfect 
righteousness, and so are perfectly righteous : therefore they can 
never be liable to eternal wrath. The reason is, because to be per- 
fectly righteous, is to be conformed to the law, ; but to be perfectly 
conformed to the law, and yet to be liable to the condemna- 
nation of the law, is a flat contradiction. It is true, that the 
righteousness is not originally and inherently theirs ; but it is deri- 
vatively theirs, and imputed to them ; which, with respect to 
Adam's sin, was sufficient to make us actually liable to eternal 
flames : and why shall not the imputed righteousness of Christ be suffi- 
cient to make us free from that actual liableness to the revenging 
wrath of God ? Are they not perfectly righteous ; Hath the law 
any more to require of them than what it has got ? There were 
but two things it could demand, accoiding to the strictest tenor of 
the first covenant ; to do and to suffer perfectly ; and they have in 
Christ their head both done, and suff'ered accordingly, Rom. viii. 3. 
4. " That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us," 
&c. Rom. vi. 10, 11. Gal. iv. 4, 5. " "We learn (says Beza.*) to 
pay by him, who hath set himself debtor and payer for us, who 
hath put himself in our place, and hath paid our debt, as the prin- 
cipal debtor, even unto the uttermost penny, in such wise, that the 
rigour of the law, which did before fear us, now comforteth us in 
Jesus Christ; forasmuch as life eternal is due to those who have 
fully obeyed the law, and Jesus Christ hath fulfilled the same for 
ns." Now, surely, what Christ hath done for us, is as good as if 
we had done it ourselves ; yea, for the honour of the law, it is a 
thousand times better, because of the incomparable dignity of the 
person. What then should make them liable at any time to eternal 
wrath, being at all times clothed with this perfect righteousness ? 
It cannot be, that falling asleep, and faith not being in exercise, 
they let the grips of it go, and therefore they are thus made obnox- 
ious to divine vengeance. But surely it is not so easily made 
ineff'ectual. If inherent grace remain so securely under the griev- 
ous backslidings of the regenerate, that they cannot become children 
of the devil ; much more doth the imputed righteousness remain, so 
that they cannot become children of wrath, that is, actually liable 
thereto, Eph. ii. 2. If they cannot keep the covenant, the covenant 
will keep them. If any shall say, that God will not impute 
it to us for the covering of that particular sin or sins we lie under 

* Confe3s. point 4. art. 23. 


for the time, till we do anew receive it by faith for that end ; 
it is false : for if a perfect righteousness be at all imputed, 
it covereth all sins. The ground of this opinion seems to be a mis- 
take anent the imputation of Christ's righteousness, as if the impu- 
tation of it were a making of it ours, and that this imputation were 
carried on by repeated acts, so as it is still made anew as the soul 
stands in need of it, falling into new sins. That the fii'st of these is 
a mistake, appears from this, that Christ's righteousness is ours 
before it be imputed, I mean not in order of time, but in order of 
nature. It is not ours, because it is imputed; but is imputed, 
because it is ours. It is evident, that it is used in this matter 
forensically, and is a judicial word and act ; and is nothing else 
but a legal accounting of a thing to be ours. Now we know, " that 
the judgment of God is according to truth ; and therefore he cannot 
account that to be ours which really is not so.* And the word 
itself will import no other : for whether you understand the pri- 
mary signification of it to be the casting up of an account, and find- 
ing the total sum, as Arithmeticians do; or the concluding of a 
thing by reason and argument, as in Logic; it still imports the 
being of the thing so, before it be imputed ; as two tens are twenty, 
before the Arithmetician cast up the number, and the Logician finds 
the conclusion in the premises, before he gather it out of them. 
So, in this metaphorical sense, we are sinners in Adam, before 
Adam's sin be imputed to us, or we be reckoned guilty of his sin ; 
and also righteous in Christ, before his righteousness be imputed to 
us. Hence I cannot but judge, that the Westminster Assembly, in 
their definition of justification, f are much more accurate than seve- 
ral learned foreign divines, who make our justification formally 
consist in the imputation of Christ's righteousness : for indeed, as 
they accurately give it, it is presupposed to our justification, as the 
ground thereof. Now, the way how Christ's righteousness becomes 
oui's, is by faith, (as the aforesaid Assembly teacheth), and that as 
it doth make up an union betwixt Christ and the elect person; 
which I conceive to be the primary and immediate eflfect of faith. 
Hence issues a communion betwixt Christ and the believer ; so that 
as all his sins, wants, &c. become Christ's; the righteousness, 
obedience, and death of Christ become theirs ; which so being, God 
accounts it, and judicially owns and acknowledgeth it to be theirs, 
as indeed it is ; and therefore justifies thera ; that is, pardons their 
sins, and accepts them as righteous upon the account of the righte- 
ousness they appear before him clothed with. So Witsius| teach- 

' Leigh's Crit. Sac. f Shorter Cat. f Oec. feed. Dei. alicubi. 


eth. Now, what is it to be righteous, but to be conformed to the 
law ? And seeing no righteousness can be sustained at the tribunal 
of Grod but that which is perfect, it remains that believers, at their 
first believing, are reputed perfectly conformed to the law of God ; 
that is, to have perfectly obeyed and suffered ; and this in regard of 
their union with Christ: and therefore, unless this his state be 
changed, which can never be till the union be dissolved, which the 
scripture holds forth as constant and perpetual, he can never be 
liable to eternal wrath. Hence it follows, that the opinion of a 
repeated imputation is also a mistake : for the imputation can no 
more be anew made, than the soul can be anew united to Christ 
Jesus. And, as Durham* saith, " Imputation being a judicial word 
and act, it supponeth an instant sentencing of such a righteousness 
to belong to such a person, as it were, and to be accepted for hira : 
for if he hath not perfect right, there is no legal imputation, (to say 
so) ; but if it be perfect, then it is an instantaneous act." I add, 
and if instantaneous, then it is not repeated ; nor is it a continued 
act, formally considered, though virtually it be ; that is, the virtue 
of the imputation once made in the court of heaven never ceaseth, 
but remains still in force for all time to come. 

Aeg. VI. If the sins of believers unrepented of make them 
actually liable to eternal wrath, the salvation of many of the rege- 
nerate is lost ; yea I shall add, " Who then can be saved ?" for 
believers may die under sins unrepented of; and therefore, accord- 
ing to this principle, they must needs perish, being actually bound 
over to the eternal wrath of God ; unless you say, either that God 
saves them, and takes them into glory while they lie under a sen- 
tence of condemnation, or that he takes off the obligation after 
death : both which are absurd. This argument is not so trivial as 
to be dismissed, as some would, with a, "What if they die not in that 
case? But it is said here, that although God, by his absolute 
power, can cut off believers in this case, yet, by his ordinate power, 
he cannot; for he will not do it; he hath secured them in that 
point, that though they fall, yet they shall arise by repentance ere 
they go off the world ; they cannot die under sin without repent- 
ance, because they " are kept by the power of God unto salvation," 
1 Pet. i. 5. But this I refuse, as what cannot be made out by the 
scriptures ; and must needs do so till I see a promise of it in God's 
word ; for to expect a benefit not promised, were too great rash- 
ness : but such a promise I confess I have never, as I conceive, 
heard of, or seen in the word of God. The scripture alledged doth 

* On Rev. iii. p. 153. 


indeed prove, that the salvation of the godly is sure, so that it can- 
not fail. That we deny not : only we judge, that the doctrine we 
impugn, is not the doctrine of the gospel ; because it is not con- 
sistent with this certainty of the salvation of the regenerate, which 
is here taught us by the scripture cited ; but their salvation is suffi- 
ciently sure, without this renewing of the acts of repentance, though 
in some cases at least it is necessary to their comfort. I deny not, 
but there are promises of the influences of grace for the renewing of 
repentance, made unto believers: but this I say, that they are no 
more to be extended to every time, than the promises of increase of 
grace ; so that they are indefinite in respect of time. It is a com- 
mand to grow in grace, and there is a promise thereof too, Psal. 
xcii. 13, 14. as Avell as repentance is commanded and promised. 
And yet I suppose it will not be denied, but that the last days of 
some may be worse than their first days, and that believers may die 
in a time of the decay of grace. But if we may judge of what God 
hath promised (as certainly we may) by the event, for " his counsel 
shall stand," we shall soon find that there is no such thing. Let us 
consider Eli* sitting by the way-side, and in an instant falling 
back and breaking his neck. Was it not his sin, that the news 
of the ark of God being taken, did so affect him as to destroy 
nature ? Though this argued much good in him, yet doubtless 
it was his sin, arising from weakness of faith ; which, if it had 
been duly exercised, would rather have set him on to wrestle with 
God for the bringing of the ark back again ; which faith could 
tell he was able enough to do. Yet Eli dies under this sin 
unrei)ented of; but yet we have no reason to doubt his being in 
glory. Yea, unless we maintain a perfection of grace in this life, it 
is impossible to evite this : for suppose that the renewed acts of 
repentance were the actions of the last moments of our time, yet 
repentance itself is as filthy rags ; there is still sin in it when it is 
in the most lively exercise ; so that either we must never die, or die 
under sin unrepented of. It will not at all satisfy here to say, that 
the question is not to be understood of sins of infirmity, but of the 
more gross sins ; that the latter is that which thus makes liable to 
eternal wrath. For, 1. The distinction is naught here ; all the sins of 
the godly being sins of infirmity, Heb. iv. 15. Wherefore I cannot but 
differ from Mr. Bridge, who, in his sermon " of the sin of infirmity, "f 
tells us, that a great, gross, foul, scandalous sin cannot be a sin of 
infirmity. He gives the reason, because it is a sickness, not a weak- 
ness. If a man have some distemper in his body, and yet he bears 

• 1 Sam. i,-. 18. t Prop- 2. 

Vol. YI. c 


up to meat and to his work, he is not sick, but hath an infirmity. 
Thus he. Now, I think it will not be denied, but a godly man may 
fall into a great, gross, and scandalous sin ; so then they fall into 
sins that are not sins of infirmity. Let none then that have fallen 
into gross sins, take any comfort of that, Heb. iv. 15. " For we 
have not an High Priest that cannot be touched with the feeling 
of our infirmities ; though he was in all points tempted like as they 
have been," even to those of the grossest sort, self-murder, and wor- 
shipping of the devil. This is strange divinity. The reason is no 
less strange ; because it is a sickuess, not a weakness. The learned 
gentleman Leigh* tells us, that asthcneia, the word put for infirm- 
ity signifies invaletudo, morbus often, and imbecillitas, debilitas, mor- 
bus : for which he cites Plato, Xenophon, and Thucydides. And the 
Apostle, when he would show what sickness, or rather death, we 
were under by nature, he tells us, we were infirm, so far were we 
from bearing up to work, Rom. v. 6. onton hemon asthenon. But not 
to stand on words ; Was not Peter's sin in denying of his Master a 
sin of infirmity ? He was resolved against it ; and Christ prayed for 
him, that his faith should not fail ; he had a principle of resistance 
within, by the weakness whereof the tempter gained the day: so 
that it was a sin of infirmity indeed, yet a gross sin.f But the 
foresaid author tells us, that, properly and strictly, an infirmity is 
that sin which a man is taken captive by, against his will, Rom. vii. 
that is, against the general bent and frame of his heart, which he 
hath not present strength to resist. So Rom. xv. 1. Thus he. 
And this is the very truth which the scripture teacheth, Rom. vii. 
and elsewhere ; and thus it was with David, Peter, and others, in 
their gross sins. But here is the mystery of this distinction accord- 
ing to him, that gross sins committed by a believer are not against his 
will, nor the general bent of his heart; that there is no resistance at all 
made to the temptation by the will, but that it goes on with full 
swing. And so Rom. vii. hath no respect to gross sins : and that 
law whereby a godly man is brought into captivity, against his will, 
to the law of sin that is in his members, hath no respect to adultery, 
fornication, &c. ; the contrary whereof the Apostle teacheth. Gal. v. 
17, 19 ; and John, while he tells us, that he that is born of God doth 
not commit sin, 1 John. iii. 9. But enough of this. The learned Zan- 
chius teacheth more orthodoxly in answer to that question, " But how 
do the saints make increase when they sin daily, and sometimes most 
grossly ?" His answer is, " They sin of infirmity and according to the 
flesh ; but their mind abides right with God."J But, 2. Those sins 
which are quotidiann^ incursioms, as some term them, and the more 

* Crit. Sac. f Ubi supra. % Cum on Eph. iv. 15. p. 147. 


gross sins are alike as to the point in hand ; in regard it is not sin 
as it is lesser or greater, more or less evitable, but sin as " contrary 
to the law of God," that makes men liable to God's wrath or eternal 
punishment in actu primo ; and sin as it is unrepented of (ad hom- 
inem), that makes them liable in actu secundo ; for a qua tali ad omne 
valet consequentia. 

Further, I urge, That a believer may die even under gross sins 
unrepeuted of : as we see in the Patriarchs and others their poly- 
gamy and incestuous marriages : which I hope will readily be 
reckoned gross sins : yet it is generally said by divines, that they 
repented not of these sins expressly, but yirtually. "Which is no 
doubt a firm truth. But if any shall make use of it here for an eva- 
sion, it will be so far from helping them, that it is a manifest yield- 
ing of the cause : for what is virtual repentance, but actual repen- 
tance virtute suoe causoi ?* So that the meaning is, That although they 
did not expressly and actually repent, yet they had a principle or 
habit of repentance in them, which, positis ad agendum requisitis, 
"would have broke forth into action with respect to that particular. 
But the question is not of this virtual and habitual repentance ; for 
a believer in the case supposed hath still the habit of repentance, 
and the act is in the virtue of the cause, power, or habit; but it is 
of actual repentance, or else there is nothing said at all. If any 
shall say, that this is not the virtual repentance they mean, but that 
it is when a man is heartily affected with such a particular sin or 
sins as he knows, and for the corrupt inclination that is in him that 
is the seed of all, though there be some particular which either he 
knows not, or is not actually in his mind ; yet so he may be said vir- 
tually to repent of the same ; because he repents of one sin upon the 
account which is common to all : I answer, That when it comes to 
the arguments for it, taken from the necessity of confession, for- 
saking, &c. more than all this seems to be pleaded for. But how- 
ever, the necessity of actual repentance is pleaded for in the case of 
sins known, and minded, but not in the case of sins unknown, 
or out of mind. But where find they this difference ? Psal. 
xix. 12. " Cleanse thou me from secret sin," will not ground it ; 
for that is a prayer for repentance, not repentance itself otherwise 
than was said before ; unless it be said, as is indeed alleged, that 
the actual turning from one sin unto God, is a virtual turning from 
all, sufficient to bring the soul from under the liableness to eternal 
wrath for the sin unminded and unknown ; which I suppose they 
shall not easely prove : and, if I mistake not, it will be found in- 
consistant with their own principles ; for they will readily allege 

' Marps. indist. ciist.p 149. 



for tlieir cause, I mean the necessity of repentance in believers in 
order to their pardon, David's case, supposing hira to be liable to 
eternal punishment ay and until he renewed his repentance, when 
Nathan came unto him : and yet I think it will be very hard to say, 
that David, all that three quarters of a year and more, never exer- 
cised one act of repentance for any one sin all that time. So 
Joseph's brethren remind their sin in selling Joseph, when they say, 
"We are verily guilty concerning our brother;" which our adver- 
saries understand of actual liableness to eternal wrath. But who 
can suppose, that they did not forsake one sin by repentance all that 
time ; But what more ordinary than for saints to commit sins which 
they know not to be sins for some time ; or if they do, they slip out 
of their mind not repented of: yet ere they know that particular 
action to have been sinful, or before the other come back into their 
minds, it may be a long time, and they may both have and lose a 
tender frame, and a repenting heart, in the interval. I say then, in 
this case, when the sin is known, and minded first before actual re- 
pentance for the same, the man is either actually liable to eternal 
punishment for it, or not. If it be, then the virtual repentance now 
pleaded for is not sufficient to free the soul from actual liableness to 
eternal punishment, as is alleged : if not, then actual repentance 
is not necessary for the taking off the obligation to eternal wrath by 
known sin ; the contrary whereof is here pleaded. Whence it ap- 
pears, that this is a mere shifting of the thing that is in question. 

Moreover, it were surely worth their pains who stand so much for 
believers' liableness to eternal wrath by their sins while unrepented 
of, seriously to consider, whether or not all those that die by their 
own hands, are set beyond a possibility of salvation ; and whether 
or not it may be, that some truly godly under unrej)ented of sin 
may be struct with madness, or taken with a raging fever, and die 
in that case ? and whether or not good men in a carnally secure 
frame may be killed while asleep, and surprised with sudden death ; 
It may be rationally supposed that many such cases fall out in the 

Arg. YII. Justification is an instantaneous act, and immediately 
perfect upon our believing, as is generally maintained by the ortho- 
dox : for, as Mr. Durham says,* " If Justification be not immediate- 
ly perfect, it must either be upon one's not believing in Christ, or 
because of some defect of the righteousness that faith presenteth, 
and so faith were not a sufficient shield ; or it must be because the 
word doth not pronounce him just upon the ground of that righteous- 
ness ; which were also absurd." I shall not stand more upon the 

* Cow. oa Rev. iii. p. 150. 


proof of this. But from thence it follows, that the after sins of the 
justified do not make them actually liable to eternal punishment : 
which I prove thus. The state of perfect justification is either in- 
terrupted by the after sins of believers, or not. If ye say it is, then, 
1. The gifts and calling of God are not without repentance. 2. A be- 
liever is sometimes under grace, sometimes under the law. 3. There 
is condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus ; or, the after sins 
of believers dissolve the union. I shall say no more of this at the 
time. If ye say, it is not interrupted by their after sins, then they 
do not make them liable to eternal wrath ; for an uninterrupted stato 
of justification, and being actually liable to eternal wrath, are 
utterly inconsistent. And I prove the assertion thus. 

1. To be justified, is to be absolved from guilt in actu secundo. 
To be liable actually to eternal punishment, is not to be absolved 
from guilt in actu secundo ; which is a flat contradiction : The man 
is absolved, and not absolved; absolved, because justified; not 
absolved, because he is liable to eternal punishment. I know it 
will be said, for solving the matter, that it is in different respects 
that the man is absolved, and not absolved ; absolved in respect of 
sins repented of; not absolved in respect of sins unrepented; he is 
justified in respect of his state, but in respect of that particular 
sin or sins he is liable to eternal wrath. But I answer. That this 
is meant either of the man's past state, whereof he hath no benefit 
now, or of his present state. If you say the former, then the state 
of justification is interrui)ted, in such sort that the man must begin 
anew again, as at the first moment of believing ; and so the believer 
under unrepented of sin, is in no better case, in respect of justification 
before God, than he was when unconverted ; and if so, why is it 
urged here ? If it be meant of his present state, the distinction is 
not to be admitted : for the man hath no benefit of that state, more 
than what flows from former experience of God's goodness, and 
readiness to forgive ; and so his state is not indeed a state of 
justification, (call it as you will), but of condemnation ; for bonum 
non nisi ex integra causa, malum ex quolibet defectu: which, according 
to the law, is applicable here ; for the curse is pronounced on him 
" that continueth not in all things written in the law to do them," 
Gal. iii. 10; and the Spirit of the Lord expressly tells us, that 
" whosoever olfends in one point, is guilty of all," James ii. 10. ; and 
when "the righteous turneth from h s righteousness, and committeth 
iniquity, all the righteousness that he hath done, shall not be men- 
tioned," Ezek. xviii. 24. I confess these scriptures hold forth the 
Lord's way of dealing with men according to the covenant of works, 
not according to the covenant of grace ; which knows nothing of con- 


derailing or adjudging to eternal wrath, as was said before. But if 
raen will needs be dealt with according to the law, is it reasonable they 
take their hazard of all it says. Should the foresaid distinction be 
used (as it might be on the same grounds) for the comfort of a man, who 
having been frequently accused of treason, yet was still absolved ; but 
now one treasonable act being proven against him, and he for the same 
condemned to die ; would he not think you miserable comforters 5 
and conclude himself to be in a state of condemnation ? 

2. The Apostle Paul makes them inconsistent, Rom. viii. 33, 34. 
" Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect ?" viz. those of 
them that believe. Synec. generis. * The interrogation is a strong 
denial. Q. d. None shall lay any thing to their charge, f The 
word encaleo here used, signifies to enter action or suit against a man 
in some open court. Now, if there be none to lay any thing to their 
charge, yea none so much as to enter action or suit against them de 
jure, then there can no sentence pass upon them, making them act- 
ually liable to eternal wrath. So saith Luther, " Every one that be- 
lieveth on hira, is righteous; the law cannot accuse him," &c. J 
The Apostle goes on in his holy boasting, " It is God that justifieth . 
who is he that conderaneth ?" says he. Not Christ, he is our Advo- 
cate; not sin, for Christ "was made sin for us ;" not the law, for 
Christ hath " fulfilled the law for us ;" not Satan, for God 
is his judge ; and if he have acquitted us, what can the jailor do?|1 
We see the ground of the Apostle's boasting his justification before 
God. Q. d. God justifies us. Ergo, None can condemn us. Now^ 
where lies the strength of this argument, if to justify and condemn 
be not inconsistent ; or, which is all one, to be justified, and to be 
liable actually to eternal wrath ? If believers may be so liable not- 
withstanding that they are justified, or in a state of justification 
when the Apostle says, " Who is he that condemneth ?" he may have 
an answer to his question. Yea, may the law say, I condemn him, 
for he lies under unrepeuted of sin, though he be a believer. " Who 
shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect ?" Yea, says Satan, 
I have unrepeuted of sin to lay to his charge. " But who is he that 
condemneth ?" Why ? here is the charge, his own conscience cannot 
deny it. The law then must condemn him, yea hath condemned al- 
ready ; for he is actually liable to eternal punishment, so that there 
remains nothing but the execution of the sentence. If any shall say 
That the Apostle's meaning is, that howsoever the godly be condem- 
ned, reproached, &c. by the world, yet they have no ground to be 
discouraged, seeing God justifies them ; I shall not quarrel it, so 

• 2'iscal. Kchol. in loc. f Leigh's Crit. Sac. J Com. in Gal. iv. 24. 

II Isaac Ambrose's ]\Iedia, p. 4, 


that it justle not out the other ; which cannot rightly be done, as 
the context makes evident. See the golden chain, ver. 29 30. what 
knits the links together, ver. 32. and how he goes on in that holy ex- 
ultation, particularly in the two last verses of the chapter. The 
ground of non-condemnation here alleged, which is the death, and 
resurrection, and intercession of Christ, plainly teacheth the same. 
And indeed it had been small ground of boasting, if a man were still 
in hazard of the judgment of God, though he needed not fear the 
world's condemning him. In fine, the words are general ; and it 
were too much boldness to restrict them. But what if God himself 
condemn them, or declare them actually liable to eternal wrath ? 
then I say, the Apostle hath an answer to his question. And their 
is not so great cause of boasting of the privileges of believers ; for if 
a man were freed from all hazard of angles, devils, and men, but yet 
liable to God's wrath, it is too great boldness to boast till that be 
over. But one would think, that the Apostle had sufficiently secur- 
ed us against suspicion with respect to God, while he tells us, ver. 
31. " If God be for us ;" that is, seeing God is for us, as appears from 
the context : and so it is that God is for them ; therefore they need 
not fear he will turn against them to condemn them. 

If it be said. Why may not the state of justification consist with a 
believer's being actually liable to eternal punishment upon the ac- 
count of some particular sin unrepented of, as well as a state of 
sanctification with the prevailing of some particular lust, or as well 
as health and sickness in the same body ? I answer, the reason is 
plain: Because justification is a legal and judicial act, makes only 
a relative change, is perfected in an instant, and admits not of de- 
grees : but sanctification is a physical or hyperphysical work, 
makes a real change on a man's nature, is imperfect, and carried 
on by degrees. If a man be not perfectly justified, he is not justified 
at all ; if the least unpardoned sin remain, the law condemns him for 
it. Gal. iii. 10. But a man may be holy, though not perfect ; and in 
health, though not perfectly. Suppose a murderer to be lying in 
prison, dangerously wounded with the same sword wherewith he 
killed others. The libel is drawn up against him, consisting of 
several articles. The man hath both the physician and the advo- 
cate to employ. The physician sets to work, and by his medicine 
so prevails, that he cures his wounds, though not perfectly as yet ; 
but he tells him, and that truly, he is in a state of health, though 
he goes halting, and that there is no fear of death. The advocate 
doth his part, and of twenty articles disproves nineteen ; but as to 
the twentieth article, though he said much against it, yet he could 
not invalidate the proof of it; but thereupon he is condemned. 


He cannot say now to Lira, as the physician, that there is no fear of 
death. And the reason is obvious. 

Object. 1. The command to repent, with respect to believers lying 
under unrepented of gnilt, is prefixed to the promise of pardon, as is 
manifest in the church of Ephesus, Rev. ii. 4, 5 ; and the ground is ge- 
neral, Rev. iii. 19. ""Whom I love, I rebuke and chasten ; be zealous 
therefore and repent;" where repentance is put in as a necessary midst 
for removing of God's rebuke and quarrel, even from those whom he 
loveth. John keeps the same method, writing to believers, 1 John i. 9. 
" If we confess our sins, he is just to forgive." This is confirmed by 
the experience of the godly. Witness David, Psal. xxxii. 3, 4, 5. 
— "I acknowledged my sin, — and thou forgavest," &c. Ergo. Answ. 1. 
That there is a necessary connection betwixt the pardon of sin and 
repentance, I grant : so that there is no pardoned sinner, but he is 
also a penitent ; so that, sooner or later, virtually or expressly, 
whatever way sin be forgiven, it is also repented of. But will the 
objectors screw up this so high, as that no sin can be forgiven, unless 
it be expressly repented of? They cannot, surely, as long as that 
remains true, '* "Who can understand his errors ?" Psal. xix. 12. 
And so we must admit of virtual repentance in the first scripture, 
and virtual confession in the two last. Which I say still is beside 
the question. And therefore, if they mind to prove any thing here 
by these scriptures cited, they will prove to much, viz. That express 
repentance is necessary to pardon ; which is contrary to the scripture 
cited before. For if a sin be not known, it cannot be expressly re- 
pented of. And yet no doubt they must say, that a sin unknown 
may be pardoned. E.g. Jacob lives in polyganiy, and that with 
two sisters ; he could not expressly repent of it, not knowing 
it to be a sin, as is commonly said : yet this sin was no doubt par- 
doned, and Jacob saved. Then virtual repentance was sufficient, 
which Jacob never wanted, unless he lost the habits of grace; which 
I hope our adversaries will not say. As for the prefixing of the 
command to repent unto the promise of pardon, it can of itself have 
little weight, in regard the order of words is not always the order 
of the things themselves. So Mark i. 15. repentance is prefixed to 
faith ; though it is evident, that, in order of nature, it follows the 
same, if it be understood of gospel-repentance. See 2 Cor. vii. 10, 
11. But of this perhaps more afterwards. But, 2. I deny the con- 
sequence of this argument; which I conceive may be, and must 
be thus framed categorically. Repentance must go before pardon; 
but pardon is the removal of the obligation to eternal wrath : Ergo. 
Now, the minor, if understood of the elect entering into a state 
of justification, is true ; but so it hits not the point in hand. 


But if understood of those tliat are already justified, or ia a justified 
state, it is false ; pardon to them being nothing else but either the 
sense of pardon, or the taking off" of temporal strokes, or relaxation 
of temporary punishment or chastisements. Which interpretation 
the instances adduced do very fairly accept of. In the church of 
Ephesus there were some under a decay of their love. What 
were they liable to upon the account of it ? Not to hell-fire ; but to 
a famine of the word, a removing of the candlestick ; that, being 
pinched with want, they may learn not to loathe the heavenly 
manna ; which God threatens actually to accomplish unless they re- 
pent, and that according to the tenor of the covenant, Psal. Ixxxix. 
31, 32, And what else mean these words in the objection, " Whom 
I love ?"• — where repentance is put in as a necessary midst for 
removing of God's rebuke and quarrel. I cheerfully yield it. But 
assuredly there is a vast difl'erence betwixt God's removing of his 
rebuke and quarrel, and his taking oflT the obligation to eternal 
wrath ; unless it be that God cannot rebuke but as a judge. In 
that scripture it is plain the exhortation is to repentance ; and the 
argument used to enforce it, is very plain to our purpose, viz. " As 
many as I love, I rebuke and chasten, unless they repent ; but ye 
are they whom I love : therefore unless you repent, be sure I will 
rebuke and chasten you. As to that, 1 John i. 9. that he writes to 
believers, is plain, as we shall hear mo7'e afterwards; and it re- 
ceives the same answer, viz. That they are to confess in order to the 
removal of temporary wrath. It is evident, that David's case, 
Psal. xxxii. is thus to be understood, of the removal of tempo- 
rary strokes or chastisements. The words are, NaSathaGnaVon 
Chattathi* The word Nasa properly signifies levavit, to take 
ofl', or ease peoi)le of burdens; and so David says, ver. 4. 
" Thy hand was heavy on me." The lifting off" that heavy hand, 
which was but the hand of a father, is then the forgiving of sin, 
or lifting it off". GnaVon is rendered iniquity, according to the 
proper signification of the word ; for it denotes the crookedness and 
vitiosity of the action : but it must be expounded of punishment, 
metonymically, as it is frequently used. So the old translation 
reads it, Thon forgavest the punishment, &c. Amesius reads it, 
Sustulisti pcenam peccati mei. And so it must needs be understood, 
whatever way it be translated : for God never takes away the 
crookedness or vitiosity of sin, for that were to make it no sin ; but 
he takes away the punishment of it. Now, this we heard before 
was God's hand that was heavy on him ; yet the hand of a father, 

* Leiali's Crit. 


not of a judge. Compare Psal. xxv. 18. "Look upon mine afflic- 
tion, and my pain, and forgive all my sins. Then, says Mr. 
Rutherford,* sin here is pardoned only according to the present 
pain and grief of body and soul that was on David. 

Object. 2. Nathan tells David, upon his confession, and taking 
with guilt, that his sin was pardoned, or put away, 2 Sam. xii. 13. 
"The Lord also hath put away thy sin; and yet, ver. 9, 11, 12, 14. 
he threatens him with temporal strokes. Now, this j)utting away of 
sin, must be either as to the obligation to eternal or to temporal 
wrath. It cannot be the latter, because we see plainly he lies 
under the same : therefore the first must be said. Now, let it be 
marked, when it is said to be put away, even after his confession, 
and taking with the guilt; therefore he was actually liable to 
eternal wrath before his confession ; and so believers lying under 
unrepented of sin, are actually liable to eternal punishment. 
Answ. In the Jirst place. It cannot be denied, but that these words 
are the words of Nathan, declaring by the Spirit what God had 
done for David ; and so they are not a formal pardon, but an 
intimation of pardon. Now, there is a great difference betwixt 
these two. But if the conclusion be valid, it must be drawn from 
the formal forgiveness of sin after confession, which doth not at all 
appear here ; and not from the intimation of it at that time : for a 
man may be freed in foro Dei from guilt, and yet not have it 
intimated to him, till some time after, and particularly till he be in 
the exercise of repentance ; yet is he not therefore liable to eternal 
wrath before the Lord till that time. In the next place. It comes 
to be considered, in what sense David's sin is said to be put away. 
In respect simply of the actual obligation to eternal wrath, say the 
objectors. Giving, though not granting it to be so, it remains still, 
that here is the intimation of pardon only. And truly David's con- 
science being now awake, and accusing him of these gross abomina- 
tions of murder and adultery, it was no wonder if he lost his sight 
of his interest in Christ and his justification. This being supposed, 
such an intimation of pardon was most seasonable, that he might 
have somewhat to keep him from desponding. And this intimation 
made by the ministry of Nathan, with some measure of the Spirit's 
light illustrating this, though but, as it were, with a dawning light, 
and some secret underpropping, was sufiicient for this; though a 
greater influence of the Spirit was necessary in order to the full 
establishment of his heart in this truth which the Prophet told him. 
This then being supposed, we may thence judge his sin to have been 
pardoned before. So Luke vii. 48. Christ saith to the woman, 

* Christ's Dying and Drawing, p. 34. 


" Thy sins are forgiven." Of this woman it is said, that " she 
washed Christ's feet with her teai's, and wiped them with the hair 
of her head." After this Christ tolls her, that " her sins are for- 
given." But this is nothing else than an intimation of the pardon 
granted before her washing Christ's feet with her tears, &c. as is 
evident from ver. 47- But of this more afterwards. Hemmingius* 
speaking of David in this case, tells us, there were in him horrible 
terrors, and extreme fears ; for he did fear everlasting punishment : 
but hearing this voice of the Prophet by the commandment of God, 
" Thou shalt not die, the Lord hath put away thy sin," he turneth 
again unto the Lord, and repenteth ; he hateth his sin, he fleeth 
unto mercy by faith. Ye see in what order the learned man 
placeth David's pardon and repentance ; and how he supposeth 
him under fear of everlasting punishment. But, if I mistake 
not, acute Bezaf will not grant so much : for, says he, " "When 
David and Peter fell so beastly, yet there is no doubt but 
they lamented and sorrowed, till they felt the working of their 
generation and sanctification : but being in their temptation, they 
stayed themselves upon the anchor of the testimony which the Spirit 
of God brought into their conscience ; which caused them not to 
doubt, (notwithstanding their fall), but that they were the children 
of God, and that their fault was forgiven them." Thirdly, But why 
must it needs be understood of putting away his sin touching the 
obligation to eternal wrath, and not with respect to temporary and 
and fatherly displeasure and chastisments ? Because, say they, he 
still lies under temporary wi'ath. Let us hear holy and learned Mr. 
Rutherford's judgment in this case.j Having laid down this asser- 
tion. Sins of youth already pardoned as touching the obligation to 
eternal wrath, may so rise against the child of God, as he hath 
need to ask forgiveness of them, as touching the removing of present 
wrath, sense of the want of God's presence, of the influence of his 
love, the cloud of sadness and deadness, &c. ; he adds, enlarging on 
the same, II "We may well say, that God pardoneth sin, when he 
removeth temporary wrath. So 2. Sam. xii. 13. Nathan saith to 
David, " The Lord also hath put away thy sin." Why ? " Thou 
shalt not die." This is meant of temporal death especially, as the 
context cleareth, ver. 10. " The sword shall not depart from thine 
house ;" and ver. 14. " The child born unto thee shall surely die." 
Then the Lord's putting away of David's sin, was in loosing him 
from the sword, in his own person, not in his house and children." 

* Com. on Jam. il. digress, concerning repentance, f Confess, point. 4. art. 20. 
% Christ's dving and drawing, p. 34. || ibid, 35, 36. 


And herein do I cheerfully acquiesce. We say then, that this put- 
ting away of David's sin respects temporary wratli, though David 
be yet threatened with it. Now, iu that temporary wrath which 
believers lay themselves open to by their sins, there are several 
particular strokes ; but none of thera any way for tlie satisfying of 
jnstice, but for correcting the offender, the terror of others, &c. 
And therefore the executive pardon here is capable of degrees, and 
may be remitted or intended, as the Lord sees meet. So that the 
alleviating of the cliastisement, or relaxation of the fatherly pun- 
ishment due to David for his murder and adultery, is that which is 
holden forth in these words, The Lord also hath put away thy sin;" 
not excluding, but rather including the other. And thus David's 
case herein was as of a man who by the law is punishable by death, 
but is only actually punished with banishment. To this purpose the 
worthy author just now named, explains it, and I think has proven 
it. I add, that it further appears, if we consider and compare ver. 
5. with the text. While the thing is kept in thesi, David himself 
pronouuceth the sentence on the guilty person, not knowing as yet 
on whose head it would alight: "The man that hath done this, 
shall surely die." Now, when Nathan tells him flatly, that he was 
the man, he found, that by his own sentence he was condemned 
to death ; and he knowing that sentence to be according to the law 
of God in the case of the murderer and adulterer, it may well be 
supposed, that he concluded, that if men would not execute the 
sentence, God himself would do it. Wherefore it answers aptly to 
the sentence passed against himself by him, and exalts the mercy of 
of God towards him : " He shall die," said he. " Thou shalt not 
die," says Nathan. Consider also the antithesis, ver. 13, 14, " Thou 
shalt not die. Howbeit — the child shall die ; not an eternal, but 
a temporal death. There was great reason for both. The text tells 
us expressly the reason why the child should die; even because David 
by that deed had given great occasion to the enemy to blaspheme. 
Wherefore the Lord (to speak so) behoved to vindicate the glory 
of his holy name, shewing that sin was displeasing to him in 
whomsoever it be found. The other is not without great reason 
likewise : for God had promised to him, 2 Sam. vii. 12. that his seed, 
viz. Solomon, who was not yet begotten, should sit in his throne, 
and build the Lord's house ; therefore he must not die ; it was in- 
consistent with the faithfulness of God. That the Lord's putting 
away of sin, should be thus expounded of the relaxation of tempo- 
ral punishment, needs not seem strange : for so it is used elsewhere 
in the scriptures, Neh. ix. 17, 18, 19. " But thou art (or wast) a 
God ready to pardon." How? Thou " forsookest thera not in the 


wilderness," Yet who knoM's liot what strokes those people met 
with in the wilderness ? But herein was pardoning mercy ; the 
Lord forsook them not, he did not cast off his care of them, as a 
people peculiar to himself. We may see this yet more plainly 
Num. xiv. where let it be considered, what the Lord threatens that 
people with. It is death in the wilderness ; " I will smite them 
with the pestilence," ^c. ver. 12. " If thou shalt kill all this peo- 
ple, as one man," says Moses, ver. 15. " Moses in his prayer asks 
forgiveness for them ;"" Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of 
this people," ver. 19 ; he prevails, " And the Lord said, I have 
pardoned according to thy word." But mark what follows : 
" Because they have tempted me these ten times, surely they shall 
not see the land which I sware unto their fathers." Now., what is 
their pardon thej get, but the relaxation we speak of? They are 
freed from death, but are kept out of the land of Canaan, for their 
sin so pardoned. And David himself tells us of this way of the 
Lord's dealing with him, Psal. cxviiii. 18. "The Lord hath cha- 
stened me sore, but he hath not given me over unto death." The 
same way is that to be understood, Psal. xcix. 8. " Thou wast a God 
that forgavest them, though thou tookest vengeance of their inven- 
tions." Compare Psal. cxvi. 43, 44. " They were brought low for 
their iniquity; nevertheless he regarded their affliction," &c. 

Object. 3. If believers lying under unrepented of sin be 
not liable actually to eternal wrath, what need is there of Christ's 
intercession ? Yet John, 1 Epist. ii. 1. when he is directing believers 
what course to take for the pardon of their sin, he tells them of " an 
Advocate with the father" whom they are to employ; but what 
needs he an advocate, who is not liable to the lash of the law ? To 
this I answer, 1, The object of Christ's intercession is confined 
within too narrow limits, if it be supposed only to be employed for 
the obtaining of the pardon of sin. Christ prayed for Peter, that 
his " faith might not fail." See John xiv. per totum. He inter- 
cedes always for his people, in whatever case they be; and I think 
it will not be denied, but that the benefits we enjoy, most of them 
come by Christ's intercession. 2. The pardon of sin, as it denotes 
the taking away of an actual obligation to temporary wrath, either 
in a total removal of the same, or a relaxation thereof, is not such 
a small thing as to be so overlooked. God's deserting of the soul, 
shooting his arrows against them, are not easy to the godly; and 
that they have Christ to employ for the removal of these, is no small 
ground of comfort 2. There is great fallacy in that which is said, 
that a man not liable to eternal wrath needs not an advocate. If it 
be meant of liableness thereto in actu primo, it is true. But who 


denies that they are so liable ? If they mean it of liablenesa 
thereto in actu secundo, it is false ; for advocates use not to be em- 
ployed for reversing a sentence of death, but to hinder it from 
passing. And upon this ground I say, that this doctrine is very far 
from invalidating the necessity of Christ's intercession ; yea, it is 
indeed founded on the intercession of Christ : Rom. viii. 34. " Who 
is he that condemneth ? it is Christ that died ; — who also maketh 
intercession for us." And, if I mistake not, this scripture used 
against us, affords us a solid argument against the doctrine of our 
adversaries in this point. Which ye may take thus: Those who 
have always an Advocate at the right hand of the Father, who hath 
undertaken their defence, and never fails to gain his point, their 
cause cannot go wrong in heaven ; but whenever an accusation 
comes in against them, he will undertake their cause, so that it can- 
not come to a sentence against them ; which is the only thing that 
can make them actually liable to wrath : but if believers sin, they 
have such an Advocate : Ergo. And it is worthy of our considera- 
tion, that our Advocate is called " Jesus Christ the righteous, " But 
he is not (says Zanchius*) a just advocate who defends an unjust 
cause: but Christ defends our cause, because he is our Advocate, 
and he is a just Advocate. John therefore teaches, that our cause 
which Christ defends, is just." So he. Now, where lies the justice of 
the cause ? — in our repentance ? No ; in that Christ became liable for 
us, and hath paid the debt, and satisfied justice; and we are now 
one with him. And if our cause be just, how can it go to a sentence 
against us, though it never be executed ? A just judge will no 
more pass a sentence against one that has a just cause, than he will 
execute it. And truly it seems, that those who will have such a 
sentence to pass against a believer in the court of heaven, though 
they believe it will never be executed, do not deeply consider 
Christ's sitting continually at the Father's right hand, and exhibi- 
ting the merits of his death and sufferings : for if this be, how can 
any accusation that comes in against them proceed so far? For, as 
one saysf well, he interupts the accusation, and strikes in for us, 
Heb. vii. 25. because he hath not only died for us, and risen for us, 
but he follows the business to the utmost. If he does not thus ef- 
fectually stop sentence passing against us, it must either be because 
he cannot, or because he will not. The first is more than absurd ; if 
the latter be said, it is like it will be alleged that it is because we 
do not employ him, and so the oil must come from earth to anoint 
the wheels of his compassion towards those persons, for whom he 
poured out his blood while they were yet enemies. And if his in- 

• Com. in loc. f Cotton in loc, 


tercession in this case depends upon our motion, why not in other 
cases also? And so we shall never exercise faith nor repentance 
more : but these are undeniably the fruits of his intercession, as 
■wrell as freedom from condemnation ; for we cannot employ hira but 
by faith. If any shall say, that if Christ's intercession do stop 
the sentence of eternal wrath's passing, why does it not hinder the 
believer's actual liableness to temporary strokes ? I answer. The 
reason is obvious ; because temporary strokes to believers are merely 
correctory, and, according to God's dispensation, cannot be wanted, 
Is. xxvii. 6 ; but eternal wrath is not so. And I think it is no 
solecism to say, that as the taking off of temporal strokes in due 
time, so the laying them on in due season, is a fruit of Christ's in- 

Object, ult. This doctrine opens a gap to licentiousness and car- 
nal security, and therefore cannot be of God. Answ. I take notice, 
that the Apostle hath the same objected to him against this doc- 
trine, Rom. vi. 15. and therefore I say, with him, God forbid, &c. 
But, 1. In such sins as so waste the conscience that they blind men 
as to their state, there is no place for this objection ; tor then the 
man looks on himself de facto as liable to eternal wrath ; but de 
jure he cannot so look on himself. And why should this seem 
strange ? for " will a man speak wickedly for God ?" 2. Is not the 
same objection to be retorted on the adversaries who side not with 
Arminians, &c. ? does not their doctrine upon the same ground lie 
open to this calumny ? for, according to them, the punishment shall 
never be executed. If a man had the privilege that he should 
never be actually liable to capital punishment, then you will say, 
that man may do what he pleaseth without control, I say, on the 
other hand, if a man be so privileged, as that although ten thousand 
sentences of death pass upon him, yet they shall never be executed, 
upon the same ground he may do what he pleaseth : for, at most, 
there is but magis and minus betwixt them, quce non variant speclem ; 
and so they shall both be licentious doctrines, though the one more 
than the other. 3. I suppose it can scarcely be denied, but that 
temporal strokes, or the fear of them, may be curbs to our licen- 
tious humours suo quodam modo ; though, without restraining grace, 
the fear of ten thousand hells will not be sufficient to hold in a man 
from the pursuit of his lusts. But why may not fear of death help 
to keep the church from murmuring at cross dispensations in life, 
Lam. iii. 39. and the fear of a whale's belly the second time make 
Jonah to go to Nineveh ? That which truly seems to be the ground 
of this objection, is, the not considering what is the extent and 
power of God's fathei'ly displeasure to which believers are made 


actually liable by their sins. The pondering of this aright would 
silence such objectors. Temporal strokes, the effects of God's 
fatherly displeasure, are not confined to strokes upon our bodies, or 
crosses in our outward estate ; though indeed sicknesses of several 
sorts, poverty, losses, &c. yea and death, are not very light things, 
but such, as the prospect of them may make a stout heart to stag- 
ger. But these strokes reach the soul likewise ; and strokes upon 
the soul are very heavy. They may all come under the general 
name of desertion ; which spreads itself into innumerable branches, 
such as, want of communion with God, a wounded spirit, yea the 
arrows of the Almighty driven into the soul, and their poison drink- 
ing up the spirit, &c. I add, the Lord's suffering men to fall into 
one sin, and that sometimes a very gross sin or sins, for a correction 
of them because of former miscarriages ; as David's security was 
punished with his being suffered to fall into murder and adultery ; 
Peter's self-confidence, with denying his master. All these the 
godly make themselves actually liable to by unrepented of sin. 
And it is well worth our noticing, that here is something in the 
obligation to temporary wrath, that is more to be feared than hell, 
if so be that sin be the greatest evil ; which I hope no serious soul 
will deny. I thus think, and. thus will ever preach. It is more 
bitter to sin against Christ, than to suffer the torments of hell, said 
Chrysostom.* Anselm said, that if on the one side were presented 
unto him the evil of sin, and on the other side, the torments of hell, 
he would rather choose to fall into hell, than to fall into sin. Now, 
I refer it to the judgment of any godly, if, these aud the like things 
considered, the doctrine we maintain be chargeable justly with 
opening a gap to licentiousness ? I shall not dispute here, whether 
or not the temporary wrath which is inflicted on the godly, be tlio 
same essentially with that which is poured out upon the damned. 
But sure I am David calls those strokes that had been upon him, 
"the pains of hell," Psal csvi. 3. Job speaks very terribly of them. 
Job vi. 4. " For the arrows of the Almighty are within me," &c. 
Heman gives the same name to what was upon him that the Psalm- 
ist gives to what comes on reprobates, Psal. Ixxxviii. 16. compared 
■with Psal. Iviii. 9. The word in both places is Charon ,-f only the 
godly man Heman hath it in the plural number. Lastly, We say 
this doctrine gives true gospel liberty ; which perhaps the contrary 
doth not ; and it is our duty to " stand fast in the liberty where- 
with Christ hath made us free ;" which if we will hear Zacharias in 
his song, Luke i. T'i. is, " that we, being delivered from all our ene- 

* Citante Bolton, Dead saint speaking, p. 10. f Fruin Charah, exanit. 


mies, might serve him without fear. And if we would know what 
enemies we are delivered from, the apostle tells us, the law is one 
of them, as it curseth and condemneth the sinner, Gal. iii. 13. And 
as we answer Arminians, Papists, and other enemies of Christian 
assurance, when they object. That it is a pillar of security ; so I 
positively aOirni, that this doctrine is so far from being justly 
chargeable therewith, that it is a most strong inducement to gospel- 
obedience, and a strick walk with God ; I mean, to a gospel spirit. 
So that I fear not to say with Dr Preston,* he that hath the 
strongest faith, he that believeth in the greatest degree the promise 
of pardon and remission of sins, hath the holiest heart and the holi- 
est life. And I think it is worthy of our observation, that Paul 
never groaned more deeply under the body of death, than in the 
midst of the discourse of a believer's being dead to the law, and 
freed from condemnation : Rorc. vii. 24. compared with chap. vii. 1, 
&c. and viii. 1. The scripture is very plain in teaching us, that 
it was Christ's design in bringing his people from under the laAv, 
that they might be employed in new obedience, Rom vii. 4, 6. And 
surely it doth not fail. Nothing hath greater influence on gospel 
obedience than love ; love is a strong cord to draw souls to a 
holy walk, 2 Cor. v. 14. " For the love of Christ [whether ye under- 
stand it subjectively or objectively, it is all one to the purpose] con- 
straineth us ; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then 
were all dead ;"f ^. e. legally dead, as is clear from the antithesis. 
Yet it cannot be meant of the actual execution of the sentence upon 
us ; therefore only of this actual liableness to death. And indeed this 
is the very force of the Apostle's argument, how can that love but 
constrain us, seeing by him we have been freed from the obligation 
to eternal wrath, in which respect we were dead ? dead juridically, 
says Mr. Pool. J We were all as dead condemned persons, because 
he died in our stead. But more of this afterwards. I shall con- 
clude with that saying of Mr. MerritonH in his sermon of Christ's 
humiliation, " Sin is done away by this blood [of Christ], as it binds 
over to wrath and punishment. Siu may remain, but it shall not 
condemn, if the channel of Christ's blood runs through thy soul, 
thou hast shut the gulf as to condemnation." 

* New cov. p. 1.J4. t AUudit nd vatum fnrorem. Beza. 

% Morning exercise 1659 p. 347. |1 p. 302. 

A^oL. YI. 



Whether or not all sins, past, present, and to come, are 
pardoned together and at once ? 

This question hath much affinity with the former ; and what is 
already said, may contribute to clear our way in answer to this. I 
mind not here to consider the doctrine of the deluded Antinomians, 
who assert, that men are justified and actually pardoned from all 
eternity ; and so not only before they believe, but before they are 
born ; not distinguishing between active and passive justification. 
The former, being an imminent act in God, and a constant will to 
pardon such persons as he hath chosen to everlasting life, is no 
doubt from eternity, and complete from that date. But the latter 
a transient act, exercised not only about, but terminated on the 
creature living and believing, whereby he is actually pardoned, 
and judicially declared righteous, while he stands trembling before 
the tribunal of God ; and so cannot be from eternity. 

Their doctrine in this is flatly opposite to the Scriptures ; which 
declare all men once and by nature to be children of wrath, and 
under condemnation, and unpardoned ; and truly overturns both law 
and gospel at one blow ; the law, in that the case being so as they 
pretend, there is no need of it to accuse, convince, condemn, and to 
stop every mouth, and to make all the world guilty before God. 
And no better friends are they to the gospel, which proclaims sal- 
vation to lost sinners. Yet none greater pretenders to the purity 
of the gospel than they; none seem to cry up free grace more, 
which nevertheless in very deed they labour to hide, while they set 
off the law altogether, without which a man shall never have a right 
taste of the grace of God. They cry down the law and a legal 
walk ; which is, no doubt, the bane of many professors ; but plnck- 
ing up the law out of the conscience in the matter of justification, 
and a sinner's acceptance with God, they root it out of the heart in 
the matter of sanctification. So true is it, Dum vitant stulti viiia, in 
eontraria curriint. 

But had more care been taken of preserving pure and entire the 
doctrine of free grace, it would no doubt have prevented the delu- 
sion of many simple and well-meaning people, and cut off" the 
occasion of crying down good works, and the study of holiness, under 
pretence of sacrificing all to free grace, from others led merely by 
their own licentious humours. And therefore, if I mistake not, the 
greatest noise that Antinomianism hath made in the church in these 
later centuries, hath been after a deluge of superstition ; formality. 


and ignorance of the doctrine of the gospel, had over.vhelmed the 
church, and sermons sounded rather like Seneca's morals, than 
Paul's doctrine of Christ crucified, and the riches of God's grace. 
So was it in the time of the reformation from Popery ; so in the 
time of Britain's struggling with and wading out from Prelacy and 
Arminianism, «Sic. How dangerous is it to set up morality instead 
of the power of godliness, and life of faith ? to turn the covenant of 
grace into a bastard covenant of works ; and to mix the law with 
the gospel, which is indeed accounted by the Spirit of God another 
gospel, the preacher whereof is devoted to a curse ? Gal. i. 6, 8. 

And indeed nothing is more incident to men than this ; for it is 
as natural to them to seek to go to heaven by the covenant of works. 
as it is for fishes to swim, or birds to fly ; we being naturally dis- 
posed to apprehend God as a great lord and master, and ourselves 
as his servants, who must work for wages. And so it comes to pass, 
they consider God absolutely, forgetting Christ the way to the 
Father; and this while their consciences remain in darkness, with- 
out any illumination : for indeed, if the conscience were awakened, 
the sight of Majesty would dazzle our eyes. Wherefore Luther,* on 
Psal. cxxx. saith, " Often and willingly do I inculcate this, that 
you should shut your eyes and your ears, and say. You know no 
God out of Christ." On the other hand, until the conscience is in- 
deed enlightened, and the soul sees what a holy God it hath to do 
with, how hard is it to attain suitable apprehensions of the riches 
of his grace? And therefore the woful remains of corruption 
whereby we are inclined to measure God's ways by our own, start 
that question, concerning the privileges of the saints, " How can 
these things be ?" and, with Peter, in a fit cry out, " Depart from 
me for I am a sinful man." But to the question. 

In this point the orthodox themselves do not agree ; which is the 
more to be lamented, and the rather to be considered and seriously 
weighed, that it is not a mere speculation, but a very practical 
point, and cannot but have great influence on the frame of the spirit, 
whatsoever way the judgment goes. This may be absolutely said 
of the wrong side of this controversy, but not without some quali- 
fication concerning the right; seeing experience testifieth, that al- 
though the truth in its own nature is apt to have influence upon the 
heart for a holy walk, yet it hath not that actually at all times ; 
truth known, without the blowings of the Spirit, being as wild-fire, 
giving light, but not heat. To which part of the controversy do 
this aptitude to influence the heart to the love of Christ, and the 

* Cit. Burronohs on Hos. p. 729. 
D 2 



study of a holy walk, belong? The determination thereof were to- 
determine the doubt ; which we leave to its proper place. 

In those points which are the most weighty in the matter of the 
pardon of sin, the orthodox do agree : As, 1. That God firmly pur- 
posing from all eternity to pardon the sins of the elect, laid them 
wholly on Jesus Christ. 2. That the Lord Jesus hath fully satis- 
fied the justice of God for all the sins of all his elect, so as he hath 
left nothing of the price to be paid by them. 3. That, upon these 
grounds, all the sins of believers are virtually pardoned. 4. That, 
no believer shall ever be damned, that is, sent into the place of 
torment, for any sin ; but shall certainly and infallibly be saved. 
5. Lastly, That, upon the soul's union with Christ by faith, when 
God pardons one sin, he pardons all sins actually which are com- 
mitted, commonly called all sins past and present. Only they 
differ in their sentiments touching the pardon of sin yet not com- 

The question then is this, "Whether or not all the sins of a be- 
liever, past, present, and to come, are actually pardoned upon the 
soul's first believing on Chi'ist? or. Whether their sins to come are 
only virtually pardoned, and not actually till such time as they renew 
their ftiith and repentance in order to the pardon thereof? Some 
simply assert the foi'mer; others the latter. 

According to what hath been said upon the former question, I 
assert. That all the sins of an elect soul, past, present, and to 
come, are together and at once pardoned, touching the actual obli- 
gation to eternal wrath, upon his first believing in the Lord Jesus, 
and justification before God ; so that in no moment of time there, 
after he can be supposed to be actually liable to eternal wrath. 
And in this sense I embrace the opinion of those that stand for 
pardon of all sins simul et semel. I think I need not insist much in 
proving this assertion, so long as the arguments before adduced 
stand in force : for if the sins of believei's, even while unrepented 
of, do not make them actually liable to eternal punishment, this 
position stands good ; unless there be any found to say, that they 
are pardoned always as soon as committed; or, with the Antino- 
mians, that they are pardoned from all eternity. But I shall ad- 
duce these following arguments for proof of what is asserted. 

Aegument I. The Lord promiseth not to remember his people's 
sins. Is. xliii. 25. " I am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for 
my own sake, and will not remember thy sins." Now, how are 
they not remembered, if they be at any time, after they are brought 
Avithin the covenant, unpardoned, and the poor souls laid under a 
sentence of eternal death for them ? If this be not to remember 


sins, notliing is. It is certain, that remembering cannot be jiro- 
perly attributed to Grod ; but God is then said to remember sins, 
when he does that which men do when they remember the faults of 
others. And who will not say, that a judge remembers a malefac- 
tor's crime, when he hath passed the sentence of death on him ; or 
a bankrupt's debt, when he obligeth him to pay the same by a 
judicial sentence ? Say not, that remembrance of sin is sometimes 
put for the punishment of it, therefore it must be so un- 
derstood in this matter : for though I will not deny but it is so 
taken in the scripture; yet to fasten that upon the promises of 
pardon, touching the obligation to eternal wrath, is dangerous ; in 
regard that then ye must assert, that what evil is inflicted on the 
elect unconverted, is laid on them by way of vindictive justice, and 
for satisfaction; which is too much positively to determine. It 
clearly follows, in regard the not remembering of sin is a privilege 
which is new, and supposeth that God remembered their sin be- 
fore ; not only does he promise not to remember them, but to re- 
member them no more; Jer. xxxi. 34; Heb. viii. 12. Which confirms 
what was before said of the Lord's remembering the sins of 
the elect unconverted ; and further plainly lets us see, that 
God will alter his former course and way of dealing with 
them in respect of their sins. So much does that no more 
import evidently; as Job xxxiv. 32. "If I have done iniquity, 
I will do NO MORE." Ezek. xxi. ult. " Thou shalt be no more 
remembered." Now, what was God's way of dealing with 
them before they were brought into covenant ? It was not to send 
them to hell for their sins ; but it was not to pardon them, but to 
let them lie under the sentence of eternal wrath, ay and until 
they made application to Christ by faith, and repented them 
of their sins likewise, as some say; on what grounds we shall see 
afterwards. And where is there any alteration of the Lord's way 
of dealing with them, if their sins remain still unpardoned as to 
the obligation to eternal wrath, till they again believe and repent? 
It is still, I hope, the same faith and the same repentance. There is 
no doubt, but there is a vast difference betwixt the Lord's way of 
dealing with the elect unconverted and converted, considered in 
bulk, even by this way of our adversaries. But as to the precise 
point of the pardon of sins, of which alone we now speak, there is 
no difl^'erence at all left. Yet this promise holds out a quite con- 
trary course, as is declared. Further, the scripture speaking of 
the pardon of sin, extends it to all sin, without distinction, Ezek. 
xxxvi. 25. Ye shall be clean from all your filthiness, and from all 
your idols will I cleanse you. That this is a promise of justifica- 


tion, and pardon of sin, in the removal of the guilt of it, is plain, 
as the following promise is of sanctification. And so Sedgwick, no 
friend to this doctrine, understands it. And on the text, indeed, 
if that be not a promise of pardon, there is none there. It will 
perhaps be said, that this promise secures the believer of the par- 
don of all his sins sooner or later, but not together and at once. 
Eut pray let it be considered, that the text tells us expressly, that 
it shall be then when he "spiinkles clean water on them, gives them 
a new heart, takes away the stoney heart," &c. ; which is undenia- 
bly then when they are first brought into Christ. If you say, it 
respects only sins that are committed ; I answer, Non distinguendum 
uhi lex non distinguit. But then future sins are not comprehended 
here : and what have they then to lippen to for the pardon of these 
sins ? It must surely be a great strait that will drive men to ex- 
clude hence the pardon of future sins ; and if they will sufl^er 
them to be included, I say again, the text tells us when this clean- 
sing shall be. The Apostle Paul delivers the same doctrine, Col. ii. 
13. " quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespas- 
ses ; where we see all trespasses simply were forgiven them when 
they were quickened with Christ.* Upon this text saith a judicious 
commentator, Eut that we are quickened to eternal life, is evident 
from this, that all sins are forgiven on which our eternal death 
did depend. Now, I say, it is as evident that our death depended 
on all our sins, past, present, and to come ; for it was all these that 
were the cause of Christ's death. And this the subsequent verse 
doth confirm. I shall only add that scripture. Num. xxiii. 21. 
" lie beholdeth not iniquity, neither does he see perverseness in 
Israel ;" thus read and cited by Amesiusf upon this head. Upon 
which he saith, " Because justification hath left no place to con- 
demnation ;" and tells us, that future sins are pardoned in the 
subject, or person sinning. It is true, he calls this pardon of future 
sins but a virtual i)ardon : but, if I mistake not, it is the very 
same thing that we assert. 

Argument II. Let us take a view of the sacraments, and see 
how they favour this full remission at once. The pardon of sin is 
at least among the first of the benefits of the covenant, sealed by 
the sacraments ; and surely, if the sacraments seal the pardon of 
all sins, past, present, and to come, they are all pardoned ; for 
God sets not his seal but to a truth. Again, a seal presupposeth a 
deed done ; for a thing must be before the being of it can be 
confirmed. This is so evident, that I cannot think how it can bo 

" Znnch. Com. in loc, f MedvUa theol. p. 142. 


denied with any colour of reason. The stress of the argument lies 
then in the proof of that, That the sacraments seal the pardon of 
sins, past, present, and to come. That they seal the pardon of sin, 
I mean in the lawful use of them, or when they are conferred on 
believers, I think none will deny amongst the orthodox ; they who 
acknowledge them at all to be seals, will acknowledge this likewise. 
That they seal the pardon of all sins, past, present, and to come, 
the Scripture teacheth us, 1 Pet. iii. 21. "Baptism now saveth 
us." There are many opinions about the efficacy of the sacraments, 
and how baptism is said to save us, which I shall not now meddle 
with ; but take for granted, what is proven by the learned amona; 
Protestant divines, That the efficacy of the sacraments doth consist 
in effectual obsignation and application. So then baptism saveth 
us from sin, in so far as it seals our salvation therefrom : but 
if we be for one moment under the guilt of it, where is 
our salvation from it ? for one sin is damning as well as a 
tl'ousand. Therefore all must be pardoned at once. And learned 
Rutherford doubts not to say,* that Christ communicates to be- 
lievers at first such a remission as he hath obtained ; but he hath, 
saith he, obtained the remission of all sin : therefore such a remis- 
sion doth he communicate to us : And addeth,f that there is no 
reason why he should communicate to us the purchased remission 
by halves. Further, Mark tells us, (chap. i. 4.), that " John bap- 
tized for the remission of sins ;" and Peter calls those i)ricked at 
the heart to be " baptized for the remission of sins," Acts ii. 38. 
But will any exclude from this future sins? Surely so their com- 
fort would have been exceeding lame ; knowing that immediately 
after they would run into a new score, and then they are just where 
they were before ; their baptism having not sealed the remission of 
these, but only of sins committed before or in baptism. And so 
this sacrament should rather be administered to the party when 
a-dying, than when new-born. But if future sins be included here, 
as certainly they are, then the remission of them is sealed, and 
consequently is before; for they are not called to be baptized in 
order to obtain a remission, (the scripture knoweth no such doc- 
trine) ; but in order to their getting the remission obtained, sealed, in 
testimony of the remission of sins, as Piscator;}: expounds it. The 
same may be said of the sacrament of the Lord's supper. So then 
baptism seals unto worthy receivers (as also does the other sacra- 
ment) full freedom from eternal punishments, in the pardon of all 

*Exerc. p. 36. 
t Il)ld. p. 37. X Si-'k'I- in loc. 


sin, in tliat respect, together and at once. And so Ursin,* after he 
hath shewed that the outward baptism is a seal of the inward, tells us, 
that so is sin abolished in baptism, that we are freed from the guilt of 
sin, God's wrath, and eternal punishment. To the same purpose says 
Zanchius,"]" Indwelling sin actually remains, but is taken away as to 
the guilt. And baptism is ordained for that end, that we may be 
freed from all guilt of punishment due to sin. The thing signified, 
says Beza.J and verily represented, is the aspersion or sprinkling of 
the death and passion of Jesus, in remission of sins. 

If it be said. That the sacraments do indeed seal the pardon of 
future sins, but that is only conditionally ; whereas the remission of 
sins committed is sealed absolutely : I answer. This distinction is to 
be rejected. For a seal, as a seal, doth absolutely confirm the 
thing scaled, especially where the benefit made over is a free gift, 
as the pardon of sin is. "Were there a thousand conditions in a 
bargain, the seal confirms the same absolutely. So, if we will make 
any thing of conditional sealing, it must be the sealing of some 
conditional promise of the pardon of sin, and that to a believer, 
touching the obligation to eternal wrath : which is a mere begging 
of the question; for we know of no such promise in the Bible. 
But this is not the sealing of a remission. When a king pardons a 
traitor, and formally gives it under his hand and seal, the pardon is 
then sealed ; but not when he writes an obligation, and seals it, 
wherein he obligeth himself to pardon him for whatsoever he may 
afterwards do treasonably, upon condition he do so and so. Here 
the obligation, which is conditional, is only sealed ; not a remission. 
But we have heard, that the scripture holds forth baptism as a seal 
of the remission of sin ; of remission actually conferred, not merely 
promised, as a thing to come. So teacheth Wendelin,]| in answer 
to the Popish objection. Infants are baptized for the remission of 
sins; Ergo, Sins are pardoned by baptism in the Popish sense. 
He answers, "I deny the consequence. The reason is. Because to 
be baptized for the remission of sins, is by baptism to be confirmed 
of the remission of sin. So of old, adult persons were baptized by 
the Apostles for the remission of sins, which by faith they had re- 
ceived before baptism. So John preached the baptism of repentance 
for the remission of sins, Mark i. 4. who ncA-ertheless baptized none 
but those who had before professed repentance, and believed the 
gospel." It is in vain to talk of the conditional sealing of the 
remission of sin : for the sacraments are seals of the covenant ; but 
the covenant must be made ere it be sealed : unless we will say, 

' ]\Iiscell. de bapt. th. 10. f Com. in Eph. v. digress, de bapt. 

J Confess, point. 4. art. 47. || Svst. Theol. p. 438. 


that God sets his seal to a blank, which no wise man will do. Now, 
faith is that which enters the soul into covenant; and then, and not 
till then, do the sacraments, though before received, seal the cove- 
nant. So that, although au elect infant be baptized, or an adult 
person partake of the sacrament of the supper, being unregenerate, 
the sacraments seal no saving benefit to them any manner of way ; 
unless you either say, that the unregenerate, and such as have no 
saving good from God, are in covenant with God, or that God sets 
his seal to a blank ; both which are most absurd. We speak not now 
of an external federal relation; for no saving benefits depend thereon. 
And what else is the meaning of that so frequently inculcated by the 
generality of Protestant divines, for ought I can learn, that the eflft- 
cacy of baptism is not tied to the time of its adminstration ? "We 
heard before wherein the efficacy of it doth consist. It seems then, it 
doth not always effectually seal any saving benefit at that time ; and 
what is the reason of that, but that the party hath nothing of that 
nature to be sealed .? The Lord does indeed call all men that hear 
the gospel, to believe ; and tells them, that if they will believe, 
they shall be justified, pardoned, &c. But this is an offer of the co- 
venant, and not the covenant itself, to which the seals are appended ; 
otherwise every one to whom the gospel offer comes, ought not to be 
debarred from, but invited, encouraged, and pi'essed to receive the 
sacraments, as seals appointed of God to confirm them in the belief 
of the Lord's willingness to help them ; that, being so persuaded, 
they might embrace the gospel oflTer, and so the heavenly pearls 
should be cast before dogs and swine. But the sacraments are con- 
firming, not converting ordinances ; appointed for friends, not for 
foes *. Moreover, as in civil contracts, some things are ipso facto dis- 
ponded and given over by the one party to the other, and some 
things are promised to be given at such or such times, one seal serves 
for both ; yet this seal confirms the former, as actually made over to 
the party for the present time ; the latter, as to be given him at 
such a time : so it is in the covenant of grace. There are some things 
actually made over in prcesenti to the believer, such as justification, 
reconciliation, adoption, sanctification begun ; there are other things 
promised to be given at such times as God sees meet afterwards, 
such as, progressive sanctification, final victory over sin, &;c. Of the 
former kind is the pardon of sin, as hath been already said. And 
there is no promise in the Bible for the remission of sin in the sense 
pleaded for, made to a justified person ; no more than there is of 

God ordaineth the sacraments to believers as believers, and because they are 
withiu the covenant ; and their interest in the covenant is the onlv true rii'ht to the 
seals, llutherf. Due Riylit nf Presh, What infants to be hajitized ? 


formal jnstiflcation, reconcilation with God, and adoption. So that 
there must needs be a difference betwixt a sealing the pardon of sin, 
and a sealing the promises of the covenant ; thongh one seal serves 
for both. From all which it appears, that there is no conditional 
sealing of the pardon of sin, either before or after the soul is brought 
to Christ ; but seeing, upon our first believing in Christ, the sacra- 
ments seal to us remission of all sins, past, present, and to come, 
absolutely, all are together and at once pardoned. And so Calvin 
teacheth.* " Baptism (says he) bringeth three things to our faith. 
This is the first which the Lord setteth out unto us, that it should be 
a token and proof of our cleansing ; or (to express ray mind belter) 
it is like to a certain sealed charter, whereby he confirmeth unto us, 
that all our sins are so defaced, cancelled, and blotted out, that they 
may never come into his sight, nor be rehearsed, nor be imputed. For 
he willeth, that all they that believe, should be baptized into for- 
giveness of sins." And again a little after. f " Neither is it to be 
thought, that baptism is applied only to the time past. — But thus 
we ought to think, that at what time soever we be baptized, we are 
at once washed and cleansed for all our life. Therefore, so oft as 
we fall, we must go back to the remembrance of baptism ; and there- 
with we must arm our mind, that it may be always certain and as- 
sured of the forgiveness of sin." 

Argument. III. If a believer, at his first entrance into covenant 
with God, and union with Jesus Christ, be reputed in law to have 
fully satisfied the law, for all sins, past, present, and to come ; then 
he is actually absolved from the guilt of the same. The connection 
is evident : for if the law be satisfied, it can demand no more ; when 
the payment and satisfaction is made, and sustained in law, before 
the bar of God, as the payment and satisfaction of such a person, 
what can hinder the absolution, or the getting up of the discharge ? 
But so it is, that an elect person, upon his union with Jesus Christ 
by faith, is reputed in the court of heaven, to have actually, though 
not personally, satisfied the law for all his sins, past, present, and 
to come ; Ergo, Then they are altogether and at once discharged. 
The assumption appears true ; because Christ and the believer are 
but one person in law, as the cautioner and principal debtor, the 
advocate and his client, the husband and wife ; yea much more than 
any of these, in so far as our union with Christ is a more strait 
union than any of those among men. So the Lord Jesus Christ 
having fully satisfied for all sins, and the believer being one with 
him, it is true, that they have suftered and satisfied in him ; and the 

* Inst. lib. 4. cap. 15. § 1. j" Section 3. 


judgment of God, being according to truth, doth surely go this way.* 
" in virtue of this conjunction, (says Beza), and spiritual marriage 
by faith, he taketh all our miseries upon himself, and we do receive 
all his treasures of him." So teacheth Zanchius :f *' For (says he) 
by our incorporation with Christ, his whole passion becomes ours, 
because we are made one flesh and blood ; and by the passion of 
Christ, all punishment due to sin is taken away."| Luther delivers 
the same, in these words :1| "Thus he (to wit, Christ) happily making 
an exchange with us, took on our sinful person, and gifted to us his in- 
nocent and victorious person. Herewith we being arrayed and cloth- 
ed, are freed from the curse of the law, because Christ himself willing- 
ly became a curse for us."§ And truly the scripture speaks of Christ 
and Adam, as if there had never been any other men in the world 
but they, they being the two public persons, in which are all man- 
kind. Now, as Jesus the second Adam entered into the same cove- 
nant that the first Adam did, (for Christ purchased heaven and 
glory for his people, according to the strictest terms of the covenant 
of works) ; so by him was done for the elect whatsoever the first 
Adam had undone for all mankind. "Wherefore the case stands thus : 
that like as whatsoever the first Adam did, or befel him, is reckoned 
as done by, and to have befallen all mankind ; so whatsoever the 
second Adam did, or befel him, as head of his people, is reckoned 
to their account. So then as in Adam they sinned, eating of the 
tree, so in Christ they sufi^ered hanging on the tree ; as in the first 
Adam they broke the law, in the second Adam they repaired the 
breach thereof. And as it is then, and not till then, that we become 
the children of Adam by natural generation, we are reputed to have 
sinned in him ; so it is then, and not till then, that we become the 
children of Christ by faith and regeneration, we are reputed to have 
suff"ered in him. Mr. Gibbons, in his sermon intitled, " The nature 
of justification opened," (it should have been said overturned), is 
much piqued at this doctrine ; and tells us, it is the fundamental 
mistake of the Antinomians, to think, that a believer is righteous in 
the sight of God with the self-same active and passive righteous- 
ness wherewith Christ was righteous ; as though believers suflTered 
in Christ, and obeyed in Christ, and were as righteous in God's 
esteem as Christ himself, having his personal righteousness made 
personally theirs by imputation. But we need not wonder to hear 
this^ from one who tells us, that the covenant of works is not fully 
executed ; that it is not abrogated, but is in part executed on be- 

* Confess, point 4. art. 9. 

■f Com. in Eph. dig. de hapt. cap, 3. th. 7. J Com. in Gal. iii. 14. 

II 1 Cor. XV. 45. 4(?. 47. § Morning Exercise 1659, p. 423. ^ p. 413, 414. 


lievers, yet dispensed with by superinducing a new^ covenant of 
grace over it; and tliat the threatenings of the law are no more 
predictions of the event, than " thou shalt," and " thou shalt not," 
in the command ;* that the terms on which sinners are justified, are, 
first, Faith. People would expect a secondly here ; but that were 
too barefaced. Therefore says he. Then this faith hath two daugh- 
ters that inseparably attend her, 1. Repentance. 2. Newness of 
life. Surely he understands this in the matter of justification, not of 
sanctification ;f for we suppose he speaks sense, and to the purpose 
in hand. Further, that God accepteth of, imputeth unto sinners 
faith in Jesus Christ as their righteousness; which faith justifies 
formaliter et ratione sui, as it is covenant-keeping, &c. Surely this 
learned man knew other adversaries to him of better credit than 
Antinomians ; but he seems to dissemble it, to make his doctrine 
take place the more easily. It is well known, that is the doctrine 
taught by the body of Protestant divines. That the imputed righte- 
ousness of Christ is our righteousness before God ; and that faith 
doth no Avay justify us but instrumentally or correlatively ; that all 
our righteousness for justification is without us. And till their ar- 
guments against the Arrainian way of justification by faith be over- 
turned, his doctrine cannot have place. He invidiously talks of 
Christ's personal righteousness made personally theirs, and be- 
lievers being as righteous in God's esteem as Christ himself. We 
disclaim all pretences to the righteousness of Christ as the second 
person in the glorious Trinity, commonly called his essential righte- 
ousness; but we know no righteousness else upon which we can ven- 
ture our souls, but the righteousness of Christ as our E,edeeraer,J re- 
sulting from his perfect active and passive obedience ; and fear not 
to say with the Apostle, 1 John iii. 7, that " he that doth righte- 
ousness, is righteous, even as he is righteous ; not in regard of 
quantity, but verity ; there being a finite application of an infinite 
righteousness, not in respect of the full value of it, but in so far as 
our necessity craves it.|| Righteousness considered formally with 
respect to the rule of righteousness simply, is not capable of de- 
grees, though it be in respect of the subject of it; one righteous 
person being infinitely more noble than another; the excellency of 
the agent or patient giving value to the obedience, active or pas- 
sive. But it is evident, that Christ's righteousness is imputed to us 
merely under the former notion, as it denotes a conformity to the 
rule of righteousness. Now, I pray you consider what the law, 

• Morning Exercises, p. 415. 417. t p. 422. 420. 

J Isaac Ambrose's Media, p. 4. || See Owen on justitic. p. 509. 


•which is the rule of righteousness, doth require ; even to love the 
Lord with all the heart, and with all the soul. But there is no 
possibility of going beyond that ; and if the person como not up to 
it, he is not at all righteous ; and it is nothing else but conformity 
to the law that denominates a person under a law, righteous. 
"Wherefore degrees of comparison here are unreasonable. But we 
need not marvel to hear them speak of degrees of righteousness, or 
conformity to the law, who bring forth a new rule of righteonsness, 
besides that which was given at first, as this learned man does. I 
had always thought, that as there is but one God, and he unchange- 
able, so there had been but one rule of righteousness, and that 
unchangeable; and that that had been fully expressed in the first 
covenant its commands contained in the decalogue. But now we 
are taught otherwise : Righteousness (says he) is a conformity to 
the law ; he that fulfils the law, is righteous in the eye of the law. 
Now, the law of the new covenant runs thus, " He that believeth, 
shall not perish ;" so that a believer keeps and fulfils this law, and 
therefore faith is imputed to him for righteousness. This is a new 
sort of a law indeed, where there is no commandment at all. But I 
think it is God that fulfils this law, and not the believer : for the 
accomplishment or fulfilling of it is in the salvation of the believer ; 
■which the scripture tells us is not of ourselvas, but is the work of 
God alone. But let us consider it in form of a law, thus, " Believe, 
and thou shalt be saved;" and let us suppose the rule of righteous- 
ness to be here found. I say, that this requires either perfect 
believing, or not. If it require perfect faith, then the judgment 
of God is not according to truth, in pronouncing men righteous ac- 
cording to this law ; for no man in this life is perfect in faith ; If it 
require not perfect faith, then all the unbelief and doubtings in a 
man's heart, where there is anything of faith, are no sins against 
this law of grace ; which is absurd : yea and so they are no sins at 
all ; for, as hath been already proven, believers are dead to the law 
of works. Moreover, believing, or faith, being in several degrees 
in several persons, one is more righteous than another, or more con- 
formed to the law than another ; andthe least measure of true faith 
being a fulfilling of this law, any further degree of it must be 
a work of supererogation, the law being more than fulfilled; all 
■which are absurd. In fine, this doctrine makes the gospel to over- 
turn the law, and maketh Christ the end of the law for destruction, 
not for consummation, for " righteousness, to every one that believ- 
eth ; because the righteousness of the law must be put out of doors, 
before this new righteousness can be brought in. But Christ hath 
plainly told us, that heaven and earth shall sooner pass away than 


one jot or tittle of the law. And how does it reflect upon the 
justice, purity, and holiness of Grod, to accept us as righteous in his 
sight formally on the account of a righteousness which is as filthy 
rags ? for such is our faith formaUtei' et ratione sui. 

I think, indeed, this author does rationally yoke these two to- 
gether, viz. a believer's being righteous in the sight of God with 
the self-same righteousness wherewith Christ (as Redeemer, head, 
and representative of his) is righteous; and a believer's suffering 
and obeying in Christ ; for these indeed se mutuo ponunt et iollunt ; 
and this obligeth those that acknowledge the immediate imputation 
of Christ's righteousness to us, to acknowledge also our being re- 
puted, upon our union with him, to have suffered in him for all sins, 
past, present, and to come ; which being granted, they must needs 
yield the pardon of the same, in the sense pleaded for. But why 
should a believer suffering in Christ be thought such a gross point 
of Antinomianism ? That we sinned in Adam, I suppose he will 
not deny ; and if so in the first Adam, why may we not be said to 
have suffered in Christ the second Adam, who was no less a public 
person in his suffering, than the first in his sinning. The Apostle 
Eph. ii. 6. tells us, that believers were raised up in hira ; which 
must needs suppose that they died in him. But he is very plain in 
this point. Gal. ii. 20. " I am crucified with Christ." Hereby he 
proves, that he was dead to the law through the law, for the law 
had crucified him with Christ : wherefore it had no more to require 
of him, than the law of a land of a malefactor hanged for his 
crime. This scripture hath led Luther* into that fundamental 
mistake of the Antinoraians : " For (says he) I am crucified and 
dead with Christ through faith," And that none may mistake his 
meaning, he tells us, that the Apostle doth not speak here of con- 
crucifixion of intimation or example, but of that sublime con- cruci- 
fixion, where Christ alone doth all, but the believer is crucified 
with him through faith. Fergussonf tells us, that the threatening of 
death, Gen. ii. 17. is fulfilled in the elect ; so that they die, aud 
yet their lives are spared; for they are reckoned in law to have 
died, when Christ their surety died for them. Zanchius| favours 
this doctrine much : for he says, that whatsoever was done to our 
head Christ, that is partly done to his whole body, and so to each 
member already ; and partly to be done. Beza is in this point 
Antinomian in grain ;|| "Although thou (says he) hast satisfied for 

* Com. in Inc. 

f Com. in lor. rloct. 3. J Coin, in Eph. ii. 6. observ. J. 

II Conffiss. point 4. art. 23. See art ^3, 


the pain of thy sins in the person of Jesus Christ, and that thou 
art also clothed with his righteousness, &c." And Rutherford,* 
though a great adversary to the Antinomians, as is well known by 
his learned writings against thera, hath yet fallen into this funda- 
mental mistake of theirs : " for (says he) Christ's dying and satis- 
fying, is ours; he dying in onr stead and place, and we dying in 
him legally, (not physically) ; and so are we not only by his satis- 
faction, which is made ours, and by faith applied to us, negatively 
freed from hell ; but positively righteous." The Apostle teacheth 
believers so to think of themselves. Rom. vi. 10, 11. "For in that 
he died, he died unto sin (i. e. for sin) once ; but in that he liveth, 
he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be 
dead indeed unto sin ; but alive unto God and Christ, en Christo, 
&c. "Where we see plainly that believers are called to reckon or 
conclude themselves to be dead unto sin; that is, for sin, as is 
plain from the 10th verse, otherwise they do not reckon concerning 
themselves as they do concerning Christ. The Apostle taketh it for 
granted, that believers have all laid down this conclusion, or have 
made this reckoning, "That Christ died to sin," that is, suffered for 
it : here is another conclusion he would have them to make, " Like- 
wise reckon ye also," viz. that ye are dead to sin, and this by way 
ot syllogistical deduction from the former, Houto kai humeis 
logizesthe ; where the medium is our union with Christ, sealed in 
baptism, ver. 4. "For if Christ died to sin, then we being one with 
him," died to it also, viz. in his person, as the text hath it, in 
Christ, "Whereas indeed our dying to sin in point of sanctification, 
is in our own person, not in the person of Jesus Christ, as is 
manifest. From what is said it appears, that a believer is re- 
puted to have satisfied for all sins, past, present and to come, at 
his union with Christ by faith ; and consequently that all his sins 
are then pardoned simul et semel. 

If any shall say, That although we be reputed thus to have 
satisfied the law for all sins past, present, and to come ; yet it no 
more follows that we have the pardon of themf in our own persons, 
than that we are glorified in our own persons at our first believing 
in Christ ; for both are the fruits of the same purchase : I answer, 
That this is to confound our absolute and relative state, and to 
make them go on alike by degress : which is absurd. But pray you 
let it be considered, that there are two things in Christ's obedience 
to the law as the representative of his people ; First, The payment 
of a debt ; Secondly, A purchase of some positive benefits. The 

• Influences of the life, &c. p. 43. t Future sins. 


debt being paid, and the payment of it for such a person being 
sustained in law, the discharge cannot be kept up ; but justice ipso 
facto looseth the man from the obligation, as is manifest. But as 
to these other blessings, there is no such necessity of their being 
made immediately forthcoming unto them; only they have im- 
mediately a right to them all given them ; and thus especially when 
the payer or purchaser consents to the delay of giving up these 
things to those for whom they are purchased; as it is in this case. 
This we see plainly in the way of human contracts. As when a 
man pays his debt to the creditor, and purchaseth a piece of ground 
from him ; the very paying of the money in justice looseth him 
from his former bond or obligation, and gives him a right to the 
land ; but does not put him actually in possession thereof at that 
very time. 

Aegument IY. The Scripture plainly holds out unto us, that 
the Loi'd, in dealing with believers, cousidereth tliem as in Christ 
Jesus, and not as they are in themselves ; and it cannot be other- 
wise, seeing the union made up betwixt Christ and a soul by faith, is 
a lasting, even an everlasting union ; so that after their union with 
Christ, at the first moment of believing, they never more stand be- 
fore God on their own bottom, otherwise God should be to them, 
even as to others, " a consuming fire." But if we account a be- 
liever to lie one moment under unpardoned sin, he must be con- 
sidered abstractedly from Christ, and dealt with judicially as he is 
in himself; or if otherwise, it reflects no small dishonour on the 
Mediator, the person who is one with him, being condemned 
by the law. And the truth is, that a person being once united 
to Christ by faith, whatever is chargeable on that person 
must be laid to the charge of Christ, and he is answei'able 
for it; and the same may be exacted of him, as the debt 
contracted by the wife is chargeable on the husband ; but " by once 
offering up of himself he hath perfected for ever them that are 
sanctified." To this purpose speaks holy John Careless* in his let- 
ter to William Tymes : "He hath clothed us in all his merits, and 
taken to himself all our sin ; so that if any should be now con- 
demned for the same, it must needs be Jesus Christ, who hath 
taken them upon him. But indeed he hath made satisfaction for 
them to the uttermost ; so that, for his sake, they shall never 
be imputed to us if they were a thousand times more than 
they be." Thus he ; and that most truly, because the elect person 
being once united to Christ, the Lord Jesus is reputed to have 

* Suffering Saint's Mirror, p. fiC. 


taken on all his sins in particular, whether past, i>reseut, or to 
come; so that now, if any person be reputed guilty, or actually 
liable to eternal wrath, it must be Christ himself, who is le- 
gally the sinner in point of guilt, though the fault was never trans- 
ferred on him ; therefore, if the sin be unpardoned for the least mo- 
ment, it must be to him, and not to us ; for though they be ours by 
commission, yet he hath undertaken and bound himself to answer 
for them. Among men there are two sorts of sureties. Some 
become sureties for others, so as the creditor hath still a right to 
crave the principal debtor, who, notwithstanding of the suretiship, 
remains still liable : in which case, if the j)rincipal party fail to pay 
after diligence used for the same, the creditor falls on the surety. 
Some do so become sureties for others, that the principal debtor is 
eo ipso relieved and discharged ; there being no hopes at all of pay- 
ment from the principal. This last way Christ is surety for his peo- 
ple, and not the first way : for the Lord knowing that it was utterly 
impossible for man to satisfy by himself, must needs be supposed to 
make no other bargain ; but " laying help upon one that is mighty," 
he simply passeth the sinner in his own person, and takes Christ for 
all ; who says to the Father, " If you take me let these go their way. 
And so, as it is said, Isa. liii. 7- Niggas Vehu Nagnaneh, He (to wit, 
the Father) exacted, and he (to wit, Christ) answered ; or he was 
answered, viz. by Christ. So Rabbi David* judgeth the word in 
Niphil should be expounded. A godly writer tells us, that God laid 
all on him, that he might be sure of satisfaction ; protesting, that 
he would not deal with us, nor so much as expect any payment from 
us.f Wherefore in law Christ is the sinner, and the believer goes 
free ; and if so, then the sin, if it be at all unpardoned, it must be 
to him, and not to us. None will stumble at this, who consider mat- 
ters duly. Luther]: doubts not to say, Christ was a sinner, and that 
there was none a greater sinner than he ; and that whatsoever sins 
we do commit, or shall in time to come, commit, they are as 
I)roper to Christ, as if he himself had committed them. " In 
sum (says he) sin must become Christ's proper sin or we 
perish." II Rivet defends Illyricus against Bellarmine, in that 
ho says, Christ miglit most truly be called the sinner. Bel- 
larmine (says he) contends, that Christ may attribute our sins unto 
himself; and that truly, as I believe, for he cannot lie ; therefore he 
might also truly call himself the sinner, while he sustained our 
person ; who nevertheless was in himself innocent. What blasphemy 

Cit. Pagn'mo in lex. f Marrow of Mod. Div. p. 27. % Com. in Gal. iii. 13. 

II 111 P-!>\. Xxil. 1. 

Vol. YI. k 


and impiety is here ? The same is taught by Heramingius, Taunovius, 
Witsius, Rutherford, and Bridge.* The Apostle puts it out of 
doubt, that it is Christ who speaks to the Father Psal. xl. see Hob. 
X. and in the 12th verse of that Psal. he calls the sins the burden 
whereof he bears, his iniquities. And it cannot be denied, but that 
he was made sin ; which is more than to be a sinner, in so far as the 
abstract signifies somewhat more exquisite than the concrete, if we 
will believe the learned Rivit, loco supra citato. From all which I 
conclude, that seeing Christ is made the sinner in law, and the Lord 
passeth the man thus, upon Christ's undertaking the charge, all sins, 
past, present, and to come, are together and at once pardoned, viz, 
as soon as the soul is one with Christ by faith. 

Argument. Y. The love of Grod, called the love of complacency, 
is as God himself, unchangeable ; " for whom he once loves, he loves 
to the end ;"f and "nothing can separate them from it."| Thongh 
the emanations of it towards believers may be stopt for a time 
in great measure, yet that love as it is in God still remains, quoad 
apectum, as they say, though not quoad effectum. The due consideration 
of this, which is not controverted amongst the orthodox, and is 
plainly proven by them against the patrons of the saints falling 
away, will necessiate the asserting of the pardon of all sins, simul 
et semel ; so as the believer is never, after his union with Christ, 
by any sin, for one moment actually liable to eternal wrath. 
For that liableness to God's wrath, and the unchangeableness of 
God's love, are incompatible. "Which I prove thus. For a sinner 
to be liable in actu sccundo to eternal death, is nothing else but to 
be under a sentence of eternal death as a sinner ; that is to say, 
the law condemns him as such, though the sentence never be exe- 
cuted. Now, what is the law of God, but a transcript of the holy 
nature of God ? so that God himself is surely set against those 
whom the law is against ; otherwise God is changeable, or the law 
is not a true copy of his nature ; both which are more than absurd. 
It comes in effect to this, that God approves whom the law disaproves ; 
that is, God hates the man, hath no delight in him at all ; seeing 
he that is guilty of one, is guilty of all : and yet at the same time 
he loves him, and delights in him; which is a flat contradiction. 
If any shall say, that the sinner may be hated of God as he is in 
himself, yet beloved as united to Christ, it is granted ; but it 
makes nothing to the purpose : for while we speak of a believer as 
he is in himself, it is merely a notion of our minds by precision ; 

* Hem on Jam. digress, of rep. Taun. in Psal. pass. p. 263. Wits. Exer. p. 378. 
Chiist^ D}ing, p. 370. Christ in Tinvel, p. 110. 

f John. % Rom. 


but really and iiulood lie is ever in Christ, and the Lord's judg- 
ment is according to truth ; so he never deals with a believer, but 
as he is indeed in Christ, as was said before. And if to adjudge 
a person to eternal wrath be not to hate him, I confess I understand 
not what can be made of Grod's hatred against a person ; for it is 
certain it is no passion in him, as it is in us. Rutherford tells us,* 
that there is no reason why God should communicate the purchased 
remission by halves, (per partes), unless he loved and hated also 
the self-same person from eternity ; which is inconsistent. So 
saith Piscator,f God hates them whose sins he hath not pardoned ; 
and this, while he teachcth, that, by the forgiveness of sin, which 
we seek in the Lord's prayer, is meant the sense of pardon. There 
is one thing, I forsee, will readily be said against this, to invali- 
date the argument ; that is, that the Lord Jesus Christ was 
condemned by the law, yet still beloved of God ; and therefore 
they are not inconsistent. To this I answer. There is in sin the 
fault, and the guilt arising therefrom : the latter, not the former, 
was transferred on Christ; but an unpardoned sinner lies under 
both. Hence ariseth a vast diiference betwixt the law's con- 
demning of Christ, and its condemning us. While the law con- 
demns a sinner, who is formally such and in himself, it declares 
him to be sinful, and opposite to God ; which is the formal notion 
under which he is hated of God ; and thei'eforc it adjudgeth him to 
eternal wrath. But here Christ is innocent ; only the punishment 
is exacted of him, seeing he came in the room of condemned sinners, 
and undertook voluntarily to satisfy for them : wherefore God 
cannot but delight in him, seeing there was no sinful evil in him, 
only a penal evil is inflicted on him. But the law, finding one sin 
in the sinner uncovered with the righteousness of Christ, leaves 
him in no other case than it did Adam guilty of the first, viz. con- 
demned, and one whom God had no delight in. 

Argument VI. If all sins, past, present, and to come, be not 
pardoned at once, when the soul is united to Christ by faith ; then 
a believer at one and the same time is adjudged to eternal death. 
That he is adjudged to eternal life, in so far as he is a believer, 
the scripture plainly teacheth ; " for he that believeth, hath ever- 
lasting life :" and that he is adjudged to eternal death upon the 
account of sins not yet pardoned, though committed, is no less 
evident ; seeing, according to this doctrine, sin is not pardoned in 
respect of the obligation to eternal wrath, till he renew the acts 
of faith and repentance ; which is nothing else, than that he is 

* Exer. apol. pro fJivina grnfio. p 37. f Ohs in orat . Dom. 
K 2 


actually bound over thereto. And so the man is legally dead and 
legally alive at one and the same time. Whoso shall reconcile 
these, erit mihi magnus Apollo. But I shall stand no more on this ; 
but conclude with the following argument. 

Akguhent VII. ult. This doctrine, teaching the pardon of all 
sins together and at once, upon the soul's believing at first on Christ, 
hath the advantage of the other, in two respects. 

I. In that it is most adapted to the grand design of the gospel ; 
which is, to exalt the riches of the free grace of God in Jesus 
Christ. Yor, first, who sees not the grace of God far more exalted 
in giving out a full and complete remission of all sins, past, present, 
and to come, together and at once ; than in giving out remission by 
halves ; as the giving up of a bond wholly and at once, speaks out 
more favour than now and then particular receipts and dischargos. 
Let none say, that it is too much boldness for us, thus to lay down 
methods and rules for God's exalting his grace; and if this were 
true, then he should sanctify us wholly at our union with Christ, as 
well as pardon all sins, past, present, and to come. We say, that 
we do not take upon us to lay down or propose rules that way ; but 
understanding the exalting of grace to be the great design of the 
gospel, we may well be allowed to consider what doth most contri- 
bute thereto. And whatever other way the Lord might, in his 
boundless wisdom, have fallen upon, for bringing about that end, I 
confidently aver. That none in the world can devise a way how 
grace might have been more exalted than it is by this way laid 
down in the gospel. And with the same confidence I say, that the 
gradual sanctification of believers doth more exalt the riches of 
grace, than if God had made believers perfectly holy at the first 
moment of believing, as I shall afterwards make appear. So sweetly 
doth the perfect pardon of sin, and the imperfect sanctification 
of believers, contribute to the grand design of the gospel. Secondly, 
It doth also exalt the grace of God more, that the sinner being once 
united to Christ by faith, hath a free and full remission of all sins, 
past, present, and to come, than that the pardon of future sins 
should be suspended on the acts of our believing and repenting. 

II. It is most adapted to excite believers to the serious practice 
of godliness, to a holy and strict gospel-walk. Which appears, 
first, In that it doth natively fill the heart with love to God, the 
mainspring of gospel obedience, and the most powerful incentive to 
a tender walk. It is true, the man who apprehends sins past and 
present forgiven, cannot but love much ; but he who apprehends 
sins, past, present, and to come, to be forgiven, must love more. 
Here then are two debtors to the grace of God ; I think I may well 


propose our Lord's question, Luke vii. 42. " Which of them will 
love hira most ?" and will acquiesce in Simon's answer, seeing Christ 
approved it, " I suppose that he to whom he forgave most," ver. 43. 
Secondly, As this doctrine furnishes the children of God best, with 
love to constrain them, and cords of a man to draw them ;* so it 
doth remove the fear of eternal wrath, which keeps the soul in bon- 
dage, fills the heart with confusion, dashes and mars us in our access 
to God, and looks like slavery rather than the glorious liberty of 
sons. But the doctrine of the pardon of future sins only upon after 
repentance, &c. cherisheth this fear ; so as men must be continually 
under it, in regard they are continually sinning ; and though a man 
be in this moment perfectly freed from an actual obligation to eter- 
nal wrath, yet the very next moment he is again brought under it : 
so that in very deed it is a perfect rack to the conscience, and 
would effectually prove so were it as firmly believed as is pretended. 
It is needless to distinguish here betwixt greater and lesser sins : 
for sin as sin lays the soul under God's wrath, where it is in a ca- 
pacity of actual obligation thereto, as was said before. Whatever 
influence the soul's apprehension of its liableness to eternal wrath, 
under sin till it be repented of, may be supposed to have, I think it 
is plain, that one great end of Christ's death was to deliver us, that 
we might serve him without fear of what the law or vindictive 
justice of God may do to us.f Luther, who was a man very much 
exercised with conflicts of conscience, is very plain this way ■,% 
" Wherefore, (says he), if sin torment thee, if death terrify thee, 
think it is but a vain spectre, and an illusion of the devil, as 
certainly it is. For in very deed tl'.ere is no more sin, no more 
curse, no more death, no devil ; because Christ hath overcome and 
abolished all these. There is no defect in the thing, but in our be- 
lief; for it is diflicult for reason to believe these so inestimable be- 
nefits." And elsewhere :|| " Hence (says he) it follows, that, in re- 
spect of the conscience, we are altogether free from the law ; 
therefore that schoolmaster ought not to be troublesome to it with 
his terrors, threats, and captivity." And again,§ " We ought, 
without the conscience, to make a God of it, (the law) ; but within 
the conscience, it is a devil," &c. And a little after, " Let him 
(Christ) alone reign in righteousness, security, joy, and life ; that 
the conscience being glad, may sleep in Christ, without any sense of 
law, sin, and death." These expressions are somewhat unusual ; 

* Rom. viii. 15. 1 John iv. 18. 

t Luke i. "4, 75. J Com. in Gal. iii. 13. p. {mihi) 4G6. [[ cap. iii. 25, p. 566. 

§Cap. iv. 3. p. 591. p. 692. 


bat the matter is heavenly and sublime, and the very marrow of the 
life of faith, and savours much of Paul's elevated spirit, whi'e 
treating of the doctrine of free grace, or rather of the Spirit of 
Christ. Agreeably to this doth Calvin teach :* " The law (says he) 
hath no place in the consciences of the faithful before the judgment- 
seat of God. The second part (of Christian libertyf) is, that con- 
sciences obey the law, not as compelled by the necessity of the law, 
but being free from the yoke of the law itself, of their own accord 
they obey the will of God. For because they abide in perpetual 
terrors, so long as they be under the dominion of the law, they shall 
never be, with cheerful readiness, framed to the obedience of God, 
uuless they first have this liberty given them. On the other side, J 
if being delivered from this severe exacting of the law, they hear 
that they be called with fatherly gentleness, they will with great 
cheerfulness answer his call." So Beza:|| "Forasmuch (says he) 
as Jesus Christ hath, by one infinite obedience, made satisfaction to 
the infinite Majesty of God, it followeth, that my iniquities can no 
more fray nor trouble me; my accounts being assuredly erased by 
the precious blood of Christ." 

Now, I shall consider the objections against this doctrine; and 
shall handle them in the same order as Sedgwick§ hath them 
gathered together. That learned man delivereth them not as his ; 
but tells us after all, that his own judgment inclines to tliat opinion, 
That all the sins past of a believer are (at once) forgiven, and all 
his future sins are remitted unto him upon renewed acts of believing 
and repenting, for Christ's sake. 

Object. 1. Heb. viii. 12. "Their iniquities I will remember no 
more." " Not to remember iniquity any more," doth in common 
sense suppose, that that iniquity was before ; for if it never was, it 
cmnot be said to be remembered at all. So that passage, Jer. xxxi. 
34. " I will forgive their iniquity ;" and Jer. xxxiii. 8. " I will par- 
don all their iniquities," do suppose an iniquity or offence commit- 
ted ; for if it be not yet committed, how can it properly be said to 
be forgiven ? So Is. xliii. 25. " I am he that blotteth out thy trans- 
gressions ; but debts which were never as yet made, may not be 
entered into the book, and therefore cannot be said to be blotted 

Answ. I have already shown, in what sense the Lord saith, he 
will remember their sins no more ; which is no way infringed by 
this objection, and doth very well agree with the scripture dialect. 
JJut as for that criticism upon the word remember, that in common 

' Iti9tit. lib. 3. cap 19 § 2. f Section 4. J Section 6. 
II Confesn. (xiint 4. art. 10. |). (^mi/ii) 42. § On tbe cuv. (). 427. — 430. 


sense it supposeth that the thing was before; I say it is weak, to 
say no worse of it : for the most sensible mere man that ever was 
ill the world since the fall, and inspired by the holy Ghost too, 
useth the word of that which only was to be, Eccl. xi. 8. " Let him 
remember the days of darkness, for they shall be many." And 
what will ye say to find it used of a thing that never so much as 
was to be? So David useth it concerning Judas, Psal. cix. 16. 
" Because he remembered not to show mercy." A learned critic 
tells us,* that, in the holy language, to remember, does not neces- 
sarily presuppose "any precedent knowledge which was forgot, and 
afterwards comes into mind ; but as we see, says he, it is taken 
simply for the knowledge of any thing, and speaking of the thing 
known. Now, when it is applied to God, it is certain the existence 
of the thing, and his knowledge of it, cannot be separated, for the 
least raomeut.f The learned Gentleman Leigh tells us, that the 
Hebrew word signifies to make mention of a thing. And I think it 
is to be observed, that the Apostle, in translating it, useth not a 
Compound, but a simple word, ou me mnestho eti yj which may very 
well be so translated, as well as the verbal is in almost all the 
places of the new Testament. In the Greek, mnemoneue, which sig- 
nifies to remember, memini, recordor, 2 Tim. ii. 8. Rev. xviii. 5. 
Luke. xvii. 32, &c. So the Septuagint use it, Exod. xiii. 3. And 
one tells us, it answers to the Hebrew word zachar ; and yet we 
find it used of a thing that was to come, to wit, the departure out of 
Egypt, which was long after Joseph's death ; but by faith Joseph 
remembered it, emnemoneuse, Heb. xi. 22. But why should men go 
so strictly to work about the notation of the word ? for if so it be, 
it is certain God can no more be said properly to remember a thing 
than to forget it. And as unhappy are the adversaries in their cri- 
ticism on the words pardoning and forgiving their importing the 
actual commission of sin. The apostle tells us, 1 Tim. iii. 16. that 
" Christ was justified in the spirit," viz. absolved from the guilt of 
the elects' sins which he had voluntarily taken upon him and satis- 
fied for ; yet some of these were not then committed, nor are they 
to this day, notwithstanding he was justified in respect of them. 
2 Kings. V. 18. "In this thing" (says Naaman) "the Lord pardon 
thy servant, that when my master goeth into the house of 
Rimmon ; when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, 
the Lord pardon, &c. Upon this there is a question propo- 
sed, "Whether or not Naaman deprecates and seeks that to 

* Rivet in Psal. xxii. 28. f Crit Sac. 

