(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us) Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The works of Thomas Goodwin"

OCT 1 o 1988 



BX 9315 .G66 1861 v. 8 
Goodwin, Thomas, 1600-1680. 
The works of Thomas Goodwin 







W. LINDSAY ALEXANDER, D.D., Professor of Theology, Congregational 
Union, Edinburgh. 

JAMES BEGG, D.D., Minister of Newington Free Church, Edinburgh. 

THOMAS J. CRAWFORD, D.D., S.T.P., Professor of Divinity, University, 

D. T. K. DRUMMOND, M.A., Minister of St Thomas's Episcopal Church, 

WILLIAM H. GOOLD, D.D., Professor of Biblical Literature and Church 
History, Reformed Presbyterian Church, Edinburgh. 

ANDREW THOMSON, D.D., Minister of Broughton Place United Presby- 
terian Church, Edinburgh. 

General ©Ottor. 
REV. THOMAS SMITH, M.A., Edinburgh. 




With (general frcfate 



%\\b lJUmoir 














Pbeface to the Keader. . 1X 



The mercies in God's nature the object, and support, and 

encouragement of faith. — How we are to act faith thereon. 3 


The second object of faith, Jesus Christ.— Of our being drawn to 
him by the Father, and our treating with him for an 
interest in his person, and salvation by him. — That Christ, 
as God-man in one person, is the object of our faith. — That 
as a spiritual Messiah and Saviour he is propounded to our 
faith. — That not only Christ in his person, but in all that he 
hath done and suffered for our salvation, and now doth for 
us in heaven, is the object of our faith. . . • 140 


The free grace of God, as declared and proposed in the covenant, 
is the object of faith.— Of the soul's applying itself unto the 
free grace of God, and treating with it for its salvation. — 
That the absolute declarations of this free grace, or the 
absolute promises of the gospel, are the object of faith of 
recumbence, or adherence. — That election-grace, and the 
immutability of God's counsel, as indefinitely proposed in 
the promises, are also the object of faith. — How the believing 
soul may consider and regard God's absolute decree of 
election. ....••• 1*^ 




The acts of faith in the understanding are a sight of Christ, a 
discerning and knowledge of his excellencies, and a hearty 
assent to the truths of the gospel concerning him. — That 
this mere assurance of the object, or a general assent to the 
truth of the promises, is not the act of faith justifying, but 
an application is necessary. — What the acts of the will are, 
which are exercised on Christ in believing. . . 257 


Of faith of assurance. — That all justifying faith is not an assur- 
ance of our personal interest in Christ. — That yet assurance 
of salvation may be obtained. — How assurance is caused by 
three witnesses in heaven, and three on earth, and of the 
difference of their testimony. The discoveries and mani- 
festations which Christ makes of himself to the soul. — Of 
joy in the Holy Ghost. — Directions unto the faith of such 
who want assurance how to take in, and to make use of God's 
eternal, electing love, in believing with comfort. . . 338 


Of the actings of faith in prayer. — That we are not bound to 
pray with assurance of obtaining the very particular blessing 
which we ask. — That God, neither in the revelation of him- 
self and of his attributes, nor in his promises, hath obliged 
himself to give us the very particular blessing which we ask. 
— That the essential acts of faith