X Heb. viii. 12, mncia Rom i. 9. Epb. /. Ifi. &c. 


be forgiven which he did before his conversion, or that which he 
was to do after his conversion ? Wendelin tells us,* that some 
modern interpreters embrace the first ; but mostly all others tlie 
latter; which he himself holds likewise. And of that judgment, 
he says, are the Chaldee, Greek interpreters, Jerome, Pagniu, 
Luther, Vatablus, Munster, Junius, and Tremellius ; the French, 
Italian, and Spanish translators. However it be, I remark, for 
the purpose in hand, that many learned men are not so fond upon 
the pretended import of the word pardon, but that sometimes, for 
their part, they will sufi'er it to respect sin not yet committed. And 
I would challenge any man to give me a solid answer and reason, 
why sin may not be forgiven before it be committed, as well as 
satisfied for at the dearest rate before the actors be in rerum natura. 
I think the first may at least as easily be as the latter, of which no 
true Christian will doubt ; and I would leave it to the judgment of 
any unbiassed person, whether or not the exacting of satisfaction 
for sins not only not yet committed, but even the actors of which 
are not yet in being, seems to be more liable to inconveniences, 
than the pardon of sins, though not yet committed, yet satisfied for, 
the person now even at the time living and believing in him who 
died for the ungodly? Wherefore it is strange, that Bishop 
Downhame's gravity permits him to be so wanton on this point, as 
to tell us, that this cannot be, unless we make God like the Pope, 
who forehand forgave sins to come. Will his Lordship allow the 
Pope to take money aforehand for sins to come, and not allow him 
to give people what they have bought with their money ? But no 
more of this. If we did not too much measure God's way's by 
man's ways, perhaps there would be less diflftculty in this matter. 
Only we know, that, as to him with whom we have to do, all is 
I)resent before his eyes; there is neither time past nor time to come 
with him. No better is that which they would make of the word 
blotting out. If the future sins of believers were not in God's 
debt-book, how came justice to exact payment of the Lord Jesus 
Christ for them ? Scripture tells us, that " in the volume of God's 
book it was writtenf concerning Christ, that he came to do the will 
of the FatherJ. What was that will, but that he should lay 
down his life for his sheep, or die for the sins of the elect ? If 
Christ's sufterings were written in that book, it is reasonable to 
suppose the cause of them might be found there also. But if things 
must needs actually be before they be put in God's book, David 

• Syat. Theol. p. 562. 
+ Psal. >1. 7. t.Iohn x. 18. 


has been in a great mistalie, wliile lie tells us, that all his members 
were written in God's book, when as yet there was none op 


Object. 2. Other scriptures purposely speaking of the forgiveness 
of sins have a restrainedness unto sins committed, and look only at 
them, Jer. xxxiii. 8, whereby they have sinned, — have transgressed. 
Mark, have sinned, and have transgressed, respecting the sins past, 
not what they shall commit, Ezek. xviii. 22. All his transgressions 
that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him. 
1 John ii. 1. If any man sin ; as if sin must be committed before 
he make intercession for the pardon of it. So in the Old Testament 
there was no sacrifice for any future sin. 

Answer As for the first two scriptures, that they have a respect 
to past sins, I do not deny ; but that they respect these only is said, 
not proven. If they be restrained to past sius, what comes of 
present sins, the second member of this tripartite division, very lit- 
tle, if at all, used, for anything that I have yet learned, by any 
but those of late ? others that went before, being content with the 
phrase of pardon of sin, simply, or all sin, universally, as the 
scripture speaks. " It hath been (says Isaac Ambrose) commonly 
said by some of our best divines, that justification^ is transacted in 
our first union and incorporation into Christ ; at which time it is 
conceived, that the pardon of all sin is sealed to the believer at 
once." If then it be restrained, I say, to sins past, then this asser- 
tion is false, That all sins, past, and present, are forgiven at once ; 
which the adversaries themselves do hold true. But these clauses, 
have sinned, and have transgressed, are plainly set down, not to 
distinguish their past and present, from their future sins ; that 
would have been but small comfort to a man with a deceitful heart, 
that is ever sinning; but to press the sense of their sius upon their 
consciences, and to hold them before their eyes, that they might be 
the more affected therewith, and see the grace of God in Christ 
more. If we must consider that, Ezek. xviii. 22. all his transgres- 
sions that he hath comraited, they shall not be mentioned ; pray 
take in likewise the following clause. In the righteousness 
that he hath done he shall live. Here are sins that he 
hath committed ; and righteousness that he hath done. If the 
sins that he hath committed be exclusive, in point of remission, 
of the sins he shall commit ; then his righteousness that he 
hath done, which must be understood, in a gospel sense, of 
the righteousness of Christ received by faith, must, by virtue of the 
antithesis, be exclusive of the righteousness he shall do, in point of 
pardon, or legal life. And so the doctrine of obtaining the pardon 


of future sins by the renewed acts of faith and repentance, falls to 
the ground : their life being appropriated to the righteousness they 
have done, as much as the not mentioning of their sins is to those 
that they have committed. Let no man tell me here, that the Lord 
is speaking to them in the tenor of the covenant of works, and 
according to tha law, I acknowledge, that the phrase of doing 
righteousness, looks like the legal dispensation of the covenant of 
grace under the Old Testament. But the law strictly so called, 
or the covenant of works, knows nothing of repentance and 
turning from sin, nor of the pardon of sin, here mentioned. Nay, 
though a man under the inlinence of the covenant of works could 
turn from sin indeed, that covenant would not allow his former sins 
not to be mentioned. As for that place, 1 John ii. 1. it makes no- 
thing against us, in regard the Apostle is there speaking of be- 
lievers who have an Advocate with the Fa'.her, and are actually par- 
doned as to the obligation to eternal wrath, but do fall under God's 
fatherly displeasure by their after sins, for removal of which they 
must employ the Advocate. But take it as ye will, there is no 
necessity of the actual commission of sin before intercession can be 
made anent it, no more than before satisfaction be made for it. 
But this was spoken to at large already. As to what is said of the 
sacrifices under the Old Testament, we are sure of two things; 
First, That they were types of the true sacrifice, the Lord Jesus 
Christ himself, as suffering for sinners; Secondly, That the sacri- 
fice of Christ was for all sins, past, present, and to come ; and 
therefore the believing Jews who were taught the mystery of Christ 
behoved to understand it so. 

Object. 3. Those qualifications which God himself makes with 
respect to the forgiveness of sins do necessarily suppose a precedent 
commission of them : 2 Chron. vii. 14, " If my people — shall 
humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face," &c. 1 John i. 9. 
"If we confess," &c. Prov. xxviii. 13. "He that confesseth and for- 
saketh shall find mercy." Acts iii. 19. " Repent ye, — that your sins 
may be blotted out." Doth God put us to humble our hearts to 
pray for the pardon of sins not yet committed ? Would he have us 
to confess and forsake those sins ? Wherefore, if these things be 
required for forgiveness, and yet respect only sins that are past, as 
indeed they do, all are not pardoned at once. 

Answer. Somewhat of this nature I have met with before in the 
first objection against the first question. I think it strange, that 
men, when they hear the pardon of sin spoken of in any place of 
scripture do presently fancy to themselves, that is the taking off 
the obligation to eternal wrath. As for that 2 Chron. vii. 14. it 


relates to the taking off of temporary strokes from the people, as 
is evident from the text. "I will forgive their siu." How? " I will 
heal their land." "What is the disease ? The shutting up of hea- 
ven that there is no rain, &c. So Rutherford* expounds it. And 
that forgiveness they might have, and no doubt some had, and yet 
lie under God's wrath for ever. But suppose it did relate to the 
pardon of sin in the sense pleaded for, there are more conditional 
qualifications here, than the adversaries themselves will readily 
require as absolutely necessary. There is prayer made in the 
temple, ver. 14, 15. which I hope they will not say was, even 
under the Old Testament, necessary simply for the pardon of sin. 
The second scripture alleged I have already spoken to, and may 
afterwards speak to it further. The last of them will also be con- 
sidered afterwards. Wherefore I leave them for the time. As for 
that, " He that confesseth and forsaketh, shall have mercy ;" it 
seems to be that which hath most weight for that which is pleaded ; 
but yet the weakness of it, we hope, will appear. That the argu- 
ment then may be the more closely answered, I shall reduce it into 
this form. The soul's humbling of itself, confessing, forsaking, and 
turning from sin, respect only sins past, and cannot be where siu 
is not actually committed ; but these qualifications mentioned, are 
necessarily required to the obtaining of the pardon of sin : Ergo. 
No sin can be pardoned till it be committed, and so all is not 
pardoned at once. I distinguish the major, The soul's humilia- 
ation, confessing, and forsaking, &c. considered and taken ex- 
plicitly, respect only sins past, and cannot be where sin is not 
actually committed ; I grant : considered virtually, they respect only 
sins past, &c. I deny ; for so they reach to future sins also. 
Apply this distinction to the minor: These qualifications are neces- 
sarily required to the obtaining of the pardon of sin, if they be 
taken explicitly, I deny ; and so will our antagonists, so long as 
that remains true, " Who can understand his errors ?" That they 
are requisite as considered virtually, transeat. But what can be 
made of that against us ? Nothing at all in the point in hand : for 
this virtual humbling, confessing, &c. takes in future sins as well as 
past sins, and present, which we know not : for a man who is truly 
humbled for one sin, is virtually humbled for all, past, present, and 
to come ; seeing he is humbled for it, confesseth, forsaketh, and turns 
from it as sin ; for a qua tali ad omne valet consequentia. Will our 
adversaries deny, that a believer's future sins are virtually pardoned 
upon his first entry into the state of justification ? If they be vir- 

* Christ's dying, p- 36. 


tually pardoned, why not virtually confessed and forsaken, especially 
seeing they make confession, &c. so necessary antecedently to pardon. 
And truly this may as well be said of future sins, as of those sins 
which we neither know, nor yet shall ever after know in time ; for 
as to us De non apparentibus et non existentihus eadem est ratio. Thus 
I think the weakness of this argument doth sufficiently appear. I 
shall not further meddle with the assumption here ; but in what sense 
we understand repentance to relate to the pardon of sin, will after- 
wards be declared. 

Object. 4. If all sins, past, present, and to come, are forgiven at 
once unto believers, then no believer is to pray unto God for the for- 
giveness of any sin which he commits, after he is once brought into 
Christ ; yet Jesus Christ doth teach even believers to pray, " Forgive 
us our trespasses," Matth. vi. 12 ; Luke xi. 4. To this may be added 
for confirmation, that the children of God do accordingly pray daily 
for the pardon of sin, as may be seen every where in the lives of the 

Answer. 1. Our Lord here teucheth believers to pray for the sense 
of pardon, and manifestation of the same to their own souls ; and 
that prayer suits believers very well, though all their sins, past, 
present, and to come, are already pardoned before the Lord in the 
sense pleaded for. And though it may be hard to find where pardon 
is used precisely for the manifestation thereof, yet he is a great 
stranger in the scripture who knows not, that therein things are fre- 
quently said to be or be done, when the same is only manifested. 
We find the Apostle tells us, that "Abraham was justified by 
works,"* not formally, but manifestatively ; his justification which 
he had long before, being then plainly evidenced. But as for those 
who are of opinion, that there is no pardon mentioned in the scrip- 
tures, but what respects the obligation to eternal wrath, there needs 
to be no great difficulty in finding such a place as may convince them, 
that pardon is used sometimes for the sense or manifestation of 
pardon precisely and only ; and which may rationally convince any 
man, that pardon is not always taken for the removal of the obliga- 
tion to eternal wrath, formally considered ; Matth. vi. 14 " For if 
ye forgive men their traspasses, your heavenly Father will also for- 
give you." Not unlike to this is that, Luke vi. 37. "Forgive, and 
ye shall be forgiven." We may see plainly here, that our forgive- 
ness is required as previous to God's forgiveness ; and the follow^ 
iug verse tells us, that their can be no hope of forgiveness, so long 
as we do not forgive others. Mark, to whom he speaks ; even to be- 

' James ii. 21. 


lievers, wlio may call Grod Father ; yet, under a temptation, may be 
led away with a revengeful spirit against those who have done them 
wrong ; but till they lay it down, God will not forgive them. Now, 
will any man who is orthodox, suspend our formal remission of sin 
at the hand of God, on our remission of offences done to us, as pre- 
vious to God's formal act of removing the obligation to eternal 
wrath ? This the Papists would indeed have to establish our justifi- 
cation by works. But the scripture teacheth us, that God's forgiv- 
ing us formally considered, is the cause of our forgiving others ; and 
so must go before it, as the cause before the effect. A judicious in- 
terpreter* tells us, that our remission is posterior to the divine re- 
mission ; as Christ teacheth in the parable of the king and the ser- 
vants, Matth. xviii. ; for the king forgave first, the servant behoved 
to forgive after : " I forgave thee all that debt, shouldst thou not 
also have had compassion on thy fellow-servant ?" And a little after, 
pursuing the cause against the Papists, he will not so much as yield 
it to be a cause of remission sine qua non. Baynf speaks very 
pithily to the same purpose : ' Our forgiving (says he) followeth, 
and doth not go before forgiveness (divine) : for none can forgive 
his brother, that doth not love his brother, none can love his brother 
truly, that loveth not God ; none can love God, but those that 
are first loved of him, and have their sins covered by him. And 
this forgiveness of God is an action of his simul et semeV And 
afterwards he concludes ; " When the scripture therefore bids us 
forgive that we may be forgiven, it meaneth the sense, that 
we may feel sealed to our spirits of God's pardon." Now if 
it be not a formal remission touching the obligation to eternal 
wrath, and yet all pardon have respect to that obligation, it must 
needs be understood of the manifestation of that pardon. Seeing tlien 
the scripture mentioned is an argument to enforce the duty injoined 
in the petition, it is very reasonable, that we understand the peti- 
tion the same way ; as we said before, that we are here taught to 
pray for the sense of pardon, not for a formal pardon, as it respects 
eternal wrath. And we prove it by the argument used already, 
thus : the forgiveness mentioned in this petition is posterior to our 
forgiving others ; but it is the manifestation of forgiveness, not 
the formal pardon, that is posterior to our forgiveness : En/o. The 
assumption is proven already, I prove the proposition : Fh^si, We 
seek this remission as a benefit we yet want, but speak of our remis- 
sion as a duty we in the present do. Secondly, How can we seek of 
God, that he would forgive us as we forgive others, if we have not 

* Farms in loc. f Com. on Eph. iy. 32. p. 569. 



done it, or are doing it? Surely that were to pray for the shutting 
up of God's bowels of mercy on us, rather than the opening of them ; 
" For if we forgive not men, God will not forgive us ?" ver. 15. 
Thirdly, That these words, " as we forgive them that trespass 
against us, are an argument, though not to move God to forgive, yet 
to move us to believe that God will forgive us, I think will not be 
denied by any sober person. But if it be such an argument, then 
the soul must feel itself endued with this qualification, ere it can 
certainly determine that God will forgive its sin; and the confi- 
dence of hearing cannot be in greater degree than the feeling of 
that qualification. Fourthli/, That it is so to be understood, appears 
from the parallel place, Luke. xi. 4. " Forgive us — for we also for- 
give ; kai gar lieme'is aphiemcn. Picator expounds forgiveness in the 
petition, plainly of the manifestation of pardon. " Christ (says he) 
by devine remission* in this place understands the sense of it in our 
minds, which is the sense of faith ; signifying, that it cannot be that 
we by faith can feel the divine remission, unless we be conscious to 
ourselves of our remission whereby we have forgiven others." That 
we pray here then for the sense of pardon, is evident from what is 
said; and so far I acquiece in it : but I mean not to say, that par- 
don is taken here or elsewhere only for the manifestation of pardon. 
But it seems no less evident to me, that, upon whnt is said, they 
that understand it only of the manifestation of pardon, may hold 
their ground against those who acknowledge no pardon but what 
respects the obligation to eternal wrath. But in regard that a soul 
may have the sense of pardon touching the obligation to eternal 
wrath continuing with him, and that he is still obliged daily to 
pray, " Forgive us our trespasses," in respect of which he can only 
pray in such a case for the continuance of it ; and seeing the words 
are apt to beget in us a conception of a formal pardon, and that the 
scripture teaches as another sort of a formal pardon than what 
respects God's eternal wrath ; I do not judge, that the sense of par- 
don is all that we are taught to pray for in this petition. There- 

2. I answer. We pray here also for a formal pardon. For under- 
standing of which, let us remember the distinction formerly made 
betwixt pardon of sin as it relates to the obligation whereby the 
sinner is bound over to eternal wrath, and that which respects the 
obligation whereby the soul is bound over to temporary strokes. 
That pardon of sin is in scripture used in the last sense, hath been 
already proven, and it is very commonly so taken. I shall adduce 

• Schol & obs. in M.it. vi. 12. 14. 


some other instances. 2 Kings, xxiv. 4. " And also for the innocent 
blood which he shed, which the Lord would not pardon." Jer. v. 1. 
" Run, through the streets of Jerusalem, if ye can find a man, if 
there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth, and I 
will pardon it." Would not the Lord pardon the bloodslied by 
Manasseh (to thera that were involved in the guilt with him) as to 
the obligation to eternal wrath ? Manasseh himself was pardoned in 
that sense, and doubtless God passed no such peremptory sentcnco 
on the rest that were involved in his guilt. But the context plainly 
tells us, it is meant of temporary strokes that came upon tho Jews 
by the hands of their enemies. Is that the gospel oifer to pardon 
Jerusalem as to the obligation to eternal wrath, if there were found 
but a few among them* that sought the truth ? No, sure ; though 
the Lord averts temporal strokes on that account many times. The 
believing and repenting people of God still under temporary strokes 
complaiu. Lam. iii. 42. saying, " We have transgressed, and have 
rebelled, and thou hast not pardoned." But will God hold his 
people under obligation to eternal wrath, though believing, repent- 
ing, confessing, and forsaking ? Is. xl. 2. " Speak ye comfortably to 
Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her iniquity is pardoned, for she 
hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins;" not in a way 
of vindictive justice, surely, but of temporary strokes from fatherly 
displeasure. I say then, that in this petition we are taught to pray 
daily for the pardon of sin, as it respects temporary strokes, and fa- 
tlierly displeasure ; but no otherwise, even no more than that God 
Avould justify us, and adopt us, &c. which are done already perfectly. 
And that this is the formal pardon which we are commanded to 
seek, is plain from that we are directed to go to a father for it. 
To conclude : we are taught there to pray for the sense of pardon as 
touching the obligation to eternal wrath, and for a formal pardon 
respecting temporary strokes; or, if you please, call it only that 
formal forgiveness just now mentioned, so that ye include the other 
in it, as a certain species in the general kind. For the confirma- 
tion of the objection, what the practice of the saints is de facto, is 
not the question ; but what it ought be de jure, or in point of right. 
When the children of God have lost sight of their interest in 
Christ, what wonder is it that they pray as those who have no part 
in him ? But such a practice is grounded on a mistake, and there- 
fore is not warrantable. But that their prayers are actually some- 
times for the removal of temporary anger, when they pray for 
pardon of sin, though some may understand them otherwise, is 

* Or a magistrate, as Caryl understands it. 


evident : As wlien David, Psal. xxv. " Lifting up his soul to God," 
ver. 1; "trusting iu him," ver. 2; "waiting on him all the day," 
ver. 5 ; recalling to mind former experiences of God's loving- 
kindness, ver. 6 ; and conscious to himself of those acts ; yet prays, 
ver. 7' " that the Lord would not remember the sins of his youth :" 
can it be supposed, that he thought they were unpardoned as to the 
guilt of eternal wrath still? Or did the church think so, Psal. 
Ixxix. 8. when she prays, " remember not against us former 
sins?" It is plain both aim at the guilt of temporary strokes, that 
may be brought on after they are, by their pardon, put out of 
hazard of eternal wrath. I shall conclude this answer with what 
Mr. Rutherford* says : " Our deliverance from misery is twofold, as 
our misery is. First, Thei'e is a guilt of sin, or our obligation to 
eternal wrath; the other misery is the blot of internal guilt of sin. 
In regard of the former, we are freely and perfectly justified, and 
pardoned at once from all sins in our person and state. Through 
the sense of this, and in regard of deliverance from temporal judg- 
ments, and doublings, and fears of eternal wrath, every day, while 
we seek daily bread, we desire that our sins may be forgiven." 

Object. 5. It is possible, that a believing person may fall into 
such a sin or sins of scandal, for which he may be justly cast out 
from the visible church ; and, upon his neglect or jiractice of re- 
pentance, he stands bound or loosed from his sin, not only in earth, 
but also in heaven ; for so Christ himself delievers it to us in 
Matth. xviii. 18. But this cannot possibly be, if all sins be already 
pardoned in heaven ; for then they are always loosed, and never 
bound in heaven. 

Answer. That it is possible a believer may fall into such sins, 
for which he may be justly so treated by the church ; and that what 
the church does that way in that case is ratified in heaven, I doubt 
not. But that such a person is bound over, upon his contumacy, 
either in heaven or earth, to eternal wrath, or loosed upon his re- 
pentance therefrom, I do utterly refuse : and till that be proven, 
the argument is of no force. I will not here enter upon an inquiry 
into the nature of excommunication. But the screwing it up so 
high in the case supposed, is so far from confirming the hypothesis 
of adversaries, that it doth exceedingly weaken it : for by this the 
sin of a believer may be loosed in heaven, and yet bound on the 
earth, and the church in her duty still as to that person. Put the 
case, (which may very well supposed), that the excommunicate be- 
liever, tliinking himself (though wrongously) lesed by the sentence of 

* Dying and Drawing, p. 593. 


excommunication, goes over seas into a far country, where tliere is 
no cliurcli at all, and is there touched with the sense of his sin, re- 
news his faith and repentance, and sues for a pardon, or the 
removal of the obligation to eternal wrath ; he cannot but have it, 
even according to the principles of our adversaries : yet still he is 
bound on earth ; and if so, bound in heaven too, as we heard just 
now: and so his sin is both pardoned and unpardoned in heaven at 
one and the self-same time — pardoned, because he has repented ; 
unpardoned, because he still lies under the sentence. And if this 
binding of a believer's sin on earth and in heaven respect the obli- 
gation to eternal wrath, it seems to me natively to follow, that a 
believer in a state of excommunication is in a state of condemna- 
tion. For, as one says* well, " If there were any sin remaining, 
a man is still in the state of condemnation." How powerful is truth ! 
If we turn over but another leaf before that in which this argument 
is applauded as Achilleanf indeed by the learned man, we shall find 
him telling us, that if God did yet hold you guilty, ye could not 
say, that ye have peace with God ; for God is not at peace 
with you, nor are ye at peace with him, while enmity continues 
between you ; and so it doth while any sin remains unpardoned. I 
And after he hath told us there is no condemnation to them that 
are in Christ, he adds, " And verily, if all condemnation be re- 
moved, all sin is pardoned ; if any one sin remained unpardoned, 
then condemnation would still be in force upon us for that one sin." 
But if we shall understand this binding and loosing of a believer's 
sin with respect to temporary anger or temporal judgments, the 
matter is plain, and the absurdity is evited : for though the man in 
such a case may, by the renewing of his faith and repentance, 
recover the sense of his pardon touching the obligation to eternal 
wrath ; yet, till he be loosed on earth, he is not loosed in heaven 
from the temporary judgment he was laid under ; but still he feels 
the weight of God's fatherly displeasure, having no access to the 
communion of the church ; which is no doubt a very heavy band to a 
tender heart, and will make such an one go with a bowed down back. 

Object. 6. If all sins, past, present, and to come, are forgiven at 
once, then a justified person, in the midst of the grossest sins, may 
rejoice in God, as much as when he humbles his soul, repents, and 
seeks his face. 

Answer. This objection is justly raised against Antinomians, who 
deny a believer's liableness, either to eternal wrath or temporary 
strokes for sin. But it can, with no colour or shadow of reason, be 

" Brook's Golden Key, p. 74. f Sedjiwick on the Covenant, p. 425. J P. 263. 

Vol. YI. p 


brought against us, who are taught, that the frowns of our dearest 
Father are bitter as death. See more above. 

Object. 7- Forgiveness of sin is a judicial act in God, as the con- 
trary act of condemning is. Now, the judge neither condemns nor 
forgives offences which are not extant. 

Answer. This objection is of a piece with the first, and does truly 
strike at the root of the doctrine of the gospel, and quite overturns 
the satisfaction of Christ; and is as unadvisedly objected here by 
the adversaries, as some do object that logical maxim, Non-entia 
nulla sunt accidentia. It is dangerous to endeavour to regulate the 
procedure of the omniscient judge, according to the order of human 
policy. It was a judicial act in God, " for sin to condemn sin in the 
flesh"* of Christ ; but wo to us that live now, if it was only sin that 
was extant which was thus condemned. 

Object. 8. ult. The continual work of Christ in heaven as our in- 
tercessor, 1 John ii. 1. and the daily suing out of pardon in his name, 
seems to carry much in it for the acquiring of daily pardon. 

Answer. It does so for pardon ; that is, the taking off" of tem- 
porary strokes. And that we might be sure of what we sue daily for, 
he left that comfortable word with his people before he ascended 
into heaven, *' I go to your Father and my Father, to your God and 
my God." But of this before. 

I conclude with that of the Apostle, " Stand fast therefore in the 
liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled 
again with the yoke of bondage. For, brethren, ye have been called 
unto liberty ; only use not liberty for an occassion to the flesh, but 
by love serve one another." 



Having, in the former questions, had so frequent occasion to speak 
of repentance and its relation to the pardon of sin, I shall endeavour to 
clear what I have hinted at before in this matter. I do not now 
speak of the repentance that may be found in Cain and Judas, 
arising merely from the sense of God's wrath, which is called legal 

• Rom. viii. 


repentance ; but of the true gospel repentance, which is a saving 
grace, and acceptable to God. Laying aside the Popish and Armi- 
niau necessity of it, and the conditional necessity thereof urged by 
others ; not needing to consider them particularly, seeing a fortiori 
they will be overturned, if it can be proven, that the pardon of sin 
is prior to repentance ; I shall lay down some concessions touching 
this matter, then our assertion confirmed with arguments, and ob- 
jections answered. 

CoNCEss. 1. Repentance is necessary necessitate frcecepti. It is a 
commanded duty, and ought to be preached by the ministers, and 
practised both by them and hearers of the gospel. And whoso 
make no conscience thereof, plainly appear to me to know neither 
Moses nor Christ, law nor gospel. 

CoNCEss. 2. It is necessary also necessitate medii. It is a holy 
mean appointed of Grod, or a mids necessary to be gone through in 
order to the attaining of eternal life. 

CoNCESs. 3. Faith and repentance, as they are ordinarily linked 
together in preaching, so they cannot be separated in practice. 
And though we may, and must distinguish them, yet they 
must not be divided. And whatsoever precedency is here, it is 
rather in order of nature, than order of time. The graces of the 
Spirit being given together and at once, yet much depends on the 
distinct uptaking of the native order of those graces. 

CoNCESs. 4. As pardon denotes a relation to temporal strokes, as 
hath been above explained, repentance is a necessary mean in order 
to the obtaining of it ; that is, the removal of temporal strokes. 
The reason of this is obvious : for the Lord's design in inflicting such 
strokes, is the believer's repentance, humiliation, and amendment, &c. 
So that when the Lord hath inflicted temporary strokes on a be- 
liever for his sins, they are not taken away till he repent and 
amend, and so answer the design of God in inflicting them.* It 
is true, they may be changed as to the species of them ; and when 
one sort prevails not, the Lord brings on another. But still there 
is a continuance of them till they prove eff'ectual. I do not say, 
that presently the sin is pardoned, or the stroke removed upon re- 
pentance. Scripture and experience tell us the contrary. David, 
though repenting, yet lies under the effects of God's fatherly dis- 
pleasure ; it is a while ere his broken bones be cured. The Lord 
will not, upon every repentance of a sinner, pass by the ordinary 
course of nature. Men may be cast into diseases for their sins, and 
repent while God's hand is upon them, and may recover, but by 

• Is. xxvii. 9. 



degrees. Besides, some temporary strokes of God upon believersj 
are of that nature that they cannot be taken off without a miracle ; 
as the death of David's child, &c. And there is great reason for 
this : for God, in inflicting of temporary strokes on believers, has 
other designs besides that of the amendment of the party; as the 
vindication of his own honour, that others may fear, and the like. 

CoNCESs. 5. Repentance also is necessary in order to the attaining 
of the sense of the pardon of sin, as it relates to eternal wrath ; as 
the tree must be known by its fruits. Repentance is a fruit of 
faith ; and where there is no repentance, it cannot be supposed that 
assurance can be had. Yet this concession I understand so as, that 
although a clear discerning of repentance in a believer is necessary 
unto a firm assurance which fully quiets the heart, yet the believer 
may, without that, Mtain unto such an assurance, as is that of an 
adherence unto the truth of that proposition, " My sins are par- 
doned;" of which perhaps we may hear more afterwards. These 
things being yielded, 

I assert, with Rutherford,* That in regard of our obligation to 
eternal wrath, and all the punishments of sin according to the order 
of justice by the law of God, faith in Christ is the only means and 
way to get out of our bondage and misery. And I wish this way 
of speaking of faith as a mean were more generally received. If it 
were so, it might be of good use to bury the debates about the con- 
ditionality of the covenant of grace, and the instrumentality of faith 
in our justification, and might tend to give us distinct uptakings of 
the true nature of the second covenant. " I had rather," says Dur- 
ham,! " call it [faith,] the mean by which it, [Christ's righteousness,] 
is apprehended." So then repentance is not required as a mean in 
order to the obtaining of the pardon of sin, touching the obligation 
to eternal wrath. In a word, gospel repentance doth not go before, 
but comes after remission of sin, in the order of nature. 

AtlGt. I. The first and immediate effect of saving faith, is union 
with the Lord Jesus Christ : for the formal act of faith as justify- 
ing, is the receiving of Christ, by which the soul is joined unto him.l 
The union betwixt Christ and believers may be considered, as with 
respect to us, actively and passively ; as we are said to join our- 
selves, and to be joined to the Lord : in respect of the latter, the 
Spirit, on God's part, apprehending us; and in respect of the former, 
faith on our part apprehending him, makes up the blessed union, as 
the immediate result thereof. || Moreover, it is evident we can have 
no saving benefit from Christ by faith, without communion with 

• Christ's Dying and Drawing, p. 593, 594. f On Rev. p. 152. col. 2. 

X 1 Cor. vi. 17. II Jer. 1. 5; 1 Cor. vi. 17. 


him ; which communion supposeth, and is grounded upon union with 
him. So Parson,* speaking of the effects of faith, tells us, that 
first there is union with Christ. " What can," says he, " more 
necessarily and immediately follow upon the offer, on God's part, 
in the gospel, of Christ to be ours, and our receiving him by faith, 
than union to his person? This I take to be the fruit of the 
first consummate vital act of the quickened soul, and then is 
the marriage-knot tied." Now, if union with Christ be the imme- 
diate effect of faith, repentance must either go before faith, or it 
must come after remission of sins. The former cannot be said, 
seeing the repentance in question is pleasing to God ; but " without 
faith it is impossible to please God."f The Lord himself tells us, 
that without him we can do nothing :j; choris emu ; extra me, says 
Grotius ; seorshn a me, says Beza. Now, we are still without Christ, 
till by faith we be united to him, Eph. iii. 17. Wherefore true 
Repentance cannot go before faith. It remains then, that it comes 
after remission of sin. For how can it be conceived, that the soul 
is united to Christ, but that siu is also immediately pardoned? 
Seeing by virtue of this union the soul hath a perfect righteousness 
to present unto God, it cannot but eo ipso be justified and pardoned. 
If anything shall be supposed to intervene betwixt union with 
Christ and justification, we shall have a man righteous and un- 
righteous, condemned and not condemned at once ; condemned, 
because, ex hypothesi, he is not justified, nor his sins pardoned ; not 
condemned, because he is " in Christ Jesus," Rom. viii. 1. 

Argument II. We may clearly perceive this doctrine from the 
parable of the two debtors. Luke vii. where the conclusion of the 
whole is in ver, 47. " Wherefore I say unto thee, her sins^ which 
are many, are forgiven ; for she loved much : but," &c. The 
occasion of this parable is told us, vers. 37, 38, 39. A woman who 
was a sinner comes to Christ, washes his feet with tears, wipes them 
with her hair, kisseth bis feet, &c. The Pharisee having known 
what a profane wretch this woman was some time, but being igno- 
rant of the change wrought on her, and the favour she had obtained 
with God, thinks with himself, that Christ cannot be a Prophet, iu 
regard he admitted such a profane person to treat him so ; ■ which 
he supposeth he would not have done, had he known what sort of a 
woman she was. The scope of the parable is, to convince the 
Pharisee, that this woman was not such a one as he took her to be ; 
but that she was a pardoned sinner, and one who, nothwithstanding 
her former course of life, had now obtained favour with God^ 

* Morning Exer. p. 468. jHeb. xi. 6. J John xv. 5. 


and therefore there was no ground for the Pharisee's inference, that 
Christ was not a Prophet, and he was mistaken in thinking Christ 
knew not what she was. To prove that this woman was such a 
one as is said, he makes use of the parahle of two debtors ; the one 
whereof owed five hundred, the other fifty pence, both to the same 
creditor ; and both are forgiven ; then proposes the question, 
"Which of the two will love most?" Simon answers, "He to 
whom most is forgiven." "Wherefore the conclusion of the point is, 
That seeing those love most to whom most is forgiven, and it is 
evident this woman loves most, which is manifest by those her 
expressions of love, and her tears, most is forgiven to her, she is a 
pardoned sinner. And thus our divines against the Papists unani- 
mously understand this love as the effect or consequent of her 
forgiveness. See Calvin,* instead of all, handling this place at 
large against the patrons of the merit of works. Hence I argue 
thus : Our love to God follows upon, and is a fruit of remission of 
sin ; but our repentance proceeds from love to God, and so in order 
of nature is posterior thereto : Ergo, Repentance follows remission 
of sin. Both the premises are evident from this parable, especially 
the proposition. To confirm the assumption, we are told, 1 John 
iv. 19. " We loved him, because he first loved us." God's love to 
us is always antecedent to ours towards him. Now, these presup- 
pose remission : for how can God delight in those whom his law 
condemns? He hates those whose sins he hath not pardoned, 
as we heard before : or how can we love God while he is our enemy, 
which he is still so long as our sins are not pardoned ? This is 
plainly taught us, Hos. xiv. 4. " I will heal their backslidings, 
I will love them freely." Upon which Zanchius thus comments :f 
" He says not, in the first place, I will love them, then I will heal 
their rebellions; but first I will heal; then, I will love." He 
teacheth then, that God loves none with that love whereof we 
speak, but after the forgiveness of their sins through Clirist; and 
that those whose sins are not pardoned, are hated of God, For 
there can be no love, says Hemmingius,| no obedience, except mercy 
and reconciliation, for the Mediator's sake, be first apprehended. 
We heard before Bayn telling us there can none love God, but 
those that are first loved of him, and have their sins covered with 

A godly and learned divine hath an exception here; which is 
this. Repentance may be considered as it doth not only follow 
pardon, but also the intimation thereof; so it is a melting of heart, 

* Itistit. lib. 3. cnp, section 37. f ^"om- 'i Joe. % Com. in Jam. fol. 32. 


and a self-loathing that floweth from felt love. This is the melting 
of heart spoken of in that woman. But repentance, as it is a work 
of sanctifying grace, arising from the sense of bypast sin, and hope 
of future mercy, goeth along with faith, for the attaining of the 
hoped-for remission. 

Contra. 1. That it is granted, this woman's repentance followed 
her pardon, is well ; but that it followed the intimation thereof, 
is not proven ; yea the contrary seems pretty clear, if we consult 
the place : for after she had expressed her penitency, as the 
Evangelist tells us, her pardon is intimated, ver. 48. " And he 
said unto her. Thy sins are forgiven :" and adds, ver. ult, " Thy faith 
hath saved thee, go in peace ;" which is a manifest check to her 
doubts and fears, creates a calm in her troubled soul ; and tells us 
plainly, that she came to him in trouble, fear, and anxiety. So 
far was she from the intimation of pardon. And no wonder it was 
so ; for it is but the Lord's ordinary way to use a hard wedge for 
knotty timber. She was a sinner, a harlot, says Piscator, and, it 
seems, but very lately converted ; they who knew her before, not 
having as yet discerned the change. If it be said, that intimation 
was made, not so much for her who had the sense of pardon before, 
as for those who sat at meat with Christ; the contrary of that 
appears, in that the same was convincingly concluded as to them 
in the preceding verse. As for what is said of her repentance 
flowing from felt love, it is true in some sense. For God's love 
may be felt two ways ; first, materially and objectively; secondly, 
formally or subjectively. The first way no doubt she felt it ; for 
God's pardoning love was the efi'ectual cause of her love to God, 
and repentance in her heart, according to that, " With loving-kind- 
ness have I drawn thee :"* for God's love worketh its like in our 
souls, independently on our knowledge thereof; as the wind bloweth 
where it listeth, and we hear the sound thereof, though we know 
not whence it cometh, nor whether it goeth. f Did not our hearts 
burn within us, (say the disciples),| while he talked with us, &c. ? 
and yet they knew not till afterwards who it was that spoke to 
them : so might she feel God's love, yet not formally and subjec- 
tively, as is clear from the necessity of the intimation spoken of 
before ; for had she known that indeed, the power whereof she 
felt, it would have created peace, and quelled the storm of conscience 
in her. 

2. That there is another kind of repentance, than this of that 
woman's, which goes along with faith for the attaining of 

* Jer. xxxi. 3. f John iii. 8. X Luke xxiv, 32. 


remission, I must needs refuse till it be proven. I confess I can 
see no such repentance in the Scripture as is here described. The 
repentance we now treat of, respects the soul's union with Christ, 
at the first conversion of the soul to God; and so the worthy- 
author tells us in these words : " We say, that repentance under- 
stood in the last sense, is simply necessary for the obtaining of 
the pardon of sin ; so that without it no unreconciled sinner can 
expect peace with God." Aud yet this repentance is said to be a 
work of sanctifying grace. Now, that a work of sanctifying grace 
should, in order of nature, go before the pardon of sin, I think 
will be hard to reconcile to that which is generally the doctrine of 
orthodox divines, that justification goes before sanctification ;* that 
the state of the soul must first be changed, and the tree be first 
made good, before it can bring forth good fruit, or a work of 
sanctifying grace ; or that our persons must be first accepted, ere 
our works can be acceptable. But sure it is, while sin is unpar- 
doned our persons are not accepted. 

Argument III. Hence then it further appears, that true repent- 
ance follows the pardon of sin, and therefore cannot be a mean to 
attain it. For if good works do not go before, but follow our 
justification, as is generally maintained by Protestant divines, with 
whom you will seldom miss, on that head, the famous saying of 
Augustine, Bona opera non prcecedunt justificandum, sed sequuntur 
justificatum ; repentance must needs follow the pardon of sin, 
or it must be denied to be a good work ; the contrary whereof 
we have heard, in that it is said to be a work of sanctifying 
grace : and it surely implies good works, if it be such as our 
Catechism, according to the Scripture, describes it, viz. " a turning 
from sin unto God," &c. We cannot but take notice how much 
Socinus and his fellows labour for the precedency of repentance to 
the remission of sin, hoc velut et magno mercentur. But repentance 
and conversion (says Socinus)f go before the blotting out of sin. 
Acts iii. 19. For justification (says Schlichtingius) neither begins 
without faith and repentance, nor does it last without the fruits 
and eifects of faith and repentance. I know, that the learned men 
who plead for repentance as necessary to the attaining of the 
pardon of sin, do with their souls abhor Socinus' design therein ; 
but why should we yield anything to the common enemy without 
necessity? In his treatise of justification, he lays hold ou this their 

• Assem. Cat. Hoornbeek Socin. Conf. vol. 2. p. ti79. Zanch. in Eph. 
f De fide et operihvs, p. CO. i:it. noornheek Socin. Conf. vol. 2. p. 680. p. 334. 
cit. eod. ib, p. 695. 


doctrine to inveigle them in a contradiction : " There is another 
extreme (says he*) received commonly, not without the great un- 
doing of souls, that is, that our good works do nothing at all per- 
tain to our justification, but as they are effects of the same. (Here 
is the venom of the Auti-Socinian doctrine). Whence it follows, 
that seeing it is certain we are justified by faith, it must needs come 
to pass, that they be of opinion, that a man is justified even be- 
fore he doth any good, though afterwards he shall do. Which is 
contrary to the whole Scripture ; which, to pass other things, doth 
plainly testify, that the remission of our sins doth not consist nor 
exist without repentance ; and seeing it is most true, and 
they themselves acknowledge that, and confess that our justification 
is no other indeed than remission of our sins," &c. Hoornbeekf 
answers to this : " We confess, says he, that our good works 
pertain not to justification antecedently and causally, but are the 
effects of justification itself." This is the very thing we plead. 
But as for that which the same learned man adds in answer to that 
of Socinus, viz. That repentance is required in the subject, which ' 
may be partaker of remission, but is not therefore requisite to Grod's 
justifying as it denotes his action absolving a man; but well indeed 
as it denotes its termination, and the sense of it passively in the 
faithful soul ; it does indeed confirm me in the doctrine I plead 
for, while I see the miserable strait those are brought into by this 
objection, who hold the precedency of repentance to the remission 
of sin. For I think it is clear, Socinus is not speaking of justifi- 
cation as it is an action of God precisely, not terminated upon the 
creature ; for thus justification goes before faith as well as repen- 
tance, it being in that sense from eternity ; nor yet is he speaking 
of the sense of it in the soul; but of justification, properly so called, 
terminated on the creature. And unless we make the termination of 
justification in the faithful soul, and the sense of it, all one, I confess I 
cannot divine what is the difference betwixt justification as it denotes 
an action of God absolving a man, and as it denotes the termina- 
tion of it on the soul ; only they are different ways of conceiving one 
and the same thing; J even as calefaction, as it is referred to the fire, 
is termed an action, and as referred to the water, is called passion. 
For an action of God absolving a man, (unless you understand it of 
the decree of absolution, which is not in question), is a transient 
act; and it will be very hard to shew a difference betwixt a 
transient act, and an act terminated on an extrinsic object. I like 
much better what that learned author delivers afterwards. " So 

* P. 51. cit. ib. p 679. t 11,1(1. X Wend S^-st. Theol. p. 571. 


justification (says he) is considered either on God's part, or on onr 
part, terminated in us, and its subject. The first is in the eternal 
decree of God destinated for us ; in the promises from the first age 
of the world, and in the gospel, off'ered ; by Christ, merited ; by his 
resurrection, confirmed and ratified; hitherto actively. But it is 
considered passively, as applied to and terminated on the soal, by 
faith. And this way the grace of remission is more clearly seen, 
as it comes to men, not only having merited nothing of good, but 
yet being (consistentihus) in guilt and wickedness : In the meantime, 
with the grace of justification, endued also with that of sanctifica- 
tion, whereby, for the time to come, they from the heart do live, 
not unto wickedness, but unto God and Christ." This doth indeed 
dash Socinus' doctrine in the head and heart. The Assembly, in 
their Larger Catechism,* tells us, that in sanctification the seeds of 
repentance unto life are put into the heart. "Whereby it is mani- 
fest, that repentance doth not go before justification, and conse- 
quently that it cannot be a mean to attain the pardon of sin. 

If any shall say, that repentance is properly and solely an evan- 
gelic work, and therefore is not to be put in the same class with 
other works following justification, and commanded by the law : I 
answer, That according to the doctrine of the gospel, it is plain, that 
faith as it receives Christ, is oj)posed, in the matter of justification, 
to all works whatsoever : and so does not only exclude repentance, 
but itself as a work, as Protestant divinesf teach against the 
patrons of the righteousness of works. But this is not to be yielded, 
that repentance is in such sort an evangelic work, J as if it 
were not at all commanded by the law ; for the law of the Lord 
is perfect, and contains the whole duty of man. It is true as 
was said above, the law knows no place for repentance, how it may 
be accepted as the gospel doth ; it promiseth no strength 
wherewith it may be performed, as the gospel does. But as, sup- 
posing the revelation of Christ, and the ofi^er of him in the gospel, 
the law obligeth us to believe ; so supposing the rational creaturd 
to have sinned, the law obligeth him to turn from sin unto God, 
that is, to repent ; otherwise the impenitency of the devils were no 
sin ; which I think none will adventure to say. So then it is true, 
that expressly and absolutely the law does not call for repentance, 

* Q. What is Sanctification ? 

t Never a Protestant divine (Arminians and Socinians I disclaim, as no Protestants') 
made sanctification a cause of justification, but an effect. Christ's Djing and Draw- 
ing, p. 109. 

% Evangelium nulla habet formaliter ah operihus legis dislincta. Wend. S)st. 
Theol. p. 415. 


yet virtually and hypothetically it doth. But why are any works 
called evangelic, but because they are done by faith in the Lord 
Jesus Christ manifested in the gospel, and under the influence of 
the covenant of grace ? "Whereas legal works are done by the 
power of nature, and under the influence of the covenant of works ; 
and in this sense any work of sanctifying grace is as much an evan- 
gelic work, as repentance is. But, upon the whole, let the fore- 
mentioned author, in his confutation of Socinianism,* answer for me, 
" Now, (says he), in that he (viz. Socinus) placeth evangelic works 
before justification, in that he is contrary to Scripture and reason ; 
to the scripture, Rom. iv. 5. and iii. 28 ; Gal. ii. 16 ; Rom. xi. 6. 
That opinion is contrary to reason ; because, seeing faith is the 
beginning of all good works, without which no man can please God, 
or perform any thing acceptable to him, and by it as soon as it 
is present, we are justified, good works cannot go before justifica- 
tion, as they cannot go before faith, but only follow." The like he 
hath again elsewhere, f telling us, that God absolves men choris 
ergon, without works, without previous piety. It ought not to be 
said, that, by this doctrine, faith itself as an evangelic work is to be 
cast behind justification likewise ; for faith, being the principle of 
all, must needs be excepted, in regard it is that which unites the 
soul to Christ. The forecited author tellsj us how we are to under- 
stand this. " A man (says he) is justified before he hath done any 
good, that is, good following on faith ; who when he believes is 
justified." But the description formerly given of an evangelic 
work, leaves no room at all for this exception; and truly the name 
of a work should be far from the matter of our justification before 
God. Though it should be said, that repentance is not considered 
here as a work, but as a quality, it will not take off the force of 
the argument, which concludes against the very being of repentance 
before pardon, in order of nature at least. 

Argument IV. If we consider the promises of repentance in the 
covenant, we shall find they come in the same order that we plead 
for. Ezek. xxxvi. After the Lord had told them of remission of 
sin, ver. 25. "From all your idols will I cleanse you;" he pro- 
niiseth repentance, ver. 31. "Then shall ye remember your own 
evil ways," &c. So Ezek. xvi. 60, 61, 62, 63. " I will remember 
ray covenant with thee — Then thou shalt remember thy ways — And 
I will establish my covenant with thee, that thou mayest remember, 
and be confounded," &c. Hos. xiv. 4. " I will heal their backslid- 
ing." Yer. 8. " Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more 

* Vol. 2. p. 681. 1^-^96. JP. 680. 


with idols ?" Is. xliv. 22. " I have blotted out as a thick cloud thy 
transgressions, and as a cloud, thy sins : return unto me, for I have 
redeemed thee." This is the native order of these things ; and why 
should we strive to disturb and confound the same ? for this 
doctrine of the precedency of repentance to pardon calls for the 
quite contrary order. If it be said, these promises respect a re- 
pentance they should be stirred up to after their pardon ; but that 
does not hinder but that there may be a sort of repentance going 
before pardon : I answer, (besides what is already said on this 
head). That there is a sort of legal repentance that goes before 
pardon, I do not deny, which belongs to conviction, and may be in 
Judas and Cain, and was in those elect ones. Acts ii. 37- when they 
were " pricked at the heart ;" whom yet the Apostle calls to true 
repentance, ver. 38. And this I judge to be necessary by God's 
appointment, at least in the ordinary way, in the course of God's 
ordinary dispensation: those persons being first killed by the law 
whom he minds to revive by the gospel. But this goes before 
faith ; and cannot, but in a very large sense, be reckoned a mean in 
order to the attaining of remission of sins ; seeing it is toto genere 
different from any special and saving work of the' Spirit. But the 
question is of gospel repentance which is theologically good : and if 
there be any such different from that which is here promised, I 
would know where it is promised ; for no other appears in those 
places, but what follows pardon. If it be not promised at all, it is 
not at all, otherwise the covenant is defective : which is absurd. 
If you say, it is included in the new heart; I shall on the same 
grounds infer the necessity of all the graces of the Spirit, as well 
as of repentance, patience, chastity, &c. ; which no man holding 
justification by faith alone, ever said were necessary in order 
to the attaining of pardon. But let it be so ; the new state 
of cleanness by way of pardon is set before ; " I will cleanse 
you ;" also, " I will give yon a new heart." But we stand not on 
the order of words. The apostle plainly tells us, that the ungodly 
are the objects of justification, Rom. iv 5. "But to him that work- 
eth not, but believeth on him who justifieth the ungodly, &c. Is 
the repenting sinner the man who worketh not ? is he the ungodly 
whom God justifieth ? " Who can think (says Hoornbeek)* that the 
ungodly is said by Paul to be justified, because after justification he 
remains ungodly, and not because he had been ungodly ; and in the 
very act of justification, he could no otherwise be considered than in 
himself ungodly ? though with his justification he be endued with 

• SiH'in. Conf. vol. 2. p. 096. 


the grace of God, whereby he shall afterwards live godly : but this 
neither before nor in justification ; for God absolves a man even 
choris ergon, without previous piety." 

Aegujient. Y. Though the patrons of the doctrine of the necessity 
of repentance in order to the obtaining of the pardon of sin, do not 
aim at any encroachment on the doctrine of free pardon ; yet, with 
all deference to those learned men, I conceive, that such doctrine is 
injurious to the grace of God, and doth much darken the free par- 
don offered in the gospel, in regard the pardon is promised immedi- 
ately to those that believe,* Acts x. 43. " Through his name, who- 
soever believeth in him, shall receive remission of sins." But they 
require, that believers bring something with them, if they would 
obtain it, even that they bring repentance along with them. I 
think Dr. Prestonf says well, when he tells us, " It is a fault to 
think God's pardons are not free, and that you must bring some- 
thing in your hand. The very end (says he) of thy going to Christ, 
is to get thy hardness of heart and deadness of spirit removed, to be 
healed and enlivened." And it is truly strange to think from what 
airth repentance should come to people, while as yet their sins are 
unpardoned, and God is their enemy. What need is their 
of those ways ? "Why go we not by faith to a reconciled 
God, to get repentance ; but must seek repentance where- 
with we may go to an unreconciled God, who is a consuming 
fire ? If I mistake not, that is not the way of the gospel. It is a 
seasonable admonition that one gives us to this purpose,:]: " When 
you go to mourn for sin, begin aloft with Christ ; and 
do not always think to begin below with sin, and so to come up to 
Christ; but begin aloft with Christ, and fall down upon your sin." 
"Papists (says Dr. Preston ||) tell of escaping damnation, and of 
getting into heaven. J3ut Scripture gives other motives (to good 
works). Thou art in Christ, and Christ is thine ; consider what he 
hath done for thee, what thou hast by him, what thou hadst been 
without him, and thus stir up thyself to do for him what he re- 
quireth." Let them that will, repent that Christ may do for them ; 
I shall desire always to believe what Christ hath done for me, that 
I may repent; not doubting but that the being instructed therein 
is the plain way to smiting on the thigh, and saying, What have I 
done? So says a godly writer,§ "First of all, God's favour is 
apprehended, and remission of sin believed ; then upon that cometh 
alteration of life and conversation." Upon the whole we may see^ 

• Is. Iv. 1. Acts. xvi. 31, Rev. xxii. 17. t Ahridg. of his works, p. 394. 

If. Bridges' Good Mua's Peace, p. 17. || Ubi sup. ^ Stock; 



that the gospel teaches us to come empty-handed to the market of 
free grace, for remission of sin and God's favour. But he comes 
not empty, who brings repentance along with him. If any shall 
say, that if we screw up matters so high in this point, we must cast 
faith as well as repentance, in the matter of attaining pardon; for 
that is still something we bring with us. I shall answer; For the 
safety of God's grace, let the work faith, the inherent quality 
faith, go, and be made to stand aback, while the sinner stands be- 
fore God's tribunal to be justified ; that the empty-handed, taking 
faith, may alone hare place. Hath not the Lord made it to be 
only of faith, that it might be of grace, while faith comes with an 
empty hand, and receives all ? There is a vast difference betwixt 
faith and repentance in this matter, even as much as betwixt giving 
and receiving: for there is no grace of the Spirit that hath more of 
the nature of giving than repentance, in so far as it is a turning of 
the whole man from sin unto God ; and upon that head it ought 
to be banished far from the soul's justification, and to have 
no part nor lot in the matter of attaining free pardon. And see- 
ing this doctrine doth so well agree with the natural religion that 
is in all men, whereby they, when they come to God to obtain a 
favour, would always be sure of some qualification in themselves 
fitting them for the receipt of it; let us take heed, that it turn 
not the covenant of grace into a bastard covenant of works. The 
covenant of works says, Do this; the covenant of grace says so 
too. Where is the difference then? Why, the covenant of works 
says. Do this, and thou shalt live, viz. in God's tavour, wherein 
life lies.* But the covenant of grace saith, Live thou, and do this.f 
Now, this doctrine says. Repent, and thy sins shall be pardoned ; 
which is indeed, Do this, and thou shalt live. It requires not 
perfect obedience indeed ; but if we resolve it, we find it to 
be this. Turn from sin sincerely unto God, though thou canst not 
perfectly, and thou shalt live in God's favour. Now, we know 
magis et minus non variant speciem. I have almost lost sight of faith 
its relation to the pardon of sin: and no great wonder; seeing 
another thing is set betwixt them, which seems to take the right 
hand of faith ; for they will not say repentance goes before faith, 
and yet they will not allow it to come after remission of sin. So 
then it must go betwixt them, and therefore is the nearest mean : 
and whichsoever of two means be in themselves the more noble, 
yet, in relation to the common end, it is highly reasonable to 
prefer the immediate and nearest mean to the mediate and remote; 
whereby it comes to pass, that, in the matter of the pardon of sin, 

♦ Psal. XXX. 5. t Ezek. xvi. 6, 7, 


repentance must be the more noble mean. Again, I say, I believe 
and desire to go immediately to Christ for pardon ; but dost thou 
repent of thy sins, thy faith cannot obtain pardon without repent- 
ance ? Well then, still repentance is preferable to faith here : 
for without it faith can do nothing; but with it, it proves effectual ; 
now. Propter quod unumquodque est tale, illud ipsum est magis tale. 
But this I am confident is not the doctrine of the gospel. Let us 
take a watchword from holy and learned Rutherford : " We would 
beware (says he) of Mr. Baxter's* order of setting repentance and 
works of new obedience before justification ; which is indeed a new 
covenant of works." 

Argument VI. ult. If repentance be a mean necessary in order 
to the obtaining of pardon, then unless a man be assured of the 
truth and reality of his repentance, he cannot without sin embrace 
the offered pardon ; the very embracing of it is a sin unto him ; 
which is very absurd. 1 prove the connection : for whatsoever is 
not of faith, is sin : that is, says acute Beza,f all that is done in 
doubt of conscience, whether it please God or not, and so conse- 
quently whether God commanded it or not, is but sin. And the 
context makes it plain, that the apostle means it of the faith of 
God's command. Now, how can that be of faith, and how can 
that be but sin, when the person doubts of God's command 
obliging him in particular to believe and lay hold upou the offered 
pardon ? He is persuaded, that he dare not embrace the pardon or 
believe it, unless he be a true penitent ; for God offers it to none 
immediately, but to true penitents, ex hypothesi ; and yet no 
wonder that he very much doubts whether he be such a one or not, 
and is most ready to conclude he is not. So that till he be 
persuaded of the truth of his repentance, he cannot in faith em- 
brace the offered pardon. When God makes his offers of pardon 
only to such as are so and so qualified, how can he be excused from 
presumption that adventures on the embracing of them, not discern- 
ing himself to be thus qualified? When the Lord covers his table 
in the gospel, but invites none but such as are qualified with true 
repentance, he that doubteth, is damned if he eat. But the gospel 
requires no such thing, as that a man must know his repentance to 
be true before he embrace the offered pardon ; but simply calls all 
that will come, to come and take of the water of life freely. 
We may easily perceive how injurious this is to souls under 
exercise, how it natively tends to keep them long in the place of 
the breaking forth of children. For although the person appre- 

• Influences of the Life, &c. p. 346. f Conf. poiut 4. art. 15. 


hends God's anger gone out against him, and hears of the free 
pardon offered in the gospel ; yet still it appears to him forbidden 
fruit, unless he be conscious to himself of the truth of his repent- 
ance ; seeing true repentance is a mean absolutely necessary in 
order to the obtaining of the pardon of sin. And while they 
cannot see the truth of their repentance, the offers of the gospel and 
promises of pardon, while they hear them, do but torment them the 
more, while they persuade themselves, that none but true penitents 
can have access unto them ; which ere they can lay hold on, they 
must redd the marches betwixt legal and gospel repentance, and must 
have it made out to their consciences, that their repentance hath 
all the discriminating characters that distinguish it from the 
repentance of Judas, and from that sorrow for sin which proceeds 
merely from the force of an enlightened conscience. And seeing 
true repentance proceeds from love to God, as we heard before, 
they must love God, not only while they apprehend him their 
enemy, but even while he is their enemy in very deed; being a 
judge to them, under whose condemnatory sentence they lie, their 
sins being unpardoned. Whatever the soul in this case act- 
ually does, it is plain from what is said, that, acting according to 
this principle, they are obliged to suspend the embracing of pardon 
till they know they repent. But I suppose, that when a sinner is 
sufficiently made to see his absolute need of Christ, and of gospel 
grace, he does then embrace Christ by faith, which makes up a 
happy union betwixt Christ and him ; whereupon follows the absol- 
vitory sentence ; and that independently on his consciousness either 
of his' own acts towards God, or of God's actions towards him. In 
the meantime, this false persuasion, while stuck to, mars their peace 
and comfort. The plain gospel way, so far as I understand it, is, 
That a soul being by the law, brought to a sense of the absolute and 
indispensable need of Christ, (for till then a soul will never be con- 
tent -with the gospel way of salvation,) hath an offer of Christ, and 
of the pardon of sin freely made unto it, without any respect to any 
inherent qualification ; and thereupon cordially takes both according 
to the offer, embraceth Christ and his pardoning grace ; or consents 
to take Christ, by which he becomes his : whereupon he is immedi- 
ately justified and pardoned, without any more ado : and hence 
natively flows true repentance ; which being discerned by them, 
confirms to them the pardon of sin more and more. I said more 
a:id more ; in regard that this truth we now plead for being believed, 
supposing the soul conscious of its own act of reception, it is even 
then, at the soul's first embracing of Christ, sufficient in suo genere 
to assure him of the pardon of his sins. And no farther goes the 


consciousness of true repentance : for, in respect of both, the super- 
venient testimony of the Spirit is necessary to remove all doubts, 
and to set the soul in perfect peace. For let the medium be, either 
the receiving of Christ and the pardon offered, or repentance, the 
illustration of both premises and conclusion by the Spirit is neces- 
sary, in order to the full quiet of the heart. And I think 1 may 
add, that faith is a more firm and steady ground of assurance of 
the pardon of sin, quad nos, than repentance; in regard it is easier 
known. And hence it is, that divines use to give advice to Chris- 
tians perplexed with doubts and fears as to their state, when they 
can discern no evidences of grace in themselves, to lay by the in- 
quiry, and, as if they had never believed in Christ, repented of their 
sins, &c.* to exercise a direct act of accepting of Christ offered in the 
gospel, and then to reflect on that act in order to their quietness. | 
If any shall endeavour to retort this argument, and say, that if it 
hold, then as to faith, which is a necessary mean to pardon, we 
must in like manner be assured of the reality thereof, or it is sin 
for us to embrace the pardon : I answer, It follows by no means. 
There are two ways of embracing a pardon. Fhst, A pardon may 
be embraced in the way of presumption ; which overleaps Christ 
himself, and grasps at his benefits, and particularly remission of 
sin. This no doubt is a sin ; for God offers no pardon in that way. 
Secondly, A pardon is embraced by faith ; which receives Christ, 
and in him and with him the pardon of sin. This cannot be sin, 
whether we be conscious of the reality and uprightness of our act or 
not ; though it is not so in regard of repentance. The reason is, 
There is a vast difference betwixt faith and repentance in this 
matter. The last of these is required as a qualification in the party 
distinct from the receiving of the pardon ; or it is required as a 
mids, through which a soul must go before it can win at the pardon : 
and therefore, if faith should lay hold on pardon, not knowing it 
hath come by this mids quad nos, we come not at it in Grod's way, 
and consequently it is sin to embrace it so, viz. not having known, 
antecedently to our taking it, that we do repent. But faith is 
not a qualification previously required to the embracing of the par- 
don ; but, as it is considered here, is the very act of receiving it, 
Acts xxvi. 18, " That they may receive forgiveness of sins." 
Wherefore the previous knowledge thereof in us cannot be neces- 
sary in order to the embracing of the pardon ; unless you say, that 
a man must know he receives forgiveness before he receive it ; which 
is absurd. To conclude, I suppose, that the way to deal with souls 
in order to their salvation, is, to labour by all means to conclude 

* Perkins' Alicubi. f Cmighead oa the Sac. p. 31. 

Vol. YI. tt 


tliem under the law ; tliat is, to hold out unto them tlieir niiserahle 
state by nature, so as they may clearly see themselves lying under 
the curse, no ways able to help themselves ; whence they shall feel 
an absolute need of the Lord Jesus Christ ; and, when they ai-e 
brought that length by the blessing of God, to propose unto thera 
Christ with his free pardon : which he is to be commanded in God's 
name to accept, without any more ado about any thing to qualify 
him for a pardon. " Wherefore," says Luther,* " when I see a man 
sufficiently broken, to be oppressed with the law, terrified with sin, 
and to thirst after comfort ; then is it time that I remove out of 
his sight the law and active righteousness, and propose, by the 
gospel, passive righteousness ; which, Moses with his law being ex- 
cluded, does exhibit the promise concerning Christ, who came for 
the afflicted and sinners." 

Object. 1. The command of repentance is prefixed to the obtain- 
ing of pardon, and preventing of wrath, and that by way of certifi- 
cation, that if it be not, remission is not to be expected. Acts iii. 19. 
" Repent, that your sins may be blotted out ;" which doth imply, 
that without this the blotting out of sin is not to be expected. See 
also Acts ii. 38. and viii. 22. 

Answer. How little weight is to be laid upon the prefixing of the 
command to the obtaining of pardon, will appear in the examination 
of the places of Scripture adduced. As for that of preventing 
wrath, I cheerfully yield, we cannot be saved unless we repent and 
obey, as we cannot be pardoned unless we believe. For the better 
understanding of the Scriptures alleged, I am content to borrow 
light from the learned man that hath this objection ; who, while he 
defends faith alone to be the condition of the covenant of grace, propo- 
seth an objection against himself, viz. As these places (which he had 
adduced for confirmation of that assertion, that faith alone is the 
condition of the covenant) do propose faith, so other places do pro- 
pose repentance, as Acts ii. 38. &c. He answers to this. That if that 
objection hold, repentance and works would be equalled with it. 
"We therefore" says he, "take it thus: "Where repentance is pro- 
posed, there the whole way of turning to God more generally is propo- 
sed." And herein he follows Calvin, who speaks thus: " And truly 
I am not ignorant, f that under the name of repentance, is compre- 
hended, the whole turning to God, whereof faith is not the least 
part." I presume, that in these places alleged, faith is not once 
named, but repentance is proposed : Ergo, The whole way of turn- 
ing to God more generally is proposed. And if the prefixing 

Arg in epist. ad. Gal. 
t Instit. lil). 3. caj', 3. .Sect. 5. 


thereof to the promise of pardon do sufliciently eviuce, that it 
is previously required to forgiveness, then faith, repentance, and 
works are in the same balance, or repentance and works are equal- 
led with faith : for who can deny, that new obedience is conipi-e- 
liended under the whole turning unto God ? So Hemmingius citing 
that of Jeremiah,* " Let every man return from his evil ways, and 
I will forgive your iniquity and your sins," tells us, " That here is a 
comraandracnt, and a promise. The commandment is, that the 
ungodly do return : the promise is of reconciliation. Hereupon it 
is gathered, that repentance is a conversion of man unto God ; in 
the which conversion he doth depart from evil, believe the promise, 
and studieth to lead a new life according to the will of God." 
Now, unless that our whole turning to God more generally be a 
mean of remission of sin, which I hope will not be said by the 
objector, these Scriptures alleged prove nothing to the purpose. 
But let us take a particular view of them. As to that Acts iii. 19. 
"Repent, — that your sins may be blotted out;" though I should 
grant, that the repentance here exhorted to is repentance strictly so 
called, aud that God offers pardon here, and requires repentance ; it 
will not therefore follow, that it is required antecedently to the 
obtaining of pardon. " Wherefore, when God offereth forgiveness of 
sins," says Calvin, j- "he likewise useth to require repentance on our 
part ; secretly declaring, that his mercy ought to be to men a cause of 
their repentance. Again, " repent ye, and be converted, that your 
sins may be blotted out," Acts iii. 19. where yet it is to be noted, 
that this condition is not so annexed, as though our repentance were 
a foundation to deserve pardon ; but rather (because the Lord hath 
determined to have mercy upon men, to this end that they should 
repent) he teacheth men whether they shall travail if they will 
obtain grace." But indeed I very much doubt, if the repentance 
here spoken of, be meant, either in whole or in part, of true gospel 
repentance ; in regard we find conversion is also exhorted unto in 
the very next word, which I suppose may take in true repentance. 
"Wherefore I rather incline to expound it simply of a change of the 
mind from one opinion to another, from worse to better. It is well 
known, that the people of the Jews had very unsound notions con- 
cerning their Messiah, his nature and offices ; they looked for one 
who should make a great figure in the world, restore the kingdom 
to Israel, and deliver them from the Roman yoke. This prc- 
judicated opinion remaining with them, the doctrine of the 
gospel could have no access unto their hearts : for the preacli- 

Com. on Jam. digress concern. Repent.mcp, fol 27. f Instit. lib. 3. cap. 3. Sect. 29. 

G 2 


ing of the cross was to the Jews a stumbling-block ; they 
expected far other things of their Messiah than that he should 
be crucified, &c. The apostle therefore calls them to lay 
aside this prejudice, and be converted. This very well agrees 
with the context ; for Peter having told them how they had 
crucified him whom God now had glorified, he shews them, how it 
came to pass they did so, ver. 17 ; Through ignorance ye did it. 
For (as Paul says) had they known him, they would not have 
crucified the Lord of glory. Wherefore, ver. IB. he removes their 
mistake, telling them, that, by the writings of the prophets, the 
Messiah was to suffer the very things that they had inflicted ou 
Jesus of Nazareth. Whence he brings in that exhortation, ver. 19. 
Repent therefore, &c. " Then be no more under the power of that 
dangerous mistake, but change your mind, and turn to the Lord," 
&c. But understand repentance here what way you please, this 
Scripture makes nothing for what it is alleged : for it is evident that 
the blotting out of sin here respecteth, not the time of repentance, 
but the time of refreshment. Wherefore, as Mr. Rutherford answers, 
" The words should bear, that sins were not pardoned until the 
time of refreshment,* that is, till the day of eternal happiness, 
and rest from our labours of this life; in which day sins are only 
blotted out declaratively, saith Diodati." The world to come, says 
Tainovius, whose beginning is at the last judgment, is called by 
Luke very elegantly, as his manner is, Anapsuxis,f because it 
denotes refreshment, which is done, and comes to them who are 
weakened by heat, through refrigeration ; as ye may see in some 
who are in a swoon, when ye pour cold water on them. So Calvin, 
Beza, Piscator, and Aretius, understand it. Wherefore the remis- 
sion here spoken of is not the formal forgiveness that is in question ; 
but is an opeu declaration of the same at the day of judgment. 
And hereunto the emphasis of the Greek word rendered blotting 
out doth best agree : for it signifies (says Zanchius|) so perfectly to 
blot out a thing, that there remains behind no vestige of it. As 
little does that place. Acts ii. 38, Repent, and be baptized — for 
the remission of sins, help their cause : for who sees not, that the 
command of being baptized is prefixed to the promise, as well as 
the command to repent ? Must it then follow, that baptism is a 
necessary mean in order to the obtaining of the remission of sin ? 
The argument is of alike force for both. But, moreover, where 
is there a promise he>-e ? Mention is indeed made of remission, but 
not by way of promise. Nay, there is nothing here of a formal 

* Influences of the Life, &c. p. 348. f Leigh's Crit. J Com. on Col. ii. 


reception of forgiveness. For, as Piscator* well observes, these 
words, for the remission of sins, do not depend upon the word 
repent, but upon that be baptized. And the plain sense of the 
words is, that they should be baptized in testimony of remission 
of sin, not to obtain remission of sin through this mean or instru- 
ment, because faith alone is the mean or instrument whereby we 
apprehend remission of sins in the gospel. If you say. Is there 
no promise of the pardon of sin to be found here ? I answer, 
The formal forgiveness of sin is comprehended in ver. 39. The 
promise is to you, &c. Now, what promise ? the promise of the 
Spirit, ver. 17- And of salvation, ver. 21. Whosoever shall 
call on the name of the Lord, shall be saved first of all ; which 
pre-supposeth faith ; for how can they call on him on whom they 
have not believed ? Now, it is plain, that the apostle exhorts them 
to repent, from this ground, that the promise is to them, as the 
particle /or imports. And though the 39th verse comes last, yet, 
in order of nature, it is first, as the premises go before the con- 
clusion. And thus I think, we have the plain meaning of the 
apostle in these words, q. d. : — " Ye are pricked at the heart; but 
do not despond, in regard the saving and special gifts of God are 
in your ofi^er, and promised to you upon your acceptance thereof : 
therefore do ye wholly turn to God by faith, repentance, and new 
obedience ; and, for your confirmation in the remission of your sins, 
receive baptism as the seal of the covenant," As to that Acts 
viii. 22. we say, that the command to pray is prefixed to what he 
says of remission, as well as the command to repent ; yet must it 
not be hence concluded, that prayer must needs go before forgive- 
ness. But here, as before, we say repentance is put for the whole 
turning to God. 

Objection 2. The connection betwixt repentance and pardon is 
peremptorily inforced, Luke xiii. 2, 3. " Except ye repent, ye shall 
all likewise perish," Prov. xxviii. 13. " "Whoso confesseth and for- 
saketh his sins, shall have mercy." 

Answer. All this is what we deny not. There is no doubt a con- 
nection betwixt repentance and pardon. But the question is rather 
about the annexing of the one to the other. Whether repentance be 
annexed to pardon, or pardon to repentance ? We say, the former 
is true, and there is nothing here to prove the contrary. Yea, the 
first of these Scriptures cited, doth not so much as hold out a 
connection betwixt repentance and pardon, but only betwixt non-re- 
l)enting and perishing. And there is a vast difference betwixt these 
two; for the former cannot be lawfully inferred from the latter; as 

'Schol. in loc. 


will appear, if duly considered. Let the argument be this, " Except 
ye repent, ye shall perish ;" Ergo, if ye do repent, ye shall live. The 
consequent is true ; but the consequence is naught.* Tt is as that, 
Our ill works will damn us, Ergo, Our good works will save us ; 
or as if we should say. If ye do not pray to God, ye shall perish. 
Ergo, If ye do, ye shall live. We see here the consequent is false, 
and so is the consequence : for bonum non nisi ex integra causa, 
malum ex quolibet defectu. Non-repeutance simply, and of itself, is 
sufficient to make us perish ; but who will say, that simple repent- 
ance of itself is sufficient to save us, even in the way of means ? 
As to that other Scripture, Prov. xxviii. 13. I say with Mr. 
Rutherford, f that the Holy Ghost there is not upon order, as if 
penitent confession, forsaking all sin, must go before forgiveness; 
but the Lord designs the persons pardoned, that they must be suth 
as forsake their sins. Now, there is great reason for this ; because 
men who hide their sins, and forsake them not, will yet pretend to 
share of pardon ; who therefore have great need to be undeceived. 
And truly, seeing, as the apostle speaks, " Confession is made with 
the mouth unto salvation," Rom. x. 10. and, with respect to open 
and scandalous sins, it must be understood of confession before 
men ; I see not how the necessary precedence of it unto pardon can 
be avouched : for who will say, that a formal pardon cannot be 
had, but these things must be before it ? 

Objection 3. The Scripture grounds the causes of people's ruin 
on their not repenting, as in Lev. xxvi. Amos iv. Ezek. xviii. 
Rev. xvi. and many such places; where this. They repented not, is 
given as the cause of God's continued quarrel with them. 

Answer. If we will understand this according to what was said 
above, that by repenting in such places where it is simply proposed 
without faith, is meant the whole turning to God, the argument is 
of no weight. But it seems here to be urged as taken for repent- 
ance strictly so called. And let it be so, the consequence is naught. 
Every thing that people's ruin is grounded on, the contrary is not 
therefore a previous mean to pardon; as is evident to any that will 
consider, Hos. iv. Swearing, lying, &c. are made the grounds of that 
people's ruin ; yet I hope the reverend use of God's name, and 
sjjeaking truth, must not therefore be reckoned the means of par- 
don. Many such places might be alleged. But perhaps it will be 
said, none of these things had been their ruin, if they had repented. 
But what is that to say, but that none of these things would have 
been their ruin, if they had turned from them unto God, embracing 

• Eun me metaiioete. f Influences of the Life, &c. p. 348. 


the contrary virtues ? So it is still the same thing as before these 
contrary virtues are made by this way the means of pardon. But 
if the argument be good, it is believing that is the raean : for the 
Scripture expressly tells us, that men are condemned because they 
have not believed, John iii. 18. and Christ calls believing the work 
of God, John vi. 29. and John calls it his command (1 John iii. 
23.) by way of eminency. 

Objection 4. ult. In the promises of the covenant, remission of 
sin is subjoined to the exercise of repentance, as necessarily ante- 
cedent; so that without it there is no access to any promise of 
pardon. Lev. xxvi. 40, 41, 42. " If they confess their iniquity, then 
will I remember my covenant :" which doth pre-suppose confession, 
and the exercise of repentance, and the humbling of the heart, to 
go before the application of the covenant. And lest it should be 
thought a legal covenant, it is expressly said to be the covenant 
with Abraham, which cannot be denied to be of grace. 1 Kings 
viii. 47. Solomon expressly covenanteth for pardon on these terms; 
and 2 Chron. vii. 13, 14. the Lord doth expressly assent to these 
articles. It may be confirmed from 1 John i. 9. which supposeth 
that there is no engagement, to speak so, upon God's faithfulness to 
pardon any sinner, but him who repenteth. 

An8Wer. I have already proven the contrary of this in the fourth 
argument; having produced several promises where there is no 
vestige of any such order, but of the contrary. If there be no ac- 
cess to the promise of pardon without repentance, it is we ourselves 
that bolt the door; and therefore let us blame ourselves, and those 
who advise us to find any good qualification in ourselves, before we 
embrace the free pardon. But if God's hand be at the work, the 
pardon shall find access to us, and our hearts shall be opened to re- 
ceive it; and being received, it shall, by its supernatural efficacy, 
melt and thaw the heart into true repentance, though we know not 
whence it comes, nor whither it goes; but are busy in preparing the 
room for it, while we neglect to open the door to let it in. As for the 
covenant itself, it is our consent that brings us within the bond of it. 
The Lord offers to be our God in Christ; wc by faith consent to 
take him so. Call it the condition, mids, or what you please; I 
hope you will not say, I dare not give this consent until I repent ; 
for this consenting or believing is my necessary and indispensable 
duty, whatever state I be in. But you will say, I dare not embrace 
the pardon till I repent. If you mean de facto, it is my weakness ; 
\^ dcjurc, how strange is this? I may not embrace what is lesser; 
and yet may, and must what is infinitely greater and better; for 
God himself is better than ten thousand pardons. But I am per- 


suaded, tliat when I find ray soul content to take God in Christ to 
be my God, and do actually consent to that gracious offer, that the 
promise of pardon is absolute to me, Ezek. xxxri. 25 : for eo ipso 
that God is my God, his free pardon is mine, and it can be no pre- 
sumption in me to embrace what is mine own. God holds it forth 
to me in the covenant, I by faith lay hold on it ; there is nothing 
here that intervenes, so that it is still absolute ; and if absolute, 
how can it be said there is no access to it without repentance? As 
for these Scriptures, Lev. xxvi. 40. &c. ; 1 Kings viii. 47 ; 2 Chron. 
rii. 13 ; I grant they pre-suppose repentance, &c. ; but they touch 
not the point in hand, in regard they respect the pardon of sin, as 
it is the removal of temporary strokes, as I have already shown, 
and will be manifest to such as view the places: for who sees not, 
that the multitude of those things there required, is very unlike the 
simplicity of the gospel offer — Believe, and thou shalt be saved ? It 
is clear, that the people are considered there in a national capacity, 
and under national strokes for national sins ; for removal, repent- 
ance of the same kind is required. And though, in such a general 
repentance of a people, they that believe are spiritually and theo- 
logically serious, and, with a removal of common calamity from off 
the society whereof they are members, get God's countenance to 
shine on their souls; yet the generality are never evangelically 
penitent. But moral seriousness in such a case, according to the 
Lord's way of dealing with nations, is a mean to get these temporal 
strokes removed ; as may be seen in the case of the Ninevites, and 
many a time in the case of the Jews. "What though this covenant 
be a covenant of grace ? the covenant of grace has undeniably 
temporary strokes threatened in it ; and it is generally allowed, 
that there is a twofold being in this covenant; the one external, the 
other internal. The one gives people to share of the outward bless- 
ings of the covenant, the other makes them partakers of special and 
saving blessings. And thus one and the same person may be under 
the covenant of works and the covenant of grace ; in the former, in 
respect of his soul's state, with God's curse upon him ; under the 
latter, externally partaking of the external privileges, protections, 
deliverances, &c. given to the visible church. So then we may 
plainly see what it is for God to remember his covenant. When 
the captive, broken, and afflicted Israelites confess their sins, 
humble themselves, &c. God removes the temporary strokes they lie 
under. And this is applicable to particular persons, in respect of 
the spiritual and saving federal relation to God ; for so it is in the 
inward and special administration of the covenant: but then it re- 
spects such as are justified and sanctified, but none other, as these 


promises and prayers concern Israel separated from among all 
other people, 1 Kings viii. 53. As to that Scripture, 1 John i. 9. 
" If we confess," &c. the author himself tells us afterwards, that 
John is there writing to believers, and puts himself in the roll. 
And there is no doubt but it is so : for he writes to his children, 
and that their joy might be full ; and speaks of God as faithful, in 
respect of his promises to them ; and just to forgive, in respect of 
the merits of Christ imputed to them. And, as Case tells us,* he 
asserts the doctrine of actual sin in the justified against the Simon- 
ians. Gnostics, and other heretics of that age ; of whom he shews, 
out of Augustine, that they taught, that there was no sin but unbe- 
lief; that to the justified all things were clean, however they live ; 
that a just man does not so much as commit a small sin ; and upon 
this they could not but teach, that the justified were not to con- 
fess sins. Against these then the apostle sets himself here, and 
teacheth the justified to confess their sins. Whence it appears, 
that this doth not at all concern the point in hand ; the question 
being of the means necessary in order to justification, and the par- 
don of sin at first ; betwixt which and the subsequent pardons, 
I have proven above that there is a vast difference. 


"God made man upright, but he found out many inventions." 
He was a glorious creature, as he dropt from the forming' 
finger of God, all whose works are perfect. It was man's glory, 
that he was created after the image of God. It was God's 
will he should be created mutably so. Of his mutability thera 
can be no controversy. Sad experience teacheth us, that man 
is not now perfect ; but, on the contrary, a mass of sin, and lump 
of hell, the noble kind being affected with diabolic contagion, which 
he voluntarily received. Whereby it comes to pass, that all is in- 
fected. The understanding, which formerly was a sun of light in 
this little world, is not only overclouded, but utterly darkened, as 
to any saving uptaking of spiritual things. The will, which before 

' Morning Exer. p, 14. 


was the Lord's deputy-governor there, endued with principles of 
true loyalty to its Supreme Master, is now turned traitor, and 
utterly perverse : having forsaken its allegiance to the great King, 
gathers in the rents of the crown to itself, and in very deed, with 
sacrilegious audacity, attenips to occupy the throne of the Highest. 
Call it no more Naomi, but Marah ; no more will, but lust ; for we 
have dealt bitterly with ourselves. The affections, formerly subject 
to right reason, having lost their master, go up and down roving 
as lawless miscreants ; set themselves on lawful objects excessively, 
and unlawful objects are their desire. Neither conscience nor 
memory can do their work. And the body with its members is 
made slave to this unruly beast; which also is made to serve the 
polluted piece of clay, which wants not a miserable influence on the 
more noble part of man. 

But grace makes a change, and sets right the disjointed members, 
though not perfectly; for the saint's complete deliverance cometh 
not till the pins of this tabernacle of the body be loosfcd. The body 
of death remains till the death of the body. Then shall they be 
made perfect in holiness. But now they groan under the burden of 
indwelling sin, and, with Paul, cry out, " wretched man that I am, 
who shall deliver me from the body of this death !" That sin doth 
remain in the regenerate, is evident from Scripture and experience, 
against deluded perfectionists. Where it remains, is the question. 
The Dominican monks,* and some others, were of opinion, that 
though original sin remains after baptism, yet it is only in the in- 
ferior part of the soul, as they speak, or in the sensitive part; but 
not iu the mind and will. Some have been of opinion that it re- 
mained only in the body, and that it was nothing else but desire of 
meat, &c. or sensual pleasures. No wonder these things entered 
into the minds of men, who were left to grow vain in their imagina- 
tions, without a due sense of the remaining corruption of nature. 
But I find some express themselves in this matter to this purpose, 
viz. That sin which is left in the regenerate, dwelleth in the body 
properly so called, and is as an enemy beat out of the town or 
stronghold, and lodging in the outworks, and as it were about the 
walls; from whence it makes its sallies, and infests the soul. 
Which I suppose we may soon find contrary to Scripture, reason, 
and experience. 

Argument I. The Scripture plainly holds forth sin dwelling in 
the heart : Jer. xvii. 9, " The heart is deceitful above all things, 
aud desperately wicked; who can know it?" There is an uu- 

' Zanch. de pec. oiig. 


fathomable deptli of wickedness therein, which none can search out 
unto perfection. Our Lord tells us, that the heart is the spring and 
source of all evil, Mark vii. 21, " For from within, out of the heart 
proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, &c. So Matth. xii. 
34, he brings a general reason to prove that the Pharisees being 
evil could not speak good things : " For" says he, " out of the 
abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." These places are 
manifestly general, and agree both to good and bad. Is there not 
deceit and desperate wickedness even in the hearts of the regene- 
rate ? Have any such perfectly known their own hearts ? Do not 
evil words proceed out of their mouth ? This then is from the 
abundance of the heart. Hereunto add the necessary qualification 
requisite in those who shall have access to God in duties, " That 
they know every one the plague of his own heart," 1 Kings viii. 38. 
Not without reason doth the wise man call for " keeping of the 
heart with all diligence,"* that we may set double guards on it. It 
plainly tells us that the heart is a deceitful thing, and bent to turn 
aside after crooked ways. Say not, that all the hazard is from the 
influence which the body hath on it; for the heart can go astray in 
such things wherein it is not capable of being influenced by the 
body, as will appear afterwards. But indeed if that were so, we 
should rather have been directed to keep the body with all diligence. 
But it is plain, the greatest hazard is from the heart ; as Moses 
teacheth in that parallel place. Dent. iv. 9, " Only take heed to 
thyself, and keep thy soul diligently," &c. Mr. Gray speaks feel- 
ingly, and no less truly, concerning the heart :f "I think," says 
he, " such is the desperate deceitfulness of our hearts, that if all the 
saints since Adam's days, and who shall be to the end of the world, 
had but one heart to guide, they would misguide it." 

Argument II. The Spirit of God calls the regenerate to carry on 
the work of renovation in their souls, minds, and wills; which evi- 
dently holds forth, that there is much of the old man remaining 
there still, even in their souls, and that in the most noble faculties 
thereof: Rom. xii. 2, "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your 
mind ;" where it is clear the apostle is speaking to regenerate per- 
sons. Eph. iv. 23, he c.ills those who had learned Christ, yet to be 
*' renewed in the spirit of their minds." And the apostle speaking 
of himself, 2 Cor. iv. 16. tells us, that "the inward man is renewed 
day by day." If any shall say, that by the renewing of the inward 
man, is meant the strengthening of the soul to bear afllictions ; I 
grant the same without any prejudice to what we assert ; for it sup- 

* Prov. iv. 23. \ .Sermou ou Prov. iv. 23. 


posetli a culpable weakness, in regard of which the soul hath need 
to be renewed. The apostle, Col. iii. 10, teacheth the same doc- 
trine; " And have put on the new man, which is renewed ; kai endu- 
samenoi ton neon, ton anakainoumenon ; where I pray you take 
notice of the apostle's changing of the tense, " Ye have put on the 
new man which is renewed ;" he speaks of the renovation in the 
present tense, denoting the continuance of the action. And that it 
relates to the mind is no less clear; for this new man is expressly 
said to be " renewed in knowledge." Hereunto add the apostle's 
prayer for the believing Thessalonians, 1 Thess. v. 23, " And the 
very God of peace sanctify you wholly ; and I pray God your whole 
spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved blameless unto the coming 
of our Lord Jesus Christ." 

And how frequently doth the Scripture discover the particular 
evils that are to be found in the soul as their proper place ? as we 
may see in the apostle's prayer for the believing Ephesians, chap, 
i. 17, &c. So Col. i. 9, 10. How frequently does the Lord reprove 
his disciples for the relics of unbelief in them ? The apostle con- 
fesseth, in the name of all believers, the great remains of darkness 
that are yet on their minds, I Cor. xiii. 12. But to recount such 
places as teach that sin is yet remaining in the mind and will, were 
an endless labour. 

Argument III. There are many members of the body of death, 
which the godly groan under, that are purely spiritual ; whereof 
the body can be no receptacle ; and must needs remain in the soul, 
even in the mind and will ; such as, Atheism, ignorance, hatred of 
God, unbelief, want of love to God, &c. That these and the like 
cannot be said to lodge in the body, is evident : for, 1. Some of 
these sins are mere privations ; as, ignorance of, and want of love 
to God, &c. ; privations, I say, of rectitude, that ought to be, not in 
the act, (for there is no act, but a cessation from action) ; but in the 
power, which is nothing else than the soul, mind, and affections ; 
unless you will say that the body is capable to love God, which is 
most absurd. And no less absurd is it to assert the same anent the 
sensitive part of the soul, as they call it. 2. How can these sins be 
said to lodge there, where there cannot be so much as an imagina- 
tion of their objects ; as in hatred of God. The body is not ca- 
pable thereof ; in regard God is not the object of the fancy, but of 
the mind ; so that we cau have no imagination of him ; he being in- 
finitely removed from matter ; and therefore as far from the imagi- 
nation, as colours from hearing, sounds from the taste, or the most 
abstract notions from the soul of a beast. 3. Moreover, there are 
some sins fonuded on retlectiou, which the body is not capable of; 


as, pride, and lifting up of the soul, upon the account of its perceiv- 
ing in itself ideas of the most sublime things, far removed from the 
knowledge of others. How such can be said to be driven out into 
the body, I persuade myself no man can show with any colour of 
reason ; yet pride is not the least of the members of the body of 

Argument IV. If the remains of original sin in the regenerate 
be not in the soul, but whatever remains of it be driven to the body ; 
then original sin is quite razed out in regeneration, not only ut non 
imputetur, but ut non sit ; it hath no more a being in the saints : and 
so there is no sin the regenerate are chargeable with but actual sin ; 
and so all the children of God have been under a miserable mistake, 
while they confessed and bewailed their original corruption. All 
which is contrary to the Scriptures, and the sentiments of orthodox, 
divines. I prove the connection : for if the remains of natural cor- 
ruption lodge not in the soul, it hath no lodging in the man at all. 
The reason is, because the body, considered as contradistinct to the 
soul, is not subjectum capax ; for the body as such is subject to no law ; 
now, " where there is no law, there can be no transgression ;" and if 
the body as such were subject to a law, then all bodies should be so ; 
I mean of a moral law. If you say, the body is not considered 
here simply as a body, but as a constituent part of the man ; 
I answer. That indeed the whole suppositum is under the law. 
But the formal reason of a man's being subjectible to a law, 
is rationality, which is the only thing that makes him capable 
to be directed by a law. So that, although sin may be from 
the body occasionally, as madness from the distemperature of 
the brain ; and may be also in it terminatively, as whoredom, 
drunkenness, &c. ; yet formally it is in the soul ; which, against 
the law, complies with the temptation, which in some cases the 
body may have a deep share in ; and the soul useth the members 
of the body for fulfilling the desires of sin, to which it is incited 
by the body. "Whatever power we grant unto the body for stirring 
up the soul to sin, and whatever we say of that incitation considered 
simply as an action of the body ; we judge it highly agreeable to 
reason, that the inciting to sin which is by the body, as it ariseth 
from a view of the object, is, at least iuterpretatively, an imperate 
act of the soul, which takes fire upon the first view of the species 
of the external object presented by the eyes, ears, &c. ; and conse- 
quently follows that act of the soul, though the motion of the 
blood and spirits, thus commanded by the soul, adds fuel to the 
fire. For whence, I pray you, is the motion of the blood and 
spirits in the body inciting to sin, but from the soul, which, upon 


a view of the object, judgetli the same to be fit for it to enjoy hie 
et nunc ; and so wills it with a sort of velleity at least ; whereupon 
natively follow such motions in the body ? This is evident from 
this, that when the practical judgment goes a contrary way, these 
motions in the body follow it in the same : though indeed, when once 
the devil is raised thus in the blood and spirits, the soul cannot 
easily lay him ; because the will hath but a politic, not a despotic 
power over the fancy once set upon an object ; as is too evident 
from experience. Had Achan, when he saw the Babylonish 
garment, and wedge of gold, judged they had been devils appear- 
ing in shape of bodies, doubtless quite contrary motions tending to 
aversation would have arisen in him. So that 1 think it is clear, 
that incitation to sin by the body, follows the conception of lust in 
the soul ; and that the body is only the midwife helping to bring 
forth the unhappy birth. 

From what is said it appears, that even actual sin is not formally 
in the body, but in the soul : for though the body may contribute 
something thereto in genere entls, yet the soul only gives all m genere 
moris. From thence is the anomia of the action. Now, if it be 
driven to the body, as is alleged, it surely stirs there ; that is, 
original sin there breaks forth into action ; which cannot be said, 
as we have already declared. And therefore we may safely thence 
conclude, it is not there ; for where it is, there it will bring forth 
its unhappy births. 

One thing more I add : That if the patrons of this opinion be 
of the judgment, that the soul doth not always think, by this 
argument they shall be obliged to say, that regenerate infants 
have no sin in them at all ; nor godly persons adult, when they 
sleep, and do not dream : for sin is put out of the soul, they say, 
and the body is at rest. 

Argument. Y. If in regeneration indwelling sin be driven out 
of the soul into the body, then it is in the body, either in more or 
less, or in equal measure, as before conversion. In greater 
measure it cannot be, or then the renewing in the whole man falls 
to the ground ; yea, the body is the worse of regeneration, and is 
so far from having old things done away, that they are increased 
to a greater height ; which to reconcile to the privilege which the 
bodies of believers have in their union with Christ, and being the 
temples of the Holy Ghost, is impossible. If it be said, it is 
there in lesser measure than before ; let them shew how that can 
be. Surely, according to their principles, sin properly had part 
of its lodging in the body before conversion. Now, what room it 
had in the soul, it has lost according to them. ^Therefore it cannot 


be in less measure there than before ; unless you say, that it had 
less before conversion in the soul, than it had in the body. But 
experience flies in the face of this assertion : for those that are 
converted before they come to maturity, when they do come to 
years, find tenfold more difficulty in guiding their bodies, than 
they had before their conversion. If the last be said, then the 
body is nothing the better of regenerating grace ; which is in- 
consistent with the union with Christ. If you say, that we just 
now confessed the body may be iu a worse case after regene- 
ration than before, wherefore much more equally evil with what 
it was before, I answer, That I ever denied the body to be a 
subject capable formally either of moral goodness or evil; and there- 
fore in that respect it neither can be better nor worse. But other- 
wise, we must distinguish the state of the body with respect to nature, 
and with respect to grace. With respect to nature, and in itself, it 
may be indeed in a worse case, as was said ; in so far as, by the power 
of nature grown up, it is more hard to be tamed and holden in than 
before. But iu respect of grace conferred on the soul, when it is at 
its worst, it is in better case than when it was in its best natu- 
ral state, the soul being graceless ; as one is in a better case 
when he hath drunk in the precepts of sobriety, and has a faithful 
tutor, than when he was a child ; though now both have more ado 
than formerly. This will more clearly appear, if we consider how 
the body is partaker of regenerating grace. Grace is not, nor 
cannot be formally and subjectively in the body, but objectively and 
reductively. It is not by way of inherence in it, but in respect of 
usefulness it is for it ; for grace makes no change in the body, but 
in respect that the members of the body are thereby better em- 
ployed than before, as the apostle teacheth, 1 Thess. iv. 3, 4 ; 1 Cor. 
vi. 19 ; Rom. vi. 13. So then grace in the soul is the guide and 
tutor of the body, though the body be not formally gracious ; even 
as the eye wbich sees alone, serves the whole body for light ; for if 
the eye be single, the whole body will be full of light. 

Argument VI. ult. The experience of the godly testifies, that 
sin is not so driven out of the soul as is pretented : for " who is so 
holy,* that he does not find much darkness in his understanding ? 
great self-love in his will ? that all his faculties do frequently go 
astray from what is true, just, and good?" &c. says Zanchius. Al- 
though the godly have much ado with their bodies, yet I conceive 
that the hardest work of all is with the heart. Nothiiig is more 
ordinary with exercised souls, than complaints of the deceitfulness 

' L'ic, de pec. orig. 


of the heart ; which they believe, though it wanted a corrupt body, 
or a devil to tempt, yet would prove a tempter and a devil to itself. 
"Who finds not, when the body lies quite by from troubling, sufficient 
matter of exercise from a hard and dead heart? Who does not 
discern in themselves a root of Atheism, blasphemy, hatred of God, 
&c. all which are the kindly fruits of old Adam, springing from the 
cursed ground of the heart ? And I doubt not, but if I could have 
access to the closet-doors of some such as stickle for this banish- 
ment of sin into the outworks, but I should hear them confess sin's 
lodging in the prime faculties of their souls, though in conference 
they refuse it. 

One thing more I must add : That seeing distempers having their 
seat in the body are to be cured, not by the word, but by physical 
applications, when ministers have done their work in converting 
souls, they ought to turn them over into the hands of skilful physi- 
cians, the proper object of whose art is the body, as curable of distem- 
pers. But enough of this. 

Objection 1. The apostle (Rom. vii.) teacheth us that sin dwells 
only in the body; ver. 24. "Who shall deliver me from the body 
of this death !" ver. 23. speaking of indwelling sin, he tells us, he 
"finds a law in his members;" and ver. 18. "I know that in me, 
that is, in my flesh, {i. e. the body), there dwells no good thing." 

Answer. Vehemency of aflfection, whether of love or hatred, pro- 
duceth several designations to the thing beloved or hated, the more 
to express the vehemency of the mind for or against the object. So 
was it with the apostle in the matter of indwelling sin, which was 
a most grevious burden to him. Wherefore sometimes he calls it 
sin by way of eminency, as being the great master-devil, Rom v'. 
12 ; sometimes lust, Rom. vii. 7- to express the vehemency of its 
activity, Gal. v. 17; sometimes he speaks of it as an officious 
troublesome guest, Rom. vii. 17, 20 ; sometimes he calls it a man, and 
an old man, Eph. iv. 22. because of its antiquity, and subtilty, and 
strength. It is old indeed, yea the elder brother, though made to 
serve the younger. Here he calls it a body, and a body of death. The 
meaning is, says Piscator,* " Who shall deliver me from this death, 
which as a sort of body, or thing subsisting by itself, exerceth its 
power in me, and miserably vexeth me? But by death metonymi- 
cally he understands indwelling sin." And indeed this very well 
agrees with the scope of the apostle ; and chap. vi. 6. he had called 
it a body. But why he should call his own body, which he knew 
was the temple of the Holy Ghost, a body of death, I see not. On 

' Schol. in loc. 

ry THE reorxerate ? 107 

good reason doth he call indwelling sin a body, in regard that as a 
hody hath many members, so hath indwelling sin. It is not one 
simple lust, but a compound of all iniquity, and the seed and spawn 
of all unrighteousness. It is a complete body ; it wants not one 
member : for as a believer hath every grace in the root and habit, 
so hath he every sin the same way dwelling in him ; for let grace 
once be withdrawn there shall be a compliance with any temptation. 
And well might he call it a body of death, as being in its own 
nature a deadly thing, as loathsome as carrion, and devoted to death 
or destruction, being already nailed to the cross of Christ, Gal. v. 
24. from which it was not to come down till it had breathed out its 
last. As to what the apostle says of his members, Piscator doth 
indeed understand it properly of the members of his body,* in 
which sin exerts its strength ; yet doth not dream that the 
seat of sin is only or mainly in the body. And so we may under- 
stand it without prejudice to our cause ; for it is plain sin may 
exert its strength there where it hath not its proper place of 
abode. Othersf think, that by members he means every faculty of 
soul and body ; and so they will have the word taken, Rom. vi. 13. 
James iv. 1. If this be admitted, it weakens the cause of our 
adversaries. But I suppose the apostle here distinguishes two 
opposite parties in and from himself. The one he calls the inner 
man ; the other he must be supposed to call the outer man. Let us 
see then what he means by those men which he speaks of. That 
he does not thereby understand the soul and the body, is clear to 
me upon these three accounts: 1. Because the inner man, in the act 
of sin, still stands out against the outer man ; so that the inner man 
is blameless, ver. 20. But this cannot be said of the soul. 2, In 
the outer man there dwells no good thing, ver. 18 ; which to under- 
stand of the body, I shall afterwards shew to be absurd. I add, 3. 
That, as I said before, the outer and the inner man are really dis- 
tinct from the man himself. Though they both be ours, yet they 
are not ourselves; which is plain, if ye consider, that, through 
the whole of this discourse, the man himself is holden forth as 
tossed betwixt these two ; sometimes led by the one, sometimes by 
the other : the man himself is the prey ; they are the two combat- 
ants that fight for the mastery over him ; and accordingly the 
strongest party carries away the poor captive. According to the 
inner man, he delights in the law of God ; which gives us to 
understand, that, according to the outer man, he is averse to it. 
Whence it is evident, these two are distinct from himself, and 

* Schol. in loc. f Leigh's Crit ; Wilson's Diet. 

Vol. VI. H 


therefore cannot be his soul and body. Moreover, these two are 
elsewhere called by the apostle the new and old man ; whereof 
the one is said to be put on, the other to be of the man himself. 
But though they be distinct really from the man himself, yet are 
they not divided or separated from him ; both of them are in him, 
and diffused through the man, according to the capacity of each 
part. Whence it plainly appears, that these men are nothing else 
but grace and corruption, as the apostle teacheth, ver. 20. — " Sin 
that dwelleth in me." And hence we may easily perceive what he 
means by the members he speaks of. Why, even as the several 
graces of the Spirit are the members of the inner and new man, 
Eph. iv. 24. so the several particular lusts of the heart are the 
members of the old and outer man ; which members the apostle 
calls us to mortify, Col. iii. 5. Now, in these members of his he 
finds a law; that is, activity, power and efficacy; for "the flesh 
lusteth against the Spirit," Gal. v. 17- " As laws," says Flavel,* 
" by virtue of their annexed rewards and punishments, have a 
mighty power and efficacy ; so sin, indwelling sin, that root of all 
our trouble and sorrow, hath a mighty efficacy upon us." And 
by this law indwelling sin brings the soul into captivity to itself, 
the man being made captive to that law of sin which is in his 
members. Where we must take notice, that the apostle does not 
refer that being in his members to sin ; if so indeed, this exposition 
■would be ridiculous ; but the words in the original plainly refer it 
to the law, to nomo tes hamartias to onti, holding forth the power 
and efficacy of original sin, which sets its several members on work. 
But to proceed : That the apostle calls his body his flesh, is false. 
For, 1. No good thing dwells in his flesh; but the Holy Spirit 
dwells in his body. 2. Will any say, that the law of sin is served 
only with the body, and the law of God only with the soul ? But 
the apostle tells us, ver. 25. that with the mind he serves the law of 
God, with the flesh the law of sin ; where he assigns to each part its 
proper work and service. We say then, that the apostle does not 
here distinguish the soul from the body, but corrupt nature from 
grace, and himself as regenerate, from himself so far as he was 
unregenerate. And so the apostle, Gal. v. 19, &c. while he reckons 
up the works of the flesh, he placeth among them heresies ; which, 
if any thing, do belong to the soul : and among the works of the 
Spirit we find temperance ; which the body may claim on as good 
grounds as any good thing else. And it is remarkable, that when 
the apostle speaks of the state of non-regeneration, while men are 

* Sac. Med. on Rom. vii. 21. 


totally under tlie power of corruption, lie calls it being in the ttesh, 
Rom. vii. 5. not in the body I am sure. And in this way of speak- 
ing of corruption the apostle follows Christ himself, in his con- 
ference with Nicoderaus, about the necessity of regeneration, John 
iii. 6. " That which is born of the flesh, is flesh ;" not a body in 
opposition to a soul, but corrupt, and therefore standing in need to 
be born again. Only, to hold forth the necessity more strongly, he 
calls it not fleshly, but flesh itself, in the abstract : q. d. It is 
nothing but a very lump of sin and corruption. 

Objection 2. Rom. vi. 12. " Let not therefore sin reign in your 
mortal body ;"* Ergo, Sin remains only in the body, not in the soul. 

Answer. Some tell us here that by the body is meant, syuecdo- 
chially, the whole man ; as, upon the other hand, the Spirit of God, 
in the Scripture, under the name of soul, comprehends the body also. 
Bui the epithet given by the apostle to the body while he calls it 
mortal, seems to restrain it to the body properly and strictly taken. 
Therefore we pass that, and deny the consequence, on good grounds : 
for it is plain here, the apostle speaks metaphorically of sin's power 
as a king : but who will say, but a king may reign there where his 
seat is not ? wherever sin remains, it is certain where it hath not 
lost the reigning power, it reigns through the whole man, soul and 
body. Shepherd tells us,f that here is, 1. Obedience, i. e. the out- 
ward acts ; 2. Lusts, the inward breathings; 3. Sin itself, where the 
lusts are seated. " This, therefore," says he, " is the reigning sin, 
which hath taken possession of every part." And no doubt sin may 
work there where it hath not its proper seat, as a king reigns in the 
remotest parts of his dominions. 

Objection 3. ult. " That which is born of the Spiiut, is spirit," 
John iii. 6. Ergo, There are no remains of sin left in the soul. 

Answer. The body is, suo quodam modo, born of the Spirit, as well 
as the soul : for the leaven of grace leavens the whole man ; grace 
makes not a new soul only, but a new creature ; " Old things are 
done away, and behold, all things are become new," 2 Cor. v. 17. 
The body, as well as the spirit, is Christ's, 1 Cor. vi. ult. ; yea the 
bodies of the regenerate are members of Christ ; yet are they not 
wholly renewed. So say we of the soul : the whole soul is cleansed, 
but not wholly. Were men perfectly born of the Spirit, they should 
be altogether spirit; but this renovation is carried on by degrees only. 
" For," as Luther saith,;}: " we have got the first-fruits of the Spirit ; 
the leaven is hid in the lump ; but the lump is not wholly leavened ; 
it is begun to be leavened." 

* Zauch. de pec. orig. t Parable of the Ten Virgins, part 1. p. 193. 

X Coin, in Gal. iii. 25. p. 567. 





"We have seen already, that though there is a great change wrought 
on the elect in their regeneration yet that change is imperfect; there 
shall be no perfect delivery from indwelling sin till death ; the body 
of death, though crucified, yet lives till the death of the body : and 
it is not so driven out to the outworks, but that it remains, and hath 
its seat in the main hold, in the soul, even in the mind and will. 
Experience sufFereth not gracious souls to doubt of the being of sin in 
them, while it occasions them so much struggling and wrestling ; 
yea, while they feel the great strength of it, they are many timts 
ready from thence to call in question the being of grace in them, 
and to pat forth that which was Rebekah's question, in another case, 
" If it be so, why am T thus ?"* And therefore, although we are not 
to call God to an account of his doings with supercilious boldness, 
flowing from an obstinate and stubborn heart ; yet it may very well 
be allowed, that we go humbly, and with her inquire of the Lord, 

The soul, in regeneration, gets a new nature, though the grace 
received is not of such efficacy as totally to drive away the old. 
The regenerate get a real love to God in their hearts, and a real 
hatred against sin ; so that the man would fain leave sin, if it 
would leave him. And the truth is, that although sin and the soul 
are inseparable till death, yet sin rather cleaves to the soul than 
the soul to it. But, alas ! though hated, it will not depart ; follow- 
ing the man closely, as the shadow doth the body. But could it be 
lulled asleep, could it be so intoxicated as to leave ofl" action, the 
child of God might have so much the better occasion to serve God 
withoilt distraction while in the body. But how can the devil be qniet, 
when he knows his time is short? How can this old man sleep, 
while so many and various ensnaring objects still present themselves 
unto his view ? Or how can the flesh be at rest, when it is nailed to 
a cross ? Wherefore sin cannot but both be, and be active in the 
soul while on this side of time ; even till that terrible soldier death 
come, and thrust his spear into its side, and bring forth its heart- 

" But are not two sparrows sold for one farthing ? yet one 
of them cannot fall to the ground without our heavenly Father ; 
yea, the very hairs of our head are numbered." "We must not 
therefore think, that the children of God are left in this case by a 
fatal necessity, and that God is here an idle spectator. He hath 

* Gen. XXV. 22. 


the hearts of all men in his hand. If the centurion knew that he, 
being a poor mortal, clothed with a shadow of authority, having 
rude soldiers under him, could say to one. Go, and he goeth ; to 
another, Come, and he cometh ; faith might well thence draw the 
conclusion. That, much more, God, the sovereign Lord of all, can say 
to distempers, whether of body or soul, Go, and they should be 
gone ; Come, and they should immediately be at hand. He raised 
up the soul when it was dead in sin spiritually ; now the living soul 
is sick, how can any doubt of his power to cure it, and make it 
every whit whole. Yet the distemper remains with his dearest 
children, though he be a hater of iniquity, and his people groan to 
him daily under it. Though he can, yet we see he will not free 
them from it till death. But whatever be the reason or reasons of 
this dispensation, we believe, that when once his people have got 
over Jordan into the heavenly Canaan, they shall say without all 
reluctancy or doubting, " He hath done all things well." 

As when a man hath newly recovered out of a severe fit of sick- 
ness, he is then most ready to take care of himself, and will be 
afraid of the least cold blast, and more narrowly than before inquire 
into the causes of his distemper, by which he hath so sore smarted ; 
and if he find himself in such circumstances, that he cannot miss but 
again fall into his old distemper, he will long to be rid of that con- 
dition, and seriously think how he comes to be in such pitiful cir- 
cumstances : even so I think it will be with a thinking soul, after a 
recovery from a dead frame and disposition of spirit, into which, by 
his unwatchfulness, the power of corruption within, and the malice 
of the devil from without, he had before been cast. Contraries set 
together appear then best in their own colours ; therefore the disad- 
vantages of a bad frame can never so well appear, as when they are 
fresh in the memory of the newly recovered saint, who hath now the 
candle of the Lord shining on his tabernacle ; and consequently the 
way leading to that bad frame of spirit, never appears so hateful as 
at such a time. Suppose then the thoughts of a certainty of his 
falling back to be observant unto him, what thoughts of heart will 
this create ? It is true, sometimes a child of God, when matters go 
right with his soul, may be thinking on building tabernacles here, 
as Peter on the mountain ; and, with David, saying, " My mountain 
standeth sure, I shall not be moved." But this is a piece of the 
levity of the vain and foolish heart, when men look only above 
them, without deep consideration of the way of God's dispensation. 
But I suppose, that when in this case they look about them, through 
the world, where so many snares are laid for them, amongst which of 
nccessitv thev must walk : and look also within them, and see 


what bosom enemies are yet alive, ready to betray them into the 
hand of the devil ; and do take pains to consider what a vile heart 
yet they have, from whence such mists and fogs are ready to arise, 
as may again make a thick cloud betwixt them and their Lord, and 
make them lose sight of the guide of their youth, and captain of 
their salvation ; they will then even stand in need of new comfort, 
and something from above to establish their hearts. And here I 
think we may stand, and see a gracious soul joining trembling 
with mirth, and bemoaning itself thus : — 

" happy hour when the Lord awakened me out of my spiritual 
sleep ! The devil and mine own corruptions had lulled me asleep ; 
though even in the time my heart waked, and I found an ineffica- 
cious dissatisfaction with myself, which was not able to rouse me 
up, but made me sometimes as it were to start in my sleep : but my 
Beloved left me not, as justly he might, to sleep a perpetual sleep; 
but knocked at the door of ray heart, saying. Open to me, ray sister, 
my spouse : and though I was long a stirring to get up, he stood 
still, till his head was filled with the dew, and his locks with drops 
of the night ; at last he put in his hand at the hole of the door, gave 
the rousing knock, spoke to ray heart the overcoming word, capti- 
vated my soul, so as my bowels moved towards him. I opened to 
my Beloved ; ho came in ; I supped with him, and he with me. He 
hath brought me into the banqueting-house, his banner over me is 
love. how does my soul love him ! my Lord and my God ! — But, 
ah Lord ! ray soul fails ; I have been here before, but a cloud over- 
took me, darkened the holy place, I lost the light of thy counte- 
nance ; and, which now pierceth my soul, the very enemies remain 
in me, who before carried me back into the borders of Egypt, set me 
down in the land of darkness and shadow of death, and put out my 
two eyes. Now is sin to me more bitter than death and hell ; yet 
I know assuredly I must again meet with that terrible ghost ; and 
if I live long in this tabernacle, I shall lose all I now enjoy ; 
my song shall be turned iuto lamentation and howling, the now 
smiling countenance shall again be provoked to frown, my wine 
is mixed with water; corruption will again lift up the head, the 
sorrowful day of my captivity will, I fear, ere long overtake me, 
this heart of mine will have me back to where I was before. to 
be gone ! I see, with a sorrowful heart and weeping eyes, a necessity 
of sinning, iuto which we poor mortals have brought ourselves, 
and the Lord leaves me yet under it. Lord, why are not the cursed 
Canaanites utterly rooted out ?" 

I judge, that a man in this case needs not fear his enjoyment 
to be a delusion, there is so much of an evangelical spirit breathing 


in it. The sound hatred that appears here against sin, while the 
soul doth feelingly apprehend it as the greatest of evils, is so far 
above the sphere of elevated nature, that it is a clear discovery 
of a renewed nature. A man willing to part with all, so that he 
might be free of sin, is one made partaker of the divine nature, 
aspiring to a more accomplished participation of it. This case 
savours of much real burning love to the Lord Jesus Christ , while 
the soul hath such an ardent desire of being nearer to him, 
and would fain be so near him, as to have such communion with 
hira, as might never be interrupted, nor overclouded any more. 
It is also an evidence, that the soul hath tasted of the sweetness 
of Christ and fellowship with him, while it is so filled with fear 
of losing his presence. And many such things may be discerned 
in it. 

Yet I dare not justify the soul through the whole of this case. 
So true it is, Nihil est ah omni parte beatum. I conceive, there may 
be something here in the mourner which is not allowable, and may 
justly be new grounds of mourning to him. There seems to ap- 
pear here a kind of spiritual selfishness, when the soul hath its 
own spiritual advantage (which is so seemingly at least) so much 
upon the heart, that it keeps not due respect to the sovereign will 
of God, to which belongs the free disposal of all good, and 
particularly of the influences of his grace ; so that the creature, 
as a creature, is indispensably bound to a silent submission, 
whatever way sovereignty doth cast the balance. When Peter 
was upon the mount with Christ, " It is good for us to be here, 
let us make tabernacles," says he ; but the verdict of the Spirit 
of God thereupon is, that he wist not what he said. Sense is 
much addicted to self; and though it had specious pretences, yet its 
language is not always to be heard ; for it is certain it is an ill 
judge of controversies betwixt Christ and the soul. But faith is 
sure always to decide in Christ's favour. If Christ smile on the 
soul, faith saith, He dolh well; and sense says so too. If he 
frown, then sense cries out against him ; but faith says. He doth 
all things well ; let him desert, afflict, yea, kill the man, faith says, 
" It is the Lord ; let him do what seemeth him good ; good is the 
will of the Lord." Faith puts a knife to the throat of self-love, 
and self-wit, to sacrifice them to the will of God, who is infinitely 
wise ; it teacheth a man to lay his mouth in the dust, and wraps 
up the will in the will of God. In the hearts of the godly exer- 
cised, pride goeth much abroad in vail, though not in dress; it is 
there transformed into an angel of light, appearing in a shape dif- 
ferent from that wherein it doth appear in others. Pride in the 



hearts of natural luen, when Christ comes to them, says, Depart 
from us, for we desire not the knowledge of thy name ; but pride 
in the hearts of the godly exercised, when Christ seems to be 
going away, or they know they will not have always the present 
measure of communion with him, will not suffer Christ to be master 
of his own process ; though it is certain, that we are obliged to a 
holy submission, and the potsherd must not quarrel with the potter, 
but the Lord must have leave to go and come as he pleaseth. 
Humble-hearted Mary, when Christ says unto her, " Touch me not, 
Mary, for I am not yet ascended :" though her love would have 
carried her forward, yet her deniedness to her spiritual self, at 
Christ's command, makes her hold up her hands. It were good in 
such a case to learn that lesson. 

Moreover, Satan may be working here under ground to blow up 
the present enjoyment with a fear of distrust. Satan grndgeth the 
happiness of the people of God, and endeavoureth by all means, 
seeing he cannot hinder these refreshing influences of the Spirit, 
and comfortable manifestations, to make them as short-lived 
as possible, and for this end he goeth about to fill the soul with 
a distrustful fear, holding before his eyes, the certainty of 
his backsliding, and of losing the present enjoyment : which 
breeds in the soul a sinful jealousy of Christ, while the man is 
either ignorant of, or doth not consider the end and design of 
God in his dispensation ; which Satan is now busy to misrepre- 
sent, wrest, and make use of to his great disadvantage : which once 
taking place, blasts the comfort of the present enjoyment, mars 
our thankfulness for what God hath given already. And whereas 
it is now time for the man to improve his access to God, 
for more strength against the devil and his own corruption, 
this fear takes up the man so, as he lets that good occasion slip 
out of his hands, and so is more easily overcome by the temptation ; 
even as the fear of the battle in a soldier takes away his stomach, 
that he cannot eat, whereby he is the more unfit for his work. And, 
in fine, God may hereby be provoked to withdraw, so as they shall 
be made to say. That which I feared, is come upon me. Prohatum 

For the cure of this jealousy of Christ in the soul, arising from 
the consideration of his dispensation in leaving sin to be and act 
in those who wrestle against it, and account it their greatest bur- 
den, it is necessary the soul be acquainted with, and seriously con- 
sider of the true reason or reasons thereof, in regard we are ready 
to suspect the worst. A wife observing her husband frequently to 
cany towards her reservedly, and to wrap up himself from her, 


though he may be doiug so for his own and her good, will yet be 
ready to suspect, that such carriage flows from his want of love 
towards her; and will not be satisfied easily, till she know the true 
reason of his so doing. So is it here. And surely the Lord doth 
not deal thus with his people, but with great reason ; which being 
known and seriously pondered will make the soul conclude, he doth 
all things well. 

To a soul then in this case several things may be proposed. 

I. In the first place, God hath so ordered the matter of the be- 
liever's sanctification, that sin is left to be active in their souls 
while here, for their further humiliation. They are hereby taught 
to bear low sails all the days of their lives, and, with " Hezekiah,* 
to go softly all their years in the bitterness of their souls." "Where- 
fore we read, that lest Paulf should be exalted above measure 
through the abundance of revelations, there was given to him a 
thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan is sent to bulFet him. And 
so we find David, J after his grievous fall, grows in the grace of hu- 

II. Next, This gives the soul many errands to God, stirs him up 
to the frequent exercise of prayer, and calling on the name of the 
Lord. The soul feels the continual need of pardon, and therefore 
must needs be much lying at God's footstool. The experience of 
the godly seals the truth of this, while, many times, they feeling the 
children (grace and corruption) struggling together within them, are 
made, as Rebekah,|| to " go and inquire of the Lord." Hence, when 
they grow remiss in their duty, the Lord sometimes, for their awaken- 
ing suffers them to fall into some sin or sins grievously wounding 
the conscience ; and so, like a presumptuous, self-willed child fall- 
ing into the fire, they cry for and value the help of their father 

III. Yea hereby we are made more watchful and observant of 
the heart. When the prisoner, having escaped, is retaken, he will 
be put in more close custody than before. When men find by ex- 
perience what a bankrupt the heart is, they will learn not to give 
it credit. We live in a world where there are traps set before, and 
behind, and on each side, to catch us ; we walk amidst many snares, 
yet are ready to fall secure, and careless, and to let down our watch. 
It is not amiss then, that we sometimes smart in order to our being 
kept awake. 

lY. Further, as God left the Canaanites in the land to try his 
people, so he hath left the remains of natural corruption in his 

* Is. xxxviii. 15. t 2 Cor. xii. 7. % Psal. li. || Geu. xxv. 22. 



people for their exercise and trial ; that having listed themselves to 
war under Christ's banner, they may have whom to fight with, and 
whom by strength from above they may overcome. God gives his 
people armour at their conversion ; is it reasonable it should lie by 
them rusting ? If the Canaanites were at the first dash utterly ex- 
pelled the land, many of the graces of the Spirit should be laid by 
as useless. " Hope that is seen, is not hope ; for what a man seeth^ 
why doth he yet hope for it ?" Had we no enemies, or were we put 
beyond their reach utterly, there should be no occasion for the 
exercise of the grace of watchfulness. Patience should not have its 
perfect work; yea faith itself, as being " the evidence of things not 
seen, and the substance of things hoped for," should be of no more 
use. What should become of ordinances ? God hath set up a minis- 
try in his church to be for working together with him, to bring 
down the kingdom of darkness by degrees ; he hath set up his word 
for a light to travellers towards Zion, not being well acquainted 
with the way ; he hath given us his holy sacraments for our con- 
firmation in faith, growth in grace, and comfort through the Spirit : 
these all might be laid aside, were it not that our sanctification is 
carried on by degrees. 

V. Moreover, by this dispensation of grace, we are made more and 
more to feel our need of Christ, and his precious blood for the re- 
moval of guilt daily contracted anew, and for strengthening of our 
souls in our Christian course ; so that we must come up out of the 
wilderness leaning on our Beloved. And we see that our stock is 
not in our hand ; and if it were, that it would quickly be lost. Is 
not the soul made hereby to bless the Lord, that it is not left to be 
its own pilot while sailing through the troublesome sea of this 
world ; but that Jesus Christ is his great steersman, by whose con- 
duct he shall come safe to Imraanuel's land ? 

YI. I add. That it may be observed, it is God's ordinary way to 
bring about great works by degrees ; amongst which the sanctifica- 
tion of a sinner deservedly takes place. God could have created 
the world in a moment, yet he was pleased to take six days for it. 
As soon as Adam fell, he could have sent Christ to have died; but 
thousands of years must pass before this great work be accomplished. 
It is determined to the last days, the time of the world's old age. A 
dark revelation of this his purpose was made to Adam in the pri- 
mitive gospel-promise ; it was made more manifest to Abraham ; 
revealed yet more clearly to and by Moses, more to the prophets, 
till John the Baptist at last pointed him out with the finger. He 
could have brought Israel out of Egypt into Canaan easily in a few 
days ; but it pleased him, that they should wander forty years in 


the wilderness. So that it is but consonant hereunto, that he exer- 
ciseth his people so long in the wilderness of the world, after he 
hath brought them forth of the spiritual Egyptian bondage. And 
as it is God's ordinary method to carry on great works by degrees, 
so to bring them to pass through many difficulties — Joseph must be 
sold for a slave, and laid in irons in a strange land, before he be 
advanced; the Israelites must endure hard bondage and grievous 
affliction in Egypt, before they are brought into the land flowing 
with milk and honey ; yea, the man Christ must first suffer, and 
then enter into his glory. So that in this dispensation he holds but 
his ordinary road. Finally, 

VII. A learned man* lays down the whole matter thus : — 
" "While we bear about a mortal body, this domestic tyrant cannot 
be altogether expelled; — because it is neither expedient for the 
glory of Christ, nor for our salvation. For the glory of Christ is 
so much the more illustrious, as his benefit is the better felt by us, 
while that enemy doth indeed dwell in us, but by the grace and 
Spirit of Christ is so repressed and holden captive, that it cannot 
domineer over us nor destroy us ; — yea while we experience in us 
the grace of Christ so efficacious, that by it he makes us overcomers. 
Moreover, the glory of Christ becomes more illustrious, while, by 
reason of indwelling sin, we in very deed feel that we cannot be 
justified but by the perfect obedience of Christ, which we apprehend 
by faith. It is also expedient for our salvation, that the enemy 
abide in us till death, that we may have one to fight with per- 
petually, and fighting by the grace of Christ may overcome, and by 
overcoming may gain a greater crown to ourselves," Rev. iii. ; 
2 Tim. iv. 

That the consideration of these things may be very useful to a 
soul exercised with the consideration of this dispensation of provi- 
dence in the matter of sanctification, as above declared, I think 
none can deny. To see how God makes such an excellent medicine 
of such poisonous ingredients, cannot be but very delightful. Yet I 
doubt, if the principal, if not the only reason, be yet explained ; or 
if those things in this mould and frame be very likely to satisfy tho 
soul, when this pnzzling question comes more closely home upon the 
heart ; but that very plausible objections may be raised against the 
same, to show their invalidity as to the main point in hand. 

The great matter is, to find out the reason or reasons why it hath 
pleased the Lord to leave sin in the elect after conversion, and not 
to make them perfectly free from the indwelling of it at that very 

* Zanch. 


time, as he could certainly have done if it had pleased him. Now, 
I observe upon the whole of those grounds formerly laid down, 
which are usually pleaded in this case, That the case under con- 
sideration is resolved either into our own advantage, and the 
quickening of inherent grace, or into the will of God simply ; and 
this by all of them, except the first part of the last ground assigned. 
As to the last of the two ; it is indeed in effect that God would 
have it so because he would have it so ; which I do confess may 
suffice, and no more can be had in some cases, Rom. ix. 18, " There- 
fore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy." But I suppose 
that this case is not of that sort. As to the first; sin now appear- 
ing to the soul in its blackest colours, the creature's advantage being 
laid in the balance therewith, can have but little weight. As for 
the three first grounds, they do plainly suppose the question. The 
fourth seems to go the same way. As for the first part of the last 
ground, it points out the truth in general. But the explication of 
it mars all, while it is declared by our proper feeling of the 
benefits of Christ ; which doth indeed hold good considered abso- 
lutely, but comparatively understood it doth not. Now, it is 
plain, that any thing that can be here said satisfyingly, must 
be by way of comparison. But I think no man can doubt, 
but that the more free of sin a Christian is, he feels the benefits 
of Christ the better. The same is to be said of the fifth reason. 
As to the rest, they do at least come under the disadvantage 
proposed in the general observation (to say no more upon them) 
resolving the case as said is. 

To all of these grounds the following rei)lies seem not to be 
unreasonable. You tell me (says the Christian under the supposed 
exercise) That this is God's design by this dispensation to humble 
me, to stir me up to call on his name, to make me more watchful, 
to let me see ray need of Christ more. But my pride, slothfulness, 
unwatchfulness, unsensibleness of my need of Christ, are the great 
burdens I groan under. That which I would be at, is to have all 
these rooted out of my heart ; and I know God could have done this 
at first, can do it still, yet he does not : What shall I say ? As 
for faith, hope, &c. it is ray soul's trouble, that I have so little 
of thera ; I would fain be at the full measure ; and I know the 
graces of the Spirit are inseparable ; whoso hath one, hath all. 
But though the exercise of these graces were inconsistent with the 
state of perfection that I would fain be at, which neverthe- 
less is not so, (for if I were perfect in this life, or altogether free 
from sin, I could not but exercise faith, hope, and patience, as the 
man Christ did ; and watchfulnes, as Adam did, or at least might 


have doiie in paradise) ; yet I am sure the spirits of just men made 
perfect above, are at no loss in that they do not, nor need not 
exercise those graces ; neither is the glory of God thereby impaired, 
but indeed made more illustrious. I desire to value ordinances 
more than my necessary food, both because they have Christ's stamp 
upon them, and because in this my weary state I cannot want them. 
But, Oh ! should I not be content, though all the stars were set, and 
had hid their heads, so that the Sun of Righteousness were risen with 
perfect healing under his wings? What though the inns were 
blocked up, if once the traveller were at his journey's end ? But 
surely, if I were as I would be, I could manage ordinances far 
more to the glory of my Lord, and to mine own satisfaction, than 
I can now do at my best. The first and second Adam wanted not 
sacraments, and made use of them too. And I am persuaded, that 
if I were free of sin, I would have a far more deep sense of Christ's 
benefits, and of my need of him, than now I either have or can 
have. Self-righteousness, that spawn of the old serpent, is one of 
my greatest burdens, that makes me weary of this longsome night, 
and long to see the day when I shall be able to sing the song of the 
redeemed ones, and to give my Lord all and hail the glory, in 
which my wretched heart now will needs share with him. Though 
I cannot love him as I ought, nay nor as I would ; yet would I be 
well content to continue in the fight never so long, so that I could 
but manage it without dishonour to my captain. It is not suftering, 
but sinning that affrights me. And I cannot but think that ten 
thousand jewels in my crown are too dear bought at the rate of one 
sin against my Lord ; whereas there is not one sin, but many in my 
most complete actions now. It is God's ordinary method, I confess, 
to bring about great works by degrees, and over the belly of many 
difficulties. And how early did God begin with me, how many 
times did he lay siege to my graceless heart, how long did he follow 
a poor miserable worm nothing, ere 1 wou'd give consent? What 
great difficulties did grace break through, what iron gates did it lay 
by, when at first it shined into my soul ? And yet I would cheer- 
fully bear, and go through difficulties, if they were only in the kind 
of suff"ering, so that I were free of sin, that evil of all evils. 

By all this we may see farther into the nature of the case pro- 
posed, and may discover what it is that is at the bottom of all, and 
•what that is which most toucheth them in the quick. The case 
then terminates in an ardent desire of, and an unfeigned respect 
unto his glory, who hath brought the soul from darkness to light, 
and crowned it with loving-kindness and tender mercies ; to which 
glory sin is so opposite. Wherefore I am of opinion, the whole is 


to be rpsolved into the praise of the glory of his grace, Eph. i. 6. 
which seems most exactly to answer the point. 

I confess, that as none can bear a wounded spirit, so none can 
cure it bnt the great physician of souls. " It is he that smiteth, and 
it is only he that can bind up ; ho kills and he makes alive." He is 
the healer of all the soul's diseases and pains. An exercised soul hath 
great dexterity in raising objections, and is not easily satisfied ; and 
its doubts and difficulties can no man resolve to its satisfaction, till 
he who is the great interpreter of the mind of God, and hath the 
tongue of the learned, take the work in hand, " and speak a word in 
season to the weary soul," by his Holy Spirit. Yet the Scripture 
shews that the Spirit teacheth and comforteth by the word : " He 
shall receive of mine," says Christ, speaking of the Spirit, " and 
shall shew it unto you," John xvi. 14. ; which is more clearly 
delivered chap. xiv. 26. " But the Comforter, he shall teach you 
all things, and shall bring all things to your remembrance whatso- 
ever I have said unto yon." So that from the word souls are 
to be dealt with for their comfort and satisfaction, looking to the 
Lord Jesus to send his Spirit to render the same effectual. 

It plainly appears to such as read the Scriptures with a humble 
mind, and consider the doctrine therein delivered, and take notice 
of the Lord's way of dealing with his own, that the grand design of 
God in the contrivance of the elect's salvation, is, to exalt the Hches 
of the free grace of God in Christ: Rom. iv. 16. "Therefore it is of 
faith, that it might be of grace." Eph. ii. 8, 9. " For by grace are 
ye saved ; — not of works, lest any man should boast." Most plainly 
does the apostle resolve the whole of man's salvation into this, 
Eph. i. 3 — 6. " To the praise of the glory of his grace." I say, not 
simply to exalt grace, (which is always here to be understood of the 
free favour of God, or the grace of God without us) ; for even by 
the first covenant, the grace of God was exalted, and manifestly 
appeared in God's condescending to enter into a covenant with 
Adam, and to require obedience of him by virtue of a covenant, and 
that with a promise of so great a reward, to which his best works 
could bear no proportion ; when, by virtue of his sovereignty 
merely, he might have exacted all obedience ; here was grace, 
though, as Bayn* calls it, a more common and inferior grace : But 
I say the riches of grace, in respect of which the former was but 
a small scantling of grace. Thus the apostle holds it forth, Eph. 
i. 7. " According to the riches of his grace." Chap. ii. 4. " But 
God, who is rich in mercy ;" and ver. 7. " That in the ages to come 

* Com. on Eph. p. 238. 


lie might show the exceeding riches of his grace." This then is 
clearly the great design of God iu the contrivance of man's salva- 
tion. Now the heart of a child of God is (if I may so term it) 
shapen out in breadth and length to this design : for what is faith 
but an hearty acquiescing in the way of salvation held forth iu the 
gospel, as suited both to man's necessity, and the divine perfections, 
and particularly tending unto the manifestation of the riches of 
grace whereby Christ is made all, and the creature nothing? 

Here then I apprehend, we may find the great reason of the 
Lord's dispensation in the matter of the believer's sanctification, 
the knowledge and consideration whereof is most likely to give 
satisfaction to the soul thus exercised. And it is briefly this : The 
exalting of Christ, and of the free grace of God in him, is the great 
design and end of the contrivance of man's salvation, as held forth 
in the gospel ; but God's leaving of sin to be, and to be active in 
the regenerate while they are in this world, yea and keeping of 
them for a while in that case in the world, does contribute more to 
the advancement of that design, than the making of them sinless 
immediately upon their closing with Christ. Therefore may we 
already not only believe, but see, that in this matter he hath done 
all things well. 

If we consider a person under this exercise before declared, we 
shall find he is one that is filled with a deep sense of his own vile- 
ness, emptiness, and nothingness ; and hath high thoughts of Christ, 
and of free grace ; and so he is disposed to welcome whatsoever hath 
a tendency to the exalting of the same. And forasmuch as the 
glory of that God who hath done so great things for him lies 
nearest his heart, and the dishonour done unto him, galls him most : 
when he sees this way brings more glory to Christ, and exalts grace 
more than the way he would be at, it may justly be expected, he 
shall lay his hand upon his mouth, saying, " It is the Lord, let him 
do what seemeth him good." It remains then, that we demonstrate the 
truth of this. That this way does more exalt Christ and free grace 
than the other ; which I hope will be no diflicult task. 

I. The more sins be pardoned to a believer, grace is the more 
exalted, Christ hath the more glory ; the more items are blotted out 
of justice's debt-book by the precious blood of the immaculate 
Lamb, the sinner is the more deep in the debt of free grace : But 
it is beyond controversy, that in this dispensation more sins are 
pardoned to a believer than otherwise would have been. Ergo, Let 
none pretend that free grace might have been as much or more ex- 
alted in keeping the believer from sin altogether after conversion, 
as in pardoning of the same, lest they fall foul upon God's design 


in suffering sin to enter into the world, prefer tlie grace of the first 
covenant to that of the second, and, in effect, say that God's dispen- 
sation is not suitable to his design. 

II. The more sin is aggravated by its circumstances, the more is 
free grace exalted in pardoning it, the more illustrious is the virtue 
of Christ's blood ; for the deeper the stain is, the harder is it to wash 
out : but by this dispensation, whereby sin is left in the regenerate for 
a while, free grace hath the glory of pardoning sins more heinous than 
those committed in the state of ignorance and unbelief. Ergo, Is 
not the offence of a spouse, child, friend, &c., more grievous than 
the offence given by a stranger? Friends' wounds pierce most 
deeply : " for it was not an enemy that reproached me, then I could 
have borne it," &c. Psal. Iv. 12. The godly lie under far more 
accessary bonds and obligations to duty than others ; and it is 
certain, the more obligations a man lies under to duty, the sin is 
the greater. Adultery and murder committed by a David, are 
more heinous in the sight of Grod, than the same sins committed by 
a wicked man. This is so manifest, that I need not insist to 
enumerate those aggravating circumstances that are to be found in 
the sins of the godly, which by no means can be in those of the 
wicked. And does not the pardoning of these deep-dyed sins exalt 
free grace wonderfully ? Let men but consult their own experience, 
and they shall have a clear proof of this. The pardon of any sin 
does much affect a godly heart with admiration of the riches of 
grace ; but when a man, after a recovery from some sin, after vows 
and resolutions against it, &c. doth relapse into the same, and yet 
has his backslidings healed, this augments the admiration of it. Of 
all sinners backsliders have the greatest difficulty to believe ; and 
upon a received pardon, as they indeed are, so they seem to be, 
greatest debtors to grace. 

III. The more deeply sin appears to be rooted in our natures, the 
more is the grace of God magnified in rooting it up ; the more 
inveterate the disease seems to be, the more is the cure of it to the 
honour of the physician : " Since the world began, was it not heard 
that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind," John ix. 
32. If a tree were plucked up in an instant, beholders could never 
so clearly see how fast rooted it was, as when it abides many pulls 
of a strong hand. Who could have imagined the strength of sin to 
have been so great in David as afterwards it appeared, when he 
had been so often bruised and troubled in spirit, and had arrived at 
so great mortification ? The experience of believers affords to us 
an example of the same. Many times, after great wrestlings, they 
seem to themselves to have got great victory over a particular cor- 


ruption, so that they are ready to think with themselves, that it 
will never be able to molest them as before ; but at length it gets 
out again, renews the assault, and makes them see how it is, like 
Nebuchadnezzar's tree,* fastened in the earth of the heart with a 
baud of iron and brass. Now, it is manifest, that were sin rooted 
out at the first dash, the fixedness of it in man's nature could never 
so much appear to beholders, as it may and doth in the way of this 
dispensation. Ergo, 

W. That which discovers, to the view of all, the creature's 
emptiness most, doth undeniably exalt grace most ; but the empti- 
ness of the creature, and its continual need of supply, is most dis- 
covered to the view of all this way : Ergo, I think, the angels 
themselves, who desire to pry into the mystery of grace, could not 
but learn a lesson of the creature's frailty and nothingness by 
Adam's fall, and of the riches of free grace in the way of his re- 
covery ; and the daily slips of the saints on the earth may be to them 
speaking testimonies of the creature's weakness ; for we see the 
apostle thinks it not below their dignity, that they go to school in 
the church to learn " the manifold wisdom of Grod," Eph. iii. 10. 
Suppose a weak child be held up on his feet by his father's hands, 
so that he cannot fall ; whether doth his weakness appear so as 
when he is left to feel his own weight, and so gets several falls ? 
The spirits of just men made perfect, who are now above the clouds, 
and the confirmed angels, are still creatures; and therefore live 
and act by a continued dependance on God : but the emptiness 
of the creature appears not so clearly in their case, as in the state 
of the saints on earth ; whose weakness we not only know, but see 
with our eyes, while they get so many falls, and give so many 
ocular demonstrations of their need of grace, and of their own 
emptiness. So that if the nothingness of the creature proclaim the 
riches of grace, free grace is most exalted this way. 

V. The more cowardly, faint-hearted, and feckless the soldiers 
are that get the victory over a potent enemy, the more is the valour 
of the captain discovered, the greater glory redounds to him ; but 
such are the saints in their Christian warfare : Ergo, When David 
attempted to take the strong hold of Zion,f the Jebusites boast- 
ing of the strength of the castle, looking on it as an impregnable 
fort, told him, that except he took away the blind and the lame, he 
could not get in there ; meaning, that such was the strength of the 
fort, that the very blind and lame were sufficient to defend it 
against David and all his men, though others should sit by, looking 

• Dan. iv. 15. t2 Sam. v. 6. 

Vol. TI. i 


on and doing nothing : which did mightily commend the strong- 
hold. They are potent enemies, expert, and subtle, whom the Chris- 
tian is called to encounter with : " For he wrestles not [only] against 
flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against 
the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness 
in high places."* In the meantime he is a weak creature, weak na- 
turally as a man, in comparison of them, but yet weaker as a sinful 
man; but he is nevertheless more than conqueror: which surely 
doth more advance the glory of the gi'eat Captain of our salvation, 
than if he had stronger and more expert soldiers. what riches 
of grace appears here, which otherwise would have been in great 
measure smothered ! And seeing the Scripture so frequently calls 
the Christian course " a warfare," let me also add this. That when 
an enemy beseigeth a town, wherein he hath a multitude of friends 
ready on all occasions to betray the same into his hand, yet the 
town holds out, and he is repulsed ; what a shameful repulse is 
that ? Is not the glory of the governor far greater in this case, 
than if he had forced the enemy to raise the seige, while he had 
plenty of his friends within the walls ? The application is easy. 

Finally, to shut up all ; it is plain, that the more difficulties the 
work of man's salvation is carried through, the free grace of God is 
the more exalted ; our Lord Jesus, the author of eternal salvation, 
hath the greater glory : but in this way it is carried on over the 
belly of more difficulties, than it would have been, if by the first 
grace the Christian had been made perfect. Ergo, And seeing 
{coBteris patibus) none can prize rest so much as they who have been 
sore toiled, and have come out of the greatest tribulations, I think 
I may be allowed to say, that a child of God having come to his 
journey's end after many ups and downs, falls and risings ; having 
win through the troublesome sea of this world, and being set safe 
ashore, after many dangers of shipwreck, in a longsome voyage, 
will have the praises of free grace in his mouth sounding more 
loudly, and will sing the song of Moses and of the Lamb in a more 
elevated strain and higher notes, than if he had never been in 
danger through the whole of his course. 

From all which it aj)pears, that this dispensation is most suitable 
to the grand design of the gospel, the exalting of the riches of free 
grace in Christ. And what lover of Christ will not say. Amen ! 

Eph. vi. 12. 



The right of infants to baptism liath been denied and violently op- 
posed by the Anabaptists, so called from re-baptizing of those that 
were in their infancy baptized ; so that, according to them, adult 
persons only have right to this ordinance, the whole species of in- 
fants being excluded. Against this spiritual robbery much hath 
been written by learned men, and infants' right to baptism asserted 
and solidly instructed from the Scriptures of truth. In which point 
I am fully satisfied, not doubting but as God is the believer's God, 
so he is the God of his seed ; and therefore none can forbid water : 
wherefore I am not to meddle with this point. As the Anabaptists, 
denying infant baptism, have been faulty in making the subject 
lawfully receptive of baptism too narrow ; so it is a question to me, 
Whether or not others have made the same wider than the word of 
God will allow? There maybe a fault both ways; in excess as 
well as in defect. That some infants, born within the visible church, 
may be baptized, I doubt not ; but that all such ought to be ad- 
mitted to this holy ordinance, I find I cannot subscribe unto, unless 
I be more satisfied in that point than hitherto I am. This being a 
matter of practice, is worthy of consideration : and ray doubts in 
that point have obliged me to this inquiry, if possibly I may find 
any thing in this matter wherein I may rest. In answer to the 
question proposed, somewhat must be said touching the right of 
adult persons to this ordinance, as well as of infants. But in re- 
gard that it is very rare to hear of an adult person baptized amongst 
us, I shall say but little upon that head ; and possibly I might have 
waived it altogether, were it not that it may contribute something to 
the clearing of that wherein my difticulty lies, viz., the right of in- 
fants born of Christian parents who are a reproach to their pro- 

That we may the better succeed in this inquiry, there is one dis- 
tinction that must be taken notice of; and that is, There is a twofold 
right to church privileges ; there is a right in foro Dei, or before the 
Lord ; and there is a right in foro ecdesice. or in the judgment of the 
church. Where these two are confounded, men multiply words to 
no purpose. A person may have a right to church privileges before 
the Lord, who hath no right thereto before the church ; and con- 
trariwise, one may have a right before the church to church privi- 
leges, that hath no right thereto before the Lord : for the being of 



a thing is sufficient inforo Dei, but the appearing of it to be so, is 
necessary in foro ecclesice ; seeing as to us de non apparentihus et non 
existentibus eadem est ratio et idem judicium. So these are two distinct 
questions. Who ought to be baptized? and. Who ought to seek 
baptism ?* The first respects a right to baptism before the church ; 
the second a right thereto before God. Which being premised, we 
lay down these following conclusions. 

Conclusion I. None have a right to baptism before the Lord, but 
those who have actually a saving interest in the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Argument I. The Scripture plainly holds forth, that the having 
of the Spirit and faith are necessarily pre-requisite to baptism : 
Acts viii. 36, 37. " Here is water," says the eunuch, " what doth 
hinder me to be baptized ?" Philip answereth, " If thou believest 
with all thine heart, thou mayest." He saith not only, " If thou 
believest;" but, "If thou believest with all thine heart;" which 
plainly denotes faith unfeigned, as the apostle speaks; hence then, 
as Ursin infers, f Ergo, si non credas, non licet; "If thou believest 
not, thou mayest not ;" which is necessarily to be understood with 
respect to the judgment of God ; for none can say, that sincere faith 
is necessary to a right to the ordinance before the church. And 
so Philip baptizeth him on a credible profession of faith ; but withal 
tells him, that it is no less than the truth of faith that can warrant 
him before the Lord to seek baptism to himself. Acts x. 47. " Can 
any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which 
have received the Holy Ghost, as well as we ?" importing, that if 
they had not received the Holy Ghost, they had no true right to 
baptism ; but they had received the Holy Ghost, as well as (Greek, 
kathos, even as) the apostle himself, and the believing Jews, who 
received the same as a spirit of saving grace, as well as of extraor- 
dinary gifts ; not only (says Piscator) the gift of tongues, but of 
Christian faith. Whence he observes, that adult persons, concern- 
ing whom it appears from probable arguments that they believe in 
Christ, are to be received into the church by baptism. What 
though this receiving of the Holy Ghost have an immediate respect 
to extraordinary gifts, it is no otherwise made a ground whereupon 
they have right to baptism, but as it is an evidence of their having 
the Spirit of sanctification. They heard them speak with tongues ; 
therefore says Peter, " Can any man forbid water, seeing these have 
received the gift of the Holy Ghost;" which, according to that 
Acts ii. 38, 39. did pre-suppose repentance, at least in appearance ; 

• Ur». Exp. cat, p. 471. t Expl. cat. p. 564. 


■which appearance was the ground of their right in foro ecclesice, and 
the reality of the same the ground of their right coi^am Deo. 

Argument II. The words of institution make this evident, Matt, 
xxviii. 19, 20. " Go ye therefore and disciple all nations, baptizing 
thera," «&c. They must first be discipled; and then, and not till 
then, have they a right to baptism. To be a disciple of Christ and 
a believer are reciprocal terms, as Christ teacheth us, comparing 
with this Mark xvi. 16. " He that believeth, and is baptized," &c. 
And infants may be no less disciples of Christ than adult persons, 
as is clear from that Acts xv. 10. " Now therefore why tempt ye 
God, to put a yoke [viz. circumcision] on the neck of the disciples?" 
The apostles understood it so, as is plain from their practice ; which 
may well be to us a sufficient commentary thereupon. See how 
Peter sets himself to his work, Acts ii. 38. " Repent therefore, and 
be baptized ; where it is plain, that he requires their repentance 
antecedently to baptism, as necessary to qualify them for the right 
and due reception thereof. And there is no example of baptism re- 
corded in the Scriptures, where auy were baptized but such as 
appeared to have a saving interest in Christ ; as afterwards we shall 

ARGUiiENT III. This will plainly appear, if we consider the na- 
ture of sacraments, the ends and uses for which they are appointed 
of God, as the Scriptures do declare the same. 

1. The sacraments are not converting, but confirming ordi- 
nances ; they are appointed for the use and benefit of God's chil- 
dren, not of others ; they are given to believers as believers, as 
Rutherford expresseth it loc. sup. at. so that none other are subjects 
capable of the same before the Lord. Either must we say, they 
have no respect at all to saving grace ; or that they are appointed as 
means of the conveyance of the first grace, that is, to convert sin- 
ners; or, finally, for confirmation of grace already received. If it 
be said, they have no respect at all to saving grace, then baptism 
cannot be called the baptism of repentance ; nor are persons bap- 
tized for the remission of sins ; nor can it be looked on as a seal of 
the righteousness of faith : all which is evidently against Scrip- 
ture testimony. And I do not remember it is pleaded by any, 
though Mr. Fulwood is pleased to say, that persons may be consi- 
dered to be truly baptized* without respect to saving grace. If it 
be said they are appointed as means of the conveyance of the first 
grace ; then, 1. Either there are none converted before baptism, which 
is manifestly false. Acts viii. 12. 37 ; or else baptism is in vaiu 

* Discourse vis Chur. p. 49. 


conferred on couveits, which is no less false. But surely in vain 
are means used to confer on any that which they have before. 
2. It were unfaithfulness to Christ, and cruelty to men to withhold 
the sacraments from any person whatsoever. Were it not soul 
murder to withhold the means of conveyance of the first grace from 
any, and unfaithfulness to him, who will have all men to be saved 
and come to the knowledge of the truth ? But that the sacraments, 
and particularly baptism, are not to be conferred on all promiscuously, 
none can deny. "Wherefore it remains, they are indeed appointed 
for confirmation ; which doth necessarily suppose the pre-existence 
of grace in the soul, seeing that which is not, cannot be confirmed. 

2. Baptism is appointed of God to be a seal of the righteousness 
of faith. So testifies the apostle concerning circumcision, Rom. iv. 
11. and consequently of baptism, which hath now come into its 
room. Col. ii. 11. 12.. — " By the circumcision of Christ : buried with 
him in baptism." This none but Sociniaus, and such as they, will 
quarrel. But now none have right to the seal, but such as have 
interest in the thing sealed. The being of a thing is pre-supposed to 
the sealing of it; the contract must be made before it be sealed. 
No wise man will seal a blank, far less must God's seal be given to 
him that hath no interest in that which it is appointed to seal. 
And it is evident, that such as are out of Christ, have no interest 
in his righteousness, therefore no right before God to the seal of it. 
" Abraham received circumcision" says the apostle, " a seal of the 
righteousness of faith which he had before." Where the party bap- 
tized is one that hath no saving interest in Christ, the ordinance as 
to him is abused, and so he hath no right thereto before the Lord. 
The abuse is manifest from what is said; for, as Witsius teacheth,* 
God seals nothing, to such a one, that is truly good. The benefits 
of the covenant he hath neither part nor lot in ; how then can he 
have right to the ordinance sealing the same ? Some possibly may 
say it seals the conditional covenant of grace to such a one. But, 
not to examine the couditionality of the covenant of grace, denied 
by many godly and learned divines, | 1. This is inconsistent with the 
common doctrine of orthodox divines, teaching, That the efficacy of 
baptism is not tied to the moment of time wherein it is adminis- 
tered : for if it seal the conditional covenant to such, it is certain 
its efficacy is tied to that moment ; for we know no other efficacy 
of it but eflfectual obsignation. 2. Baptism either seals that condi- 
tional covenant as merely oflTered and not accepted, or as both 
offered and accepted. If the first be said, then, 1. It seals no 
engagement on our part ; which is not only contrary to the 

• Exer. de bapt. section 6. f Zanchiui*, Luther, Junius, Ames. Rysseniu?, and others. 


orthodox doctrine of divines about baptism, but is iiicousist- 
ent with what the Scriptures say of the baptized, tlicir being 
*' buried with Christ in baptism, baptized into Christ, into one 
body," &c. 2. How then can any deny baptism unto those to whom 
the conditional covenant is held forth, whether they consent to be 
disciples of Christ or not ? If the second be said, the case is altered, 
yea the cause is yielded : for such as accept of the covenant are in 
Christ, seeing there can be no entering now into covenant with God 
but through the Mediator. It will not help the cause to allege, that 
it seals the conditional covenant, as accepted externally by profes- 
sion : for God doth proj)ose faith, and not profession, as the terms 
of the conditional covenant of grace ; and therefore whoso come not 
up to the terms defined by God himself in his word, they are not 
at^counted before the Lord to have accepted of the covenant, though 
before men they may be so accounted of; in regard not faith in 
itself, but the profession of it, vocal or real, appeareth to them. If 
any shall say, that baptism seals visible church membershij) to 
those that have no saving interest in Christ, his righteousness, &c. I 
would demand a proof of that, that baptism is appointed to seal 
visible church membership, and no other benefit of the covenant ; or 
where it can be found, that God sealeth the benefits of the covenant 
by halves. As Mr. Baxter observes, the end of a sacrament must 
enter the definition thereof; and it is certain it is appointed of God 
to seal the righteousness of faith, remission of sins, &c. to some. 
If then it be appointed to seal only visible church raembei'ship to 
others, there must be two baptisms, though the apostle tells us there 
is but one, Eph. iv. 5. 

3. Let us view those Scrij)tures that directly hold forth the 
nature, ends, and uses of baptism. Math. iii. 11. "I indeed baptize 
you with water unto repentance," eis metanoian. So it is called the 
baptism of repentance. Acts xix. 4. John verily baptized with the 
b.iptism of repentance : not in respect of repentance to come after, 
but going before ; for John baptized none but those that confessed 
their sins, Matth. iii. 6. and he required of them a profession of 
their faith in him that was to come,* Acts xix. 4. It is called the 
baptism of repentance, for remission of sin, Mark i. 4. Peter calls 
those pricked at the heart to repent and be baptized for the remis- 
sion of sin ; where it can be no otherwise understood, but in 
testimony and confirmation of remission of sins, as our divines 
shew agarnst the Papists. Rom. iv. 11. He received circumcision, 
a seal of the righteousness which he had before. Gal. iii. 27. 
" For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put 

. ' Piscator iii loc. 


on Christ;" where baptism is made a seal of our union with Christ, 
which is one of the ends of baptism. This end, says a learned 
man,* none but the faithful do obtain ; for, as the apostle says in 
the same place, " Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ 
Jesus." So bapti^n is called the laver of regeneration, and we are 
said to be baptized into Christ's death, and into one body; all 
which are to be understood of baptism, as sealing those things done 
already. From which it appears, that none but such as have au 
interest in Christ have right to baptism before the Lord. "Which 
will be further clear by the arguments to be adduced for proof of 
the next conclusion. 

Many testimonies might be adduced which are given by orthodox 
divines, unto this truth, whereof some afterwards shall be touched. 
But Mr. Fulwood flies in the face of it, in his discourse of the 
visible church. " The word of God" says he " Gen. xvii. 23. acknow- 
ledgeth, that one may have a right to the first seal of the covenant, 
and that coram Deo, that hath no saving grace. Ishmael was 
thirteen years old, ver. 25. when he was circumcised, and therefore 
of age to answer for himself ; yet Ishmael had no saving grace, 
neither was he within the covenant of Isaac — the covenant of 
absolute and certain salvation, from which he was excluded, ver. 19. 
Yet Ishmael hath a right to the first seal of the covenant coram 
Deo, as is most evident from the immediate command of God, that 
he that was born in Abraham's house, must needs be circumcised, 
ver. 12. and accordingly Abraham understood it. He proceeds 
upon the command of God to circumcise Ishmael first of all. Now 
what is it that giveth one right to any ordinance but the command, 
or at least more evidently than the command of God himself? And 
that right which we have from God's command, is doubtless a right 
coram Deo, and in his sight." 

In answer to this, I deny that Ishmael had a right to circum- 
cision coram Deo ; and the contrary is very far from being most 
evident from the immediate command of God, ver. 12. The com- 
mand of God layeth an obligation on such as it is directed unto, to 
make use of such an ordiuanca as the command relateth unto ; but 
it giveth not a right to any ordinance. If the ordinance which the 
command respects be not a sealing ordinance, then indeed the com- 
mand pre-supposeth the person's right thereto, and evidenceth it ; 
the ordinance being such as requires no special qualification in the 
party to found his right thereto : As it is in the hearing of the 
word, the command to hear pre-supposeth a right to hear, otherwise 
ministers should, at the command of God, preach to them that have 

• Wtindel. Christ, theol. p. 432. 


no right to hear ; for the comraand to hear obligeth not but wheu 
there is something spoken that may be heard. But if the ordinance 
be a sealing ordinance, as that we now speak of is, then the receiv- 
ing of it comes under a twofold notion ; first, of a duty ; and, 
secondly, of a special privilege; the confounding whereof, or not 
distinguishing of the same, seems to be the ground of this mistake. 
It is a duty, because commanded ; it is a special privilege, because 
allowed only to a certain sort of persons. Now, in such a case 
there is some special qualification in the party required to found 
his right to the sealing ordinance. I think this learned man will 
not say but it was necessary, that the party having right to cir- 
cumcision, should be one in covenant with God, whatever that 
covenant be said to be ; and that a person no way in covenant with 
God, could have no right thereto coram Deo : so that the right to 
that ordinance turned on the hinge of personal qualifications unde- 
niably ; and the command of God did not give a right to it, but 
obliged to the qualification (whatever it was), and to the usemaking 
of the ordinance, and that conjunctly ; but did not so much as 
evidence a right thereto, either before God or the church. And 
what is said of circumcision, agrees to all sealing ordinances : so 
that what is alleged by the learned man concerning the right 
to a sealing ordinance, from God's command obliging to re- 
ceive, it is de subjecto non supponente, in my opinion. And 
the thing he had to prove, was, that the command of God in 
such a case gives a right to the ordinance ; which cannot be 
received without proof, and upon a bare assertion. When Peter, in 
the name of the Lord, commands every one of those to whom he 
spoke to be baptized, Acts ii. 38. it did indeed oblige them to sub- 
mit to that holy ordinance, but in the meantime to go about it in 
God's own way, and to be persons duly qualified for baptism. But 
this command did not evidence their right thereto, either coram Deo 
or coram ecclesice, while they continued impenitent murderers of the 
Lord of glory ; nay nor at all ; for it was upon their gladly receiv- 
ing the word that the apostle proceeded to admit them. Here then 
I would ask, 1. Whether or not those persons to whom the apostle 
said, " Be baptized every one of you," were obliged to submit to 
this ordinance ? That they were, is manifest, if the command of 
God, by the mouth of his servant, could oblige them. 2. Whether 
or not, while they continued impenitent mockers of religion, enemies 
to Christ, neither sorrowing for their sins, nor professing sorrow for 
them, not believing nor repenting, nor appearing so to do, might 
the apostles have baptized them ? or could they lawfully have re- 
ceived baptism? Whoso will say they might, would pour contemj)t 


ou Christ's holy ordinance. Sure I am, had they baptized them in 
such a case, they had gone beyond the bounds of their commission, 
obliging them first to disciple, then to baptize. From all which it ap- 
pears, that persons may be obliged to the receiving of baptism by 
virtue of the command of God, and yet have no right thereto, either 
before God or the church. Again, the command of Christ, "Do 
this in remembrance of me," obligeth all that hear the gospel to 
partake of the sacrament of the Lord's supper, as God giveth op- 
portunity ; yet it neither gives all a right thereto before God or 
the church : nay nor does it evidence the same ; for there are many 
that may not lawfully partake, and many that may not law- 
fully be admitted thereto by church officers, notwithstanding 
that the command of God obligeth them to do this. If it 
he their sin not to partake, which it must needs be, Christ re- 
vealing his will to them, whereof this is a part ; then it is their 
duty to receive it : yet they may not lawfully receive it, while con- 
tinuing in their open wickedness. All that hear the gospel have 
not a right to it, either before God or the church, as I think none 
will deny. All indeed ought to eat; but, according to the apostle, 
they must first examine themselves, and then eat.* Ursin upon 
that question, "Who ought to come to the supper?" tells us,t " The 
sacraments are appointed for the faithful and converted only, to 
seal the promise of the gospel to them, and confirm their faith." 
And that the wicked and hyj^ocriles ought not to come ; not that 
they are not obliged to come, that is not his meaning ; but that they 
cannot lawfully come as is manifest from what he says afterwards, J 
that such not coming peccatum peccato cumulant, " heap sin on sin." 
Eut hear the objection against this doctrine, and his answer to it. 
" Objection. ' God commands all to make use of the sacraments.' 
Answer. He commands to all the use of the sacraments; yet the 
lawful use, which is not without faith and repentance. He com- 
niands that all be baptized, and make use of the supper; but he also 
commands that all believe and repent, Acts ii. 38." Let us suppose, 
a master commands his servant to sow his ground ; doth this give a 
right to him to go immediately and cast in the seed, before that ever 
he break the ground with the jjlough, and make it fit for the receiv- 
ing of the seed ? Slionld he go thus to work, he were a disobedient 
servant. Neither could it excuse that he had his master's immedi- 
ate command to sow his ground. Even so in the present case. 
Ishmael being by the command of God obliged to receive the seal of 
the righteousness of faith, was co ipso obliged to receive the righte- 

* 1 Cor. xl. 28. t Expl. Cat. p. 547. J P. 348, 


ousncss of faith ; and till then he had uo right to the seal before the 

Conclusion II. Visible believers, and such as have a profession 
of religion, probably signifying their having a saving interest in 
Christ, have a right to baptism before the church, so that they may 
be admitted thereto, though indeed they have no saving grace, yea 
or never shall have it. This may bo allowed without a scrupulous 
inquiry into their state before God ; and men in this case onght to 
take the first probable profession as the ground of admission. All 
this is clear from the examples of baptism recorded in the Scrip- 
tures, particularly from the practise of John the Baptist, Matt, 
iii, 6 : and of Philip baptizing the Samaritans, and amongst thera 
Simon the Magician ; and his baptizing the eunuch, Acts viii. And 
truly, if an apparently serious profession did not warrant the church 
to give the seals to such persons as have it, they could administer 
thera to none without a revelation from God as to the person's state 
before the Lord. But this is so plain, that it were in vain to stand 
upon further proof thereof. And therefore we proceed to 

Conclusion III. None but visible believers, or such as appear to 
have a saving interest in Christ, have right to baptism before the 
church. Whatever people do profess, in words, as to their faith in 
Christ, &c. if their profession be openly and visibly contradicted and 
belied by their practice ; if they be habitually profane in their 
walk, or grossly ignorant of the fundamental points of the Chris- 
tian religion, they ought not to be baptized, though they offer them- 
selves to baptism. 

Argument I. " That which is holy is not to be given to dogs, 
neither are pearls to be cast before swine," Matth, vii. 6. But the 
sacrament of baptism is a holy thing, and those that are not visible 
saints, are visible dogs and swine : Prov. xxvi. 11, "As a dog re- 
turneth to his vomit, so a fool to his folly." 2 Pet. ii. 18, 20. 
Who is the fool, but he that understaudeth not, and doth not seek 
after God, who is altogether corrupt and filthy ? Psal. xiv. Our 
Lord himself tells us, that " it is not meet to take the children's 
bread, and cast it to dogs," Matth. xv. 26. " And therefore," as 
Zanchy* saith, " to admit unto the sacrament of baptism the im- 
penitent and unbelievers, what else is it but to trample under foot 
the blood of Christ, and expose it to mockery ?" It were frivolous 
to say, that if this prove aught, it would prove that no unregene- 
rate man ought to be baptized ; for they are those fools ; for in- 
deed, as was said before, none of these have a right to the ordinance 

* Com. on Eph. p. 226. 


before the Lord. But be what they will as to their state before 
God, unless they appear to us to be fools, dogs, and swine, we are 
not to hold thera as such, but to esteem them visible saints, as they 
are indeed supposed to be. 

Argument II. None ought to be baptized but visible disciples of 
Christ ; for in baptism there is an open acknowledging of the party 
for a disciple of Christ. He ought to be looked on as a servant of 
the great Master, befoi'e he get on his badge, and wear his livery. 
The commission for baptizing runs so, first to make disciples, then to 
baptize. Matt, xxviii. 19. And this is the very native order of 
these things. But none but visible believers can be acknowledged 
for Christ's disciples. Ergo, The assumption I prove. 1. None 
can be esteemed Christ's disciples, but those that appear to have 
" learned of the Father," and so also have come to Christ, being 
drawn effectually by the Father, John vi. 44, 45 ; and none but 
visible believers are such. Though that the Lord may have begun 
to teach others, and they are beginning to learn of him, yet till this 
appear to us, we can never reckon them disciples of Christ. Let it 
be remembered, that we do acknowledge infants to be disciples of 
Christ, as well as adult persons ; and whatever is, or may be said on 
this head, must be understood de subjecto capad, and without prejudice 
to the holy seed, the infants of the faithful. 2. "We must judge of 
people's discipleship by their fruit. Matt. vii. 20, " By their fruit ye 
shall know them ;" viz. whether they be Christ's disciples, or the 
devil's. This our Lord plainly teacheth, John xv. 8, " Herein is my 
Father glorified, that ye bring forth much fruit ; so shall ye be" 
{i. e. appear, yea further appear, to be) " my disciples." The same 
is taught, John viii. 31, " If ye continue in my word, then are ye 
my disciples indeed." Hence it plainly follows, that none but 
visible saints are visible disciples of Christ, and that such whose 
practice belies their profession are excluded. 3. Such as are worse 
than infidels, cannot be reckoned disciples of Christ ; such as have 
denied the faith, are worse than infidels ;* and those whose practice 
openly contradicts their profession, have denied the faith ; for 
though they " profess to know God, yet in works they deny him," 
Tit. i. 16 ; and it is horrid indeed to think on sealing them with the 
seal of the covenant that in their works deny God, unto whom " no- 
thing is pure, who are abominable, disobedient, and to every good 
work reprobate." 4, We are plainly instructed what it is without 
which none can be Christ's disciples,. Luke xiv. 26, 27, " If any man 
hate not his father and mother ; — and whosoever doth not bear his 

• I Tim. V. 8. 


cross, and come after me, cannot be ray disciple." "Will Christ 
acknowledge men as his disciples, on no other terms ? then, without 
the appearance of these things, we ought not to reckon persons his dis- 
ciples. Neither are ever any called disciples of Christ in the Scrip- 
tures, but such as were visible believers. We read indeed, John 
vi. 66, " that many of his disciples went back, and walked no more 
with him," and so some visible believers apostatize : not that they 
are visible disciples of Christ when they fall into a total and final 
apostacy ; but they that now are apostates, were visible disciples of 
Christ before. When we say an apostate disciple, or a disciple gone 
back, the terra disciple is affected with alienation, as philosophers 
speak ; as when we say, a dead man, the meaning is, he who was 
a man while living, is now dead. Hence it appears, that the 
argument taken by Fulwood* from this Scripture, to prove that the 
visible church may be considered to be truly a church of Christ 
without respect to saving grace, is of no use to his purpose. 
" Now, let it be supposed," says he, " that they now ceased to be 
disciples, (and truly I think it may not only be supposed, but fully 
concluded they now ceased to be disciples), yet this only evidenceth, 
for the time past, that they never had any true grace, howbeit they 
were then disciples. Unless they had gone on, they could not 
have gone back ; and so long as they went on, they were disciples. 
Not those that seemed, but those that were disciples, went back." 
It is true indeed, that the apostacy of these persons evidenced, for 
the time past, that they never had any true grace ; but it did not 
evidence that they never had any evidence, before men, of true 
grace, or that they never had any appearance of true grace, which, 
unless his argument prove it, cannot reach his conclusion : yea, it 
evidenceth the quite contrary, that they had some time an appear- 
ance of saving grace, in so far as they were accounted disciples of 
Christ, and to have walked with him. But I deny that their apos- 
tacy only evidenced they had no true grace ; it evidenced also, that 
they were never the true disciples whom Christ sent his disciples 
to make and baptize, and so no church members before Grod : for, as 
Mr. Baxter saith, " When Christ saith. Make rae disciples of all 
nationsf baptizing them, he means sincere disciples, though we 
cannot ever know them to be sincere." It is a weak criticism, 
to remark, that it was not those that seemed, but those that 
were disciples, that went back ; for were is no more in the text 
than seemed. And what if I say, they were seeming disciples, and 
not real. But they were indeed visible disciples before their visible 

' Discourse vis. Chur. p. 129. f Inf. Bap. p. 327. 


apostacy ; they were as really visible disciples, as Peter and 
John were ; but when they apostatized, they ceased to be visible 

Ar&ument III. All the examples of baptism recorded in the 
Scripture, hold forth none to have been baptized, but those that 
before baptism appeared to have a saving interest in Christ. 
Those whom John the Baptist admitted, were such as " confessed 
their sins," Matth. iii. 6. So those baptized by Peter, Acts ii. 41, 
" Then they that gladly received his word were baptized." The Sama- 
ritans believed Philip preaching the things concerning the king- 
dom of Grod, and the name of Jesus Christ, and then were 
baptized, Acts viii. 12. " Simon himself believed also, and 
was baptized," ver. 13. " The eunuch said, I believe that Jesus 
Christ is the Son of God, and then was baptized," vers. 37, 38. 
Paul is first converted, and then baptized. Acts ix. 18. The 
centurion, and those with him, received the Holy Ghost ; and 
therefore none could forbid water.* So Lydia, Acts xvi. 14, 15. 
the jailor, vers, 32, 33. Crispus and others. Acts xviii. 8. Neither 
can any instance be adduced wherein the matter appears to have 
been handled otherwise ; and surely these examples are our rule 
in this case. What though some of them, as Simon Magus, were 
indeed hypocrites, the argument nevertheless holds good, if their 
hypocrisy did not appear before they were baptized ; which cannot 
be proven to have been, even in the case of Simon : yea it appears 
right plainly, from the history of him, that it was some time after 
he was baptized that his hypocrisy appeared ; for, after he was 
baptized, he continued with Philip all the time, till the apostles 
which were at Jerusalem, sent unto Samaria Peter and John, and 
the Samaritans received the Holy Ghost through the laying on of the 
the apostles' hands. 

Argument IY. If the admission of such to baptism as are not 
visible saints be a profaning of the holy ordinance, then they have 
no right before the church thereto, nor ought they to be baptized ; 
the former is true : Ergo, the latter also. The profanation of the 
ordinance appears, in that those are declared to be real members 
of Christ, clothed with the righteousness of Christ, blessed with 
the pardon of sin, &c. who, to the sight of the world, have, or at 
least appear to have, none of these things : for baptism, as was 
shown before, is appointed of God to seal these and such like ; 
and so is a testifying sign that the party baptized is such a one. 

* " Can any man forbid," signifying, that unless the FIol)' Spirit had rested on them, 

there should have beea who would have hindered them from hapusui hen. Adv. 

Heres. b 2. 


Wherefore, to baptize snch persons, were to proclaim an agree- 
ment betwixt Christ and Belial, and to set up for concord betwixt 
light and darkness, and seal the same with a witness ; which 
cannot be but an abuse of God's holy ordinance. Tt was a heavy 
charge against the priests, Ezek. xxii. 26. that they had vio- 
lated God's law, and profaned his holy things ; and put no dif- 
ference between the holy and profane, nor shewed difference between 
the clean and unclean. Now, the law which they violated in this, 
we have expressly set down, Lev. x. 8. 9. 10. " And the Lord spake 
unto Aaron, saying, Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor 
thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congreg:i- 
tion ; lest ye die : It shall be a statute for ever throughout your 
generations : And that ye may put difference between holy and 
unholy, and between unclean and clean." The first respects moral, 
the other ceremonial purity or impurity. And this putting differ- 
ence is evidently distinguished from the shewing difference doctrin- 
ally; as appears from ver. 11. " And that ye may teach the children 
of Israel," &c. Now, surely the Lord doth as little allow the pro- 
faning of his holy things under the gospel, as under the law ; and 
the putting no difference betwixt the holy and profane, cannot but 
be a i)rofauing of God's holy things, now as well as then. The 
priests also are reproved for bringing into the sanctuary, strangers 
uncircumcised in heart and in flesh, and thereby polluting it, Ezek. 
xliv. 7- And to prevent the mistake, lest they should think that the 
only ground of the quarrel was, that such were uncircumcised in 
flesh, the Lord tells them, ver. 9. that " no stranger uncircumcised 
in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into his sanctuary." 
Mark the disjunctive particle, " uncircumcised in heart, nor in 
flesh." Was the sanctuary more holy than the sacrament of baptism 
is ? will moral impurity pollute the one, and not the other ? If any 
.shall say, that this respects not Israelites, but strangers ; and so 
although it may hold good in our case as to professed pagans, yet 
not as to professed Christians : I answer, 1. The strangers were de- 
barred from the sanctuary as uncircumcised in heart, therefore all 
uncircumcised in heart were debarred ; for a qua tali ad omne valet 
consequentia. 2. The Lord expressly reproves the profane Israel- 
ites for entering into his sanctuary, Jer. vii. 9. 10. 11. 

Argument V. ult. If none have a right to baptism before the 
Lord but real saints, then none have a right to it before the church 
but visible saints. The argument has been already proven ; and 
the consequent is very plain. These two positions do mutually 
establish one another. If the word debar all from the sacraments 
that are not real saints, to admit such as have no appearance of 


saintsliip, were to pull in with the one hand, when we shut out with 
the other ; which is the high way to make people Atheists, and to 
believe nothing that is preached. When Grod hath declared, that 
none have right before hira to the seals of the covenant, but those 
that have a saving interest in his Son, in whom " the promises are 
Yea and Amen;" and hath required the dispensers of the holy 
mysteries, to " put a difference betwixt the holy and unholy, and to 
sej)arate betwixt the precious and the vile," and told us, that " we 
shall know them by their fruits ;" men ought to beware of admitting 
such as plainly appear to be profane and vile. Men must not be 
blind, when the Avorks of the flesh are manifest, Gal. v. 19. 

Now, all this doth no way prejudice the right of infants to bap- 
tism corame cclesice ; for the infants of visible believers are no less 
visible believers than they themselves are, seeing the Lord declares 
himself to be not only the believer's God, but the God of his seed. 
" We do not tie," say the professors of Leyden,* "the efficacy of 
baptism to that moment when the body is washed ; but we do, with 
the Scripture, pre-require faith and repentance in all that are to be 
baptized, at least, according to the judgment of charity : and that 
as well in infants that are within the covenant ; in whom, by the 
power of God's blessing and of the gospel covenant, we affirm, that 
there is the seed and spirit of faith and repentance; as in the aged, in 
whom the profession of actual faith and repentance is necessary." 
"Yea," saith Zanchius,f " We must believe, that an infant of faithful 
parents is already baptized with the baptism of the Spirit, seeing it 
is in the covenant." It were easy to heap up testimonies given by 
orthodox divines to the first and third conclusions. UrsinJ gives 
his judgment thereanent in two theses : " All," says he, " and only 
the regenerate lawfully, receive baptism. The church administereth 
baptism lawfully to all, and only these whom she ought to account 
in the number of the regenerate." See " Calv. Inst." lib. 4. cap. 16. 
§ 23, 24; " Wits, in Syrob. Apost." p. 455. § 15 ; " Exer." p. 372, 
381, 416 ; " Zanch. in Eph." p. 226 ; " Wend. Christ. Theol." p. 432 ; 
«'Baxt. Inf. Bapt." p. 327; "Bowies' Past. Evang." p. 185. 

Conclusion IV. All infants descended of parents whereof 
one only is a visible believer, hath right to baptism before the 
church ; they ought to be baptized, whether it be the father or 
mother that makes a credible profession. Such are in covenant 
with God visibly ; we are to look on them as probably within 
the covenant, as to the saving benefits thereof, so that none can 

• Synop. Pur. Theol. p. 609. f Com. in Epb. p. 225. th. 13. 

X T/ies. the,)}, de Bapt. th. 12. misc. p. 125. 


forbid water. The apostle plainly tells us, they are not unclean 
but holy, I Cor. vii. 14. and therefore subjects lawfully capable of 
this ordinance. I find no need to insist on this point, being fully 
satisfied therein, and knowing none that deny it who do not alto- 
gether reject infant baptism. If it le inquired, Who is to be 
sponsor for the child when the father is the unbeliever? I answer. 
The father cannot be admitted, seeing there is no reason to expect 
that he will bring up his child in ihe fear of that God, the fear of 
whom is not before his own eyes ; or in that religion to which he him- 
self is a stranger. To overlook the mother, and to require another 
to be sponsor for the child, I see no reason. But the mother is to 
be sponsor for the child : 1. Because it seems the child hath its 
right by her. 2. Because the Scripture lays the bonds on her ; so 
that she is antecedently obliged to bring up her child in the nurture 
and admonition of the Lord, Eph. vi. 4. 3. Because she is the person 
most to be trusted in such a weighty concern. Whoever it be that 
presents the child to be baptized, I suppose is not material, provid- 
ing he or she be a church member. Neither is it necessary that the 
sponsor present the child; but if it can be conveniently done, it 
ought to be. Only in the case supposed, the bonds being laid on the 
mother, it is not reasonable the child should want the seal of the 
covenant till she be able to appear in the congregation, if provi- 
dence allow an opportunity before that time. 

But now I come to the main point of this inquiry, viz. 
Whether or no all infants born of Christian parents, so called in 
opposition to Jews, Turks, aud pagans, have a right before the 
church to baptism ? or, whether the open wickedness, profanity, or 
gross ignorance of the parents, should hinder the infant to be bap- 
tized, till either the parents reform, or the child come to mature age, 
aud by his personal walk satisfy the church as to his right to that 
ordinance ? What hath been said to the former points seems pretty 
clear ; but to determine this, hoc opus, hie labor est. 

Many godly and learned hold the former part of that question, 
though, as I apprehend, on different grounds ; all which, I conceive, 
are expressed by Zanchy, and Oliver Bowles. Their words are as 
follows. " The children of those," says that judicious divine, 
Zanchius,* " that are indeed in the church, but, because of their un- 
clean way of living, declare that they are not indeed of the church ; 
if they be offered to baptism, they cannot be debarred therefrom, 
nor ought they. The reason is, because though the parents be 
wicked, yet their impiety ought not to prejudge their children which 

* Com. on Eph. p. 22(i. 

Vol. VI. K 


are born within the church. But if you say, only the children of 
the faithful are to be baptized, because those infants only are 
judged to be within the covenant, and they only holy; I answer, 
the impiety of their nearest parents is not to be considered here, 
but the piety of the church in which they are born ; — as also their 
ancestors who have lived godly and holily." " All infants," says 
Mr. Bowles,* " who, in the judgment of charity, are within the 
covenant, are to be baptized. And baptism is to be administered 
exactly according to this judgment of charity. And that judgment 
concludes all to be within the covenant, whose parants were some- 
time sealed with the seal of the covenant." Hereto add Mr. 
Ful wood's notion of it. He judgeth the children of openly wicked 
parents are to be baptized, because their parents may be really 
members of the visible church, (notwithstanding their want of 
saving grace), and really baptized. And so they allow the chil- 
dren of such heretics amongst whom the formula of baptism re- 
mains safe, children of excommunicate parents, bastards, if there be 
any evidence of the baptism, at least of one of the parents. Some 
add foundlings. Bowles requires that there be sponsors found in 
order to the baptizing of these children of heretics, &c. otherwise 
he acknowledges the action to be lusory, and baptism to be polluted. 
I remember there is a question. Whether or not the infants of pagans, 
Turks, or Jews, wholly in the power of a Christian believer, being 
by him devoted to Christ, ought to be baptized ? This is by Mr. 
Baxterf resolved in the affirmative, on Scripture grounds. In this 
case, the infant's right is wholly from the sponsor. Now, if the 
children of openly wicked Christians be put in this case, the plea 
for their right to baptism from their being born in the church, of 
godly progenitors, of baptized immediate parents, falls to the 
ground. But I suppose those learned men mean no such thing; but 
that, by virtue of their birth privilege, the children of openly 
wicked Christian parents have a right to baptism ; and that, laying 
aside the case of such sponsors from whom the infants wholly derive 
their right to the ordinance, it is not necessary that one of the 
parents be a visible believer, or have a serious and credible pro- 
fession, in order to their children's having a right to baptism coram 
erxlesia. And for proof of this point let the following arguments be 

Abgument I. The seal of the covenant belongs to all those that 
are within the covenant ; but the infants of all Christian parents 
are within the covenant; for so runs the covenant, "I will be thy 

' Past. Ev. lib. 3. cajj. 3. f luf. Bapt. p. 101. 


God, and the Grod of thy seed." Seeing the parents are sealed with 
the seal, they must needs be within the covenant, and consequently 
their seed also. The covenant is not made with the root, bnt also 
with the offspring; and if so, why may not the seal of the covenant 
be effectual, not only to the baptized parent if he believe, but also 
render his seed capable at least of the external sign. Wherefore 
the apostle saith, " Now are your children holy," to wit, by external 
holiness ; whereby they are reputed to be within the covenant, being 
come of such a parent as hath given up his or her name to Christ, 
1 Cor. vii. 14. Let it be duly considered what was the case that 
was so straitening to those Corinthians, which Paul doth resolve in 
the forecited place. It was not, whether or not the godly husband 
or wife might lawfully abide in the state of marriage with a wicked 
Christian yoke-fellow ? but, whether or not the Christian husband or 
wife might lawfully abide in that state with a pagan ? The apostle 
tells them they might, and gives the reason, " For the unbe- 
lieving husband is sanctified to the believing wife," i. e. the pagan 
to the Christian ; and gives the reason, " Else were your children 
unclean ; but now they are holy." And it is very palpable there 
was very open wickedness amongst that people. What sad divisions 
and disorders were among them ! They tolerated the incestuous 
person ; they did not mourn, but were puffed up ; some of them wei"e 
drunken when they came to the Lord's table ; some denied the resur- 
rection, &c. Notwithstanding of all, the apostle tells them their 
children were holy, consequently within the covenant, and to be 

Argument IL The infant not having stretched forth its hand to 
the parent's iniquity, must not bear his sin, at least in spirituals, 
Ezek. xviii. 20. " The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father : 
the soul that sinneth, it shall die." But surely, if no infants should 
be admitted to baptism but those of visible believers, many infants 
born of Christian parents should be debarred, and so uncontrover- 
tibly bear the iniquity of their fathers. If God hath manifested 
his mercy so far, that the child shall not bear the father's sin, they 
seem to go strangely to work that will debar poor infants because 
of the wicked life of their parents, in which they, poor souls, have no 
hand. Which is the more to be noticed, and calls people to be the 
more wary, if we consider that many a time God brings chosen 
vessels out of the loins of the most profligate parents. Even in the 
family of Jeroboam was one " found in whom there was some good 
thing found toward the God of Israel." 

Argument III. If the heresy, impiety, or profanity of the Jewish 
parents did not exclude their children from circumcision, then the 



heresy, profanity, or iiupiety of Christian parents cannot exclude 
their children from baptism ; the former is true : Ergo, the conse- 
quence is plain : for baptism is the same to us, that circumcision was 
to them ; " circumcision was a seal of the righteousness of faith," 
Rom. iv. 11. as well as baptism ; and none will say, that the grace 
of God is more narrow under the New Testament than it was under 
the Old. The minor is no less manifest, if ye consider these four 
things. 1. The universality of the command with respect to circum- 
cision, Gren. xvii. 10. " Every man-child among you shall be circum- 
cised ;" which command is repeated ver. 12. Here is no exception. 
2. The punishment or censure to be inflicted on the uncircumcised 
man-child among the Jews, ver. 14. " The uncircumcised man-child 
shall be cut off" from his people." 3. Consider the practice of Joshua, 
who at God's command circumcised the children of Israel at Gil- 
gal, Josh. V. where it is expressly said, " When they had done cir- 
cumcising all the people," ver. 8. ; yet these were the children of 
them whom God for their wickedness kept out of Canaan, who fell 
in the wilderness, who vexed his Holy Spirit forty years, so that he 
sware they should never enter into his rest And they themselves 
cannot be supposed to be all visible believers. 4. "We never read of 
any of the Israelites' children that were debarred from that ordi- 
nance on any pretence whatsoever. From all which it is evident, 
that the impiety of the Jewish parents did not debar their children 
from circumcision, and therefore as little can the impiety of Chris- 
tians debar theirs from baptism. Here is a grant of the first seal of 
the covenant, yea, a command to receive the same, directed, unto the 
children of all that are externally in covenant with God, as Chris- 
tians and their seed are. If any will say, it is now done away, and 
concerns not us under the New Testament dispensation; they must 
acknowledge themselves obliged to shew us the repeal thereof in the 
sacred records, otherwise confess it still stands in force. 

Argument IY. This doth further appear, if we consider that 
Scripture, Acts ii. 38, 39, " Repent therefore, and be baptized every 
one of you. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, 
and to all that are afar off", even as many as the Lord our God 
shall call." Now, what is that promise he speaks of, but the great 
promise, " I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed." The apostle 
hereby means to stir them up to repentance, and to be baptized ; 
and for their encouragement he tells them, the promise is to them 
and their seed. Note, that the promise is to them antecedently to 
their repenting ; this is plain, because the apostle's argument is 
truly thus, the promise is to you, therefore repent and be baptized; 
he argues from their privilege to their duty. Again, the promise 

AND AUK TO JiV. n VPTIZEt) ? 143 

is said to be to such " as are afar off, even to as many as God shall 
call," meaning the Gentiles, Eph. ii. 13. " Ye who sometimes were 
afar off." The call here spoken of, is the outward and external call, 
which puts the Gentiles into the same case with those Jews who 
surely were not savingly called, so that the promise is to their 
seed also, as well as to the Jews' seed. Hence I form a twofold 

1. If the promise be to the born Israelites and their seed even 
antecedently to their repenting, then the promise is unto persons 
within the Christian church and to their seed, antecedently to true 
repentance in them : but the former is true : JErgo, and if the 
promise be so to them, the seal of it must be so likewise, 

2. The promise is to the Gentiles, whom the Lord externally 
calleth, and to their seed ; but such are openly wicked Christian 
parents : Ergo, Who can forbid water to their infants ? 

Argument. Y. John Baptist and the apostles admitted all to 
baptism that offered themselves, Matt. iii. 5, 6. " Then went out to 
hira Jerusalem and all Judea, and were baptized of him." He 
debarred none ; no not the Pharisees, whom yet he called " a gener- 
ation of vipers," ver. 7. That he did baptize them, is clear from 
his own express testimony, ver. 11, where, speaking to the Pharisees 
and Sadducees, he saith, " I indeed baptize you with water." 
Luke iii. 21, it is expressly said, " When all the people were bap- 
tized." Now the practice of John plainly holds forth, that they 
had a right to that ordinance, and that they were in covenant : 
Ergo, a majori the infants of wicked Christian parents are to be 
baptized. Now, if we look to the practice of the apostles, we shall 
find, that notwithstanding of all that John baptized, yet Christ by his 
disciples baptized more than he ; as the evangelist expressly testifies, 
John iv. 1. Philip, on a bare profession of faith, baptized the 
eunuch ; and so in other examples. Now, it is certain, that they 
would never have refused baptism to the infants of the parents 
whom they baptized ; but so it is, that those children whose title to 
this ordinance is questioned, are the children of such parents as 
profess their faith in Christ ; why then should not their right to the 
ordinance be acknowledged ? 

Argument YI. Those children whom God acknowledgeth to be 
born to him, and to be his children, have a right to the first seal of 
the covenant ; for what children have right to it, if God's children, 
such as are born to him, have it not ? but so it is that God owneth 
the children of the Jewish wicked parents to be born unto him, 
and to be his children : Ergo, Ezek. xvi. 20, 21. " Moreover, thou 
hast taken thy sons, and thy daughters, whom thou hast born unto 


me, and these thou hast sacrificed unto them to be devoured. Thou 
hast slain my children, and delivered thera to cause them to pass 
through the fire unto them." Here is most gross and open wick- 
edness of the parents, yet the Lord will not have it to prejudge the 
church state of the children. 

Argument VII. If none but the infants of visible believers have 
right to baptism, and ought to be baptized; then, 1. Families, 
parishes, and whole countries, might come in a short time to be 
paganized ; seeing in many places there are so very few visible 
believers. 2. Through the rigidity and indiscretion of church 
officers, many poor infants who are the children of believing parents 
should be deprived of that ordinance : for people may go lo 
heaven while we hear not the sound of their feet; and it is well 
known saving grace may lie hid under the ashes of much ignorance 
and corruption. 3. Then ministers should have no certain rule to 
walk by in baptizing any infants. All that is left to them, is their 
opinion : They think such a one to be a believer, and such a one 
to be an unbeliever; and therefore they will baptize the infants of the 
one, not of the other : and they may be mistaken as to both ; they 
may take a sheep for a goat, and a goat for a sheep. Is this 
sure standing ? or can we suppose that God hangs such a weighty 
matter as this npon the opinion and fallible judgment of men ? 
One possibly thinks such a measure of knowledge, and such a 
walk, to be sufficient ground whereon he may judge a man a belie- 
ver ; another will think so little will not serve the turn : "Where 
shall we fasten ? Surely these things hang not on such uncer- 

Argument YIII. The children of baptized church members 
ought to be baptized ; but the children of many openly scandalous 
and wicked parents are the children of baptized church members : 
therefore such children ought to be baptized. This argument is Mr. 
Fulwood's, and is the result of a large discourse concerning the 
visible church.* And so much for the proof of this point. 

Notwithstanding of all that is said for the right of the infants of 
such Christians, some are of opinion, that one of the parents must 
needs be a visible believer, or have a serious credible or probable 
profession, or else the child hath no right before the church to bap- 
tism. And truly, though I have not willfully dissembled any thing 
that might add more force to these arguments, but have represented 
thera to the best advantage so far as it occurred to me, yet I still 
doubt of the truth of that position : and therefore I will now pro- 

• P. 213. 


pose some arguments that make mc to doubt the truth of it, aud in- 
cliue me to the latter opinion, that I may at least ease my mind a 
little, by casting forth these my doubts into this paper. 

In the Jirst place. We must consider, whether infants may derive 
their right from their mediate and remote parents, or only from 
their immediate parents ; for to bury this in silence, were to beat 
the air in arguing for the last position. And if I understand ought 
of this controversy, this is one of the main hinges of it. Some 
learned men, distrusting the right of infants from such immediate 
parents as are openly wicked, who declare by their impure life they 
are not of the church, do derive the right of such infants from 
their mediate or remote parents, who lived a godly and holy 
life. I fiud two Scriptures adduced for proof of this. The 
one is, Rom. xi. 16. "If the root be holy, so are the branches." 
" By the root" says Zanchius* " he understands not their nearest 
parents, who perhaps were wicked ; but those first fathers of the 
Jewish people, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to whom was made and 
confirmed the promise and covenant, that God would be their God, 
and the God of their whole seed, by a perpetual covenant. Therefore 
all their posterity, who had not altogether apostatized to the gods 
of the Gentiles, were, I say they all were, in the covenant, and they 
were judged holy by reason of covenant holiness, foederis sanctitate 
sancti judicabantur." Hence the promise is said to be "to them and 
their seed," (Acts ii. 39.), many generations after Abraham. Ano- 
ther Scripture is that, Exod. xx. 6. " Shewing mercy to thousands of 
them that love me, and keep my commandments," while he visits 
iniquity only to the third and fourth generation. The truth is, if 
this were satisfyingly explained, and convincingly proven, the diffi- 
culty of the case would be in great measure removed. But it seems 
to me to come short of both. Against it let these few reasons be 

I. I observe, that the learned men who plead this, must needs dis- 
own the necessity of the baptism of one of the parents ; and so they 
shall be judged holy, and within the covenant, and to have right to 
baptism, whose immediate parents were never so much as baptized ; 
besides, that they are openly wicked in their lives: for it is plain, that 
godly progenitors may have such come of them as are unbaptized. 
But notwithstanding, according to this opinion, the children of such 
unbaptized parents may have right to baptism, and ought to be 
baptized; which will not be granted, as we heard before, even by 
such as agree with them in the main point : and I suppose, there 

• Com. in Eph. p. 227, 


are few that will be satisfied with less than the baptism of one of 
the immediate parents. 

II. Are there not many infants born in such places where God 
has a church, whose immediate and mediate parents, so far as any 
man now living knoweth or can remember, have been brutishly 
ignorant, profane, or both ; so that the God in whose name the in- 
fant is to be baptized, is a God whom neither they nor their fathers 
have known ? As to these we may crave leave to enquire, Quomodo 
constat ? what evidence is there that their mediate parents have 
lived a godly and holy life ? I think no man that considers for how 
many generations God hath left some nations without the knowledge 
of his will concerning man's salvation, will obtain of himself to build 
his charity in this point upon that, that God " visits the iniquity of 
the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation" only. 

III. If it be sufficient to give an infant a right to baptism, that it 
is come of godly progenitors, then the children of some pagans and 
Mahommedans have a right to baptism, though born and to be bred up 
in a pagan and Mahomraedan country, and having nothing common 
with the church of God ; but that is absurd, Eph. ii. 12. " At that 
time ye were without God, strangers to the covenant of promise." And 
the apostle gives us to know, that the children of pagans are 
unclean, 1 Cor. vii. 14. The consequence holds good, in regard 
the children of some pagans have had godly ancestors, and some of 
them lively baptized members of the Christian church, as is manifest 
in the case of those of Smyrna, Thyatira, Laodicea, and the rest of 
Asia (for the most part), which are now unchurched. But you will 
say, these infants are unchurched. It is so, but how do we know 
that but by their parents being unchurched ? What if a godly wo- 
man with child should be cast out into a pagan country and there 
bring forth her child ; is the poor infant therefore a stranger to the 
covenant, and no church member, because born in a pagan country ? 
No, sure : " the earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof," and 
the place of the child's birth can never prejudge it of the right it 
has by the promise and covenant of God. Wherefore it is plain, 
that the place of the nativity of the pagan's children can never 
evince their being unchurched ; for quatenus ad omne valet coiise- 
quentia. So that it is by the unchurched state of the parents that 
we know these infants to be unchurched. Let us consider the 
infants of the first unchurched generation, wo find they have no 
right to the seal of the covenant, yet, ex hi/pothesi, they are come of 
godly progenitors. Wherefore it doth inevitably follow, that medi- 
ate parents their being in covenant with God, is not sufficient to give 
to their remote seed a right to baptism. 

AND ARE TO BK BAPTl/iiD ? 14? 

' IV. If infants may derive their right before the church, or the 
evidence of their right before the Lord, to baptism, from their re- 
mote parents; than either from any of them whatsoever, or from 
some of thera only — I know no mids. If from any of them what- 
soever, then there is no infant under heaven that hath not a right 
to baptism ; which is absurd. The reason of the consequence is, 
because there is not an infant in the world that is not come of 
parents that were godly ; which will hold true, so long as it re- 
mains undoubted that all the world is come of Noah and of Adam. 
If from some of them only, then, 1, They that will have this be- 
lieved, must tell us how far we may go back to seek mediate parents 
from whom the infant may derive its right. 2. They must afford 
us some probable evidence that such mediate parents were godly. 
3. They must give us some reason, why we may go so far back, 
and no further. These demands seem truly as reasonable as the 
answering of them is dtficult, to say no more. 

Now, let us consider the Scriptures adduced for infants deriving 
their right to baptism before the church, from their remote parents. 
The first whereof is that Rom. xi. 16, " If the root be holy, so are 
the branches." I am satisfied, that by the root the apostle doth not 
mean Christ, as some think ; nor yet the covenant, as others ; but 
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, or rather Abraham alone. And it is 
clear, that the apostle is speaking here of the Israelites, to whom 
only Abraham was a root in respect of carnal generation ; so that 
whatever advantage the Israelites may have of this, we Gentiles 
can have none, seeing he was none of our remote parents. It is 
true, the Gentiles may be the spiritual seed of Abraham : but this 
quite alters the case, if we would plead it in this matter ; for now 
we speak of parents from whom infants descend by carnal genera- 
tion. And the way how we come to be Abraham's seed, the apostle 
plainly tells us. Gal. iii. 29. " And if ye be Christ's then are ye 
Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." If any shall 
say, that this is a general maxim, and may be applied to the Gen- 
tiles as well as the Jews ; then unless the immediate parents be the 
root, by virtue of which their children are holy, as was argued before, 
so now, we crave 1. That it be shown how far we may go up to seek 
.the root. 2. That it be manifest such infants are branches of a 
holy root. Tea, and it is reasonable in this case, such a remote 
parent be condescended on as had such a privilege as Abraham had, 
that he should be a root, whose remote seed should be holy : for 
however every godly parent is, by the covenant of God in which 
he enters, so privileged, that God is his God, and the God of his 
seed; yet I think none will make every believing parent equally 


privileged, in this matter, with Abraham ; the Scripture holding 
forth Abraham's special privilege in the holiness of his seed, by any 
other person in the world. Now, where can we fix for such a one 
in the case of ns Gentiles ? But to speak plainly to the point, I am 
of opinion, that unless we be swayed with authority of men, there 
is nothing in this Scripture that appears for evidencing the right of 
the branches to the seals of the covenant ; so that it hits not the 
point in hand. My reason for this is. That the branches the apostle 
speaks of here, was the body of the people of Israel, the ofi^spring of 
Abraham, and natural branches of this holy root ; which branches 
were already actually broken off and unchurched : so that whatever 
be said of thera, they could have no right to the sacraments, unless 
you will make them common to them that are without the church, as 
well as those that are within. That the body of the Israelites was 
now broken off, is plain ; so that it were in vain to prove it, while the 
apostle is treating so expressly of their reingraffing. And that 
they were the branches spoken of here, is evident to me from the 
scope and design of the apostle, which is, to prove the calling 
again of the Israelites, and their reingrafiing. For one proof of 
which he adduceth this argument, " If the root be holy, so are the 
branches ;" but the root is holy : Ergo, the branches also. But holy 
branches, though cut off, shall be graffed in again. It is true, some 
of these branches were not broken off, viz. the believing Jews ; for 
there were still some, amongst whom the Gentiles were graffed in, 
ver. 17- But the apostle needed not prove, that the believing Jews 
were holy ; neither would it contribute ought to his purpose, so far 
as I can see ; neither did the Gentiles boast against those branches 
that were not broken off, but against those that were broken off, 
ver. 18, 19, 20. " Boast not against the branches. Thou wilt say 
then, The branches were broken off. Well ; because of unbelief 
they were broken off." The only difficulty here is this. How branches 
broken off, or an unchurched people, can be said to be holy ? I find 
one* arguing from this text for infant baptism, brings in this objec- 
tion, " But what kind of consequence is this, If the root be holy, so 
are the branches ?" which he solves, and senseth the text thus. 
" The apostle in the former verse speaks of a receiving in again of 
the Jewish nation, and brings in this as a ground to hope for it : 
There is yet a holy root which hath an influence on the branches ; 
and argues, that if the root be holy, when the branches broken off 
shall be reingraffed, they shall be holy likewise." If this interpre- 
tation be received, the difficulty is removed ; but I know none else 

* Sydenliatii Exerc. on Inf. Bapt. p. 71. 


that puts this sense on the text. It is true, no time is defined in the 
text, neither the present nor the future ; for the words are ei he nza 
hagia, km hoi kladoL But if we read that of the branches in the fu- 
ture tense, why not also that of the root ? But that which stumbles 
me mainly as to this interpretation, is, that it is utterly alien from 
the scope of the apostle, makes his arguing very jejune, and fathers 
on him a most palpable petitio principii: for thus says the apostle, 
according to him. The Jewish nation shall be received again ; for 
when they shall be reingraffed, they shall be holy ; which evidently 
supposeth the thing in question. But the learned man supports the 
cause with better arguments than this. Only by the by I cannot but 
notice, that Mr. Baxter upon that subject, adducing several argu- 
ments out of that chapter, makes no mention of any argument from 
the text under consideration. In whatever sense those branches 
broken off are said to be holy, it seems plain they are called holy. 
And, in my opinion, the branches of this root, or the body of that people 
which was now broken off, are said to be holy ; holiness being attri- 
buted unto them not universally, but indefinitely; and that not only 
in respect of particular persons, but particular generations of them. 
Abraham being the root, all that come or shall come of him, from 
the first child begotten of his own body, to the last of his race that 
shall be born in the world, are accounted the branches of this root, 
make up one collective body of branches, one seed, and one people ; 
which, by virtue of the holiness of the root, is said to be holy. Thus 
we find the apostle speaks of them, ver. 15. " For if the casting away 
of them be the reconciling of the world ; what shall the receiving of 
them be, but life from the dead ?" "Where it is evident, the apostle 
understands not this receiving again of the particular generation, or 
the particular persons that were then broke off, as the event hath 
proven ; yea, many generations have passed since, and they are not 
as yet received ; but of this collective body of branches, which is 
said to be received again, when some of them are received. So ver. 
24. " How much more shall these which be the natural branches, be 
graffed into their own olive ?" Ver. 31. " Even so also these have now 
not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy." 
Now, this holiness is in respect of separation to God by the decree 
of election ; God having so cast the lot of electing love, that it runs 
most eminently in that vein, or amongst the natural branches of the 
root ; though it is, by the unsearchable judgments of God, like unto 
some rivers, that having run above ground a good space, get under 
the earth, and run there, (as Guadiana in Spain, running under 
ground fifteen miles), and afterwards brake forth again, to run 


above the ground, till they empty themselves into the sea; as Ovid 
says of Lycus, a river in Lycaonia, 

Sic ubi terreno Lycus est epotus hiatu, 
Existit procul hinc, alioqtie renascitur ore. 

So under the Old Testament dispensation, " Happy wast thou, Is- 
rael ; "who was like unto thee ?" Now their sun is overclouded, but 
we look for the day when all Israel shall be saved, Rom. xi. 26. 
Or, if you please, call it a separation by virtue of the covenant with 
Abraham; all comes to one thing. Only this holiness of the branches, 
you see, can give no right to sealing ordinances. The apostle right 
clearly favours this interpretation, ver. 28. As concerning the gospel, 
they are enemies for your sakes : but as touching the election, they 
are beloved for the fathers' sakes." "Why not holy, as well as 
beloved of God ? not that every individual branch has share, either 
before God or the church, of the special love of God ; but that that 
people, and collective body of branches, is so beloved of God by 
others, that out of them he will yet choose many to himself, having 
in a special manner pitched on that seed for vessels of glory. Thus 
God is said to have " so loved the world, [in opposition to fallen 
angels], that he gave his Son, that whosoever should believe on him, 
should have everlasting life." Even as a king may be said to love a 
particular family, when he takes one or two of that family, and 
prefers them, while he takes not any notice of other families, 
though he do not prefer every individual person among them. This 
is plainly confirmed by the apostle's reason, ver. 29. " For the gifts 
and calling of God are without repentance." Yea, and they are 
still called the natural branches, and the olive, their own olive, 
notwithstanding that they are broken off, ver. 24. And thus we 
see how the branches broken off are said to be holy. As to that 
Scripture, Acts ii. 39. brought for confirmation of the point fore- 
said, it is plain, that notwithstanding they were Abraham's seed, 
and the promise was to them, and to their children, (in what sense 
we shall afterwards inquire), yet the apostle expressly pre-requires 
repentance to their admission unto baptism. 

As to that other Scripture, Exod. xx. 5, 6. " Shewing mercy unto 
thousands of them that love me ;" whence some learned men would 
prove infants' right to baptism from their remote parents : I sup- 
pose no such thing can be proven from hence. This promise doth 
not respect the children of wicked immediate parents, though the 
remote seed of the godly, as those learned men would have it; but 
only the children of immediate godly parents, to whom the Lord 
will shew mercy for their parents' sake, and that unto thousands, 


viz. successively godly; the Lord will still remember those their 
progenitors, in doing them good, and the longer the godly race has 
continued, one after another, in the love of God, the better shall it 
be for the children. Now, these few reasons incline me to under- 
stand it so. 

I. If by the event we may judge of this promise, as doubtless we 
may, we shall find, tliat it cannot be understood as those that differ 
would have it. Take we an instance in the seed of Abraham. 
From Abraham to Christ, as Matthew reckons, there are reckoned 
only thrice fourteen generations. However we understand the 
evangelist, it is certain, there were but a few generations in com- 
parison of the thousand in the text ; and yet a very little after, the 
Jews are broken off, and unchurched, and had no right to the seals 
of the covenant ; and long before, the ten tribes, all the seed of 
godly Abraham, were rejected. Yet no doubt the promise of God 
remained sure ; his truth failed not, though the wicked seed of 
Abraham was cast off, yea, and '' wrath came on them to the utter- 
most," as the apostle speaks, 1 Thess. ii. 16. I know, that to ward 
off this, it is said, the promise is only to be understood of those that 
are within the church. But, in my opinion, those who will be satis- 
fied with this answer, are fixed before in the point in question, on 
some better grounds, or else they are easily satisfied : for it seems 
strange, to plead from this text in favour of the children of openly 
wicked immediate parents, for their right to the seals of the cove- 
nant, and yet to yield, that God may so far take away his mercy 
from them, notwithstanding of this promise, as to break them off 
utterly, and put them in the same case with pagans, while they, 
poor souls, were not capable to unchurch themselves ; so that, not- 
withstanding of the piety of their remote parents, they are ruined 
by their nearest parents. I would think, that if this promise made 
over church privileges to such children, it should, in the first place, 
secure them from breaking off, and being cast out of the church ; in 
regard it is made to go over the immediate wicked parents, and the 
mercy is to be shown to their children, being the remote seed of the 
godly. If any shall say, that, by virtue of this promise, the re- 
jected Jews shall be received again, it is gratis dictum: for there is 
nothing here peculiar to the Jews, nothing which may not be ap- 
plied, and belongs to the godly Gentiles, and their seed, as well as 
the Jews ; and so ye may as well argue for the receiving in again of 
the Laodiceans, Thyatirians, &c. Bnt however it be, notwithstand- 
ing of this promise, they are broken off for the time, and have 
no right to church privileges.* 

• Baxt. OQ Inf. Bapt. p. 65. 


II. Unless our interpretation be admitted, the promise and 
the threatening will be found inconsistent. For suppose the se- 
cond generation of a wicked man be godly, and also the third, 
the promise and the threat both should belong to that third 
generation ; the promise, because such a one is the immediate seed 
of the godly, and the Lord will shew mercy to thousands of 
them that love him ; the threatening, because he is the remote seed 
of the wicked, even the third generation ; and the threat is, that he 
will visit the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and 
fourth generation. And that such cases may and do fall out, who can 
deny ? An instance of it take in the case of Rehoboam, whose son was 
like himself, 1 Kings xv. 3. " He walked in all the sins of his father, 
and his heart was not perfect with the Lord." Yet Asa, the second 
from Rehoboam, did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, 
as did David his father, ver. IL And the third, Jehoshaphat, was a 
godly man. See then, according to the interpretation of those that 
differ, if both the promise and threat belong not to Jehosha- 
phat ? 

III. Unless we expound it of the immediate seed of the godly, 
there are none, or at least very few in the world, not comprehended 
in this promise : for I think it will be hard to find any in the world 
that are a thousand generations removed from godly parents. And 
truly, if it be so very good and profitable to be come of godly pa- 
rents so far remote, genealogies are no more vain under the New 
Testament than under the Old. 

Thus it would seem, that children derive their church right to 
baptism from their immediate, and not from their remote parents. 
But I will add yet some more for proof of that point ; and will try 
whether those texts alleged on the contrary, have led us to any 
thing that may be helpful to our purpose. 

Argument I. The child stands coram ecclesia for church privileges 
by the same person or persons by whom he falls. This proposition, 
I think, cannot be denied in the matter of moral standing, and right 
to privileges, whether civil or religious ; and of no other standing 
do we speak here. But so it is, that infants fall from church pri- 
vileges by their immediate parents : Ergo, they stand by them. 
The minor is clear from the case of the Jewish infants at the rejec- 
tion of that people. That their infants fell from all right before the 
church to the seal of the covenant, is clear ; and I think none will 
doubt it : for they were the natural branches as well as others, and 
were capable of reingraffing ; and the believing Gentile comes with 
his seed in the room of the unbelieving Jew and his. "Well, then, 
the apostle tells us, it was " for unbelief they were broken off,'* 


Rom. xi. 20. If so, then either because of their own, or their parents' 
unbelief; not because of their own, for they were not capable of re- 
jecting Christ in their own persons, if because of their parents' unbe- 
lief, then either of their remote or immediate parents ; not because 
of the unbelief of their remote parents, for their root was holy, ver. 
16 : therefore because of the unbelief of their next parents. I 
think none will quarrel our reasoning from the case of the Jewish 
children to those of Christians, but Anabaptists and Socinians. I 
see not what exception any would enter against this argument, un- 
less it be, that these Jews who professedly rejected Christ ; but the 
openly wicked Christians, of whom we speak, do not. But let the 
difference be what it will ; though these Jews had turned professed 
Atheists, still it remains true, that unless their children had stood 
by them, they could not have fallen by them. I find Fulwood* 
brings in this as an objection against his doctrine, " That children 
stand in the visible church in their parents' right :" And answers, 
" That the infant's right is seated in itself, though it be derived from 
its parents." And this he proves by four arguments. But, in ray 
opinion, he needed not have been at the pains ; for I doubt if there 
be any that say the child's right is seated in the parent, whether it 
be understood of his right before God or the church. But sure it is, 
the child can have no visible right to the seals of the covenant, but 
as he is the child of such mediate or immediate parents, that have 
right to the same, and are members of the church ; and his visible 
right stands or falls with theirs. So that it may well enough be 
said, that they stand in their parents' right, or that they stand be- 
fore the church by their parents. 

Argument II. If the repentance of immediate parents be neces- 
sarily pre-requisite unto their infants' right to baptism, (I mean the 
visible repentance of the parents to the visible right of infants), 
notwithstanding that such infants are the remote seed of undoubt- 
edly godly parents ; then infants derive their right to baptism from 
their immediate, not their mediate parents ; but the antecedent is 
true : Ergo, the consequent also. The sequel is manifest. The as- 
sumption I prove from Acts ii. 38. 39. " Repent, and be baptized 
for the remission," &c. Here are two sorts of persons spoken oflT, 
viz. adult persons, who were personally guilty of the murder 
of the Son of God ; and their seed, or little ones. Both were 
Abraham's seed, at least most of them were so : for however 
these words, " and to as many as are afar off," &c. be ex- 
plained ; yet none can doubt but the natural seed of Abraham 

• Disc, vis Church, p. 186. 186 


are designed in these words, " For the promise is to you, and to 
your children." So the children here spoken of, are the children of 
remote godly parents. Two things here remain to be proven for 
clearing of the assumption : 1. That repentance is required as 
necessary antecedently to a right to baptism here enjoined. 2. That 
in the call to baptism, the children of those parents are compre- 
hended as well as themselves. 

1. As to the first, That repentance is required of the parents in 
this text, as necessarily pre-requisite to a right to the baptism urged 
by the apostle, is plain, if ye consider, in the first place. That if 
they had right to baptism antecedently to their repentance, the 
apostle could not have denied the same unto them till they did de- 
clare it; and that the rather, that they were now pricked at the 
heart for their murdering of Christ, and crying out, " What shall 
we do to be saved ?" Yet we find the apostle requires, in the first 
place, that they should repent, and stays their baptism till they 
have evidenced their repentance, notwithstanding that their present 
perplexity required a speedy possession of those privileges they had 
right unto. And when the apostles do fall a-baptizing, they ba^)- 
tize those, and those only, who gladly received Peter's word, ver. 
41. Further, how could they have been baptized antecedently to 
their repentance, seeing they were to be " baptized in the name of 
Jesus Christ," as says the text ; and none but Christ's disciples 
ought to be baptized? Matth. xxviii. 19. They could not be ac- 
counted Christ's disciples till they professed their faith in him, 
and their repentance ; and consequently till then could have no 
right coram ecclesia to baptism in his name. Finally, they are called 
to be baptized for the remission of sins, non obtinendam, sed obsig- 
nandam, i. e. in testimony of remission of sins : but this could not 
be before faith, seeing it is by faith we obtain remission; and faith 
cannot be without repentance. Wherefore it is evident, they are 
called to repentance as necessary antecedently to baptism. 

2. For the second, That the call to baptism here comprehends the 
children of these parents as well as themselves. Metanoesate, kai 
baptistheto ekastos humon. The authors of Antisynodalia Americana 
will have these words (if I right remember) read, " and every one of 
you be baptized," (it seems) that the sense may be, Every one of 
you that repent be baptized. But as our translation is exactly ac- 
cording to the original, so the call to repentance and to baptism are of 
equal latitude, as the words plainly bear, and the nature of the things 
themselves, as was shown before ; otherwise it was no sin in them 
that rejected baptism so to do, providing only they did not repent, 
though under this call : whicii methinks is no sound divinity. But 


to the point: This appears, if ye consider these particulars. 1. 
Here is express mention made of their children together with them- 
selves, " For the promise is to you, and to your children." Now, 
those to whom is the promise, are by this call obliged to be bap- 
tized ; but the promise was to their children as well as themselves : 
£rgo, If any doubt the major, I might prove it thus : If the gift 
of the Holy Ghost was to be given after baptism, then those to whom 
the promise is made, are called to be baptized ; the former is true : 
Ergo, The reason of the consequence is, because the gift of the Holy 
Ghost and the promise being to them, are joined together ; the lat- 
ter as the ground of the former. The assumption appears from the 
apostle's own words, " Be baptized, — and ye shall receive the gift 
of the Holy Ghost." 2. To what other end should mention be made 
of their children, but that the apostle would have them to repent, 
that so both they and their seed might receive the seal of the 
covenant ? This, I think, must be granted, unless we will join 
hands with the Anabaptists, and delay the baptism of their children 
till such time as they were capable personally to evidence their 
repentance. 3. The scope of the apostle, which was to comfort 
those that were pricked at the heart for the murdering of the Lord 
of glory, doth prove this. They saw now what it was to be guilty 
of Christ's blood ; and doubtless (as an awakened soul has a quick 
memory for bygone sins) they remembered well, that sometime they 
had cried out, " His blood be on us, and our children." Wherefore, 
that the plaster might be as broad as the sore, it was necessary 
that they should be taught the reception of their children to bap- 
tism, together with themselves ; and so both were called together 
thereto. 4. In all examples of the parents' call to receive the first 
seal of the covenant, the children also are comprehended, whether 
under the Old or New Testament dispensations ; and how can it be 
otherwise, seeing God has said, he will be the believer's God, and 
the God of his seed also. 

Argument III. God threatens that he will visit the iniquity 
of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth ge- 
neration of them that hate him ; but promiseth to shew mercy 
to thousands of them that love him, and keep his command- 
ments. I have already proven, that the promise is only to the 
immediate seed of godly parents ; and by the same labour, that 
the threatening is only to the immediate seed of the ungodly: 
and as I said of the meaning of the promise, its being extended 
to thousands ; so say I of the threatening, its being extended to 
the third and fourth generation, viz. successively, and one after 
another ungodly. God, in punishing the children, will remember 

Vol. YI. l 


the iniquity of their fathers and grandfathers ; they being still 
the children only of the wicked. Now, whatever else the mercy 
promised doth comprehend, I think it will be denied by none but 
Anabaptists, and such as they, that it includes a visible right to 
the first seal of the covenant. By the same reason then, the 
threatening includes the contrary ; and so Grod himself, in his holy 
and wise dispensations, has explained it, while he hath broken off 
wicked parents and their seed from the visible church, and all right 
to church privileges. This Scripture then afi^ords us a twofold 
argument for our purpose. 

Akgument 1. From the threatening. If God visit the iniquity 
of the fathers upon the children of immediate wicked parents, then 
the children of immediate wicked parents have no right to baptism, 
though they be the remote seed of the godly ; the former is true : 
Ergo, The sequel, which only needs proof, is thus evinced: The 
mercy promised to the children of those that love God, compre- 
hends a grant of a visible right to the initiating seal made to them ; 
Ergo, the judgment threatened to the children of wicked parents, 
comprehends a denuding them of, or a denying unto them, a visible 
right to the same : for contrariorum contraria sunt consequentia. And 
otherwise, they to whom the threatening visibly belongs shall 
have the mercy of the promise visibly belonging to them also ; 
not without great appearance of confusion of those things which 
God hath so divided and distinguished. This reasoning the 
learned Zanchius yields to us in thesi,* though in ht/pothesi he is 
against it. His words are, " There is a certain antithesis betwixt 
the promise and threatening. Now, what doth he promise, when he 
says ' He will shew mercy to those that love him' ? temporal good 
things only ? not at all ; but eternal life, according to that, ' He 
that doth these things, shall live in them :' and in many places 
he proraiseth salvation to them that keep his law. Therefore also 
in the threatening, he threatens eternal death." Yet the same 
learned man will not allow us to conclude from this, that the 
children of those parents who are excluded from the covenant for 
their iniquities and defections, are excluded also.f But why, upon 
the same ground we may not argue as before is done, I see not. 
Nothing can strike against the one, that doth not equally militate 
against the other. But says the learned man,| " Surely when we 
have come to the fourth generation, where those fathers also are 
wicked, and excluded from the covenant for their own wickedness ; 
their children also, belonging to the fifth generation, must neces- 
sarily be supposed to be excluded from the covenant ; and likewise 

* Tom. 4. p. 372. t P. 375. % ''"d- 


their children, and so on. How then would it be true that the Lord 
says, he will not extend this curse but to the fourth generation at 
most?" I answer, with all deference to that judicious man, there is 
no absurdity in this consequence that he draws from the opinion of 
those that differ from him ; yea, the threatening itself obligeth us to 
believe it, it being supposed they are still wicked one after another : 
for surely even the fifth generation, in the case supposed, are the 
children of those that hate God, and so liable to the threatening ; 
only the fifth generation, according to the threat, hath not the sins 
of any of the former, but the fourth remembered against them in the 
punishment : and so on, till we come to the third and fourth gene- 
ration again: whereby the Lord shews himself indeed slow to wrath, 
but abundant in goodness ; while, on the other hand, the mercy 
promised extends to thousands. And thus we see how it remains 
true, that God will not extend this curse beyond the fourth genera- 
tion, that is, visiting the iniquities of grandfathers upon the chil- 
dren. But nevertheless, if there should be thousands of quaternions 
of wicked generations, the denial of the mercy should be carried 
down through them all, according to the threatening. If the learned 
man mean, that we cannot refuse, according to our interpretation, to 
allow the fifth generation of successively wicked persons the seal of 
the covenant ; I deny any such thing follows, but the contrary, as 
■was cleared before. But if he take that to be true, it deserves con- 
sideration, how that can agree with God's dispensation, in visiting 
the iniquities of the fathers on the children among the Jews, six- 
teen hundred years and upwards ; not to speak of the pagan nations. 
It can no more be inferred from thence, then, that God will not give 
the mercy to more than thousands of them that love him. But 
when God minds the mercy we speak of, either to the fourth or fifth 
generation, the mercy, I say, of visible right to the first seal of the 
covenant in their infancy, we may expect he will deal with the 
third or fourth so as to make way for it. 

Argument 2. From the promise. If the mercy promised belongs 
only to the immediate seed of godly parents, then children derive 
their visible right to the ordinance of baptism from their immediate, 
not from their mediate parents; the former is true : Ergo, the rea- 
son of the consequence is, because a visible right to the first seal of 
the covenant is comprehended in this mercy, whatever more it in- 
clude ; which I need not stand to prove, till the arguing of the 
orthodox from this text, against Anabaptists, be invalidated. The 
assumption I have already proven by three reasons. And I shall 
now add a fourth from the scope of the words. The scope plainly 
is this : that seeing it is natural for parents to desire the prosperity 



and happiness of their seed, and the evil that cometh on their chil- 
dren, especially by their means, is afflicting and heavy to them ; 
therefore, as they would not ruin the fruit of their bodies, they 
should take heed that they depart not from the way of God's com- 
mandments ; and as they would have their children to enjoy the 
mercy of God, they would shew themselves to be lovers of God, and 
keepers of his commandments. That this is the scope of the place, 
is past doubt with me. This the learned man before mentioned 
doth grant.* " If then," says he, " their children be dear to them, 
at least on their account let them not revolt from the true worship 
of God to idolatry. Surely this is the end of this commination." 
But how the contrary opinion agrees with the scope, I cannot see. 
Now, let us consider the Israelites to whom the law was immedi- 
ately given. It is pleaded, that the open wickedness of immediate 
parents among them did not take away this mercy from their seed ; 
but they derived their visible right to the seal from the holy root, 
which was Abraham alone, or Isaac and Jacob also. But these holy 
men were dead long before, so that there was no need to stir them 
up to keep God's commandments, being then in glory : and as for 
that generation of adult persons, it could have no iniluence on them, 
being so understood ; what needed they fear the threat, seeing their 
infants were already secured from any harm they could do them, 
seeing they were the remote seed of the godly ? The promise could 
have no influence on them either; seeing, by virtue thereof, however 
holy they were, their infants could have no advantage they had not 
before, from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. So that the threatening 
and promise both are rendered quite useless to them, and could 
have no tendency to the stirring up of them to a holy life ; un- 
less their fearing where no fear was, and hoping where there 
was no ground, could have efficacy on them. The same way is 
it rendered useless to us Gentiles, supposing once that we have 
had but one godly remote parent. I see no way to evite this, 
unless we say, that the mercy promised has no respect to a 
visible right to the seal of the covenant, and so gratify the 
Anabaptists ; or deny this to be the scope of the place. Either 
of which they may venture on, that will ; I dare not. It is in vain 
to say that the mercy in the promise comprehends many particular 
mercies ; and though that one was secured to them as the children 
of remote godly parents, yet there might be some others that the 
children might meet with, through the holy life of their immediate 
parents. For, though it might be, that they should have many 

* P. 373. 


mercies, through the holy life of tlicir immediate parents ; yet none 
at all by virtue of this promise, winch they had not before by their 
remote parents : for though the mercy promised comprehend ten 
thousand particular mercies, they are all in that one word made 
over to the children of those that love God ; and if these be the re- 
mote parents, in the supposed case, then they are all made over unto 
the remote seed of the godly, though the immediate seed of wicked 
ones, as upon the account of the remote parents. But nothing can 
be more agreeable to the scope, than to understand it only of the 
immediate seed of godly parents : and it is easy to perceive what an 
incentive to a holy life it must needs be to every parent. Tt is very 
probable it would scar many from their open wickedness, if it were 
duly pressed doctrinally, and followed accordingly in the way of 
discipline. And I am truly apprehensive, that the blunting of the 
edge of this threat and promise, is one of the pillows of the security 
of our day, and fills our congregations with so many people as would 
not be tolerated in a well ordered commonwealth. I will add yet 

Argument 3. From the threat and promise jointly considered. 
If the children of openly wicked immediate parents may be 
acknowledged by the church to have a right to the seal of the 
covenant, on the account of their remote godly parents, as well 
as the children of godly immediate parents ; then the church 
should make no difference betwixt the children of those that love 
God, and those that hate him : but that ought not to be so. For 
where God in his word hath made a difference, the church 
ought to do so too ; for in all things revealed we are bound to 
follow God's judgment : but such practice seems to thwart with it, 
as the text shews ; God having put so manifest a difference betwixt 
them, that he will visit the iniquities of the fathers upon the one, and 
shew mercy to the other. It seems then, we ought to separate be- 
twixt the precious and the vile, put difference between the holy and 
profane, even in this case. Let none say, they know not who are the 
precious, who the vile, amongst infants. Here is God's revelation 
of his mind, for the terror of the wicked, that he will visit their ini- 
quities on their children. If the Lord be pleased to bring elect ves- 
sels out of the loins of openly wicked parents, and of his free grace 
to give them his Holy Spirit, as no doubt he may do, and many times 
actually doth ; yet de occultis non judicat ecclesia. We are to wait 
till we see the same evidenced by their personal carriage ; and in the 
meantime, we go according to the plainly revealed word, leaving 
secret things unto the Lord : even as we are to look on the seed of 
visible believers as visible saints, and to deal with them as such, till 
by their walk they manifest the contrary. Wherefore, there is no 


ground to say, as Zancliy,* " that this is repugnant to God's eternal 
election, seeing that many times elect children are born of wicked 
parents and idolatrous reprobates." What though they be elected, 
we have no evidence of it; without which, as to us, it is as if it were 
not. Truly, if this should hold good, there is no infants of the most 
barbarous savages in the world but have a right to baptism ; for who 
knows but they are elected, and in due time will be called ? But I 
suppose, in admitting to baptism, the church looks to the party's 
being in Christ, and having the Spirit ; not to his election immedi- 
ately or solely ; for even the elect may be for a time dogs and swine, 
not fit subjects of sealing ordinances. If any say, that they do make 
a difference betwixt those children requiring sponsors, in order to the 
administrating of the seal to the children of openly wicked parents ; 
I answer, 1. I wish it were so ordinarily, that sponsors were required 
for the children of such parents as are not themselves visible be- 
lievers. 2. If the godly parents die before the child's baptism, where 
is the difference ? But, 3. There is no difference at all in point of 
right to the ordinance and church state : for still the one as well as 
the other is supposed to have right to the ordinance as such a seed ; 
and the children of the godly are not baptized without sponsors either. 
Argument IY. If the children be unclean, unless the unbeliev- 
ing husband be sanctified by the believing wife, or the unbelieving 
wife be sanctified by the believing husband, then the children derive 
their right to baptism from their immediate parents ; the former is 
true : Ergo, All this is clear from the testimony of the apostle, 1 Cor. 
vii. 14. " For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and 
the unbelieving wife by the husband : else were your children un- 
clean ; but now they are holy." So that the apostle plainly turns 
this matter of the children's holiness, and consequently of their right 
to the ordinance, on the state of the immediate parents, as the only 
hinge of it coram ecclesia. I do easily perceive an exception that 
will be entered against this argument by those that differ, to wit, 
that in this case there were no remote parents from whom the chil- 
dren could derive their right ; these immediate parents being once 
both pagans, come of pagan parents, though now the father or mother 
was a believer ; and so can make no general rule. Answer, Grant 
these parents to whose case the apostle applies this, were all come 
of mere pagans ; which nevertheless will be impossible to prove, but 
that some of them might be the children of parents proselyted to the 
Jewish church ; yet the rule that the apostle lays down here, is a 
general rule for all such cases wherein a believer is yoked with an 
unbeliever, " For the unbelieving — is sanctified : else were your chil- 

* Ubi sup. p. 375. 


•dren unclean," &c. This, I thinlc, cannot be denied. Let us then 
suppose the believing wife, a daughter of a believer, but the wife 
of an unbeliever : such a case not only may be, but no doubt has 
been. It is no strange thing to imagine an unbeliever to profess faith 
ynd repentance, and that to gain marriage with a believing woman ; 
and thereafter to turn back again to infidelity, and that openly, 
when he has accomplished his design : yea, it is very supposable, and 
like unto the Lord's dealing in his ordinary dispensation of grace, 
that there were some in Corinth in that case, the father and the 
daughter called, but her husband left to remain in infidelity, or 
vice versa. In this case then, I ask, Whether or no the chil- 
■dren of the believer and unbeliever should be holy, and have 
right to the seal of the covenant, though the unbelieving hus- 
band were not sanctified by the believing wife ? If you say, they 
should be holy, as you must say, while so much stress is laid on a 
child's being the remote seed of the godly, (for so the child is 
in the supposed case), then you plainly contradict the apostle, 
teaching that unless the unbelieving husband were sanctified by the 
believing wife, the children were unclean, not holy. If you say, 
they should not be holy, unless the unbelieving husband were sanc- 
tified by the believing wife, then you plainly derive the child's right 
from the immediate parent, and acknowledge that the piety of the 
remote parent giveth not a visible right to the ordinance unto the 
child ; which is the very thing we plead for. Moreover, let us 
suppose amongst these Corinthians a believing father, his daughter 
a wife, and her husband, both unbelievers; which I think is a very 
rational supposition : I ask, whether or not their children be holy ? 
If they be holy, then I would know what children under heaven are 
unholy. If they be not, then the piety of remote parents doth not 
evidence their seed to be holy, and infants derive not their right 
from godly remote parents. We have a case in the Old Testament 
which we shall consider here : Ezra x. 3. " Now therefore let us 
make a covenant with our God, to put away all the strange wives, 
and such as are born of them." ver. 16. " And the children of the 
captivity did so." ver. ult. " And some of them had wives by whom 
they had children." Now, I would know whether or not those 
children born to the Jews of their strange wives, were holy chil- 
dren, and had right to the seal of the covenant ? If they were, it is 
strange they should put away their holy children, or that the fierce 
wrath of the Lord should go out against them for keeping such a 
holy generation. This looks not very like God's way, to put out 
of his church a holy seed. To say they were to be put away be- 
cause they rejected the covenant of God, is gratis dictum; surely 


some of them were not capable to reject the covenant. Yet those 
children put away, were the remote seed of Abraham, Isaac, and 
Jacob, as much as Boaz, whom Salmon begat of Rahab a Canaanite ; 
and Obed, whom Boaz begat of Ruth the Moabitess, and many 
others. These two are expressly owned by Matthew to be the chil- 
dren of Abraham, Matth. i. 2. 5 : yet were not these children holy ; 
and consequently, some of the children of Abraham, Isaac, and 
Jacob, were not holy; and that though born within the visble 
church : which, I think, should go far to prove the main point now 
under consideration. How was it then that they were unclean, and 
not holy ? I know no other reason can be given, but that their 
mothers were not sanctified to their fathers for bringing forth of a 
holy seed. The contrary whereof was in the case of the Corinth- 
ians; which still hangs all on the state of the immediate parents. 
Whatever disparity be betwixt these two cases, here is all we are 
seeking after, viz. children come of godly remote parents, born 
within the church likewise, as that phrase is commonly used, yet 
unholy, having no right to the seal of the covenant, because of the 
state of their immediate parents. And if a thousand differences be- 
twixt these two cases should be produced, so long as they agree in 
the point for which they are adduced, the cause is safe. 

Argument V. ult. A cursed seed have no right to the seal of the 
covenant; but the children of openly wicked immediate parents, 
though they be the remote seed of the godly, are a visibly cursed 
seed. This is plain from Dent, xxviii. 18. where God tells the 
Israelites, even the seed of Abraham, that " if they did not hearken 
to the voice of the Lord, to observe to do all his commandments, 
the fruit of their body should be cursed." Hence it follows, that 
children's right to the seal of the covenant is derived only from 
their immediate parents, not from their remote parents : for, not- 
withstanding of the holiness of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, God 
will curse their remote seed, because of their immediate parents' 
wickedness. Now, whom God has declared in his word to be 
cursed, they are visibly cursed ; which is inconsistent with a right 
to a sealing ordinance, as I shall afterwards prove, when I come 
to improve this argument further. And so much for the proof of 
infants deriving their right to church privileges, or to the sac- 
rament of baptism coram ecclesia, from their immediate parents only. 

I come now to offer some arguments to prove that none but the 
children of visible believers, or such as make a credible profession, 
have right before the church, or a visible right, to the sacrament of 
baptism. Having fixed the former point, viz. that infants derive 
their visible right to baptism, from their immediate, not their 


remote parents ; now the question is, Whether or not it be neces- 
sary, in order to the child's visible right to baptism, that one of the 
immediate parents be a visible believer, or have a probable or credible 
profession ? We offer the following arguments for the affirmative. 

Argument I. If no infants but those whereof one of the parents do 
commend themselves and their seed to the church, either by their 
conversation, or by their baptism, have right before the church 
to that ordinance ; then no children but those whereof one of the 
parents is a visible believer, have a visible right to the same ; the 
antecedent is true : Ergo, the consequent also. The truth of the 
antecedent is acknowledged, at least by some of those that differ, 
while they do necessarily require that it appear to the church, that 
one of the parents have been baptized, otherwise the children can 
have no visible right to the ordinance ; though indeed they think 
this sufficient to entitle their children to baptism, though their walk 
be not as becomes the gospel in any tolerable measure. I suppose 
those learned men that do require the evidence of the baptism of 
one of the parents, understand it as the minimum quod sit, that the 
church can be satisfied in this matter with nothing less than this ; 
though albeit this were wanting, if the parents commend themselves 
and their seed to the church, by a credible profession, or holy con- 
versation, in the sight of men, they would look on this as giving 
their infants a visible right to the seal. If it be not understood thus, 
I cannot yield to it. I doubt not but in some cases, the adminis- 
trator of baptism may have greater clearness to baptize the child of 
an unbaptized person, than of many that are certainly known to 
have been baptized. The child of such a parent may have a visible 
right to baptism ; for it is plain, that an unbaptized parent may 
have faith and repentance, and that so as they may sufficiently 
appear to the church to be believers and penitent, while in the 
meantime there is not the least shadow of those things in many 
that are baptized. Now, by faith the soul is entered into covenant 
with God ; and at the same time the parent is taken into covenant, 
his seed also is brought into the covenant : whence it appears, that 
both parent and child have a visible right to baptism, antecedently 
to the baptism of the parent. So these converts. Acts ii. they had 
visible right to baptism before they were baptized, and this by rea- 
son of their probable profession ; which also gave their children a 
visible right thereto as soon as they themselves had it. So, put the 
case such parents should have died before they were baptized, it 
could not have robbed the children of their visible right which they 
had before to the seal of the covenant. Yea, I suppose, the truth 
of the antecedent is yielded by them all, viz. That one of these two, 


either the baptism, or else a visible godly conversation of one of the 
parents, is necessary to the child's visible right to baptism. As for 
those that go to the remote parents for the child's right, we are 
agreed in that the visible piety of parents is necessary. Only they 
say, the piety of the remote parents is necessary ; we say, it is the 
immediate parent, as has been proven. Others express themselves 
thus, that the children of such as are probably judged within the 
covenant, have right to baptism. Now, this probable judgment 
must needs proceed upon one of the two things mentioned. And 
as for those who say, that the infants of wicked parents being born 
within the church, have right to baptism, I think it is plain they 
mean by that, born of baptized parents. Either they mean it so, or 
that it is the place of their birth that gives them this privilege. 
I could scarcely have thought any could have been so absurd as to 
have affirmed the latter. Yet I find one zealous assertor of the real 
and visible title that the children of openly wicked parents have to 
baptism, tells us,* that there are many arguments urged by divines 
for it, that to him were never yet satisfactorily answered ; whereof 
this is one : " That such children have their right supplied from the 
holiness of the place or people wherein they are born." I wish he 
had told us what divines those are that urge this argument. I 
doubt if he can shew us any of whom he will have much credit, that 
ever asserted such a thing. He might have left out the people 
here, for there are none born in people, but in the place where a 
holy people lives : but by this addition he seems to answer a ques- 
tion arising from his own words, which I fancy would puzzle many 
great divines ; and that is. How a place now under the gospel dis- 
pensation is made holy, especially so holy that the very birth of an 
infant in it gives it a real title and visible right to the holy ordi- 
nance of baptism ? Answer. There is a holy people lives in that 
place. But I would propose more questions still upon the back 
of that. What holiness is that that a holy people communicate 
to the spot of ground where they live ? And what is the way 
how they make it holy? And by virtue of what appointment 
of God is it that English ground is holy, where a holy people 
lives? And whether or not we may suffer pagans to come in, 
and defile our holy place with their unclean feet? And how 
came it that the land of Egypt and Babylon were not made 
holy places, seeing they were places where Ood's holy people 
lived for many years ? Why had not the Egyptian and Babylonish 
infants a right to circumcision from the holiness of the place 

* Fulivood's Disc. vis. Ch. p. 213. 


and people wherein they are born ? No doubt, if this learned man 
had been living in the seventh century, when Augustine came from 
t|ie Bishop of Rome, and called the Britons to help him in the con- 
version of the Saxons that were heathens, he would have thought 
their answer very unmannerly, (as indeed it cannot be approven), 
viz. that they were not obliged to preach to their enemies, seeing 
the Saxons had spoiled them of their lands, and did still continue to 
prey upon them : but he would off-hand not only have preached to 
them, but baptized their infants, in regard of the holiness of the 
place and people wherein they lived : for, besides the ancient inha- 
bitants, the queen was a Christian, and had her preacher ; and the 
king was converted too afterwards by means of Augustine, and no 
doubt he did not alone embrace the Christian religion. But enough 
of this. Paul used another way of arguing, 1 Cor. vii. 14. " For the 
unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving 
wife is sanctified by the husband : else were your children unclean ; 
but now are they holy ;" though these infants were born in a place 
where God had a church. And I do not think we shall find many 
to conclude, if a pagan woman were cast out upon our coast, and 
brought forth a child, that ipso facto the child should have a right to 
baptism. But I proceed to prove the sequel of the major thus : The 
baptism of a parent that hath no credible profession, or is an openly 
wicked person, is not suflicient to commend himself to the church, 
or to commend his seed to her, for the seal of the covenant ; Ergo, 
the sequel stands good. For if one of these two, the baptism, or the 
credible profession of the parent, be necessary to this end, then it 
clearly follows, that if his baptism be insufficient to that end, and 
yet he have no credible profession, his child hath no visible right to 
baptism : and so none but the children of visible believers are thus 
privileged. I prove the antecedent, That baptism that ought to be 
looked upon as unprofitable and non-baptism, cannot commend a 
man's seed to the church, as having visible right to baptism ; but 
that baptism which is without a credible profession, ought to be 
looked upon as unprofitable and non-baptism : Ergo, the proposition 
is clear. The assumption I shall prove by the following reasons. 

Reason I. The apostle tells us expressly, Rora. ii. 25. " Circumci- 
sion verily profiteth, if thou keep the law : but if thou be a breaker 
of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision." I hope those 
that differ will allow us to argue from circumcision to baptism ; and 
will easily acknowledge, that we may say the same concerning bap- 
tism, Baptism verily profiteth, &c.* Ursin, arguing for the neces- 

* Expl. Cat. p ,566. 


sity of church discipline, among other reasons gives this for it, 
" Those that are not yet baptized, must not be admitted to the sup- 
per ; but baptism is not baptism to those that fall away from their 
baptism, Rom. ii. 25. j&V^o," I hope none will think he is arguing 
for the necessity of church disipline to be exercised against Turks, 
pagans, and Jews ; but the openly wicked of whom we speak ; as is 
manifest from what he says in the same page. It is evident the 
apostle speaks here of the openly wicked Jews, who had the out- 
ward sign of circumcision, but a profane conversation ; as is clear 
from the preceding verses. So that ver. 24. he plainly tells them, 
*' the name of God was blasphemed among the Gentiles, because of 
them," (as it is in our case) ; which manifestly argues open wickedness, 
with a profession of religion. Yet because of their circumcision 
they valued themselves highly ; but the apostle shews them they 
had no profit of it, but their circumcision was by their profane life 
made uncircumcision. " He answers," says a learned commentator* 
on the place, " That the outward sacramental symbols profit nothing 
without good life and manners ; without which circumcision differs 
nothing from uncircumcision ; that is, a Jew differs nothing from a 
heathen." If then God in his word hath pronounced the circum- 
cision of openly wicked persons to be unprofitable and uncircumci- 
sion, and so hath declared his mind concerning the baptism of openly 
wicked Christians ; the church ought to look upon it to be such as 
God hath declared it to be, that is, unprofitable and non-baptism. 
If this hold good, it says much to the point. I shall consider what 
exceptions may possibly be entered against it, so far as they occur 
to me. 

Exception 1. It would follow then, that such should be re-baptized 
when they repent. Answer, I deny it would follow, more than 
that those to whom circumcision became uncircumcision by their 
profane life, ought to have been circumcised again upon their 
repentance ; which was never done : and yet this was no new, 
but the good old way, that the apostle lays down here. Although, 
as Christ teacheth, by excommunication a man is made to be 
as a heathen ; yet the re-baptiziug of an excommunicated person 
upon his repentance, is not urged. I say then, with Ursin,f 
in answer to the same objection, that " reception by baptism 
is ratified to penitents, even without the iteration of the sign." 
Indeed, if baptism were of the kind of physical causes, this 
exception might possibly have some force ; for when a physical 
cause is unprofitable, and as good as none, there must be a new 

* Aret. in. loc. f Ubi, sup. 


application, or else tlie effect is not produced ; as when a plaster is 
laid to a sore, if it be unprofitable, and as good as none, there must 
needs be a new application made, or the party cannot be healed. 
But baptism is no physical cause, but a moral cause; which, though 
unprofitable, and as good as none to a person sometimes ; yet, with- 
out a new application, it may become profitable : As suppose a seal 
were appended to a blank paper, even the king's seal, and given to 
a man, what is he the better of it, what doth it profit? nothing at 
all : but if the king shall write on that paper a grant of a pension, 
then it profits indeed. But you see plainly there needs no iteration 
of the sign. The application is easy. 

Exception 2. The apostle means, that circumcision profits nothing 
to justification, though otherwise it may. I answer, Non distinguen- 
dum ubi lex non distinguit. The apostle simply, without any limita- 
tion, pronounceth. That circumcision profiteth nothing, if a man be 
a breaker of the law. To which that is a plain contradiction. Cir- 
cumcision profiteth something, though a man be a breaker of the 
law. Yea, he tells them roundly, it is uncircumcision, and there- 
fore unprofitable, not only to justification, but to all intents and 
purposes. And I think it can scarcely be denied by any that con- 
siders the apostle's discourse, but that hereby he levels the openly 
wicked Jews with the heathens in point of circumcision, so that the 
one had as much real profit of it as the other, that is, none at all. 
Yet further, I do indeed believe, that the great thing the apostle is 
aiming at in these chapters, is justification by the free grace of 
God ; and to this end, he endeavours, in this chapter, to beat down 
the boasting of the wicked Jews, (as, in the next chapter, he proves 
all, both Jews and others, to be guilty before God) : for effecting of 
which, he lays out before them their vicious lives so unanswerable 
to the written law that God gave them ; which has a native ten- 
dency to his main scope and design : and withal tells them, that 
their circumcision would not cover their wickedness. But notwith- 
standing of that, they were wicked men still, as he clearly shews, 
vers. 28, 29. " For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly : — But he 
is a Jew, which is one inwardly," &c. But I see no reason to under- 
stand the words of the text we are now upon, as the exception 
gives it, viz. That it profiteth nothing to justification, but in that 
respect is uncircumcision. Read the whole text accordingly; and I 
suppose we may find the weakness, yea and unsoundness of this 
exception. " For circumcision verily profiteth to justification, if 
thou keep the law : but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circum- 
cision is made uncircumcision in point of justification." Now, by 
'ustification here, is either meant justification by free grace, or jus- 


tification by works. If justification by the free grace of God, 
according to the covenant of grace, be meant ; how does circumci- 
sion profit to it ? has that any hand in our justification ? If justifi- 
cation by works, according to the old covenant, then I ask, by 
what appointment of God was ever circumcision, a seal of the 
righteousness of faith, made profitable for justification by works ? 
Let any such appointment be produced, and then we shall see the 
law and the gospel confounded. "Wherefore, though a man should 
keep the law of works, circumcision could profit him nothing to 
justfication : yea, possibly I may say, if he should go about it as a 
piece of God's worship, it should contribute to his condemnation, in 
regard it is no part of the law of works, and therefore to him 
should be will worship. And so, if any shall say, that though circum- 
cision was never appointed to be a seal of the covenant of works, 
yet it might profit as a commanded duty, and as an act of obedience 
to the law of works ; I confidently deny it, that it could be an act 
of obedience to the law of works ; that could ever profit that way. 
And the reason is, because God never commanded it to bo used but 
as a seal of the righteousness of faith : nor did it ever belong, 
before God, to any but such as were in the covenant of grace with 
him ; nor, before the church, to any but such as were visibly in that 
covenant. The law and grace have two distinct dominions, Rom. 
vi. 14; so that receiving of circumcision could no more be an 
act of obedience to the law of works, than the obeying of a par- 
ticular law of the kingdom of England, can be an act of obe- 
dience to the law of Scotland, though both kingdoms be under 
one sovereign. Only I desire it to be noticed, that when I deny 
that the receiving of circumcision could be an act of obedience to 
the law of works, I deny it only in the sense it is asserted in the in- 
stance against our answer to the exception ; that is, that it could be 
an act of obedience to the law of works profiting to justification, 
thereby, as a part of a law righteousness ; which is the plain sense 
of the instance. The reason why I add this caution, is this, because 
I am of opinion, that where the covenant of grace is revealed, and 
it is revealed only to lost sinners, and they are called to enter this 
covenant, and consequently to receive the seal of it ; those sinners 
being under the covenant of works, as to its commanding and 
threatening power, though the promise of it is weak through the 
flesh, are, by virtue of that covenant and law of works, obliged to 
believe, accept of the covenant of grace, and to receive the seals 
thereof, and so to get out from that covenant of works. In this 
respect, to receive the seal of the covenant of grace, is a remote 
act, at least, of obedience to the law of works, but not at all 


profiting as a part of our righteousness before God, or profiting to 
justification by tbat lavr. I cannot indeed apprehend how the 
coivenant of works does not oblige every one that is under it to 
obey whatsoever God shall command them to do ; so that, suppose 
ing a call to receive Christ made to one under the law, he ia 
obliged by the law to receive Christ, and to submit to the law of 
Christ, which commands men to receive the seals of the covenant 
of grace, whosoever they be that are under it : and therefore I 
cannot deny but thus it is a remote act of obedience to the law 
of works, to receive the seals of the covenant of grace, in so far 
as it obligeth them to submit to Christ, whose law particulai'ly 
enjoins this ; though indeed the law of works leaves the soul as soon 
as it is in Christ, they dying to it, and it to them. The law then, 
that the apostle speaks of here, I conceive to be the ten commands, 
as they are the law of Christ ; to which obedience is performed only 
in point of sanctificatiou. And thus indeed these persons might 
be profited by circumcision, if they did evidence their faith in, 
and love to Christ, by sincere keeping of his law ; circumcision 
being a seal of the covenant of grace ; and their keeping of the 
law sincerely, an infallible token that they were within the bond 
of that covenant, and had right to all the promises of it ; the 
accomplishment whereof is confirmed by the seal. But while they, 
by their loose walk and wickedness, evidenced their hypocrisy, and 
that they were but Jews outwardly and in name, they were not a 
whit profited by circumcision. 

Exception 3. This is understood of their circumcision before the 
Lord, not before the church. Answer. That cannot be proven 
/rom the text. But let it be so: Then, 1. I say, seeing God makes 
account of everything as it is in itself, for his judgment is accor- 
ding to truth, then their baptism who are profane in their lives, 
profiteth nothing, but their circumcision is made uncircumcision. 
2. Seeing God hath not kept his judgment of it secret, but hath 
revealed the same in his word, so as every one may read what 
account he makes of it, it necessarily follows, that the church must 
account so of it, unless men may take liberty to let their judgment 
go another way than God's mind revealed, and look on them quite 
another way than God tells us he looks upon them. 

Exception 4. The apostle plainly teacheth the profit of circum- 
cision, chap. iii. 1, 2. " What advantage then hath the Jew ? or 
what profit is there of circumcision ?" Much every way. For 
answer to this, we must take notice, that there are here two distinct 
questions, which are so many objections, of the Jews against his 
doctrine. He had in the former chapter levelled them with the 


heathens, and reckoned their circumcision for uncircumcision ; he 
easily perceives the Jews would take this very ill, and therefore 
brings them in here with two questions in their mouths ; the first, 
" "What advantage hath the Jew ?" the second, " or what profit is 
there of circumcision ?" To the first of these, the apostle answers 
by way of concession, " Much every way," ver. 2. to wit, in respect 
of God, who had given them many things which were indeed advan- 
tageous in themselves ; which things he had not given to the 
heathens : but not in respect of themselves ; for they were no 
advantages to them, no advantages eventually. And so again, in 
this chapter, he puts the Jews and Gentiles in the same balance, 
by testimony from the Psalms. So that it is a kind of ironical 
concession, used also by the apostle towards these same persons, 
chap. ii. 17, 18, 19, 20. As if he should say : " Ye have indeed 
much advantage every way, I confess : for unto you were committed 
the oracles of God ; God gave you the revelation of his mind and 
will, when the poor heathens were left to walk in darkness, having 
nothing to guide them but the dim light of nature ; but so much the 
more miserable are ye, and the greater shall your condemnation 
be, while ye walk as ye do." As for the second question, it is 
not here answered ; but that " much every way" belongs allenarly 
to the first, which the words in the original plainly hold forth, 
which are these : Ti oun to perisson tou lotidaiou, e tis he apheleia 
tes peritomes ? Polu kata panta tropon. Polu, viz, to perisson 
But the second question he answers, chap. iv. 11 ; where he 
tells them, what profit there is of circumcision,* and to whom 
it was profitable. Both these he sheweth in the person of Abra- 
ham, of whose fatherhood they boasted ; " And he received cir- 
cumcision, a seal of the righteousness of faith which he had yet be- 
fore being uucircumcised." That is the profit of circumcision, that it 
seals the righteousness of faith ; but it profits only those that have 
received and submitted to that righteousness : to the wicked it 
profits no more than a seal to set a blank. So that the argument 
stands good notwithstanding of these exceptions. 

Reason II. The baptism of those persons to which the characters 
given by the Spirit of God in the Scriptures appear not to agree, 
ought to be reputed unprofitable, and their circumcision is uncir- 
cumcision; but such is the baptism of those who have no credible 
profession : Ergo, the major is plain : for no baptism but the 
Scripture baptism can be reputed profitable; and the Scripture 
characters of baptism must needs agree to Scripture baptism. The 

• See Aret. in loc. Piscat. in loc. 


minor will appear if we take a view of some Scriptures speaking 
of baptism. Mark i. 4. — "the baptism of repentance, for the re- 
mission of sins." Matth, xxviii. 19. "Disciple all nations, baptiz- 
ing them," &c. Mark xvi. 16. "He that believeth and is baptized," 
Acts ii. 38. " Repent and be baptized, for the remission of sins." 
Acts xxii. 16. "Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins," 
or, " be washed from thy sins," as some read it,* and the words 
will bear, kai aplousai tas hamartias soxi. Gal. iii. 27. " As many 
of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ." 
1 Pet. iii. 21 — " Baptism doth also now save us ; not the put- 
ting away of the filth of the flesh." " For many are externally 
washed only, [which is the use of baptism not lawful, qui est 
visiis baptismi non legitimus) ; few, so as they may call on God 
with a good conscience." Parens in he. " This purifying of the 
conscience is opposed indeed to washing simply carnal, but not 
to the sacrament of baptism ; for to the eutireness of baptism (ad 
integritatem baptis^ni'f) both concur the external and the internal 
washing, not one of them only; and when any hath received it wor- 
thily, that answer of a good conscience towards God is joined." 
Hoornbeek. Now, let it be considered how these things agree to the 
baptism of those that have no credible profession : What visible 
agreement is there betwixt them? nay, what visible disagreement is 
there not? If any shall say, that such persons profess all these 
things; I shall reply with the same learned man,| speaking of 
the same Scriptures, Nunquid^ ilia non plus dicunt quam nudam 
aliquam a nobis factum professionem ? 

Reason III. That baptism which the church cannot look upon as 
a seal of the righteousness of faith to him that hath it, they ought 
to make no account of it, but look on it as unprofitable ; but such is 
the baptism of him that hath no credible profession : Ergo, the 
proposition is evident, if ye consider, that baptism is a sacrament of 
the covenant of grace, and all the sacraments of the covenant 
of grace, whether under the Old or New Testament, agree in this, 
that they are seals of the righteousness of faith. Now, it is an 
undeniable maxim, Negato genere tollitur species ; That which I can- 
not look upon as an animal, I cannot look on as a man. That 
baptism which is not a seal of the righteousness of faith, is non- 
baptism ; and how can that baptism be profitable that sealeth not 
that which baptism is appointed of God to seal ? The assumption I 
prove also : "Where the church cannot look on a man as privileged 
with the righteousness of faith, they cannot look on his baptism as 
sealing the righteousness of faith to him ; but so it is in the present 

• Hoornbeek. Piscator. f Loc. Conf. torn 3, p. 239. % P. 237. 



case, where the person makes no probable or credible profession : 
Ergo, the assumption is clear, and the proposition also; for the 
having of the thing sealed is pre-supposed to the seal, as was said 
before. If they repent, it becometh indeed a seal to them, but 
otherwise it doth not. This I apprehend to be the truth. We 
have heard Pareus' judgment, that the bare outward washing, 
which is all that many get, is the unlawful use of baptism. Ursin 
tells us,* " The sacraments are no sacraments to them that have 
no true faith. Therefore," says he, " they are mad that say unbe- 
lievers receive, together with the signs, the things signified by the 
signs." And a little after he thus argues : " To whom nothing is 
promised in the word, to him the sacraments seal nothing. To the 
wicked nothing is promised in the word ; therefore the sacraments 
seal nothing to the wicked." The learned "Witsius teacheth us 
thus :f " Baptism confers nothing on such [viz. to whom it belongs 
not stricto jure] ; no grace, no salvation doth it signify or seal, no 
more than a piece of wax, adorned indeed with an elegant character, 
but appended to clean paper, on which nothing is written, and to be 
written ; or, if you will, appended to a paper bespattered every 
where with so exceeding great blots, that no good can be written on 
it." It must be observed, that this very learned man is of opinion, 
that all federate elect infants are regenerated before baptism. J 
That I dare not say ; but, with the generality as I suppose of the 
orthodox, I think they are, in the judgment of charity, to be looked 
on as such, and that baptism is conferred to them as visible saints. 
Now, that opinion made the learned man to express himself so, " On 
which nothing is written, and to be written." And concerning adult 
persons, he tells us,|| " It cannot be that any adult person may well 
be baptized, but he that believeth." So that it is plain, according 
to him, baptism seals nothing to the unregenerate. Mr. Baxter gives 
us his judgment in the point thus :§ " Baptism is ordained to signify 
and seal, and thereby confer remission of sins ; but not to all that 
have right in the judgment of the church to be baptized ; but only 
to those that have right to it before God, and to whom his word doth 
first give remission ; that is, not to all whom we must baptize, as 
being probably true believers, but only to those that have true right 
to baptism and its benefits, as being true believers indeed." And if 
we would hear again who have right to baptism before God, he tells 
us elsewhere,^ " It is only solid true faith which is the condition of 
the promise of remission ; therefore it is that only that gives right 

* Expl. Cat. p. 453. f Exer. de. Eff. Bapt. § 6. X Section 32. 

II Oec.fced. Dei, p. 15. § Inf. Bapt. p. 329. f P. 327. 


inforo Dei to tlie seal." But liow, notwithstanding of all this, he 
condemns as an error in Mr. Tombes the following proposition, I do 
not understand. The proposition is,* " Every right administration 
of baptism is not God's sealing: actually God sealeth not, but when 
it is administered to a believer : it may be called a right act of the 
administrator according to God's appointment, but not God's seal- 
ing." We see here Mr. Tombes speaks plainly of the administra- 
tion of baptism in respect of the administrator, not of the party to 
whom it is administered. I confess I incline very much to Mr. 
Tombes' error in this point ; and so much the more freely, that 
I think, by what is said, it appears to be the judgment of others of 
more entire fame than he. Once more hear the learned Witsiiis.f 
" Indeed," says he, " the administrators of holy things, who must 
act about every one from the judgment of charity alone, cannot 
distinguish the elect from the non-elect ; and in so far they are not 
at all faulty (atque hactenus nihil peccant) if perhaps they baptize 
even them to whom baptism is not due stricto jure." And a little 
before :l " If we consider the most strict right to baptism, it agrees 
to none but the elect in very deed and in the judgment of God." 
And who would think but Mr. Baxter himself had fallen afterwards 
into the same error with Mr. Tombes, at least when he says,|| " "We 
ought to baptize them though they have no true right to baptism, 
because we are to take all for true believers that make a probable 
profession." Is not that a right act of the administrator which he 
ought to do, and must do ? And yet, as he himself says, baptism is 
ordained to seal remission of sins, but not to all whom we must 
baptize. I hope none will say, God seals by baptism what he did 
not, or where he did not ordaiu it to seal. It would seem then 
very consequential to infer Mr. Tombes' conclusion from thesa 
premises. Mr. Baxter says indeed, in confutation of this position 
of Mr. Tombes, "That it is only the conditional promise which 
God sealeth by the sacraments, ' If thou believe in the Lord Jesus, 
thou shalt be saved.'" Possibly then one may think, that he means 
God seals remission of sins to believers only, but to others he seals 
the conditional promise. But this will not salve the matter in my 
opinion. For, 1. Mr. Baxter telleth us roundly, that the promise 
is to others besides believers, and so is the seal ; and that this will 
be evident, if it be once understood, that it is only the conditional 
promise which God sealeth by the sacraments. What can be made 
of this, but that it is the same thing that God seals to believers, and 
to others besides them ? 2. Understand it only of others, besides be- 

• P. 222. t Exer. de Eff. Bapt. § 6. % Ibid. || Inf. Bapt. p. 298. 

Jl 2 


lievers ; is not remission of sin comprehended in that promise which 
he says the sacraments seal ? Sure I am the scriptures make it one 
main part of the salvation promised, Matth. i. 21. " Thou shalt call 
his name Jesus ; for he shall save his people from their sins." 3. 
How can baptism be appointed to seal remission of sins to believers, 
and only the conditional covenant to others, when, as Mr. Baxter 
himself teacheth us, " That in relations, such as sacraments are, 
the end entereth the definition ?" Therefore (if not through any 
natural incapacity of the subject, (which I dare say Mr. Baxter 
will not plead in this case), but God's mere institution), baptism 
have ends so exceeding different in (infants and the aged, says he 
there, let me change it into) believers and others, then you must 
have several definitions of baptism, and so several baptisms ; but 
the apostle saith, there is but one baptism.* Much more he has to 
the same purpose in that place. Let them who can reconcile these 
things, do it , it is altogether beyond my reach ; it may be because 
I am not well acquainted with his doctrine. But I will weigh what 
the learned man says in confutation of the above-mentioned propo- 
sition, and to prove that the sacrament rightly administered to a 
hypocrite is Glod's actual sealing. His arguments are two. 

I. " If the sacrament rightly administered to an hypocrite have 
all in it that is essential to God's actual sealing, f then it is 
an actual sealing : but the sacrament — therefore it is his actual 
sealing. A seal is an engaging or obliging sign, or at least a testi- 
fying. He that actually useth a seal to such an end, doth actually 
seal. Now, I.God useth this sign; II. and to this end. 1. He 
useth the sign while his ministers use it in his name at his command. 
2. He commandeth it to be used to this end, to engage himself to 
make good his promises. For, 1. to what other end should God 
command them ? 2. Else he should command them to be used to 
one end to one, and to another end to another. 3. If the promise be 
to others besides believers, then so is the seal, (for to whom God 
proraiseth, to them he engageth himself to perform) ; but the promise 
is to others : therefore, &c. It is only the conditional promise, &c. 
ut supra." 

Answek. I deny the minor of this argument, together with the 
proof of it, that God useth the seal to this end to hypocrites. The 
reason is because hypocrites have no possession of, interest in, or 
right to those things whereof God hath appointed the sacrament to 
be a seal. What a minister may do de facto, is not the question : 
but I deny, that ministers do use the sacrament at God's command, 

• P. 300. t P- 222. 


or de jure, towards any but as they are visible saints ; and if they 
should use it in his name towards any that are not so, they should 
go beyond the bounds of their commission, Matt, xxviii. 19. as it is 
above improven, with help from Mr. Baxter himself. That God 
commandeth the seal to be used to this end, to engage himself to 
make good his promises, is true in respect of them that are in 
Christ, in whom the promises are Yea and Amen ; but in respect of 
hypocrites, it is false. But to what other end should God command 
them ? I answer, that God hath commanded the seals as seals to be 
used towards believers only ; and he hath commanded ministers to 
look on them as visible believers that have a probable profession. 
And if it be said, that he has commanded ministers to use them 
towards all visible believers, but some of them are hypocrites and 
so he commands them to be used to hypocrites ; I answer, he 
commands the seals materially considered, that is, sprinkling with 
water, and bread and wine, to be given and administered to all 
visible believers ; but considered formally as seals, he commands 
them only to be administered to those that are real saints. So that 
in this sense the sacrament cannot be administered as a seal to any 
but on supposition that the party is in Christ, seeing none other 
have a right before God thereto : yet it is a right act of the admi- 
nistrator when he administereth the sign to one that is a close 
hypocrite, in regard he is a visible believer. And in asserting that 
the administrator is not bound to know certainly and infallibly, that 
the party whom he baptizeth hath a right to baptism before the 
Lord, Mr. Baxter himself will bear me out : for he saith expressly,* 
" Ministers have right to baptize those that before God have no 
right to baptism ; for they must judge of men's right by a probable 
profession." Now, let Mr. Baxter ask, to what other end than to 
seal actually, doth God command the seals to be administered to a 
hypocrite ? I answer, he commandeth them not at all to be admini- 
stered to them : for whatsoever is given them, or administered to 
them, is not God's seal ; for forma dat esse rei. And the water in 
baptism administered to a hypocrite, is no more God's seal to him, 
than a soul and a body without union are a man. And if I should 
say, the sacrament is no sacrament to him, it is no more than what 
we heard before was roundly said by a far wiser head. And truly 
I think it deserves to be considered, how the definitionf of a sacra- 
ment agrees to that which is administered to a hypocrite. " A 
sacrament is an holy ordinance, instituted by Christ ; wherein, by 
sensible signs, Christ, and the benefits of the new covenant, are re- 

• P. 328. t Assem. Short, Catech. 


presented, sealed, and applied to believers." But I pass this. If 
we consider other cases wherein ministers are commmanded to dis- 
pense other ordinances, besides this of baptism, it may give light to 
what is now under consideration. When a brother hath fallen into 
any scandalous sin, and he appears penitent, the church officers look 
on themselves as commanded to absolve him, and to loose his sin ; 
and this they do in the Lord's name and at his command, not only 
loosing him from church censure, but declaring his sin to be par- 
doned before Grod ; yet this is on supposition that he really be before 
the Lord that he appears to be before the church. Yet, notwith- 
standing of all this, if he be hypocritical in his repentance, he is 
not loosed in heaven ; but what they do herein, they do in God's 
name and at his command. And you may prosecute this the same 
way, to prove God's loosing the hypocrite in heaven, as Mr. Baxter 
doth the present argnraent. In admitting of close hypocrites to the 
sacrament of the Lord's supper, the church dare not debar them, 
which argues a sense of God's command in the case; yet the church 
dare not admit them but as they appear to be real believers. The 
act of admission is a right act in those that admit them ; but God 
in his word declares they have no right to it, ministers doctrinally 
debar them as such to whom the seals belong not. Only men know 
not their hearts ; and in their lives they are visible believers, but in 
their hearts enemies to God, whom he will severely examine for 
coming to this gospel feast without a wedding-garment ; for stretch- 
ing out their hands, being profane dogs, to snatch up the children's 
bread. Strange ! if notwithstanding of all this, the administration be 
God's actual sealing. The short is, the command to the administra- 
tors is not an absolute, but a qualified command. His second reason 
to prove that God useth the seals for actual sealing to hypocrites, 
falls with the first. It follows indeed on his doctrine, as was ob- 
served before, that the sacraments are used for one end to one, and 
another end to another, which with him (as it was above explained) 
I account an absurdity ; but it no way follows upon our doctrine. 
As to the third reason, that the promise is to others, and therefore 
so is the seal ; I cannot but observe another piece of inconsistency 
(as it appears to me) of this man with himself. He saith, the pro- 
mise, meaning that, " If thou believe," &;c. is to others besides be- 
lievers, and therefore infers that so is the seal ; no doubt he means it 
belongs to them really and in foro Dei: and yet elsewhere he flatly 
denies, that the seal belongs to any but true believers, and such as 
have true solid faith, in foro Dei, though it may belong to them in 
foro ccdesice. But I deny, that the promise which the sacrament 
seals is that promise he speaks of, and have given my reason before. 


But the former observe brings to mind an argument against it ; 
■which is this : if it be that conditional promise which baptism 
sealeth, or God sealeth by baptism, then whosoever have a right be- 
fore the Lord to that promise, have a right before the Lord to bap- 
tism ; but that is absurd : Ergo, the consequence is evident : for 
whoso have a right to the thing sealed, have a right to the seal ; and 
deny it who will, it cannot be denied by any making use of his argu- 
ment. The minor I prove thus : if those that have a right to that 
promise before the Lord, have therefore a right to baptism before 
the Lord, then Jews, Turks, and pagans, to whom the oifer of the 
gospel is made, though they be still in their infidelity, have a right 
to baptism, even coram Deo ; but that is most absurd : Ergo, the 
sequel is plain. For whosoever they be that have the gospel offered 
to them, have right in foro poll to the conditional promise of 
salvation ; so that if they should believe, God could not but save 
them by virtue of that promise. The appendix to his " Aphorisms," 
in which he saith he hath fully proven this position of his, my poor 
library doth not afford me ; neither think I myself at any great loss 
thereby, for I look on it as most uncomfortable doctrine, That it 
is only the conditional promise which God sealeth by the sacra- 
ments. If they seal no more, sadly have many godly souls, been 
deluded in their enjoyments at sacraments. But, however, it falleth 
under the next question, he says ; and so we may expect to hear 
that sad doctrine confirmed. If I really believed he could confirm 
and prove it convincingly, I would hear it as my doom and sentence 
of death. Wo to poor saints if the sacraments confirm and seal no 
more to them. 

Now, that which Mr. Baxter in the next question sets himself to 
prove, is, that the absolute promise (or covenant) of the first grace* 
is not it that is sealed in baptism and the Lord's supper. And for 
proof hereof he gives six arguments. But this seems to me strange 
arguing, as from the mill to the moon. What consequence is this, 
it is not the absolute promise of the first grace that baptism seals ; 
Ergo, it is only the conditional promise, " If thou believe, thou shalt 
be saved?" What though it be not the absolute promise of the 
first grace, must it therefore be that conditional promise ? are there 
no other promises in the covenant but these two ? I think, if there 
were any shadow of a consequence here, it behoved to be thus : It is 
not the absolute promise of the first grace ; Ergo, it is the condi- 
tional promise of the first grace ; which should be Pelagianism in 
grain, and put much respect on the Jesuits' maxim, Facienti quod in 

* P. 225, 226. 


se est, Deus non denegabit ulteriorem gratiam. And so we might leave 
him to his dispute with Mr. Tombes. But I cannot think that ever 
Mr. Tombes would assert, that it was only the absolute promise of 
the first grace that baptism is a seal of. His words as Mr. Baxter 
sets them down, are,* " That the covenant, whereof baptism is the 
seal, is the absolute covenant of grace, made only to the elect." It 
is certain many famous divines do hold, that the covenant of grace 
is absolute, and that baptism is a seal of the covenant of grace ; 
and therefore it must needs be, according to them, a seal of the ab- 
solute covenant. But that which Mr. Baxter aims at, seems to be, 
that baptism doth not at all seal the promise of the first grace. 
Whatever be of this, if I were obliged to believe it, I would re- 
quire more convincing arguments than Mr. Baxter offers for it; 
which I will briefly consider, to the end I may win to some light in 

Argument 1. " That which is sealed to by the sacraments is a pro- 
per covenant, having a restipulation on our parts, as well as a pro- 
mise on God's part ; but the absolute promise is not a proper cove- 
nant, with such a mutual engagement : therefore."! Answer, Those 
that hold the covenant of grace to be absolute, will tell him, that 
in respect of us it is a mere promissory covenant. But if I deny 
the major with them, I see nothing to prove it, but somewhat 
from Mr. Baxter, who holds it to be that promise, " If thou believe," 
&c. to disprove it. For, says he, " The very definition of a proper 
covenant sheweth as much, that it mast be a mutual engagement. 
Now, in that absolute promise there is no such matter — but only 
God telleth what he will do." I say the same, mutatis mutandis, of 
the conditional promise, there is no mutual engagement there ; but 
only God telleth what he will do, if we will do so and so. "Where 
it is plain, there is no engagement at all upon the party to whom 
this promise is made by virtue of it, unless it be an engagement, by 
way of gratitude, to accept of such^ a precious offer ; but the pro- 
mise is to him, whether he fulfil the condition or not, or any way en- 
gage with the promiser, ay and until he that made the promise de- 
clare he will no longer stand to these terms. I am confident, that 
neither Grotius de jure belli, nor other lawyers (of whom he speaks 
here), will ever say, that a bare conditional promise is a proper 
covenant, where there is a mutual engagement. Many times both 
in peace and war, such conditional promises are made, which not 
being accepted, there is no covenant made. So that by this argu- 
ment neither Mr. Tombes nor Mr. Baxter are right. 

• P. 223. t P- 225. 


Argument 2, " If it were the absolute promise of the first grace 
that is sealed by the sacraments, then the sacraments must be given 
to no man, or to all men. But, &c. The consequent is manifest, 
because that absolute promise or prophecy is only of the elect, and 
that before regeneration : now, no man hath any sign given him, so 
much as probable, by which to judge of the unregenera'e elect." 
Answer. I deny the consequence, here called the consequent, either 
by a typographical error, though not marked among the rest, or that 
Aquila non capiat muscas. And what is alleged for proof thereof, 
is false taken universally. Though we have no probable sign given 
us whereby we may judge of the election of the seed of oi)enly 
wicked parents, till such time as they evidence some good thing in 
them by their personal walk; yet as for the seed of believers, we 
have God's promise, " I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed." 
As for infants especially this holds good. And as for those chil- 
dren of godly parents, who when they are come to years of discre- 
tion, yet savour nothing of piety, that says indeed we cannot judge 
them probably to be regenerated : but yet it says not that we may 
not probably judge them elected. But this brings into my mind 
an argument against baptism its being a seal of the absolute pro- 
mise of the first grace, which possibly may deserve consideration. 
It is this. 

If baptism be a seal of the absolute promise of the first grace, 
then some openly wicked adult persons have a right coram ecclesia 
to baptism ; but that is false, as we have before proved : Ergo, I 
prove the consequence. They to whom the thing sealed doth 
visibly belong, have a visible right to the seal of the covenant; but 
if baptism be a seal of the absolute promise of the first grace, the 
thing sealed by baptism doth visibly belong to some adult persons 
openly wicked : Ergo, if baptism, &c. The proposition is plain. 
The reason of the assumption is, because the promise of the first 
grace belongs visibly to those .that are visible elect ones, or such as 
we may probably judge elected ; and the seed of the righteous we 
must probably judge to be elected, because of the promise, " I will 
be thy God, and the God of thy seed ;" yet nothing is more plain, 
than that there are many of the adult seed of the righteous that are 
openly wicked : Ergo, but I pass this. 

Argument III. " It may be known to whom that covenant be- 
longs which is sealed by the sacraments, but it cannot be known 
(before the fulfilling, no not at all) to whom (particularly) that 
absolute promise doth belong : therefore, &c." Answer. I dis- 
tinguish the major. It may be known (without extraordinary 
revelation) probably to whom that covenant which is sealed by the 


sacraments belongs particularly, I grant ; and in this sense the 
minor is false. It may be known infallibly, I deny. But, as 
Mr, Bowles saitli,* " Baptism is to be administered according to 
the judgment of charity, seeing it can by no certain signs be 
determined who they are that are actually in covenant." Now, if 
this argument could have any weight, it behoved to be proven, that 
we may, without extraordinary revelation, know infallibly to whom 
in particular the covenant sealed in baptism doth belong ; which 
the learned man doth not attempt. 

Argument IV. " If that absolute promise must be fulfilled to 
a man before he be capable of receiving the sacraments, which are 
seals of the covenant of grace, then it is not that absolute promise 
which is the covenant of grace sealed to by the sacraments ; but 
that absolute promise must be fulfilled, &c. : therefore it is not 
that absolute promise which is the covenant so sealed to." Answer. 
Tins is a manifest ignoratio elenchi. This is neither what Mr. 
Baxter undertook to prove, nor what Mr. Torabes denied, so far as 
we can learn by his words cited by Mr. Baxter. Mr. Tombes 
indeed saith, that the covenant whereof baptism is the seal, is the 
absolute covenant of grace, as several divines of better note say as 
well as he, but not that the absolute promise of the first grace is 
the covenant of grace ; it is according to their opinion a part of it, 
but a part is not the whole. Does Mr. Baxter think, that his 
adversaries in this point leave out of the covenant of grace all 
grace but the first ? and if Mr. Baxter would have concluded his 
own thesis, he should have inferred. Ergo, it is not the absolute 
promise of the first grace that is sealed to. But let us hear the 
proof of the consequence ; which is this : " The mercy promised in 
the covenant which is sealed, is not given before the first sealing ; 
but the mercy promised in that absolute promise is (according to 
Mr. Tombes, and in part the truth) given before the first sealing of 
the covenant of grace : therefore, &c." I wish Mr. Baxter had set 
down his conclusion. However, we will get some conclusion in the 
premises. But behold! how he wavers again. The conclusion of 
this argument is plainly this : Therefore the mercy promised in 
that absolute promise, is not the mercy promised in the covenant 
which is sealed. And this conclusion we have instead of the major 
proposition of his argument, which ought to have been the conclu- 
sion of his proof. Such wavering would tempt a man to distrust 
the cause he is defending. But as to the premises, the major taken 
universally is manifestly false : and unless you will maintain that 

' Pubt. Evang. p. 180, 


there is only one single mercy of the covenant which is sealed, 
which is the covenant of grace no doubt, you must either take it so, 
or it is an argument ex puris particularibiis, as is manifest. So then 
the major is, no mercy promised in the covenant which is sealed, 
or in the covenant of grace, is given before the first sealing. But 
most of our divines, that ever 1 read, against the Papists and 
Lutherans, their baptismal regeneration, will tell him, that some 
mercies promised in the covenant which is sealed, are given before 
the first sealing ; yea more, unless that some of these mercies be 
given before baptism, such as the saving indwelling of the Spirit, 
regeneration, union with Christ, remission, &c. they can have no 
right, before God, to the first seal ; and unless they appear to us 
probably to be given them, they have no right before the church to 
it. And if Mr. Baxter hath not said as much, as that some mercies 
promised are, yea, and must be given before the first sealing, or the 
parties have no right to baptism before the Lord, let what is said 
before manifest. I need not stand to prove the falsity of Mr. 
Baxter's major proposition last named, it hatli been sufficiently 
done before. But at length we come to something that is indeed to 
the point, which immediately follows the conclusion of the last 
syllogism ; and it is this : " God doth not promise and seal to a man 
that hath a new heart, to give him a new heart ; or to a man that 
is a believer, that he will give him to be a believer ; except we 
speak of the continuance or increase of faitli and newness, which is 
not the thing in question." But I answer, there is another use of 
a seal besides that of engaging and obliging to the performance of 
anything ; it is also of use to testify and represent,, as a demonstra- 
tive sign. This is plain not only from the common nature of seals 
appended to contracts, but from that plain Scripture, Rom. iv. 11. 
" And Abraham received circumcision, a seal of the righteousness 
of faith which he had before." And Mr. Baxter himself acknovv- 
ledgeth it ;* " A seal" says he " is an engaging or obliging sign, or at 
least a testifying." So then, although God doth not seal the promise of 
giving a new heart to him that hath a new heart, by way of engage- 
ment and obligation to perform the promise, yet he may seal to him 
that hath a new heart the promise of giving a new heart ; he may 
seal it, 1 say, by way of testimony, that such a promise hath been 
made to, or concerning that person that hath the new heart. This 
is not done in vain : for the promise contains a grant of the mercy ; 
it is the foundation of our right thereto, and the tenor of our free- 
holding, or holding of free grace ; which it is very reasonable we 

t P. 222. 


should be put in mind of, the rather that some learned men do very 
much to darken the glory of grace. Suppose a king should write a 
promise of a vast sum of current money, to be given freely to one 
that had been a traitor to him, or rather is a traitor, and should ac- 
tually pay it him before the writ be sealed ; and, upon the payment 
thereof, the man sees his folly, in that he should have been so unduti- 
ful to such a gracious prince, and so becomes a loyal subject : what 
solecism in conduct would it be, either in the subject to desire of him, 
(even after he hath got the money), that he would please to seal this 
his promise and grant ; or in the king, to seal his own writ ? May- 
be the man hath no great skill to discern betwixt true and counter- 
feit money ; the rather should the promise be sealed. Tlie applica- 
tion is easy. God made promise to Abraham, saying, " I will be thy 
God," seals it with circumcision ; yet before circumcision the promise 
was made out to Abraham ; God was the God of Abraham before he 
was circumcised, yet was not the seal used in vain. But Mr. Baxter 
will say, that he sealed the continuance of that mercy of being his God. 
Let it be so; yet ipso facto that God sealed by way of engagement and 
obligation the continuance of that mercy to Abraham, he also sealed, 
by way of testimony, the beginning of that mercy, or that mercy 
given at first, and consequently the promise thereof; for God seals no 
mercy to us but as it is comprehended in a promise. If any will say, 
that the sacraments seal any mercy but what the word promiseth, 
let them prove it. For my part I think it contrary both to Scrip- 
ture and reason. 

Argumeij^t V. " The benefits of the covenant of grace, which is 
sealed by the sacraments, are (by those of age) to be received by 
faith ; but the benefits of the absolute promise of the first grace are 
not to be received by faith : therefore this is not the covenant of 
grace so sealed. The major is evident. Mr. Tombes saith, only be- 
lievers must be baptized as disciples. The minor is proved before. 
Faith is part of the thing promised ; and we do not by faith receive 
our first faith, or our power to believe." Answer. To pass this, that 
the conclusion of this argument is indeed. Therefore the benefits of 
the absolute promise of the first grace are not the benefits of the 
covenant of grace, which is sealed by the sacraments ; the conclusion, 
as it is formed by the learned man, labours under the former disease, 
quod non condudit negatum. He had need of quicker eyes than I can 
pretend to, that can discern a contradiction between these two ; The 
absolute promise of the first grace is not the covenant of grace, which 
is sealed by the sacraments ; and that. The covenant whereof baptism 
is the seal, is the absolute covenant of grace, made only to the elect ; 
which is the proposition Mr. Baxter undertakes to confute. But T 


deny the major, universally taken. When Mr. Baxter speaks of re- 
ceiving the benefits of the covenant by faith, either he means receiv- 
ing things themselves, or) receiving a right to them ; and in both 
senses the proposition is false. If he mean it of receiving the things 
themselves, as contradistinct from receiving a right thereto, then I 
Avould fain know, 1. Whether the resurrection of our bodies, and 
glorification, be benefits of the covenant of grace ? and then, 2. How 
these benefits in this sense are received by faith ? If he mean it of 
receiving a right thereto, contradistinct from receiving the things 
themselves, then I would desire to understand, whether justification, 
adoption, and such relative benefits, be benefits of the covenant of 
grace ; and then, how a man can receive a right to relative benefits, 
as contradistinguished in re from the things themselves ; or if a man 
can have a right to a relation, and not ipso facto be so related. I 
speak not of jus sub termino ; but an immediate present right, as the 
matter with faith in respect of justification, &c. Whoever may 
quarrel this, it cannot be contradicted by Mr. Baxter's principles, 
" As to the relative benefits," says he,* "right to them, and right 
in them, are inseparable," &c. As to the proof of the proposition, 
I confess I see not how it toucheth the point. Mr. Tombes saith 
very right, and according to the scriptures, when he saith, Only be- 
lievers must be baptized as disciples, meaning it of those that have 
right thereto before the Lord ; and many others say, and that 
on good grounds, that only the regenerate, justified, &c. must be 
baptized as disciples ; and yet it will not hence follow, that the 
benefits of the covenant of grace, sealed by the sacraments, must be 
received by regeneration, justification, &c. 

Argument 6. " The covenant sealed to by the sacraments is a 
plainly propounded, unquestionable covenant ; but this absolute 
promise of the first grace is not such," &c. Answer. This conclu- 
sion is like some others before, that hit not the scope of the dispute. 
But no doubt the covenant is plainly propounded, and ought not to 
be questioned. But who can help the questioning that nice wits 
will needs make about truths plainly propounded? And this argu- 
ment might have been left out, while it is seen plainly and un- 
questionably, that many that have eyes in their head as well as this 
learned man, cannot agree with him, as to what it is that the sacra- 
ments do seal. But it is time now to come to his second argument 
for Grod's actual sealing to hypocrites. 

II. " If God do no more in his actual sealing to believers, than 
he doth when the sacrament is rightly applied to hypocrites, then 

• Inf. Bapt. p. 308. 


he actually sealeth to hypocrites ; but God doth no more, &c. The 
major is proved by the enumeration of the several acts. 1. God 
maketh the promise. 2. He commandeth ministers to publish it. 
3. He hath instituted the sacraments as mutual engaging signs or 
seals. 4. He commandeth ministers to deliver or apply them to 
those that profess their consent and desire to enter or renew the 
covenant — now, what act more than these doth God perform to the 
elect or believers ?" Answer. The proof of the major I will take 
for the proof of the minor, which is denied. And to his question, I 
say, God doth more than all those things enumerated while he 
actually seals to believers, or else he should not actually seal to 
them at all. The Westminster Assembly, in their Shorter Cate- 
chism, tells us, what God doth more, in answer to that question, 
" How do the sacraments become effectual means of salvation ?" 
The answer is, " The sacraments become effectual — by the blessing 
of Christ, and the working of his Spirit in them that by faith 
receive them." So then God blesseth them to believers, which he 
doth not Avhen administered to hypocrites ; God works by his Spirit 
in the one, not in the other ; and thus he gives them efficacy to 
believers, not to others. God ratifies in heaven what ministers do 
on earth, when the sacraments are administered to them who are 
fit for receiving them ; which is not done in the case of others. 
What if a Jew or a Mahommedan should undertake to put a mock on 
the Christians and their God; and, in pursuance thereof, should 
feign repentance, and faith in Jesus Christ, so as no minister should 
know but he were serious, and so be baptized ? might not this be a 
right act of the administrator ? But doth God no more in his 
actual sealing to believers, than he doth when such a one is bap- 
tized? Believe it who will, I cannot obtain it of myself to give 
credit to it. Put the case, that two visible church members fall 
into some scandalous sin, and are censured: both give sufficient 
evidences of their repentance to the church, yet the one is hypocriti- 
cal, the other sincere : God maketh the promise, commandeth his 
ministers to publish it, he hath instituted church discipline for the 
gaining of offenders, he commandeth that such as appear penitent 
be absolved. But doth God no more towards the one than towards 
the other? Surely he doth, as in the former case. 

Akgument II. If the parents of such infants concerning whom 
our question is, have no right to the table of the Lord, then the in- 
fants have no right before the church to the ordinance of baptism : 
but the former is true : Ergo, and hence it hath been a piece of 
difliculty to me, to reconcile the practice of admitting men's children 
to baptism, and in the meantime debarring themselves from the 


sacrament of the Lord's supper, and that constautly. The minor is 
least to be doubted ; for the chvirch, in debarring openly wicked 
persons from the table of the Lord, declareth that they are looked 
on as persons that have no right thereto. I apprehend it will be 
said, that such persons hare jus ad rem, but not in re ; and that the 
former is sufficient to entitle their children to baptism in foro cccle- 
sioe. This I willingly grant, as to some that are debarred from the 
sacrament of the Lord's supper : even as in the case of the Israelites 
with respect to the passover, where some had a remote right to that 
ordinance ; but when they were unclean, they could not rightfully 
claim the possession of it. But I would distinguish of scandalous 
Christians, or baptized persons. Some are habitually and constantly 
scandalous, who never gave any probable signs of their sincerity ; 
others there are that have sometimes given such probable signs, but 
afterwards fall into some scandalous sin or sins. That the latter 
sort have jus ad rem, or a remote riglit to the sacrament of the 
Lord's supper, I will not deny. Yea, it will not be grievous to me 
to grant, that the children of such persons, while as yet they have 
not evidenced their repentance, have nevertheless a right coram 
ecdesice to baptism. And my reason is, because the church still 
looks on such a person as a living, though not a lively member of 
Christ, as one savingly in covenant with God, evidenced by his for- 
mer walk, before the hour of temptation ; and the child's visible 
right to baptism, depends not on the parent's visible frame, but his 
visible state as in covenant with God ; for so runs the promise, " I 
will be thy God, and the God of thy seed :" so that the church look- 
ing on the parent as having God for his God, in the sense of the 
promise, must needs look on his seed as enjoying the same privilege, 
■ and consequently a right to baptism. But as for those who are 
habitually profane, who never appeared to walk in any tolerable mea- 
sure becoming the gospel, as there are too, too many baptized persons, 
they have not so much as a remote right to the sacrament of the 
Lord's supper : for it is appointed of God for believers, and them 
only : for the living, to make them grow; not for the dead, to give 
them life, else why are any debarred from it ? So that none have 
a right, no not a remote right thereto, before God, but real be- 
lievers ; and none have a remote right thereto, before the church, 
but visible believers. Whatever some are pleased to plead for the 
right of all baptized persons to the Lord's table, it will not much 
move me, nor do I think will it move many (but to indignation,) 
when they sist their consciences before the tribunal of a holy God ; 
therefore I will not digress from my purpose, to consider the weak 
arguiugs whei'ewith some endeavour to support that cause. We 


say then, that as none have a remote right to this sacrament in foro 
poll, but such as are right as to their state ; and none a proximate 
right thereto, but such as are in a frame, in some measure, suitable 
to that venerable ordinance : so none have jus ad rem in foro poli, hut 
visible believers ; and none jus in re, but the same persons being free 
of public scandal. I proceed to prove the consequence. The child 
hath no visible right to that ordinance to which the parent hath none. 
This proposition hath been proven before. But if the parents have 
not so much as a remote right to the table of the Lord, they have no 
right to baptism : Ergo, if the parent have not so much as a remote 
right to the table of the Lord, the child hath no visible right to 
baptism. The minor is clear ; for I think it will be denied by none, 
that all that have right to baptism have a remote right to the table of 
the Lord, et vice versa. None need to think it strange, that we speak 
of persons actually baptized having right to baptism, no more than to 
question the right that a man hath to an estate he has long enjoyed ; 
for it is certain here, that possession may be where there is no right- 
ful possession, or right and title to what is possessed. If any say, 
that children are not baptized in their parents' right, but in their 
own right, they may freely for me enjoy their liberty to express it 
so : for it is certain the child has a right, and that right is not the 
parents' right ; but all the evidence that we can have of a child's right 
to baptism, is from the parents ; therefore said I, the child can have 
no visible right, &c. I doubt not, but as the child of a most profane 
parent may have the Spirit; so in that case it hath a most undoubted 
right, before the Lord, to the seal of the covenant : but the parent 
being an oi)enly wicked person, there is no probable evidence of 
this ; nor can there be in that case, till the child do manifest the 
same by its personal carriage. In the meantime, as to us de nan ' 
apparentibus et non existentibus eadem est ratio. 

Argument III. A cursed seed hath no right to a sealing ordi- 
nance ; but the children of the openly wicked, or such as make no 
credible profession, are a cursed seed : Ergo, there can be no doubt 
of the assumption, the Scripture is express for it, Deut. xxviii. 18. 
" Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body." The proposition I prove 
thus. If a visibly cursed seed, (for so I understand the cursed seed 
I speak of in the argument, taking it for granted, they are visibly 
cursed whom God has declared in his word to be cursed, which I 
think none can deny with any colour of reason) ; if a visibly cursed 
seed have a visible right to a sealing ordinance, then a visibly cur- 
sed seed are a visibly blessed seed ; but that is absurd : Ei-go, the 
consequence is plain : for they that have right to the seal of the 
covenant of grace, are a visibly blessed seed ; they are surely visi- 


bly blessed who appear to be in covenaut with God, and mem- 
bers of Christ, as those do who have a visible right to baptism. The 
assumption is no less plain : for blessing and cursing are inconsis- 
tent ; whom Grod visibly curseth, he cannot at the same time visibly 
bless, else they should be visibly happy and miserable at one and 
the same time ; even so happy as God's blessing makes, and so mis- 
erable as God's curse makes a person. It is in vain to say, they 
are blessed and cursed in sundry respects ; so that however in some 
other respects they are cursed, yet, in respect of a right to the first 
seal of the covenant, they are a blessed seed : for there is no dis- 
tinction, nor ground for such distinction, in the text. But in what 
other respects can they be visibly cursed, when they are visibly 
blessed in this resj)ect ? "Were they in the most miserable case 
that ever any was in the world in other respects, while they have a 
visible right to baptism, God is their God, and who will dare say, 
that those who are thus visibly privileged are visibly cursed ? As 
the blessing of God puts a person in a blessed state, so his curse 
puts him in a cursed state, in whatever particular the blessing or 
the curse do chiefly appear ; for God's blessing and cursing are for- 
mally forensic actions, and so the different states resulting therefrom 
are inconsistent utterly, as justification and condemnation. Yea, I 
add, that the executive blessing and cursing are also inconsistent; 
for these flow from, and do necessarily pre-suppose the formal acts of 
blessing and cursing : so that although a person in a cursed state 
may receive good things from God, that are in themselves, and unto 
others blessings indeed, yet they are cursed to him, Mai. ii. 2 : even 
as afllictions, which are curses to the wicked, are nevertheless bless- 
ings to them that are in Christ. What though the seed of the 
■wicked by sovereign grace may be blessed ; yet, while this blessing 
is latent, we are to look on them as God in his word hath de- 
nounced the seed of the wicked to be : for the word is the rule of 
the church's judgment, not the secret will of God; "Secret things 
belong to the Lord, but unto us those things that are revealed." 
"When they do by their personal carriage declare themselves to be 
blessed ones, the church is to deal with them as such then, but not 
till then. As God hath declared the seed of the wicked to be 
cursed, so he hath also declared the seed of the righteous to be 
blessed, Psal. xxxvii. 26, " His seed is blessed ;" and cxii, 2. " The 
generation of the upright shall be blessed." "What a vast differ- 
ence doth the Lord in his word make between the seed of the 
righteous and the ungodly ! the one is blessed, the other cursed : it 
seems reasonable then the church should make some difference 
betwixt them also in the matter of church privileges, as was argued 
Vol. VI. N 


before. Can we suppose, that God hath given no more ground of 
comfort to the godly as to their seed, than he has given to the 
wicked, if they be but baptized ? or can we restrain this ground of 
comfort merely to temporal good things? In this readily the chil- 
dren of the faithful have least share, I think it is a pitiful strait- 
ening of the many promises that are made to the godly and to their 
seed, to allow them no more ground of comfort as to their children's 
souls, than wicked baptized persons may have as to theirs, notwith- 
standing of the curses denounced upon them. Allow both an equal 
right to the seal of the covenant of grace, and so to all the benefits 
thereof, and then sure all odds are made even. For my part, I 
am indeed of opinion, that, but prejudice to the sovereignty of God, 
who hath neither in the curse nor in the blessing set a law for him- 
self, to bind up the hands of free grace from bringing forth elect 
vessels out of the loins of wicked parents ; nor the hands of absolute 
dominion, in reprobating some of the seed of the godly ; that the 
main thing aimed at, both in the curse and in the blessing, is what 
concerns the eternal state of their seed, viz. that God will deny his 
grace to the children of the wicked, and so damn them for their 
sins ; and give his grace to the seed of the godly, and so save them 
eternally. So judicious Calvin* understands the threatening and 
the promise in the second command. And it is highly reasonable, 
that the holy oracles of God should be always understood in the 
most comprehensive sense, where there is nothing to restrain the 
same, as it is in this case. And what else can we make of the 
grand promise of the covenant, " I will be thy God, and the God of 
thy seed ?" This answers the scope and design of the declaration 
of the mind of God most fully, both in the declaration of the curse, 
and of the blessing. This makes them most pungent incentives to 
true piety. And thus God himself hath visibly explained the same. 
How often do we see the children follow the footsteps of their 
parents, graceless parents with children no better than themselves, 
when the children of the godly are blessed ? It is true, the wicked- 
ness of some of the children of the godly is much noticed, and ready 
to be talked of, when the impiety of the children of the wicked is 
not: but this plainly confirms what we say; for no better is ex- 
pected of the seed of the wicked, when better things are looked for 
in the children of the godly. Seldom it is but the godly have some 
good ; seldom the wicked have any. Of some stock of people God 
never wants some, even to the view of the world ; and of others he 
hath none, in all appearance. And if the curse and blessing be 



thus understood, it doth mightily strengthen the argument, as I 
apprehend ; for baptism is de jure conferred on children, only as 
they are apparently such as belong to God in a saving manner, as 
was before pleaded. This argument then I will conclude, with 
Balaam's words inverted, " How shall we bless whom Grod hath 
cursed ?" 

Argument IY. If it be necessarily pre-required to infants' right 
to baptism coram ecclesia, that their parents appear penitent, and 
lovers, not haters of God ; then none but the infants of visible be- 
lievers have a visible right to the ordinance of baptism : the former 
is true ; Ergo, the latter also. The consequence is plain : for 
visible penitents, lovers, and not haters of God, are visible be- 
lievers, and none other ; the one cannot be necessary, but the other 
ipso facto is also necessary ; and those whom we cannot look upon 
as visible penitents, and lovers of God, we must needs look upon as 
visibly impenitent persons, and haters of God, and so as visible un- 
believers, wanting that which is necessary to evidence their infants' 
right to baptism. The assumption is proven before from Acts ii. 
38. Exod. XX. 5, 6. From the former of these, it plainly appears, 
that repentance was pre-required of those pricked at the heart, an- 
tecedently to their own, or their children's visible right to baptism. 
And what though parents now are ordinarily possessed of that privi- 
lege in their infancy, when they were admitted as visible saints, 
seeing afterwards they have nothing of that visible saintship ? 
ought they not to be pressed to repentance, in order to a visi- 
ble right to their seed for this ordinance, having now lost that 
visible right thereto themselves, which they possibly had in their 
infancy ? Those in the text were circumcised, whether jure or in- 
juria we shall not determine ; and circumcision was a seal of the 
same covenant whereof baptism also is ; it was a seal of the righte- 
ousness of faith, as well as baptism : yet notwithstanding, they be- 
hoved to evidence their repentance before their children's right to 
baptism could be acknowledged ; as was proven before. It seems 
then no less reasonable, that baptized parents should be obliged to 
do the like, ere their children's right to baptism be acknowledged by 
the church. From the latter of these Scriptures, it hath been 
evinced, that the children of wicked parents are, by the threatening, 
denied a right to the seal of the covenant; and that it is given, by 
the promise, only to the children of those that love God ; which doth 
plainly restrain the same to the seed of visible believers coram ec- 
clesia. Hereunto add that testimony of the apostle, 1 Cor. vii. 14. 
" For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife : — else 
were your children unclean ; but now they are holy :" from whence 



it doth inevitably follow, that one of the parents mnst needs he a 
visible believer, else the children cannot be reckoned holy ; and 
hence it is ordinary to prove the right of the infants of the faithful 
unto baptism. 

Exception 1. By the haters of God in the second commandment 
are meant idolaters only ; and so by lovers of God, those that 
cleave to the true worship of God : and therefore the threatening 
cannot be extended to the children of those that do not turn aside to 
idolatry, or renounce Christianity. Answer. Many things may be 
returned to this exception ; as, 1. Then all baptized persons' children 
have not a right to bajitism ; for they may be baptized, and yet be 
idolaters, though they have not renounced their baptism. 2. Then 
the children of Papists have no right to baptism ; for they are mani- 
fest idolaters, as all Protestant divines do hold ; and yet those that 
differ will not allow this. But, 3. Though the contempt of this com- 
mand is no doubt aimed against in the threatening, and the promise 
hath respect to the keeping of it ; yet to restrain either the threat 
or the promise to this command, is to do violence to the words ; for 
the words are express for God's commands in the plural number, both 
in Exod. xx. 6. and Deut. xxvii. 10 ; so that at least they belong to 
all the commands of the first table. " If you consider duly," says 
Calvin,* " the promise which we have now explained, is not peculiarly 
annexed to one command, but is common to the whole first table of 
the law." Zanchius carries it further. f " The true interpretation," 
says he, " is that this (viz. the fifth command) is the first command 
with a promise, to wit, not pertaining universally to all the com- 
mands." And a little after : " God doth so much esteem the keep- 
ing of this command, that he hath added to it only, and so to none 
other, a peculiar promise." 4. That by haters of God are meant 
idolaters only, &c. is gratis dictum. It seems strange, to restrain 
that odious character to those only, seeing the hatred of God is 
common to all unregenerate persons, who are " enmity against God," 
Rom. viii. 7 ; and the hatred of God is most vigorous amongst 
those where idolatry is banished, and the pure word of God is 
preached, levelling pithily against the sins of the wicked. And no 
less strange is it, that those should be accounted lovers of God who 
outwardly cleave to pure ordinances, while they are openly wicked 
in their lives : surely Christ accounts those his enemies, who shall 
be brought forth, and slain before his eyes, and that with a double 
death. Wherefore we understand the haters of God to be all the 
wicked, and the lovers of God the truly godly, who obey out of love, 
as the other disobey out of hatred to God ; as Calvin judiciously teach- 

• Com. in loc. f Cora, in Eph. vi. 2. 


eth.* Those that love me. " The fountain and origin of true righteous- 
ness is expressed. The transgressors of the law are called enemies and 
haters of God. For seeing he cannot be separated from his justice, the 
contempt of the law argueth this hatred; because it cannot be, 
but he that will not suffer God to be his lawgiver and judge, desires 
also to rob him of his government." 5. Lastly, Though it should 
be yielded, that the threatening and promise belong only to this 
command, yet what reason is there that they should be restrained 
to one sin and one duty ouly ? I should think at least, that such as 
do not observe the ordinances of God, as prayer, &c. should be 
also here included. 

Exception 2, The apostle (1 Cor. vii. 14.) means not real be- 
lievers, in opposition to openly wicked Christians ; but believers, in 
opposition to pagans, accounting all believers who had given up 
their name to Christ in baptism. Answer. The apostle means 
visible believers, amongst whom some were sincere, others hypo- 
crites ; even as he means visible holiness, when he saith, their 
children were holy. To suppose that there were any in the church 
of Corinth that were not visible Christian believers, is what I 
cannot grant without proof; and I am of opinion, it caunot be 
proven from the Scriptures. There is, as I said before, a vast dif- 
ference betwixt one that sometimes, by his personal carriage, gave 
probable evidence of his saintship, and one that never did so. 
There were certainly many grievous enormities amongst that peo- 
ple, or in that church ; yet the former of these appears to be 
their case. The reason is, because, as the history of the acts of the 
apostles shew, none in those days were baptized, but such as gave 
probable signs of their sincerity, together with their children ; and 
of the Corinthians particularly Luke testifies, that " many of them 
hearing, believed, and were baptized," Acts xviii. 8 ; and the Lord 
told Paul in a vision, that " he had much people in that city, and 
so he abode a year and six months with them," vers. 9, 10 ; and 
though he himself baptized few of them, yet it cannot be thought but 
that people were baptized by his direction, and that therein he did 
as the rest of the apostles, requiring them to evidence their repent- 
ance before baptism; and when he was gone, Apollos, a faithful 
brother, was with them for a time. Acts xix. 1. That others than 
visible believers were baptized among them, we cannot without 
proof grant, especially seeing all of them whose baptism is recorded 
in the Scripture, were visible believers, and therefore baptized. 
"Wherefore, although that by means of their own corruptious, and 
hypocrisy, no doubt in some of them, and by means of false teach- 

* Ubi sup. 


ers, some were led aside into erroneous principles and disorderly- 
practices, they could not lose their visible saintship, till such 
time as they proved utterly irreclaimable : but how they took with 
the apostle's reproofs, the apostle himself plainly tells, 2 Cor. vii. 8. 
&c. And indeed, for all the faults that were among them, the 
apostle acknowledgeth them still as visible believers ; writing to 
them, as few ministers amongst us, I suppose, durst write to his 
congregation of baptized ones : 1 Cor. i. 2. " Unto the church of 
God that is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesns, 
called" (our translation adds, but without reason,) " to be saints" 
ver. 3. " Grace be unto you, and peace from God our Father." ver. 7. 
" Waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." ver. 8. 
" Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blame- 
less in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." See ver. 9. chap. vi. 
15, 19, 20. But in our case the persons we speak of, are such as 
never^gave probable evidence of their sincerity, else there would 
not be so much difticulty about the matter. 

Argument Y. Those who cannot be probably judged to be 
within the covenant, have no visible right to baptism ; but the 
children of openly wicked parents cannot be probably judged to 
be within the covenant : Ergo, the major is owned to be a truth 
by most divines that are orthodox. Wendelin is very express for it :* 
speaking of the subject recipient of baptism, he says, " It is all, 
and only those who are probably judged to be within the cove- 
nant of grace." So saith Oliver Bowles, f who nevertheless allows 
the children of all baptized persons a right to baptism. " All 
infants," says he, " that in the judgment of charity are within the 
covenant, are to be baptized. I call that the judgment of charity, 
when we obtain all those things by whicli it is probable the party 
to be baptized is under the covenant." It is evident, these learned 
men speak of a saving inbeing in the covenant, the probableness 
whereof they think is requisite in those that have right to baptism 
before the church ; which is the very thing our proposition doth 
import. However, I shall prove it. None have right to that ordi- 
nance, before the Lord, that are not really and savingly in cove- 
nant with God, as hath been already cleared ; Ergo, none have visi- 
ble right to the ordinance, that are not visibly or probably within 
the covenant. The consequence is manifest; because the judgment 
of the church must be regulated by the judgment of God, so far as 
the same is revealed. Again, those who cannot be probably judged 
to have a real right to the thing sealed, or rather a real interest iu 

'Christ. Tlieol. j). 426. f Pas*- E^'ang. lib. 3. cap. 3. 


the same, have no visible right to the seal ; but those who cannot 
be probably judged to be within the covenant really and savingly, 
have no visible interest in the thing sealed, because it is the cove- 
nant of grace that is the thing sealed .- Ergo, if therefore any will 
plead an external being in covenant with God, as a distinct thing 
from a visible being in covenant with him; and allege, that the 
seal may be given on the account of this external being in covenant, 
they speak unadvisedly ; for it is no other covenant that is sealed 
by baptism but the covenant of grace, which is entered into, or 
accepted by faith ; neither can any be said to be in it, but either 
really or apparently, which we call visibly. Now, I prove the 
minor. Openly wicked parents cannot be probably judged to be 
within the covenant ; Ergo, neither their children. The antecedent 
must needs be yielded, unless we say, that openly wicked persons 
give probable signs of their piety and interest in Chi'ist ; that they 
are probably regenerated, justified, adopted, &c. ; which is in eiFect 
to say, that openly wicked persons are not openly wicked, but 
visible saints. It is in vain to say, that they are within the condi- 
tional promise, in so far as they are baptized ; for we speak now of 
a probable judgment of a particular person's being within the cove- 
nant. But if by this be meant, that they are within the compass of 
that promise, though they have not yet come up to the terms, then 
they have no more than what pagans have, whensoever the gospel- 
olfer is made to them : if the meaning of it be, they are within it in 
so far as they have really believed, then we would fain learn, how a 
real believer comes to be an openly wicked man ; and by what 
means, or probable signs, men do judge an openly wicked person to 
be a believer. The consequence is proved from hence, that children 
stand and fall before the church, with their immediate parents; 
so that we cannot judge a man's seed probably to be in covenant 
with God, if he himself be not visibly in the covenant. I can 
apprehend no way how the force of this argument can be warded 
oif, unless we make recourse to the remote godly parents : which to 
how many inconveniencies it is liable, we have heard before. Some 
indeed lay the whole stress on the baptism of the parents, one or 
both, and will have the judgment of charity to conclude all those to 
be within the covenant probably, whose parents sometime were 
baptized ; which, in my opinion, is wonderfully wide charity, to say 
no more of it. How can a person's baptism be more useful to an- 
other, than to himself that personally received it ? The baptism of 
some is followed with open wickedness; and that which we now 
speak of, is that right the children of openly wicked parents can 
have to baptism ; and we have proven, that the openly wicked can- 


not be probably judged to be within the covenant ; and yet a bap- 
tized person may be openly wicked ; consequently the baptism of an 
openly wicked parent cannot be a ground whereon we may probably 
judge him within the covenant. Yet that this baptism, so useless 
to himself, should be so useful to his seed, is a thing that would 
need strong arguments to back it with, in order to its reception. 
One would expect, that such as go no further than the immediate 
parents for the church-state of the infants, should shew as much in 
the immediate parent as the child hath, seeing nothing can give 
more than it hath to itself. Moreover, if the judgment of charity 
must conclude all those children to be probably in covenant whose 
parents were once baptized, then, if Simon Magus had enjoyed a 
child, even after his discovering himself to have been still " in 
the gall of bitterness, and the bond of iniquity," and to "have 
neither part nor lot" with the people of God " in the gifts of the 
Holy Ghost," that child would have been probably judged to be 
within the covenant, and so to have had right to the seal of the 
covenant : but that could not be, in regard Simon himself had then 
no visible right to baptism; and had that discovery been made 
before, doubtless he had not been baptized. How many baptized 
persons do as really discover themselves to be still " in the gall of 
bitterness," as Simon did, by their open wickedness? But the 
nnprofitableness of the baptism of openly wicked persons, while 
they continue so, has been largely discoursed on before. 

Argument YI. If none be visibly privileged with having " God 
to be their God, and the God of their seed," (in the sense of the pro- 
mise and covenant of grace, which is sealed to by the sacraments), 
but visible believers ; then the infants of openly wicked parents, 
though baptized, have no visible right to baptism ; the former is 
true : Ergo, the latter also. The sequel is manifest, if ye consider, 
that openly wicked persons, though baptized, are visible unbelievers, 
and that they can have no right to baptism coram ecdesia whose 
God the Lord is not : for, in baptizing infants, we do really 
declare that we look on God as the God of the parent, and the God 
of his seed. Now that this great privilege visibly belongs only 
to visible believers, we hope to manifest by these following reasons. 

1. That which belongs only to real believers before God, visibly 
belongs only to visible believers and their seed ; but this privilege 
belongs only to real believers before the Lord : JErgo, &c. The 
reason of the proposition hath been given oftener than once in this 
discourse, therefore I stand not upon it. I prove the assumption : 
Those to whom this privilege is given, have ground to expect the ac- 
complishment of the rest of the promises of the covenant to them : 


Uie reason is, because this is comprehensive of all, and all the rest 
depend on it; for what can God promise or give more than himself 
to be a God to us ? but none have ground to expect this but real be- 
lievers : Ergo, further, those who are thus privileged now coram 
Deo, God will at the last day openly acknowledge as his people ; 
for these two go together, " I will be their God and they shall be my 
people ;" but God will so own none but real saints : Ergo. 

2. Those to whom this privilege doth visibly belong, whose God 
the Lord is, are those, and those only to whom the Lord hath been 
visibly so gracious, as to "put his law in their inward parts, and 
write it in their hearts ;" but these are none other but visible be- 
lievers and their seed : Ergo, the major is clear ; for these two are 
joined together in the promise, Jer. xxxi. 33. Heb. viii. 10. " For 
this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel — I 
will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts : 
and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people." 
See now how this doth visibly agree unto the openly wicked, that 
visibly cast God's laws behind their backs. 

3. Only Abraham's visible seed are thus visibly privileged : Ergo, 
only visible believers. The antecedent is plain. The consequence I 
prove thus : None are Abraham's real seed spiritually but real be- 
lievers ; Ergo, none are his visible seed but visible believers. The 
Scripture plainly holds forth, that none are really Abraham's seed 
but true believers. Gal. iii. ult. " And if ye be Christ's, then are ye 
Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." The apostle is 
there speaking to such as in the judgment of charity were Abra- 
ham's seed ; but because men may be Abraham's seed that way, yet 
none of his in the judgment of God, he tells them who they are that 
are the true seed of Abraham, even they that are Christ's by real 
union with him through faith ; not by a bare profession, or by bap- 
tism without true godliness : for there were none of them but were 
baptized, and professed Christ, but that was not enough to make 
them heirs according to the promise, and consequently not enough 
to make them sons either. Gal. iii. 7- " They which are of faith, 
the same are the children of Abraham." ver. 9. " So then they 
which be of faith, are blessed with faithful Abraham." 

4. Those only are thus visibly blessed for whom it appears Christ 
has died, and who are apparently redeemed by him from the curse 
of the law ; and such are only visible believers and their seed : for 
the apostle plainly teacheth, that these go before the blessing of 
Abraham, as the procuring causes thereof, vers. 13. 14. " Christ hath 
redeemed us from the curse of the law — that the blessing of Abra- 
ham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we 


might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." Now, it is 
certain, that God's being Abraham's God, and the God of his seed, 
was the blessing of Abraham, comprehending all other particular 
blessings, which is now come on the Gentiles. 

5. From the same Scripture we further argue thus : That bless- 
ing which comes on people only through Jesus Christ, and that pro- 
mise of the Spirit (or promised Spirit) which is received only by 
faith, doth visibly belong to none but visible believers, such as ap- 
pear to be in Christ and endued with faith ; but such is the blessing 
of Abraham which comes on the Gentiles : JErgo, the proposition is 
plain : for where there is no visible evidence of a person's being in 
Christ, through whom alone the blessing comes ; where there are no 
probable signs of faith through which it is received, that blessing is 
not, nor cannot be visibly come on them. 

6. Lastly, It sounds exceedingly harsh, to say, that God is the God 
of a visible unbeliever and his seed, in the sense of the great pro- 
mise sealed by the sacraments ; for in some sense he is the God of 
the whole creation, but surely it will not be denied, that this is 
something else, viz. that he is their God by way of covenant. 
Either, then, to have God for our God in the sense of this promise, 
is to have God for our God in the way of the covenant of works, or 
in the way of the covenant of grace. The first will not be pleaded : 
for the sacraments seal not the covenant of works ; besides, God 
is the God of all out of Christ that way, of pagans as well 
as others. It is therefore meant of God's being our God in 
the way of the covenant of grace ; and what greater blessing 
hath the most undoubted real believer ? Consider then how this 
can be digested, that God is the God of an openly wicked person ; 
one grossly ignorant of the principles of religion, necessary to salva- 
tion to be known ; of one possessed with a dumb devil, that calls 
not on God in secret or in his family ; that hath not so much as a 
form of godliness, but is a visible member of Satan's kingdom, and 
a visible enemy to the kingdom of Christ. That God is the God of 
such a one and his seed, and that we are to judge so of him and his 
seed, as of the most holy and exercised professor of religion, is what 
would need bands of iron and brass to tie a body to the belief of it. 
Wherefore I conclude, that seeing God cannot be judged to be the 
God of any and of their seed, but of visible saints and believers, 
none others' children have right to baptism : which must needs hold 
good, till such time as it be manifest, that others have right to bap- 
tism than they whose God the Lord is not, and have no interest ia 
that privilege and blessing, to which circumcision, a seal of the 
righteousness of faith, and consequently baptism, was appended, 


Gen. xvii. 7 — 10. Let none say, he is their God by their profes- 
sion, in so far as they were baptized in his name, and have not yet 
renounced it ; for what sort of a profession is that which is visibly 
contradicted by their practice ? Surely men would lay little weight 
on such a profession of service made to them by others. But God 
hath made faith, not profession, especially a profession visibly con- 
tradicted by their practice, to be the way of entering into covenant 
with him ; and we look on a credible profession only as a probable 
sign of real faith, which we cannot discern but in its effects, "Where 
then this credible profession is wanting, there appears no faith ; and 
consequently there is no probable evidence of God's being the God 
of such persons, or of their seed. 

Argument YII. If the children of openly wicked parents, though 
baptized, have a visible right to the seal of the covenant, then the 
church is bound to admit them to baptism, and actually to baptize 
them ? but that practice of baptizing the infants of openly wicked 
persons, or such as are not visible believers, as deriving their right 
from their parents, (in which sense the proposition is to be under- 
stood,) is unwarrantable ; Ergo, the sequel is plain : for it is a wrong 
to deny any the possession of that to which they have a visible 
right, when there is no impediment laid in the way by the party 
who is to have possession ; as it is in the case of infants. Yea, it 
is a wrong not to put infants in the possession of those privileges 
whereof they are capable, and liave a visible right to, seeing they 
are such as cannot move in their own business. Thus Moses was in- 
jurious to his son, in not circumcising him at the time appointed of 
God ; for which cause God sought to kill him, Exod. iv. 24. I prove 
the minor : the action is lusory, even according to the principles of 
those that differ, if the church hath no probable grounds to expect 
the religious education of those children that are baptized, or that 
they shall be brought up for the service of him in whose name they 
are baptized ; but, in the case we speak of, they have no probable 
grounds to expect the same : Ergo, the action is lusory, and conse- 
quently unwarrantable. How can openly wicked persons, whether 
grossly ignorant of the fundamentals of religion, or profane in their 
lives, having knowledge, be trusted for the bringing up of a child 
for Christ ? Is it probable, that they who are visible slaves to the 
devil themselves, will bring up their children in and to the service 
of God ? We know not but they may formally renounce their 
baptism, and carry away their children with them to idolatry, &c. 
who have so far gone on in a practical renunciation of the same. 
Such persons are not fit to be trusted in such a weighty concern. 
If any shall say, that the baptizing of the children of such parents 


is to be suspended till their parents reform, or they themselves 
come to ripe years, and evidence their piety by a visibly holy walk ; 
we agree in the thing, though not in the name ; for by this means 
the infant's visible right is plainly made to depend on the visible 
state of the parent ; which is Indeed not to suspend, but utterly to 
deny the thing, and all right thereto, unto such infants, till such 
time as one of these two things before mentioned does appear. But 
how the suspending of the child's baptism for shorter or longer 
time, upon the parent's account, can be pleaded, according to the 
principles of those that differ, I see not ; seeing that were contrary 
to what they urge in the main point, that the son shall not bear the 
iniquity of the father. 

But this is thought to be salved by bringing in of sponsors for 
such children ; that their openly wicked parents are not to be ad- 
mitted to make faith for them, but some other fit person. If such a 
fit person be found, then the child is to be baptized ; if not, then in- 
deed the action is lusory, say they. To this I answer. That either the 
child hath its right to the ordinance from the sponsor, or the parent. 
If from the sponsor, then not from the parent ; which is the very 
thing we plead : if from the parent, then how comes the child to be 
denied that which it hath a visible right to, in any case, while, poor 
soul, it can do nothing to lay an impediment in the way of its pos- 
session of the privilege it hath right to ? must it so far bear the ini- 
quity of the father ? It follows then still, that such an infant must 
be baptized in the right of the immediate parent ; and that, on the 
same account, the infant cannot be kept back from baptism, nothing 
being on its part to hinder the actual possession. It is in vain to 
say, that the infant hath from the parent jus ad rem, and from the 
sponsor ^ws in re: for unless there were ajus sub terrnino fixed by the 
Lord in his word, as it was in the case of circumcision, when the 
child had no actual right in that ordinance till the eighth day, which 
cannot be alleged here, the infant hath a most immediate right by 
birth privilege, if it have any at all ; so that the actual possession 
of that privilege may be immediately claimed in favours of such a 
child. And therefore that distinction is not applicable to the matter 
in hand. Neither do we need the help of it, in such a case, where 
godly parents are both dead before the child be baptized : for such a 
child being by birth privilege within the covenant visibly, and so 
having a visible right to baptism, in whose favours the actual pos- 
session of the seal may immediately be claimed, the church is bound 
to be tutor to it, and see to the education of it in the ways of God, 
and baptize it according to its right. Even as in the case of a tem- 
poral inheritance, where the heir is left an infant ; the magistrate 


is bound to see to the bringing up of such a one, and that it be not 
defrauded of its heritage. So the church, in this case, gives it not 
any right to the ordinance that it had not before, but doth her duty 
in putting it in actual possession of that which it had all right to, 
antecedently to their meddling with it, and takes care of its educa- 
tion. And this they were obliged to do upon this formal considera- 
tion, that such a one was a child of the covenant. 

To consider a little further of sponsors for the children of openly 
wicked parents : In the first place, the practice of many is to require 
those only in some more odious cases, as when the parent is guilty 
of fornication, adultery, or the like ; but readily, if they be civilized, 
though they have not so much as a form of godliness, nor ever bow 
a knee to Grod in secret or in their family, which doth hold them out 
of the number of visible believers, and so ranks them amongst the 
openly wicked, no sponsors are required for their children other than 
themselves. Now, what, are those persons to be trusted in the reli- 
gious education of a child ? Either we must say, that mere civility 
is religion and Christianity ; or else we must say, it is probable that 
these will bring up their children in the holy religion and for Christ, 
that have not so much as a form of godliness themselves ; which is 
a strange sort of probability. And what reason truly is there why 
such a difi'erence should be made, in this matter, betwixt civil men 
that have not so much as a form of godliness, and common drunkards, 
swearers, &c. that are baptized ? Are they baptized ? so are these 
we speak of. Are they civil persons, free of gross immorali- 
ties ? so are some pagans as well as they. If the church be 
satisfied with them on the account of their baptism, they must also 
be satisfied with the other sort : if on the account of their civility, 
then they must be so satisfied with pagans also; for quatenus ad 
omne valet consequentia : if on the account of their baptized civility, 
why not also with many of the other sort upon the account of their 
drunken prayers ? Nothing but bad custom, I presume, hath author- 
ised the want of a form of godliness, neglect of prayer, and the like, 
in a civil baptized person, to go with such a black character, in the face 
of the visible church, as drunkenness and the like are marked with. 
Further, what if the parents will not allow another person to be 
sponsor for their child, and will rather let it lie unbaptized than suiFer 
any such thing ; will the church force away their children from them, 
and baptize them whether they will or not, so that the child may not 
be defrauded of its pretended right ? Finally, in order to the church's 
security for the education of such children, it seems to be of absolute 
necessity, that they be put wholly in the power of the sponsor ; for 
how can a man be trusted with the upbringing of a child that hath 


it not wholly in his power ? To promise otherwise is to promise 
impossibilities, or that which might bo rendered impossible by the 
parent. Surely no man will take it upon him to learn another 
man's son a trade, whereby he may gain his livelihood, unless 
such a one be put in his power, so that the father may not call 
him away when he pleaseth. If the child be still at the disposal 
of the wicked parent, the sponsor may promise, but the parent will 
perform as he seeth good. Now, if the child be put wholly in the 
power of the sponsor as to its education, it is plain, the formal 
reason for which the child is baptized, is not because he is born of 
baptized parents, but because he is as it were the adopted son of the 
sponsor ; so that the child hath his visible right to baptism, not by 
the parent, but the sponsor. And so the cause is yielded, and tho 
case and question quite altered. And the question will be. Whether 
or not an Infant which is devoted unto Christ by a stranger, 
having it wholly in its power, at least as to its education, hath a 
visible right to baptism ? which is resolved by Mr. Baxter in the 
affirmative, on Scripture grounds, even though they were the chil- 
dren of Turks and Jews. Against which I dare not as yet reclaim, 
providing these sponsors be visible believers, and so fit to be trusted 
in such a matter. Hence it appears, sponsors, 1. ought to be visible 
believers ; 2. having the child for whom they engage, wholly in their 
power as to its education ; 3. required in the case of all children 
that are not the seed of parents whereof one is a visible believer. 
If matters were brought to this pass, much, if not all the difficulty of 
this case, would be removed. 

Argument YIII. No infants but those of visible church mem- 
bers have right to baptism coram ecdesia ; and none but the infants 
of visible believers are the children of visible church members : 
Ergo, the major is evident : for if the children of those that are no 
visible church members have right to baptism, it is made a privilege 
common to the church with those of the rest of the world ; which is 
absurd. I prove the minor : if none be true members of the church 
but the faithful or real believers, then none are visible church mem- 
bers but visible believers ; the former is true, therefore the latter 
also : consequently none are the children of visible church members, 
but the children of visible believers. The reason of the consequence 
is this, that visible church members are none other but such as 
apparently are true members of the church of Christ; so that if 
none be true members but real believers, none can be visible members 
but such as appear to be true believers. Christ hath not two 
churches, one invisible, and another visible ; but one church, that 
in one respect is visible, in another respect invisible : Christ is not 


a head with two bodies, but we are "all baptized into one body," 
and mystical " Christ is but one," 1 Cor. xii. 12, 13. If then the 
true members of the church are only believers, it is plain that the 
visible members thereof are only such as are apparently believers. 
If we judge in thesi that believers only are true members of the 
church, when we come to judge in hypothesi as to this or that par- 
ticular person, we cannot judge him a true member but as he 
appears to be such. As to the assumption, the body of Protestant 
divines will bear me out in it; whose constant doctrine against the 
Papists is. That the wicked, hypocrites, and reprobates, who out- 
wardly profess the faith, are not true members of Christ's church ; 
but only the godly and faithful, who not only profess faith, but 
indeed believe and are regenerate, are to be judged true members of 
the church. 

Argument IX. If none but visible believers have right to bap- 
tism before the church, and infants derive their visible right thereto 
from their immediate parents ; then none but the children of visible 
believers have right to baptism before the church. The antecedent 
hath been already proven in both its parts, and the consequence is 
too evident to be denied. The Scripture is so plain and full, in 
asserting, that no adult persons but such as are visible believers 
ought to be baptized, that I can see no evasion from the force of 
this argument, for those that do not derive the infant's right from 
the remote parents, but require evidence of the baptism of one of 
the immediate parents; whereby they plainly suspend the visible 
right of the infant on the visible state of the next parent ; unless 
they say, either that one can give what he hath not to himself, or 
that the parent's baptism, notwithstanding of his gross ignorance of 
the fundamental points of religion, or of his openly vicious life, 
never having had so much as a form of godliness, be a sufficient evi- 
dence of his faith as to us : the absurdity whereof I will not stand 
to prove, being under no temptation to suspect the truth of it, but 
assured, by the Lord's word, that we ought to judge of the tree by 
its fruits. 

Argument X. Lastly, I shall conclude with this. That the way 
we plead for seems to have the advantage of the other, in that it 
apparently hath a more direct tendency to the advancement of the 
great ends of the gospel; which calls men to "join themselves unto 
the Lord" through Christ by faith, and " to deny ungodliness and 
worldly lusts, to live godly and soberly in this present world." 
And this it hath, in respect of the parents, of the children, and of 

1. In respect of the parents. We find the most ignorant and pro- 


fane wretches almost that are amongst us, cannot easily digest their 
children's want of baptism, though they understand not the nature of 
it, the ends and uses for which it is appointed ; or if they do under- 
stand, yet take no care to perform their vows. Now, while their 
children are baptized, as they offer them to baptism, they are hard- 
ened in their impiety, and the church is mocked with their en- 
gagements; for what trust can be put in them, or what credit 
can be given to the promises and engagements of such ? It is sad 
that many are trusted in this matter, to whom we could give no 
credit in far less matters. And this evil is not cured by requiring 
of sponsors, into whose power the child is not wholly given up, as 
to its education, as was said before. But were the children of such 
parents debarred from the sacrament, till such time as either their 
parents, one of them at least, should reform and amend their lives, 
as the same parents are debarred from the Lord's supper ; or they 
themselves should evidence their faith by their carriage at years 
of discretion, it might rationally be expected, that we should 
see a reformation in the lives of many, if not of most, who 
now do never bend themselves that way : " the haters of the 
Lord should" at least " lye unto him," as it is Psal. Ixxxi. 15. 
And it is a promise made unto the church, that "her enemies 
shall lye unto her," Deut. xxxiii. 29. but otherwise, it is ra- 
ther a mocking than a lying to her : for, as Ursin says, 
" they deny in their deeds what they profess with their mouth, 
and it is plain they lye :" for faith and a Christian life can- 
not be separated. "Whoso separate them, mock God and the church. 
But were they thus dealt with, they might at least be brought to the 
performance of the external duties of religion : and who knows but 
many, being thus laid in Christ's way, might be really delivered 
from the snare of the devil, who otherwise are led captive at his 
pleasure. Experience hath shown these hopes are not vain. 

2. In respect of the children themselves. They seem the 
same way to be hardened in their sinful courses. When they 
come to understand their parents have always lived as they 
see them do, and yet they were admitted to baptism in 
their infancy, being born not of unbaptized but baptized per- 
sons, having right to the seal of the covenant by their pa- 
rents, whether mediate or immediate ; unless God, with his 
overcoming grace, work with them, there is no probability 
that they will in the least trouble themselves to mind reli- 
gion. And if it should be so, that their wicked parents should 
tell them, they were devoted to God in their infancy, what 
success can their instructions and admonitions be expected to 


have, while they have still before their eyes the bad exam- 
ple of their parents ? A more forcible inducement to wicked- 
ness, than a thousand of their admonitions will be to the con- 
trary. But were they denied baptism, till either their parents 
should reform, or till they themselves by their personal walk should 
evidence their right thereto, in case their parents be incorrigible, it 
would be a very probable mean to induce them to seek the know- 
ledge of religion, and to study a holy walk ; considering that they 
live in a place where the gospel is preached, and the sad case of 
those that are without the church is holden forth. I confess, these 
things have no small weight with my conscience. 

3. Whence it appears, that it would very probably have no small 
influence on others, especially the younger sort; who first, because 
of their youth, think religion not fit for them ; and then betaking 
themselves to a married state, do wholly drown themselves in the 
cares of the world, or other lusts, leaving all care concerning their 
souls till they come to old age, (which perhaps they never see), or 
to a death-bed. This would at least put them in mind of changing 
their course of life, and turning over a new leaf ere they change 
their single life. I shall add, that by this means it would probably 
come to pass, that the holy ordinance of baptism, which is a seal of 
the same covenant with the Lord's supper, should not be so visibly 
degraded, and put so far below the other sacrament, in people's 
estimation, as indeed it is, by the promiscuous admission of infants 
thereto ; there should be a more beautiful harmony in the subjects 
receptive of both ; gross ignorance and wickedness should get a 
black mark set on it before the world ; and, finally, the name of 
Christ should not be so blasphemed amongst Turks, Jews, and 
pagans, as it is, by reason of the vicious lives of those that live in 
the visible church. 

Thus I have proposed what arguments on both sides have occurred 
to me, being desirous to find out the truth : and though there 
be difficulties on both hands, some whereof possibly may not be 
easy to answer, yet, truly, upon the whole of what is said, I think 
the opinions of those that say, None but the infants of visible be- 
lievers have a right to baptism before the church, is most probable ; 
and that the infants of any such as are not visible believers, though 
their immediate parents be baptized, and though they have had 
godly remote parents, have no visible right to baptism. And so I 
address myself to consider the arguments off'ered by those that 
diff'er, which are mentioned above. 

I. As to the Jirst argument, That the infants of all Christian 

Vol. VI. o 


parents are within the covenant ; I answer, The phrase of being 
within the covenant is ambiguous. 1. Improperly, it may signify 
a person's living under the outward administration of the covenant ; 
that is, in a society and amongst a company where all gospel ordi- 
nances are administered, so that they have the call of the gospel to 
come to Christ, and partake of the benefits of the covenant : for to 
say, the meaning of that is, that they are those to whom all ordi- 
nances are actually administered, as it would not help the cause, so 
it were impertinent here, while we speak of those to whom some of 
these ordinances may lawfully be administered. But this is very 
improperly said to be a being within the covenant, and can give no 
right to the seals of the covenant : for why ? people may be living 
under the outward administration of the covenant, that is, in a so- 
ciety where all gospel ordinances are administered, and yet neither be 
in reality nor in appearance within the covenant ; as Jews and pa- 
gans living in a Christian town or country, having Christ olfered to 
them, and the benefits of the covenant, as well as baptized persons. 
So these Jews, Acts ii. were under the outward administration of 
the covenant, yet had they no visible title to baptism, and conse- 
quently were not properly within the covenant, till such time as 
they gave evidence of their faith in Jesus Christ, and repentance 
towards God. 2. There is a real being within the covenant coram 
Deo ; as all are, whether adult or infants, that have the Spirit of 
grace. This cannot be meant here, (although it is that which only 
gives right before God to the seal ;) because, as Mr. Bowles* tells 
ns, we cannot certainly know who are actually, as he terms it, 
within the covenant. 3. There is a visible being within the cove- 
nant ; and that is, when a person doth really appear before men to 
be savingly within the covenant, or rather really and before God in 
it ; and in this sense I deny that such infants as we speak of, are 
within the covenant : yet this only is that whereby they can have a 
visible right to the seal. The reason is, because their parents are 
not visibly within the covenant, unless you will reckon them to be 
visibly Avithin the covenant, who have made a professed but a 
feigned devoting and upgiving of themselves to God ; which is 
openly and plainly discovered to be feigned, by their profane walk, 
or gross ignorance. But of this before. Yet, if you will, it shall 
not be grievous to me to grant, that even this is a visible being in 
a covenant with God, (though not in the covenant, viz. of grace, 
holden forth in the gospel,) and a most proper visible being, under 
their own voluntary promise to take God for their God ; by virtue 
of which, God hath a kind of interest in them more than others that 

* Past. Evanff. lib. 3. 


have not come that length, which serves to aggravate their sin, and 
will heighten their misery ; so that they are God's people, by virtue 
of their voluntary obligation to take God for their God ; and God 
also, by virtue of the same, is their God, to give them laws, exact 
obedience of them, and to punish them for their disobedience. Yet 
are they not within the covenant of grace, either really or appa- 
rently; neither is God their God in the sense of the promise on 
which this argument is built ; and so they can have no right to bap- 
tism by their being under that covenant or promise, however it be 
called. The plain reason is, because in that covenant, or the cove- 
nant of grace, to which baptism is appended as a seal, God pro- 
niiseth not to be our God on any other terras but saving faith : so 
that whosoever believeth not really and savingly, is not before God 
within the covenant; and whoso doth not visibly believe, is not 
visibly within it. Hence seeing openly wicked baptized parents 
come not up, either really or in appearance, to the terms of the 
covenant, which is not a bare profession with the mouth, or the re- 
ceiving of the sign in baptism, but true faith, or a real accepting of 
Christ, and God to be our God in him, they cannot be said to be in 
the covenant, either really before God, or visibly and apparently 
before the church. And this observation may serve to invalidate 
an argument wherein some do confide much, viz. that God owns 
himself to be the God of a profane people, and them to be his 
people. As to that which is added for proof, that such are within 
the covenant, viz. that their parents wei'e sometimes sealed with the 
seal of the covenant ; I deny it follows ; and there is good reason 
for it : for so let men turn Arians, Socinians, &c. or wallow in 
never so open and manifest gross abominations, notwithstanding of 
all means used to turn them from their evil way, they must still be 
looked on as within the covenant of grace, till they actually and 
formally renounce their baptism. Eut I say, with Riissenius, 
answering the Popish objection and argument adduced by them to 
prove that hypocrites and reprobates are true members of the 
church, because they are baptised, " they have only the sign."* It 
was never a seal to them, as I have already shown. It will be worth 
our pains to hear what a censure a very learned divine passet^ 
against the assertors of this doctrine, " To profane the cove- 
nant of God," says he, " is to give out and acknowledge those for 
the confederates of God, who are enemies of God; and so to make 
such a God as obligeth himself to hypocrites and wicked ones." As 
for that proof of the argument, viz. That the covenant is made, not 

" Urs. Expl. Cat. p. 553, 



only with the root, but with the offspring; from whence it is inferred, 
that the seal may not only be effectual to the baptized, if he believe, 
but also render his seed capable of the external sign ; it is of no 
force. If the learned man that hath this argument, mean by the 
root, the immediate parent, as I think he plainly does, then I deny 
the covenant is made with such roots ; and therefore not with the 
offspring either, visibly ; and have given the reason before. If he 
mean the remote parents, we have discoursed that already at some 
length. But truly I see no reason to talk so diminutiv^ely of bap- 
tism, as to call it the external sign. Was ever baptism appointed 
of God for a mere external sign ? or do ministers, in baptizing the 
children of profligate parents, mean, that they should receive only 
the external sign, and not the seal of the righteousness of faith, re- 
mission of sins, &c. ? If so, no doubt they are guilty of profaning 
that holy ordinance. As for the confirmation of the argument taken 
from 1 Cor. vii. 14. we have already vindicated that place, and 
shewn that the apostle speaks to them as visible believers, which 
needs not be repeated here. 

II. I am convinced there is scarcely less force in any of the argu- 
ments adduced for this cause, than in the second, which is. That the 
children must not bear the iniquity of their fathers, (for which 
Ezek. xviii. 20. is alleged) ; and therefore the infants of wicked, 
openly wicked baptized parents, are to be baptized. Answer 1. 
Why then is there an infant under heaven that ought not to be bap- 
tized ? The infants of the rudest savages in the world have as little 
stretched forth their hands to their fathers' iniquity, as the infants 
of baptized persons. 2. Whose iniquity did the infants of the first 
unchurched generation of the Jews, and those of Smyrna, Laodicea, 
and others, bear ? I suppose none will plead their visible right to 
baptism. 3. The Israelites had God's express command for cutting 
off all the Canaanites, Deut. xx. 16. 17- *' Thou shalt save alive 
nothing that breatheth : But thou shalt utterly destroy them, the 
Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the 
Hivites, and the Jebusites. All the males among the Midianites' 
little ones are slain with the parents at God's command, Numb. 
Xxxi. 17. The children of Dathan and Abiram were swallowed 
up with their parents ; Achan's sous and daughters were stoned 
and burned with him; and so, as Mr. Baxter* saith, cut off from 
the church and life. 4. Doth not the Lord expressly threaten, 
that " he will visit the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to 
the third and fourth generation ?" But how all this may be, and yet 

• Inf. Bap. p. 69. 


that it should be such a strange thing, that the children of openly 
wicked parents have no visible right to baptism, because they are 
the children of such parents, I see not any colourable pretext for 
it. Now, as for the reconciling of this with Ezek. xviii. 20. the op- 
ponents are obliged to see to it as well as we, not only in the fore- 
mentioned cases, but also iu their dealing with the Sociuians, in the 
matter of the imputation of Adam's sin, and our obnoxiousness to 
the wrath of God upon the account of it, and in the point of Christ's 
satisfaction ; in reference to both which, these heretics abuse that 
Scripture : yea, not only so, but in the case of baptizing the infants of 
heretics and excommunicated parents, where they do necessarily re- 
quire sponsors ; and if there be none found that will oblige himself 
to the church, and undertake the care of teaching those infants, they 
confess the action is lusory, and baptism is polluted : so that, even 
according to their own principles, the child may bear the father's ini- 
quity. But the reconciling of these may be seen with such of our 
divines as write on the second command, and of the Socinian contro- 
versy. And what answer those learned men that use this argument 
make for themselves in the forementioned cases, they may bestow 
the same on themselves for us. Only I think, in the meantime, 
they should prove, that our doctrine doth properly make the chil- 
dren to bear the iniquity of their fathers in this case, as if the for- 
mal ground and reason whereupon the Lord proceeds against those 
infants were their parents' open wickedness ; which if they do not, 
they do but beat the air, and fight with a shadow. "Why may not 
the Lord well be said to visit the open wickedness of such parents 
on their children, when he only takes occasion from that open 
impiety of the parents thus to punish the children ; yea, to punish 
them for worse, for their own sin, which they bring to the world 
with them, and lays thera open to the wrath of God ? As if a king 
had a parent and his son both under sentence of death for treason, 
and the father should be so far from shewing any sorrow for his 
offence, that he is still going on in treasonable attempts, the 
king should on that occasion execute the sentence of death, not 
only on the father, but also on the son, who otherwise might have 
had mercy ; and thus punish the father in his son, as well as in his 
own person : and yet the formal reason of the sentence against the 
son is his own treason, though he owes it to his father that the 
sentence is executed, but yet has no ground to complain of injustice 
in this matter. For my part, I will plead for no more in this 
matter ; and this sufficiently maketh the argument without force. 

IIL But now we come to the third argument, which is the most 
considerable, in my opinion, of all that is advanced in this matter 


by those that differ. It is this : if the heresy, impiety, or profanity 
of the Jewish parents, did not exclude their children from circum- 
cision ; then the heresy, impiety, or profanity of Christian parents, 
cannot exclude their children from baptism ; but the former is true : 
Ergo, Answer ; before I come directly to answer this, I will propose 
three prejudices that I have against it. The first is this : that this 
argument concludes, that no heresy, profanity, or impiety of Chris- 
tians, so called in opposition to pagans, Turks, and Jews, excludes 
their children from baptism ; so that the door is thereby opened to 
the children of the most gross heretics that ever bare the name of 
Christians, and that even though accompanied with the grossest 
wickedness, unless perhaps they formally renounce their baptism : 
so that, as good right to the seal of the covenant have the children 
of the Grnostics, Nicolaitans, Ebionites, Cerinthians, Samosatenians, 
Arians, and Socinians, and such hellish crew, as the most holy and 
pious professor of the truth that is according to godliness. Quis 
feret heed what a sad thing is it to repute practically open blas- 
phemers of Christ, and of the Holy Trinity, amongst those in 
covenant with God, though Turks, pagans, and Jews belch not out 
such blasphemies as they do against the truth ! 2. This is inconsis- 
tent with the principles of some of those that use this argument. 
They say concerning the Jews simply, without any limitation, that 
their heresy, &c. did not exclude their children from baptism ; yet 
when they come to shew their mind concerning Christian parents, 
they tell us only of the children of such heretics amongst whom the 
formula of baptism is safe, that they are to be baptized ; whereas, 
their argument carries it, not only to those, but to all heretics. 
And, alas ! what is the formula of baptism to the purpose in 
Socinian congregations, where they do baptize in the name of the 
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, while it is the open confession of their 
Satanical synagogue, that Christ is a mere man, whatever divine 
dignity is conferred on him, and the Holy Ghost not a person?* 
It is strange there should be such virtue in bare words, without the 
true sense and meaning. The Socinians in Transylvania sometimes 
baptized " in the name of Jesus who was crucified," but afterwards 
were obliged by the Prince to baptize " in the name of the Father, 
Son, and Holy Ghost." If the children of those who were baptized 
in the name of Christ who was crucified had right to baptism, then 
even the children of heretics, amongst whom the very formula of 

* Ego sentio, siquis doceat baptizandum, solem Palrem esse veriim Deum, Filium 
primam creaturam. Spiritum Sanctum actionem tantum Dei in unimis nosiris ; et ita 
in nomen horum baptizet, hunc baptismrnn mdlum esse. Zanch. torn. 4, col. 441. 
Fide Honinbeek ^ipp. ad Cont. Soc. 


baptism is not preserved, have right to baptism ; and so indeed the 
argument concludes : if they had not, but the latter sort had, 
what made the difference betwixt them who still retained their 
former doctrine and principles, and only for pleasing their prince 
changed their words ? It is like it will be said, the former were 
not Christians : and why were they not Christians ? because they 
were not baptized persons, not being baptized in the name of the 
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I should be loath to plead, that 
either of them were or are Christians : but I dare not unchristian 
them upon this head, that they are not baptized, lest I should make 
the holy children of the faithful no Christians, till they be baptized ; 
or unchristian such Anabaptists as are not baptized, till such time 
as they may be baptized according to their principles ; or unchurch 
the church in the wilderness, that for forty years wanted circum- 
cision : but I would make both the sorts aforementioned no Chris- 
tians, on the same ground that John makes them Atheists, 1 John 
ii. 23. " Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father :" 
which is judiciously improven against them, by a late writer.* And 
thus, as we go on, we go the deeper, finding the right of the 
children of very Atheists to baptism. 3. There is another prejudice 
I have against it, the lawfulness whereof may appear, if ye consider 
this argument: if the heresy, impiety, or profanity of the Jewish 
parents, did not exclude their children from circumcision; then 
the heresy, impiety, or i)rofanity of the Jewish parents did not 
exclude their children from baptism : the former is true : ErgOy 
the consequence is plain, (I use the same words that the opponents 
do, for proof of the consequence of their argument, only mutatis mu- 
tandis) : for baptism was to them what circumcision was to them ; 
their circumcision was to them a seal of the righteousness of faith, 
and so was baptism. Now, the grace of God is not more narrow 
under the New Testament, but more large than under the Old. 
This argument hath the advantage of the other, in that it proceeds 
from the Jewish parents and children under the old dispensation, to 
the same under the new ; whereas the other proceeds from the Jews 
under the old, to the Gentiles under the new. If those things al- 
leged by them prove their consequence, they must also prove ours. 
Yet I suppose they will not grant the conclusion of this argument, 
viz. that the heresy, impiety, or profanity of the Jewish parents, 
did not exclude their children from baptism : that the children of 
the Pharisees and Sadducees, impenitent murderers of the Lord of 
life, had a visible right to baptism. However, I think Peter judged 
not so, Avhen he does so peremptorily require repentance antecedently 

* See Edwards' Socinian Creed, p. 52, &c. 


to baptism. One of the premises must then be false : the minor ia 
their own in terminis ; they must then stick at the sequel of the 
major. If there be any just ground so to do, we have the same rea- 
son against theirs, as we shewed before. And let me add, that it is 
certain it is one and the same covenant to which both baptism and 
circumcision were appended as seals ; it is one and the same church 
in which the Jews were under the Old Testament, and we are now 
under the new. The believing Jews were not taken out of one church 
and put into another ; but only others were graffed in amongst them, 
and they continued still in the same olive, Rom. xi. God did not 
pull down his old house, and build a new one ; but only took down 
the partition wall, and so made more room, Eph. ii. 14. Say then> 
that the heresy, impiety, or profanity of the Jewish parents did not 
exclude their children from circumcision, and see if it will not follow, 
that these things did not exclude them from baptism either. I am 
not concerned either as to the truth of the antecedent, or of the con- 
sequent; it is only the connection betwixt the two. It is as true a 
proposition Si equus esset alatus, esset volabilis ; as Passer est alatus et 
volabilis. I do indeed think the consequent false, and therefore am 
led by the hand to question the truth of the minor of the argument 
proposed. I cannot but observe, that (so far as I have read or re- 
membered) our divines against the Anabaptists do still set themselves 
to prove, that the children of the faithful ought to be baptized ; and, 
in their arguing from circumcision, do hold the conclusion in the 
same terms : and so indeed the argument is not liable to the former 
exception, if it be so proposed, the children of the faithful under 
the Old Testament were circumcised ; Ergo, the children of the 
faithful under the New must be baptized. Now, although I should 
not answer the argument propounded to mine own satisfaction, these 
seem to me such lawful prejudices against it, that until I be rid of 
them, I cannot fall under the force of the argument. 

To come now to answer directly to the argument, I deny, the minor, 
viz. That the heresy, impiety, or profanity of the Jewish parents, 
did not exclude their children from circumcision. The grounds 
whereupon I deny it, besides that in the third prejudice, are these, 
1. God threatens the Jews as well as others, in his law given on 
Mount Sinai, that " he will visit the iniquities of the fathers upon 
the children to the third and fourth generation ;" which was already 
shown, that it extends to the seal of the covenant. And judicious 
Calvin* understands it of " the Lord's taking away from the house 
of the wicked his grace, the light of his truth, and other helps of 
salvation." He doth also declare the seed of the wicked to be a 

• Inst. lib. 2. cap. .3. Sect. 20. 


cursed seed, Deut. xxviii. 18 ; of which before. 2. It was a positive 
law that God gave unto the Jews, that in case a city were with- 
drawn to serve other gods, that city was utterly to be destroyed, 
and all that was therein ; no not the infants were to be spared, Deut. 
xiii. 12, 13, 14, 15. Now, if the idolatry of the Jewish parents ex- 
cluded their infants from the church and life, it excluded them also 
from circumcision ; and so the impiety and profanity of the Jewish 
parents excluded their children from circumcision. So Achan's sons 
and daughters were stoned and buried with him. Josh. vii. 24, 25, 26. 
How hard is it to believe, that the impiety of wicked parents 
amongst the Jews did go so far, as to cut them off, even from 
the church and life ; and yet not to cut them off from a visible 
right to the seal of the covenant ? 3. The Jews were to be ex- 
communicated for heresy, impiety, and profanity. This must needs 
be granted, unless we say, that there was no such thing as ex- 
communication amongst them ; for who could be excommunicated 
but such ? Now, even those amongst them that were excommu- 
nicated with the least degree of excommunication, called Nid- 
DUi, those who were the aposynagogoi, their male children were 
not circumcised, as Goodwin tells us.* And truly, whoso con- 
siders how usually the children smarted with their parents in 
their impiety, will not easily conceive of it otherwise. 4. This 
further appears, if we consider how God visits the profanity of the 
Jewish parents in their contempt of circumcision, not only upon 
themselves, but their seed ; as we may learn from that. Gen. xvii. 
14. " And the uncircumcised man-child whose flesh of his foreskin 
is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people : he 
hath broken my covenant." To understand this place, so as that 
the parent only was liable to this punishment, and not the child, 
till he come to the years of discretion, as Goodwin doth, seems to 
me a commentary destroying the text ; which passeth a sentence 
on all Jewish male children, whose flesh of their foreskin is not 
circumcised, that these shall be cut off from their people, and not 
that they shall be cut off when they are past the age of child- 
hood. Till the eighth day they were not obliged, yea they might 
not be circumcised ; but when that was over, and the child not 
circumcised, through the parent's contempt, he is then an uncir- 
cumcised man-child, and so liable to this sentence here passed 
against all such. Now, a parent might be guilty of this profane 
contempt two ways ; either by reason of continuing impenitently in 
an openly wicked course, whereby his seed lost visible right to 

^ Moses and Aaron, p. 182. 


that ordinance ; or by a profane sligliting of it, though otherwise 
his child's title to it could not be denied : however, the child by this 
profanity of the parent, is cut off before he be capable to cut off 
himself ; and no less can be meant by it, than a cutting off from 
visible church membership. " If any object, (these are Calvin's 
words),* that the infants were not to be blamed ; I answer, that 
even as God adopts the infant son in the person of the father, Avhen 
the father rejects such a benefit, the infant is said to abdicate 
himself from the church ; for so much signifies that word, " To be 
put out from among the people whom God had chosen for himself." 
That some expound it, they shall not be Jews, is too coldrife : we 
must go further, to wit, that God will not acknowledge among 
his people those who will not bear the mark and badge of adop- 
tion." However this text directly toucheth the cutting off of the 
child, t yet it seems plainly to follow thence, that much more the 
parent was to be cut off. From which it appears, that the 
profanity of the Jewish parents did render their children no visible 
church members, and consequently excluded them from circum- 
cision, as Jewish chidren, or children of such profane parents : 
which hath the more weight, if it be considered, that the Lord doth 
not here command others to see to the circumcision of such a child, 
which might have been expected if he had any visible right 
thereto, but precludes this, while he tells ns, " he shall be cut off, or 
not acknowledged among his people :" so that should such a one 
afterwards be admitted, he comes in as a stranger doth, but not by 
birth privilege. 

I come now to consider the reasons adduced to i^rove that the 
heresy, impiety, or profanity of the Jewish parents, did not ex- 
clude their children from circumcision. The first, which is taken 
from the universality of the command, is answered already, in 
taking off an objection made against our first conclusion. The 
command does indeed oblige all to be circumcised ; but it doth 
also at the same time oblige them to be subjects theologically 
capable of that ordinance ; as is above more fully declared. And, by 
the same labour, the force of the second reason, taken from the pun- 
ishment to be inflicted on them, is removed also. And that Scrip- 
ture we have spoken to before, and improved it for our purpose. To 
the third, taken from the practice of Joshua, in circumcising all 
the people at Gilgal, at the command of God ; I answer, It can no 

* Calv. in loc. 
t Cutting off is of himself and of his children. Artich. cit. Lightf. Temp. Serv. 
p. 9. 


no more be proven from hence, that Joshua circumcised every 
individual male among this people, than it can be proven from 
Matt. iii. 5, 6. that every individual person of Judea, and the region 
round about Jordan, was baptized of John, confessing their sins ; 
for there it is said, " All Judea, and all the region," &c. : yea 
it is certain, neither Joshua himself nor Caleb were then cir- 
cumcised, being circumcised before. But the persons that were 
the first subjects recipient of that ordinance there, were men 
at age standing in their own right, capable to answer for them- 
selves ; and for the infants among them, they stood by the right 
of their parents, who are, without all possible proof, denied to 
be all visible believers. How can it be proven, that such were 
there circumcised as were not visible believers ? The contrary is 
rather manifest, that being men at age, they were circumcised at 
God's command. But if men will hold by this, that such as were 
heretics, impious, and profane, were circumcised by Joshua, then we 
see more how far on this argument does lead us, not only to admit 
the children, but even such persons themselves at age, to baptism. 
That is observable in Joshua's commission,* " Make thee sharp 
knives, and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time." 
With respect to Abraham and his family, their being circumcised, 
which was the first time, where the first subjects recipient of the 
ordinance were men at age, and then the infants by right derived 
from them ; and so to be continued in the church, the males always 
to be circumcised in their infancy : but this order was broken off by 
the generation of adult persons who came out of Egypt, Josh. v. 5 ; 
so that it is now a second time to be set on foot, and so to 
go on as at first was appointed ; first men at age to be circumcised, 
and then their infants. But in Old or New Testament it cannot be 
instanced, where the first subjects recipient of the seal of the cove- 
nant, were not visible believers. And is it not expressly said, that 
all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, and 
obeyed not the voice of the Lord, were consumed in the wilderness ? 
and after their circumcision, before they removed from Gilgal, 
these people kept the passover ? ver. 10. Either then we must say, 
they were not heretics openly impious and profane, or else let us 
admit such as these to the sacrament of the Lord's supper too under 
the gospel : As Ursiuf observes from these two places. Numb. xv. 
28 ; Dent. xvii. 12. " God commandeth the contumacious to be 
taken away out of the commonwealth, nor does he allow them to 
be members of his people ; much less then will he have them to be 

• Josb. V. 2. t Expl. Cat. p. 563. 


holden for members of his visible church, and to be admitted to th^ 
sacraments." And it appears, that in the wilderness, in a special 
manner, God acted himself the part of the magistrate, and put his 
own laws in execution. As to the fourth and last reason, That we 
never read of any of them excluded ; I answer, A non scripto ad non 
factum non valet sequela. We read of children excluded from the 
church and life by their parents' impiety, and it would seem there 
were laws for the excluding of them ; so that, by the word of God, 
they were excluded dejure. And we have heard, that the children 
of excommunicated parents were actually excluded. 

IV. As to the fourth argument, taken from Acts ii. 38, 39. we 
have already explained and improved that Scripture against the 
doctrine of the opponents. "Whether by the promise be meant that, 
" I will be your God, and the God of your seed," or not, is not very 
certain. Some learned men* understand by the gift of the Holy 
Ghost, the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, peculiar to the first 
times of the church ; and by the promise, the promise of the same, 
lipited by Peter out of Joel, which he did repeat at large, ver. 17, &c. 
But howsoever it be understoood, it is clear, that this promise 
being to them gave them not a right to baptism, but that repent- 
ance was necessarily pre-required of them in order thereunto ; as 
we have proved before ; which quite invalidates any argument 
taken from hence for the cause that is pleaded. Again, there is 
another thing in this text that makes it, as explained for this cause, 
altogether useless to the purpose ; and that is, that the promise is 
no less said to be to those whom the Lord shall call, who as yet 
were afar off, than it is said to be to those to whom he spoke ; 
but had the Gentiles yet uncalled a right to baptism too ? Finally, 
it is to be marked, that those to whom the apostle speaks here, 
were not all Jews, but many of them were Gentiles, neither were 
they all proselytes, as Aretius observes ; yet to them is this spoken 
as well as to others. I have seen nothing as yet that satisfieth me 
as to that, in what sense the promise is said to be to those persons ; 
but from what hath been said, it plainly appears, that in whatever 
sense it be said to be unto them, it doth not follow, they had there- 
upon a right to baptism. 

y. The fifth argument is, That John the Baptist, and Christ's 
disciples, baptized all that offered themselves. This plainly con- 
cludes, that we are to baptize all that offer themselves ; which I 
doubt if any sober man will affirm, seeing Turks and pagans may 
oiler themselves in mock to be baptized : nor would ever this have 

Piscator, schol. in loc ; Hoornbeek, Soc. Conf. torn. 3. p. 237. 


come into my head, that they baptized all that oltered them- 
selves, as an argument for this cause, unless I liad seen it among the 
arguments offered, as Mr. Fulwood says,* by divines, (what divines 
he means, unless it be Mr. Prin, I cannot conjecture), which to 
him were never satisfactorily answered. 1 grant indeed, that John 
and Christ's apostles did baptize whosoever, being visible believers, 
offered themselves; but I utterly deny it in any other sense. The 
proofs adduced are lame, and not to the purpose ; for it is plainly 
said of the persons whom John baptized, that they were baptized 
" confessing their sins." Whether or not he did baptize the Phari- 
sees and Sadducees, of whom mention is there made, is a question, 
the negative whereof I think is most probable; seeing it is ex- 
pressly said, Luke vii. 30, " But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected 
the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him." 
And in Luke iii, while the Evangelist is speaking of those whom 
John baptized, particular mention is made of the people, the publi- 
cans, and the soldiers, their asking questions of John as to what 
they should do, and each of them gets their directions ; but there 
is not one word of the Pharisees and Sadducees asking what they 
should do, nor any particular directions, given to them ; for which 
no satisfying reason appears, if we admit that they were baptized 
as well as the rest : Matth. xxi. 32, " Ye believed him not ; but the 
publicans and the harlots believed him." Yer. 45, " And when the 
chief priests and Pharisees had heard- his parables, they perceived 
that he spake of them." As for that saying of John, " I indeed 
baptize you with water," ver. 11, it will no more prove that he bap- 
tized every individual person to whom he spoke, than it will prove 
that Christ baptized every individual among them with the Holy 
Ghost, and with fire ; for this, as well as the other, John speaks to 
the same persons. Luke tells us the occasion of this speech, and to 
whom he said it, Luke iii. 15, 16, " And as the people were in ex- 
pectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he 
were the Christ or not; John answered, saying unto them aZZ," 
(amongst whom the Pharisees and Sadducees were, as Matthew 
must be understood,) " I indeed baptize you with water ; — he shall 
baptize you with the Holy Ghost." "Will any from hence infer, 
that he baptized every individual person that heard him ? if they 
will, we shall infer on the same ground, that they were all baptized 
with the Holy Ghost. So then that word, Luke iii. 21, " When all 
the people were baptized," must needs be understood of all those of 
them who were baptized by him at that time ; as the forecited word, 

• Disc. vis. Ch. p. 213. 


vers. 15, 16, " All men mused — and he said to them all," viz. that 
heard him at that time. But grant he did baptise the Pharisees 
and Saddncees, how will it be made appear that they were not 
visible believers, or that they did not with the rest confess their 
sins ? That he calls them " a generation of vipers," will not prove 
it ; for that he said to all the multitude that came forth to be bap- 
tized of him, as well as to them : and it is to be specially noticed,* 
he calls them not vipers, but " a generation of vipers," gennemata 
ecMdnon, those come of vipers, or the offspring of vipers : this they 
might be, a.nd yet not be vipers themselves. That word, John iv. 1, 
doth indeed bear, that Christ by his disciples baptized more than 
John ; yet neither John nor Christ's disciples baptized any but 
visible believers ; for it is expressly said, " that Christ made and 
baptized more disciples than John," ibid. ; so that both made them 
disciples before they baptized them. Finally, I deny that the 
apostles baptized any on a bare profession, or on a profession which 
■was not a probable profession, or a probable evidence of true faith ; 
as is clear from the Scriptures instanced, of which before. 

YI. As to the sixth argument, taken from Ezek. xvi. 20, 21, that 
the children of the idolatrous Jews are called " Grod's children," and 
" born to God ?" I answer, this will not prove that they had a 
visible right to the seal, no more than that magistrates have such a 
right, because they are called " the children of the Most High ;"f as 
specious a character as is given here to the seed of these idolatrous 
persons. These might be God's children, as being heirs of God and 
the kingdom of heaven, though thus barbarously slain by their pa- 
rents ; yet no visible members of the church, nor having any visi- 
ble right to the seal. What if I say, they were the first-born 
whom God challengeth a special propriety in, upon the account 
of the deliverance their fathers met with when the first-born of the 
Egyptians were slain? according to that law, Exod. xiii. 2. "Sanc- 
tify unto me all the first-born, whatsoever openeth the womb, — both 
of man and beast : it is mine." It will not thence follow, as 
Mr. Fulwood says,J that he owneth their parents yet to remain 
in his covenant; for this law would have obliged the children of 
Israel, though they had openly renounced God's covenant, and 
turned entirely apostates. It was the whole nation of Israel 
that had this mercy conferred on them, and so it obliged those 
that were of that nation, though not of the church. Where- 
fore, howsoever the parents should apostatize and renounce the 
covenant, by this law their first-born was the Lord's; unless we will 

• Urs. Epl. Cat. p. 575. f P«- l^xxii. 6. J Discours. vis. Chur. p. 131. 


say, that men by their iniquity may free themselves from being 
under the law of God once given to them. But truly I think, if 
we consider the context, we may plainly perceive the reason of this 
designation given to those children ; and that is this : because God 
gave them those children, but, in the giving of them, reserved still 
his propriety in them, and made them not absolute lords over them, 
to dispose of them what way they pleased ; but they were obliged to 
make use of them for God's honour, under whom they had their 
right to them. So that herein, not only cruelty, but robbing of God, 
and disposing of what was his, contrary to his revealed will, is 
objected to them. Now, view the context, and see how it favours 
this exposition, ver. 17. " Thou hast also taken thy fair jewels of 
my gold and of my silver, which I had given thee, and madest to 
thyself images." vers. 18, 19. " Thou hast set mine oil and mine 
incense before them." " My meat also which I gave thee, fine 
flower," &c. ver. 22. " Thou hast not remembered the days of thy 
youth, when thou wast naked and bare." Nothing more ordinary 
witli the wicked and idolaters, than to forget God's propriety in 
what they have, and thence to take liberty to dispose of it at their 
pleasure, and to thauk their idols for them rather than God ; there- 
fore God will vindicate his propriety in what they have, that they 
may see their sin, in abusing God's gifts to them towards his 
dishonour. Hos. ii. 5. " I will go after my lovers, that give me my 
bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink." 
ver. 8. " For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and 
oil, — which they prepared to Baal." Ver. 9. " Therefore will I — 
take away my corn, — my wine, — my wool, and my flax." 

VII. The seventh argument is taken from the following ab- 
surdities, that are supposed to accompany our doctrine. 

\st, Families, parishes, &c. should soon be paganized. Answer. 
Fiat justitia, et ruat mundus. A. man, say some, had better be a 
beast than like a beast. Sure I am, it had been telling some 
they had never been baptized, nor acknowledged to be church 
members. But truly I think the quite contrary would follow 
most probably, viz. that this would be a mean to bring them to 
be visibly christianized, as was above declared. It is truly a 
sad matter that people have nothing but their baptism to discern 
them from pagans. I confess, if the church should give over 
all dealing with them, there were some shew for the absurdity, or 
rather bad consequence, before mentioned; but while it is still 
the church's duty to preach to them in order to their conversion, 
there is no reason for it ; yea, if it were so, by all probability, 
preaching would have more influence on them than now it hath. 


Though I dare not say, it is more for the honour of Christ to have 
no more in his visible kingdom than only such as are real believers, 
and rather to want close hypocrites than have them ; yet I confess 
it is my settled judgment, that as it is a greater credit for a master 
of a family to have a few servants of entire fame in his house, than 
to have a great many rogues ; so it is more for the honour of our 
holy head in the world, to have a few visible believers or saints, 
visible members of his church, than a great number of profligate 
wretches amongst others, members of the same. 

Idly, Many infants of believing parents should be deprived of 
this ordinance. I answer. Baptism is not due coram ecclesia to the 
infants of any but visible believers : if therefore a parent be a 
believer, and yet not a visible believer, his child hath no right be- 
fore the church to baptism ; for de occultis non judicat ecclesia. But 
whatever men may speak of people's going to heaven, the sound 
of their feet not being heard, it seems to be no very diflicult 
question. Whether or not a person come to years, can be a 
real saint, and yet want a form of godliness ? " Although," says 
a grave author,* " we cannot say, every one that hath a form of godli- 
ness, hath also the power of godliness ; yet we may truly say, that 
he who hath not the form of godliness, hath not the power of godli- 
ness; though all be not gold that glistereth, yet all gold doth glis- 
ter."t Our Lord tells us, " By their fruits ye shall know them." 
I shall add, that if a person be a real believer, and yet not appear 
so to be, he that judgeth him a visible believer, judgeth amiss, for 
he is not so. 

ddli/, As to the third. That ministers have no certain rule, &c. ; it 
equally militates against the ordinary practice of admitting to, and 
debarring from the Lord's table those that are baptized, and not ex- 
communicated; the same flourish of words might be used in that case. 
But I deny that we have no certain rule here, or that we stand on 
uncertainties. The rule is certain, because laid down in God's word, 
viz. That we are to take that person for a visible believer who makes 
a credible profession, and are to deal with him in the dispensing of 
the seals, as such.J This rule we learn from all those Scriptures 
that shew us on what grounds ministers did baptize persons who 
off'ered themselves, Matt. iii. 6. Acts ii. 41. and viii. 12, 37- and 
such like. And what though the person whom we take for a visible 

• Mar. of Mod. Div. p. 169. 

f If thine affections appear not, thine affections are not Fenner Treat, of the 


J See Urs. Expl. Cat. p. 574. Baxter on Inf. Bapt. p. 93, &c. 


believer be not a believer indeed, we are not mistaken in our 
judgment, unless we go to judge so as we have no warrant, that is, 
to judge hiui to be certainly a true believer : if men judge so of 
others, what wonder they be mistaken, when they arrogantly thrust 
themselves into that Avhich the Lord hath not revealed. But we 
are to judge according to the rule, that a person making a credible 
profession, is probably a true believer, that is, certainly a visible 
believer: and herein we are not mistaken, though the person we 
so judge of be really " in the gall of bitterness, and bond of 
iniquity ;" for it is certain he appears and seems to be a true 
believer, though indeed he is stark naught before the Lord. As 
for that which is added, viz. " That one thinks so much enough to 
make one a visible believer, &c. ;" Answer. The Lord hath 
plainly told us in his word whom he accounts real saints, and 
whom the church hath accounted visible saints. If we swerve 
from the rule in our application, it is no doubt our sin : who can help 
it, if men will needs close their eyes when the works of the flesh 
are manifest? It is certain we are commanded to separate the 
precious from the vile, to put difi'erence betwixt the holy and 
profane, and to judge of the tree by its fruits. And for infalli- 
bility of our judgments in the application, as none will pretend to 
it now, so it can as little be had the other way as this way. Sup- 
pose it be, that such a parent was baptized ; that such a one hath 
had godly remote parents amongst us Gentiles ; unless we go up to 
Noah or Adam, no greater certainty can be here than what we have 
from our eyes and ears, which doth not reach to an infallibility ; 
yea, for the most part, we have not so great certainty the other 
way, as in the way we plead for. But enough of this. 

VIII. We come now to the last argument, viz. That the chil- 
dren of many openly scandalous and wicked parents, are the 
children of baptized church members. Answer. I conceive there 
is a vast difference betwixt an openly scandalous, and an openly 
wicked person ; so that they ought not to be confounded. David 
and Peter in the hour of temptation were openly scandalous, but 
not openly wicked persons. And therefore as to many openly 
scandalous 1 yield the argument, concluding that the children of 
many openly scandalous ought to be baptized ; but then there is 
ignoratio elencki Laying aside this then of many openly scandalous, 
and the argument being made to proceed only as to the openly wicked, 
I distinguish betwixt church members de jure, et de facto. It is 
plain we speak now of visible church members. Those that are 
church members de jure, are those who have not only a possession 
of church membeiship, but a right and lawful possession of it. 

Vol. YI. p 


Those are church members de facto (only), which have a visible 
possession of that privilege, but no rightful possession ; and there- 
fore ought to be cast out and deprived of that possession. Now, 
such a possession can give no right either to the parent or child as 
to church privileges, for nullum jus fundatur in injuna: even as an 
usurper, though he hath the crown, yet neither he nor his have 
right to the revenues of the crown. Wherefore I distinguish the 
major of that argument. The children of baptized church members, 
who are visible members in point of right, ought to be baptized ; 
and thus the minor is false : the children of baptized church 
members, who are such only de facto, and not de jure, ought to be 
baptized, I deny. And in this sense only are the openly wicked 
(some of them, I say) baptized church members. 



The day of expiation was the only anniversary stated fast and 
humiliation that God gave to the church of the Jews : it was a sor- 
rowful day, for afflicting their souls ; so that he who ate anything 
that day, was liable to cutting off. The " feast of tabernacles" was 
the most joyful feast they had ; so that the Jews say, that he who 
never saw the rejoicing at the drawing of water (used at this feast), 
never saw rejoicing all his life. The ceremonial law was the 
Jews' gospel ; and the gospel to them and us is glory let down 
in words and syllables, the map of Imraanuel's land, a looking-glass 
wherein we see heaven, a scheme and draught of the house with 
many mansions. The day of expiation represents to me the time of 
this life, the state of the saints in this world ; the feast of taberna- 
cles, heaven. 

The day of expiation went before the feast of tabernacles. "Why 
should not our day of afflicting our souls go before our days of rejoic- 
ing ? The Babylonians began their natural day at the sunrising, and 
so their night came last. The Jews began theirs at sunsetting, and 
BO they had their night first. " Woe to you that laugh now, ye 
shall weep." " Blessed are they that mourn now, they shall be 
comforted." Let the evening and the morning make our day. If 
we have our morning first, the fears of the approaching night will 
make our sun go down at noon. If we will take the evening first, 


when in the darkest hour we cry, " Watchman, what of the night ?" 
we will get the answer, " The morning cometh." It was the Psalm- 
ist's choice, Psal. xvii. 14. 15. 

The day of expiation was but one day : the feast of tabernacles 
lasted seven days ; which number of seven has gained the reputa- 
tion of perfection. If the saint's life here be sorrowful, it is short. 
Our life here is but a day, with a morning, noon, and evening. And 
that sun in the heavens which runs such a rapid course, never stand- 
ing still, either ascending or descending, seems to be set in the hea- 
vens, to " teach us so to count our days, as to apply our hearts to 
wisdom." Eccl. i. 5. " hasteth to his place where he arose ;" (Heb.) 
panteth, as a man running with full speed, till almost out of breath. 
How quickly is the vain shew in which we walk at an end ? 
Solomon, (Eccl. iii.) will allow only " a time to be born, and a time 
to die," as if life were nothing but a skip out of the womb into the 
grave ; the womb of mother earth (Job i. 21.) being ready to keep 
us, when falling out of the womb of the mother that conceived us. 
No wonder our weeping and crying, wherewith we come into the 
world out of our mother's womb, continue till we return thither ; 
there being scarce time betwixt the two to dry our cheeks. But, as 
these flies bred by the river Hypanis in Scythia, we are bred in the 
morning, winged at noon, and dead at night. Much need to fly 
while our wings last. If our afiliction be grievous, it will not last. 
Nay, but the apostle, comparing otir affliction with the weight of 
glory, will not allow it any weight, 2 Cor. iv. 17- where he calls it 
(Gr.) That light thing of our affliction ; light, not only in respect of 
weight, but swiftness ; that haste-like thing of our afiliction, which 
in a moment skips away. This should correct the petty time-eter- 
nities that we make to ourselves in our affliction, Psal. xiii. 1. Nay, 
our "weeping endures but a night," Psal. xxx. 5. The feast comes 
in the morning, Psal. xvii. ult, but the feast lasts long ? what 
shall or can we say of eternity, that everlasting " Sabbatism that 
remains to the people of God ;" that morning that knoweth no 
night ; that ocean that knoweth no shore ? 

There were but four free days intervening betwixt the day of expia- 
tion and the feast of tabernacles ; the former being on the 10th, the 
latter on the 15th day of the seventh month. Lev. xxiii. 27. 34. By 
what time the greatest affliction sits down with us, the greatest joy 
knocks at the door. quick harvest of glory ! hot seed of tears 
that so quickly spring up, and so suddenly bow their heads with 
that weight of glory on them ! to see bottles of tears turned, and 
that so quickly, into rivers of pleasures, wonderful ! Surely there is 
need of faith in our religion, to believe super-rational mysteries. 



It is a bundle of wonders. How unlike were the Jews rejoicing and 
dancing at the feast of tabernacles, to what they were but four days 
before, when bowing down their heads and afflicting their souls, at 
that solemn yearly remembrance of sin. Quantum mutatus ah illo 
qui quondam! If it were not that the light of glory infallibly re- 
moves all mistakes, the saints there would uiisken themselves, and 
be apt to think it a dream. It would at least be a while ere they 
came to themselves. 

At the feast of tabernacles they were to "dwell in booths made 
of the branches of the trees," not in houses. Lev. xxiii. 42 ; and the 
reason is given ver. 43. " Because they dwelt in booths in the wil- 
derness, when the Lord brought them out of Egypt." So their 
places of mourning are turned to places of rejoicing. Joy arising 
from past dangers, feelingly toucheth men's hearts. The more they 
remember their wilderness-booths, the more they rejoice. This 
seems to me to point out an ingredient in the heaven of the saints, 
that would have had no place in the heaven of innocent Adam and 
his sinless offspring. Had not the Jews dwelt in booths in 
the wilderness, they had not rejoiced in them seven days in 
the land of Canaan. It was their going so low that raised 
them so high. Surely the saints are more than conquerors. Grod's 
people in heaven will not forget their wilderness-entertainment. 
It will be for the glory of God to mind, and it will screw up 
their joy, Rev. v. 9. It is storied of Agathocles, who, being 
a potter's son, became king of Sicily, that he used to be served at 
his table with earthen vessels ; alleging the reason thereof from his 
extract. He was wise to give that additional sweetness to his 
enjoyments, which he could not have had if he had been born heir 
to the crown. Certainly meat can never be so sweet as to a hun- 
gry man ; nor can one so much esteem wealth as he that has been 
pinched with poverty. The best view of the stars is from the bot- 
tom of a deep narrow pit. Surely the remembrance of the cross 
will sweeten the crown ; and the memory of the wilderness will put 
an additional verdure on the fields of glory, when the saints shall 
be walking through them in their white robes, remembering the 
mournful blacks in which they were wont to appear. Let us not 
cast at our blessings, nor grudge to sow the seeds of glory. Durate, 
et vosmet rebus scrvate secundis. The heathens, it seems, allowed 
prosperity not to be first, but allotted it the second place. God 
himself has confirmed the order. Take your firsts then pleasantly, 
though grievous. Olim hcec meminisse juvabit. 

It is worthy of our consideration, to take notice what these 
booths were to be made of : Lev. xxiii. 40. " And ye shall take 


unto you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of 
palm-trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook. 
Compare Neh. viii. 15. "Fetch olive-branches, and pine-branches, 
and myrtle-branches, and palra-branches, and branches of thick 
trees, to make booths." As to the boughs of goodly trees, the 
Jews, says Lightfoot, interpreted that of the j)omecitron; and so 
did carry a pomecitron apple in their hand at that feast. This is 
not clear from the text. 

As to the olive-tree, it is a beautiful tree, that retains its green-' 
ness all the winter, Hos. xiv. 6. The pine likewise is an evergreen, 
continues green all the year. Spec. mun. This puts me in mind of 
that perpetual spring wherewith Immanuel's land is blessed for 
ever. No winter there, no casting of leaves. The crown is immar- 
cessible, fades not away, as the flowery garlands given of old to 
victors did in a little time, 1 Pet. i. 4. We have long winters 
here ; wherein life, leaf, and fruit, are all many times almost gone. 
Our springs are short. Our greenness soon decays. That will 
make amends for all. 

They were to take the boughs, (Heb.)the fruit of goodly trees, i. e. 
of fruit-bearing trees, or boughs with the fruit on them, Lev. xxiii. 
40. The pine bears fruit, called pine-apples ; of which I can give 
no account. But concerning the fruit of the olive, see Judg. ix. 9 ; 
Psal. civ. 15. " Oil which maketh man's face to shine," used ordi- 
narily at feasts. This may present to our view that passage in 
Christ's transfiguration, Matt. xvii. 2. " His face did shine as the 
sun." "With which we may compare what the apostle says, Phil, 
iii. ult. that " he shall change our vile bodies, and make them like 
his glorious body." Compare also Dan. xii. 3. What though our 
faces are now clothed with shame ? what though they gather black- 
ness? "His visage was marred more than any man's;" yet there 
is now no vestige thereof in that face which surpasseth the sun in 
brightness, and would with its splendour darken that globe of light. 
Neither shall any spot be seen in the faces of those who dwell 
in these booths in the promised land. 

The pine was also remarkable for its durableness, * not being sub- 
ject to worms or rottenness ! for which cause ships were made 
thereof. The saints have their anchor, and therefore their ship too, 
Heb. vi. 19. who would think that ever the ship were so dura- 
ble ! What a blythe sight will it be to see them all brought safe 
and sound, after such tossing in the sea of this world, to the shore 
of Iraraanuers land ! There they will never rot. 

As for the palm-tree, the best of which grew in Palestine, it is 

* The victors in the Isthmian games were crowned with pine. — Desuper ex Plin. 


notour it was a sign of victory ; the reason whereof seems to be 
that which is said of it, that when oppressed with heavy weights, it 
yields not, but rather shooteth upward the more. The myrtle also 
was a sign of victory, being worn garland-wise in triumphs. Hence 
(Zech. i. 8.) Christ is seen " among the myrtle-trees in the valley ;" 
shewing, that the church of Christ, however low she was bi'ought by 
the enemies, shouM come off victorious. It seems then, all that 
will come up to the feast of tabernacles, must be soldiers, and con- 
querors too. Indeed the Jews behoved to fight their room in and 
their way to Canaan, and they won it at length. And what is hea- 
ven but an eternal triumph? Rev. vii. 9. Let this animate us to 
the spiritual warfare. The people in Egypt, the more they were 
oppressed, the more they grew. How sweet will all the heavy 
wrestlings with flesh and blood, principalities and powers, be to us 
when we get the palms in our hands ! 

I find the palm was wont to be given to those that overcame 
in bloody battles, and particularly to those that were victors in the 
bloody spectacles of the gladiators ; the myrtle, when they had got 
a victory without slaughter of men. All the saints go not to glory 
through a sea of their own blood. Every one gets not the honour 
of a fiery chariot. And we have reason to believe, that as all are 
not alike in the battle, so there will be degrees of glory, and the tri- 
umph of some greater thau that of others. But, if we look somewhat 
higher to the main thing that stood between heaven and us, the vic- 
tory to all the saints is a bloody, unbloody victory ; bloody in respect 
of Christ, unbloody in respect of them. Some of them have slept, 
never one of them died, in the cause : Rom. viii. 34. *' It is Christ 
that died." The proto-martyr, Acts vii. ult, " fell asleep." Therein, 
as in a glass, the Lord would represent to all those that were after 
to strive against sin resisting to blood, what that sort of passage to 
heaven would be to them. Sure, death's nature is changed ; it is 
not what it was to Christ ; it is not that which was threatened. Gen. 
ii. 17. Why may not the name be changed too ? The Holy Ghost's 
connection, Rev. xii. 11, is worthy to be remarked, "And they over- 
came him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testi- 
mony ; and they loved not their lives even unto death." In the vic- 
tory, Christ's blood and their blood are not joined together ; but 
Christ's blood and their word of testimony. Christ fought, they but 
gave the shout, to the obtaining of the victory. Surely " he trod the 
wine-press alone, and of all the people there was none to help him." 

As for the willows, it is known the place thereof is by the water- 
sides. Hence that text Lev. xxiii. 40. calls it " the willow of the 
brook." God's people sometimes hanged their harps on the willows 


that grew by the rivers of Babylon, Psal. cxxxvii. 1, 2; because 
then their joy was turned to mourning, and they had no use for them. 
In Immanuel's land there " is a river, on either side of which grows 
the tree of life," Rev. xxii. 1. 2 : but no harps hang thereon. They 
behoved to go to the brook, and fetch their willows. I cannot find 
one place where the willow is spoken of, but it is still with some ad- 
dition of its growing by the waters. Job xl. 22. Psal. cxxxvii. 1. 2. 
Is. XV. 7- Ezek. xvii. 5. Isa, xliv. 4. They cannot then want nourish- 
ment in the greatest drought. This presents to my view, that Im- 
manuel's land is no land of drought ; the trees of the Lord's plant- 
ing are set by the rivers, so that they can never want moisture, but 
shall have an eternal supply of the Spirit, by Christ, from the 
Father, whereby they shall spring as willows by the water-courses, 
even those floods of the Si^irit's influences. Is. xliv. 3, 4. This pro- 
mise is but arled in this life ; it will tell out through all the ages 
of eternity, and will never be at an end till the last drop of that 
river run by, which will never be. 

It is also said of the willow, that it is a great friend to chastity ; 
for which cause forsaken lovers are allowed to wear a willow-garland: 
which offers to our consideration that character the Scripture so often 
gives to those that are to be the inhabitants of the upper house, who 
are to be i>resented as a chaste virgin to Christ, when the marriage 
is to be solemnized in heaven, 2 Cor. xi. 2. and " without spot," Eph. 
V. 27." They that stand on Mount Zion with the Lamb, are virgins 
Rev. xiv. 4. True it is, it is not to the state of the saints in heaven 
that these words have the nearest reference ; but it is implied there- 
in ; the state of the church in the world being held out in terms bor- 
rowed from the state of the church triumphant. 

When I compare that Neh, viii. 15. " Go forth unto the mount, 
and fetch olive-branches," &c. with that Lev. xxiii. 40. " and willows 
of the brook," not brooks ; I cannot but incline to think these wil- 
lows grew about the brook Kidron, which ran between Jerusalem 
and the Mount of Olives ; which, no doubt, was the mount they were 
directed to. Which may lead us to the consideration of the spring 
and source of all the joys in heaven, even the sorrows of Christ. 
When David was obliged to leave Jerusalem upon the account of the 
rebellion raised by his own son, he passed over this brook Kidron in 
great distress, and went up by the ascent of Mount Olivet, weeping 
as he went, 2 Sam. xv. 2-3, 30. In this there was a type of Christ's 
sufferings for the sins of sons and daughters. And so we find him, 
after he had been at the last feast with his disciples, preached his 
farewell sermon to them, and prayed that prayer, John xvii., the 
hour being come, ver. 1 ; passing over this brook Kidron, John xviii. 


1. to grai)ple with the wrath of God, in the garden that was on the 
other side of it. Who can imagine in what case he went over it ? 
for who can conceive that weight of wrath he was to bear ? A far- 
off prospect of it had a terrible effect on him, John xii. 27, 
28. Behold the wells of salvation whence we draw our joy ; those 
bitter waters of wrath that he was plunged into ; that terrible cup 
which his sinless human nature shivered at ; the brook that he drank 
of in the way, Psal. ex. ult. 

Lightfoot saith, that the Jews so understood that rejoicing com- 
manded at that feast, as that there was in the court of the temple* 
trumpets sounding, dancing, &c. ; that their greatest joy began 
towards night, continued far on in the night, and some of the most 
zealous would stay out the whole night. Compare that Rev. iv. 8. 
" They rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God 
Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come." 

He adds, that every day once they went about the altar, with 
their myrtle, palm, and willow in their hand, singing Hosanna, 
Psal. cxviii. 28. In the meantime, they set their boughs, bending 
towards the altar. Truly the imagination of this pierceth ; we will 
never see them do that again : but we will see the saints in glory 
compassing the altar always, and singing their Hosanna about it, 
bending their palms towards the altar; acknowledging they owe all 
to him, even to the " Lamb that was slain, and hath redeemed them 
to God by his blood." I conclude with that Rev. vii. 9. — " A great 
multitude — stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with 
white robes, and palms in their hands ;" ver. 10. " And cried with 
a loud voice, Salvation unto our God that sitteth upon the throne, 
and unto the Lamb." A plain allusion to what is said. that we 
may be helped so to manage our day of expiation, (for it is but a day 
and no expiation beyond it), as that we may be accounted worthy to 
partake of the joy of the feast of tabernacles ! 


Conservation is a positive act, i. e. an effect, or continued creation ; 
though not a bringing of the creatures out of nothing, yet a keeping 
them every moment from running back into the womb of nothing : 
so that in respect of God they are continually in fieri. 

* Is. XXX. 29. 


This I find was the doctrine of the schoolmen : and both Scripture 
and reason prove it. 


Argument I. Heb. i. 3. Pheron te ta panta, &c. The apostle 
seems to me to have respect to Job xxvi. 7- " He hangeth the earth 
upon nothing," sustaining the same by his creating power. Thus 
the Son of God holds up all in their being by his power, that they may 
not fall down into that abyss of nothing, from which the same power 
raised them up at first. I remark, 1. That the word phero7i, what- 
ever else be imported in it, there can be no less than conservation 
and susteutation, whatever way these be explained. And as the 
Scripture ordinarily links together creation and conservation, so 
that it is not wanting in this context either ; compare ver. 2. " By 
whom also he made the worlds." 2. This susteutation or conser- 
vation is a positive act, according to the import of the word. It 
is an act of power ; not a ceasing from acting, or a not destroying 
of the creature : by the word of his power they are upheld. 3. They 
are sustained the same way they were created. It is the word of his 
power does both, Gen. i. 3. " And God said, Let there be light : and 
there was light." Ver. 6." And God said, Let there be a firmament 
in the midst of the waters ; and let it divide the waters from the 
waters." Psal. xxxiii. 6. " By the word of the Lord were the 
heavens made ; and all the host of them by the breath of his 
mouth." Ver. 9. "For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, 
and it stood fast." The apostle says, he calleth things that are not, 
to be ; calleth them, viz. by his powerful word ; a most positive 
action. Thus also he sustains them : therefore conservation is a 
continued creation. 4. This is a continued action, pheron, in the 
present time ; therefore a continued creation. It is not needless ; 
therefore they would fall down from that in which they are kept, 
if they were not sustained every moment, if his bearing shoulders 
should shift them oflT for a moment, to bear their own weight, 
Is. xlvi. 4. "I have made, and I will bear, — carry," &c. as one 
doth a weight or burden ou his back. I will not say but this looks 
farther; but this susteutation cannot be excluded, but is supposed. 
However, the Arminians have no ground to quarrel it ; seeing they 
will allow that God made us men, though we make and continue 
ourselves his people. 5. The apostle useth this to prove Christ to be 
God, as appears from the whole chapter. Compare chap. ii. 1, 2, 3. 
Now, if this be no positive act, or any thing less than what argues 
omnipotency ; if all of it be the leaving of the creature to stand, as 
the mason leaves his house after it is built, it would no more prove 


Christ to be God than the angels. True, I do not think an angel 
can annihilate the least creature ; yet sure then they do not destroy 
them, they leave them in their being. But though they cannot de- 
stroy or annihilate the soul or the body, yet they can destroy man. 
The Scriptures prove God to be God, from his positive acting ; and 
idols to be no gods, because they act not. 

Akgument II. Rev. iv. 11, " Thou art worthy, Lord, to receive 
glory, and honour, and power : for thou hast created all things, and 
for thy pleasure they are, and were created." Here again creation 
and conservation are joined as effects, or rather acts, of the same 
almighty power ; " Thou art worthy to receive power," i. e. to have 
thy power acknowledged ; " for thou hast created all things, and 
for thy pleasure they are, and were created." Now, there can be 
no reason why he should receive glory, honour, and power, be- 
cause things are for his pleasure, if he did not glorify and ho- 
nour his power in keeping them up. If it be a mere cessation of 
his power, and that he does only not throw them down, that may be 
ground for the glory of his mercy and goodness, but not of his 
power ; for every attribute of God is glorified by the emanation 
thereof : but in this case there were no emanations of power ; but 
on the contrary, a stopping of the same. But, according to the 
right side of the plea, things run pleasantly here, and that according 
to the strain of the Scripture, which magnifies the power of God 
upon the account of the sustentation, as of the creation of the crea- 
tures. I cannot but take notice of the Greek dia to thelema sou 
eisi which Beza and Piscator render per voluntatem tuam. Compare 
Rev. xxii. 11. (Gr.) And thus the words speak home to the point, 
shewing that it is by the will of God that they are even as they 
were created. So that creation and conservation are set on an 
equal level. 

Argument III. Col. i. 17, "By him all things consist." Such is 
the fluid nature of the creatures, that they cannot consist without 
conservation from the Lord, more than waters, unless they be held 
together by something besides themselves. And this giving of them 
this consistence, is a positive action ; or they consist by a positive 
action of God ; for it is by virtue of the very same power, and in 
the very same way, that they were created, ver. 16, en auto 
ektisthe: and ver. 17, en auto sunesteke. This is likewise used to 
prove the divinity of Jesus Christ. Therefore, &c. 

Argument IV. John v. 17, " My Father worketh hitherto." 
Christ here defends his healing on the Sabbath day the man that 
lay at the pool, by the example of his Father's working still, and 
that on the Sabbath day, as well as other days ; though the Jews 


observed, by God's appointment, the Sabbath day, in commemora- 
tion of God's resting on that day from the work of creation. 
Therefore the Father's working here is the work of providence, 
and particularly of conservation, which is mainly aimed at ; for the 
work which Christ defends by this example, was of that kind, 
even the preserving of the life of that man. This working of 
the Father must needs be a positive action, else the Armiuians 
must give us a new Lexicon. Besides, unless it be so, this 
example could not justify our Lord's practice ; for they con- 
demned him because he did not cease from working, and leave 
the poor man as he was before the Sabbath. Moreover, this 
working of the Father is a continued creation : for though he 
rested the seventh day from all his work which he had made, 
Gen. ii. 2. yet he hitherto works, how ? by continuing it in the 
conservation of all things, species and individuals : and the very 
work that our Lord was defending, was a creature-conservation 
being a miraculous cure. Further, if this work of conservation be 
nothing else but a not destroying of the work which was made, and 
left with a power in it to conserve itself, it would no more prove 
the Father's working on the Sabbath day, which Christ in these words 
doth assert, than the going of a clock in the Sabbath, which was 
made and set agoing any other day of the week, will prove the 
maker of the clock to work on the Sabbath day. 

Aeg-ument Y. Acts xvii. 28. " For in him we live, and move, 
and have our being." If we live, move, and have our being in 
God, conservation is a positive act, and continued creation ; for 
we should fall from life and being upon the ceasing of that life- 
giving power to act in us, as doth the body when the soul is 
gone. If conservation were not a positive act, but negative, that 
is, no act at all, but a cessation from action, after he had given 
US life and being, we might be said to live and be from him, but 
not in him, but in ourselves. It is like it will be said here, 
that this is to be understood of the effect of a past action of 
God, and that en auto is no more than per ilium, as Luke xi. 
20, en daciulo Theou, " by the finger of God." Indeed, no doubt, 
the apostle means, that we live, move, &c. by the Lord ; but 
I think, whoso will allow himself to be encompassed with the 
light of this context, vers. 27, 28. "He is not far from every one of 
us : for in him we live," &c. must needs acknowledge there is some- 
thing more in the expression, even that the omnipresent God does 
ever compass us about on every side with his continued influences 
for life, motion, and being, as the light of the sun doth our bodies, 
so as we see not only by, but in it: which emanations of light from 


the sun, should they be withdrawn, we should in a moment be left in 
darkness. But consider, l*^, The text doth not only say we move, 
but, which is more, kinoumetha, we are moved by him. Here is a 
passion, and there can be no passion without an action. If we are 
moved by him, then he moves us ; that is, he acts positively, and 
leaves us not to move ourselves, he ceasing to act on us. "Where I 
apprehend I have insensibly slipt into the very heart of the contro- 
versy : hinc nice lachrymai. But this passion cannot be the effect of 
an action long since past; for action and passion are so inseparable, 
that they must needs be at the same time, live and die together; 
for what else is action, but the changing of the state wherein a 
thing is? Now, it is impossible a thing can suffer a change, if 
there be not something at the same time producing that change, 
which is called action ; and you shall as soon conceive a mountain 
without a valley, as a passion without an action. Passion is the 
suffering of an action, and must needs cease whenever the action 
ceaseth ; as the heat in my hand caused by the particles of fire 
acting on it, must presently cease when they are gone. So that we 
not only move by him, as the clock by the artificer that made it — 
which is all I think they will allow — but as the clock by the 
weights hanging at it, which when they are taken away, the clock 
is at rest, and can move no more. Even so we live, move, and are 
[esmen) by him, from whom at first we had our being. But quorsum 
hcec, seeing the controversy is not about motion? Anstver 1. Seeing 
the text speaks of all the three alike, if it hold in this, it must hold 
also in the other. 2. If our motion depend thus on God, much 
more does our life and being, to which we can contribute less than 
to our motion. I apprehend the Arminians will not stick here; 
for if we would yield to them our moving ourselves without an 
immediate hand of God, I suppose they would not stand to gratify 
us with the other point. 2dli/, Consider the ai>ostlc hereby proves 
that God is not far from every one of us ; but God's giving us life, 
motion, and being at first, with a power to conserve the same with- 
out his continued action, can never prove that, more than a man's 
making a ship will prove him to be in America, when the ship is 
there, though he be in Scotland. I should rather think, that the 
apostle reasoning with philosophers proceeds upon the maxim, Nihil 
agit in distans ; therefore seeing we live, and are moved in and by 
him, he is not far from us. It seems to me that makran answers to 
the Heb. MeRaChok, which signifies distance of time as well as 
place, Psal. cxxxix. 2 ; Jer. xxxi. 3. So that the sense is, God is 
still with us, acting in us, and not at the distance of a number of 
years. This opinion seems to me akin to the Sociuians' denial of 


God's omnipresence in respect of his essence, allowing it only in re- 
spect of his virtue and power ; as Arminianism in other points is 
seen to pave the way to Socinianism. 

Argument VI. ult. Is. xlviii. 13. "I call unto them, they stand 
up together." This call is a positive act, for it hath a positive 
effect. It is a continned action; KoRe, "I am calling." It is the 
act of conservation : for, 1. It is a call that makes things which are 
already created (compare the first clause) to stand, so that the 
frame of the world is not dissolved. 2. God here proves himself to 
be the First and the Last. The First, because he laid the founda- 
tions of the earth, &c. the Last, because as he called them when 
they were not, so his call makes them stand up, abide, or remain, as 
the word signifies also. This cuts off the exception of interpreting 
it of gubernation ; for gubernation can never prove the governor to 
be last in being in respect of the governed, seeing the- latter may 
very well survive the former. But that is simply impossible in the 
case of conservation, such as we plead for ; for an efl'ect depending 
in its being on the continued acting of its cause, can never be 
posterior to its cause. If the creature's being wholly depend on 
God's continued conservation, so that it must go to nothing when he 
withdraws his suppoi'ting power, this demonstrates him to be the 


Argument I. There is no necessary connection betwixt the crea- 
tures' moments of duration : Ergo, &c. It follows not, because I 
am this moment, thei'efore I shall be the next ; for so I should be 
an eternal necessary being, which is proper to God. If it be 
said, so many moments of ray duration, and no more, are con- 
nected by the decree of God ; I answer, this decree is either a 
will to hold me up so long, or a will to leave me to the power of 
conserving myself, and not to destroy me for so long a time. I 
know no mids. If the first, it is the very thing we plead, if the 
second, the thing willed here is a mere cessation from action, which 
can have no positive effect, and therefore it can make no connection 
of these moments. My being last moment is now gone ; an evi- 
dence it had no connection with my being this moment, which then 
was not, but is now come forth from a creating power. Now, if 
there be no connection betwixt the creatures' duration one moment 
and another, it is plain they are in a continual flux and state of 
dissolution by their very natures ; and therefore there must be a con- 
tinual positive conservation of them, no less than creating, else they 
cannot endure. 

Argument II. Our duration must have some immediate cause. 


That must either be God, ourselves, or some other creature. 
The last I think none will plead ; if they will, let them shew who 
it is. If it be God, it must be by a positive act of conservation ; for 
it is inconceivable how it can be otherwise, and therefore they refuse 
an immediate hand of God in our conservation. Now, it cannot 
be ourselves ; for we neither do, nor can conserve ourselves. Which 
I prove thus. 1. Nothing can give what it has not; we have not 
our being next moment : Ei-go, &c. Exception. Our being is still 
the same in all moments. Answer. No otherwise than the water 
of Ettrick is the same it was this morning. Those things which 
may be separated are not the same ; but my being in the moment 
A, may be separated from my being in the moment C, being 
annihilated in B, and created again in C. Now, there is the same 
reason of all. My being this moment is necessary ; for quicquid est 
quando est, necessario est: my being next moment is not necessary, 
for I may be annihilated ; Ergo, they are not the same. And 
truly, if I may now look again to Scripture, I do not see how this 
opinion leaves the name I AM to God alone. 2. We find often we 
cannot conserve a thought, how can we then conserve our own being, 
which is more ? 3. What man is conscious to himself of his act of 
conservation of himself? As for the conservation of ourselves by 
meat, drink, &c. the question is not anent that; these keep us not in 
being, but in wellbeing ; for if we should destroy ourselves in a vulgar 
sense, yet we should still be something, till annihilated by the hand 
that made us. Nay, even by all these things we cannot conserve 
those particles whereof our bodies are just now compounded, but 
use them as constant badges of a perpetual flux. But how can a 
man conceive his conserving of his soul ? It is inconceivable. Surely 
they that are in hell do not believe they conserve themselves, that 
would every moment creep back into the womb of nothing, if the 
hand of Oranipotency keeping them in being would desert them. 
4. I ask, what way this self-conserving power is conserved ? If God 
by a continued act conserve the same, they are in the same mire 
where they allege we are, putting God's work in meaner circum- 
stances than man's. And why may they not rather allow the 
conservation to reach us immediately ? Frustra fit per plura, quod 
ceque commode fieri potest per pauciora. If he does not by a continued 
act conserve it, there must be another power for conserving it, and 
another for that, and so in infinitum ; which is absurd. 

Argument III. Angels and souls may be destroyed, and we can 
conceive but two ways of it ; either by creating something where- 
with they cannot co-exist, and we know nothing wherewith angels 
cannot co-exist, they being incapable of dissolution as bodies are ; or 


by withdrawing of the supporting power. If so, then conservation 
is a positive act and continued creation. 

Argument IV. ult. From that opinion, it would follow, that one 
creature depends more on another than on God ; as light on the sun, 
plants on the sun and earth, &c. ; for they need continual conser- 
vation from their particular causes. But that one creature depends 
more on another than on God, is absurd. See, for the whole, Job 
xxxiv. 14, 15. 


The first garments were made of the leaves of the fig-tree, which is 
said to be of those trees that have the broadest leaves ; of these our 
first parents made haghoroth, aprons, things wherewith they girded 
themselves about. Gen. iii. 7- The text says, they " sewed them 
together." I observe late writers vary from this translation, and 
will have it, that they fastened or twisted the tender twigs 
of the fig-tree with the leaves on them, about their waist ; which 
seems to be taken up to satisfy our Atheists, because forsooth they 
had not then needle and thread. But they answered as well, who 
alleged they used other things instead of these. And why might 
they not sew the leaves together, though they had neither needle 
nor thread, while they had thorn prickles* to serve instead of 
needles, yea or nails on their fingers ; and rinds of trees, &c. instead 
of thread ? Besides, it would seem no easy girdle or apron that were 
made of twigs, though the leaves were on them ; nor very fit to 
cover nakedness at all times, unless the leaves had been sewed to- 
gether. If it was so, I should observe, God's calling them to an ac- 
count Lehruahh Hajom, " in the wind of the day," ver. 8. at which 
time they might quickly be convinced their fig-leaf ajn'ons were to 
little purpose for covering nakedness. The word rendered sewed, 
is found only in other three places, viz. Eccles. iii. 7- Ezek xiii. 18. 
and Job. xvi. 15. Nicholas, in his conference, says, it signifies not to 
sew together with needle and thread; for which he cites that place 
in Job. It is plain, in the two first passages it denotes proper sew- 
ing ; and it signifies no other in Job xvi 15. We may fairly ac- 
count for the translation there, and the sense accordingly, without 
supposing Job to sew sackcloth on his loins, as one sews a piece of 
cloth on a block ; it being most frequent in the holy tongue, which 

* Job xii. 2. " Canst thou bore his jaw through with a thorn?" 


is very concise, to denote both an antecedent and consequent action by 
one word signifying the antecedent, as Is. xxxviii. 17. (Heb.) " Thou 
hast loved my soul from the pit." ver. 21. (Heb.) " Bruise them upon 
the boil," i. e. bruise them, and then lay them on the boil. So Job 
sewed sackcloth, and, being sewed, put it on his loins. This sewing 
of the first garment of the first Adam, brings me in mind of the se- 
cond Adam's, which was without seam ; and what a covering we 
have from him, even one that is all of one piece, while Adam has 
left us nothing but patched-up rags. 

The prime reason of garments is plain from the same passage, to 
wit, to cover the shame of onr nakedness, which was not shameful 
till man had sinned. And the holy language puts them on us still 
as badges of our sin and shame, that they may serve us as memo- 
rials for humiliation, and phylacteries of the doctrine of the fall. 

Beged, primarily treachery, signifies a garment, from hagad he 
dealt treacherously. I take this to point at the breach of the first 
marriage-covenant betwixt God and sinners, the covenant of works : 
for the word is ordinarily used of the breach of a marriage-cove- 
nant. So Jer. iii. 20 ; Mai. ii. 14. Thus Prov. ii. ult. adulterers 
are called bogedhn ; compare ver. 17 — " forgetteth the covenant of 
her God." And observe the punishment, " they shall be rooted out 
of the earth ;" because they take such methods to root them- 
selves in it, Hos. iv, 10.* Remarkable is that of Solomon, that all 
his wives left but one son, and him a fool. To confirm this notion, 
it may be observed, that the word Gen. iii. 23. vaishallehhehu, " God 
sent him forth out of paradise," is the word ordinarily used of the set- 
ting oif of the divorced woman. Dent. xxiv. 1,3, 4. Among the Jews, 
if there could be proved anything of villany against the wife, she 
was sent away sine tauhlis, (wherein her dowry, and what she 
brought with her when she was married, was written), f and desti- 
tute of all things, because she had played the harlot : to which 
there is an allusion, Hos. ii. 3. " lest I strip her naked." Thus 
our marriage ornaments are kept in the house of our husband and 
we sent away only with the badges of our treachery. 

Yea, robes are but megnile, Ezek. xxvi. 16. from magnal, " he tres- 
passed," to put us in mind of to tou enos paraptoma, " that oifence of 
that one," Rom. v. But the megnil was one of the High Priest's 
garments belonging to him alone, Exod. xxviii. In which we may 
see our High Priest clothed with our transgressions, coming in the 

* Among the ancient Germans, the husband had power to punish the wife found in 
adultery. He stripped her stark naked, and shaved her in presence of her parents, 

put her out of his house, &c Mezeray Histoire de France, p. 33. 

f Burroughs on Hos, 


likeness of sinful flesh, and, as Joshua, standing before the Lord in 
tlic filthy garments of our guilt. Whence in the day of the spirit- 
ual marriage we get on his " robe of righteousness," me<jn'd tzedakah, 
and are " decked as j)riests" (as the word signifies. Is. Ixi. 10), 
whose garments "were for glory and beauty," Exod. xxviii. 2. 

A garment they also call simlah, and, by a transposition of a letter, 
sahtMh ; from sonol, the left hand; sinistra, the unlucky hand. 
Thus they are put on us as badges of our going wrong, turning out 
of the way, and falling from our honour. Scripture antiquity has 
given the preference to the right hand, and so the profane likewise ; 
though some stand for the ancients preferring the left, of which see 
Rivet on Psal. ex. Xenophon tells us, that Cyrus set those whom 
he minded most to honour, on his left hand ; but withal gives the 
reason of his doing so, because in that posture men were least liable 
to snares, which seems to argue it was an invention of his own. 
It is somewhat surprising, that the Greeks* called the left hand 
aristcran, the best ; but in the pagan rites of divination the left hand 
was the best, because the giver's right hand in bestowing a benefit is 
opposite to the receiver's left hand. Thus avis sinistra, intonuit 
Uevum, are good luck. Hence, as Lipsius thinks, the Greeks so 
called the left hand. These confirm the preference of the right hand : 
Jacob lays his right hand on Ephraim, and his left on Manasseh, 
seeing Ephraim was to be the more honourable. And the sheep are 
set on Christ's right, the goats on his left hand, at the last day. 
The left hand also was the place assigned to the accused in the 
Jewish courts, while the accuser stood at his right hand ; hence Psal. 
cix. 6. Zech. iii. 1. Satan is represented in the posture of an ac- 
cnser.f And on the right hand of the judge sat one who wrote the 
sentence of absolution ; which may give further light to that of 
Christ's sitting on the right hand of God ; compare 1 John ii. 1. 
and on the left, one who wrote the sentence of condemnation. On 
which account our garments may well bear the character of the left 
hand. The custom amongst the Greeks was, that the accuser stood 
in a pulpit on the left of the tribunal, the accused in another upon the 
right, so that they were one just over against another.^ And it seems 
this also was the custom amongst the Romans, to stand face to face 
in judgment. Acts xxv. 16. And it seems it was also in use amongst 
the Hebrews, as well as the other custom, 1 Kings xxi. 10. So saith 
Leigh. II But that confounds the accuser and witnesses. But these 
two men of Belial, ver. 13. are expressly called witnesses ; and 

Goodw. Rom. Antiq. f Weems Christ. Svn. % Archaol. Atlic, 

II Aiiuot. on Psal. li. 

Vol. VI. 


whereas the accuser and accused stood, these witnesses sat, ih. 
Their custom then it seems was, that both the parties stood before 
the judge, Zech. iii. 1. the accuser on the right hand, ib. and the 
witnesses sat, and that before the accused, 1 Kings xxi. 10. negedo, 
over against him ; unto which David seems to allude, Psal. li. 3. 
" ever before me." And so is it more fully declared, Hos. vii. 10. 
" And the pride of Israel doth testify to his face." Hence our gar- 
ments to us are as a face-covering of the condemned. 

Lastlif, It is called Lchush, which the Talmudics, as Buxtorff re- 
lates, say is quasi Lo buahah, not shame, because by clothing it 
comes to pass that man is not ashamed of his nakedness. I should 
rather think it is Lehosh or hoshah, for shame. We have put in the 
letter L, and made that word blush ; the native consequent now of 
nakedness discovered. All nakedness is not shameful yet, but of 
those parts that nature will have covered. So our first parents made 
them aprons. Which consideration must needs present to our view 
original sin propagated by natural generation. To this nakedness 
of Adam after he had sinned, that shame of our nakedness, Rev. iii. 
18. which the second Adam offers us white raiment to cover, hath 
respect. The shame of nakedness is a deep impression on all man- 
kind to attest the fall ; and so remains with them, that even savages 
have Adam's art of covering what the Scripture calls nakedness.* 
It is worth the notice to this purpose what Valerius Maximus tells 
of the Roman people, at the Ludi Florales, where shameless strum- 
pets run up and down naked, that while Cato was looking on, the 
people were ashamed to desire that those shameless creatures should 
be stripped ; which when he knew, he went away from the theatre, 
that he might not stand in the way of what was the custom. And 
hence it is threatened as the greatest disgrace. Is. xlvii. 3. Ezek. 
xvi. 37. and therefore was inflicted on the Egyptian captives. Is. xx. 
4. which may give light to that Rev. xvi. 15. " Blessed is he that 
watcheth, and keepeth his garments, least he walk naked, and they 
see his shame ;" denoting that everlasting contempt they shall get 
poured on them at the coming of Christ, who shall be found naked 
as Adam was when God came to him to call him to an account. 
It is also to be added, f that there was one who walked the round 
through the temple guards every night, and if he found any asleep, 
he had liberty to set fire to his garments, and struck him ; to which 
there is here a manifest allusion. Compare, " Behold I come as a 
thief." Hence we may conclude, that the nakedness of Saul, 
1 Sam. xix. 24. when he projjhesied before Samuel, and that 
of Isaiah, chap. xx. 2. was not absolute nakedness. That before 

• S(i (lid the priests 'u\ the Lupercalia Roin. Ant. f Liglitf. Temp Serv. 


noted, may bo oue reason among many, why the devil is called " the 
unclean spirit ;" and it is not to bo thought such a gesture could 
proceed from the motion of the Holy Spirit. But the Hebrews call 
him naked who hath cast off his upper garment. And so the Greek 
plays called G-ymnid* where they cast off their cumbersome clothes, 
that they might the more nimbly perform their games ; for it cannot 
be thought they were absolutely naked. To this the apostle 
alludes, Heb. xii. 1. " laying aside every weight, and the sin that 
doth so easily beset us;" apothemenoi, putting off, as oue doth a 
garment, Eph. iv. 22. euperistaten amartian : Sin is compared to 
their large and long garments coming down to the heels, that were 
laid aside as unfit for a race, seeing they were so apt to fold about 
the legs, and hinder them in their course. Gennanos Mela plerum- 
que nudos egissc dick. Interprctatur id Tacitus, rejecta veste siiperiori, 
says Grotius. Hence we may also see why Christ hung naked on 
the cross, even because he was to satisfy the justice of God for that 
sin which had made Adam naked. What a fearful sight of the fall 
was to be seen on the cross ? and what a killing piece of suffering 
was this? Goodwinf out of Artemidorus shews, that those that were 
crucified suffered naked, that they were first stripped of all their 
clothes, and then fastened to the cross. And with this the Scrip- 
ture agrees. Matt, xxvii. 35. Heb. xii, 2. "He endured the cross, 
and despised the shame." 

These were the first garments, taken on to cover the shame of 
nakedness, after they were stripped of their garments of inuocency, 
and, as some think not improbably, of a glorious brightness that 
was upon their bodies before the fall ; upon the removal of which 
they saw they were naked, and so betook themselves to the leaves 
of a tree to cover their nakedness. In which the providence of 
God is remarkable, that the cover they make themselves, was not 
only a badge of their sin, but of the very kind of their sin ; Avhile 
they that had sinned in the eating of the fruit of a tree, have the 
leaves of a tree for the covering of the shame of their nakedness 
arising therefrom. And what a melting consideration is it, to 
imagine Adam and his wife sisted before the Lord, to answer for 
their eating of the forbidden fruit, aud that in a garb of the 
leaves of a tree, which some think was the very kind of tree on 
which the forbidden fruit grew ; even as a thief brought to judg- 
ment with what he has stolen hanging about him ? 

*2 Sam. vi. 20; John xxi. 7. And those that are ill clail, Job xxii. 6; Matt. 
XXV. 36 ; I Cor. iv. 11 ; Jaaiei ii. 15. 

f Rom. Antiq. 



The next garments were of the skins of beasts, which liave been 
long in use ; as the Greek word himation, from himas, leather, gives 
ground to suppose. The ancient Germans covered themselves with 
jackets that came down scarcely to their haunches ; were fastened 
with a clasp; and were made either of coarse cloth, or skins with 
the pile on the outside. The slaves had them sometimes of the 
rind of a tree ; and they lay on boar-skins. Mezer. Hist, cle France, 
p. 27, 28. And to this day the Finlanders, it seems, wear coats of 
skins, they being often seen on the coasts of Orkney in their little 
boats of seal-skins, or some kind of leather, with their leathern coats 
on them ; as Mr. Brand says in his description of Orkney. Many 
of the worthies under the Old Testament were made to wander up 
and down in sheep-skins, and goat-skins, Heb. xi. 37. The author 
of the supplement of Pool's annotations in he. says, this was the 
common apjiarel of the prophets, as of Elijah, 2 Kings i. 8 ; Zech. 
xiii. 4. "What authority there is for that I find not. But I think 
the text points out these not as the ordinary array of them that 
wore them, but as taken up in a destitute case, for lack of bet- 
ter; as they had dens and caves, ver. 38, instead of their houses, 
which they durst not keep. It is there added, that they wore these 
skins as they came off the beast's back, undressed. But the pro- 
phets' garments, from the Scriptures, seem not to have been of skins, 
but of hair. So 2 Kings i. 8. Elijah is called " a hairy man," and his 
girdle is said to be of leather, as of matter different from that 
whereof his gown was made ; which is explained in the other Elias, 
Matt. iii. 4, whose garment is expressly said to have been of 
" camel's hair ;" which, being coarsely wrought, might have the hairs 
sticking out in it ; on which account Elias might be called " a hairy 
man." The "rough garment," Zech. xiii. 4. is addereth segnar, "a 
garment of hair." Compare with this Rev. vi. 12. where " the snn 
became black as sackcloth of hair ; whence it may be gathered, that 
sackcloth of hair was in use in time of mourning ; and what was 
extraordinary to the people, may be allowed as ordinary to the 
prophets. From what is said, it appears, the prophets' garments 
were of hair; and that garment is called in Is. xx. 2. "the pro- 
phet's sackcloth." For if that garment of Isaiah's was his habit 
only in time of mourning, as some would have it, how comes 
it that he is enjoined to cast it off when he is to appear as a 
mourner, to wit, naked and barefoot ? 2 Sam. xv. 30. And it is 
plain the Scripture expresseth a joyful turn in a person's case by 
casting off sackcloth in that sense, Ps. xxx. 11. But Isaiah might 
well be said to be naked, casting off his prophet's coat, as Peter, 
John xxi. 7- casting off his fisher's coat. In the time of Antichrist 


the witnesses prophecy in sackcloth, as being successors truly of the 
ancient prophets ; and particularly there seems to be an allusion in 
it to Elijah's prophesying, in time of the apostacy and idolatry of 
his day, in sackcloth of hair ; as there is incontestably an allusion to 
Elijah's case, Rev. xi. 6. " These have power to shut heaven." 

I am so far convinced of the truth of that opinion, that these were 
the skins of beasts oifered up in sacrifice, that I cannot think it pro- 
bable, as Nicholas in his conference says, that they were not made 
for them till the winter after. The covenant being made, and the 
Messias promised, it is most reasonable to think it was confirmed by 
sacrifice; in respect of which sacrifice Christ may be called "the 
Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." And upon this 
original sacrifice, that sacrifice, Gen. iv. Heb. xi. 4. is brought in as a 
piece of ordinary instituted worship. Did not Anton, van Dale de 
oraculis Ethnicorum repute for a fable the story of the pilot Thamus, 
hearing by night a voice ordering him to cry, " the great god Pan 
is dead," at the death of Christ the great shepherd ; I would with a 
great deal more pleasure observe what Vahr. Max. lib. 2. cap. 2. 
tells of the Lupercals, wherein Pan was honoured with sacrifices, 
and games so called. The Lupercals, says he, were begun by 
Romulus and Remus then, when being overjoyed that Numitor had 
allowed them to build the town there where they were brought up, 
they did sacrifice goats, (which were two), and having ate and drank 
liberally, they diverted the company of shepherds, and merrily ran 
up and down, dncti pellibus immolatarum hostiarum, switching every 
one they met with in their merriment. One would think the devil 
had taken this, from whence he has drawn many other rites in his 

But on surer grounds we may observe, that our first parents made 
their first garments, and God made the next, which were eflfectual 
for the use of garments. "Whence we may learn the utter insuffi- 
ciency of our own righteousness to cover spiritual nakedness, and 
the absolute necessity of the righteousness of God, the imputed 
righteousness, with its fitness every way to clothe the sinful soul. 
And when I consider how, when the antitype was sacrificed, they 
parted his garments, and on his vesture did they cast lots, I am the 
more convinced that our first parents were clothed with the skins of 
the first sacrifice. We may also hence take a view of our natural 
inclination, upon the first view of our nakedness, to provide a 
covering for ourselves of our own making, and to hold by it, till, being 
sisted before a righteous God, we see it will not avail ; at which 
time Christ is seasonably discovered, and the proud heart being 
humbled, will at length submit to an imputed righteousness, 


Rom. X. 3. Finally, those Adam and his wife made, were sewed 
together; as for the other, Moses only says God made them. 

The original of vests, a vellere, I find not. The pagans have 
made Minerva the goddess of weaving, and generally of lanifice. 
so Buchanan calls weaving the Palladian art, ad Ad. Otterb. And 
the Greeks seem to have derived their ergon from arag, to weave, 
as if it were a work by way of eminency, which it is indeed. 
Vossius takes Naamah to be the heathen Minerva or Venus. And 
the Arabians say, that the same Naamah invented colours and paint- 
ing, as Jubal did music. And it is very probable, as lanifice is still 
mostly left to the women, so the invention of weaving is due to that 
sex. Weaving was a piece of housewifery, and the usual employ- 
ment of women in their houses among the ancient Greeks, Arch. 
Attic. ; and that not only of those of the meaner, but of the highest 
and most honourable character amongst them. Penelope's web is 
famous to a proverb. And Creusa in Euripides, daughter of Ericht- 
hcus King of Athens, had a bearing cloth of her own weaving for Ion. 
This was the cloth in which they wrapt the new-born child after it 
was washen, which Israel wanted, Ezek. xvi. Augustus Csesar, says 
Suetonius, trained up his daughters and nieces to card, spin, and make 
cloth. Yea, he readily wore none but what was made within the 
house by his wife, sister, daughter, or nieces. Which observation 
may make that character of a wife for a king, Prov. xxxi. seem 
less strange to us. And it would seem that a virtuous woman is a 
weaver as well as a spinster, seeing she makes herself tapestry, ver. 
22 ; see ver. 24, being skilled in weaving, and having her loom, of 
whatever sort it was, in her chamber, as Delilah, Judg. xvi. 13, 14. 



" Paul an apostle (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus 
Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead), 

" 2 And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of 
Galatia : 

" 3 Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our 
Lord Jesus Christ." 

Paul an apostle, not an apostle of men, as an ambassador of 


a state, but an apostle of the great God ; and that not mediately, by 
man, as ordinary church officers,* but called thereto immediately by 
God-mau Jesus Christ, and by God the Father, who raised Christ 
from the dead, and so gave an infallible testimony to the doctrine of 
Christ ; who, being raised from death, may as well be allowed to 
send out mo for an apostle, as he did others while he was yet bodily 
present on the earth :f ver. 2. And all the professors and ministers 
of the church that are with me at the writing hereof, (who do ap- 
prove of this my epistle, to mo dictated by the Spirit) : unto the 
congregations of the country Galatia ; whom I still hold for true 
churches, notwithstanding of the errors embraced by them. Ver, 3. 
The good will and favour of God, and all sort of true peace and 
prosperity, be to you, from the Father as the fountain of all grace, 
aud from Christ as the only conduit by which both flow, or can flow 
to sinners. 

" 4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from 
this present evil world, according to the will of God aud our Father : 
" 5 To whom be glory for ever aud ever. Amen." 

Yer. 4. Whom seeing I have named, I cannot but commend ; the 
rather that we may see we have so much in him for our perfect 
happiness, as that we need not look to our own works for an eek ; 
for he gave himself to the death for expiating our sins, which 
cannot be but sufficient for that end : and one great design of his 
dying for us was, that he might deliver us from the snares which 
the wicked men of this present world lay for us ; which is too sadly 
verified in your being ensnared by the false teachers among you. 
This Christ did according to the will and decree of the Father, who 
was concerned for the redemption of the elect, so that he gave a 
commission to the Son for that purpose. Ver. 5. And therefore let 
him have the glory of our redemption, by our lij)s and lives ; and 
seeing time is not sufficient for the work of his praise, let it be 
echoed out of the saints' mouths to all eternity. So be it. 

"61 marvel, that ye are so soon removed from him that called 
you into the grace of Christ, unto another gospel : 

" 7 Which is not another ; but there be some that trouble you, 
and would pervert the gospel of Christ." 

* 1. The preface, v. I ; v. 2, the party from and to whom ; v. 3, the salutation; v. 
4, a description of Christ ; v. 5, a doxology to the Father. 

f They questioned Paul's apostolic authority, because he had not seen Christ in the 


Yer. 6. I am surprised to hear, that ye are embracing the doctrine 
of the necessity of the observation of Moses' law, and mixing the 
■works of the law, whether ceremonial or moral,* with the righte- 
ousness of Christ in point of justification ; and to make way for 
that, over the belly of the doctrine I taught you, ye hearken to false 
teachers, questioning my apostolic office, and suggesting that I had 
the doctrine of the gospel only from the second hand, which I have 
since corrupted : I marvel, I say, that ye have embraced these doc- 
trines, whereby you making defection (being carried thereto by 
others) from God, who, by my ministry, called you to Christ's 
gospel, the gospel of free grace, are carried oflf, and that very sud- 
denly, (which aggravates your sin), unto a pretended gospel : ver. 7. 
Which is not a gospel at all ; for it brings bad, instead of good 
news. But I cannot lay all the blame on you : there are some 
among you, who as winds do trouble waters, so they trouble your 
churches by their new doctrine, stirring up divisions, and bringing 
many to that, they know not what to believe, or whom ; and they 
no less trouble your consciences, drawing you off from the perfect 
righteousness of Christ, whereby it comes to pass that ye can never 
have solid peace within; and they would overturn the gospel, setting 
up a doctrine inconsistent with the doctrine of the gospel. 

" 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other 
gospel unto you, than that which we have preached unto you, let 
him be accursed." 

Yer. 8. But so fully am I persuaded of the truth of the doctrine 
I have preached to you, and of the perfection and sufficiency of it 
for true happiness, that I doubt not to anathematizef and declare 
separated from Christ, accursed of God, and to be destroyed, my- 
self, or an angel from heaven, if either of us should preach another 
gospel, way of justification or salvation. 

" 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach 
any other gospel unto you, than that ye have received, let him be 

Yer. 9. It is not passion and unruly rage that makes me talk 
thus, but ray zeal for God; and therefore with all soberness I 

' II. The body of the Epistle. 1. He asserts the truth of his doctrine: ushered in 
vers 6, 7, with a 6oft reproof; ver. 7, blaming their teachers rather than them. 
I Hu aiseitg it, I. by anatUemaliziug those that should preach another gospel. 


denouuce the same against any man that shall adventure so to do. 
Ye formerly received the very same doctrine that 1 preached, and 
therefore so let it be to him who preaches what is inconsistent with 
your former principles. 

" 10 For do I now persuade men, or God ? or do I seek to please 
men ? for if 1 yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of 

Yer. 10. "Wonder not I am so bold in devoting to a curse those 
that preach other doctrine than I : for though, when I was a Phari- 
see, I persuaded people to hear and follow the dictates of men, 
which humour yet remains with your teachers ; yet now my only 
business is, to persuade men to hear and follow the dictates of God 
himself; so that it is God's cause, not my own, or men's. Neither 
do I seek to humour men, as those teachers of yours bend their 
doctrine to curry favour with the Jews ; which was my own way in 
the time of my blindness : but if that were my way still, I should 
not be about Christ's work, and so I should be not the servant of 
Christ, but of men. 

"11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was 
preached of me, is not after man." 

Yer. 11. But I am the servant of Christ;* for I assure you, the 
doctrine I preached to you, was not from earth, but from heaven. 

"12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, 
but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." 

Yer. 12. For I neither received it from men as the authors of it, 
though men would be found the highest spring of the new doctrine 
among you, if you would impartially examine the author of it ; 
neither was I taught it mediately, by the help of any apostle, or 
other man, as some allege : but I had it by immediate revelation 
from Jesus Christ at the time of my conversion. 

"13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past, in the 
Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of 
God, and wasted it : 

' 2. Upon the ground of his divine and immediate call, which he clears hj a narra- 
tion, or short histor}- of his life to chap. ii. v. 15. 


" 14 And profited in the Jews' religion, above many my equals 
in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the tradi- 
tions of my fathers." 

Yer. 13. The truth of which will convincingly appear from a 
short history of my life : for ye have heard of my former conversa- 
tion, while I was a Jew ; and I grudge not to confess it to my own 
shame and God's glory, how I was an eminent persecutor of the 
church ; and like an enemy going through a land with fire and 
sword, leaving nothing but desolations behind him, so I wasted the 
church, getting some killed, others scattered. Ver. 14. And I 
wanted not parts to my hostile mind : for though I shall not say I 
profited more in the Jewish religion than those that were elder than 
myself, or than all those that were of the same standing with me, 
or those in other nations ; yet I may without breach of modesty say, 
that I was more learned in Judaism than many of my standing in 
mine own nation. And the worst part of that religion, even un- 
written traditions, to which Christ was a great enemy, I bestowed 
the cream of my zeal upon ; which zeal had arrived to an exceeding 
high pitch. 

"15 But when it pleased Glod, who separated me from my mother's 
womb, and called me by his grace, 

" 16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the 
heathen ; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood : 

" 17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem, to them which were apostles 
before me ; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Da- 

Vers. 15, 16, 17- Yet notwithstanding all this, when the time 
appointed of God for my conversion came, and it pleased God — who 
from my mother's womb had separated me to the apostolic office, in 
so far as his providence had from that time been secretly working 
to shape me out for the work, bringing me into the world by such 
parents, giving me a healthful constitution, and the benefit of human 
learning ; who also by his powerful and overcoming grace called me 
to himself, who had been running away from him — when it pleased 
him, I say, to give me the saving knowledge of Christ, which in an 
extraordinary way, without the preached word, did immediately 
break into my soul ; to the end I might not only be saved thereby 
myself, but might preach the same Christ nnto the heathen world : 
then I was so pei-suaded of the divinity of the doctrine revealed, and 
so clear as to my call to the ministry, that I would not consult mine 


own reason, nor any man whatsoever, as to ray duty in tliis case ; 
neither did I return from Damascus to Jerusalem, to meet with the 
other apostles to get a permission from them to preach, or to get my 
call confirmed by them : but without disputing the call of God, 
having first staid certain days in Damascus, and preached, Acts ix. 
19 — 22, I went, not without great hazard and pains, to preach to 
the heathen Arabians, and returned from Arabia afterwards, and 
came to Damascus,* Acts ix. 23. 

" 18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem, to see Peter, 
and abode with him fifteen days." 

Ver. 18. Then three years after my conversion, I went up from 
Damascusf to Jerusalem, to make a visit to Peter, not to learn any 
thing of him, bnt to give a testimony of agreement in the same doc- 
trine, he being the great apostle of the Jews, and I of the Gentiles ; 
and it was but short timej I abode with him, so that I had not time 
to learn. 

" 19 But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's 

Yer. 19. Neither learned I of the rest of the apostles ; for I saw 
none of them but James, || our Lord's kinsman according to the flesh. 

" 20 Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, 
I lie not." 

Yer. 20. Now, as to the truth of these things, seeing God's glory 
and your edification requires it, I confirm it by an oath, declaring 
before God as a judge and witness in the matter, that I am speaking 
nothing but truth. 

" 21 Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia ; 

Arabia and Damascus being now both under the government of Aretas. 
t See the occasion, Acts ix. 23 — 26 ; 2 Cor. xi. 32, 33. 
J For immediately persecution was raised against him, he having preached and dis- 
puted with the Grecians or Hellenists, i. e. Jews dwelling for ordinary amongst the 
Grecians. Acts ix. 29. 30. 

II James the son of Alpheus. It is probable the rest of the apostles were not in 
Jerusalem, but in the country, preaching and settling churches; Peter and James abid- 
ing to take care of the church of Jerusalem. 


" 22 And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judea, which 
were in Christ : 

" 23 But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in 
times past, now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. 

" 24 And they glorified God in me." 

Yer. 21. Afterwards* I carae into the regions of Syria, and par- 
ticularly into Cilicia, iny native country, and preached the gospel 
there. Yer. 22. And though the Christian churches in Judea, visible 
members of Christ's body, were not acquainted with me, having been 
but occasionally sometimes in Jerusalem, and made no considerable 
stay, and having made it my business familiarly to converse with 
those of my own charge, rather than them to whom I had not 
such a special relation : ver. 23. Yet when they had heard the news 
of my conversion, and of my preaching that doctrine which once 
I endeavoured to destroy, by persecuting the professors thereof, 
ver. 24. They acknowledged the mercy and power of God ap- 
pearing in his dealing with and by me ; and considering me as 
a convert and successful preacher, they gave God glory upon my 


" 1. Then fourteen years after, I went up again to Jerusalem, with 
Barnabas, and took Titus with me also." 

Yer. 1. Then fourteen years after my conversion,! I made another 
journey to Jerusalem, with Barnabas my ordinary companion in my 
travels, and I took Titus the Evangelist with me also ; as two wit- 
nesses which might testify to the apostles at Jerusalem what doc- 
trine I preached amongst the Gentiles, and with what success and 
visible seals of my ministry ; and who might also testify again to 
the Gentiles what should pass in the designed conference. 

*' 2. And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them 
that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them 

' Upon the occasion of that persecution by the Hellenists, he came into Syria, to 
Tarsus, a city of Cilicia ; having first touched at Caesarea Stratonis. Acts ix. 30. 

f The private conference, Peter's dissimulation, Paul's not urging the authority of 
the council at Jerusalem, &c. says plainly, these fourteen years were before the council 
of Jerusalem, Acts xv. which was in the 49th or 50th year of Christ. Paul was 
converted anno. 35. 


which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had 
run in vaiu." 

Yer. 2. And I went up by an impulse of the Spirit of God, reveal- 
ing that particular to be my duty ; and when I came there, in a 
friendly and familiar way I declared to the churches of Judea the 
gospel and doctrine which at this present T preach,* for I preach no 
other doctrine now than what I always preached since I was an 
apostle ; but Christian prudence obliged me not to give this decla- 
ration of my doctrine presently before the whole multitude, lest un- 
necessary scruples and debates might be raised amongst the vulgar ; 
nay, this declaration I thought necessary to make, not to any of the 
apostles, but those who were of greatest reputation in the church : 
and the great design of my entering upon this conference with them 
was, to preserve the fruit of my preaching in time past, and to 
secure it for the time to come ; for if once that had obtained amongst 
the Gentiles that I preached other doctrine than the chief apostles, 
my labours in the gospel would have been lost, both for the time 
past, and the time to come. 

" 3 But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was com- 
pelled to be circumcised : 

" 4 And that because of false brethren unawai-es brought in, who 
came in privily to spy out our liberty, which we have in Christ Jesus, 
that they might bring us into bondage." 

Ver. 3. But in that meeting, Titus, an uncircumised Greek, was 
freely admitted to the apostles' society ; and so far were they 
against the necessity of the observation of the ceremonial law, that 
they did not require him to be circumcised; which they would 
certainly have done had they thought that circumcision was neces- 
sary to be observed. Yer. 4. And in this particular case they did 
thus carry ; not because they thought that circumcision was yet 
simply unlawful, but because they would not give an occasion of 
triumphing to some false brethren, who held the necessity of observ- 
ing the ceremonial law, and who had been brought into this meeting 
without the apostles' knowledge, and came into it, not with any 
good design, but as so many spies, to spy out our Christian liberty, 
and to rob us of it, and bring us again under the bondage of the 
ceremonial law ; for if Titus had been circumcised here, they would 
have made use of that practice, as a certain confirmation of the 

* Comp. Acts XXV. 14. 


necessity of circumcision, and the observing of the whole ceremonial 

" 5 To whom we gave place by subjection, no not for an hoar : 
that the truth of the gospel might continue with you." 

Ver 5. But being aware of this their design, we, the rest of the 
apostles, at the meeting, and I, would not subject our Christian 
liberty to them, nor yield to them in that point, no not in using cir- 
cumcision but that once. The reason of our stiffness in this was, 
that the doctrine of the gospel might remain with you Galatians and 
other Grentiles, pure and uncorrupted, and not mixed with Jewish 
leaven ; for had they got their will in this particular, they would 
have had a specious pretence against Christian liberty. 

" 6 But of these who seemed to be somewhat (whatsoever they 
were, it maketh no matter to me : God accepteth no man's person) 
for they who seemed to be somewhat, in conference added nothing 
to me. 

" 7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncir- 
cumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision 
was unto Peter ; 

" 8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship 
of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me towards the Gen- 
tiles ;) 

" 9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, 
perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and 
Barnabas the right hands of fellowship : that we should go unto the 
heathen, and they unto the circumcision." 

Ver. 6. But of the apostles of greatest credit, in comparison of 
whom I am despised by some, as nothing in comparison of them, I 
indeed learned nothing. Say not, they were apostles before me, and 
had seen Christ in the flesh, and therefore I am nothing in compari- 
son of them. Whatever advantages they had of me, I notice not, 
neither does God judge of men according to these external things. 
I am an apostle now as well as they, and preach the gospel as well 
as they. I do not deny but they liave these advantages of me : but 
that is nothing to the matter in hand ; their having them makes not 
my office nor my doctrine less divine than theirs : for in conference 
about our calls and doctrine they added nothing to me ; they found 
no error to correct, nor defect in my doctrine or call to make up. 
Vers. 7, 9. But indeed they were so far from adding any thing to me. 


that tliey forthwith gave me the right hand of fellowshij), when thoy 
saw, by undoubted evidence, that God had committed to me the dis- 
pensation of the gospel (as a rich treasure) unto the Gentiles, even 
as he had committed to Peter the dispensing of the gospel unto the 
Jews. Ver. 8. This they clearly understood from this, that the 
same God who had given his assistance to Peter, and had made 
use of him as a blessed instrument in his hand, to the conversion of 
the Jews, by his overcoming grace, had done no less by me towards 
the Gentiles, whose conversion they looked upon as a seal of my 
apostleship. Yer. 9. And when James, Peter, and John, who were re- 
puted the upholders of the church, under God, perceived the gifts, ordi- 
nary and extraordinary, wherewith God had fitted me for the apos- 
tolic office ; when (I say) they saw my call to the work, and my gifts 
fitting me for it, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of 
fellowship, shaking hands with us in token of our agreement in doc- 
trine, and amicably dividing of our charges for carrying on the work 
of our common Master; that they might go on to preach (for ordin- 
ary) to the Jews, and we to the Gentiles. 

"10 Only they would that we should remember the poor; the 
same which I also was forward to do." 

Yer. 10. Only they desired Barnabas and me to make a collection 
through the Gentile churches, for the relief of the poor Jews who 
were turned Christians; which I did (espoudasa) with all diligence 
study to make elfectual. 

"11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to 
the face, because he was to be blamed." 

Yer. 11. But when Peter, some time after this conference, was 
come to Antioch, where was a church of the Gentiles using their 
Christian liberty, I freely and boldly to his face opposed him, be- 
cause he was indeed blame- worthy. 

" 12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the 
Gentiles ; but when they were come, he withdrew, and separated 
himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision." 

Yer. 12. For he did make use of his Christian liberty, freely eating 
with the Christian Gentiles, having no regard to the difference of 
meats, nor of Jews and Gentiles, established by the ceremonial law ; 
this liberty (I say) he used all the time he was in Antioch, before 


the coming down of certain Jews from Jerusalem, where James had 
his ordinary residence ; which Jews were zealous for the observing 
of the ceremonial law : but when they came, Peter withdrew* from 
the Gentile and uncircumcised Christians, would not keep up fellow- 
ship with them, but set up a seperate meeting from the uncircumcised 
Christians ; to which oflfensive course he was led, by a preposterous 
fear of those bigoted Jews, lest they should have been offended by 
his liberty. 

" 13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him ; insomuch 
that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation." 

Yer. 13. This was great dissimulation in Peter, to assert, by his 
practice, the necessity of observing the ceremonial law; which he 
knew notwithstanding, by divine revelation, was now of no force, 
Acts X. and xi.; and the other Jews, who had before used Christian 
liberty, they fell into the same dissimulat'ou : and such was the 
speat at that time, that even Barnabas himself was not able to with- 
stand his and their example, but he dissembled also, withdrawing 
and separating himself. 

" 14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly, according to 
the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, if thou, 
being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the 
Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews ? 
" 15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 
" 16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, 
but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus 
Christ ; that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by 
the works of the law : for by the works of the law shall no flesh be 

Yer, 14. But when I saw their practice crooked, and contrary to 
the doctrine of the gospel in this point, I said unto Peter before all 
the rest, carried off by his bad example, seeing thou thyself, though 
a Jew, and so bound, if any were, to observe the ceremonial law, yet 
dost not observe it, but for ordinary livest after the manner of the 
Gentiles, making no difference of meats, clean or unclean, as appears 
by thy former practice in this place ; how canst thou force upon the 
necks of the Gentiles that yoke which thou thyself hast cast off, by 
your separating from the Gentiles on this account, thereby obliging 

* HupesteUe, he recoiled and drew back, like a coward in battle. 


tljcm cither to embrace the ceremonial law, or else to be deprived of 
fellowship with you and your adherents ?* Ver. 15. And now, (to 
fall upon the main point) ye may observe, Galatians, from the 
history of Peter's carriage, particularly before these zealots came 
from Jerusalem, and from my reproving him, and his not defending 
the fact, that we who are born Jews, and not of the profane na- 
tions without God's covenant, we to whom the ceremonial and judi- 
cial laws were given particularly, and who received the decalogue 
upon Mount Sinai, that we (I say), ver. 16. being persuaded in our 
consciences, that no man, circumcised or uncircumcised, is declared or 
reputed righteous before God, upon the account of his own works, 
done in obedience to the law of God ceremonial, judicial, or moral, 
but by faith in Christ, receiving him and his righteousness ; even we 
(who, if any, might have pursued a law-righteousness) have re- 
nounced our own works for justification, and have, by faith, betaken 
ourselves to Christ for a righteousness, that so we might be justified 
by faith in Christ, and not by works : and with what confidence 
then can the Gentiles seek righteousness by the works of the law, 
a great part of which was designed only for us Jews ? Now, that we 
have done so, ye see is plain ; and that we might and ought to have 
done so, and you also, is plain from the Old Testament, which tes- 
tifies, that by the works of the law no man, Jew or Gentile, can be 
justified before God, Psal. cxliii. 2. 

*' 17 But if while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves 
also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin ? God 

Yer. 17. Ye will readily object, that our doctrine has little ad- 
vantage by what I have narrated of Peter and others, their observ- 
ing the ceremonial law over the belly of their light; it seems they 
have learned that art of gross dissimulation at the school of your 
gospel. But I say, what though we ourselves have been found 
(eurethemen) sinners and gross dissemblers, (we, I say, that know 
our freedom from the law, and that there is no justification by the 
law), even then while we were seeking justification by Christ ? does 
it therefore follow, that the doctrioe o^ the gospel, burying the cere- 
monial law, teaches men to sin ? God forbid. 

" 18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make 
myself a transgressor. 

* 2 That justification is not by work?, but bv faitb. Arg. 1. v. 15. 16. 

YoL. YI. R 


" 19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live 
unto God." 

Yer. 18. For if I, or Peter, or any man, do by our practice build 
up again the sin which we have destroyed by our doctrine, and prac- 
tice conform thereunto ; in that case we ourselves, or (to hold out 
this supposition in my own person) I am the transgressor who should 
be blamed, and not the gosj)el which I preach. This is clear, if ye 
consider, (ver. 19.), that the gospel natively tends to my leading a 
holy life, and the gospel is not to be blamed for my sinful slips : 
for I am now dead to the law, and look upon the relation betwixt 
it and me as ceased ; not that I may live as I list, but that I may 
live to God in the duties of obedience and thankfulness to God ; and 
this is what the gospel teacheth me : and to this actual death to 
the law, I was brought by the law itself, which proved such a 
rigorous husband to my conscience, that it would be satisfied with 
nothing I could do ; which necessitated me to give over thoughts of 
ever pleasing it, and so to betake myself to my new husband, Christ. 

" 20 I am crucified with Christ : Nevertheless I live ; yet not I, 
but Christ livetli in me : and the life which I now live in the flesh, 
I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave him- 
self for me." 

Yer. 20. Tet have I done the law no injury, but am dead to it 
in point of right : for by faith I am crucified in the person of 
Christ my head and representative ; so that the law having got all 
it could demand, it has no more to crave of me than it has of Christ. 
But notwithstanding of this crucifixion I am alive, I live to God. 
But no thanks to me for this life ; I have it not but because of ray 
union with Christ, who is the soul of my soul, and the vital 
principle in me : and that life of sanctification which I now live 
Avhile I am in this mortal body, I live by faith in the Son of God ; 
by which I draw vital influences from him the fountain of life, who 
loved me with an everlasting love, and from that undeserved love 
was pleased to give himself to the death for me, that by his dying 
I might live. 

" 21 I do not frustrate the grace of God : for if righteousness 
come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." 

A^'er. 21. I think* this was wonderful love; and I do therefore 

• Argument 2. 


endeavour to make a suitable return, lippening ray salvation to the 
death of Christ, and to that only, and so I do not render God's 
grace, in sending Christ to die for me, 'vain. If I should do other- 
wise, I should make it a vain needless thing : for if our righteous- 
ness be by our works, for what end did Christ die for us. 


" Foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that you should 
not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evi- 
dently set forth, crucified among you ?" 

Foolish Galatians, what devilish artist has deluded your spirit- 
ual senses, and cast mist before your eyes to dazzle them, and 
make things appear which you do not indeed see, so that you do 
not obey the commanding light cf the truth of the gospel ? In 
which ye are most inexcusable,* seeing by ray ministry the doctrine 
of Christ was as evidently preached to you, as if the mystery of 
Christ had been painted on a board before your eyes, and he had 
been crucified again amongst you. 

" 2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the 
works of the law, or by the hearing of faith ? 

" 3 Are ye so foolish ? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now 
made perfect by the flesh ? 

" 4 Have ye suffered so raany things in vain ? if it be yet in vain." 

Yer. 2. Ye are very fond of the doctrine of justification by 
works ; but pray you tell rae this one thing,f Ye have received the 
Spirit of God to dwell in you as the principle of saving grace and 
miraculous operations, according to the promise thereof in the pro- 
phets ; but whether did you receive this Spirit by the doctrine con- 
tinually buzzing in your ears the works of the law, or by the 
doctrine of faith in Christ which ye heard ? Your own consciences 
will tell you, it was the latter, not the forraer way ; and is it possi- 
ble that doctrine should be false by which God communicated to 
you his Spirit ? Yer. 3. Wonderful folly ! when ye first embraced 
Christianity, ye received the Spirit of God, which, as a seal of the 
truth of that doctrine ye heard, taught you to look for justificatioa 
by faith alone ; so that it must be indwelling corruption that sets 

* A sharjj reproof. f Argumeat 3. 



up for another way : and what more unworthy of a wise man, than 
to think the Spirit began the work, but corruption must give it the 
finishing stroke, and teach you a doctrine better, though contrary 
to that which the Spirit sealed ? Yer. 4. I know ye suffered many 
hard things for adhering to the gospel doctrine, especially by the 
Jews, whose rage was kindled to raise persecution against the Christ- 
ians, because they thought the gospel was destructive of the law ; 
and have ye even suffered all these things in vain, so as to lose the 
reward by your after disowning of the truth ye suffered for ? 
Shall I say ye have suffered in vain ? I would fain hope yet it 
will be otherwise, by your taking up again the same cause ye 
suffered for before. 

" 5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh 
miracles among you, doth he it by the works of the law, or by the 
hearing of faith ? 

" 6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him 
for righteousness," 

Yer. 5. Ye did receive the Spirit at first among you by means of 
the doctrine of evangelical righteousness ; I will ask you then an- 
other question. Some among you do receive the Spirit at this day, 
and there are yet miracles wrought among you ; now, rhat sort of 
teachers is it whose ministry God thus seals by conveying saving 
grace into the hearts of the hearers, and by miracles ? is it they 
who preach justification by works, or those that preach justification 
by faith ? Ye cannot but acknowledge it is the latter, not the former 
sort. Truly saving benefits are communicated to none any other 
way than they were before ;* they are received by faith still : ver. 
6. Even as Abraham received, who believed God in that promise, 
(ver. 8.), and that was reckoned for righteousness to him ; not faith 
in itself, which with other works is also excluded, but that righte- 
ousness of Christ which Abraham's faith did lay hold upon, was 
reckoned by the Lord for his righteousness. 

" 7 Know ye therefore, that they which are of faith, the same are 
the children of Abraham." 

Yer, 7. I would have you know, then, that seeing Abraham was 
justified by faith, those that seek justification by faith, they are the 
spiritual children of Abraham, heirs with him of the same spiritual 
inheritance, though they be Gentiles, and none of his natural seed. 

* Argument 4. 


" 8 Alul the scripture foreseeing that God would justify the hea- 
then through faith, preached before the gospel uuto Abraham, say- 
iug, lu thee shall all nations be blessed." 

Yer. 8. And this will plainly appear, if it be considered, that 
the Spirit of God who speaks in the Scriptures, saw long before it 
was accomplished, that God would justify the heathens by faith ; 
and therefore long ago he preached to Abraham the same gospel we 
now preach, which was holden forth in this promise, viz. That all 
nations, Jews and Gentiles, should be blessed in him, in so far as 
of him should come that blessed seed Jesus Christ, who should pur- 
chase all blessings to be bestowed on them, and not leave them to be 
procured to them by their own works. 

" 9 So then they which be of faith, are blessed with faithful Abra- 

Yer. 9. So then it follows, that they which seek justification by 
faith, are blessed with the same blessings as believing Abraham, 
and so are his children, and no other. 

" 10 For as many as are of the works of the law, are under the 
curse : for it is written. Cursed is every one that continueth not in 
all things which are written in the book of the law to do them." 

Yer. 10. For as many as adhere to the law, seeking to be thereby 
justified, they are under God's curse, and so have no share in Abni- 
ham's blessing.* That they are under the curse, the Scripture 
teaches, where it is written, That every one who gives not perfect 
and perpetual uninterrupted obedience to the law, is under the curse, 
being by the same law devoted to destruction. So we see that all 
men adhering to the law for justification, are cursed by the law. 

" 11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it 
is evident : for. The just shall live by faith." 

Yer. 11. But that no man is justified by the law before God, 
(however tlieir works may justify them before men), is evident from 
that of the prophet Habakkuk,f He that is just by faith, even he 
shall live a life of justification, sanctification, and comfort, and that 
for ever ; he shall never lose it. 

* Argument 5. f Argument 6. 


" 12 And the law is not of faith : but, The man that doth them 
shall live in them." 

Yer. 12. But the law does not hold forth justification or life 
by faith, but by works ; for thus speaks the law. The man that 
doth those things which the law commandeth him to do, he 
shall live by virtue of his works ; and this no man can do, and 
therefore no man can be justified by the law ; nor is law-righteous- 
ness the righteousness pointed at by the prophet as the righteous- 
ness which will give life. 

" 13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being 
made a curse for us : for it is written, Cursed is every one that 
hangeth on a tree : 

" 14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles 
tlirough Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the 
Spirit through faith." 

Yer. 13. Perhaps ye will say, that if the law be so rigorous, as we 
pretend,* that it will not justify a man but him that fulfils it every 
way perfectly, and curses others, we ourselves must be cursed too, 
or else the law's threatening is made void. I answer, That Christ 
has freed us from the curse of the law ; and that not by making it 
void, but by his bearing the curse that the law denounced against 
us. And that Christ did bear the curse, is evident from his cursed 
death which he died, being hanged on the tree of the cross ; which 
kind of death had, by the great lawgiver, a ceremonial curse an- 
nexed thereto ; and all the ceremonies having a respect to Christ, 
the curse fell on him in the greatest reality, which lay but typically 
on malefactors that were hanged on a tree. Yer. 14. And Christ 
bear the curse of the law, to the end that the same blessings which 
■were entailed on Abraham, the father of the faithful, by promise, 
might be given to the Gentiles through Christ, coming into the 
■world, dying, and by his death taking down the partition wall, and 
making Jew and Gentile all one, according to the promise, " In thee 
shall all nations be blessed." And further, he bear the curse, that 
we, both Jews and Gentiles, might receive the Spirit, (comp. ver. 2), 
which was promised to be poured out in gospel days in larger mea- 
sure than ever before ; that we might, I say, receive the Spirit 
through faith, not by the works of the law. 

" 15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men ; Though it be 

* Objection 1. 


but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulletb, or 
addeth tliercto." 

Yer. 15. Brethren, I will borrow a similitude from human affairs, 
to let you see that the giving* of the law by Moses did not bring in 
a new way of justification, difi'erent from that of the promise made 
to Abraham, or covenant of grace. Though a covenant be made 
only between man and man ; yet, if it be confirmed by oath of 
parties, or other usual ways of confirmation, neither of the parties 
can justly make that covenant void, nor add any clause thereto de- 
structive of the former. 

" 16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He 
saith not, and to seeds, as of many ; but as of one, And to thy seed, 
which is Christ." 

Ver. 16. Now the promises of the inheritance, &c. were made of 
God to Abraham and to his seed. God making these promises, saith 
not. And to Abraham's seeds, as if the promise had respect to seve- 
ral sorts of Abraham's seed, some to be justified one way, some au- 
other way; but as including all his children together in one, he saith, 
To thy seed, which is Christ mystical, believing Jews and Gentiles 
gathered together into one body, making up Abraham's one sead; to 
which the promises are made, as well as to Abraham himself. 

*' 17 And this I say, that the covenant that was confirmed before 
of God in Christ, the law which was four hundred and thirty years 
after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none 

" 18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of pro- 
mise : but God gave it to Abraham by promise." 

Yer. 17. This then I say, for application of that known maxim in 
human affairs to the business in hand. That seeing the covenant of 
grace, or those absolute promises, (ver. 16.), made to Abraham and 
to his one spiritual seed, were before the giving of the law confirmed 
and made sure by the oath of Godf to Christ mystical, that one 
seed ; the law of Moses, which was given four hundred and thirty 
years after the promises above said, cannot make void the covenant, 
so as to render the absolute promise of righteousness and life of 

* Objection 2. 
t (Gr.) eis Christon, to Christ, So the particle eis signifies, Matth. xxiv. 9. John 
viii. 26, 1 Pet. iii. ult. 


none effect and to no purpose ; it never being fulfilled, but a new 
way introduced, viz. by the law, which would undoubtedly make the 
promise useless : ver. 18. Because if the inheritance of glory, typi- 
fied by the inheritance of Canaan, be by the law, it is not by that 
absolute promise, for these are inconsistent. But sure it is, God 
gave* the inheritance to Abraham by virtue of that promise, and 
therefore it was not by the law. 

" 19 Wherefore then serveth the law ? It was added because of 
transgressions, till the seed should come, to whom the promise was 
made ; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. 

" 20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one ; but God is one." 

Ver. 19. Ye will say,t For what end was Moses' law given then, 
if it was not that we might get life by it ? I answer, That, purely 
with respect to the Israelites, to discover their transgressions to 
them, Moses' law was adjoined to the promise made to the one seed, 
not as a part of the covenant, but as a thing extrinsical to it, yet 
subservient thereto; which was only to remain adjoined to the 
covenant or promise till such time jis the one seed should come, 
Jews and Gentiles being gathered together into one body, and one 
spiritual seed by Christ ; to which one seed the promise was made, 
as I have before shewed. And that Moses' law was thus, and no 
other way added to the promise, appears from its being ordained 
and given by the ministry of angels, Moses serving as mediator 
betwixt God and the people in the giving of this law. Yer. 20. 
But so it is, that this mediator of the law, to wit, Moses, is not the 
mediator of the one seed, to which the promise]; was made ; and yet 
God is the covenanted God of the one seed, he being that one God 
of all, in whom both believing Jews and Gentiles have a common 
interest, as making up the one seed of Abraham, to which he pro- 
mised to be a God, saying, " I will be thy God, and the God of thy 
seed." Therefore it clearly follows, that Moses' law had respect to 
no other but the Israelites, and that only a temporary respect, even 
to them; and that God is the covenanted God of believing Jews 
and Gentiles, Moses' law being entirely laid aside, having already 
served out its time. 

" 21 Is the law then against the promises of God ? God forbid : 

* Or made over the right thereto by an absolute promise, not on condition of 

f Objection 3. That Moses' law, particularly the ceremonial, is abrogated. 
X Rom. iv. (). 


for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily 
righteousness should have been by the law. 

"22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the 
promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that 

Yer. 21. But ye will object, If God be the covenanted God of 
Abraham's one seed, but Moses not the mediator of that one seed, 
the law will be contrary to the j)romise, seeing the law promises 
life only to works, and yet God will be a God to people without 
any respect to works. I answer, That were a blasphemous asser- 
tion to say, the law is contrary to the promises, for that would 
make God inconsistent with himself: but the law was given for no 
such end as to give life to sinners ; for if that law had been given 
by Moses, as a law able to give life to sinners, truly then righteous- 
ness had been by the law. Yer. 22. But that written law of Moses 
is so far from giving righteousness, that, upon the contrary, it hath, 
by its rigorous commands, and ceremonial rites, concluded, as in a 
prison, our persons, thoughts, words, actions, in a word (ta panta, 
Gr.) our all, under sin. It has irrcfragably demonstrated all to be 
sinful, to the end that the righteousness and life promised in the 
absolute covenant, might be given to them that believe, they receiv- 
ing the same by faith. So that the law of Moses was notably sub- 
servient to the promise, and not contrary to it. 

" 23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up 
unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed." 

Yer. 23. But before the doctrine of faith in Jesus Christ was 
revealed clearly in the gospel, being severed from those things 
wherewith it was enveloped under the legal dispensation, we Jews 
were kept, as by a guard, under the laws of Moses, and shut up, as 
in a prison, by the commands and threatenings of the moral law, 
and by the rites of the ceremonial law, which still held guilt and 
death before our eyes ; that the revelation of the doctrine of faith, 
which was clearly to be proposed in the gospel, might be as wel- 
come to us, as the opening of prison doors to poor prisoners. 

"24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto 
Christ, that we might be justified by faith." 

Yer. 24. Whence it follows, that the law of Moses served the 
church in its iul'aut state, as a schoolmaster to teach us the 


need we had of Christ, and so to bring us to him, that we miglit be 
justified by faith in him. 

"25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a school- 

" 26 For ye are all the children of Grod by faith in Christ Jesus." 

Yer. 25. But now seeing the clear revelation of the doctrine of 
faith is made in the gospel, we are no more under that schoolmaster. 
Yer. 26. For all of you, whether Jews or Gentiles, believing in 
Christ, are now sons of God come to age, having the clear know- 
ledge of the mystery of Christ by the gospel, and so not standing in 
need of that legal pedagogue: ye hear and know that Christ was 
crucified, &c. so that ye need not sacrifices to hold forth the death 
of the Messias to you, &c. And ye are sons of God, and that 
sons come to age, by reason of your faith in Christ Jesus, who is 
already come ; your faith having the pre-eminency of the faith of the 
saints under the legal dispensation ; that whereas the object of their 
faith was Christ who was to come, the object of yours is Christ 
come already. 

" 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have 
put on Christ." 

Yer. 27. Ye need not doubt your sonship, because of the want of 
circumcision : for baptism has come into its room : and as many of 
you as have been baptized, (I speak of you according to the judg- 
ment of charity, none of you having been baptized by the ministers 
of Christ but such as made a credible profession of saving faith) ; 
as many of you, I say, as have been baptized in token of your 
ingrafting to Christ, are united to Christ the Son of God ; of which 
union your baptism is a seal. 

" 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor 
free, there is neither male nor female : for ye are all one in Christ 

Yer. 28. The one seed is now come, the partition wall is taken 
down ; though before it was otherwise, yet now it is no matter 
whether ye be Jews or Gentiles, bond or free, male or female. The 
believing Gentile, without any more ado, has as great privileges as 
the Jews. And though bond-servants and women were restrained 
from the enjoyment of some privileges under the Old Testament, 


•which free persons and men were admitted to (Lev. xxii. 10. Geu. 
xvii. 10), it is not so now; women are baptized, though they were 
not circumcised ; bond-men may eat of the gospel holy things, and 
freely partake as well as the free, though they were debarred from 
eating of the holy thing under the law: for why? ye are now all 
one body and one spiritual seed, made one in Christ, to whom all of 
you are joined by faith. 

"29 And if ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs 
according to the promise." 

Yer. 29. Now, seeing ye are Christ's, which interest of his in you 
is sealed by baptism, ye are the spiritual children of Abraham ; yea, 
all of you together are that one seed of his to which the promises 
Avere made, and so ye are heirs of the heavenly inheritance, accord- 
iug to the promise thereof made to you as Abraham's seed, without 
any respect to the law. 


" Now I say, that the heir as long as he is a child, dilfereth nothing 
from a servant, though he be lord of all ; 

" 2 But is under tutors and governors, until the time appointed of 
the father." 

Now, for the further clearing of the abrogation of the law, this I 
say, that the heir (in human affairs), as long as he is a child, differeth 
nothing from a servant, in respect of liberty, and actual possession 
of the inheritance, though in the meantime he is lord of all his 
father's inheritance, in respect of right and title thereto. Yer. 2. 
But he is still under the government of tutors and curators, until 
the time come that his father, in his will or testament, has set for 
his liberty, and entering to the actual possession of his inheritance. 

" 3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the 
elements of the world : 

" 4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his 
Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 

" 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might 
receive the adoption of sons." 

Yer. 3. Even so we, tiie church of God, while we were in our 


minority, under the Old Testament, though heirs, yet, as servants, 
were in bondage, and that under the grievous yoke of ceremonies and 
carnal rites, whereby we were rudely instructed, even by corporal 
things, as figures of spiritual things. Yer. 4. But when the time 
set by our heavenly Father was fully come, God sent forth his Son 
Christ, being without father as man, but made by the power of the 
Holy Ghost, of the substance of the Virgin Mary ; being also, though 
Lord of the law, yet, in our stead, made subject to the law, or 
covenant of works, its threatenings and commands; whereof the 
ceremonial law, to the Israelites, made up a considerable part. 
Yer. 5. And Christ was thus made under the law, that they that 
were under the law might be delivered from it ; that all that should 
believe might be freed from the commands of the law of works, as 
the condition of life, and from the threatenings of the law upon their 
disobedience ; and the Jews who were under the ceremonial law, 
might be delivered from that yoke of ceremonies, Christ the sub- 
stance of them being come : and that we, both Jews and Gentiles, 
believing in Christ, might receive a more clear manifestation of our 
sonship to God under the New Testament dispensation ; even as the 
heir, when he becomes major, and actually enters to the possession 
of his inheritance, appears no more in the condition of a servant, 
but a son. 

" 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his 
Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." 

Yer. 6. And because ye are now sons come to age, God has sent 
forth in a more plentiful measure his own Spirit into your hearts; 
whereby ye have a more ready access to God, and familiarity with 
him, whether ye be Jews or Gentiles, than believers under the Old 
Testament had ; there being as great a difference betwixt your and 
their access to and familiarity with God, as between that which the 
heir, being a child, has with his father, while he is under the rod, 
and that which he hath, being a man, come to years, 

" 7 "Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son ; and if a 
son, then an heir of God through Christ." 

Yer. 7. Wherefore, seeing ye have received this plentiful eflfusion 
of the spirit of adoption, ye are no moi*e as servants, as the child 
under age is ; but ye are sons, past your minority : and if sons, 
then heirs of God himself as your inheritance ; to which privilege 
you are advanced through Christ, to whom by faith ye are united. 


From all which it is evident that your cleaving to the ceremonial 
law is as unreasonable, as if you, being come to years, should 
return to the state you were in while in your non-age. 

" 8 Howbeit, then when ye knew not God, ye did service unto 
them which by nature are no gods." 

Ver. 8. Howbeit, then when ye knew not the true God, ye served 
idols, which are gods only in men's opinion, and not by their own 
nature ; and ye were neither born nor bred up* under the ceremonial 
law, but in pagan idolatry ; so far were ye from sonship to God, 
which ye are now advanced to. 

" 9 But now after that ye have known God, or rather are known 
of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, 
whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? 

" 10 Ye observe days, and mouths, and times, and years. 

" 11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in 

Yer. 9. But now seeing ye know the true God, or rather are 
known of God, the acquaintance being entirely due to God's free 
grace, what a return is this ye make to God for his kindness, to 
return againf to ceremonial observances, which are such as can 
neither justify you, nor afford true consolation, but in these respects 
are weak, yea, and beggarly, as a coffer from which the jewel is gone, 
Christ being now come, and therefore no more to be seen in them ; 
to which nevertheless ye will needs again be in bondage ? Yer. 10. 
I speak not of this your soul-retreat without ground ; for ye do ob- 
serve days after the Jewish manner, viz. their sabbaths and new 
moons, their months, as the first and seventh anniversary feasts, and 
sabbatical years. Yer, 11. Upon which account I am afraid my 
labour among you may be in vain : for what will it profit to return 
from paganism to Judaism ? 

" 12 Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am ; for I am as ye are : ye 
have not injured me at all." 

Yer. 12. Brethren, I beseech you, let me have room in your affec- 

* 4. He sets himself to work on their affections, 
t So Ruth is said to Return to Canaan, where nevertheless she never was before, 
Ruth i. 10. and 22. Or the apostle speaks of the collective body of the church of 
God. comprehending the church under the Old and New Testament in one, of which 
one church the Galatians were members. 


tions; for I assure you, that ye have a place in ray heart as my 
other self: and while I so sharply reprove you, I persuade you I am 
not resenting any personal injury, but the injury ye are doing to 
Christ and his truths. 

" 13 Ye know how, through infirmity of the flesh, I preached the 
gospel unto yon at the first. 

" 14 And my temptation which was in my flesh, ye despised not, 
nor rejected ; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ 

Yer. 13. Ye know how that, at the first when the gospel came to 
you, I preached it to you, being in a contemptible outward condition 
by reason of the afllictions I endured in the work. Yer. 14. And 
that trial of mine wherewith God was pleased to try me, in respect 
of my various bodily afllictions and persecutions, ye did not haughtily 
overlook and despise, nor did ye reject me and my ministry for 
them; but, upon the contrary, ye received me as a messenger of 
God, yea as Christ himself, looking upon me as his ambassador, as 
knowing Christ spoke to you by my mouth. 

"15 Where is then the blessedness you spake of? for I bear you 
record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your 
own eyes, and have given them to me. 

"16 Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the 
truth ?" 

Yer. 15. But where is that happiness ye thought ye had in my 
ministry ? where is it now ? I am sure the time was ye thought 
yourselves very happy in me ; for I can bear witness, that some 
time your respect to me was so great, that you would have parted 
with any thing ye had for my encouragement. Yer. 16. Ye looked 
on me then as your great friend ; but now will ye look upon me as 
your enemy, because I tell you that which is truth ? ye should 
herein be very injurious to me ; for my telling you the truth is an 
argument of my lasting affection towards you. 

" 17 They zealously affect you, but not well ; yea, they would ex- 
clude you, that you might affect them. 

" 18 But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good 
thing, and not only when I am present with you." 

Yer. 17. The legal teachers among you have a great deal of zeal 


for you indeed, but it is not of the right stamp ; yea, they would 
exclude you out of ray affections, that ye might be zealous for them 
and their doctrine. Yer. 18. But I would put you in mind, that as 
ye have been zealous for my doctrine before, so it is good to be con- 
stant in your zeal for such a good thing ; and it is not good, but 
very bad, to have been zealous for it only when I was personally 
present with you. 

" 19 My little children, of whom I travail in birth again, until 
Christ be formed in you, 

" 20 I desire to be present with you now, and to change ray voice, 
for I stand in doubt of you." 

Yer. 19. Galatians, whom I love as my little children, for 
whose conversion I laboured at first, as a woman laboureth to bring 
forth a child, and of whom I am as it were travailing in birth again, 
until the image of Christ, defaced by error in you, be restored to its 
former lustre. Yer. 20. I would fain be present with you, to speak 
with you face to face, and to accommodate my speech more closely to 
your present case; for being absent, I am in several doubts about 
your case, which might be cleared by converse with you. 

"21 Tell me, ye that desirato be under the law, do ye not hear 
the law ? 

" 22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons ; the one by a 
bond-maid, the other by a free-woman. 

" 23 But he who was of the bond-woman was born after the flesh : 
but he of the free-woman was by promise." 

Yer. 21. Ye that desire to be under Moses' law, tell me. Do ye 
not hear Moses' law ? This of itself might convince you of your 
error. Yer. 22. For it is written in the book of Genesis, that 
Abraham had two sons, Ishmael by Hagar a bond-maid, and Isaac 
by Sarah a free-woman.* Yer. 23. But there was a difference in 
their nativity : for Ishmael was born according to the course of na- 
ture of a young woman fit naturally for conception ; but Isaac was 
born by virtue of a special promise, Gen. xviii. 10, his mother being 
barren, and also past the age of child-bearing. 

" 24 Which things are an allegory ; for these are the two cove- 

* He illustrateth the vvLole former dispute by the typical history of Abraham's 


nants ; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, 
which is Agar. 

25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to 
Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children." 

Yer. 24. Which things are a typical history ; for these two 
women represent the two covenants, with the churches thereto 
adhering respectively ; the one from Mount Sinai, to wit, the cove- 
nant of works, which was given there, and where the Jewisli 
synagogue, under that covenant, had its beginning : this bringeth 
forth children indeed, but such children as are mere mercenary 
worshippers, and under the bondage of that covenant, its curses 
and commands ; and this is that represented by Agar the bond- 
woman, and that very conveniently. Yer. 25. (Gr. To gar Agar, 
Sina oros estin en te Arabia, &c.). For as to that allegorical Agar, 
the mountain Sinai is in Arabia, where lived Agar and her son ; 
and the same Sinai answers well to the earthly Jerusalem, the now 
Jewish synagogue, nothing being heard from either of them, but 
Do and Live: but Sinai still but serves with the legalists her child- 
ren, Sinai and her covenant, because it was never designed but to 
be subservient to the covenant of grace, as Hagar to Sarah ; her 
children, the legalists, following the state of the venter i. e. the 
womb from whence they came, are but in the state of bond-servants ; 
not in the state of sons and heirs, more than Ishmael had Isaac's 

" 26 But Jerusalem which is above, is free, which is the mother 
of us all. 

27 For it is written. Rejoice thou barren, that bearest not; break 
forth and cry, thou that travailest not : for the desolate hath many 
more children than she which hath an husband." 

Yer. 26. But the othir covenant, the covenant of grace, with 
the church adhering thereto, to wit, the church of believers in 
Christ, which is the heavenly Jerusalem, enjoying the reality of all 
the typical external privileges which the earthly Jerusalem had, 
which covenant and church is the mother of us all, Jews or Gen- 
tiles, that believe in Christ, even she is free : the covenant is served, 
but serves not as Sarah ; the church is mistress of the family, being 
Christ's spouse ; and her children sons and heirs, as Sarah and her 
Isaac. Yer. 27- I say, the Christian church is tliat free mother of us 
all ; for Isaiah in his 54th chap. ver. 1. with an eye to that typical 
history of Hagar and Sarah, in Abraham's family, after he had 


spoke of tlic sufferings of Christ, immediately addrcssseth himself 
to her, as she was in her very first days before the preaching of the 
gospel by the apostles, saying, Rejoice thou that, as Sarah, art yet 
barren, thy children making no figure in comparison of the syna- 
gogue, break forth over all thy discouragements, and cry for joy, 
though thou travailest not yet to bring forth children, as thou shalt 
do ere long by the preaching of the apostles, after the eft^nsion of 
the Holy Ghost on them : for though thou seem desolate as a widow, 
thy husband being yet in his state of humiliation, and so very little 
known, thou shalt have many more children, even such as shall 
join themselves to thee as members, than the Jewish synagogue, 
which only seems to have God for her husband. This shall be as 
sure to thee as if thou hadst all these children about thy hand 

" 28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of 

Ver. 28. Now, brethren, to apply the whole unto us, ye see, we 
who adhere to the covenant of grace are such children as Isaac, 
even children of promise ; born unto God by virtue of the absolute 
promise ; not by the strength of natui-e or by our own works. 

" 29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him 
that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. 

" 30 Nevertheless, what saith the scripture ? Cast out the bond- 
woman and her son : for the son of the bond-woman shall not be 
heir with the son of the free-woman." 

Ver. 29. But as then Ishmael persecuted Isaac, so now the legal- 
ists, children of the covenant of works, persecute the children of 
the covenant of grace. Yer. 30. Nevertheless, what saith the scrip- 
ture ? even. Cast out Hagar and Ishmael, for he shall not be heir 
with Isaac. The same sentence is passed against the Jewish syna- 
gogue, and all that adhere to the covenant of works ; they shall be 
rejected and cast out of the society of saints, for they shall never 
partake of the heavenly inheritance with those that believe in 

" 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bond-woman, 
but of the free." 

Ver. 31. Therefore, seeing we are children of promise, as Isaac, 
Vol. VI. s 


we are not under the legal covenant, but the covenant of grace, and 
so are free ; and therefore have nothing to do with the law. 


" Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made 
us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. 

" 2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ 
sliall profit you nothing. 

" 3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he 
is a debtor to do the whole law." 

From the whole of that I have said, I exhort you to stand fast in 
the liberty purchased to us by Christ, as stout soldiers keeping 
their ground where the captain has set them ; and let no man 
wreath that servile yoke of the legal covenant about your necks 
again. And to press you to this, ver. 2. Behold, (in opposition to 
all that the seducers among you say for it), I Paul, an apostle 
of Christ, say, that if the Gentiles shall be circumcised, looking on 
that rite as necessary to your justification, ye shall have no benefit 
by Christ. Ver. 3. For I, as Christ's messenger, do further testify 
to every man who is circumcised, laying any stress on it for his 
justification, that, by his very receiving of circumcision under that 
notion, he is obliged perfectly to obey the whole law, under pain of 
the curse ; which is inevitable to him, in regard no man is able so 
to obey it. He is, I say, thereby obliged to give such obedience ; 
in regard whatever evangelical use circumcision had to believers, 
yet it is to him the sacrament of the legal covenant, binding him 
to the observance of the same covenant, according to the tenor of it, 
which promises life to perfect obedience, and otherwise denonnceth 
the curse. 

" 4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are 
justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. 

" 5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness 
by faith. 

" 6 For in Jesus Christ, neither circumcision availeth anything, 
nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by love." 

Ver. 4. "Whoever of you seek to be justified by the law, can have 
no benefit by Christ ; for by your seeking justification by the law, 
ye renounce and fall from the free favour of God as the fountain of 


justification, ami so yc renounce Christ also, and therefore must 
stand and tall according to your own works. Yer. 5. Ye that do 
so, are certainly fallen from grace ; for we that stand cleaving to it, 
look for no good by our works, or by the law ; but through the 
Spirit of God working in us, we look for, and expect heaven, which 
is given only to the perfectly righteous ; we expect it, I say, by faith 
only.* Yer. 6. And this we do, because we know, that, in the 
kingdom of Christ, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision availeth 
ought to justification, and a right to glory, (whatever circumcision 
may avail for in the law's dominions, or whatever stress that way 
foolish Gentiles may lay upon their uncircumcision); nothing avails 
here for these ends but faith ; not that which is dead and idle, but 
that faith which is operative. So that ye need not fear want of 
work by casting off of the legal covenant : if ye have faith of the 
right stamp, even that which is justifying, it will put you to work 
good works ; and that not from a mercenary principle, fear of 
punishment, and hope of reward, as those that live under the 
influence of the legal covenant; but out of a principle of love 
becoming sons. 

" 7 Ye did run well, who did hinder you, that ye should not obey 
the truth ? 

" 8 This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. 
" 9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump." 

Yer. 7- Time was when you did forwardly embrace and cleave 
to my doctrine, so that you were making pleasant progress in 
religion ; who has now stopt you in your course ? whoever it was, 
it is unaccountable ye should be stopt in giving obedience to the 
truth. Yer. 8. However fully ye seem to yourselves to be per- 
suaded of your opinion, that persuasion is from another hand than 
his, who by my gospel called you out of paganism to Christ. It is 
not from God. Yer. 9. To tell you the mystery of it. As a little 
leaven leaveneth the whole lump, even so a few seducers, that have 
crept in among you, have corrupted, by their false doctrine, the 
whole churches of Galatia, which are as one lump. 

" 10 I have confidence in you through the Lord, that you will be 
none otherwise minded : but he that troubleth you shall bear his 
judgment, whosoever he be. 

Yer. 10. I have confidence concerning you, when I consider the 

* Ver. o. (Gr.j Hameis yar pnevmati ek pisteos elpida dikuiosunesupekdechonietha. 



constancy of God's grace, that some time you will think no other 
thing than I have just now told you of the rise of this persuasion, 
and that you will be of the same mind with me in that matter, and 
so will return to the truth ye have deserted ; but be who he will 
that troubles you, and loads you with that yoke of bondage, God 
shall lay a burden on him of another sort, even a burden of punish- 
ment here or hereafter, (bastasd to krima). 

" 11 And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet 
saffer persecution ? then is the offence of the cross ceased." 

Yer. 11. But as for me, brethren, it is strange that any should 
have the impudence to say, that I preach the necessity of circumci- 
sion, because forsooth I circumcised Timothy : for if I preach that 
doctrine, how come I to be persecuted of the Jews as an enemy to 
Moses' law ? yea surely, if I preached that doctrine, then the of- 
fence that the Jews take at the doctrine of the gospel, holding forth 
Christ's sufferings, embraced by faith, as the only way of salvation, 
is ceased; which I find daily the contrary of, by their restless ma- 
lice against me. 

" 12 I would they were even cut off which trouble you. 

" 13 For, brethren, ye have been called uuto liberty ; only use 
not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one an- 

" 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this ; Thou 
shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." 

Yer. 12. I would that they which so trouble you with the doctrine 
of cutting off the foreskin, were themselves cut off from the society 
of the church, with the circumcising knife of excommunication ; 
though indeed to do it actually at this time, while ye are in such a 
ferment, would not tend to edification. Yer. 13. I wish not this 
without good reason ; for, brethren, God has called you to liberty, 
but they have called you back again to bondage. God has indeed 
called you to liberty, only I would caution you against the abuse of 
Christian liberty : do not so make use of your liberty, as to make it 
a pander to your corruption, taking occasion of licentiousness from 
it ; but, on the contrary, (though now ye are all in confusion among 
yourselves), learn to advance one another's welfare, (as if each of 
you were servant to his neighbour), by mutual love.* Yer. 14. For 

' The love of our neighbour pie-siviposes love to God. 


this is the most compendious way of fulfilling the law, the law being 
fulfilled in one word, even in this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour 
with the same sincerity thou lovest thyself. This argument may 
well take with you that are so zealous for fulfilling the law. 

"15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be 
not consumed one of another." 

Ver. 15. But, on the other hand, if ye, like so many wild beasts, 
go on to bite one another by reproaches, and to devour one an- 
other by violence, take heed it end not in a total devastation of 
your society, by your own hands. 

" 16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil 
the lust of the flesh. 

" 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit 
against the flesh : and these are contrary the one to the other ; so 
that ye cannot do the things that ye would." 

Ver. 16. But, for remedy of these evils, I say. Walk ye, and 
frame your conversation according to the dictates of the Holy 
Spirit dwelling in you*; and so although your corrupt part will 
have its lust, its sinful motions, yet ye shall be thereby kept from 
consenting thereto, which perfects and fulfils that sinful motion. 
Ver. 17. For the corrupt nature lusteth against the Spirit, desiring 
those things which are grievous to the Spirit; and the Spirit 
against corrupt nature, in so far as he stirs up in the saints desires 
of those things that are grievous to the corrupt nature ; and those 
in the gracious soul lie against one another, as soldiers in a trench 
against a fort ; on design that ye may not (iname ha an thelete, 
tauta poiete) do whatever things ye would, whether as gracious or 
as corrupt : so that, if you take part with the Spirit, ye will get 
the upper hand, though the flesh will still lust in you, and so 
make a blot in the fairest line you write. f 

* Reasons why the word Spirit, occurring several times here, is understood of the 
person of the Spirit. 1. This is the only way he uses it in this epistle before. See 
chap. iii. 2, 3, 5. 2. Compare 2 Cor xii. 18. and vid. Beza in loc. 3. The 
Spirit we are led by, Gal. v. 18. is the Spirit of God, Rom. viii. 14. Compare vers. 
15, 16 ; the Spirit we are led by, is the Spirit we walk after, which is the Spirit 
opposed to the flesh, Rom. viii. 1. 4. These phrases seem to be of the same signi- 
iicatioa with those of the Old Testament, " walking with God, after God," &c. 

t For expounding of the Spirit's acting, ver. 17. so as is done, compare Rom. viii. 
26, 27. where the groanings, &c. of the Spirit are mentioned. 


" 18 But if ye be led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law." 

Ver, 18. But for your comfort in this case, I tell yon, that if ye 
be led by the Spirit of God, walking after, and setting yourselves 
to follow his dictates, ye are not under the law as a covenant of 
works; for the Spirit is given to none under that covenant, as I told 
you before, chap. iii. 2 ; and if so, then ye are not under, nor liable 
to the curse for your slips. 

"19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these ; 
Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 

" 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, 
strife, seditions, heresies, 

" 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like : 
of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, 
that they which do such things, shall not inherit the kingdom of 

Ver. 19. Now ye may know whether ye be led by the Spirit, or 
by the flesh, by your actions and course of life; for as to the flesh, 
though that corrupt principle lies very inwardly and is hid, yet the 
works of it are manifest, any body may discern them. These works 
are, adultery, fornication, all other sorts of filthy lusts of that kind 
wantonness ; ver. 20. Idolatry ; witchcraft ; feuds, (echthai), quar- 
rellings proceeding therefrom ; emulations, whereby men desire to 
outstrip others in what is commendable, just because they have no 
will to be overclouded by them ; wrath, or inordinate anger ; conten- 
tiousness ; sedition, or dissension, in which men separate from one 
another; errors opposite to some substantial truth in religion, 
pertinaciously maintained; ver. 21. Envyings at the good of others; 
murders, drunkenness ; revellings, or excess of belly cheer, joined 
with lascivious behaviour; and such like vices. Of which I now 
warn you aforehand, as I have before told you by word of mouth, 
when I was present with you, that those who impenitently persist in 
these things shall never inherit the kingdom of heaven. 

"22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suff'eriug, 
gentleness, goodness, faith, 

*' 23 Meekness, temperance : against such there is no law." 

Vers. 22. 23. But the savoury product of the Spirit in men, is 
love to God and our neighbour ; spiritual joy ;* peaceableuess, 

* Mark the gradaiioa in lliose four following. 


whereby we are disposed to do no wrong to any man ; long-suffering, 
whereby we patiently bear if they wrong us; gentleness, whereby 
we are affable and pleasant to them, and easy to be entreated* 
goodness, whereby we are ready to communicate any good we have 
to any man ; fidelity, meekness, and temperance, which bridles fleshly 
appetite and desires. No law strikes against such things, but they 
are commanded by the law. In order to your trial, ye have heard 
what are the works of the Spirit, and what are those of the flesh. 

" 24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with the 
affections and lusts." 

Ver. 24. But so it is, that all they that are Christ's by his Spirit 
dwelling in them, have served their corrupt nature, together with 
its uneasy passions and pleasant desires, as they served Christ; that 
is, they have crucified them, they have nailed them to Christ's cross, 
and given them death's wounds, so as though they be not utterly 
extinct as yet, they nevertheless are a-dying. 

" 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." 

Ver. 25. If then we pretend to have the Spirit in us as a prin- 
ciple of spiritual life, let us evidence it by our taking part with the 
Spirit against our corruptions, and framing our life according to his 

*' 26 Let us not be desirous of vain-glory, provoking one another, 
envying one another." 

Ver. 26. I fear ambition has been very hurtful to you ; so I 
would exhort you, in order to your returning to a sound mind, that 
ye would not be ambitious or desirous of applause among men, which 
is but vain and empty glory ; provoking one another by mutual 
disdain, as if others were nothing in comparison of you; and 
envying one another, desiring none to be esteemed but your- 


" Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a f^ult, ye which are 
spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness ; considering 
thyself, lest thou also be tempted." 


Brethren, if any of your fellow-church-members, who have some- 
times given evidence of their having the Spirit, be surprised into 
a fault, whether in principle or practice, by the flesh prevail- 
ing against the Spirit ; I exhort you who are strong, who stand by 
the Spirit's prevailing against the flesh, that ye would endeavour 
the recovery of such, as a surgeon sets right a disjointed member ; 
(for those, by their fall, are disjointed members of Christ's body) ; 
and that ye would do this in meekness, purging your admonitions 
and reproofs to them, of all fleshly passions ; and to press and help 
you to this, ye would, in the meantime ye are about that work, con- 
sider yourselves, how the root of all sin is in you ; lest, if ye forget 
to look to yourselves in these glasses of human fi*ailty, God be pro- 
voked to make you a glass to others, sufl'ering you for self-conceit 
to be tempted and succumb. 

" 2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." 

Yer. 2. Take a lift of one another's burdens, sympathizing with 
them under their miscarriages, as if they were your own, being 
affected with them; and thus answer the command of loving one an- 
other, which is Christ's law, recommended to us in a special man- 
ner by his precept and practice. This Christian sympathy will be 
an evangelical fulfilling of that excellent law. 

" 3 For if a man think himself to be something when he is no- 
thing, he deceiveth himself." 

Ver. 3. Those that have fallen, they doat on Moses' law ; ye that 
stand do say ye will hold by Christ's law : pray you then give 
this proof of your sincerity in these pretensions ; for if a man think 
himself something, and above others, while, in the meantime, in his 
practice he is no more than his neighbours, that man is [heauton 
phrenapata) a soul-deceiver of himself: so ye, if ye hold by Christ's 
law in your principles, but flinch from it in your practice, ye de- 
ceive yourselves, valuing yourselves upon principles contradicted by 
your practice. 

" 4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he 
have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 
" 5 For every man shall bear his own burden." 

Ver, 4. But let every man try his work and practice by the 
touchfcitouc of God's word; and then, if he find it will abide the 


touchstone, he shall have ground of rejoicing, and counting himself 
happy in his state ; he shall have it, 1 say, in himself thus appoven 
by God's word, so that he shall not need to fetch in that silly joy 
and rejoicing in his own state, from other men's falls, as some do 
who think themselves right enough, because they are not so bad 
as some others that they see. Ver. 5. Let every man try his work : 
for at the day of judgment every man shall give an account of his 
own actions to God ; and the best will find they have burden enough, 
when they come before a holy God, who will never pass a comfort- 
able sentence on any, just because they were not so bad as others. 

" 6 Let him that is taught in the word, communicate unto him 
that teacheth, in all good things." 

Ver. 6. Let the people who are taught, communicate to their 
ministers who teach them, in all temporal good things necessary for 
their comfortable maintenance. 

" 7 Be not deceived ; God is not mocked : for whatsoever a man 
soweth, that shall he also reap. 

" 8 For he that soweth to his flesh, shall of the flesh reap corrup- 
tion : but he that soweth to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life 

Yer. 7. Do not deceive yourselves : when ye have no will to be 
at the expense of maintaining your godly pastors, ye can find out 
many fair pretences for it to stop their mouths, whereby they are 
mocked ; but ye have to do with God, who will not be so mocked by 
you : for as a man shall reap the same grain that he soweth, so shall 
ye at the great day get a reward suitable to your actions in this life. 
Yer. 8. For he that liveth according to the flesh, shall get eternal 
destruction, as the product of his sinful actions ; but he that liveth 
according to the Spirit, shall get eternal life, as the product of these 
good works. 

" 9 And let us not be weary in well-doing ; for in due season we 
shall reap, if we faint not." 

Yer. 9. And being entered on a course of doing good works, let us 
not shrink back from it, as cowards in war : for though we do not 
reap the fruit of it presently, more than the husbandman does, yet 
■we shall reap the fruit of it, even eternal life, in the time destinate 
for reaping, viz. the harvest of the world, if we do not faint and 


give over, like a man sunk under a burden, liis spirits being wasted, 
and his members thereby being as it were all loosed. 

" 10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all 
men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith." 

Ver. 10. Therefore, as we have opportunity to do good, let us do 
good, spiritual and temporal, to all men ; but in a special manner to 
the godly, who are members of Christ's family, which is joined to- 
gether by the bond of faith. 

" 11 Te see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine 
own hand." 

Ver. 11. Te see how large a letter I have written to you with 
mine own hand, and thereby my affection to you ; for though I have 
written larger letters to others, yet they were written with other 
hands than mine own. 

" 12 As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they con- 
strain you to be circumcised ; only lest they should suffer persecu- 
tion for the cross of Clirist. 

" 13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the 
law ; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in 
your flesh. 

" 14 But Grod forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I 
unto the world. 

" 15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, 
nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. 

" 16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them^ 
and mercy, and upon the Israel of God." 

Ver. 12. As many as desire to make a fair outward shew of reli- 
gion in the body, while they neglect religion in their spirits, they, 
bv the doctrine of the necessity of circumcision, constrain you to be 
circumcised, only that they may ward off from themselves the blow 
of persecution by the Jews, who would be stirred up against them, if 
they should preach the sincere doctrine of Christ's sufferings. Ver. 
13. It is not out of true respect to the law that they urge it : for 
even they themselves that are circumcised do neither keep the moral 
law, nor the ceremonial law, where it crosseth their interest; but 
they desire to have you circumcised, that they may satisfy their am- 
bition, and may glory in making so many proselytes to their opinion, 


receiving circumcision in the flesh, which we have preached down. 
Ver. 14. But far be it from me to glory in any thing but the suffer- 
ings of Christ, by which I am so mortified, that I care no more for 
the world's good opinion, or any thing in it, than men use to care 
for or value a crucified person, who is pronounced to be cursed ; and, 
on the other hand, the world cares as little for me, even upon the 
very account of Christ's cross, which I preach, and put my whole 
confidence in. Yer. 15. I glory only in the cross of Christ; for I 
take it for an infallible rule. That in the kingdom of Christ, neither 
circumcision nor uncircumcision is ought worth ; but that the new 
creation, or regeneration, is the great business requisite to evidence 
our interest in Christ. Ver. 16. And as for those that turn the 
edge of their endeavours this way, living according to this rule, I, 
as an apostle of Christ, bless them from the Lord, (though false 
teachers should curse them) : Peace of all kinds be on them, and the 
mercy of God be their sure refuge ; and let these be on all the 
spiritual Israelites, true believers, which God will account his Israel, 
though they be not circumcised. 

" 17 From henceforth let no man trouble me ; for I bear in my 
body the marks of the Lord Jesus. 

" 18 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your 
spirit. Amen." 

Ver. 17- From henceforth let no man trouble me, quarrelling my 
call, or my doctrine, particularly alleging that I myself teach the 
necessity of circumcision : for in my body I bear such scars, received 
from persecutors, as are marks of my being a servant of Christ, even 
as servants bear their master's mark : and these received by me for 
preaching Christ sincerely, shew, that I have not pleased the Jews 
in preaching circumcision. Ver. 18. Brethren, all the saving bene- 
fits purchased by Christ be with your souls. Amen. 



A Sermon preached immediately before the celebration of the Lord's Supper, at 


Luke siv. 23. 

Compel them to come in. 

And are they not happy that are iu ? Is your rock as their rock, 
sinners, yourselves being judges ? And why will not ye come iu 
too ? Christ's house is not yet filled. Many have come in, but " yet 
there is room" for more, ver, 22. And we are sent to " compel 
you to come in." So we have it in charge in our text. 

The scope of this parable (which, upon the matter, is the same 
with that of the marriage-feast. Matt, xxii.) is to shew the rejection 
of the Jews for their rejecting of Christ, and the calling of the 
Gentiles into their room. The supper to which they are bidden 
here, is Jesus Christ, with all his saving benefits : he is the maker, 
and the matter of this supper also. In the morning of time, in the 
patriarchal ages, nen were invited to this feast; for even then 
there were not wanting preachers of righteousness, 2 Peter ii. 5. 
In the mid-day, under the law, they were invited to it, by prophets, 
priests, and Levites. And here in the evening, in the last times, the 
times of the gospel, they are called to it as a supper ; the dispensa- 
tion of the gospel being the last dispensation of grace to the world. 
The Jews were they that got the first off'er, but they would not 
come ; they made their excuses, as ye may read vers. 17, 18, 19, 

* This Sermon, originally intended to have been inserted in the author's book en- 
titled, " Human Nature in its Fourfold State," &c. at the close of the discourses oa 
" the state of grace, or begun recovery," to which it plainly refers, and prepared for 
the press with that view, is here inserted, as a very proper introduction to the many 
excellent discourses in this volume. 


20. of this chapter. The Gentiles get the next offer ; the servant is 
sent out to the streets and lanes : the ministers of Christ preach the 
gospel to the poor Gentiles, and they receive it. But all come not 
in at once : therefore the servant is sent out into " the highways 
and hedges," where the most miserable sort of people are to be 
found ; and even these must be compelled to come in. Possibly, 
this double sending forth of the servant, may point at the Lord's 
way in the dispensation of the gospel to the Gentile world : the 
gospel being first preached to those of them who had renounced the 
idolatry of their country, and worshiped the true God ; and some- 
times assembled with the Jews in their synagogues to learn of them 
the knowledge of God, though they did not embrace the ceremonial 
part of their religion : these might well be represented by the " poor, 
maimed, and blind," sitting in the streets and lanes of the city. 
But afterwards it was carried to the most dark corners of the earth, 
where there was no respect either to the Jewish or Christian relig- 
gion, but all were sunk together in most gross ignorance and idola- 
try ; which might fitly be represented by " the highways and hedges." 
See Acts x. ; and xiii. 42, 46, 49. 

In the text we have three things. (1.) The great design ministers 
should have before their eyes in preaching the gospel ; and that 
is, to bring sinners in to Christ. It must not be to draw them to a 
pcirty, but to draw thera to Christ. It is not to make them only 
change their ivoi'k, they continuing still luithout, by preaching mere 
morality to them; but it is toPmake them change their master too, 
to get them into Christ by faith. (2.) Consider whom they are to 
deal with in order to bring them in ; even those that are sitting in 
the highways and hedges, like beggars in rags and sores, the most 
unworthy and vile sinners. (3.) The method they must use to get 
them in ; " Compel them" to come in, not by using bodily violence to- 
wards them. Christ put the sword of the Spirit in the hands of his 
ministers, but not the temporal sword. Dragooning, torturing, 
murdering, may be fit means to bring in men to Antichrist, but not 
to bring them in to Christ. The compulsion in the text is a moral 
compulsion, such as those use who invite men to feasts, who are not 
wont to cudgel them in, but seriously and earnestly to deal with 
them until they consent. So should ministers compel sinners to 
come in to Christ, dealing with them seriously and affectionately, 
so as sinners may see they are in good earnest upon their Master's 
errand. "We must give them the charming invitations and oflfers of 
the gospel upon the one hand, and lay before them the " terror of 
the Lord," on the other hand, that if men will go to hell, they may 
go with a witness. Witlial, here is intimated that efficacy of tlie 


Spirit, which goes along with the word, to the conversion of the 
elect ; which does not force, but sweetly necessitates them to come in. 

DocTEiNB. It is the great work of ministers to compel sinners, in 
a gospel-way, to come in to Christ. 

The best way that I can handle this text, is to aim at that which 
is given in charge in it. And in order to this, consider with me the 
import of it. 

I. Sinners naturally are out. Were it not so, they needed not be 
compelled to come in. Hear all ye this day that are out of Christ, 
what ye are out of, and where ye are. 

First, Sinners, do ye know what ye are out of? (1.) All ye that 
are out of Christ, are out of God's family, £ph. ii. 18, 19, God's 
household is the household of faith, ye are none of it. His house 
may be an empty house for you. Adam ran out of the house, and 
all his posterity with him ; and ye are still there, where Adam left 
you. And is not that a sad case, to be out of God's family ? 
Though ye are in our mother's house, ye cannot call him Father, 
seeing ye are not in Christ his Son : ye can have no claim to the 
portion and inheritance of the children, Gal. iv. 30. (2.) Ye are 
out of God's covenant of peace, and so without hope of salvation, 
while in that slate, Eph. ii. 12. Ye read of a glorious chariot, 
Cant. iii. 9, 10. It is the covenant of grace, the covenant of peace, 
as it is held forth in the everlasting gospel ; for that is " the word 
of truth, meekness, aud righteousness," upon which Christ rides and 
prospereth. The first chariot, wherein Adam and his children 
should have been carried to heaven, was the covenant of works : 
Adam had the guiding of it; but it did not drive far till it was 
broken to pieces. Now, there is a new one made in which Christ 
is carrying all his people to glory ; but ye are out of it. King 
Solomon, the Mediator Christ, made it ; it could not be made with- 
out him. He made it for himself, to manifest his own glory, and 
the exceeding riches of his grace by it ; and " for the daughters of 
Jerusalem," to carry his bride home to his Father's house, in it. It 
was made of the durable " wood of Lebanon ;" for he will have it 
to be an everlasting covenant, that shall never be broken. It has 
" pillars of silver," those excellent promises that are peculiar to the 
covenant of grace, as the promises of pardon, perseverance, &c., for 
it is " established upon better promises." And because there is no 
small weight in this chariot when a sinner is in it, he hath made the 
" bottom thereof of gold," solid and strong, so that none that are in 
it (though heavier than mountains of brass) shall fall through 


it : for " the foundation of God standetli sure, having this seal, 
The Lord knoweth them that are his," 2 Tim. ii. 19 ; they are 
secured by God's eternal decree of election. No storms of wrath 
can fall upon them that are in it ; for it hath a covering of the 
purple blood of Jesus Christ. " The midst thereof, the inner part" 
of it, " is paved with love :" love lines the chariot ; it is above 
them, it is on every hand of them; yea it is underneath them, so 
that if they do fall in it, they shall not get such a grievous fall, but 
they will be able to rise again. Happy they that are in it ! But, 
alas ! sinners, ye are out of it. Ye are lying there where the first 
chariot laid you when it broke, (3.) Ye are out of God's favour, 
being out of Christ. Now, that is dreadful, for our God is a con- 
suming fire. And there is no shelter from the wrath of God, but 
under the covert of the blood of the Mediator, Eph. ii. 13. The de- 
stroying angel is coming through, and there is no blood sprinkled 
on your door-posts. God is in Christ, reconciling the world to him- 
self ; if ye do not come tn, and meet him there, what can ye expect 
but that he will meet you without, as a bear bereaved of her whelps, 
rend the caul of your heart, and devour you like a lion ? Hos. xiii. 8. 
"What do your duties avail, while ye are out of Christ ? can they 
procure you God's favour ? Your tears will never come into his 
bottle, nor will your prayers reach his ears, John xiv. 6. 

Secondly, Know ye, sinners, where ye are ? I will tell you where 
ye are. (1.) Ye are on the devil's pasture, the mountains of vanity, 
about the lions' dens, and the mountains of leopards, where Satan 
feeds his herd. Ye are out of God's house, wandering abroad for 
bread, begging at the world's door, saying, Where is it ? Ye know 
not Christ, the bread of life ; and therefore the duug of worldly 
profits and pleasures is so valuable in your eyes. But tell me, sinner, 
are you ever satisfied ? You would " fain fill your belly with the 
husks" of the world ; but do they fill you indeed ? is not the substance 
squeezed out of these things, so as ye find them but empty husks ? 
In all your traversing of the mountains of vanity, came ye ever to 
the place of which you could say, (and stand by it). This is my rest, 
and here I will stay ? no nor never shall, till ye come to Christ, Is. 
Iv. 2. (2.) Ye are in hell upon earth. To be in hell, is to be with- 
out. Rev. xxii. 15. and ye are not come in, ye are condemned already 
John iii. 18. bound in the prison, Is. Ixi. 1. What is the difl'erence 
betwixt you, and them that are in hell ? Ye are both prisoners ; only 
ye are in the outer prison, they are in the inner prison. Ye are both 
away from Christ ; only ye luill depart from him, they must depart 
from him. The fire of God's wrath is set on in the consciences of both ; 
only it is not as yet blown up and made to flame in you, by the breath 


of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone to kindle it, as it is in them ; 
but ye know not how soon it may be so. But there is yet another 
difference ; they are prisoners past hope, ye are prisoners of hope. 
Therefore we proceed to another point. 

II. It is the great errand of the friends of the Bridegroom to 
bring them in that are out. Sirs, ye that are out, ye are where ye 
should not be, ye are on forbidden ground. We would have you in ; 
we would have you come in to Christ, to unite with him, by believing 
in him, accepting of him in all his offices. 

First, We declare unto you, that our Lord is invested with the 
sole authority and commission to be the great Prophet, the Preacher 
and Teacher of the way to Immanuel's land. Acts iii. 22. 23. He 
has set up his school amongst us, but he hath few disciples ; and 
we are come to compel you to come in, that his house may be filled. 
Satan has many disciples ; carnal wisdom has many scholars. Alas 
for it ! leave them. Our Lord alone is he that is given of the 
Father to be the great Leader to the heavenly Canaan, Is. Iv. 4. 
None ever came, or shall come there, but his followers ; come in then, 
giving up yourselves to hira to be guided by him. Ye would all be 
happy, ye would all be at heaven at last : but ye are wandering in 
a wilderness, where there is no way ; and ye will surely lose your- 
selves, if ye take not him for your leader. The way to glory is a 
difficult way, and ye are not acquainted with it ; nay ye are blind 
travellers, ready every moment to fall over some precipice. ! will 
ye take a guide ? Ye are now standing (as it were) in a place where 
two ways meet, uncertain which of them to take. Your own wisdom, 
which is folly, points out a fair broad way, saying, " Whoso is 
simple, let him turn in hither," Prov. ix. 16. but turn not in thither, 
for "the dead are there, and her guests are in the depths of hell," 
ver. 18. The Wisdom of the Father, our Lord Christ, points out to 
you a narrow way, but it leadeth to life ; and he is this day saying 
to you, " Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither," ver. 4. Come 
in then, renounce your own wisdom, give up yourselves to hira, to be 
led and guided by him. " Hear, and your souls shall live." 

Secondly, Sinners, do not ye know that ye are guilty, and that ye 
can have no access to an unatoned God ? There was a breach made 
betwixt God and man by sin. Justice demands a sacrifice ; an atone- 
ment must be made. The sinner himself is unclean, he cannot be 
the priest ; and he is not able to provide a sacrifice, for the cattle on 
a thousand hills are not sufficient for a burnt-off"ering. Wherefore 
Jesus Christ became our Priest; his human nature was the sacrifice; 
his divine nature the altar that sanctified the gift ; the wrath of God 
was the fire that burned the sacrifice : the blood was carried in to 

Vol. VI. T 


the most holy place, when Christ ascended into heaven, and sat 
down at the Father's right hand, to intercede for sinners, upon the 
ground of his satisfaction. Now, here is the atonement ; and we 
would have you to fall in with this device of salvation by a crucified 
Christ, renouncing your own righteousness, that you may mount to 
heaven by the ladder of Christ's mediation. In the earthly paradise, 
God set up a ladder by which all mankind might get up to the hea- 
venly paradise. It was the covenant of works ; a ladder able to bear 
the weight of all the world at once ; but so contrived, that if but the 
least pin in it were loosed, all would break together. All mankind 
mounted it, even the first Adam, and all his children in his loins : 
but he having loosed one pin thereof, in a moment the ladder broke, 
and he and all his fell down into a gulph of misery, and an horrible 
pit, where they might see heaven afar off, but no way to get to it 
nioi'e. This dreadful break rejoiced the devils : it astonished the 
angels ; they saw that they could not mend it, nor make another, 
and they were wiser than to attempt it. The Son of God saw there 
was none amongst all the creatures to help, and therefore his own 
arm brought salvation. Another ladder is made, Jesus Christ God- 
man, the Mediator betwixt God and men, the way to the Father, 
Gen. xxviii. 12. The foot thereof is set on the earth, for he is 
man ; the ladder was set so low as sinners might reach it ; it was 
set very low, even in " the lower parts of the earth," (Eph. iv. 9), 
the region of death. The top of it reached to heaven, for he is 
God ; the ladder is so high, that it can set the sinner up to heaven. 
It can neither loose nor break with the utmost weight upon it ; for 
it is knit together with blood of infinite value, shed to the utmost 
of what justice demanded, Heb. ix. 14. Come, sinners, lay all your 
weight on it, and fear not. The first ladder could bear nothing but 
men's persons ; it could not bear one sinner with a burden of guilt 
on his back, but it would break under him : but this will bear yon, 
and your burden of guilt too, though it would be heavier than the 
sand of the sea. Ah ! there are but few upon this ladder, we would 
compel you to come on. Have ye a mind to lie still in the gulph ? 
have ye taken your last sight of heaven ? have ye bid an eternal 
farewell to glory ? or have ye not done it ? then why will ye not be 
compelled to come on ? come before the ladder be drawn up. I 
know what ye are thinking in effect, ye that will not be compelled 
to come on ; ye are thinking, like " a thief and a robber," to " climb 
up some other way." I know what ye are doing ; ye are doing one 
of two : ye are either mending the old ladder, and making the best 
ye can of the broken pieces, by your morality and legal walk ; 
or ye are making a new one of your own, a ladder of uncovenanted 


mercy, trusting to the mercy of God, without uniting with the 
Mediator. But set ye the feet of them as low as ye will, God's 
justice will never suffer the tops of them to reach heaven. Lay 
your weight on them then, if ye will do no otherwise; venture your 
souls on them, venture eternity on them, and climb up : but know 
assuredly, though ye should get up so high by them as ye could 
knock at heaven's door, and say, " Lord, Lord, open to us," there 
they shall fail you, there they shall break, and tumble you down 
into the lowest hell, John xiv. 6. 

Thirdly, Christ has got a kingdom from his Father, Psal. ii. 6, 7, 
8; but he has few real subjects. He has set up his standard here 
this day, and we are come to compel you to come in, and submit to 
him as your Lord and King. Ye are under strange lords, and 
have long refused allegiance to your true Lord. renounce all 
your idols now, and give yourselves away to him, to be from hence- 
forth his only, his wholly, his for ever. Come in now, and " kiss 
the Son," Psal. ii. 12. Bow the knee to him ; put the crown on his 
head. Cant. iii. 11. Open the everlasting doors of your hearts, that 
the King of glory may come in, Psal. xxiv. 7- If any poor soul be 
saying within itself, Alas ! the armies of hell within ray breast are 
not so easily dispossessed ; it is true indeed ; but yet I hope you 
are not so closely blocked up, but that intelligence may be got 
betwixt Christ and you ; ye hear his offer to be your King, will 
ye give your consent to it^ I will ask you but two questions to 
clear this matter. (1.) If you can do no more, yet will you give 
him your good-will of the kingdom ? Are you willing to part with 
your lusts, though you be not able to put them away ? Though you 
cannot shake the yoke of bondage off your own neck, will you give 
Christ your good-will, to take it off, and lay his own upon you ? 
As a King "he will subdue our iniquities," Micah vii. 19. (2.) 
Can your heart consent to the absoluteness of his government ? He 
must be an absolute monarch, his Avill in all things must be thy 
law. And why should he not be so? for he can do no wrong, Psal. 
xlv. 6, 7. Will you consent that he model the kingdom in thy 
heart as he will ? Shall he set up and cast down there as he 
pleaseth ? have you no secret reserves, no lust that is but " a little 
one," and must be spared ; no prince of the blood of hell, that he 
must "deal gently with for your sake?" If it be so, "Come in, 
thou blessed of the Lord, wherefore standest thou without?" Thy 
consent to him as he offereth himself, is thy coming in. 

III. Sinners may come in. Know then that ye have liberty from 
the Master of the house to come in. Were it not so, he would not 
send out his servants to compel you to come in. Nay, sirs, he 



could keep his doors bolted against you, if it were not his will ye 
should come in : and if ye would be so bold as to come and knock 
at the door, or offer violence to it, he could speak a word that 
would make you fall backward. Our Lord Jesus Christ gives fair 
liberty to all of you, even the worst of you, to come. Ye that are 
bearing the devil's mark in your foreheads ; ye openly profane 
persons, that sit as it were in the devil's highways ; ye that are 
bearing his mark in your right hand, which ye can hide when ye 
please, ye vilest hypocrites, who are hid about the devil's hedges ; 
ye are all welcome for Christ's part, he will not cast the door 
on your face. Surely there can be no less imported in his charge 
to compel you to come in. And therefore I would have you step 
forward. Consider, (1.) Is it nothing to you that ye have leave 
to come in? It was not so always. If before Christ was re- 
vealed, the sinner had offered to have come in, he would have 
met with the flaming sword of justice, that would have driven him 
back to his dungeon of misery and darkness. If Christ had not 
been ground betwixt the upper and nether millstones of the Father's 
wi'ath, he could not have been bread to sinners, though they had 
been hungering after him. (2.) The fallen angels have not leave to 
come in, and never had since they went out, Jude ver. 6, If it 
were possible they could believe in Christ, and be content to come 
in to him, they would get the door cast in their face ; for they never 
got leave to come in. The door was barred on them, and the bar 
was never drawn, nor ever will, Heb. ii. 16. And God was no more 
debtor to us than to them. (3.) Be your case what it will, this is 
sufficient to determine you to come iu. If ye remain without, ye are 
ruined, and all doors of hope are closed on you, except this. Acts 
iv. 12. The door is open, ye are not forbidden to come in, ye perish 
if ye come not in ; could we say no more, but it may be ye may get 
in, this might determine you to give it a fair trial, if ye would but 
act rationally. Lastly, This leave to come in will not last always 
with you. " When once the Master of the house is risen up, and 
hath shut the door," there will be no more leave to come in, Luke 
xiii. 25. They that are iu hell this day, cannot get in though they 
would never so gladly ; there is no passing of the gulph fixed 
betwixt Christ and them, Luke xvi. 26. The first Adam closed the 
door upon us, but there was a second Adam to open it ; if the second 
Adam close the door on us, there is not a third to open it, 2 Cor. 
iv. 3. " But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost." 
The apostle here has respect to what he had said of the vail on 
Moses' face, chap. iii. 13. the vail spread over the Old Testament, 
ver. 14; but the gospel removes this vail, vers. 16, 17, 18. "But," 


says he, " if our gospel also be vailed, it is vailed to them that are 
lost ;" there is not another dispensation of grace to be expected to take 
off that vail. It is God's last grace to the world, Heb. i. 1, 2. The 
Lord has been making a feast for the world these five thousand 
years, and now the last service is on the table. The last ship for 
Imraanuel's land is now making ready to sail ; therefore ye must 
put to sea, now or never, Heb. x. 26, 27. 

ly. Sinners are desired to come in. They not only have leave to 
come in, but they are desired by the Master of the house to come in. 
Arise then, ye worst of sinners, the " Master calleth you." Ye are 
called, not to a funeral, but a feast ; not to a prison, but to the 
guest-chamber, where he may entertain you with all the delicacies of 
heaven. If ye were not desired, why would he send his servants to 
compel you to come in ? and will ye refuse when ye are desired ? 
Consider, I pray you, (1.) It ill becomes you, vile worms, to refuse his 
call. I am sure he might be for ever happy in himself, though you 
and I both were where, in strict justice, we should be, in the bottom- 
less pit. He needs none of us. What are we that he should be 
pleased to trouble himself about us, whether we sink or swim ! The 
angels adore him, his Father honours him, and vile wretches, whom 
he desires to come in, have the face to refuse him whom the Father 
heareth always. (2.) There are many as good as you, whom he 
never desired to come in. He does not call you because he has none 
other to call, who might fill his house. He might remove this gospel 
from you, and send it into the dark places of the earth, and compel 
the pagans to come in. Should he do it, it is very likely his offers 
would be better entertained amongst them than amongst us. Some 
divide the world into thirty parts, and find that nineteen of these are 
possessed by pagans, six of them by Jews, Turks, and Saracens, and 
only five by Christians ; and of these five parts Christian, many are 
Antichristian, lying yet under the darkness of Popery. And has 
the Lord chosen us out from among so many, to give us the invita- 
tion to come in, and shall we refuse ? Lastly, How will ye look 
him in the face, when ye appear before his tribunal, if ye will not 
come in now at his desire ? How will ye look back on rejected love ? 
"What will ye do when he comes in wrath to you, that will not come 
to him now, upon his call ? 

Objection. But some will say, Is it possible that he calls me, 
even vile and wretched me ? Answek. We have general invitations 
clogged with no conditions, free ofi'ers made to all that will come, 
Is. Iv. 1. Rev. xxii. 17- And the Lord expressly shews, that no 
vileness nor unworthiness shall stop any that will come. Is. i. 18. 
Jer. iii. 1. and what would ye have more? We are sent this day, 


in our Master's name, to compel you all to come in, be yonr case 
■what it will. And if that would persuade yon, we should come to 
you, one by one, and tell you, that it is you, and you, and you, that 
Christ calls to come in. But if ye believe our doctrine from the 
word, concerning the misery of your natural state, without hearing 
your name and sirnarae in particular, why would ye require more 
in the doctrine concerning the remedy ? 

V. Sinners must come in. Compel them to come in. Sirs, ye 
not only may come, but ye must come, even the worst of you. 
Ye are not only desired to come in, but ye must not abide without. 

First, " This is his commandment, that ye believe," 1 John iii. 
23. Ye are peremptorily commanded to come in. God is peremp- 
tory with you, and so must we be peremptory with you too. There- 
fore I tell you, ye must come ; and I charge you in his name to 
come in, and not disobey his peremptory command. Lay your hands 
to your hearts then, and see what ye will do ; whether ye will still 
abide without, and obey the devil, and your doubts, fears, and 
jealousies of Christ, or come in upon God's command. Have ye 
any regard to the authority of God ? have ye any respect at all 
to his command ? then give a peremptory answer, within your own 
breasts, just now, whether ye will come in or not. Are ye peremp- 
tory, that ye will not come, like those sullen desperate sinners, 
Jer. ii. 25, " No, I have loved strangers, and after them will I go ?" 
then what shall we say or do for you ? Lord, compel them to come 
in ! Oh ! will ye harden yourselves against the Lord, will ye 
stretch out your hand against God, and strengthen yourselves 
against the Almighty ? For Christ's sake, for your soul's sake, 
recal that word. 

Secondly/, But if ye dare not be peremptory that ye will not come, 
then be peremptory ye will come ; for your coming is so com- 
manded, that it will admit of no excuse. Those that were first 
bidden to this supper, they would not come, but they sent their 
excuses : but were their excuses sustained ? no ; God would not 
take them oflF their hand, but passeth a peremptory sentence against 
them, ver. 24. " None of those men which were bidden, shall taste 
of my supper." We dare admit no excuses in this matter, bring 
them from whence ye will, whether from the heaven above you, the 
hell within you, or the world about you; whether from God's great- 
ness, your own vileness, or world's incumbrances. Whatever your 
case be, ye are commanded of God to come ; and his commands 
are not to be disputed, but obeyed. Wherefore, if ye will not be 
peremptory that ye will come, we must report to our Lord that ye 
will not come. 


Tfdrdlt/, This duty is so peremptorily commanded, that ye must 
come, and come presently; it admits of no delay. "To-day if ye 
will hear his voice, harden not your hearts." " Now is the accepted 
time." We dare not allow you a day, nay nor an hour, to think 
on it, whether ye will come or not; lest the next day, or the next 
hour, ye be cast into hell, or a hell be cast into you, for refusing the 
offer made to you this moment, which is gone before I can name it. 
Wherefore delay no longer ; but this moment open the everlasting 
doors, that the King of glory may come in. 

Fourthly, This is the duty God has commanded you : John vi. 29. 
" This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath 
sent." Ye can do the Lord no greater pleasure than to come in. 
Would ye exalt him this day ? then come on his call, Hos. xi. 7 : 
would ye put the crown on Christ's head ? would ye make it a " day 
of the gladness of his heart"? then come in. Cant. iii. 11. It is a 
great ease for full breasts to be sucked : the breasts of mercy and 
love are full ; come, starving sinner, do him the pleasure to suck 
the bi-easts of his consolations. This is the great comprehensive 
duty: If ye do this, ye do all; if ye do not this, ye do nothing. 
What mean ye to be nibbling at the works of God, neglecting this, 
which is the work. Ye are keeping your windows closed in the 
daylight, and setting up a caudle here and there, within your 
house ; yet there are terrible dai'k corners within the house still ; 
open your windows, I beseech you, and let in the sun, " the sun of 
righteousness," and that will be instead of all, and better than all. 
Would ye, all at once, be wise, righteous, and holy ? then come in 
to Christ, 1 Cor. 1. 30. Ye that can do nothing, come to Christ, 
and so ye shall do all, Philip, iv. 13. Would ye honour God ? 
would ye honour his law ? then come to Christ. But if ye come 
not to Christ, do what ye will, ye do nothing. Should ye henceforth 
keep all the ten commandments, but neglect this, all you do would 
get a black note of condemnation from heaven written on it. Re- 
member, I pray you, that " he that honoureth not the Son, honoureth 
not the Father," John v. 23. All your other duties are but 
cyphers without this ; and multiply them as ye will, the sum iu 
all will be but nought, if this duty do not stand upon their head. 

Lastly, It is a duty commanded, with certification of God's eter- 
nal displeasure and wrath against those that will not come : Mark 
xvi. 16. " He that believeth not shall be damned." Psal. ii. 12. 
" Kiss the Son lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way." And 
therefore I, as an ambassador for Christ, do, in his name, command 
and charge you, and every one of you, to come in, under the pain of 
God's displeasure, under the pain of vengeance, even the Mediator's 


vengeance ; certifying, that if ye will not come, our Lord Jesus 
Christ will come out of heaven against you, and ye shall be " slain 
before him," Luke xix. 27. To be slain, and die before Christ, who 
died to save sinners, is a thousand deaths in one ; it is a hell upon 
a hell. But those "that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus 
Christ shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the pre- 
sence of the Lord, even that Lord whose gospel they have not obeyed, 
2 Thess, i. 8, 9. Ah ! would he be pleased but to confine his presence 
to heaven, and only allow those that now despise and slight him the 
favour of being punished from the absence of the Lord ; ah ! would 
he but make their destruction come to them at some distance, would 
he dart the arrows of his wrath into them from afar : nay, but he 
will have a throne of justice in hell, that they may be punished 
" from the presence of the Lord," who while in the world fled from 
his presence on a throne of grace in the gospel, consider in time 
what ye do : no fire will burn so violently as that which breaks 
forth from the altar ; no flame of wrath will pierce into a damned 
soul, like that which is blown up by the breath of a slighted 

VI. and Lastly, Sinners shall come in. Compel them to come 
in. Leaving secret things to the Lord, I must tell you, sinners, 
Christ will not want as many as will fill his house. And struggle 
as long as ye will, in ye shall come. His house shall be filled. 
The Mediator has bought the furniture of his house too dear to want 
any of it, and to leave so much empty room in it. I hope there are 
some here that are the purchase of blood, which men and devils 
shall not get kept back from Christ. His Father has engaged by 
covenant, that his house shall be filled, Psal. xxii. 30. " They shall 
come." See Is. liii. 10, IL Nay, is not Christ's hand at the hearts 
of some just now ? Do not some of you find a moving of the iron 
gate of your hearts, towards an opening of it to Christ ? Have 
you not felt something within working to compel you to come in ? 
Are not some almost in already ? Thrust forward ; there is no 
safety till ye be not only almost, but altogether Christians. 

Come in to Christ then, ye old people, that are bowing down to 
meet the grave. Ye have delayed long, delay no more. Though it 
is very rare, yet it sometimes falls out, that a man is born when he 
is old, Joel ii. 28. Come in, ye of middle age. Are ye out of 
Christ in your best estate ? Surely then your best state is a bad 
state, a miserable state. Ye are busy providing for your families, 
but what are ye doing for your souls ? Ye are laying up for old 
age, which, it may be, you will never see : what are ye laying up 
for eternity? Come in, ye young people; ye are too old to be out 


of Christ. Do not think religion is only for the hoary head, the 
wrinkled brows, and hollow eyes ; there arc more with green heads 
than with gray hairs in the grave. Therefore come in, and delay 
not. The older ye grow putting off the work of religion, your 
hearts will grow the harder to work upon. Come in, ye profane 
wretches, that are far from righteousness : come, ye hypocritical 
professors, that are not far from the kingdom of God : come, ye 
trembling souls, that are hard at it, and yet dare not come in. 
why will ye not come in ? I think it must be either because ye 
will not, or because ye dare not. I fear there are some amongst us 
that will not come in ; they have no mind to quit their lusts, they 
must follow their old courses, cost what it will ; they see no beauty 
in Christ for which he is to be desired. I shall say little more to such. 
If ye be resolute for sin, hell, and death, and that no Christ, no 
heaven, no hell, shall keep you back from the broad way; who can 
stop you ? But be it known unto you, and be it recorded in the 
black book of your consciences, which shall be opened at the day of 
judgment, that salvation was in your offer this day, that we endea- 
voured to compel you to come into Christ, but ye would not; and 
that therefore your blood shall be on your own heads. 

As to you th.it dare not come in, why dare ye not, after all ye 
have heard? are ye afraid to come in on Christ's call? dare ye not 
embrace his invitation ? dare ye not obey the great command of 

Objection. But my sins are innumerable, and most heinous ; can 
there be any room for me ? dare such a vile and unworthy wretch 
as I come in ? Answee. If your sins were each of them as big as a 
mountain, were they as numerous as the sand of the sea ; yet the 
blood of Christ, being the blood of the Son of God, is able to purge 
thera away, 1 John i. 7- Lay over all your guilt and unworthiness 
on him who is altogether lovely : sooner shall the rocks sink under 
the weight of a bird lighting down upon them, than that blood shall 
fail you. Remember none are compelled to come in, none are 
called, but the vile and unworthy, Matth. ix. 13. Should your 
disease keep you from the physician ? dare ye not come to the foun- 
tain to wash, because ye are unclean ? for whom is the fountain 
opened, but for unclean sinners ? The gospel-supper, though a 
costly one indeed, was provided for none but those that were 
unworthy of a drop of water, and far more, unworthy of Christ's 
blood. Be assured, beloved, the question betwixt Christ and you is 
not, "Whether or not Christ will stoop so low as to wash such a foul 
soul in his own blood ? that is a question determined already. Is. i. 
18. Zech. xiii. 1. But the question that remains to be decided, is, 


"Whether or not, after Christ has stooped so low as to be willing to do 
that, the vile unworthy creature will give him the aftVont of stooping 
in vain ? What say ye to that question ? Ye have affronted the law 
of God; will ye affront the Son of God too, refusing his offer? If vile- 
ness and unworthiness could have kept sinners out from Christ, never 
one of Adam's sons had come in. Did not Christ find all the fair 
ones that are now in glory, lying in their blood ? are there any 
now walking in white, but those who were washed in the blood of 
the Lamb ? turn over the Bible, look into the history of ages that 
are past, see if ye can find any one that died at his door, who 
could not be admitted because he was so vile, wretched, and un- 

Objection. But there was never a case like mine. Answer. There 
have been very bad cases in Christ's hand, which he has cured ; and 
never did the cure of any case put in his hand misgive. What 
think ye of Mary Magdalene's case, out of whom he cast seven 
devils? Mark xvi. 9. Was not Paul's case, who was a blasphemer 
and a persecutor, and yet found mercy, a case that may be compared 
with your's? 1 Tim. i. 13. Sure I am, the workings of sovereign 
grace upon him were designed to encourage the worst of sinners to 
come in, ver. 16. Manasseh, though he had the benefit of a religious 
education by his godly father, was an horrid idolater, a consulter 
with the devil, 2 Chron. xxxiii. 6. a bloody murderer, 2 Kings xxi. 
16 ; yet he came in, and was received graciously, 2 Chron. xxxiii. 
12. 13. And what do ye think of the case of Adam, who at once 
murdered all his children, ruined the souls of all mankind, and sin- 
ned against greater light than ever ye could do ? But let us yield it 
to you this once, that never one's case was like yours ; and let us 
add to it, and never shall one be like it hereafter, it is so very bad : 
then I think ye have, as the penitent thief on the cross had, an occa- 
sion of glorifying our great Redeemer peculiar to yourself, wherein 
none of the vessels of glory have shared, or shall share with you. 
Come in then, thou whose case is a marrowless case, whose case has no 
parallel ; you have the advantage of an occasion to honour Christ 
with the cure of a case so desperate, that the like of it was never in 
his hands before. " Remember not the former things, neither consi- 
der the things of old," Is. xliii. 18 ; come in to Christ with your new 
case, " and, behold," says our Lord, " I will do a new thing," ver. 19. 
His blood has not yet gone so far as it can go. Grudge him not a 
new jewel in his crown of grace, that will shine brighter than any 
yet put into it. Come in then, and take the place appointed for the 
chief of sinners, deepest in the debt of free grace, if it be yet empty, 
I assure you, they that have come in already think it is not, but 


that they themselves have filled it up. If it be indeed as thou 
sayest, then they are mistaken ; come you in, and you shall get it. 

Objection. But, alas ! I cannot believe, I cannot come in to 
Christ. Answer. To clear your way in this matter ; see that ye set 
yourselves to come in to Christ in a promise. Christ is held forth 
to sinners in the promises of the gospel. Is. Iv. 1. John vi. 37. Rev. 
iii. 20. and chap. xxii. 17. If ye would come to his seat, come to 
the promises, he is in the still small voice ; ye will find the babe 
wrapped up in these swaddling-clothes. They that overlook the 
promise, and try to believe and come in to Christ, go the wrong way 
to work : that is like a woman's consenting to marry a man, of 
whose consent to take her she has no declaration. But the gospel- 
promise is the contract sent down from heaven, signed already with 
the Bridegroom's hand ; do ye take and read it over, sign it, by 
your hearts consenting thereto; and then Christ is yours, and ye 
are his. But close with Christ in the promise as a free promise, as 
indeed it is. Is. Iv. 1. Rev. xxii. 17- Many bar the doors of the 
gospel-promise with bars of their own making, and then they 
cry out ;)nd complain that they cannot enter in by them. ! say 
some, if I had so much love, repentance, and brokenness of heart, 
then I could believe. But I advise you to believe, that ye may get 
these things, Zech. xii. 10; Acts v. 31. Now, though the promise be 
written in the Bible only, it is as surely Christ's consent to be yours 
as if ye had a voice from heaven for it, yea and more surely. But 
you will say, I dare not meddle with the promise. Answer. Then 
meddle not with Christ, but perish ; for there is no meddling with 
him, but in the gospel-promise. But why is a drowning man so 
fearful, that he dare not catch hold of a cord, even a silver cord, 
thrown in to hale him to land? Nay, beloved, be not so foolish: 
though the promise be, in your eyes, like Moses' rod, turned into 
a serpent; yet take it by the tail, and it will become a rod in your 
hand. Hos. xi. 10. " The children shall tremble from the west ;" 
as the Israelites trembled after Saul, that is, followed him trem- 
bling, 1 Sam. xiii. 7. So then Christ's bride may sign the contract 
with a trembling hand, love her Lord with a trembling heart and 
follow him with trembling legs. And that all of you would say, 
though it were with a trembling voice, " Behold, we come unto 
thee ; for thou art the Lord our Grod." If so, ye would not be in 
vain compelled to come in. 



A Sermon preached immediately before the celebration of the Lord's Supper, at 
Ettrick, June 7, 1724. 

1 Jolin iv. 14. 

And we have seen, and do testify, that the Father sent the Son to be 
the Saviour of the world. 

John, the beloved disciple, in his epistles, is still breathing love ; 
love is the string he delights peculiarly to harp upon : so he is 
either magnifying God's love to us, or pressing our love to God and 
to one another. And his darling subject, love, is no narrow one, 
but most comprehensive : it comprehends both the gospel and the 
law, both faith and works. The love of God to man, is the great 
doctrine of the gospel, the object of faith ; men's love to God and to 
one another, is the great doctrine of the law of the ten command- 
ments, and the object of holy practice. And there is a near relation 
between the two : God's love is the fountain, our love the stream ; 
the former the original holy fire, the latter the flame kindled by it. 
Accordingly, in the text, there is a display of the love of God, for 
moving us to love one another ; the which display of divine love is 
the substance of the gospel. 

Here then we have the gospel, which all the apostles were in one 
voice to preach unto the world : " We have seen and do testify, that 
the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world." And 
therein we may consider, 

1. The gospel or glad tidings itself, viz. that the Father sent 
the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Here is glad news to the 
world, Christ's mission. The promise of this mission was made to 
fallen Adam in paradise : believers under the Old Testament lived 
and died in the faith of it. But the apostles testified it as a thing 
performed ; the Father sent, or hath sent the Son. The party sent 
is the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ ; no other was fit for this 
mission. The party sending, from whom he had his commission, 
was the Father, the first person of the glorious Trinity. None of a 
lower dignity could send one of his dignity. The character in which 
he was sent, is, " the Son Saviour of the world." So the words are 
without any supplement ; of which there is no need here. So Christ 
is said to have come a teacher from God, John iii. 2, i. e. in the cha- 
racter of a divine teacher. As one is sent ambassador to such a 


court, tliat is, constituted by his prince ambassador to that court, 
and accordingly sent away in that character ; so Christ was consti- 
tuted, nominated, and appointed by his Father, " Saviour of the 
world," and so sent away into the world in that character. The 
world is the world of mankind indefinitely, ruined by Adam's sin, 
John iii. 16, " God so loved the world, that he gave his only be- 
gotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but 
have everlasting life." Therein Grod's love toward man appeared, 
Tit. iii. 4. 

2. The certainty of this gospel or glad tidings. All the apostles wit- 
nessed with one mouth this great truth : and they witnessed the same 
as eye-witnesses, having seen the Saviour, and conversed with him, and 
read his commission for that efi'ect, and beheld heaven's seal again and 
again set to it in his miracles. And this matter of their witnessing 
from their eye-sight, was so much stood upon, that the apostle Paul, 
who was not called to be an apostle till after Christ's ascension, was 
allowed first to see with his eyes, before he should bear witness, Acts 
xxvi. 16, " I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee 
a minister and a witness both of those things which thou hast seen, 
and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee." 

Doctrine. It is the great truth and testimony of the gospel, that 
the Father hath sent his Son Jesus Christ in the character of Savi- 
our of the world. 

In prosecuting this doctrine, I shall, 

I. Take notice of some things imported in this testimony. 

II. Open this character, " Saviour of the world," in which Christ 
was sent. 

III. Apply. 

I. I shall take notice of some things imported in this testimony. 

1. The world needed a Saviour; otherwise one had not been pro- 
vided for them by him who does nothing in vain. It was a sick 
world, cast into a desperate illness by eating of the forbidden fruit ; 
and needed a physician to cure the distemper, Matth. ix. 12, " Jesus 
said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they 
that are sick." It was a cursed world, staked down under wrath 
by the sentence of the broken law ; and needed a Saviour to remove 
the curse, and bring in the blessing. Acts iii. 26, " God having 
raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you," &c. It was a lost 
world, lost to God, lost to themselves, lost to all good, lost and 
perishing under the wrath of God ; and it needed one to seek and 


save them, Luke xix. 10, " For the Son of man is come to seek and 
to save that which was lost." 

2. None of inferior dignity to the Son of God could be the Savi- 
our of the world. No man, nor angel, was able to sustain the cha- 
racter of Saviour of a lost world : the work which lay to that 
office was above the reach of the whole creation, Rev. v. 3, " And 
no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to 
open the book, neither to look thereon." Here was a trial of the 
divine love to man ; his case was hopeless and helpless from all the 
creatures : and it issued in that, " God so loved the world, that he 
gave his only begotten Son," John iii. 16. 

3. Christ was sent Saviour of the world from heaven's proper 
motion. The plot to save man, was concerted entirely without him. 
The world did not meet, and send one to the court of heaven, with 
a petition for a Saviour, that a Saviour was granted to their earnest 
entreaties and supplications : but the Father, of preventing free 
love, sent his Son Saviour of the world. The world's need spoke 
loud, but they themselves were quite silent ; and yet their needs 
spoke no louder than those of the fallen angels : and sovereign free 
grace heard the voice of man's need, while it stopt its ears to the 
voice of the needs of fallen angels, Tit. iii. 4, " But the kindness and 
love of God our Saviour toward man appeared." 

4. Christ is fully furnished for the saving of a lost world. His 
being sent in that character, speaks his ability to answer it, Heb. vii. 
25, •' Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost, that 
come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for 
them." There is no case to be found in the world, but what there 
is a remedy to be found in Christ for. Whosoever in the world 
shall die, they shall not die because there was no help for their case 
in the Saviour, but because they did not employ him, or put their 
case in his hand. The Saviour of the world is certainly able to 
save the world ; since he was sent of God in that character. 

5. Lastly, The salvation of lost sinners of the world of mankind is 
very acceptable to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus, as well 
as to himself, otherwise he had not sent his Son Saviour of the world, 
1 Tim. ii. 3, 4. " For this is good and acceptable in the sight of 
God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved." Hence it is 
called "the pleasure of the Lord," Is. liii. 10. "The pleasure of 
the Lord shall prosper in his hand." So he is said to make the 
marriage for his Son, and to send forth to bid to that marriage, 
Matth. xxii. Whence it is evident, that there is no impediment to 
the salvation of sinners by Jesus Christ, on Heaven's part ; it is 
pleasing to the Father, tojiis Son, and to his Spirit. 


II. I sluill open this character, Saviour of the world, in which 
Clirist was sent ; and for that end inquire into two things. 1. In 
what sense Christ is Saviour of the world. 2. What is the business 
committed to him as such. 

Fii-st, In what sense Christ is Saviour of the world. A saviour 
is a name of honour, and a name of business. It is an honourable 
thing to save and help the miserable ; to be destined, appointed, and 
called to that employment : but the honourable post has business 
annexed to it ; it will not do without activity, which success is ex- 
pected to attend, as in the case of a teacher, physician, and the like. 
Now, one may be a saviour, even as a teacher or physician, of a so- 
ciety, two ways. (1.) In respect of office, as being called to and in- 
vested with the office of saving, teaching, or curing that society. 
And thus one is saviour, teacher, or physician of that society, before 
ever he save, teach, or cure any of them. In this respect one may 
be called an official saviour, teacher, or physician. (2.) In respect 
of the event and success, as actually and eventually saving, teaching, 
and healing. As the former ariseth from an appointment put upon 
such a one ; this ariseth from the work he mauageth in virtue of 
that appointment. In this respect one may be called an actual and 
eventual saviour. Thus it is said, Neh. ix. 27. "And, according to 
thy manifold mercies, thou gavest them saviours, who saved them 
out of the hands of their enemies. This premised, we say, 

1. Our Lord Jesus is the actual and eventual Saviour of the elect 
only, in whose room and stead only he died upon the cross, accord- 
ing to the eternal compact passed between him and the Father, in 
the covenant of grace, otherwise called the covenant of redemption ; 
for these are not two, but one and the same covenant. Thus the 
apostle calls him " the Saviour of the body," Eph. v. 23. that is, of 
the elect, who make up the body whereof he was appointed the head 
from eternity, and in whose name he contracted with the Father in 
the eternal covenant. And he is their Saviour eventually, as 
actually saving them, Matth. i. 21. "And she shall bring forth a 
son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus ; for he shall save his people 
from their sins." None but these will ever truly employ him as a 
Saviour, or put their case in his hand : and there are none of them 
but will certainly employ him sooner or later. Acts xiii. 48. " As 
many as were ordained to eternal life, believed." John vi. 37. "All 
that the Father giveth me, shall come to me ; and him that cometh 
to me, I will in no wise cast out." 

2. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the official Saviour, not of the elect 
only, but of the world of mankind indefinitely ; so our text calls 
him " Saviour of the world." Agreeably to which, God in Christ is 


called " the Saviour of all men," but with a speciality, " the Saviour 
of them that believe," 1 Tira. iv. 10. The matter lies here : like as 
a prince, out of regard to his subjects' welfare, gives a commission to 
a qualified person to be physician to such a society, a regiment, 
or the like ; and the prince's commission constitutes him phy- 
sician of that society; so that though many of them should never 
employ him, but call other physicians, yet still there is a relation 
betwixt him and them ; he is their physician by office ; any of them 
all may come to him if they will, and be healed : So God, looking on 
the ruined world of mankind, has constituted and appointed Jesus 
Christ his Son Saviour of the world : he has Heaven's patent for this 
office ; and wheresoever the gospel comes, this his patent is inti- 
mated. Hereby a relation is constituted betwixt him and the world 
of mankind ; he is their Saviour, and they the objects of his adminis- 
tration : so that any of them all may come to him, without money 
or price, and be saved by him as their own Saviour^ppointed thera 
by the Father. 

That Christ is thus the Saviour of the world, appears, if ye 

\st, Scripture testimony, which is plain. Our text expressly calls 
him so : and so do the believing Samaritans profess their faith in 
him, John iv. 42. " "We have heard him ourselves, and know that 
this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world." You have the 
appointment of Heaven very plain thereanent, John iii. 16. " God 
so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoso- 
ever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life ;" 
even as the brazen serpent lifted up on the pole in the wilderness 
was the ordinance of God for healing to the stung persons of the 
whole camp of Israel. Hence Christ's salvation is called the com- 
mon salvation, Jude ver. 3 ; a salvation which any of mankind 
sinners may lay hold on. So the Saviour's birth is said to be " glad 
tidings for all people," Luke ii. 10, 11 ; which it could not have 
been, if he had not been a Saviour for all people. Wherefore he 
himself testifies, that he came to save the world, John iii. 17. " God 
sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world ; but that the 
world through him might be saved." Chap. xii. 47. " I came not 
to judge the world, but to save the world." This was his office ; to 
save sinners indefinitely; not this or that sort of sinners, but 
sinners of mankind indefinitely, without exception, 1 Tim. i. 15. 
" This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that 
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners ;" the lost, Luke 
xix. 10. " The Son of man is come to seek and to save t!:at which 
was lost ;" 2 Cor. v. 19. " God was in Christ, reconciling the world 


unto himself, not imputing tlieir trespasses unto them." To the same 
purpose he declares himself "the light of the world," namely, by- 
office, John viii. 12. that whosoever will employ him may have the 
light of life. 

2dli/, If it were not so, he could not warrantably be offered with 
his salvation to the world indefinitely, but to the elect only ; more 
than he can be offered lawfully to fallen angels, who are not within 
his commission as a Saviour. For the ministerial offer can never 
lawfully carry the matter beyond the bounds of Christ's commission 
from his Father. But Christ and his salvation may be warrantably 
offered to the whole world of mankind-sinners, with assurance that 
whoever of them will employ him to save them, he shall be saved : 
Mark svi. 15, 16. " Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel 
to every creature." " He that belie veth, shall be saved ; but he that 
believeth not, shall be damned." Moreover, if it were not so, the 
unbelief of hearers of the gospel, not elected, their not coming to 
Christ for salvation, could not be their sin : for it can never be one's 
sin not to do a thing he has no warrant for ; not to employ one 
to save him, whom God never appointed to be his Saviour. So it 
is not the sin of fallen angels, that they believe not in Christ for 
salvation, because they are not within the Saviour's commission ; nor 
of those who never heard of Christ, because his commission was 
never intimated to them. But not believing in Christ the Saviour, 
is the sin that ruins the hearers of the gospel who do at all perish, 
John iii. 19. " And this is the condemnation, that light is come into 
the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their 
deeds were evil." Finally, if it were not so, the elect themselves 
could never believe in Christ, till in the first place their election 
were revealed to them ; which is contrary to the stated method of 
grace : for they can never believe on Christ for their salvation, till 
they see him to be a Saviour for them. 

There are two things further to be remarked on this head. 

1. The ground upon which Christ might be constituted Saviour of 
the world by office. And that was the sufficiency of the merit of 
his death and sufferings: for though Christ died only in the room 
and stead of his elect, ou the cross sustaining their persons only, 
according to that John x. 15. " I lay down my life for the sheep;" 
yet the price paid for them being of infinite worth, was sufficient in 
itself to save the whole world. The bread provided for them, viz. 
a crucified Christ, was sufficient to give life to and feed, not them 
only, but the whole world of mankind : and therefore he m'ght be 
appointed Savionr of the world, John vi. 33, 51. " The bread of 
God is he which cometh down from heaven, and givetli life unto the 

YoL. VI. u 


world. I am tlie living bread, which came down from heaven: if 
any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever : and the bread 
that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the 

2. The reason why he actually was constituted Saviour of the 
world. Among several reasons that might be given for this, I 
shall only observe here this one, namely, that it was put upon 
him as a piece of honour, the reward of his great service, ia 
laying down his life for and instead of those who were the objects 
of his Father's electing love, Is. xlix. 6, 8. " And he said. It 
is a light thing that thou shouldst be my servant, to raise up 
the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel : I will 
also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my 
salvation unto the end of the earth. Thus saith the Lord, In an 
acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have 
I helped thee : and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a cove- 
nant of the people." The Father for that cause invested him with 
" all power in heaven and earth," Matt, xxviii. 18. John v. 21, 22. 
" As the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them ; even 
so the Son quickeneth whom he will. For the Father judgeth no 
man ; but hath committed all judgment unto the Son." And it 
was a reward suitable to his work. 

Secondly, What is the business committed to him as Saviour of 
the world. Not to descend into particulars here, we may take it up 
in these two. 

1. It is to save sinners from their sin. Matt. i. 21. " Thou shalt 
call his name Jesus ; for he shall save his people from their sins." 
Satan ruined the world by bringing sin upon them : thereby they 
were bound with the cords of guilt, the image of God in them was 
defaced, they were polluted and made loathsome, and shut up in 
the hands of a strange lord. God has appointed Christ Saviour of 
the world, that sinners may come to him, and be delivered from 
their sins, 1 John iii. 8. " He that committeth sin, is of the devil : 
for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son 
of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the 
devil." It was an inveterate disease, the cure of which was quite 
beyond the reach of any mere creature, as far as the raising of 
the dead is : so he was appointed Saviour in the case, Psal. Ixxxix. 
19. " I have laid help upon one that is mighty ; I have exalted one 
chosen out of the people." 

2. It is to save sinners from misery, to free them from destruc- 
tion, Hos. xiii. 9. " Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me 
iii thine help " Tliey are by sin made objects of wrath, laid under 


the curse of the broken law, liable to revenging wrath for time and 
for eternity : he is appointed to save them from all this, upon their 
coming to him, and employing him for that purpose, Is. xxxii, 2. 
" And a man shall be as an hiding-place from the wind, and a 
covert from the tempest ; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the 
shadow of a great rock in a weary laud." Sin let in a deluge of 
miseries on the world, which flow about the sinner continually in 
greater or lesser measure : he is a Saviour to dry it up to them, 
1 Cor. i. 30. " But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God 
is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and 

Use I. Of information. 

1. Echold here, admire, and believe the great love of God to a 
lost world, in providing a Saviour, and such a Saviour, for them, 
even his own Son. The Scripture speaks of this in a very high 
strain, John iii. 16. " God so loved the world, that he gave his 
ouly begotten Son," &c. There was a man-love in God, Tit. iii. 4. 
" But the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man 
appeared ;" a love of the kind, mankind. It has appeared in two 
eminent instances. (1.) In securing, by an irreversable decree, the 
salvation of some of them. (2.) In providing a Saviour for the 
whole of the kind, constituting his own Son Saviour to the lost 
family of Adam indefinitely. Believe it with application to your- 
selves. If upon this a secret murmur begins to go through your 
heart. But it was not for me ; crush it in the bud, for it is a bud of 
hell. If you are not one of the devil-kind, but of sinful mankind, 
it was for you. The Father gave Christ a Saviour for you, that if 
you would believe on him, you should not perish : he sent his Son 
from heaven with full instructions and ample powers to save you, 
if you will believe. And is not this love ? Believe it, and it will be 
the way to let you in to a sight of more love. 

2. Behold here a broad and firm foundation of faith for all and 
every one of you ; that you may come to Christ, whatever your 
case is, and claim his righteousness and his whole salvation for 
yourselves ; that you may betake yourselves to him as the refuge 
appointed for you by the Father, from sin and wrath, with as much 
freedom as a stung Israelite might have looked to the brazen 
serpent ; that you may wholly trust on him, that he will save you 
from sin and wrath. For he was sent of the Father Saviour of the 
world ; and if by the F.ither's appointment he is Saviour of the 
world, he is by office your Saviour, and my Saviour, since we are 
members of that world of mankind : so that we may by faith claim 
his saving us from sin and wrath ; as a scholar bred in a place 

u 2 


may claim teaching of him who is appointed master of a free school 
in that place ; as those of a congregation may claim preaching of 
their own minister ; and as the wounded in battle may claim healing 
of their own physician, who has a commission to be physician to 
their regiment. " For we testify, that the Father sent the Son 
Saviour of the world." 

3. Sinners living in their sins, pining away, and about to perish 
eternally in them, are without excuse. For " we testify, that the 
Father has sent the Son Saviour of the world :" John xv. 22. *' If I had 
not come, and spoken unto them, they had not had sin : but now they 
have no cloak for their sin." Sinners are destroyed with their living 
and raging lusts, they are run down with them as with running 
sores, their souls are bleeding to death with them as with mortal 
wounds : in this case they hold on over the belly of their convic- 
tions ; and they say, they cannot help it. One cannot help his 
swearing ; another his sensuality ; another his pride, passion, cove- 
tousness, gross ignorance, his old corrupt unrenewed heart. But the 
truth is, ye will not have it helped, John v. 40. " Ye will not come 
to me, that ye might have life." If ye cannot help it, ye have a Sa- 
viour who can help it, and would certainly help it if ye would employ 
him. Know it of a truth, if any of you shall perish, and if ye go 
on in your sins ye shall perish, ye shall not perish for want of a Sa- 
viour. At the tribunal of God, the devils may say, we could not 
be saved from our sins ; for there was no Saviour appointed for us : 
the pagans may say, we could not be saved ; for though we were 
within the compass of the Saviour's commission, yet we never heard 
of it, it was never intimated to us. But what will ye have to say, 
that ye are not saved from your sins ; when your Saviour shall sit 
judge upon you, and condemn you, to suffer the vengeance of eternal 
fire, for that ye would have none of him, nor his salvation ; ye 
would not be saved from your sins, would not put your case in his 
hand ; though he had his Father's commission to be Saviour of tlie 
world, and your Saviour, and it was read to you, ye would not re- 
ceive him as your Saviour, but would rather die in your sins than 
employ him ? 

4. Believers themselves may be ashamed and confounded, for that 
iniquity prevails so against them. Alas ! it is a sad sign the Savi- 
our is little employed among us. Little living by faith, makes little 
holiness of life. look to that sin that so easily besets you, that 
has so often wrecked your soul's case : believe you have a Saviour 
for it, and employ him. 

Use II. For trial. 

Try whether the Saviour of the world by office is your actual Sa- 


viour ; whether or not he has saved you. Think not that Christ puts 
off his saving of sinners till they corae to heaven : true, they are 
not completely saved till they hd there ; but if your salvation by 
Christ is not begun here, you shall never get there : Tit. iii. 5. G. 7- 
" Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according 
to his mercy he saved us by the washing of regeneration, and renew- 
ing of the Holy Ghost ; which he shed on us abundantly through 
Jesus Christ our Saviour : that being justified by his grace, we 
sliould be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." And 
ye have no right before the Lord to his table, if he has not been a 
Saviour to you actually and eventually, in having saved you from 
sin and wrath initially, though not completely : for if it is not so, it 
is an evidence you have not received him as your Saviour ; for no 
sooner is he employed by a sinner but he begins to save that 

3Iark 1. If Christ has really begun to save you, ye will have the 
saved man's thoughts of sin, and of the wrath of God. If a drown- 
ing man were pulled alive out of a water, or a filthy stinking pud- 
dle ; and standing at the side of it, looking to it after that gliff ; 
what would be his thoughts of that water, that puddle, where he 
was once over head and ears, and almost gone ? Such will be your 
thoughts of sin, and of the wrath of God. Ye will have awful and 
reverend thoughts of the wrath of God above all awful things : 
Heb. xii. 28. 29. " Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot 
be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably, 
with reverence and godly fear." For our God is a consuming 
fire." Matth. x. 28. " Fear not them which kill the body, but are 
not able to kill the soul : but rather fear him which is able to des- 
troy both soul and body in hell." Of all terrors it will be to you the 
most terrible. Those in the state of wrath, they are either so as 
they have lost their senses in it ; they know not where they are, 
they are dreaming of some pleasant place ; and so they go on peace- 
fully in their sins, undisturbed with thoughts of wrath : or else they 
have some terrible apprehensions of it; but there is something more 
terrible ; and therefore they will riither sin than suffer the hard- 
ships attending duty, yea attending mortification : or else their 
heart is fire-hot with the terror of the wrath of God, and in the 
meantime, at least, key-cold of love and child-like affection to the 
God whose wrath it is. But the saved soul looks on it as of all 
things the most awful, but in the meantime with a child-like rever- 
ence of and affection to that God whose wrath it is. 

Mark 2. Ye will have a transcendent esteem of and love to 
your Saviour, 1 Pet. ii. 7- " Unto you which believe he is pre- 


cious." His conscience-purifying blood, his soul-sauctifying Spirit, 
will be more valuable to you than a thousand worlds. Ye will 
desire them above all things, pant and long after them, and aye more 
and more of them : and in comparison of them, all the world will 
be but trifles in your eyes, which ye would be content to part with 
to gain them : Matth. xiii. 46. " The merchantman when he had 
found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had, 
and bought it." Luke xiv. 26. " If any man come to rae, and hato 
not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, 
and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." 
Phil. iii. 8, 9. " Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss, for 
the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord : for whom 
I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung 
that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own 
righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the 
faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith." 

Mark 3, Lastly, Ye will be groaning under the remains of the dis- 
ease of sin ye are saved from ; your conscience will witness ye would 
fain be wholly rid of it, Rom. vii. 24. "0 wretched man that I am, who 
shall deliver me from the body of this death !" Your souls will be 
longing for the complete salvation; that the enemies you see to-day, 
ye may see no more for ever ; that ye may get a complete victory 
over all your corruptions : Rom. viii. 23. " We ourselves groan 
within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of 
our body." 
Use Last. 

Receive the Lord Jesus, then, sinners, in that character wherein 
his Father sent him, as the Saviour of the world, and your Saviour. 
Ye are lost in your sins, and lost under the wrath of God, and the 
curse of the law ; come to him for his whole salvation. Employ him, 
put your case in his hand as your Saviour by the Father's appoint- 
ment ; and slight him no more. 

Motive 1. Consider you need a Saviour. Your disease of sin will 
ruin you, if ye be not saved from it. The guilt of it will stake you 
down under wrath, and the wrath of God will sink you into hell. 
And while sin keeps its dominion over you, be sure the guilt is not 
removed : Matth. ix. 12. " They that be whole need not a physician, 
but they that are sick." Gen. ii. 17. " But of the tree of the know- 
ledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it : for in the day that 
thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die." 

Motive 2. There is no Saviour besides Christ, Acts iv. 12. " Neither 
is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under 
heaven given among men whereby we must be saved." All others are 


physicians of no value. All your own endeavours will not save yon, 
nor any thing any creature can do for you. 

Motive 3. He is able to save you, Heb. vii. 25. " He is able to 
save them to the uttermost, that come unto God by him." What- 
ever be your case, there is infinite merit in his blood to take away 
the deepest guilt, 1 John i. 7. " The blood of Jesus Christ his Son 
cleanseth us from all sin." There is an infinite efficacy of his Spirit 
to sanctify the most unholy, 1 Cor. vi. 11. " And such were some 
of you : but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified 
in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." If 
ye doubt it, ye dishonour Christ, and his Father who sent him, Psal. 
Ixxxix. 19. " Then thou spakest in vision to thy holy One, and 
saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted 
one chosen out of the people." 

Motive 4. He is willing to save you, Rev. xxii. 17. " And the 
Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth, say, 
Come, And let him that is athirst, come. And whosoever will, let 
him take the water of life freely." The only thing wanting is your 
willingness to be saved, Jer. xiii. 27. " Wo unto thee, Jerusalem, 
wilt thou not be made clean ? when shall it once be ?" There is no 
fear of being rejected if ye come, John vi. 37. " Him that cometh 
to me, I will in no wise cast out." He has taken on him the office 
of Saviour of the world, and he cannot refuse the business of it. 

Motive 5. Lastly, Y'e must either receive him as your Saviour from 
sin and wrath, according to his commission from heaven ; or ye will 
be, and be held refusers of him for your Saviour, after his Father 
has nominated and commissioned him for that eifect. Consider 
how ye will answer that before the judgment-seat. 

Question. How shall I receive him, and employ him ? Answer. By 
faith, by believing on him. Being convinced of your sin and cursed 
state, and desiring to be saved from both, believe Christ is your 
Saviour by his Father's appointment ; and so wholly trust on him 
as a crucified Saviour, for his whole salvation, on the ground of 
God's faithfulness in his word. 


A Sermon preached, on a sacramental occasion, at Galashiels. 

Luke ix. 23. 

And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny 
himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 

They that are rash and indeliberate in their setting away after 
Christ among his followers, 'rill readily be found to break away 
from him again, and desert him, ere they come to the end of the 
course. Therefore our Lord Jesus fairly intimates here how he is 
to be followed of all that would come to the end of the course with 
him ; that men may count the cost ere they begin to build ; and lay 
their account with what they are to expect in his company, in the 
way to the kingdom. And in the words there is, 

1. The case which this intimation refers to, " If any man will 
come after me." It is not the case of coming to Christ, as if none 
might come to him, or believe on him, till once they have denied 
themselves, and taken up their cross daily : for as none can come 
after Christ in the sense of the text, till once they have come to 
him ; so none shall ever be able to reach these things, till once they 
have believed on him. But it is the case of coming after Christ ; 
which is more than following him; and consists of two parts. (1.) 
Following him in the way to the kingdom, upon which one is set by 
believing. This part of it our Lord points at, Luke xiv. 26, " If 
any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, 
and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, 
he cannot be my disciple ;" as it is plainly imported in the expres- 
sion. (2.) Coming in at his back into the kingdom ; as the term to 
which Christ with his followers was moving : where he being set 
down, they also come in after him, and in his right. And this part 
of it is expressed, ver. 24, " For whosoever will save his life, shall 
lose it : but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall 
save it." 

2. What is necessary to that case, to one's following Christ in 
the way to, and coming in at his back into the kingdom of heaven. 
Two things are necessary thereto. (1.) Self-denial ; " Let him deny 
himself," otherwise he will not follow me in the way to the king- 
dom : for I deny myself, Rom. xv. 3, " For even Christ pleased not 


liimself; but as it is written, The reproaches of them that re- 
proached thee fell on me." John v. 30, " I can of mine own self 
do nothing — I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father 
which hath sent rae." The original word is very forcible, " Let him 
deny away himself," like those that desert a party, to have no more 
to do with them, and content that all the world know it. They 
must deny themselves as the Jews denied Christ, Acts iii. 14, " But 
ye denied the holy One, and the just, and desired a murderer to be 
granted unto you." And how that was ye see, John xix. 15, " But 
they [the Jews] cried out. Away with him, away with hira, crucify 
him — we have no king but Caesar." Away with self, crucify it : we 
liave no king but Christ. They must deny themselves, as they must 
deny ungodliness, Tit. ii. 12, denying its cravings, starving it, till it 
dwindle away into nothing. (2.) Taking up the cross daily, and 
following him with it on our back, " Let him deny himself, and take 
up his cross daily ;" otherwise he will not come in at my back to 
the crown ; for so I go to it with the cross on my back, and that 
daily. The cross is any trouble or adversity which the Lord lays 
upon his followers. 

Now, these things are necessary in this case, absolutely necessary ; 
otherwise we do not follow Christ in the way to the kingdom, but 
self in the way to destruction : and so we cannot come in at his 
back to the kingdom, and there is no other way to get into it. They 
are universally necessary : " If any man will come after me, let him 
deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." Be who 
they will, ever so delicate or dainty; they must lay their fair necks 
under this yoke, or perish. 

3. The parties to whom this intimation is made : " He said to 
them allP Peter gave the occasion for this, by his rashness in 
advising or wishing Christ might spare himself as to the cross : for 
which he got a particular rebuke. But Mark tells us, that there- 
upon he called together the people, and his disciples also, chap. viii. 
34. And here he said to them all, " If any man will come after 
me, let hira deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow 
me." The matter nearly concerning them all, as well as Peter, the 
intimation was made to all accordingly. 

DocTKiNE. Whosoever will follow Christ in the way to the crown, 
and come in at his back to the kingdom of heaven, must of neces- 
sity deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Christ 
with it on his back. 

Three things fall here to be considered. I. One's coming after 
Christ, which is the case put; II. One's denying himself; and, III. 


One's taking up his cross, and following Christ ; which are the two 
things necessary in that case. 

I. First, We are to consider the coming after Christ, which is 
the thing some do aim at, and all should. For clearing of that, 

1. Christ in the world was in the way to his kingdom, the king- 
dom of heaven : Luke xix. 12. " A certain nobleman went into a 
far country to receive for himself a kingdom." As he was God 
everywhere present, he was there even when on earth, John iii. 13. 
" the Son of man which is in heaven :" but as he was man, he 
was but in his way to it. That was the joy set before him, which 
he had in view all along while he travelled through our wilderness- 

2. Accordingly he was in the world, not as a native thereof, but 
as a stranger travelling through it, with his face always away-ward 
from it, home to his Father's house. Therefore, though he was 
sometime courted to set up for himself in it, he would not hearken 
to the solicitations to stay, and take his kingdom here. The Jews 
would have forced their kingdom on him, John vi. 15 ; but he fled 
from it, departing into a mountain, where he was nearer heaven, 
out of the din of the world. Satan offered him all the kingdoms of 
the world, Matth. iv. 8, 9. but he rejected his proposal with indig- 

3. Our Lord Jesus made his way to his kingdom through many 
bitter storms blowing on his face in the world, and is now entered 
into it: Heb. xii. 2 — "who, for the joy that was set before him, 
endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right 
hand of the throne of God." His life here was a life of sorrows; 
but now he has reached the fulness of joy. Death wrought on him 
all along to the grave ; now it has no more dominion over him. 

4. There is no coming into that kingdom, for a sinner, but at his 
back, in fellowship with him : John xiv. 6. " I am the way, and the 
truth, and the life : no man cometh unto the Father but by me." 
If we pretend to come into it otherwise, justice will cast the door 
on our face, and tumble us down into the pit. He is the captain of 
our salvation, that is on the head of the whole company of the 
saved : he is the door of the sheep, and there is no entering but 
through him. So, " If any man will come after me," is in effect, If 
any man will enter into the kingdom of heaven. 

5. Lastly, There is no coming in at his back into the kingdom, 
without following him in the way : Psal. cxxv. 5. " As for such as 
turn aside unto their crooked ways, the Lord shall lead them forth 


with the workers of iniquity." John xv. 6. " If a man abide not in 
me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather 
them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned." He is the 
author as well as the fiuisher of our faith ; the chief guide in the 
way, as well as the giver of the prize at the end of the race. 
Certainly the merit of Christ is effectual on none unto salvation 
but those whom it conforms to his example. If we have any saving 
part in his death, we will be conformed to him in his life. Where- 
fore, since Christ went to his kingdom, denying himself, and taking 
up his cross, we must lay our account to go and do likewise, if we 
mind to be there. 

II. Secondly, Let us then consider briefly, one's denying himself 
to come after Christ. And, 

1. It implies two things. It implies, 

\st, That Christ and self are coutrai'ies, leading contrary ways : 
" If any man will come after me, let him deny himsdf." Self is 
Christ's great rival in the world ; and no man can serve the two 
masters: he must either deny himself, and go after Christ; or he 
will deny Christ, and go after self. There is no compromising the 
matter betwixt the two : for Christ is the leader of God's upsetting; 
self of the devil's, when man fell off from God. Hence it implies, 

2dly, That the self to be denied is our corrupt self, the old 
man, the unrenewed part; for that only is contrary to Christ. And, 
indeed it is not possible there can be any true self-denial but in 
sound believers, regenerate persons ; in whom there is a renewed 
part, which is that which denies, and an unrenewed, which is that 
which is denied. 

2. Wherein it consists. It consists in a holy refusal to please 
ourselves, that we may please God in Christ : for it is a denying of 
ourselves in competition : and God is the competitor, whom the self- 
denying Christian prefers to himself, after Christ's example, Rom. 
XV. 3. " For even Christ pleased not himself," &c. And it is God 
in Christ for whom a sinner denies himself, as saith the text : for an 
absolute God out of Christ being a consuming fire, with which we 
can have no comfortable communion, the sight of him frights away 
the sinner, and causeth self to gather together all its strength in its 
own defence against him; whereas the view of God in Christ draws 
the sinner to lie down at his feet in hope. Hence, in self-denial 
there is, 

\st, Faith and hope, as the necessary springs thereof: Phil. i. 
29. " For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, — to believe on 
him." Rom. xii. 12. " Rejoicing in hope." Cut off these, and you 
cut off self-denial : for the heart of man will never quit hugging 


one's dear self, till it get a God to rest in; nor let go its gripes of 
what it has, till it have hope of better. 

2dly, A practical setting up of God as our chief end ; and a 
bringing down ourselves to lie at his feet: Psal. Ixxiii. 25. " Whom 
have I in heaven but thee ? and there is none upon earth that I 
desire besides thee." This is true conversion, whereby a man i& 
brought back to his primitive situation, out of which he was turned 
by sin, setting self on the throne as his chief end, and laying the 
honour of God at its feet. The which unnatural situation all natural 
men are in ; their whole life being one uninterrupted course of 
practical blasphemy, making themselves their chief end, and God 
the means. 

'^dly, An unlimited resignation of ourselves unto God in Christ : 
2 Cor. viii. 5. — " first gave their ownselves to the Lord." Faith 
taking hold of God as our God, according to the measure of faith, the 
whole man is swallowed up in him ; God is all, and we become 
nothing in our own eyes : the whole soul, the whole man, the whole 
lot, is resigned to him. 

4«Hy, A refusing to please ourselves in any thing in competi- 
tion with God ; but denying the cravings of self, as they are con- 
trary to what God craves of us : Tit. ii. 12. — " denying ungodliness, 
and worldly lusts." And herein lies the exercise of self-denial, 
which there will always be occasion for while we are here. We may 
take it up in two generals. 

1. Denying our self-wit, which is ready to crave of us a quite 
other belief and judgment than God demands of us by his word 
and works : Prov. iii. 5. "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; 
and lean not unto thine own understanding." If we will come after 
Christ, we must in this case shut our own eyes, or refuse to believe 
our own eyes. So did Abraham, Rora. iv. 17, 18. — " who against 
hope believed in hope," &c. There are two cases particularly 
wherein this self-wit is to be denied. 

(1.) In the case of truths revealed in the word, be they never so 
mysterious : 2 Cor. x. 5. " Casting down imaginations, and every 
high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and 
bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." 
The want of this is causing many unhumbled men to make shipwreck 
of the faith at this day, to sap the foundations of Christianity in 
gratification of their self-wit. But the grace of God will make the 
greatest wits and profoundest scholars receive revealed truths like 
a child, if ever it touch their hearts : Luke xviii. 17. " Verily, 
I say unto you. Whosoever shall not receieve the kingdom of God 
as a little child shall in no wise enter therein." 


(2.) In the case of wants, crooks, and hardships that we find in 
our lot. God in his providence says, that trial, cross, &c. is best 
for you : self-wit says, it is very bad ; and thinks it sees well how 
that work of God might be mended, and made far better. And 
tlius many walk in a course of contradiction to the judgment of 
God declared in his works of Providence. Holding fast by self-wit, 
they will not quit their opinion of the matter to him. That is 
walking after self-wit. 

2. Denying our self-will, which is ready to thwart with the will 
of God. Thei'efore we are taught to pray, (Matth. vi. 10.) " Thy 
will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." If we come after Christ, 
we must take God's will for our will, saying with him, (Matth. 
xxvi. 39.) — " Not as I will but as thou wilt." There are two cases 
wherein we are particularly to deny our self-will. 

(1 .) In the case of duty, that we may comply with the will of 
God's command, however cross it may lie to our inclination : Rom. 
vii. 22, 23, " For I delight in the law of God, after the inward man. 
But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of 
my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin, which is 
in my members." God's will must be a sufficient reason for our 
practice, and we must put the knife to the throat of all our contrary 
inclinations, Tit. ii. 12, " denying ungodliness and worldly lusts." 

(2.) In the case of our lot, that we may comply with the will of 
God's providence, Acts xxi. 14, saying, " The will of the Lord be 
done." He that made us must be allowed to manage our lot and 
condition ; we calmly and contentedly submi:ting our will to his, 
readily embracing what he carves for us. There is reason for it. 
Job xxxiv. 33, " Should it be according to thy mind ? he will recom- 
pense it, whether thou refuse, or whether thou choose." 

And this denying our self-wit and self-will must extend to three 
kinds of things. 

1. To our civil comforts; such as, our outward peace, worldly 
substance, liberty, and credit, and the like : all which must be laid 
at the Lord's feet, to do with them as he will, take them from us, 
or continue them with us, if so be we will come after Christ : Luke 
xiv. 26, "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and 
mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and 
his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." 

2. To our natural enjoyments, as health, ease, relations, even 
life ; all which also must be laid at the Lord's feet, to be disposed 
of as he will, not as we will, Luke xiv. 26, forecited. 

3. To things of religion ; not trusting in our own management 
for them, but depending wholly on the Lord, Psal. cxxvii. 1, " Ex- 


cept the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it ; 
except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain ;" 
nor making ourselves the chief end of them, but the honour of God, 
even as in all things else, 1 Cor. x. 31, " Whether therefore ye eat 
or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." 

And here two things are of special consideration. One is, that 
when we refuse to gratify our will, on some carnal motive that may 
feed some spiritual lust, as is the case in Popish austerities, that is 
not the Christian self-denial ; but a gratifying of self in one thing 
by denying it another : and that is a bias the heart is ready to slip 
aside to. Another is, that there is a denying of ourselves even in 
spiritual things; for there is nothing wherein self may not mix 
•while we are here. This was called for at Mary's hand, John xx. 
17, " Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not ; for I am not yet ascended 
to my Father," &c. It was exercised by Paul, Phil. i. 23, 24, " I 
am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be 
with Christ; which is far better: nevertheless, to abide in the flesh 
is more needful for you." Spiritual benefits are ever to be desired : 
but even in those things there must be an awful regard to the will 
of God. Say, " Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven," 

Use 1. Is it so that there is no coming after Christ but in the way 
of men's denying themselves ? then religion is no easy business, and 
there are few like to see heaven. It is not a way wherein men can 
be allowed that latitude and self-indulgence which most men can- 
not want. And they do but deceive themselves, who pretend to 
faith, or to have come to Christ, that are not exercised to deny 

2. See and consider, communicants, what ye are to lay your ac- 
count with in coming after Christ, which, in communicating at his 
table, ye say ye are resolved on. Lay your account with the 
struggle against self; giving up with self-wit, and self-will: and 
lay your account with your cross. 

3. See a weighty errand ye have at the Lord's table, with 
respect to denying yourselves, and taking up your cross. Ay, say 
ye, we are to bind ourselves solemnly to these duties. I will not 
deny but ye are. But I doubt ye know your errand well anent 
these things, if that be the main part of it : that should be, how to 
get strength for these duties, and to get a sealed possession of 
Christ and the promises for that eflfect. And believing is the way 
to attain that. 

(1.) The more firmly ye believe on Christ, and apprehend God 
as your God in him, the more will ye be in case to deny yourselves, 
and take up your cross. 


(2.) It is by belie viug we at first become new^ creatures, 2 Cor. v. 
17- " If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature : old things 
are passed away ; behold, all things are become new." Eph. ii. 10. 
" For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good 
works." And it is by believing that the new man grows. And so 
it is by it that there is a principle of self-denial, and by it one is 
strengthened to the exercise thereof. 

(3.) Lastly, In this duty deny yourselves, and depend on the 

III. Thirdly, "We come now to consider one's taking up his cross, 
and that daily, and following Christ. Without this none can come 
after Christ to the kingdom of heaven, and in the way thereto. 
They who mind to come after him to mount Zion, must go as Simon 
the Cyrenian went after him to Calvary, Luke xxiii. 26. bearing 
his cross. 

We offer the import of this clause in these following things. 

1. God will lay down the cross to every one that minds for 
heaven, that they shall have nothing ado but to take it up, John 
xvi. 33. *' In the world ye shall have tribulation." They shall 
not need to make crosses to themselves, nor to go out of their way 
to seek a cross : Grod will lay it down at every one's door. He had 
one Son without sin, but no son without the cross, Heb. xii. 8. 
" But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, 
then are ye bastards, and not sons." And God lays down the cross 
to be taken up by us ; when it is brought to that, we must either 
suffer or sin, Heb. x. 35. " Cast not away therefore your confi- 
dence, which hath great recompense of reward." 

2. He will lay it down daily to the followers of Christ, that they 
may have a daily exercise in taking it up, and bearing the cross of 
the day. Matt. vi. 34. " Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." 
A change of crosses may be got, but there will be no end of them as 
long as we are here. Our wilderness-station may be changed 
indeed; but it will be but for another wilderness-station, till once 
we are over Jordan : Psal. Ixxiii. 14. " For all the day long have 
I been plagued, and chastened every morning." 

3. We must not be choosers of crosses. Every one must take up 
his own, allotted to him by sovereign wisdom, that is the best judge 
what cross fits us best. We are ready to think we could bear 
another cross better than that which is laid before us : but that is 
but a deceit of the heart, that is aye for shifting the present 
cross ; and speaks a want of self-denial. But to strike the bottom 
out of this humour of picking and choosing crosses, know, that if 
God mind to take a particular trial of you for heaven and eternal 


life, and there be any one thing wherein, of all other things, ye are 
least able to be touched, God will choose your cross for you in that 
very thing : ye will be sure to be touched in the sore heel, and get 
rubs where ye are least able to abide them. And it is highly reason- 
able the trial should be there, when the competition is betwixt Grod 
and self. Mark x. 21. "One thing thou lackest; go thy way, sell 
whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor ; and thou shalt have 
treasure in heaven ; and come take up the cross, and follow me." 

4. We must not trample on the cross, and step over it, but take it 
up : Heb. xii. 5. " My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord." 
The sullen manliness and Roman courage wherewith some bear their 
crosses is the produce of self-will, not of self-denial : and speaks 
contempt of God, not submission to him. When heaven is our 
party, it becomes us to stoop, and not to make our faces like flint, 
lest God be provoked to dash us in pieces. 

5. Tet neither must we faint at the sight of the cross ; for at that 
rate we will not be able to take it up : Heb. xii. 5. " Nor faint when 
thou art rebuked of him." It is unbelief which causes that fainting, 
whispering into the soul at the appearance of the cross. Now, ye 
will never be able to bear that : and when that is received, the 
hands hang down, and the knees become feeble : and then the soul 
is next door to going out of God's way for relief, Heb. xii. 12, 13. 
" Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble 
knees : and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is 
lame be turned out of the way, but let it rather be healed." But 
know ye it for a truth, there is no cross whatsoever so heavy but 
we may get it borne acceptably : there is an allowance of pro- 
portionable strength made for it, to be fetched in by faith, 2 Cor. 
xii. 9. " And he said nnto me. My grace is suflicient for thee ; for 
my strength is made perfect in weakness." Most gladly therefore 
will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ 
may rest upon me." Phil. iv. 13. " I can do all things through 
Christ which strengtheneth me." 

6. As we must not go ofi^ the road of duty to shift the cross, so we 
must not stand still till it be rolled out of our way, but take it uj-, 
and go forward. It is easy going off the way, but not easy co iug 
on again. There are quagmires of sin and sorrow on every side of 
the cross, where the shifters of it may come to stick, 1 Tim. vi. 9, 
" But they that will be rich fall into temptation, and a snare, and 
into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction 
and perdition." And to follow Christ in the summer of prosperity, 
and desert him in the winter of adversity, speaks self-love, not the 
love of Christ to be predominant in us ; and will shew us to be 


iirtie-servers, not servants of Christ: Job xvii. 9, " The rigliteous 
also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be 
stronger and stronger." 

7. We must take up no more for our cross than what God lays 
down ; not what Satan and our own corruptions lay to it: it will be 
our wisdom to shovel that oil' in the first place, and we will take 
up the cross the easier. God lays down barrenness to Rachel for 
lier cross, Satan and her own corrupt heart lay a killing weight 
upon it, Gen. xxx. 1, " And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob 
no children, Rachel envied her sister ; and said unto Jacob, Give 
me children, or else I die." And then she is like to die in taking 
it up. how often do men lay overweights on their cross, and then 
complain they are not able to heave it ! Indeed, we are for the most 
part in the mist about our crosses, and then molehills appear moun- 
tains : but when the cross is cleared of what is laid to it, the naked 
cross turns little bulk ; and he has it half up, that has it so cleared : 
2 Cor. iv. 17, " For our liglit affliction, which is but for a mo- 
ment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of 

8. But however heavy the cross be, we are not to refuse it. Our 
very life, which of all worldly things is dearest to us, must be laid 
at the Lord's feet, and we ready to part with it for Christ. The 
cross was an instrument of death, and that a most shameful and 
painful one : and the necessity of taking it up, says, that every true 
follower of Christ must be content to be a martyr; and will be so, 
either in action or affection. Luke xiv. 26, " If any man come to 
me, and hate not — his own life, he cannot be my disciple." 

9. We must yoke with the cross willingly and submissively : God 
can lay it on us, whether we will or not ; but he will have us to 
stoop, and take it up on us : James i. 2. " My brethren, count it all 
joy when ye fall into divers temptations " When, by the provi- 
dence of God, we fall into thera, we must not be like the untamed 
bullock, on whose neck the yoke must be forced; but like the camel 
that bows down on his knees till the burden is laid on him. Lam. 
iii. 29, 30, " He putteth his mouth in the dust, if so be there may be 
hope. He giveth his cheek to him that smiteth him, he is filled full 
with reproach." So did Eli, 1 Sam. iii. 18, " He said. It is the 
Lord ; let him do what seemeth him good." This is done by a 
Christian submission of our will to the will of God in the matter. 

10. We must bear it, going evenly under it, till the Lord take it 
down. It is what belongs to the Lord to take it off; it is our part 
to take it up. There must be an exercise of patience in our com- 
ing after Christ, Luke xxi. 19, " In your patience possess ye your 

YoL. YI. X 


souls." And patience must liave lier perfect work, enduring to the 
end, James i. 4. 

11. Lastly, We must follow Christ with the cross on our back. 
The example of Christ's holy life is the compass by which we must 
steer our course, if ever we get to the shore of Imraanuel's land, 
1 John ii. 6, " He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself also 
so to walk, even as he walked." And the hardships of the way 
through the cross will not excuse our going out of the way. How- 
ever we be put to suffering, we must aye be doing in imitation of 

Use. Christians, communicants, and whosoever of you mind for 
the kingdom of heaven, lay your account with the cross ; take it up 
meekly, and bear it after Christ. Think it not strange concerning 
the fiery trial. The cross is a kindly name to a Christian : be re- 
conciled to it. For that end consider, 

1. The necessity of it, in virtue of the divine appointment : " If 
any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his 
cross daily, and follow me." They that cast out with the cross, do 
in effect cast out with heaven. Though the way of the cross is a 
rough way, yet it is the highway, the only way to it. The fiery 
trial by the cross is that whereby God tries what metal is fit to be 
made a vessel of glory, and what not : and it is a dreadful thing to 
be casten here as base metal, Jer. vi. 29, 30, " The bellows are 
burnt, the lead is consumed of the fire, the founder melteth in vain ; 
for the wicked are not plucked away. Reprobate silver shall men 
call them, because the Lord hath rejected them." 

2. Christ bore the cross before you, for your sake ; and shall it be 
such a frightful thing for you to bear it after him, for his sake ? If 
ye would partake of his crown, will ye refuse your part of his cross ? 
Rom. viii. 17, " If so be that we suflFer with him, that we may be 
also glorified together." It is highly reasonable Christ's followers 
be like him in the way to the kingdom, as well as glorified with him 
in it. If the head bore a cross, it were unbecoming the members to 
go without one. When he was a man of sorrows, can his followers 
expect to be men of joys here ? Will the world, that was a step- 
dame to him, be a natural mother to us ? 

3. Consider the relation your crosses and troubles have to the 
cross of Christ, believers. 

(1.) They are the cross set up again to Christ, upon which his 
members are now suffering : Col. i. 24. " Who now rejoice in ray 
sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions 
of Christ in my flesh, for his body's sake, which is the church." And 
the cross, piercing his members, cannot miss to touch the head, Is. 


Ixiii, 9. ** In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of 
his presence saved them : in his love and in his pity he redeemed 
them, and he bare them, and carried thera, all the days of old." 
Zech. ii. 8. " For thus saith the Lord of hosts. After the glory 
hath he sent rae unto the nations which spoiled you ; for he that 
toucheth you, toucheth the apple of his eye." This view of the cross, 
in which Christ himself appears on it with us, may render it more 

(2.) They are Christ's cross to you, as he left it. Christ in person 
took up the cross, and there was a curse in it when he took it up : 
he takes off the curse, and leaves it ; and bids you take it up next. 
believer, the tree is left thee, but the curse is away ; the nails are 
left, but the venom they were dipt in is away. Though bulls should 
push you, the horns wherewith they pushed him are cut off. Though 
crosses of all sorts should meet together in your case, the soul and 
life which the fiery law breathed into them is gone. 

(3.) They grow out of the cross of Christ. Ye will, may be, not 
expect the Christian's bitter troubles among the fruits of Christ's 
cross : but mistake it not : they must either be blessings or curses. 
Curses they are not, Gal. iii. 13. *' Christ hath redeemed us from 
the curse of the law, being made a curse for us ;" therefore they 
are blessings : and if blessings, from whence else can they drop ? 
Eph. i. 3. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places 
in Christ." It was by the blood of his cross he procured the cove- 
nant-blessings to his people, and the cross among the rest, Psal. 
Ixxxix. 30 — 33. " If his children forsake my law, and walk not in 
my judgments ; if they break my statutes, and keep not my com- 
mandments : then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and 
their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless my loving-kindness will I 
not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail." We 
might welcome the cross in this view. 

4. The cross is for the destruction of the old man, not of the new 
man. It is a cross to our corruptions that is much needed : but 
no real grace ever yet died by the cross. As the candle shines 
brightest in the night, and the fire burns keenest in a keen frost ; 
so grace has ordinarily thriven best under the cross. It is indeed a 
cross to our corrupt will, that never goes right while it gets head : 
it is a cross to particular lusts, that should be mortified. Gal. v. 24. 
" And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with the affec- 
tions and lusts :" and both these need to be crossed. 

5. It has been the lot of the saints in all ages. And there is 
no shifting of the cross, if we will go out by the footsteps of the 



flock. Yea, and ordinarily they that have been most dear to God 
have drunk deepest of the bitter cup ; the most eminent for piety 
and usefulness, as Job; for piety and parts, as Heman and Paul ; 
for divine manifestations made to them, as Jacob and David. 

6. Lastly, Public persecution for the cause of Christ is what most 
now alive never saw, far less felt ; though our fathers had a long 
and dark night of it. But the way to heaven is still the same ; and 
therefore no wonder God is making up that want another way in 
the case of his people ; and what trial formerly he took of them, by 
persecutors, prisons, and gibbets, he is taking the same upon the 
matter of them now, by other means. 

I will conclude by giving you some helps to bear the cross. 

Help 1. Look on yourselves as strangers on earth ; and keep your 
eye on Christ, as he went through the world ; and upon heaven, as 
your home, where only ye expect your rest. 

2. Quit not faith's gripe of the promise of through-bearing : Is. 
sliii. 2. " When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee ; 
and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee : when thou 
walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burnt ; neither shall the 
flame kindle upon thee." Believe firmly, that Christ lays on no 
cross without allowance of ability for acceptable bearing it ; plead 
and look for it. 

3. Lastly, Set the cross in the light of the word, and look in 
through it, till ye see the pleasure in it that Paul assures us from 
his experience to be within it, 2 Cor. xii. 10. " Therefore I take 
pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, 
in distresses, for Christ's sake : for when I am weak, then am I 
strong." Why, (1.) There is a pleasure in a man's seeing hiinself 
standing a candidate for glory, on his trials for heaven. (2.) In 
seeing a gracious God cross our corrupt inclinations ; in seeing the 
thieves on the cross, and the hand of God darting one arrow after 
another into their heart. (3.) In seeing ourselves pass the moun- 
tains, where we see the marks of Christ's own footsteps before us. 
Sucli a paradise there is within the thorn hedge of the cross. 

TllJi OH) AND NJiW MAN IN liELIEViiUS.- 319 

A Sermon preached, od a sacramental occasion, at Maxtoa, in the year 1729. 

Rom, vi. 6. 

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of 
sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 

The sanctification of siuuers is no less a mystery than their justifi- 
cation : the former springing out of the cross of Christ unto them^ 
through the intervention of faith knitting the sinner to a crucified 
Christ, as well as the latter. Hence the apostle — having asserted 
the insurance of the sanctification of believers, that they shall 
certainly walk in "newness of life," ver. 4; in "the likeness of 
Christ's resurrection," ver. 5, i. e. as Christ, during the forty days 
after his resurrection, lived in the world after a new manner, very 
different from his manner of life in it before his death — brings the. 
ground of it from the cross of Christ, in the words of the text. In 
which we have, 

1. The ground insuring holiness of life in believers united to 
Christ, " Our old man is crucified with him." This secures their 
holiness of life, in such manner as the drying up of the fountain 
doth the drying up of the streams. 

(1.) The state the fountain of sin is in believers, " Our old man is 
crucified with him." This supposeth that Christ was crucified; 
that in believers there is a twofold man, a new man, and an old ; 
for while he saith, " our old man," he intimates that the old man is 
not the whole man, as in the unregenerate. The new man is the 
new creature of grace in the believer, or he as renewed. The old 
man is the corruption of nature, or he as unrenewed. This old man 
is the fountain of sin in his heart and life. 

Now, the state it is in is a state of crucifixion ; it is nailed to the 
cross, which is a state of death. And its crucifixion is a concruci- 
fixion with Christ, Gal. ii. 20. " I am crucified with Christ." In so 
far as the believer is by faith united to Christ, his old man is nailed 
to the cross of Christ, to fare here as Christ fared : and that was 
heavy fare. 

(2.) The issue of this state of the fountain of sin in believers. It 
is twofold. 

\st, The final issue, " That the body of sin might be destroyed." 


The old man is the body of sin, being a complication of the seyeral 
sinful lusts opposite to the holy law, as the body is of members 
competent to the human frame. Now, the final issue of this state 
of the old man, the body of sin, is its destruction and utter ruin. 
Crucifixion is not present death indeed, but it is sure and certain 
death. Pilate would have " chastised Christ, and released him," 
Luke xxiii. 16. but the Jews would have him crucified, for that 
would carry him quite away from among them : even so the old man 
is not to be corrected and amended, but destroyed quite and clean. 

2dly, The intermediate issue, " That henceforth we should not 
serve sin ;" that from the moment of our union with Christ we 
should not serve sin any more, voluntarily living in it, and giving 
up ourselves to it as its servants, to live and act for satisfying it, 
as we did before. The old man may live long on the cross before 
he be destroyed : but then his hands and feet cannot serve him as 
they did before, there are nails driven through them ; he may move 
them indeed, but then it is with pain and difiiculty. So was it 
with Christ ; he behoved to recommend his mother to the care of 
his beloved disciple John, for that his own hands and feet were not 
at liberty to act and go for her as formerly. 

2. The certainty concerning this ground, " Knowing this." It is 
not a matter of uncertain hope, but known for truth. It could not 
be known by sense ; no bodily eye could discern our old man on the 
cross with Christ : nor yet by rational deduction from natural 
principles ; for the whole mystery of Christ is supernatural. There- 
fore it is known by faith upon divine testimony ; it is a conclusion 
of faith to be laid down for invigorating us in all our endeavours 
after holiness of life, and to be firmly held and stuck by in all our 
struggles with the old man, as ever we would desire to make head 
against him. 

That I may touch the several purposes of this text, I shall offer 
them in several doctrines to be briefly handled. 

Doctrine I. " There is in believers united to Christ a new man, a 
holy principle ; and an old man, a fountain of sin. 

I. "Why the holy principle and the corrupt nature in believers are 
called the new and old man ? 

1. They are called men, because each of them possesseth the whole 
man, though not wholly. There are by their means two I's in every 
believer, Rom. vii. 15. " For that which I do, I allow not: for what 
I would, that do I not ; but what I hate that do I." There is not 
one part of the man that is in Christ, but grace has a part 
of it, and corruption has a part of it : as in the twilight there 


is light over all, and darkness over all too, the darkness being 
mixed in every part with the light. So my renewed part is I, a 
man having an understanding enlightened, a will renewed, affections 
spiritualized, using my body conformably : but my unrenewed part is 
I too, having an understanding darkened, a will rebellious, affections 
corrupted, and using my body accordingly. 

2. They are called the new and old man, for two reasons. 

(1.) Because the new nature is brought in upon the corrupt princi- 
ple, which was the first possessor. The corrupt nature is of the 
same standing with ourselves from the conception and birth, and 
possessed us alone till our union with Christ by faith. And then only 
came in the neiv nature, and that made the former old. 

(2.) Because of their different originals ; the one being in us from 
the corrupt first Adam, the other from the holy second Adam. So 
the believer, looking on the corruption of his nature, may call fallen 
Adam father ; and on the new creature in him, he may call Christ 
father. The second Adam coming after the first, made the first old: 
so the produce of them in us is the old and new man accordingly. 

II. How the believer comes to be thus split in two, two men. 
This is done by virtue of his union with Christ, from whence ariseth 
a communication of grace to him from Christ, 1 Cor. i. 30. " But of 
him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom and 
righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." Concernin-J- 
which two things are to be noted. 

1. That in the moment of one's union with Christ by faith, there is 
communicated to him, out of the fulness of grace in the man Christ, 
a measure of every grace in him, as the wax impressed receives 
every point in the seal, John i. 16. " And of his fulness have all we 
received, and grace for grace." Eph. iv. 13. " Till we all come — 
unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." And thus 
is the new creature formed, being a new man perfect in parts, entire 
or having all its members, no grace totally wanting. 

Hence it is that the new man is formed immediately after Christ's 
image, so that it is the very picture of the man Christ, as Eve was 
of Adam. Therefore the forming of it is said to be the forming of 
Christ in the believer. Gal. iv. 19. 

2. That yet there is not then, nor during this life, communicated 
to the believer a full measure of any grace, 1 Cor. xiii. 9. " For we 
know in part." So all the graces being imperfect, though they re- 
move sin as far as they go, they cannot fill up the room in any part, 
mind, will, or affections. And thus is there an old man left in the 
believer still, Rom. vii. 14. which is the image of the first Adam, 
from whom the corruption composing it is derived. 


Use 1. Hence see, that the believer's life while here caunot miss 
to be a struggling life, Gal. v. 17- " For the flesh lusteth against the 
Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh : and these are contrary the 
one to the other ; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would." 
The believer is like Rebekah in another case, the two men struggle 
in hira ; and like the two armies in the Shulamite. 

2. See here the rise of the peace and easy life of it most men 
have. The flesh in them has no competitor. In the state of glory, 
grace has all, so there is a perfect peace : in the state of nature, 
corruption has all ; so there is peace too ; except what is marred by 
the struggle between the flesh in one part Insting, and the flesh in 
another part fearing, as in Balaam, 2 Pet. ii. 15. "who loved the 
wages of unrighteousness." Compared with Numb. xxii. 18. " If 
Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go 
beyond the word of the Lord my God, to do less or more." "Whereas 
the struggle in the believer is betwixt the flesh and Spirit in the 
same part willing, and willing the same thing of their proper motion, 
Rom. vii. 15, 16. forecited. 

DocT. II. The old man in believers is a body of sin, an entire 
body, lacking none of its members, Rom. vii. 24. " wretched mau 
that I am ! who shall deliver rae from the body of this death ?" This 
appears from the account of it already given. As we derive every 
grace from the second Adam in our regeneration, so every corrup- 
tion from the first Adam in our natural generation. 

Use 1. This may serve to humble believers, when they are at 
their best. There is an entire body of sin in them while they are 
here. Do they excel in any grace ? yet there is in them a member 
of the old mau opposite to it, as passion in meek Moses. Have they 
every grace in them ? They have every corruption too, though 
every one does not appear, more than every grace. Therefore they 
have need to watch against all sin whatsoever; for there is never 
a snare in the ill world but there is a member of the old man ready 
to fall in with it. Col. iii. 5. " Mortify therefore your members 
which are upon the earth ; fornication, uncleanness," &c. 

2. No wonder the believer groans being burdened, having a whole 
body of sin carrying about with him. And they that groan not 
under it are certainly all flesh ; no new man in them. If ye belong 
to Christ ye cannot want an errand to him for sanctitication. Ye 
have a body of sin to lay before him, which he alone can de- 

DocT. III. The old man in believers is crucified with Christ. This 
boars two things, / 


1. Christ was crucified. He not only died for us, but died for us 
the cursed, painful, shameful, lingering death on the tree of the 
cross; which we are met to commemorate. Christ was put to this 
death for us, rather than another kind of death. 

1st, That the first sin that let in all sin into the world might be 
the more clearly read in the punishment. When ye consider the 
awful and tremendous dispensation of the Son of God, the second 
Adam, hanging naked on a tree, and dying there at great leisure in 
exquisite pain, can ye miss to see the fiery wrath of God against 
the sin of that naked pair in paradise, pleasuring themselves in the 
fruit of the forbidden tree, and in an instant defacing the image of 
God in thera ? 

2dlY, That the whole world might see what a low and hard state 
Christ took on him, putting himself in our room. We were bond- 
men under the curse, and Christ took on him our state of servitude, 
and that under the curse becoming a bond-man for us under the curse, 
Philip, ii. 7. " He took upon him the form of a servant." Hereof 
the death on the cross was the sign and badge, being the punish- 
ment of slaves, and accursed in the law. And to make way for 
this circumstance, the Jews were subjected to the Komans. 

Use 1. Remember a crucified Christ, enter this night deep into 
the thought of the Son of God hanging, groaning, dying on a cross 
for us. Admire the matchless love in it. Behold the severity 
of divine justice against sin in it. Prize the salvation so dearly 
bought, and receive it with thankfulness. 

2. Think not strange, if ye have a crucified life in the world. If 
ye are Christians, followers of Jesus, why should ye think strange 
of it, to be thus conformed to your head ? 

II. The old man in believers is crucified together with him. 
Here we are to inquire how it is crucified with him; which take in 
the following particulars. 

1 Christ hung on the cross as a public person, a representative 
of his spiritual seed. For he was the second Adam suiferiug, as 
the other the first Adam sinning. So that as they sinned in Adam, 
they suffered in Christ; the law having them all on the cross 
in Christ their representative. Gal. ii. 20. " I am crucified with 

2. Christ hanging on the cross had the body of all their sins upon 
him, your old man, and my old man. They were on him by the 
imputation of the guilt of them, though not inherent in him, 2 Cor. 
V. 21. " For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin ; 
that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." There- 
fore our old man is said to be crucified, not in him, but with him. 


3. "While he was hanging on the cross, he was raeritoriougly 
doing away the guilt of them, and consequently the power, pollu- 
tion, and very being thereof; inasmuch as the guilt being removed, 
these must cease of course. For the strength of sin is the law, 
whereby it stakes down the sinner under the curse, 1 Cor. xv. 56. 

4. The sinner being united to Christ by faith, the merit and 
virtue of Christ's suffering on the cross is actually applied to him. 
So that, his guilt being removed, there is a reigning principle of 
grace planted in him, going through the whole man, whereby the 
dominion of sin is broken, Rom. vi. 14. and the pollution removed 
so far as that new man goes, Tit. iii. 5. So that the believer is an 
image of Christ on the cross, full of grace in him, and of sin on 
him ; but the former working off the latter. 

Use 1. See then, communicants, that the crucifying of the 
old man, the body of sin in you, depends entirely on your uniting 
with Christ by faith. The sacrament is appointed to seal and 
strengthen that union. Therefore your great business at the table 
should be, closely to knit with a crucified Christ. The more 
of that, the more will the death of sin be hastened on. And 
they that aim not at the destruction of sin in their communicating, 
while they pretend to remember a crucified Saviour, forget the end 
of his crucifixion, viz. that the body of sin, being crucified with him, 
might be destroyed. 

2. The old man in believers is in a state of death, though not 
dead outright. It is crucified with Christ. It may move and stir 
in them, and vehement struggles it may make, as a dying man 
struggling with the mortal disease : but whatever efforts it make, 
it is on the cross, whence it shall not come down till it breathe out 
its last. 

3. The practice of religion is painful work ; and Christians must 
not think it strange, that oft-times they are pained to the heart in 
it. The saints in glory have no pain in their work ; for the old 
man is destroyed in them : but the saints here have an unrenewed 
part; and that is on the cross, and cannot but pain them. There 
are right eyes in them to be plucked out; the man has a painful 
struggle in denying himself, crossing his own inclinations, wrestling 
against his own flesh and blood. Providence thrusts a spear into 
the old man's side, by piercing trials and troubles ; it breaks his 
legs by cutting disappointments from many airths, to forward his 
death. This cannot be but painful. 

4. The old man is long a-dying out ; for crucifying is a lingering 
death. There must be an exercise of patience in the Christian 
course ; for there may be many a battle ere the complete victory be 


got. Many a wound the old man will take ere he fall ; and after 
he is worsted again and again, he will get up and renew the battle, 
till he get the final stroke from the Lord's immediate hand. 

It is a grave question, Why doth the Lord suffer the old man of 
sin to dwell in his people after their conversion? Why is not sin 
quite expelled at the first entry of grace? Our text affords one 
weighty reason for it, viz. that the members may be conformed 
to the head. Christ did not put off the body of our sins, that by 
imputation lay on him, at his very first encounter with it : nay, he 
liad a grievous struggle with it for the space of three hours on the 
cross, till he himself got the first fall, dying by its hand on the 
cross. Nay, if we reckon rightly, it lay heavy on him the space of 
thirty-three years ; only upon the cross was the heat of the battle, 
which ended in his death and burial, whereby he put it off quite 
and clean. So, since imputed sin was on Christ the head all his 
life, inherent sin is left in believers, the members, all their life. 
The old man is crucified with hira. 

Doctrine IY. By virtue of the cross of Christ, the old man in 
believers shall certainly be destroyed quite and clean at length. 
Here we may inquire, 

I. What destruction is that that is certainly abiding the old man 
in believers? It is an utter destruction of it, with all effects of it, 
all marks and vestiges of it, all belonging with it to the oM Adam. 

1. The old man himself shall be destroyed, utterly destroyed, out 
of all that are Christ's ; so that though he has many a time trode 
them like a field of battle, there shall not be in them the least 
print of his feet to be discerned, Heb. xii. 23. " The spirits of just 
men made perfect." The day will come, when there shall not be 
the least guilt of it on them, to draw a frown from their Father's 
face against them, (Is. xxxiii. ult. " The people that dwell therein 
shall be forgiven their iniquity") ; when it shall have no power to 
prevail over them in the least : nay, when it shall no more have an 
indwelling in them, Heb. xii. 23. forecited; but shall be utterly 
cast forth as an abominable branch. So the new man shall possess 
all alone, without a competitor for ever. 

2. The sinful vile body derived from old Adam, which brought 
him down from Adam to us, Psal. li. 5. and continues to the end the 
best friend he has in believers, shall be destroyed for his sake. The 
soul shall leave the sinful flesh to be carried into the grave, where 
it shall rot and consume, till it return to the dust again, so as not 
the least lineament of old Adam's image or likeness shall be dis- 
cerned on it. And Christ will take the same dust thus purified. 


and form it anew after his own likeness as second Adam, Phil, 
iii. 21. 

3. The visible heavens that covered hira, and this earth that bore 
him, and furnished fuel to his lusts, shall for his sake be set on 
flames, and reduced to ashes, 2 Pet. iii. 10. " But the day of the 
Lord will come as a thief in the night, in the which the heavens 
shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with 
fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be 
burnt up." Compare Gen. iii. 17. " Cursed is the ground for 
thy sake." So that it shall no more for ever be to be said, 
There is the earth where the old man some time lived, and there 
the heavens that gave him light and air. But Christ will make new 
heavens and a new earth for the new man, 2 Pet. iii. 13. " Never- 
theless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new 
earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." 

4. Lastly, All that shall remain of him shall be buried in hell. 
Rev. XX. 14. " And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire." 
Old Adam brought iu the old man into the world, and he spread his 
poisonous efficacy over all ; so that look where ye will, ye shall not 
see in all this world that in which there is not sin, or some eff'ect of 
sin. But then all shall be gathered from off believers, and from off 
the now groaning creatures, and cast into the lake of fire; so that 
there shall not be the least sin, nor effect of sin, without the bound- 
aries of hell. 

II. When will the old man be thus destroyed ? You will easily 
conceive, from what is said, that destruction will have two periods. 

1. At the death of the believer, and not till then. Till then the 
child of God must wrestle on with it ; for so did Christ with it as 
imputed to him, till death set him free. It is a grave question, how 
come believei's to die being freed from the curse of the covenant of 
works ? Answer. They die in conformity to Christ their head ; 
that as death came in by sin, sin may go off by death. It is not 
dying that does it indeed; for sin goes through death in them that 
are out of Christ, not moved from off them for all that death can do. 
But at death, Christ gives the redding stroke betwixt the new and 
old man, kills the old man outright, as 2 Sam. i. 10. And he does 
it, by letting in a full measure of every grace from himself into the 
believer, which takes up the whole man wholly ; and so the old man 
is gone in a moment, as the darkness upon the sun's displaying his 
beams over all. 

2. At the end of the world. Then comes the utter abolition of 
all vestiges of it out of hell. 

III. The certainty of it. It is even as sure as the death of Christ 


could merit its destruction, and as the end of his death cannot be 
frustrated, and as he rose again from the dead free from the im- 
puted guilt of it, and sits in heaven to-day without sin so much as 
imputed to him. 

Use. Let the saints then take courage, and renew the battle 
vigorously with the old man; for the victory will uudoubtedly fall 
to their side. And as for you that are still for keeping the old 
man's head and heart hale ; as ye do interpretatively desire none 
of Christ's cross, it is an argument ye have as little saving interest 
in it. 

Doctrine Y. In the meantime, till the old man be destroyed quite 
and clean by virtue of the cross of Christ, by virtue of the same 
cross the believer shall not be a servant to the old man more. That 
is the present piece of freedom from it the believer has. 

1. The believer has heartily given up with him for a master. 
Some time he said, as Exod. xxi. 5. " I love my master, — I will not 
go out free." But now he hates him mortally, and would fain be 
altogether free at any rate, Kom. vii. 24. " wretched man that 
I am ! who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?" The very 
being in the house with the old man is a burden. 

2. He will get no work, but forced work, off his hand more, Rom. 
vii. 15. " For that which I do, I allow not," &c. He will not yield 
his members to the old man voluntarily, as before, chap. vi. 13. 
^' Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness 
unto sin." He will never get work with whole good will at his hand 
more, but half will at most. 

Use. This writes death to such as have given their hand to 
Christ at his table, and are ready to go back into the service of 
their lusts. If from henceforth ye enter not into a struggling life 
against sin, ye have not felt the virtue of Christ's cross. 

DocTKiNE YI. ult. Believers should go out against the old man in 
acts of holiness, in the faith that he is a crucified man; i. e. Believe 
your old man is crucified with Christ, and in this belief bestir your- 
self against him in the use of appointed means. If you believe it 
not, how can your hands be strong, having all to do yourself alone ? 
But believe it firmly, and it will make you as a giant refreshed 
with wine. 



A Sermon preached on a sacramental occasion. 

Isaiah xli. 14, 15. 

Worm Jacob, — thoii shall thrash the mountains, and heat them small, 
and shah tnake the hills as chaff. 

Religion is a mystery, and the truly religious are a mystery too. 
They are a mystery to the world, 1 John iii. 1, " The world kuoweth 
us not ;" yea to themselves, ver. 2, " It doth not yet appear what we 
shall be." That is a matter not of sight and feeling, but of faith. 
There are many odd connexions, which folk would think contradic- 
tions and impossibilities, in their character. See a cluster of them, 
2 Cor. vi. 9, 10, "As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and 
behold we live : as chastened, and not killed ; as sorrowful, yet 
alway rejoicing ; as poor, yet making many rich ; as having no- 
thing, and yet possessing all things." That is a strange connexion, 
an old man and a new man in one man : but none more strange and 
surprising than this in the text : A worm thrashing the mount- 
ains ; and that not ridiculously, without eflFect ; but most effica- 
ciously, beating them small. In these words we have two things. 

1. What the church and people of God are. They are named by 
him who misnames none, " Worm Jacob." Their name from their 
nature is a worm ; they are poor, weak, despised creatures, ready 
to be crushed by the foot of every passer by ; yet " worm Jacob ;" 
believing, praying, wrestling worm as he was. 

2. What they shall certainly and infallibly do, " Thrash the 
mountains, and beat them small," &c. I find interpreters generally 
understand by the " mountains" the great and lofty potentates of 
the earth, setting themselves against the church. And no doubt 
these were in the prophet's view ; but the view was not confined to 
them only. God's bringing down the Babylonian monarchy at their 
prayers, and the victories afterward of the Maccabees over their 
enemies, cannot reasonably be supposed to complete the intent of 
this prophecy. We must needs look to the kingdom of Christ for 
it; of which there is plainly an account, vers. 17, 18, 19. Compare 
Dan. ii. 34, 35. And we must carry on our view, all along to the 
end of time, Rev. ii. 26, 27; the rather that it is the manner of the 
prophet, to wrap up in one expression, temporal, spiritual, and eter- 


nal deliverance ; the deliverance from Babylon, which was tempo- 
ral, being the first and nearest in view, Is. xxvi. 19, " Thy dead men 
shall live," &c. ; but not terminating it. Here then we may con- 

(1.) "What " worm Jacob" has to encounter or yoke with, " moun- 
tains," and " hills," whose weight is sufficient to crush millions of 
him; difficulties quite disproportionable to his strength, as a mount- 
ain to that of a worm. 

(2.) The success of this so very unequal match. The mountains 
shall not crush the worm ; but the worm shall thrash the moun- 
tains, as one does a sheaf of corn with repeated strokes. They 
did not in those days thresh their corn with flails, as we do ; but 
tread it out with the feet of men or beasts, or else by drawing a 
kind of cart, drag, or sledge, over and over it, called in the text "a 
thrashing instrument." I do not find the word here denoting the 
action of the worm, and rendered " thrashing," applied at all to 
that drag : but as it formally signifies " to tread out," as rendered 
Hos. X. 11, " Ephraim is as an heifer that is taught, and loveth to 
tread out the corn ;" as appears from Is. xxv. 10, " For in this 
mountain shall the hand of the Lord rest, and Moab shall be trodden 
down under him, even as straw is trodden down for the dunghill." 
So it is applied to a self-moving creature, man, Micah iv. 13, " Arise 
and thrash, daughter of Zion;" or "beast," Jer. 1. 11. Here lies 
the mystery then, uniting the two notions of the self-mover and the 
instrument, that the worm shall tread out the mountains, as one 
would do a molehill. And if ye say, Alas! such a treader ! what 
weight has it? I will make (says the Lord) the feet or belly of the 
worm like a new-shod thrashing drag for them, that shall tread 
out the highest and rockiest of them all to purpose. 

(3.) The degree and pitch of the worm's success against those 
mountains : it shall beat them small, till they be like dust, as the 
word is used, Deut. ix. 21; or like chaff: so that they shall be 
blown away with the wind, and no vestige of them remain. 

(4.) The insurance of this success of the worm. Who could 
insure it, but the mighty God ? He has done it. Jesus Christ, 
Jehovah, the most high God, and worm Jacob's Kinsman-redeemer, 
hath, by his word of promise, engaged his almighty power on the 
side of the worm against the mountains. Let not then the worm 
fear or doubt the success. A worm, seconded by Jesus Christ, will 
be an overmatch for all the mountains and hills setting up their 
heads from earth or hell. 

Doctrine. The mystery of grace carried on by Jesus Christ in 



liis cliurcli and people, is like a worm's tlirasliing the mountains, 
infallibly to issue in its thrashing them away quite and clean. 
Briefly, worm Jacob shall thrash the mountains, and thrash them 
away quite and clean. 

Here we shall consider, 

I. The character of the subject v^herein this mystery of grace is 
carried on by Jesus Christ. 

II. The mystery of grace carried on in them by Jesus. 

III. I shall account for this mystery, worm Jacob thrashing the 
mountains of difficulties in his way, and thrashing them away quite 
and clean. 

IV. Apply. 

I. First, I shall consider the character of the subject wherein 
this mystery of grace is carried on by Jesus Christ. It is in worm 
Jacob, denoting the church in general, and every believer or true 
member thereof in particular : for of these the church consists, as 
in the text, ver. 14. without the supplement, " Fear not, thou worm 
Jacob, ye men of Israel." One would think, that one designed to 
be a thrasher of the mountains should be a party of a signally 
great and swelling character, a hero, a giant, or if there were any 
thing could carry the character higher : but, on the contrary, it is 
very low, surprisingly low, worm, worm Jacob. This character 
points at these five things especially, in the case of the people of 
God. It points them out as, 

1. Weak creatures, really weak for the encounters they must 
make, as a worm for a mountain. God himself gives them this 
name of extreme weakness : therefore they must be so in very deed. 
They have weak heads, hearts, hands, for the work they are called 
to. Not only does the first grace find them really weak, but the 
after supplies of grace also, Heb. xi. 34. " Out of weakness were 
made strong." 

2. Humbled souls, truly sensible of their own weakness. By 
nature they were swelling vipers, but by grace they are humbled 
worms. And, 

\st, Habitually humbled, in respect of their state, as the creeping 
worm, whose nature it is to go on its belly. So the humble and 
the gracious are equivalent terms, Psal. xxxiv. 2, 3. " My soul 
shall make her boast in the Lord : the humble shall hear thereof, 
and be glad. magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his 
name together." There is a law-work, followed with gospel-grace, 
wrought on them ; issuing in a thorough humiliation, breaking 
down their natural self-conceit, tumbling down their towering ima- 


ginations about themselves which they had in their state of blind- 
ness, bringing thera, in their own eyes, from the consistence of 
mountains to that of worms ; and convincing thera, they are, have, 
and can do, nothing, Luke xv. 17 ; 2 Cor. x. 4, 5. 

'2dli/, Actually humbled, in respect of their frame. As the worm 
still retains its creeping gait, at the mountain, as in the valley ; 
so God's people, at difficulties to be happily surmounted, still keep 
up the sense of their own utter emptiness, and weakness for them, 
2 Cor. iii. 5, " Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any 
thing as of ourselves ; but our sufficiency is of God." If the worm 
Jacob begin to swell again, he will be so unwieldy that he will 
thrash no mountains till he fall anew, 1 Cor. xv. 10; 2 Cor. xii. 11. 

3. Despised creatures. As the lofty mountains overtop the 
crawling worm, so doth the carnal world contemn worm Jacob, 
Psal. xxii. 6, " But I am a worm, and no man ; a reproach of men, 
and despised of the people ;" and cxxiii. 4, " Our soul is exceed- 
ingly filled with the scorning of those that are at ease, and with 
the contempt of the proud." Though they may value worm Jacob 
for his gifts which he has in common with themselves, they will 
never value him for his grace, that leaves him still as a worm in 
their sight. What of religion lies beyond the reach of the natural 
man, they despise ; the Christian entertainment on words and pro- 
mises, they despise, as we do the dust the worms lick up ; the Chris- 
tian way of doing in faith, they despise, as we do the crawling of the 
worm : Like Sanballat, when he mocked the Jews, saying, " What 
do these feeble Jews ? will they fortify themselves ? will they sac- 
rifice ? will they make an end in a day ? will they revive the stones 
out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burnt ?" Neh. iv. 2, 3. 

4. Yet united to Jesus Christ. Though a worm, yet worm 
Jacob. Our Lord Jesus himself is of the worm family, Psal. xxii. 
6, viz. worm Jacob, Psal. xxiv. 6, " This is the generation of them 
that seek him, that seek thy face, Jacob." Compare Is. xlix. 3. 
" Thou art my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified." This 
intimates an union between him and them as his worm brethren, 
Heb. ii. 11. Being lowered and humbled to the condition of the 
worm, they are knit to and built on him by faith, Luke vi. 48. 

6. Lastly, Daring adventurers, daring wrestlers. Worm Jacob 
ventured on him that formed the mountains, and wrestled with him, 
and prevailed too. Gen. xxxii. 24 ; Hos. xii. 4. What wonder to 
find him then venturing on the mountains themselves ? He must 
have the blessing, and must be forward whatever mountains be in 
the way, I proceed to, 

II. The Second thing to be considered, namely, the mystery of 
Vol. VI. Y 


grace carried on in them by Jesus Christ. We may take it up in 
these two. 

1. An apparently hopeless encounter they are led to by him, 
worm Jacob thrashing the mountains. What a hopeless like en- 
counter is a worm thrashing a mountain ! so hopeless like are the 
encounters the people of God have to make in their way to the eter- 
nal rest. These thrashers are certainly thrashers in hope, 1 Cor. ix. 
10. But the naked eye cannot discover the ground of hope in it : it 
is faith only which shews it hopeful, while sight represents it as a 
hopeless case ; and therefore they must close their eyes, and thrash 
in faith, as Abraham did, Rom. iv. 19, 20. 

We take up this hopeless like encounter in five things. 

1st., The Lord lays in his people's way mountains of difficulties 
quite above their strength; difficulties which they look to, as a worm 
to a mountain before it: 2 Cor. 1. 8, "For we would not, brethren, 
have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we 
were pressed out of measure above strength, insomuch that we de- 
spaired even of life." However plain the way to hell be, the way to 
heaven will be a mountainous way, in the experience of all that 
travel it : they will never want mountains in their way, till they 
come to the hill of God. 

2dli/, They must not go about the mountains in their way, shifting 
the difficulties which the Lord calls them to ; but they must make 
their way over them, thrashing them down, Micah iv. 13, " Arise 
and thrash, daughter of Zion : for I will make thine horn iron, 
and I will make thy hoofs brass, and thou shalt beat in pieces 
many people, &c. If they offer to go about one mountain, they 
will be sure to meet with a higher in their way. Peter tried it, 
denying his Master, and found it so ; encountering another as high 
above the former, as the anger of God is above that of the creature ; 
and which was like to crush him, Matth. xxvi. 75, "He went out, 
and wept bitterly. 

Sdy, Therefore worm Jacob falls a-thrashing the mountains, com- 
bating the difficulties which the Lord lays in his way. He puts on 
a brow for a bargain, and resolutely bestirs his weak hands and feet, 
thrusting forward maugre all opposition. Gen. xxxii. 26; Matth. xi. 
12. For there is a spirit in worm Jacob more daring and venturous 
than ever was in any unbelieving hero ; a spirit for thrashing 
mountains, while they did but scatter molehills, Numb. xiv. 24 ; 
Prov. xvi. 32. 

4<%, They continue the combating of difficulties resolutely and pa- 
tiently. Thrashing is a continued action, consisting of repeated 
strokes. It takes some time to thrash a sheaf; how mucli more to 


thrash a inouatain ? It is the ruin of many that they are not able to 
endure ; if a stroke or two would do the business, they would brings 
their matters to a good account ; but they have no heart to be thrash- 
ers. " But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect 
and entire, wanting nothing," James i. 4. " He that shall endure 
unto the end, the same shall be saved," Matth. xxiv. 13. 

Lastly, Worm Jacob has many mountains to thrash. One would 
be enough, we would think, for the worm ; but there is a plurality 
of them. The truth is, this world is full of mountains to the people 
of God ; and when they have thrashed one, they will have another 
to fall to, till they be out of this mountainous country. Having 
passed one difficulty, they will get another to grapple with, till they 
be within the gates of the city. So they must have a thrashing life- 
time of it till they come there. 

2. A surprising success ; even as surprising as a worm's thrash- 
ing and beating the mountains small to dust, and thrashing them 
away. Such will be the issue of the encounter which the people of 
God now have with their difficulties in their way through the 
world ; for which the text is plain. We take it up in these two. 
They will have, 

\st, Partial successes in their way, very surprising ; surprising to 
others and to themselves; Psal. cxxvi. 1, 2, "When the Lord 
turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. 
Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with sing- 
ing : then said they among the heathen. The Lord hath done great 
things for them." What mountains of difficulties were in David's 
way to the kingdom ! He thrashed long at them, and they never 
appeared to give way ; nay he was like to be crushed with them, 
saying, " One day I shall perish by the hand of Saul." But see the 
surprising success, Psal. xviii. entitled, " A Psalm of David, — in 
the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his ene- 
mies, and from the hand of Saul ;" wherein, after recapitulating the 
various difficulties he had to encounter with, he particularly men- 
tions the happy deliverances he met with, and the surprising man- 
ner of the same. Some mountains God's people are kept thi-ashing 
at all their days, particularly the mount of corrui)tion ; and they 
never fall quite down till death. But, as a pledge for the time to 
come, God makes some mountains now and then fall down before the 
worm Jacob ; wherewith he is surprised, and transported with 
wonder, hov7 it has come to pass : Mark xvi. 4, 5, " And when they 
looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away ; — and they were 

2ri/j/, A total success at the end of their way, which will swallow 

y 2 


them up in surprise and eternal wonder: 1 John iii. 2, " Beloved, 
now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we 
shall be ; but we know, that when he shall appear, we shall be like 
him ; for we shall see him as he is." When the mystery is finished, 
the web cut out, it will appear an admirable piece. There will not 
be left then the least vestige of all the mountains that stood be- 
tween heaven and them : the thrashed mountains will then be 
blown away with the wind ; and they will lay by the flail, as an in- 
strument they have no more use for. 

Objection. But have not others, as well as worm Jacob, mount- 
ains of difficulty in their way, which they become masters of too at 
length ? Answer. This world is so mountainous, that none can get 
through it without meeting mountains in their way : carnal men 
make a shift to creep through some of them ; but they can thrash 
none of them, as worm Jacob doth ; they want his head-staff, 
John XV. 5, " Without me ye can do nothing." They creep into 
others of them, and nestle in them ; the mountains of their corrup- 
tions, which in a special manner stand between heaven and them ; 
and at length they will be eternally buried under them. 

Use 1. Here is a touchstone for trial of true Christians and 
worthy communicants, worm Jacob thrashing the mountains. 

1st, They have a heart and spirit for thrashing mountains in 
their way to heaven. They are peremptory and resolute to break 
through them, without exception, as men that must be 'there, must 
not perish : Matth. xi. 12, " The kingdom of heaven suffereth vio- 
lence, and the violent take it by force." Though they have long 
thrashed in vain to their own sense, they are resolute to hold on ; 
like Paul, " pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high call- 
ing of God in Christ Jesus," Phil. iii. 14. This casts the delicate 
and soft-hearted in this case, that are not for thrashing mount- 
ains : they are for the easier tasks, but have no heart nor hand 
for that. These I think are the " fearful," Rev. xxi. 8, like the un- 
believing spies and people in the wilderness. Take heed here how 
ye stand disposed, 

(1.) To a vain world; whether there is in you a heart to row 
against that stream or no ; Rom. xii. 2, " Be ye not conformed to 
this world : but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind," 
&c. If ye have no heart for it, but must go along with it ; be ye 
young or old, ye are no good Christians, Gal. vi. 14, " The world is 
crucified unto me, and I unto the world." And young communi- 
cants, leaving that gap open, make naughty and worthless old ones 

(2.) To the sin that most easily besets you. Have you no heart 


to thrash that mountain ? ye have not the spirit of worm Jacob, 
who is one " that keeps himself from his iniquity," Psal. xviii. 23 ; 
and ye will be buried under it at length ; like the young man, who 
was grieved at Christ's discourse about self-denial and the cross, and 
went away from him and never returned, Mark x. 21, 22. 

(3.) To the crook in your lot. Have you no heart to set yourselves 
to a Christian way of bearing it, but must needs have it evened to 
your mind ? ye have not the spirit of worm Jacob ; for the Lord 
has said, " If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and 
take up his cross, and follow me," Matth. xvi. 24. 

Idly, Yet they are but worms in their own eyes, an unequal 
match for the least of the mountains ; 2 Cor. iii. 5, " We are not suf- 
ficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves : but our suf- 
ficiency is of God." This casts the proud legalist, that minds 
nothing but binding himself to duty, reckoning himself man enough 
for the duties of Christianity. 

The sum of this mark is, the Christian communicant is resolute 
and peremptory for doing all, yet convinced that he is sufficient for 

Use 2. Here is likewise a ground of full comfort to such. Let 
not the height, rockiness, nor bulk of the mountains discourage 
thee ; nor yet the felt unsuccessfulness of thy attemj)ts hitherto. 
God has said it, " Worm Jacob, thou shalt thrash the mountains and 
beat them small." Be not afraid ; only believe. 

Use 3. Lastly, Here is, moreover, a strong inducement to all to 
come to Christ : he will make you " thrash the mountains, and beat 
them small." Come ye that are wandering on the mountains of 
vanity, like to be worried on the mountains of prey, nestling in the 
mountain of corruption, unable to get over the mountains of diffi- 
culty before you ; come to Christ, and ye shall " thrash the mount- 
ains, and beat them small, and shall make the hills as chaff." 

III. Thirdly, I shall account for this mystery, worm Jacob thrash- 
ing the mountains of difficulties in his way, and thrasliing them 
away quite and clean. How can this be ? 

1. God has said it, and therefore it cannot fail ; " Thou shalt 
thrash the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills 
as chaff." Compared with Numb, xxiii. 19, " God is not a man, 
that he should lie ; neither the Son of man, that he should repent : 
hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall 
he not make it good ? He speaks things into being, and they must 
start out of the Avomb of nothing, or of not being, at his word, which 
calls them forth, Rom. iv. 17. There is as much for worm Jacob's 
thrashing and beating away the mountains as there was for making 

336 WORM JACOB thuashing the mountains. 

the world, and all the mountains in it ; Psal. xxxiii. 9, " He said 
and it was." (Heb.) Shall not his word that said them into being, be 
as effectual to say them away again? "Thus saith the Lord," is 
enough to insure the accomplishment of the hardest things prophe- 

2. The glory of his grace, which is the great design of the whole 
mystery of God, necessarily requires it. What does he intend by 
the mystery of Christ, but " the glory of his grace" ? Eph. i. 6 ; to 
shew the " exceeding riches" of it, chap. ii. 7. Therefore he has chosen 
the way that leads straight to that point, Rom. iv. 16, " Therefore it 
is of faith, that it might be by grace." The worm is despicable in 
itself; but being the subject of glorious grace, if it should miscarry 
in its attempts, the glory of grace is sunk, as the precious loading 
with the ship cast away. Wherefore, that his grace may be glori- 
fied, if it be in a worm thrashing mountains, those mountains must 
needs be thrashed away by that worm. Though that sacred fire be 
but like a spark in the midst of a sea of corruption, it must not only 
be preserved in, but dry up that sea quite and clean. 

3. By an unalterable decree, there must be a conformity betwixt 
the little worm and the great worm Jacob, the little one's Kinsman- 
Redeemer ; Rom. viii. 29, " For whom he did foreknow, he also did 
predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might 
be the first-born among many brethren." Now, the great worm, 
the man Christ, a worm and no man, (Psal. xsii. 6), has en- 
countered mountains, and thrashed them away. Where are the four 
monarchies, the most towering mountains that ever set up their 
heads on the earth ? The chief worm Jacob has thrashed them away 
to chaff, which is away with the wind, Dan. ii. 35. The mountains 
stood before him through the world, with all the fastness that human 
learning and the power of the sword could give : but by his few 
fishermen he thrashed them away; and the prophecy is fulfilled, 
Psal. Ixxii. 16, "There shall be an handful of corn in the earth 
upon the top of the mountains ; the fruit thereof shall shake like 
Lebanon, and they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth." 
Now many mountains stand before the little worm : but where will 
that conformity to heaven's beloved pattern be, if they also do not 
thrash them away ? 

4. The little worm Jacob is in reality but a member of the great 
one, Jesus Christ. Take away that, and worm Jacob is as insig- 
nificant for thrashing of mountains, as any worm that crawls on the 
earth, John xv. 6, " Without me ye can do nothing." Fix that, 
and worm Jacob has a kind of derived omnipotence, ver. 7, "If 
ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye 


will, and it shall be done unto you." Phil. iv. 13, " I can do 
all things through Christ which strengtheneth rae." And it is 
fixed : so their thrashing is Christ's thrashing, Col. i. 24. And 
ye may well allow Christ's thrashing away mountains, with a little 
finger of his body. If with the finger of God he cast out devils, 
with the least of his fingers he may cast down mountains. 

5. Lastli/, All the mountains that stand before worm Jacob are 
burnt mountains ; so they are far easier to thrash than one would 
think. The mountain of the Babylonish monarchy stood before 
worm Jacob, and barred his way seventy years : at length God sets 
fire in the bowels of it, and makes it a burnt mountain ; and then 
bids worm Jacob thrash, and it flies away with the wind ; Jer. li. 25, 
" Behold, I am against thee, destroying mountain, saith the Lord, 
which destroyest all the earth, and I will stretch out mine hand 
upon thee, and roll thee down from the rocks, and will make thee 
a burnt mountain." By the death and resurrection of Christ, all 
the mountains that stand between worm Jacob and heaven, are burnt 
mountains. Christ has gone through the bowels of them with his 
fire, undone their consistence, burnt the rocks to lime ; they are 
nothing now but the shape of mountains, with a thin scorched sur- 
face : they will give way at the thrashing of worm Jacob, like the 
apples of Sodom, that being touched go to dust between one's fingers: 
Micah ii. 13, " The breaker is come up before them : they have 
broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by 
it ; and their King shall pass before them, and the Lord on the 
head of them." Nahum iii. 12, " All thy strong holds shall be like 
fig-trees with the first ripe figs : if they be shaken, they shall even 
fall into the mouth of the eater." Compare Is. xxvi. 19, "Thy dead 
men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise : awake, 
and sing, ye that dwell in dust : for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, 
and the earth shall cast out the dead." Hos. xiii. 14, " I will 
ransom them from the power of the grave : I will redeem them from 
death : death, I will be thy plagues ; grave, I will be thy de- 
struction ; repentance shall be hid from mine eyes." 

Inference 1. The struggles of the church with all her adversa- 
ries will have a surprisingly comfortable issue at length. As weak 
as she is, and as strong and numerous as they are, she will infallibly 
have success, surprising success, against them, attending the en- 
counter with them : Micah iv. 11, 12, 13, " Now also many nations are 
gathered against thee, that say. Let her be defiled, and let our eye 
look upon Zion. But they know not the thoughts of the Lord, 
neither understand they his counsel : for he shall gather them as the 
sheaves into the floor. Arise and thrash, daughter of Zion : for 


I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass, and 
thou shalt beat in pieces many people : and I will consecrate their 
gain unto the Lord, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole 
earth." And as to the present state of the church, learn, 

l.s^. It is not at all strange, nor will it make the case of this 
church hopeless, that prodigiously high mountains, higher than our 
fathers saw, are raised up against her, overtopping worm Jacob, and 
threatening to crush him : mountains of national guilt of forty years' 
gathering, laid upon the top of the mountains of guilt raised by our 
fathers : profanity overflowing, and become fashionable ; a conspi- 
racy carried on in the house of her friends against the grace of 
Christ and serious godliness, to palm upon us refined heathenism 
for Christianity ; the foundations struck at, mountains of damnable 
heresies and blasphemies against the person of Christ, and divine 
authority of the Scriptures ; and the advanced learning of the age 
improved to these monstrous ends. But, 

2dly, Assuredly these mountains will be brought down : and 
though we have all ground to expect that multitudes shall be 
crushed to death with thrashing judgments for bringing them down ; 
yet neither the one nor the other shall crush worm Jacob, but he 
shall see them all blown away with the wind. 

^dly, It is worm Jacob that shall thrash and beat them small : a 
believing, praying, wrestling, though despised remnant, will bring 
them down ; though they stand immoveable against all the merely 
rational and politic methods used against them. 

Inference 2. They are not for heaven, that are not for thrashing 
away the mountains in their way to it. As, 

\st, Such as are not exercised unto godliness ; that pretend to 
believe, but trouble not themselves with the work of mortification, 
letting these mountains stand unmolested: Gal. v. 24, "They that 
are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with the afi"ections and lusts." 
Whatever kindred ye pretend to worm jRcob, if you had any thing 
of his nature, you would thrash, in mortification. 

2dly, Such as are partial in their obedience, that are not for 
thrashing the mountains in their way without exception, Mark x. 21, 
22. Such a lust they are content to sacrifice, but there is a darling 
one to be spared : any trouble they would bear, but only such an 
one as God lays before them, they can never think to lay their fair 
neck under that yoke : that is to say, they will scatter the mole- 
hills, but have no heart to venture on the mountains. 

Zdly, Backsliders, that fall a-thrashing, but give over before the 
mountains begin to give way, or be beaten small ; (Heb. x. 38) ; 
they draw back their hand, Luke ix. 62. These are like those that 


came out of Egypt, but fell in the wilderness through their unbelief 
thinking there was no making it against the Anakiras. 

Inferbnce 3. Last, Serious souls, sensible of their weakness, 
but resolute to combat whatever difficulties are between them and 
heaven, be the issue what it will, shall certainly be blessed with 
surprising success, to their own eternal wonder. The worm shall 
thrash away the mountains. 

I would say to such, Go on and prosper : thrash on, worm Jacob, 
thou shalt beat them small. 

1. Thrash on the mountains of opposition that stand in your way, 
from earth or hell : thou shalt get through them all at length ; and 
thou shalt " stand on the sea of glass, having the harp of God ;" and 
shalt " sing the song of Moses, and of the Lamb, saying. Great and 
marvellous are thy works. Lord God Almighty ; just and true are 
thy ways, thou King of saints," Rev. xv. 2, 3. 

2. Thrash on the mountain of troubles, trials, and afflictions. 
Let none of them, be they never so high and formidable, prevail to 
separate betwixt your God and you ; they will be beat to dust 
at length, and blown away from before you; Rev. vii. 9, 10, 14, 
" After this I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could 
number, of all nations, and kindreds, and j)eople, and tongues, 
stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white 
robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voico, 
saying. Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and 
unto the Lamb. — These are they which came out of great tribula- 
tion, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the 
blood of the Lamb." 

3. Thrash on the mountain of corruption, indwelling sin ; thrash 
on every height therein, particularly that top of it that is the sin 
that easily besets you : infallibly you will get it down at length. 
Paul saw this while he was thrashing it, Rom. vii. 24, 25, " 
wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver me from the body 
of this death ? I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord." 

Say not, Alas ! I am weak, my thrashing will be in vain. No, 
though you have no more strength for them than a worm for a 
mountain, it will not be in vain. God will have these mountains 
thrashed by worms. 

But thou wilt say, Alas ! I have thrashed long without success. 
Answer. Thrash on ; there must be patient enduring ere the 
mountain fall, Heb. vi. 15, " After Abraham had patiently endured, 
he obtjiined the promise :" but there is an oath mediating betwixt 
the promise and its accomplishment that it cannot fail, ver. 17. 
(Gr.) Mind the walls of Jericho. Have ye not had a partial success 


sometimes ? be sure then of the total. So it is with Jesus himself, 
Heb. ii. 8, " Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. 
For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that 
is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under 

The last mountain to be thrashed away is death, and ye shall 
beat that small too, 1 Cor. xv. 54, 55, " When this corruptible 
shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on 
immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is writ- 
ten, Death is swallowed up in victory. death, where is thy 
sting ? grave, where is thy victory ?" 

After all, it is a mighty wonder, worm Jacob thrashing the 
mountains. But the thrashing worm is shod from heaven, and 
so fitted to thrash. Three things this thrashing instrument is shod 
with. (1.) A word of command, calling to the work. (2.) A word 
of promise, securing the success. (3.) The use of means of Heaven's 
appointment for reaching the end. If any of these be wanting, 
there will be no thrashing the mountains away : a plain instance 
we have in the rationalists of the age laying aside the doctrine of a 
crucified Christ, and substituting in the room thereof the dry and 
sapless doctrines of heathenism ; which God will never countenance 
to renew the hearts or reform the lives of any, as being contrary to 
the appointment of Heaven for that purpose. But worm Jacob, 
influenced by the command of God, excited by the promise of suc- 
cess, and using the proper means, " shall thrash the mountains, and 
beat them small, and shall make the hills as chaff." 


Two Sermons preached, on a sacramental occasion, at Maxton, July 15 and 16, 1727. 

Luke xviii. 1. 

And he spake a parable unto them, to this end, that men ought always 
to pray, and not to faint. 

The time of this life is the time of trial ; only in the life to come 
is full ease to be expected. Now is the warfare, and partial 


victories : the complete victory comes not till death. If we must 
have our portion of goods in hand presently, and cannot wait, we 
will soon be through it, and have nothing when we need most. If 
we mind for heaven then, we must be resolute, set a stiff heart to 
a stay brae, and hold forward whatever storms blow in our face, as 
we see in the words of the text. Wherein we have, 

1. The Lord's insisting to teach his disciples, " And he spake a 
parable unto them," &c. That the relative them refers to his 
disciples, appears by the continued connexion of these words with 
the discourse from chap. xvii. 22. And he changes in it his man- 
ner of teaching, making a practical improvement, in a parable, of 
what he had before taught them in plain style. (G^r.) " Now he 
spake also a parable unto them," to impress the lesson the more 
lively, both on their minds, memories, and affections." 

2. The new lesson he taught them, " That men ought always to 
pray, and not to faint ;" that there would be a necessity of their 
praying always, and not fainting. The discourse whence it is 
inferred, among other things, bears, (1.) That their comforts 
should be less than they were then, ver. 22, " And he said unto 
the disciples. The days will come when ye shall desire to see one of 
the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it." (2.) Their 
temptations more, ver. 23, " And they shall say to you, See here, or, 
see there : go not after them, nor follow them." (3.) That the 
world would be long in deep security, and they long in deep dis- 
tress, so that they might be in hazard of giving it over ; see vers. 
26 — 33. (4.) That the Lord would come to them at length, and 
make all right : but when or where, they are not to know. 

Now, to direct them how to carry in such a difficult situation, he 
speaks the following parable ; the scope and sum of which comes to 
this, " That men ought always to pray, and not to faint." So he 
tells them, (1.) The course they must hold, blow the wind as it will : 
they must " always pray ;" not that they must be always on their 
knees, but they must keep a habitual course of praying. (2.) What 
they must beware of ; they must " not faint." The word signifies 
a succumbing or yielding under the pressure of evils or hardships, 
as one sinking under a burden, or giving over by reason of the bad- 
ness of the way, Eph. iii. 13, and is well rendered fainting ; for the 
apostle explains it by being loosened. Gal. vi, 9, because in fainting 
or swooning the nerves are loosened, relaxed, or unbended, and so 
activity is gone. So whatever hardships are met with, we must not be 
so outwearied with them as to give over. (3.) The necessity of this ; 
men ought or must needs always pray, and not faint. If we give 
over, we are gone; if we faint, and break off our course, all is lost. 


Doctrine. Our Lord Jesus Christ has kindly intimated to all 
that have business at the court of heaven the necessity of so 
managing themselves that they still hang on there, and not faint, 
whatever entertainment they meet with during the dependence of 
their process. 

In this doctrine there are three heads to be considered. 

I. Our Lord's kind intimation of this way of his Father's court. 

II. The way of the court of heaven, in trysting petitioners 
with some hardships during the dependence of their process. 

III. The duty of the petitioners, to hang on and not faint what- 
ever they meet with. 

lY. Apply. 

I. The /rst thing to be considered, is, our Lord's kind intimation 
of this way of his Father's court. And here we would shew, 1. The 
import of Christ's making this intimation to petitioners there ; and, 
2. The weight and moment of this intimation. 

First, I shall shew the import of Christ's making this intimation 
to petitioners at his Father's court. 

1. The darkness that is naturally on the minds of poor sinners, 
with respect to heaven's management about them. "We may say, as 
Jer. V. 4, " Surely these are poor, they are foolish : for they know 
not the way of the Lord, nor the judgment of their God." The 
obscurest shepherd from the remotest corner, would know more of 
the king's court, if he had business there, than the wisest mortals 
naturally know of the way of the court of heaven. Dark clouds 
are about the sovereign manager to us : " His way is in the sea, and 
his path in the great waters, and his footsteps are not known." 
Even Job, that had been a long hanger-on about the court of hea- 
ven, knew little of the way of it, and behoved to have a new lesson 
of it. Job xxxviii. 1,2," Then the Lord answered Job out of the 
whirlwind, and said. Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words 
without knowledge ?" 

2. Christ's good-will to the sinner's business going right there : 
Exod. xxviii. 29, " And Aaron shall bear the names of the children 
of Israel in the breast-plate of judgment, upon his heart, when he 
goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord con- 
tinually." He shews it by his concern for their right managing it : 
he knows they are unacquainted with the manner of the court of 
heaven, and so are in hazard of marring their own business ; and 
therefore he is concerned to set them on the road to get a good 
answer. The poor soul that is sometimes at the brink of groaning 
and giving it over, is moved to stai't back from that precipice, and 


groan and look up again. Whence is that, but from Christ's secret 
making of this intimation to them by his Spirit? Rom. viii. 26, 
" Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities : for we know not 
what we should pray for as we ought : but the Spirit itself maketh 
intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." 

3. That our Lord sees sinners are in hazard of fainting from the 
entertainment they may meet with during the dependence of their 
process, Heb. xii. 3. He knows their frame, the hastiness of their 
spirits, John vii. 6, how apt they are to take delays for denials, and 
be discouraged with what is designed only for their trial. There- 
fore he opens and forewarns them of the manner of the court, Is. 
xxviii. 16, " He that believeth shall not make haste." 

4. That they that shall hang on, and not faint, shall certainly 
come speed at length. Luke xviii. 6, 7, 8, " And the Lord sud, 
Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his 
own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long 
with them ? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily." It is 
not possible that the soul, continuing resolute to go to no other door, 
but hanging on at his door, to make its grave there, if it be not let 
in, can be shut out always, John vi. 37, " Him that cometh to me, I 
will in no wise cast out." Wilful faith, that will be forward in face 
of " killing" and " slaying," Job xiii. 16, will get all its will at 
length, Matth. xv. 28, " Then Jesus answered, and said unto her, 
woman, great is thy faith : be it unto thee even as thou wilt." 

Secondly, The weight and moment of this intimation. This will 
appear, if it is considered in a fourfold light. 

1. Jesus Christ, who makes it, has experienced it in his own case. 
The man Christ, the head of the church, had the most important 
business at the court of heaven that ever came before it ; viz., for 
through-bearing in a work on which his Father's glory, and the 
salvation of an elect world depended. And he was often in prayer : 
he spent a whole night in it, Luke vi. 12. But see his experience 
of this manner of the court, Psal. xxii. 1, 2, "My God, my God, 
why hast thou forsaken me ? why art thou so far from helping 
me, and from the words of my roaring ? my God, I cry in the 
day-time, but thou hearest not ; and in the night-season, and am 
not silent." And Ixix. 1 — 3, " Save me, God, for the waters are 
come in unto my soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no 
standing : I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow 
me. I am weary of my crying, my throat is dried ; mine eyes 
fail while I wait for my God." Now, if this was the manner 
with the great Petitioner, how can we expect it should fare other- 
wise with us? Nay, God, in his dealing with Christ the Head, 


set down a pattern to be followed thereafter in his dealing with 
the members, Rora. viii. 29, " For whom he did foreknow, he also 
did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he 
might be the first-born among many brethren." Compare ver. 28, 
*' And we know that all things work together for good to them that 
love Grod, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 

2. He is the great Prophet of heaven, whose office it is to reveal 
the manner of the court to poor sinners. He is fitted for it, as being 
on all the secrets of it, which the most favourite angel cannot dive 
into, John i. 18. Therefore we may be very sure this is the man- 
ner of the court ; and that those who will manage their business at 
it otherwise will be sure to mar it. 

3. He is the only Intercessor there, the Father's Secretary, the 
Solicitor for poor sinners there. There is never a petition received 
at the throne of grace, but what is presented by him; nor graciously 
granted there, but through his intercession, Rev. viii. 3, 4 ; nor an 
answer graciously returned, or an order issued out for the sinner's 
relief, but it comes through his hand, John v. 22, " For the Father 
judge th no man; but hath committed all judgment unto the Son." 
"Who then can doubt of the necessity by him intimated ? and who 
must not see the kind aspect that the intercessor's hinting this to 
the petitioners has on their business ? 

4. He is himself the hearer of prayer. The angels are called to 
worship him, Heb. i, 6. Stephen, in his most serious moments, when 
he was nearest heaven, prays to him, A.cts vii. 59 ; a plain evidence 
that he is true God, the Father's equal, the Supreme, the most high 
God : for it is written, Deut. x. 20, " Thou shalt fear the Lord thy 
God ; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear 
by his name." Compare Matth. iv. 10, "Thou shalt worship the 
Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." Psal. Ixxxiii. 18, 
"That men may know, that thou whose name alone is Jehovah, art 
the most high over all the earth." And the Scripture condemns 
serving those that are not by nature gods, Gal. iv. 8, Therefore 
Christ is God by nature, true God, necessarily existent, independ- 
ent, God of himself, though not a Son of himself: but the divine 
essence being eternally and necessarily communicated from the 
Father to the Son, the Father's communicating it, and the Son's receiv- 
ing it, are equally glorious. Since then he is the hearer of prayer 
that makes this intimation, it is equivalent to a promise that prayers 
so managed shall certainly come speed at length ; as appears from 
Is. xlv. 19, " I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain." 

II. The Second thing to be considered, is, The way of the court of 
heaven, in trysting petitioners with some hardships, during the de- 


pendeuco of tlieii* process. Here I shall give you, 1. A swatch of 
that way ; and, 2. Some reasons of that way, whereby to account 
for it in a suitableness to the divine perfections. 

First, A swatch of that way in a few particulars. Though the 
Lord sometimes gives his people very quick dispatch, (Is. Ixv. 24, 
"And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer, 
and while they are yet speaking, I will hear"); yet it is very usual 
to try them another way. 

1. Oft-times there is deep silence from the throne, Matth. xv. 23 ; 
and that even when the petitioner is crying with the greatest 
earnestness, and crying incessantly, Psal. xxii. 1, 2, and is at the 
point of being overwhelmed for want of help, Psal. cxliii. 7; yet no 
voice to be perceived, no motion appearing towards the petitioner's 

2. Oft-times they get a very angry-like answer. The woman of 
Canaan got a couple of them, one on the back of another, Matth. xv. 
24, 26, " But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost 
sheep of the house of Israel. — It is not meet to take the children's 
bread, and to cast it to dogs." It is very ordinary for Heaven's 
petitioners to hear some Sinai thunders when they are on Mount 
Zion ; to come in a low and heavy case to the throne, and to go 
away laid lower then they came. So going with their petitions to 
the throne of grace, they are teazed there to purpose, and many a 
foul ply of their heart and life is opened out to them, and they 
come back with a breast full of convictions, Judges x. 10 — 14. 

3. Many a time, at the sight of the King on the throne, they 
falter, and their speech fails, that they cannot get words to tell 
what they would be at, Psal. Ixxvii. 3, 4. Hence many broken 
sentences in their petitions, which yet are understood well enough 
in heaven, the blanks being filled up with groans, Psal. vi. 3; Rom. 
viii. 26, 27. 

4. Disappointed expectations are a piece of very ordinary enter- 
tainment there, Jer. viii. 15, " We looked for peace, but no good 
came : and for a time of health, and behold trouble." Hope may be 
raised, and yet be deferred, till it make a sick heart. These 
disappointments may meet the petitioner over and over again ; 
Cant, iii. 1, 2, " By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul 
loveth : I sought him, but I found him not. I will rise now, and go 
about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek 
him whom my soul loveth : I sought him but I found him not." If 
ye ask how long the course of them may last? I know of no term 
fixed for them but one, and that one is enough for faith, Psal. ix. 
18, " For the needy sliall not always be forgotten : the expectation 


of the poor shall not perish for ever." And if ye go to another 
door than the Lord's, the course of your disappointments will have 
no end. 

5. Many a time, looking for an answer, providence drives a course 
apparently just contrary to the granting of their petition ; so is ful- 
filled that Psal. Ixv. 5, " By terrible things in righteousness wilt 
thou answer us, God of our salvation." And it may be so stun- 
ning, as to require much faith not to take that for the final answer, 
as if God had said, speak no more to me of that matter : and yet 
the wheel of providence may be but fetching a compass to come to 
the point desired. Thus the sunk spirits of the Israelites were 
raised in hope, Exod. iv. 31, " And the people believed : and when 
they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Israel, and that 
he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and 
worshipped." But the very first thing that comes after that, chap, 
v., is, that they are in a worse condition than ever, their bondage 
is more intolerable ; which made Moses' faith stagger ; vers. 22, 
23, " And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, Lord, wherefore 
hast thou so evil entreated this people? why is it that thou hast 
sent me? for since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he 
hath done evil to this people ; neither hast thou delivered the people 
at all. 

6. Lastly, Oft-times the Lord, instead of easing the petitioner, 
lays new burdens on him, Jer. viii. 15, " We looked for peace, but 
no good came ; and for a time of health, and behold trouble." 
Instead of curing tlie old wound, there are new ones given. So 
that sometimes the waters come in on every side, and compass the 
poor soul : and yet the Lord, though he see it meet to give the 
sinner such a gliff", may have no mind he should drown for all that ; 
Psal. cxvi. 3, "The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains 
of hell gat hold upon me : I found trouble and sorrow." Ver. 6, 
" The Lord preserveth the simple : I was brought low, and he 
helped me:" and lxxxviii.17, " They came round about me daily 
like water, they compassed me about together." So it was in Job's 

Use 1. Whosoever of you would manage your business success- 
fully at the court of heaven, on this occasion, put on resoluteness to 
hang on about the Lord's hand, and not to faint, till ye get it to a 
happy issue. And, 

\st, Lay the great business of salvation close to heart, let it be 
your main business ; the securing of your saving interest in Christ, 
now when you have this solemn occasion of both the word of the 
covenant, and the seal of the covenant together ; not knowing if 


ever ye may have such a favourable occasion again. Time goes 
away, death is hastening on, it is dangerous to delay. If ye be 
indifferent in the business, ye will never hang on. 

2dli/, Lay it down for a conclusion, ye must have Christ, or ye 
perish. Pinching need makes men importunate : if ye feel not that, 
ye will soon weary, and never bring the matter to a good issue, 
John vi. 67, 68, " Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go 
away ? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we 
go ? thou hast the words of eternal life." The sinner will hang on 
at Christ's door when he sees all others shut against him. 

Mil/, Embrace Christ in the great promise of the gospel, believing 
the promise ; taking a dead gripe of it, never to part. It is held 
out to you, and every one of you, Heb. iv. 1, " Let us therefore fear, 
lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you 
should seem to come short of it." It is the report from heaven to 
be believed. Is. liii. 1. Without faith there is no eviting of fainting, 
Psal. xxvii 13, "I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the 
goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 

4ithli/, Take an eternal farewell of the vain world, and deceitful 
lusts; resvolving, that, come what will, ye will hang by Christ in the 
promise, if ye should die there ; saying with Job, chap. xiii. 15, 
"T hough he slay me yet will I trust in him." None come ariglit 
to Christ but they that come resolutely. 

Lastly, Be not hasty, but resolve to wait in expectation, setting 
no time to the Lord's comforting you, Is. xxviii. 16, — "He that 
believeth, shall not make haste." Micah. vii. 9, " I will bear the 
indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, until 
he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me : he will bring me 
forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness." If all thy 
life long should pass uncomforted, peace and comfort in the end is 
well worth waiting on. 

Use 2. Be not surprised, nor offended at the way of God, though 
in your addresses to the throne ye meet with apparent harsh enter- 
tainment. They have seemed to themselves to be boasted away, 
who taking the buffet, have got the bit too by waiting on, like the 
woman of Canaan, Matt. xv. 21, — 28. The importunity of faith, 
that is, a continued trust in the promise, and an incessant use of the 
means, will prevail. 

Secondly, I shall give you some reasons of that way, whereby to 
account for it in a suitableness to the divine perfections. 

1. This way is taken with petitioners in the court of heaven ; for 
thereby God is glorified, and his attributes more illustrated than 
otherwise they would be. In this view of it, Paul welcomes it in 

Vol. VI. z 


his own case, though it was hard to sense, 2 Cor. xii. 9, " And he 
said uuto me. My grace is sufficient for thee : for my strength is 
made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather 
glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 
God treating his people thus, displays his wisdom, in guiding the 
broken vessel safely through many rocks and shelves to land 
without splitting ; that afterwards they are made to say. None else 
but he could have done it. Is. ix. 6, " His name shall be called 
Wonderful, Counsellor;" his power, in supporting them under a 
pressure that otherwise they would sink under, 2 Cor. i. 8, 9, 
" For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble 
which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, 
above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life : but we 
had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in 
ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead ;" his grace, mercy, 
and goodness, in seasonable interposings thereof when their foot is 
ready to slip. Pal. xciv. 18, " When I said, My foot slippeth : thy 
mercy, Lord, held me up." 2 Cor. xii. 9, forecited. 

2. Hereby the state of petitioners is tried, and a plain difference 
constituted between hypocrites and the sincere, Matt. xxiv. 13, 
" He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." 
God's petitioners in the gross are like Gideon's army. Judges vii. 
far more than are to be trusted. So God brings them down to 
these waters of trial ; and there is a heap of them that must have 
a fill presently, or they faint, cannot go forward ; so they are set 
on, like the men that bowed down on their knees to drink, Job 
xxvii. 10, " Will he delight himself in the Almighty ? will he 
always call upon God ?" Others are disposed to endure hardness, 
without fainting, like the men that lapped ; and they are kept as 
meet to have their petitions granted at length, Luke xviii. 7, " And 
shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto 
him, though he bear long with them ? 

3. Hereby the graces of believing petitioners are tried, bqth as 
to the reality and strength of them ; particularly their faith and 
patience, 1 Pet. i. 6, 7- " Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now 
for a season (if need be) ye are in heaviness through manifold temp- 
tations. That the trial of your faith being much more precious 
than gold that perish eth, though it be tried with fire, might be 
found unto praise, and honour, and glory, at the appearing of 
Jesus Christ. James i. 12, " Blessed is the man that endureth 
temptation : for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of 
life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him." Our 
Lord takes great pleasure in the faith and patience of his people, 


and therefore lie puts them sorely to it in these points, like the 
woman of Canaan, Matt. xv. that they may have occasion to exort 
themselves vigorously. Sometimes they meet with such a shock that 
they are foundered in them : anon there is a secret breathing, and they 
get to their feet again, and act more vigorously than before, like a 
giant refreshed with wine, Jonah ii, 4, " Then I said, I am cast out 
of thy sight ; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple." 
Hereby they have a double benefit ; they see the reality of their 
faith and patience better than in a calm, and the strength of them 
more than they could have expected, and withal that they are other 
things than eft'orts of natural abilities, no more to be their product, 
than roses of the desart : Rom. v. 3, 4, 5, " And not only so, but 
we glory in tribulations also, knowing that tribulation worketh 
patience ; and patience, experience ; and experience, hope : and 
hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad 
in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." 

4. Hereby believers are humbled, and taught that they hold of 
free grace. The exalting of grace is the great design of the whole 
contrivance of the gospel. Therefore faith is made the turning 
point in it, the hinge of it as to us ; Rom. iv. 16, " Therefore it is 
of faith, that it might be by grace : to the end the promise might 
be sure to all the seed. Therefore this method is used in the dis- 
pensation of Heaven's favours according to it. Dent. viii. 2, " And 
thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led 
thee, these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to 
prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldst 
keep his commandments, or not." They that buy with their money 
must be served presently ; but beggars must be content to wait 
on. There are powerful remains of a legal spirit in the best, 
kything in requiring supply for their needs, with little sense of their 
unworthieness ; and in a disposition to fret, if they be not quickly 
answered. It takes much hewing to bring down these ; to empty the 
man of himself, and to let him see that God is no debtor to him for 
any thing, great or small. 

5. This way is taken for honour of the word, Psal. cxxxviii. 2, 
" Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name." There are 
many letters of God's name, but this Bible is the capital letter of 
it : and there is not one dispensation of providence, that magnifies 
the Bible more than this. It is even the thing that bears the head 
above, and keeps the heart from fainting, in this case, Rom. xv. 4, 
" For whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for 
our learning ; that we, through patience and comfort of the Scrip- 
tures, might have hope." This treatment at the court of heaven 



sends the petitioner to tlie records, •wliich gladden his heart, finding 
that it has been the ancient way of the court; and in a desert way 
it is no small comfort to the traveller, to find a track, and the print 
of some one's feet before him. It makes him mark narrowly, and 
greedily catch at a word ; and to discover a treasure, where many a 
time, when he went over it before, he saw nothing. 

6. Lastly, It is taken to make them long to be home. God's 
children are in this world, young heirs that are abroad out of their 
Father's country : they send their letters, and draw their bills on 
their Father: and while they are speedily answered, at every turn, 
they live at ease in the strange country, and are not solicitous to be 
home : but their Father cures them of that, letting them at length 
write over and over again, without an answer ; and ceasing to answer 
tlieir bills : and then they long to be home. 

III. The third thing to be considered, is. The duty of the peti- 
tioners to hang on, and not to faint, whatever they meet with. We 
may view it in these things following. 

1. They must never lift their process from the court of heaven, 
John vi. 67, 68, — " Lord, to whom shall we go ? thou hast the words 
of eternal life." It was Saul's ruin, that when God answered him 
not, when he went to a witch ; and the unbelieving Israelites when 
they heard of the giants of Canaan, that they would be back to 
Egypt again, Numb. xiv. 4 ; and it is the ruin of many, when they 
find not the sweet in religion that they expected, to go back to the 
world and their lusts, that will answer them, they think, sooner. 
But whatever be your sore, ye should protest that it shall run for 
you, till the Lord put forth his own healing hand, and that ye will 
not go to another for a cure. Lam. iii. 49, 50, " Mine eye trickleth 
down, and ceaseth not, without any intermission : till the Lord look 
down, and behold from heaven." 

2. They must never give over praying, but " pray always." 
They that will pray about the time of a communion, and after- 
wards leave it off" by degrees, will lose all their pains, and prove 
themselves to be hypocrites, Job xxvii. 10, " "Will he delight himself 
in the Almighty? will he always call upon God?" And Satan 
sometimes plies distressed souls to give up with it, as what they 
may see they will do no good with, for that God will not hear them. 
But that is a deceit of hell which ye must never yield to ; no not 
though God should continue to answer you not a word ; nay not 
though your attempting to pray, should seem to serve for nothing 
but to set a-raging against you ; for it is God's command, that 
" men pray always." There is less ill in mismanaging prayer 
than in giving it over altogether; for that is tamely to yield your- 


selves to Satan's will. And though ye may be in such confusion, as 
to take the devil's whispers within you for your own voice, Grod 
will carefully distinguish the two, and not lay that to your charge 
wherein ye are pure sufferers. And continuing to pray, ye are in 
the way of duty, wherein ye may expect God will hear and pity at 

3. They must insist on their tabled petitions, while their need 
remains, whatever entertainment they seem to meet with, as the 
woman of Canaan did. Matt. xv. If ye insist not, ye will be 
construed to have fallen from it : but importunity will speed at 
long-run, Luke xi. 8, "I say unto you. Though he will not rise and 
give him, because he is his friend : yet, because of his importunity, 
lie will rise, and give him as many as he needeth. And indeed, 
need continuing to pinch, and the petitioner giving over his crying 
for supply, is fainting with a witness. 

Case. But may it not be that the Lord may say Speak no more to 
me of this matter ? Answer. It is true, it may be so, as the Lord did 
to Moses, Dent, iii, 26, " But the Lord was wroth with me for your 
sakes, and would not hear me : and the Lord said unto me. Let it 
suffice thee, speak no more unto me of this matter. But in that case 
I conceive, (1.) The Lord shows his people they do not need that 
thing ; let it suffice thee, or thou hast much, or enough. And to 
quiet Moses in this case, he gave him a sight of the land from Pis- 
gah, ver. 27. (2.) The help of the Spirit as to praying in that par- 
ticular is withdrawn. There is an embargo laid on them in that 
point, " Speak no more unto me of this matter." 

4. They must carry all their incident needs in new petitions, to 
the same throne of grace, where the former petition may have been 
long lying, and still unanswered ; and so xmrsue all together. The 
latter must not drive out the former, nor the former keep back the 
latter. It is one of the ways how the Lord keeps his people hanging 
about his hand without fainting, by sending them several loads 
above their burden ; which loads he takes oif soon at their request ; 
and so makes them go under their burden the more easily. These 
short incident i)rocesses, tha.t get a speedy answer, confirui their 
faith and hope in waiting on for the answer of the main. I believe 
it will be found, that the Lord's children, who have had the most 
tedious process before the throne, have not wanted experience of 
very quick dispatches in the time, Isa, Ixv. 24, " And it shall come 
to pass, that before they call, I will answer, and while they are yet 
speaking, I will hear." 

5. They must continue in the faith of the promise, never quit the 
gripe of it; but trust and believe that it shall certainly be accom- 


plislied, though the wheels of providence should seem to drive ont 
over it and in over it, Kom. iv. 19, 20, " And Abraham being not 
weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he 
was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's 
womb. He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief ; 
but was strong in faith, giving glory to God." Providence is not 
our Bible ; the works of God may be very various, but the word of 
pi'oraise is always the same, it is never moved. Ye have a very 
poetical passage, Psal. xviii. 7, and downwards. I think it proceeds 
upon this view, that though all the confusions of the universe cannot 
move the promise ; yet if hills, earth, fire, waters, heavens, were all 
standing before it to hinder its accomplishment, it would move them 
all out of their places, and make its way through them. 

6. They must keep up hope of the thing promised over the belly 
of all improbabilities, 2 Pet. i. 13, " Wherefore gird up the loins of 
your mind, be sober, and hope to the end, for the grace that is to be 
brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." Faith opening 
the door of the promise, hope sees the blessed answer to the petition 
lying at the King's hand, however long it may be ere it be trans- 
mitted. That is very pleasing to God, Psal. cxlvii. 11, " The Lord 
taketh pleasure in those that hope in his mercy." 

7. Lastly, If at any time they begin to faint, they must wrestle 
against it, that they go not quite away, Heb. x. 35, " Cast not away 
therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward." 
If faith and hope fail, so will patience : but ye must set yourselves 
to believe over the belly of sense, and hope against hope. 

Use. Christians, communicants, and whosoever of you would have 
your business go right in heaven, go from this place resolute to hang 
on about the Lord's hand, and not to faint, whatever ye have met 
with, or shall meet with from that airth. Have a horror of faint- 
ing, giving over, or going back to another door. Consider, 

1. If ye faint and give over, your suit is lost, ye liave given up 
with it. And, 

1st, If your suit be the main thing, the eternal wellbeing of your 
soul, which is what we all pretend to ; then your soul is lost, Heb. 
X. 38, " If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in 
him." Be resolute in religion, as ever ye would not be eternally 
lost ; for none will get to heaven but those that have a brow for a 
bargain, to yoke with difiiculties in the way, and go through them. 
It is a concerning word, Rev. xxi. 8, " But the fearful, and unbeliev- 
ing, — shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and 
brimstone which is the second death." I think it has a view to the 
fearful and unbelieving disposition thet kept the Israelites out of 
Canaan, Numb. xiii. 33, and xiv. 


2(%, If it be a temporal morcy, ye may get it, but the substance 
will be out of it, at least till ye repent of your fainting, Psal. cvi. 15, 
" He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul." 

2. If ye hold on and faint not, be your on-waiting ever so long, 
it shall not be in vain. Matth. xxiv. 13, "He that shall endure 
unto the end, the same shall be saved." Gal. vi. 9, " Let us not be 
weary in well-doing : for in due season we shall reap, if we faint 
not." God will never put those away empty from him, that hang 
on, and will not go without the blessing. 

3. He is well worth the waiting on. (1.) Though he is infinitely 
above us, he has waited long on us. (2.) The longer you are called 
to wait for a mercy, ye will readily find it the more valuable when 
it comes. The promise uses to go longest with the biggest mercy ; 
witness the promise of Christ, while many lesser promises brought 
forth. (3.) His time will be found the due time. Gal. vi. 9 ; the 
best chosen time for the mercy's coming ; witness the time of 
Isaac's birth. (4.) Ye shall be sure of some blessed offallings, while 
ye wait on, Psal. xxvii. 14, " Wait on the Lord : be of good 
courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the 
Lord." and cxxxviii. 3, " In the day when 1 cried, thou answeredst 
me ; and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul." Ye shall 
be sure of some pledge of a good answer, Jer. lii. 31, 32. 

4. Lastly, They have waited long, that have lost all, by not 
having patience to wait a little longer, Exod. xxxii.; 1 Sam. xiii. 8, 
10. Therefore "let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be 
perfect and entire, wanting nothing," James i. 4 ; " for in due 
season ye shall reap, if ye faint not," Gal. vi. 9. 


Two Sermons preached, on a Sacramental occasion, at Galashiuls, August 12 and 13, 


Luke xviii. 8. 
I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. 

At a late occasion I spoke to the scope of this parable from ver. 1. 
The parable itself we have vers. 2 — 5, the doctrine of it, vers. 6, 7. 


In the text we liave the doctrine of it repeated, amplified, and 

1. The doctrine of the parable is here repeated, "He will avenge 
them." Our Lord had already laid it before his disciples, ver. 7, in 
very strong terms : for it is a point upon the belief of which very 
much depends ; particularly his people's " praying always, and not 
fainting :" q. d. God will certainly hear them at length ; therefore 
they must hang on about his hand crying, and not faint. 

\st, Consider the parties for whom this benefit is secured ; them. 
It refers to ver. 7 ; and so the parties are, they that " cry unto God 
night and day ; and what that is, appears from the scope : it is even 
to " pray always, and not to faint ;" which I have already explained. 
So they who having laid petitions for supply of their needs before 
the Lord, do hang on and insist without fainting and giving over, 
are assured of a happy issue of their process, however tedious it 
may be. This is good news to petitioners at the court of heaven, 
though their answer may have been so long delayed, that it seems as 
if they would never be heard : this may make them renew their 
suit, and pursue as a giant refreshed with wine. 

Objection. But it is expressly restricted to the elect ; therefore, 
though I hang on never so long, I am, may be, none of God's elect, 
and therefore can have no encouragement from it. Answer. The 
scope of the parable looks to men indefinitely, ver. 1, " That men 
ought always to pray, and not to faint ;" and the term elect is no 
restriction of the criers that are to be heard, as if there were some 
that cry day and night unto God, that are elect ones ; and others 
that cry night and day unto him that are not elect ones. No ; but 
the crying of the elect day and night in the sense of the text, is pro- 
posed as an evidence of eternal election : it is inferred from their 
so crying, that they are elect ones, and therefore shall surely be 
heard. Q. d. The unjust judge heard a woman he had no regard 
for, because she came continually to him : how much more will a 
just God hear those that are coming continually to him, since they 
are surely his chosen ones, else they would certainly give it over, 
and go to another door ? 

2dly, The benefit secured for them, " He will avenge them ;" that 
is, agreeable to the general scope, he will hear them at length to 
their full satisfaction ; their process shall have a happy issue. But 
it is expressed by " avenging them," to intimate, (1.) That all 
the grievances that God's children labour under, and which send 
them crying to God for relief, arise from their adversaries, temporal 
or spiritual, without them or within them. (2.) That they are not 
able to rid themselves of their adversaries, but must grapple with 


their burden till another hand take it off. (3.) That God will not 
only deliver them, but shew them just vengeance on the springs of 
their grievances. 

2. The doctrine of the parable amplified, " I tell you that he will 
avenge them speedily." Though they think they are put to wait 
long, yet matters being weighed in an even balance, they shall have 
a quick return of their prayers. 

3. The confirmation of the whole, " I tell you," Our Lord Christ 
gives his word for it. 

The doctrine from the first verse was, that our Lord Jesus Christ 
has kindly intimated to all that have business at the court of 
heaven, the necessity of so managing themselves, that they still 
hang on there, and not faint, whatever entertainment they meet 
with during the dependence of their process. And, in]pursuance of 
the same scope, from the 8th verse compared with the first, I observe 
the following 

DocTKiNE. To move them that have business at the court of heaven, 
still to hang on there, and not to faint, whatever hardships'they 
meet with during the dependence of their process, our Lord Jesus 
hath expressly intimated that such petitioners shall certainly be 
heard to their heart's content, and that speedily, in reality, however 
tedious their process may seem to them for the time. Briefly, Jesus 
Christ has given his word for it, that such petitioners at the court 
of heaven, as will hang on and not faint, shall certainly be heard to 
their heart's content, and that speedily. 

In handling this doctrine, I shall show, 

I. "What is that treatment petitioners meet with at the court of 
heaven, under which they will be in hazard of fainting. 

II. Why petitioners are in hazard of fainting from such treat- 
ment at the court of heaven. 

III. "Wherefore the Lord gives such treatment to any of his 

IV. What is the import of this intimation made for this end. 

V. The certainty of such petitioners being heard at length. 

VI. How they shall be heard to their heart's content. 

VII. How it shall be speedils', notwithstanding the long delay. 

VIII. Apply. 

I. First, I shall shew what is that treatment petitioners may 
meet with at the court of heaven, under which they will be in 
hazard of fainting. I mentioned several particulars at another 
occasion ; I offer now only three things in general. 

1. The weight and pres&ure of their heavy case itself, whatever it 


is, may be long continued, notwithstanding all their addresses for 
help, Jer. viii. 20, " The harvest is past, the summer' is ended, 
and we are not saved." They may come again and again to the 
throne of grace, with their burden on their back, and as often carry 
it away with them. And that is faintsome work. A short trial, 
though it be sharp, is but " running with the footmen ;" but a long 
continued one is " contending with horses," apt to run one out of 
breath, Psal. vi. 3, " My soul is also sore vexed : but thou, Lord, 
how long ? 

2. There may be no appearance of relief, Psal. Ixxiv. 9, " We see 
not our signs, there is no more any prophet, neither is there among 
us any that knoweth how long." A glimpse of an appearance of 
relief, though yet afar off, would be like a cordial to the weary 
attendants, howbeit their night may have been long and dark, and 
yet no sign of day-break to be discerned. The petitioners are apt 
to faint, who though they often listen, can hear no voice ; though 
they look oft to the throne, can discern no moving toward their 
relief, Psal. cxix. 123, " Mine eyes fail for thy salvation, and for 
the word of thy righteousness." 

3. They may get incident weights laid on them, as a load above 
their burden, Psal. Ixix. 26, " They persecute him whom thou hast 
smitten, and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded." 
These are like drops poured into a full cup, ready to cause it run 
over ; like smart touches on a broken leg, inclining one readily to 

II. The second thing to be spoke to, is, why petitioners are in 
hazard of fainting from such treatment at the court of heaven. 
Four things concur to it. 

1. Natural weakness, Is. xl. 6, "All flesh is grass, and all the 
goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field. On this very view 
the Lord "pities his children," Psal. ciii. 13, 14. We have weak 
backs, easily bowed down under a heavy burden, Psal. xxxviii. 6 ; 
weak hearts, soon damped, where God shews himself our party ; 
weak heads, and are soon brought to our wits end ; weak hands, 
that can do little for ourselves at a pinch ; and weak knees, ready 
to bow, and let us go to the ground, after long hanging on. 

2, Conscience of guilt, Psal. xxxviii. 5, 6, " My wounds stink, and 
are corrupt ; because of my foolishness. I am troubled, I am bowed 
down greatly ; I go mourning all the day loug." Guilt is a mother 
of fears, and fears cause fainting. The sinner goes to God with his 
pinching case, he is not answered : presently there is a quarrel 
apprehended, the man knows he is a criminal, and the guilty con- 
science whispers in his ear, " There is no hope." 


3. Uuacquaintedness with the methods of sovereignty, Psal. 
Ixxvii. 19, " Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great 
waters, and thy footsteps are not known." The mysteries of the 
management of providence have perplexed saints of the first magni- 
tude, as Asaph, Jeremiah, &c. We are apt to measure God's ways 
by our own, which occasions much fainting in trials : whereas they 
differ as far as heaven and earth, Is. Iv. 8, 9. 

4. A strong bias to unbelief and walking by sense, quite contrary 
to our duty and interest, 2 Cor. v. 7. We are apt to be impressed 
more with what we see and feel in providence, than what we hear 
from the word. And whereas we should expound providence by the 
promise, the word being our rule, and so get the cordial virtue of 
it ; we expound the promise by providence, and so put ourselves in 
hazard of fainting: Luke xxiv. 20, 21, 25, 26, "The chief priests 
and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have 
crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should 
have redeemed Israel : and beside all this, to-day is the third day 
since these things were done. Then he said unto them, fools, and 
slow of heart to believe all that the j>rophets have spoken ! Ought 
not Christ to have suff"ered these things, and to enter into his glory ? 

III. The third thing to be considered is, wherefore the Lord gives 
such treatment to any of his petitioners. 

First, Negatively. 

1. It is not for mere will and pleasure. Satan will be ready to 
suggest this, and pose the party with such questions as these, for 
what use is all this delay ? what glory comes to God by it ? what 
profit comes to you by it ? Good folk may listen overmuch to it. 
But it is a lie, that it is for mere will and pleasure. Lam. iii. 33, 
" For he doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men." 

1. It is not because he has no pity on you, nor concern for you 
under your burden ; though Zion, by the suggestion of Satan, may 
entertain that jealousy of her God, which he flatly refuses, Is. xlix. 
14, 15, " But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord 
hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she 
should not have compassion on the son of her womb ? yea, they may 
forget, yet will I not forget thee." Whatever the Lord's way be 
with thee, it is an eternal scripture truth, " God is love," 1 John iv. 
16, " gracious and full of compassion," Psal. cxi. 4. And it is appa- 
rent even in this case, in that it is not worse with thee. Lam. iii. 22, 
and that thou art always getting new supports under thy burden, 
ver, 23. 

3. It is not to signify to you that you should give it over, and 
trouble him no more with your petition ; as the hasty unbelieving 


heart is ready to take it, and to give over duty because there 
is no sensible appearance of success, Jer, xx. 9. " I said I will not 
make mention of him nor speak any more in his name." He lias 
signified his will to bo the quite contrary, 1 Thess. v. 17- " Pray 
without ceasing ;" and our Lord spoke this parable to prevent that 

4. Lastly, It is not because he is resolved not to hear you at any 
rate, cry as long as ye will. Satan will interpret it that way to 
you, and there is too much listening to it, Hab. i. 2. " Lord, how 
long shall I cry and thou wilt not hear ! even cry out unto thee of 
of violence, and thou wilt not save !" He has promised the contrary 
Psal. 1. 15, " Call upon me in the day of trouble ; I will deliver 
thee, and thou shalt glorify me." Our Lord assures you of the 
contrary in the text. 

Secondly, But positively, in general, 

It is for holy, wise, becoming ends ; it is necessary for his glory 
and your case. Believe that on the credit of the word, Deut. xxxii. 
4, " He is the rock, his work is perfect : for all his ways are judg- 
ment : a God of truth, and without iniquity, just and right is he." 
There is not one random step in his whole way. Lam. iii. 83. There 
is a necessity for what he does. 

Objection. I cannot see how my case requires it, or what glory 
God can have by it. Answer. You are no competent judge of 
what your case requires, and therefore you should leave that to 
the Lord, Psal. xlvii. 4, " He shall choose our inheritance for us ;" 
Jer. x. 23, " Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: 
it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps." If you are sick, 
you leave it to your physician how to order your case : if your 
affairs are perplexed, and you have a plea at law, you leave it to 
your lawyer : and when you have a process at the court of heave^i, 
will you not leave it to your God ? 

Ye are as little competent judges of what glory God can have 
by such and such a management. God can raise glory to himself, 
where ye can see nothing but dishonour to him : and he will have 
it, Rom. xi. 36, " For — to him are all things." Believe that, and 
leave the way of raising it to himself. The seed of glory to God in 
Job's trial, neither he nor his friends generally saw for a long time : 
yet it sprung up fair at length, and flourishes to this day. 

But particularly, 

1. It is for the honour of the man Christ. It contributes to it, 

I**, In that thereby the petitioners are conformed to his image, 
in the suffering part thereof. He met with that treatment at the 
throne, Psal. 1,2, " My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me \ 


why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my 
roaring ? my God, I cry in the day-time, but thou hearest not ; 
and in the night-season, and am not silent." And for a reward of 
his bearing it, it is ai)pointed it should be the way of the court ever 
after. And therefore none of God's children shall miss to share of 
it, in greater or lesser measure, soon or late, Rom. viii. 29, ** For 
whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to 
the image of his Son. 

2dli/, Thereby he gets the more employment as the great Inter- 
cessor, and is more earnestly applied to than otherwise he would be. 
Longsorae pleas give the advocates much ado ; and longsome pro- 
cesses at the court of heaven bring much business to the Mediator, 
and so much honour. 

3(1%, It affords him the most signal occasion of displaying his 
power in combating with and baffling the old serpent, next to that 
he had on the cross, 2 Cor. xii. 9, " And he said unto me. My grace 
is sufficient for thee : for my strength is made perfect in weakness. 
Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the 
power of Christ may rest upon me." Here Satan and a weak 
creature is yoked, Heaven standing by and looking on. The poor 
creature has a burden on his back, he cries, Lord take it off, and 
cries again, but no answer: Satan takes the advantage, works against 
him to make him faint ; but the combat is maintained, and Satan 
is baffled, through secret support conveyed to the sinner from Jesus. 

2. To shew who are meet to be heard, and who not ? who have 
a due value for the mercy petitioned for, and the God in whose 
hand it is ? Israel wandered in the wilderness till all the despisers 
of the pleasant land, and unbelievers of the word, dropt off: and 
Caleb and Joshua, who followed the Lord fully, were brought in. 
The fainting petitioners either despise the mercy, by dropping it ; 
or God himself, by carrying their process to another. 

3. To magnify the promise. Satan, in man's state of innocence, 
bent his main force against the threatening, to shake man's faith of 
it. Now he bends his main force against the promise, to make poor 
sinners quit their grips of it. In such a case there is a solemn 
struggle about it ; faith holds, and the devil draws. The believer 
sees he is gone if he quit it ; it is his all ; and therefore, though 
the floods overflow, he strives to keep the gripe. 

4. Lastly, To keep up the mercy, till that time come, that, all 
things considered, will be the absolutely best time for bestowing it, 
John xi. 14, 15. " Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is 
dead. I am glad for your sakes, that I was not there (to the intent 
ye may believe) ; nevertheless, let us go unto him." 


Use 1. Know then, that trifling and careless management will not 
do at the court of heaven. Deep earnest ye must be in, resolved 
not to take a nay-say. Be sincere, prepare, and vigorously press 
your suits. 

2. This may encourage sinners to come to Christ, and to put their 
case in his hand, and hang on. Particularly back-sliders, and who- 
soever are fore-boding no good to themselves from him, may be en- 
couraged by this doctrine. 

IV. Hh^ fourth thing to be spoke to is, "What is the import of this 
intimation made for this end ? It imports, 

1. That sinners are ready to take delays at the court of heaven 
for denials. Satan and their own and unbelieving hearts tell them 
they are so. And therefore, in opposition to this, and to prevent 
the mistake, our Lord expressly gives his word that it is not so. 

2. That importunity and resolute hanging on, and repeated 
addresses for the supply of the same need, are very welcome and 
acceptable to Christ and his Father. There is no fear of excess 
here ; the oftener ye come, the more resolute ye are in your hanging 
on, the more welcome. The intercessor will not weary of your put- 
ting your petitions in his hands, nor his Father of taking them out of 

3. That the faith of being heard at length, is necessary to keep 
one hanging on without fainting, Psal. xxvii. 13. " I had fainted, 
unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of 
the living." Petitioners indifferent whether they be heard or not, 
may continue their customary prayers without the faith of being 
heard : but if men be in deep earnest with their petitions, they will 
never escape fainting without faith, Rom. iv. 18, 19, 20. 

4. That the hearing to be got at length at the court of heaven, is 
well worth the waiting on, be it ever so loug. It will more than 
counterbalance all the fatigue of the process, that is kept longest in 
dependance. And the faith of this should be kept up, to keep the 
petitioner from fainting. 

V. The fifth thing in the method is, The certainty of such peti- 
tioners being heard at length. Here it is necessary to repeat what 
was said of the duty of hanging on and not fainting, that we may 
see who they are that are such petitioners.* Now, that such petitou- 
ers will be heard, is beyond peradventure, however long they get to 
wait on, if ye consider, 

1. They are doubtless God's own children, elect believers, what- 

* Wbat the author repeated here, is to be found under head 3. of the sermons on 
Luke xviii. 1. pages 350, 351, 352, 363, above. 


ever they thiuk of themselves, Luke xvii. 7- " And shall not God 
avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he 
bear long with them ?" If they were not so, they could never take 
snch a treatment at God's hand, and yet still hang on about it, John 
viii. 35. " The servant abideth not in the house for ever : but the 
Son abideth ever." And will not God hear the cries of his own 
children at length ? certainly he will. The begun resemblance to 
their elder brother must be complete, 2 Tim. ii. 11, 12. "It is 
a faithful saying, For if we be dead with him, we shall also live 
with him : if we suffer, we shall also reign with him, &c. 

2. The nature, name, and promise of God, join to insure it. He 
is good and gracious in his nature, Exod. xxxiv. 6, — 9. He has 
bowels of mercy more tender than a mother to her sucking child, 
Is. xlix. 15. He is the hearer of prayer, Psal. Ixv. 2. and will he 
not answer that part of his name ? will he not hear his own children, 
and hear them after they have cried long, and still continue crying ? 
He has bound himself by promise, Psal. 1. 15. " Call upon me in the 
day of trouble ; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me :" and 
cii. 17- "He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise 
their prayer." And will he not perform this his promise ? 

3. Such prayers are the product of his own Spirit in them, and 
therefore he cannot miss to be heard, James v. 16. " The effectual 
fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." Ye say, ye have 
cried so long, and no answer ; and therefore your petitions appear 
to be the product of nature, not of the Spirit of God. But I say, 
according to the word, ye have cried so long and no answer, and 
yet continue crying, and have not fainted, and given over, but 
stick by it resolutely ; therefore your petitioning is not the product 
of nature, but of the Spirit. For nature's praying is a pool that 
will dry up in a long drought ; but the Spirit of prayer is the lasting 
spring, John iv. 14. If thou art strengthened to hang on, and not 
faint, it is a token heaven's hand is at thy upholding ; as was the 
case with David, Psal. cxxxviii. 3, "In the day when I cried, thou 
answeredst me ; and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul." 

4. Our Lord Jesus has given his word on it, and so has impawned 
his honour they shall be heard, " I tell you that he will avenge 
them speedily." Now, he is the Intercessor at the court of heaven, 
and his intercession is never baulked there : so the honour of the 
Mediator, and his people's being heard, are in one bottom to sink or 
swim together ; and he is able to secure his own honour : and does 
not that make sure work of your being heard ? I proceed to shew, 

VI. Sixthly, How they shall be heard to their heart's content. 
1. They shall at length see that their prayers have been accepted. 


I do not say they shall at length be accepted, but they shall see 
they have been so. Many cannot think those prayers are accepted, 
that do not come soon back with an answer. But that is a mis- 
take ; for the petitions of those that hang on and faint not, proceed- 
ing from that disposition, are accepted instantly, though many years 
should run ere the answer come back, 1 John v. 14, " And this is 
the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask anything accord- 
ing to his will, he heai'eth us." God doth with his wrestling chil- 
dren's petitions, as a father with letters sometimes from his son in 
a far country, he reads them with pleasure and affection always as 
they come to his hand, and lays them bypast to be all answered 
at the most convenient time : Matth. xv. 28, " Then Jesus answered 
and said unto her, woman, great is thy faith : be it unto thee 
even as thou wilt." 

2. They shall get an answer of their petitions to their heart's 
satisfaction, Matth. xv. 28, forecited. Psal. ix. 18, " The needy 
shall not always be forgotten : the expectation of the poor shall not 
perish for ever." God will tell out to them according to the pro- 
mise in answer to their prayers; so that they shall change their wrest- 
ling note, and say, " I love the Lord because he hath heard my 
voice, and my supplications, Psal. cxvi. 1, and look on what they 
have met with as bearing the signature of the hand of a prayer-hear- 
ing God. Their burden shall be taken off, and they shall have 
their petitions in kind, or equivalent to their heart's content, 2 
Cor. xii. 9, " And he said unto me. My grace is sufficient for thee : 
for ray strength is made perfect in weakness." 

3. They shall be fully satisfied as to the long delay, and the whole 
steps of the procedure, however perplexing they were before. Rev. 
XV. 3, " And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and 
the song of the Lamb, saying. Great and marvellous are thy works. 
Lord God Almighty ; just and true are thy ways, thou King of 
saints." Standing on the shore, and looking back to what they 
have passed through, they will be made to say. He hath done all 
things well ; and they will see that there could have none of it been 

4. They shall get it with increase according to the time they 
waited on, and the hardships they sustained during the dependence 
of the process. The fruit of the i)roroise, the longer it is a-ripening, 
the more bulky it is. Abraham and Sarah waited for the promised 
child till they were coming into extreme old age, the very next step 
to death. Gen. xviii. 11 ; but they got with it an addition of the re- 
newing of their ages. Gen. xxi. 7; and xxv. 1. 

5. Lastly, Their spiritual enemies that flew thick and strong about 


them in the time of the darkness, shall be scattered at the appear- 
ance of this light, 1 Sam. ii. 5, "They that were full, have hired out 
themselves for bread ; and they that were hungry, ceased : so that 
the barren hath born seven ; and she that hath many children, is 
waxed feeble." Formidable was Pharaoli's host while the Israelites 
had the Red Sea before them : but when they were through the 
Bea, they saw the Egyptians dead upon the shore, Exod. xiv. 30. 
Such a heart-sight shall they that hang on and faint not get of Satan 
and all his black bands. I proceed to shew, 

VII. Seventhly, How it shall be speedily, notwithstanding the 
long delay. 

1. It shall he speedily in respect of the weight and value of it 
when it comes: so that the believer looking on the return of his 
petition, with an eye of faith perceiving the worth of it, may won- 
der it is come upon so short on-waiting. This view of it the apostle 
takes, 2 Cor. iv. 17, " For our light affliction, which is but for a 
moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of 
glory." And so says Zophar, Job xi. 16, " Thou shalt forget thy 
misery, and remember it as waters that pass away." 

2. It shall come in the most seasonable nick of time it can come 
in. Gal. vi. 9. when it may come to the best advantage for the 
honour of God and their good : and that which comes in the best 
season, comes speedily. To every thing there is a season ; so fools' 
haste is no speed. Times and seasons are in the Lord's hand, and 
all his works are best-timed, Deut. xxxii. 4. and will abide the 
strictest examination, Eccles. iii. 14. 

3. It shall come as soon as they are prepared for it, Psal. x. 17- 
*' Thou will prepare their heart ;" and if it should come sooner, it 
would be over soon. And it may take long time to prepare for 
it; there may be many a lesson to learn, much working on their 
will may be necessary, ere they be prepared for it. 

4. It shall not tarry one moment beyond the due and appointed 
time, Hab. ii. 3, " Though it tarry, wait for it, because it will 
surely come, it will not tarry ;" it will not linger, postpone, or put 
off beyond that due time. Whatever way the wheel of providence 
be driving, it is a wheel within a wheel, and so needs spend no time 
in turning about. 

5. Lastly, It will be surprising, as a glaring light to one brought 
out of a dungeon, though he was expecting it. No doubt the church 
was expecting the end of their captivity in Babylon toward the end 
of the seventy years : yet such was the change, it was surprising, 
they "were like men that dreamed," Psal. cxsvi. 1. 

Use 1. Let all know that it is not in vain to seek the Lord. 
Vol. \l. 2 a 


God's trust is better than the world's hand-payraent. Though 
waiting on at the court of heaven may be longsome, yet it is a sure 
way to get our wants supplied. 

2. All ye that have now set your faces heavenward, professing 
your resolution to forsake sin and the world, and to hang on about 
the Lord's hand for all ; do not look back, turn not away from 
hira, Heb. x. 38, " If any man draw back, my soul shall have no 
pleasure in him. Remember it is " he that endures to the end shall 
be saved." 

3. Think it not strange if ye meet with treatment at the hand of 
the Lord, whereby ye may be in hazard of fainting. He loves to 
try his followers. But be resolute to hang on about his hand, come 
what will, and ye will be sure to speed at length. 

4. Ye that are going away mourning from this communion 
because of a hiding God, and a hungry meal ye have got ; do not 
despond ; but inquire into the causes, mourn over them, and renew 
your addresses to the throne vigorously ; and what ye missed in 
public, ye may get in secret. 

5. Lastly, Te that are under any pressure, who have been long 
tossed with tempests and not comforted, nor have any appearanca 
of comfort shewing itself; comfort yourselves with the words of 
the text, believing it ; while ye can have no comfort from the 
appearance of providence ; and be resolute in hanging on, and 
faint not. And ye have Christ's word for it, your case shall have 
a happy issue, though never so desperate like. 

And whoever would be kept from fainting, and animated to 
hang on about the Lord's hand, believe, that hanging on ye shall 
certainly be heard at length to your heart's content. For so hath 
our Lord said, " I tell you that he will avenge them speedily." 




Two Sermons preached on a Sacramental occasion at Galashiels, July 31, and 
August 1, 1731. 

2 Cor. xii. 9. 

For my strength is made perfect in weakness. 

In the Lord's leading his people through the wilderness of this 
world, there are many mysteries of providence which are too high 
for them to comprehend; so that, after the narrowest scrutiny into 
them, they must conclude as Psal. Isxvii. 19. " Thy way is in the 
sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not 
known," But the light of glory hereafter will satisfy their sense as 
to all the particular steps therein ; and till that time come, there is 
a light of the word that may satisfy faith as the general design of 
them ; and the text has a beam of such light in it. In the words, 

First, Observe the connexion pointing to the mystery this beam 
of light was sent to clear ; " For," &c. That we may see what this 
aims at, we must look back to the preceding account ; where we 
find, (1.) Paul wrapt up into the third heavens, while yet alive, 
ver. 2. (2.) the same Paul quickly after in a kind of hell upon the 
earth ; where instead of the pleasurable glance and taste of the 
happiness of the heavenly society he had got, he finds himself 
yoked in close combat with the devil, ver. 7 ; whom if he did not 
see with his eyes, he certainly felt the weight of his hands upon his 
body and spirit ; for I think there is no reason to recede from the 
literal sense of the text. (3.) Paul praying again and again in this 
humble situation, to be brought out of it, ver. 8. " For this thing I 
besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me." (4.) The 
answer given to his prayer, whereof the text is a part. And here 
is, \st, The precise answer to his petition, " My grace is sufficient 
for thee." "Wherein there is, (1.) Something implied, viz. that the 
Lord was not minded to give the riding stroke as yet, but the combat 
behoved to continue longer, and how long he was not to know. (2.) 
Something expressed, viz. That he had such a second, that there 
should be no fear of the issue, " My grace is sufficient for tliee." 
Now, 2dly, Our text is the justifying reason of this answer; not of 
the expressed part of it, the sufficiency of the Lord's grace ; but the 

2 a2 


implied part, the divine conduct in letting the battle go on, thongh 
by this time it was with confused noise, and garments rolled in 
blood. Q. d. Paul, be not stumbled at this; I have a becoming 
design in suffering it to go on, and not giving the decisive stroke as 

Secondly, The beam of light clearing this mystery in the general 
to faith : " my strength is made perfect in weakness." "Wherein is 
set forth, 

\st, An amicable yoking of divine strength and creature-weakness. 
There was indeed here a most powerful evil spirit, yoked in a hostile 
manner with weak flesh and blood; so that had they two, without 
any interposition from heaven, been left to dispute it, the former had 
torn the latter in a thousand pieces. But there was an invisible 
divine hand with the weak party, that supported against the 

^dly, The illustration of the glory of the divine strength by this 
conjunction with creature-weakness ; " My strength is made perfect 
in weakness." "Where, 

1. Consider whose is this strength. It is the Lord's to whom Paul 
prayed vers. 8, 9 : and that was the Lord Christ, ver. 9. To him 
Paul prayed, in this combat with Satan, it being he who by his office 
was to bruise the serpent. "Whereby it appears, that he is true God, 
God, by nature, as being the object of divine worship, and the sub- 
ject of sovereign divine power. Col. ii. 9. " For in him dwelleth all 
the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 

2. What his strength is. It certainly comprehends the strength of 
his grace lodged in him as Mediator, but is not confined to his moral 
perfections, but takes in the whole divine power, whereby he is able 
to do all things for the weak creature, whatever its weakness be : 
for the words are general. 

3. One of those fields wherein it exerts itself, viz. weakness. 
It exerts itself in the strong, both in heaven and earth ; and 
without it the strongest would be weak as water. But on this 
earth there is occasion for exerting itself in the weak, in their weak- 
ness ; working in, by, and with the real weakness and felt weakness 
of the creature. 

4. "With what advantage it exerts itself in the creature's weak- 
ness : it is " made perfect" there. There is a twofold perfecting of 
a thing ; one real, by adding to it something that it wanted to com- 
plete it, and the power of Christ being infinite, is not capable of 
that : another manifestation, whereby that which was vailed before 
comes to be discovered, like the sun getting forth from under a 
cloud. Thus Christ's " strength is made perfect in weaknsss :" it 


shiues forth the more illustriously there, that it doth as it were 
appear alone, unmixed with creature-strength. 

Doctrine. The strength and power of our Lord Christ, being per- 
fected or illustrated in the weakness of the creature, sutliciently 
clears the dispensation of his keeping his people, so long as he really 
doth, struggling in circumstances of weakness in this world. 

In handling this doctrine, I shall, 

I. Consider this dispensation. 

II. The matter clearing it. 

III. Apply. 

I. Fh'st, We shall consider this dispensation. The Father has 
committed all judgment into the hand of the Son : Christ the Medi- 
ator has the charge of conducting all his redeemed ones through the 
world, to the promised land, John v. 22 ; Is. Iv. 4. And here is his 
conduct in that matter, this is the stated course of his dispensations, 
keeping them long struggling in circumstances of weakness. And 
here consider, 

First, The place of it. That is only this world. It begins with 
them as soon as, believing on him, they resign themselves to his 
conduct : it continues with them all along, while they are on 
the way : but when he has them at home in heaven, that dispensa- 
tion is for ever laid aside as to them. It has no place but in this 
lower world. Paul, from the time he became a Christian, had a 
continued struggle, till he was wrapt up to the third heaven, Rom. 
vii. 24. "While he was there in that case, it intermitted. But when 
he came back again he even fell into it anew ; and the first attack 
of it was most fearful. 

Secondly, The nature of it ; which we may take up in these two. 

1*^, He obliges them to a struggle, Matth, xi. 12, " The kingdom of 
heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." They 
are not to expect an easy passage through the world to the pro- 
raised land ; but must trust him their desired ease till they come to 
their journey's end. They are obliged to do it, 

1. In that he lays great pieces of work to their hand, doing work, 
suffering work. He will not have them to be idle : every day will 
cast op its own piece of work, that unless they fall asleep, they will 
find their hand filled every day. And if at any time they do fall 
asleep, when they awaken again, they will find their work increased 
on their hand. 

2. In that he suffers them to meet with great opposition. The 
wind of providence from heaven, often blows strong in their face 
for their trial, Gen. xxii. 1. The wind of temptation from hell, and 


opposition from that airth never falls, and at times rises very bois- 
terous, and becomes tempestuous, as in the apostle's case here, ver. 7. 
Meanwhile they must not run in from their work, and take a house 
till it turn calm ; but must hold on their way. This constitutes the 
struggle, Eph. vi. 12, " For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, 
but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the 
darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 
2dly, Yet, though he obliges them to this struggling life, he, in 
the depth of his wisdom keeps them in circumstances of weakness; 
and these circumstances of, 

1. Real weakness ; whereby it comes to pass, that they really 
want within themselves a sufficient stock of ability, to manage their 
work, and grapple with and force their way through the opposition 
made them in it. He himself owns this to be the way of his manag- 
ing his people, that he keeps them from hand to mouth, John xv. 5, 
" Without me ye can do nothing." 

2. Felt weakness. They are not strong enough for their work, 
and he makes them sensible it is so, 2 Cor. iii. 5, " Not that we are 
sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves : but our 
sufficiency is of God." So that both builders and bearers about the 
temple of the Lord, are obliged with one voice to say, " Except the 
Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it : except the 
Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain," Psal. cxxvii. 1. 
And if at any time they lose this sense of their weakness, it is his 
way to leave them to their own weight, till, catching a fall, the 
smart bring them to themselves, to a sense of their weakness ; as in 
Peter's case. 

More particularly, our Lord keeps his people while here, 
l*^. Always in circumstances of natural weakness ; and these, 

1. Of pure natural weakness, a weakness that is inwrought with 
human flesh, though at its prime. Is. xl. 6, " All flesh is grass, and 
all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field." The wit- 
nesses hereof are, the need of meat, drink, sleep, &c. wherewith 
the tabernacles of clay must daily be underpropped. Even this 
makes God's children objects of their " Father's pity," Psal. cii. 
13, 14. 

2. Of sinful natural weakness ; not that he brought them under 
such weakness, but he suffers them to lie under it. There are 
remains of the corruption of nature in them all, which makes them 
a company of poor groaning weaklings, Rom. vii. 24. Grace has 
got in indeed, but corruption is not yet quite got out. The Canaan- 
ites are left in the land, and they are not able to clear the land of 
them. And this corruption of nature hath a strong bias, in each 


of them, to some particular evil, according to their various tempers 
and circumstances, " the sin that easily besets them," Heb. xii. 1. 

2dly Often in circumstances of accidental weakness, through a 
variety of afflictions, trials, and temptations, weakening their bodies, 
or weakening their spirits, or weakening both together; as in 
Paul's case here. The particulars of this kind are too numerous to 
enter into the detail of: physicians and divines have filled bool\'' 
with them respectively. 

Thirdly The difficulty casting up about this dispensation. Th 
is a twofold knot here. 

1. The first lies in that he can put them out of those circum- 
stances of weakness, yet he keeps them in them. The former 
cannot be questioned, since his divine power could have perfected 
them in the moment of conversion, both naturally and morally : 
what he will do to their souls at death, to their persons at the 
resurrection, he could have done in the moment of their union with 
him. The latter is manifest from the experience of his people in 
all ages and places of this world. 

2. The second lies in the consequences of this dispensation. The 
weak things act weakly, leaving the marks of their weakness on 
all they do, and groan under the whole. Here the creature's hard- 
ships and pressures are the easiest part; but the sin, and dis- 
honour to Grod that eventually attends them under this dispensa- 
tion, ties the knot straitest, and makes many a weary look for the 

II. Secondly, "We are to consider the matter clearing this dispen- 
sation ; which is, that the strength and i)ower of Christ is illus- 
trated in the weakness of the creature. And here we would shew, 
1. Wherein the strength of Christ is illustrated in the way of this 
dispensation ; and, 2. The becomingness thereof. 

First, "Wherein the strength of Christ is illustrated in the way of 
this dispensation. 

1. In supporting them under their weakness, 2 Cor. i. 8, 9, 10. 
The more ready the house is to fall, the more does appear the 
efficacy of the prop that holds it up. The dispensation of provi- 
dence towards some of the saints, in supporting them under their 
pressures, is a train of wonders : the dispensation of grace support- 
ing them all, is a continued miracle, in that the spark of grace is 
not extinguished, in the ocean of corruption wherewith it is encom- 
passed in themselves and others, put in agitation by the powers of 

2. lu doing great things by them, weak and contemptible as 
tlicy are. How illustriously shines the power of Christ in making 


" worm Jacob thrash the mountains," Is. xli. 14, 15, weak crea- 
tures victorious over all the power of the enemy ? It is in such 
Christ chooses to set forth his God -like strength, his divine power, 
2 Cor. iv. 7. When he set forth with his gospel in the world, 
Satan had the power of the sword, and the learning in the world, 
on his side : but Christ, by a few illiterate fishermen, Paul expec- 
ted, carried his point against Satan with his swordsmen and book-r 
men too. 

3. In strengthening them out of weakness, Heb. xi. 34. How 
often is their case, when at the weakest, nearest to a strengthening ; 
and the fainting saint becomes like a giant refreshed with wine, by 
a touch of Christ's hand, a word from his mouth ! Is. xl. 29, " Ho 
giveth power to the faint ; and to them that have no might, he 
increaseth strength. Amos v. 9, " The Lord strcngtheneth the 
spoiled against the strong ; so that the spoiled shall come against 
the fortress." Paul speaks his usual experience of this, 2 Cor. xii. 
10, " Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in 
necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when 
I am weak, then am I strong." He gives strength for a particular 
effect : when the work comes to the setting to, it comes, according 
to Matt. X. 19, " "When they deliver you up, take no thought how 
or what ye shall speak ; for it shall be given you in that same hour 
what ye shall speak :" when the work is done, it goes. So the 
timing and continuance of it, speaks whence it comes, that it is not 
home-bred, but heaven-bred. 

4. Lastly, In bringing the weak things, through all their dif- 
ficulties, safe home at long-run, Psal. Ixxiii. 24. wonderful 
counsellor, that will guide such a weak company, through all their 
snares, to glory ! how must the power and skill of the pilot shine, 
in bringing such broken and shattered vessels, amidst so many 
rocks and shelves, in a tempestuous sea, safe to laud ! Surely, what- 
ever doubts remain now with them about this dispensation, when 
they set their foot on the shore, they will sing the song of Moses 
and the Lamb, and say of his whole dispensations, " He has done 
all things well." 

Thus do shine forth in this dispensation, 

1. The strength of the wisdom of Christ, and it writes his name 
in legible characters, Tue Wonderful Counsellor. What wis- 
dom bnt divine could conduct such a company of weaklings, under 
such circumstances of weakness, through all the powers of the 
enemy, so as to lose none of them ! Mark that connexion. Is. xl, 
28 — 31, "Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the 
everlasting God, the Lord, the creator of the ends of the earth. 


faiuteth not, neither is weary ? there is no searching of his under- 
standing. He giveth power to the faint ; and to them that have no 
might, he inoreaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be 
weary, and the young men shall utterly fall. But they that wait 
upon the Lord shall renew their strength : they shall mount up 
with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they 
shall walk and not faint." 

2. The power of his hand, which eminently exerts icself here. 
To do great things by mighty instruments, is the way of the crea- 
tures : but to do great things by weak and contemptible means, is 
the way of Christ, because he is GOD. To overthrow mountains by 
earthquakes, is the work of God in nature ; but to make a worm 
thrash mountains small as dust, is his work in grace. 

3. The power of his grace, 2 Cor. xii. 9. Here it appears an 
immortal seed; and to be, in its meanest lodging, the heart of a 
weak creature, impregnable : whence ? Not from its own nature, as 
such a created quality, evident from Adam's case : but that it is the 
grace of Christ, communicated out of his fulness, and thereby fed as 
from a continual spring, John iv. 14, " The water that I shall give 
him, shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting 

4. Lastli/, The strength of Christ's interest in heaven, which pro- 
cures the weak ones so many pardons, keeps them in the state of 
favour with God, and at last gets them, notwithstanding all their 
weakness and worthlessness, set up vessels of glory in the upper 

Use 1. Hence we proclaim Jesus Christ a fit support for all weak 
ones to draw to : come to him then, ye weak creatures, that his 
povrer may be displayed in you, to his honour, and your good. 

There are other weak ones than the saints, though none so 
sensible of their weakness as they. Strangers to Christ, ye aro 
weak, dead-weak, however strong in your own conceit. To con- 
vince you that feel it not, 

1. Are ye brought out of the state wherein Adam left you ? No, 
ye are not. Then ye are weak, Rom. v. 6, " For when we were yet 
without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly:" not 
only weak bodies, but weak souls, notwithstanding all your natu- 
ral and acquired abilities. And it is owing to the lowness of your 
case, that ye are not sensible of it. 

2. What head can ye make against disease or death ? 1 Cor. xv. 
55, 66, 57. What strength for that encounter? Is. xl. 6. All 
must die, say ye ; but the saints through Christ are proof against 
the sting of it; but what safeguard against it have ye ? 


3. Are your own legs able to bear you before the tribunal of 
God? Surely not, Psal. cxliii. 2, "In thy siglit shall no roan 
living be justified." Why seek ye not then for shelter under the 
covert of blood ? I say then, 

1st, Insensible sinners, come to a sense of your weakness, and 
under the sense of it come to Christ. Without it ye will not. 

2dly, Sensible sinners, let not your weakness scare you from 
Christ, but rather prompt you not to delay coming, Matt. ix. 12. 
"They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.' 
They will perish in their weakness that come not. 

Let all consider, that whoever they be in whom the strength of 
Christ's grace shall not be displayed, in a state of union with him, 
the strength of his hand will be displayed against them for ever, in 
a state of separation from him, 2 Thess. i. 8. 

Use. 2. Communicants may hence be directed in their approach, 
to come under a sense of their weakness, to receive the seal of 
God's covenant insuring the strength of Christ to be forthcoming 
for them under all their weakness. And all that are minded for hea- 
ven, may learn to set themselves to submit to this dispensation, and 
to lay their account to live by faith, not by sense, till they get 

Secondly, The becoraingness of this constitution. It will appear 
worthy of God, and therefore in reason should be satisfying to the 
creature, if ye consider, 

1. That the man Christ is now in heaven, and will be to the end 
of the world, Acts iii. 21. But by this means his divine power is, 
for his glory, still illustrated in the world. While be was on the 
earth, he did now and then let out a beam of his divine glory : but 
he was nevertheless put to an ignominious death in it; and his ene- 
mies gave out, that he was swallowed up in death as other men. 
But by this means there is a continual proof of his resurrection, 
ascension, and divine power, kept up and to be kept up in the world 
to the end, in that continued display of his strength in the weakness 
of his people, 2 Cor. iv. 11. " For we which live, are alway delivered 
unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made 
manifest in our mortal flesh." Consider, 

Is^, His divine power had a vail cast OA'er it, when he was on earth, 
Phil. ii. 7. and in his sufferings, crucifixion, death, and burial, he 
appeared in human weakness, 2 Cor. xiii. 4. Is it not worthy of 
God then, that now, when he is in heaven, his divine power should 
shine forth in its turn in the world ; and that there should be a 
scene of human weakness, wherein it may to the greatest advantage 
display itself? 


2dly, This display of the strength of Christ in the weakness of his 
people appears full to their conviction : and the more weak they are, 
they see it the more clearly while it is exerted in them ; as con- 
traries appear best by one another's side. And thus the glory of 
the power of Christ continually shines in the world, in the eyes of 
them who feel it. 

Zdly, While there is a people in the world compassed about with 
much weakness yet professing their dependance on the strength of 
Christ, and they are accordingly strengthened, in many instances at 
least, to the conviction of beholders ; this is a sufficient objective 
evidence of the power of Christ to the world, sufficient to extort a 
confession of it from them, as Psal. cxxvi. 2. — " Then said they 
among the Heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them." 
Is. Ixi, 9. '* Their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and 
their offspring among the people : all that see them shall acknow- 
ledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed ;" 
or to leave them inexcusable. Hence, in all times of persecution, 
the support from heaven that confessors and martyrs had, hath 
brought numbers over to their side, so that the blood of the martyrs 
usually proved the seed of the church. 

Hence I conclude, that this constitution and method of providence 
and grace in the church on earth, is a glorious device worthy of 
God, for displaying the glory of Christ. There, where he was 
some time covered over with ignominy, reproach, and disgrace, as 
weak and contemptible, a worm not a man ; a reproach of men, 
and despised of the people," is his glory displayed, Psal. xxii. 5. 

2. It is agreeable to the method of divine procedure in other 
things, and so makes the divine conduct to be of a piece. Wherein 
we may observe, that it is God's ordinary way, (1.) To carry on 
great works by degrees, and not immediately to bring them to their 
perfection. So the world was made, first, a confused dark mass 
of earth and water, and then step by step formed, and finished, 
and beautified. Was the old creation a work of time, for the 
more full manifesting of the power of God ? it is congruous, that 
the new creation should be so too, for illustrating the strength 
of Christ, in and by whom it is done. (2.) From small and 
contemptible beginnings to raise the most eminent works, and 
by most unlikely and unpromising means to do great things ; because 
the power of God appears the more clearly in such a situation. 
From Abraham's body in a sort dead, and Sarah a barren woman, 
whose womb by age was deadened too, he raised a nation like the 
stars for multitude, continuing to this day : and looking to their 
beginning, we see Isaac an only son, on an altar, ready to be 


sacrificed ; and the first-fruits of them long in slavery in Egypt, 
and, when delivered, wandering forty years in a wilderness. How 
congruous is it, then, that the innumerable multitude that shall 
at length stand on the mount Zion above, round about the throne, 
in white robes, and palms in their hands, should be brough tthither 
from lying among the pots, and straggling long in the wilder- 

3. Particularly, it is agreeable to the divine procedure in the case 
of Christ himself. And that, (1.) In the constitution of his person 
as God-man ; wherein infinite power and creature-weakness met 
together as attributes of one and the same person ; he who, being 
true man, was capable of being " crucified through weakness," being 
also the mighty God, 2 Cor. xiii. 4 Now, if the divine power wrs 
lodged with creature-weakness in Christ personal, how congruous is 
it that the same divine power should be illustrated in the weakness 
of his mystical members? (2.) In the conduct of providence about 
his person. The most signal display that ever God made of his power, 
was by the man Christ and in him, 1 Cor. i. 24. being " Christ the 
power of God and the wisdom of God." By him as God-man he 
redeemed the world; the last a greater work than the first, as the 
giving his own Son was more than the speaking of a word. But ho^r 
was this work brought about, but by subjecting him to a number 
of weaknesses for his lifetime in this world, concluded at length with 
his death ? And in these the divine power sent forth its most radiant 
beams, and by them reared up the new creation. Shall it then be 
thought strange, that as Christ was in the world, Christians should 
be ever so too ? or that, since the power of God was illustrated in 
the weakness of the man Christ, the same divine power in the per- 
son of Christ should be illustrated in the weakness of his people, 
while they are here in this world ? 

4. Lastly. This dispensation tends to the heightening of the glory 
of the victory of the Son of God against the devil. That proud 
apostate spirit rose in rebellion against God ; and having seduced 
man, set up a kingdom in the world in opposition to God's. Against 
him the Son of God, for his Father's glory, and the recovery of fallen 
man, proclaimed war in paradise, Gen. iii. 15. " I will put enmity 
between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it 
shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel ;" and, for his 
more shameful defeat, encounters him in human nature, a weak one 
in comparison of the more powerful angelic nature, whereof Satan 
was ; and illustrates his strength against him in the weakness of 
that nature, as in his natural body, so in his mystical body. The 
heat of that battle was on the cross, where he was "crucified through 


weakness," yet triumphed over him. The battle is carried on in his 
mystical members laden with weaknesses : yet even in them also he 
defeats hira ; and ssts them off the field conquerors, one generation 
after another, without the loss of a man. It will last till the end 
of the world : and then Christ's victory with his weak men will be 
complete, Satan with his party being chained down under everlasting 
darkness. So there will be no more occasion for Christ's illustrat- 
ing his power in weakness : consequently, there shall no more for 
ever be a weak one among Christ's party ; all their weaknesses 
corae then to an end. 

Use. This may be of manifold tise in the Christian life, 

1. As an oracle to satisfy serious inquirers anent the whole of 
the divine conduct about believers, and particularly as to two diffi- 
cult questions. 

1st, Why the Lord leaves sin in the regenerate ? Why though 
they pant, long, and breathe after perfection, yet they cannot reach 
it ; though they would buy their freedom from sin with ten thou- 
sand worlds if they had them, and the bondage of a body of sin 
cleaving to them makes them long for cold death, to set them free, 
yet they must wrestle on with it? See what may satisfy. It is 
that the power of Christ may be illustrated in your weakness ; 
therefore it is that the " wheels of his chariot tarry." 

2dli/, Why the Lord keeps his people under long and sore afflic- 
tions ? The reason is the same. Satan might be too hard for the 
Christian, in a perfect calm of providence about him : yet our Lord 
will give the Christian a disadvantageous post in a thicket of afflic- 
tions and trials, therefore called temptations, James i. 2 ; and 
Satan having that advantage of the ground, shall be suffered to 
attack him, and yet be baffled : to the greater glory of the strength 
of Christ, and shame of the enemy. 

2. As a way-mark, to direct us, if we mind for heaven, unto the 
King's high-way to it ; that is, the way of faith, and not of sense, 
2 Cor. V. 7. Whatever sweet clusters of sense the Lord may allow 
any of his people for their refreshment by the way; the life of 
sense is certainly reserved for heaven, where all weakness is put 
ofl". The life of Christians here is a life of believing, hoping, 
patient waiting, in a course of doing, suffering, struggling, and 
wrestling, where Christ's power is illustrated in their weakness. 

3. As an interpreter of Christ's mind anent the actings of grace 
in his people. The carnal world despises these actings as things of 
no value. A look of a weak creature to Christ, a groan to him for 
help, believing of a promise, hoping in his word, some confidence in 
him that he will at length appear for them, are but trifling things 


in their eyes. And in the eyes of believers themselves, except when 
they are bound up from them, they are but of small value, hardly 
"worth their own notice, far less Christ's ; especially considering that 
they are so weak, and so long a time intervenes between them. But 
certainly Christ notices them all, and looks on them as very pre- 
cious, else this dispensation, whose end is to draw them out, had 
never been chosen by him, 1 Pet. i. 7, " That the trial of your faith 
being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be 
tried with fire, might be found unto praise, and honour, and glory, 
at the appearing of Jesus Christ." Cant. iv. 9, " Thou hast ravished 
my heart, my sister, my spouse ; thou hast ravished my heart with 
one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck." 

4. As a cordial to support, with the prospect of a happy event, all 
the followers of Christ. 

Istf Under their own personal weakness and pressures. He that 
has brought them under thera to illustrate his own strength in them, 
will surely make a shining morning follow their darkest night. 

2dli/, Under the low case of the church, whether in point of cor- 
ruption or persecution. Though she be either of these ways brought 
to death's door, she cannot die out : for Christ will not let her fall 
so low, but for the clearer manifesting of his divine strength in her 
recovery. The utmost point of hopelessness is the usual signal for 
Christ's exerting his power for his people : Deut. xxxii. 36, " For 
the Lord shall judge his people, and repent himself for his ser- 
vants ; when he seeth that their power is gone, and there is none 
shut up, or left." 

5. Lastly, As a persuasive to Christians, with a holy submission 
of spirit to this dispensation, resolutely to wrestle on, till the Lord 
have fully served the ends of his glory by all their weaknesses. 
This bids us, 

l*^, Stoop to the dispensation, and not quarrel ; and after he has 
thus far discovered to us the design of it, to crucify all our hows 
and whys on the matter ; and that both with respect to our spiritual 
and bodily weaknesses. 

2dZy, Resolutely to keep up the struggle, to get forward in the 
way the Lord calls us. What though we be weak ? the works of 
the Christian life are not to be laid aside, but we are to stretch out 
the withered hand, that his strength may be perfected in our weak- 

Whoso thus struggle resolutely, and yet stoop humbly to the dis- 
pensation, shew their concern for his honour, insomuch that they are 
pleased his strength should be displayed in their weakness. Thus 
honouring him here, he will honour them in the other world. 


Several Sermons preached, at Ettrick, in the year 1717. 

Luke xiii. 5. 
I tell you, Nay : hut except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. 

When we consider the abounding sin and hardness of heart pre- 
vailing under a preached gospel, it must needs let us see, that the 
doctrine of repentance is both necessary and seasonable, to pluck 
the brands out of the burning ; or if that will not do, to leave men 
without excuse. Sinners stave oflF repentance, as if they were 
resolved to persist in sin come what will, or at least as halting 
betwixt two opinions : But here is a peremptory decision of the case 
in this text, " I tell you. Nay : but except ye repent, ye shall all 
likewise perish." 

In these words we have two things. 

1. An abuse of a dispensation of providence corrected : " I tell 
you, Nay." Some had told our Lord the news of Pilate the Roman 
governor's falling on some Galileans, with his soldiers, and killing 
them, while they were sacrificing. It seems the tellers of this news, 
or others in the company, were apt to think, that these were sin- 
ners beyond others, because an unordinary judgment had fallen on 
them. Our Lord tells them, that it would not bear such a conclu- 
sion. He puts them in mind of another remarkable providence, 
viz. the tower of Siloam in Jerusalem its falling on and killing 
eighteen persons : but here he shews that this did not befal them, 
because they were greater sinners than all the rest in Jerusalem ; 
nay there were as great sinners as those, which missed that stroke, 
and others like it too. 

2. The right use of the dispensatiou instructed: "But except ye 
repent, ye shall all likewise perish." The right use is to learn 
repentance from the ruin of others ; if others give us an example 
at their own cost, that we take heed to it and improve it to our 
repentance and reformation. This is the import of the particle 
bict. These words are a peremptory certification given to sinners 
by our Lord. And the proposition in its own nature includes a 
twofold certification. 

\st, A certification of ruin upon impenitence. Sinners go on 
in their course, yet hope that all may be well. No, says our 


Lord, deceive not yourselves ; for if ye do not repent, there is 
no hope of saving you. There is here, 

(1.) The matter on which the certification is given, " Except ye 
repent;" i. e. If ye do not repent, if ye be not duly humbled for 
your sins, and sincerely turn from them. If ye harden your hearts 
under your guilt, keep still your sinful courses, and refuse to let 
them go, they will ruin you. 

(2.) The thing certified, which is perishing likewise ; not perislr- 
ing in that very manner, but ye shall perish as surely as they did. 
The judgments of God shall pursue you, and ye shall perish for 

(3.) The extent of the certification, " All — perish." This clears 
the perishing to be meant of everlasting death. Q. d. Though 
signal temporal judgments do pursue all that are impenitent, yet 
eternal punishment will ; no impenitent sinner shall escape that, 
however they may escape temporal strokes of signal vengeance. 

(4.) The pereraptoriness of it. This appears in two things. 1. 
That solemn assertion, " I tell you," supposed to be repeated in the 
last clause. Take it out of the mouth of the Lord himself, that ye 
shall perish except ye repent. Q. d. This has been told you by 
many, but ye would not believe : but now I tell it you out of my 
own mouth. And to hear this out of the mouth of the Saviour, may 
strike a sinner with concern, and let him see, that Christ's blood 
will never be laid out on a person continuing impenitent, to save 
him from death. 2. In the relation intimate to be between the 
punishment of those so signally smitten by the hand of God, and 
the future punishment of all impenitent sinners ; the former is a 
pledge of the latter. This is intimated by the particle likewise. 

2dly, A certification of life and repentance. This is implied here 
as Gen. ii. 17. God has made as sure connection betwixt repentance 
and life, as betwixt impenitence and death. Be your sins never so 
great, if you repent of them, and turn from them, they shall never 
be your ruin. 

Before I come to the main point I design, I shall lay before you 
some observations from the words. 

Obs. 1. That those who meet with more signal strokes than 
others, are not therefore, nor are to be accounted greater sinners 
than others. The Lord spares some as great sinners, as he signally 
punisheth, I tell you, nay. 

Reasons of this dispensation of Providence. 

1. Because of God's sovereign power and absolute dominion, which 
he will have the world to understand : Matth. xx. 15. " Is it not 
lawful for me to do what I will with mine own ?" Thus our Lord 


accounts for tlie dispensation of the man's being born blind, John 
ix. 3. All men have that in them and about them, which may make 
them liable to the heaviest strokes that any of the children of men 
meet with ; And therefore whatever any suffer, the Lord does them 
no wrong, since he punishes them less than their iniquity deserves : 
but amongst many whom justice may strike, sovereignity picks out 
some, and causes them to smart. And who may say, " what dost 
thou ?" 

2. Because we are now under the mixed dispensation of provi- 
dence ; not the unmixed, reserved to another world, when all men 
shall be put into their unalterable state. Now, hereunto this is 
very agreeable that Grod signally punish some of a society, while 
others as guilty do escape, that the whole may, with David, Psal, ci. 
1, " sing of mercy and judgment too." And thus the dispensation 
of divers colours is held up in the world, as a display of the mani- 
fold wisdom of God. 

3. Because the mercy of God to some is magnified by his severity 
on others. As black set by white makes the white appear the 
better ; so God's severity against some, may be a looking-glass to 
others, wherein they may see how much they stand obliged to free 
grace and mercy, Rom. xi. xxii. Men are never fairer to prize 
health in themselves, than when they see others tossed on sick beds; 
nor to prize the exercise of sense and reason, and other mercies, 
than when they see what miserable and pitiful sights they are that 
are deprived of these. And this should make folk patient and 
thankful under the strokes of the Lord's hand, because if he take 
away a mercy, health for instance, or perhaps a member or limb of 
their body, being taken away, it may be more serviceable for him, 
than when they had it, in so far as it shall serve to magnify the 
mercy of God to others, that see and notice the hand of the Lord. 
See Matth. xxi. 3. 

4. Because in very signal strokes very signal mercies may be 
wrapped up. So it was in Joseph's case ; there was a very singular 
blessing on the head of him that was separated from his brethren. 
Job's troubles were but a dark hour before a very glorious day. 
The halt Jacob got in his thigh, was more excellent, as a badge of 
his wrestling with the angel, than Esau's retinue of four hundred 

5. Lastly, Because this dispensation is in some sort necessary to 
confirm us in the belief of the judgment of the great day. God 
punishes some remarkably, that the world may see that there is a 
God that judgeth on the earth ; he does not so punish all, that men 
may be assured that there is a judgment to come. If none were 

Vol. VI. 2 b 


punished here, the world would improve that for Atheism ; if all 
were punished, it would be improved to Sadducism. 

Use 1. Then learn that unordinary strokes may befall those that 
are not unordinary siuners; and therefore be not rash in your 
judgment concerning the strokes that others meet with. It is true, 
whatever we or others meet with, it is deserved at the Lord's hand; 
and when God follows an unordinary seen sin with an unordinary 
judgment, as in the case of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, it is no 
breach of charity to judge that that stroke comes for that sin. 
But when people, in whose conversation ye see no signal sin, meet 
with signal strokes, beware of harsh judging. For in the way of 
the Lord's dispensation, some will meet with a signal stroke for 
some sin, such as the world would think little or nothing of, if they 
knew it. 

2. Then adore the mercy of God to you, and wonder at his 
sparing you, when ye see others smart under the hand of God, 
which ye do not feel. Acknowledge, that whatever others meet 
with, the same might have been your lot, if the Lord had dealt with 
you as ye deserve; as the church did, Lara. iii. 22, "It is of the 
Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions 
fail not." 

Obs. 2. That the strokes which any meet with, are pledges of 
ruin to impenitent sinners. But " Except ye repent, ye shall all 
likewise perish." 

Reasons of this are, 

1. Because they show how hateful to God sin is, in whomsoever 
it is : Is. xlii. 24, " "Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the 
robbers ? did not the Lord, he against whom we have sinned ? for 
they would not walk in his ways, neither were they obedient unto 
his law." God has no delight in the misery of his own creatures, 
Ezek. xviii. 23. He must therefore have a mighty hatred against 
sin, in that he is so heavy oftentimes on the work of his own hands 
for it. Not only his enemies smart for sin, but his dear friends ; 
yea, his dear Son smarted for it, when it lay on him but by imput- 
ation. And therefore how can impenitent siuners think to escape ? 
Luke xxiii. 31, "For if they do these things in a green tree, what 
shall be done in the dry ?" 

2. Because they shew how just God is. He is the Judge of all 
the earth, and cannot but do right. Gen. xviii. 25. Now, though 
justice may delay the punishment of one longer than another, yet it 
will not allow to punish some, and for ever to spare others, in the 
same state. For that would be manifest partiality, which God 
hateth, Ezek. xviii. 20. And therefore the apostle tells us, 2 Thess. 


i. 6. that " it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribula- 
tion to thera that trouble" the saints. 

3. Because whatever any meet with in the way of sin, is really 
designed for warning to others, as is clear from the text. See 
1 Cor. X. 11, 12. And they that will not be taught by the example 
of others, may expect to be made examples to teach others, as Lot's 
wife was. But the wise will have their eyes in their head, while 
impenitent sinners pass on and perish, as those that will not take 
warning. Hence it comes to pass, that the stroke afar off not pre- 
vailing, is oftentimes brought nearer home. 

4. Lastly, Because all those strokes which sinners meet with in 
this life, are the spittings of the shower of wrath that abides the 
impenitent world, after which the full shower may certainly be 
looked for. As the joys in believing are the pledges of eternal joy, 
flowing from one fountain with it ; the first-fruits of Canaan's land, 
which will be followed with the full harvest : so all the outlettings 
of God's wrath on sinners here, are the pledges of eternal wrath, 
and first-fruits of hell, which will be followed with the harvest of 
misery, being the same in kind, Rev. xx. 14. 

Use 1. Be not unconcerned spectators of all the effects of God's 
anger for sin going abroad in the world ; for your part and mine is 
deep in them. There is none of them but says to us, as in the same 
condemnation, " Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." 
how unconcernedly do many look on the miseries of others, how far 
are they from taking a lesson to themselves therefrom ! But a 
hard heart and seared conscience, which cannot be awakened by the 
dispensations of providence far off from them, do but invite the 
heavy stroke to fall on themselves. 

2. Consider, impenitent sinners, how can ye escape, when your 
rnin is insured by so many pledges thereof from the Lord's hand, 
while ye go on in sin ? When a sinner goes out of God's way, he 
leaves his soul in pawn for his return by repentance ; but the impe- 
nitent sinner never returns to loose his pawn, and so loses it. 
When God lets out any of his wrath in any measure on the chil- 
dren of men, that is God's pawn for his bringing eternal wrath on 
the impenitent ; and we may be sure, that however careless we be 
of our pawns, God will not lose his. Therefore consider your ways, 
and repent. 

Obs, 3. The strokes that others meet with, are loud calls to 
to us to repent. That is the language of all the afflicting providences 
which we see going on in the world. To confirm this, consider, 

1. God does not strike one for sin with a visible stroke, but with 
an eye to all. The reason which "^od gives in his law for punishing 



some transgresssors severely, is, that " all Israel might hear, and 
fear, and do no such thing." In the infancy of the Jewish chnrch, 
he consumed Nadab and Abihu with fire, Lev. x. 2. compared with 
vcr. 9. In the infancy of the Christian church, Ananias and 
Sapphira were struck dead for a lie. Why all this, but to be a 
warning to all that should come after ? 

2. Thereby we may see how dangerous a thing sin is to be har- 
boured ; and if we will look inward, we may ever see, that there is 
sin in us also against the God of Israel. If we saw one stung by a 
serpent which he had taken up, would not we quickly throw away 
one which we had taken up too, lest we should fare no better ? 
How can we think to prosper in that way, where we see it goes so 
very ill with others ? 

Use 1. We may see that none go on impenitently in a sinful 
course, but over the belly of thousands of calls from Providence to 
repent, besides all those they have from the word. Look abroad 
into the world, sinner, and consider how many have fallen 
into ruin, and are still falling by their iniquity. As many as there 
are of these, so many mouths are there calling thee to repent, and 
turn from thy sin. " Who did ever harden himself against God, and 
prosper ?" And dost thou think, that thy case shall be an excep- 
tion to the general rule ? No ; so many witnesses give their testi- 
mony to thee, that " except thou repent, thou shalt likewise 

2. Impenitency under the gospel cannot have the least shadow of 
excuse. The calls of Providence common to the whole world, are 
sufficient to leave the very heathens without excuse, Rom. i. 20 : 
how much more shall the calls of the word and Providence too 
make us inexcusable, if we do not repent? Sinners make many 
shifts for themselves, to preserve the life of their lusts, aud to keep 
themselves from this unpleasant exercise : but they will be but fig- 
leaf covers before the Lord. 

3. How much more do strokes from the hand of the Lord on our- 
selves call us to repent ? Hos. ii. 6, 7, " Therefore behold, I will 
hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not 
find her paths. And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall 
not overtake them ; and she shall seek them, but shall not find 
them : then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband, 
for then was it better with me than now." What Absalom's 
design was in burning Joab's corn-field, is the design of afflicting 
providences. And therefore impenitency and hardness of heart 
under the strokes of the Lord's hand, is highly aggravated, Jer. v. 
3. Every cross that we meet with, is a charge from heaven to 


turu from our sinful course, and from the particular ills of our way. 
I come now to the principal doctrine of the text. 

Doctrine. Sinners, except they repent, shall perish. This is 
an except without any exception. Be who they will, if they be 
sinners, they must repent or perish. All are sinners, and by sin 
depart from God ; and they must come back again to him by repen- 
tance, else they are for ever ruined. Be they sinners of a greater 
or lesser size, they must be penitent sinners, or it had been better 
for them they had never been born. 

In discoursing this doctrine, I shall, 
I. Explain the nature of repentance. 
n. Apply. 

I. I shall explain the nature of repentance. And here we 
may consider, 

1. "What it is in its general nature. 

2. How it is wrought in the soul. 

3. The subject of true repentance. 

4. The parts of repentance. 

First, We may consider what repentance is in its general 
nature. It is a saving grace : 2 Tim. ii. 25, " In meekness in- 
structing those that oppose themselves; if Grod peradventure will 
give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth." It is a 
grace given us of God freely, enabling and disposing a soul to all 
the acts of turning from sin unto God ; and it is saving, as in its 
own nature distinguishing a man from a hypocrite, and having a 
sure connection with eternal salvation. To unfold this more parti- 
cularly, consider, 

1. It is not a transient action, as Papists and some ignorant 
creatures imagine, as if a sigh for sin, an act of sorrow for it, a 
confession of it with a " God be merciful to me a sinner," were 
repentance. No, no ; these may be acts of repentance while they 
proceed from a truly penitent heart. But repentance itself is 
not a passing act, but an abiding grace, Zech. xii. 10; a con- 
tinuing frame and disposition of the soul ; a principle lying deep in 
the heart, disposing a man to mourn for and turn from sin on all 

2. It is not a passing work of the first days of one's religion, as 
some professors take it to be ; but a grace in the heart, setting one 
to an answerable working all the days of his life. It is a spring of 
waters of sorrow in the heart for sin, which will spring up there 
while sin is there, though sometimes through hardness of heart it 
may be stopped for a while. They that look on repentance as the 


first stage in the way to heaven, and looking back to the sorrowful 
hours which they had when the Lord first began to deal with them, 
reckon that they have passed the first stage, are in a dangerous 
condition. And v^^hoso endeavours not to carry on their repentance, 
I doubt if they ever at all repented yet. As when Moses had smote 
the rock in the wilderness, and the waters began to gush out, 
those waters ran (it is thought, 1 Cor. x. 4.) and followed them 
while in the wilderness : so the heart first smitten with repentance 
for sin at the soul's first conversion to God, the wound still bleeds, 
and is never bound up to bleed no more, till the band of glory be 
put about it in heaven, Rev. xxi. 4. 

Hence initial and progressive repentance, though the former be 
the repentance of a sinner, the latter of a saint, are no more differ- 
ent kinds of repentance, than the soul's virgin love to Christ, aud 
their love to him through the course of their spiritual marriage with 
him ; or than faith in its first, and after actings. But as the mid- 
day and evening sun are the same with the morning sun, so are 
these ; though the rising morning sun may be most noticed by the 
traveller, who having travelled in the night, was thereby brought 
from darkness to light. 

3. It is not a common grace, but a special saving one. Men may 
have a repentance for their sin, gnawing their consciences, and tor- 
menting their hearts, which they will carry on in hell through 
eternity : being only the first movings of the worm in the soul that 
never dieth : as Judas's repentance seems to have been Simon 
Magus's and Pharaoh's. They may bitterly rue their sin, as Esau, 
Gen. xxvii. 34. who never truly repent of it, Heb. xii. 17; and the 
stony heart may be broken in a thousand pieces, while yet every 
piece remains a stone. They may have a superficial sorrow for sin, 
and a light joy succeeding it, whose hearts were never pierced to 
the quick ; and therefore the joy goes, as the effects of a scud of 
rain on the parched ground, Matth. xiii. 20, 21. But true repent- 
ance is a repentance never repented of, kindly working in the soul. 

Secondly, We may consider how repentance is wrought in the 
soul. And here two questions must be answered, and two points 
cleared, namely, 

1. "Who works repentance, or is the author of it? And that is 
the sanctifying Spirit of Jesus Christ: Zech. xii. 13. " And I will 
pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusa- 
lem, the spirit of grace and of supplications, and they shall look 
upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as 
one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as 
one that is in bitterness for his first-born." Sometimes notorious 


prodigals become true peuitents ; as a persecuting Saul turned to 
be a preaching Paul : so that the world is amazed with the change, 
and are ready to say as in Saul's case, 1 Sam. x. 11. " What is this 
that is come unto the sou of Kish ? Is Saul also among the pro- 
phets ? But that query, ver. 12. "But who is their father?" gives 
a rational account of the matter. All sort of timber to divine grace 
is alike easy to hew. And forasmuch as the house of God is ordin- 
arily built of the knottiest wood, publicans and harlots entering 
into the kingdom of Grod before Scribes and Pharisees, it may plainly 
appear, that repentance is not the work of nature, but of grace ; not 
of men's own spirit, but Christ's Spirit. 

This is evident from the word, Jer. xiii. 21, " Can the Ethiopian 
change his skin, or the leopard his spots ? then may ye also do good, 
that are accustomed to do evil." It is the Lord's own work to 
" take away the stony heart, and give an heart of flesh," Ezek. 
xxxvi. 26. It is the office of the exalted Mediator to give repent- 
ance, in whose hand it is to send the Spirit, Acts v. 31. Ministers 
may preach repentance, but cannot work in it themselves, and far 
less in others. They may sow the seed, but cannot make it grow, 
1 Cor. iii. 6, 7. It is but a peradventure if God give repentance, 
when they have done their utmost, 2 Tim. ii. 25. But if at all their 
weapons be mighty, it is through God, 2 Cor. x. 4. 

2. By what means does the Spirit work repentance ? That is by 
the word, whether read or preached. The word is the channel 
wherein the influences of the Spirit flow; and from these it has its 
piercing, melting, and heart-softening virtue, as the pool of Beth- 
esda had its healing virtue from the angel's troubling the water: 
Acts xi. 20, 21. "And some of them were men of Cyprus, and 
Cyrene, which when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the 
Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was 
with them : and a great number believed, and turned unto the 
Lord." Junius, who was deeply plunged in Athiesm, was brought 
to repentance by reading John i. in a New Testament which his 
father had purposely laid down in his chamber, if perhaps he might 
take it up and read it. Augustine was converted by reading Rom. 
xiii. 13, 14. " Let us walk honestly as in the day ; not in rioting 
and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife 
and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no 
provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof." Three thousand 
we find were wrought on by one sermon. Acts ii. 

Many and various are the occasions of repentance, which the 
Lord blesseth for bringing home the word to the soul, and the 
soul by it unto God. Personal afflictions have been so in the case 


of many, Hos. ii. 7- The sight of strokes on others has been 
blessed to some. The first occasion of Luther's turning seri- 
ous was a fright by the violent death of a dear companion of 
his. Nay, God has made falls into gross sins occasions of re- 
pentance unto many, whereof there are several instances, as Achan, 
the thief on the cross, &:c. Flavel gives an account of one, in 
the case of an attempt of self-murder. Augustine heard a voice, 
saying, " Take up, and read." Nay, God can make a dream in the 
night such an occasion, Job xxxiii. 15, 16. But these are not pro- 
perly the means, but the occasions which bring men to consider of 
the word, which is the true and proper means. And here the Spirit 
of the Lord makes use of both parts of the word. 

1st, The law, to break the hard heart : Jer. xxiii. 29, " Is not my 
word — like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces ? saith the 
Lord." It goes before like John Baptist to prepare the way of the 
Lord into the heart. And the Spirit of the Lord making use of it 
in a soul, is called " the Spirit of bondage," Rom. viii. 15. And 
here each part of the law has its proper use. 

(1.) The commands of it, to convince the soul of sin : Rom. vii. 7, 
I had not known sin," says the apostle, " but by the law : for I had 
not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet." 
The commands of the law, held forth to the soul in their spiritu- 
ality and vast extent, are the looking-glass wherein the sinner is 
made to see his black face, the sins and sinfulness of his nature, 
heart, and life, which he must repent of. 

(2.) The threatenings of it, to convince the soul of judgment : 
Gal. iii. 10, " As many as are of the works of the law, are under the 
curse : for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in 
all things which are written in the b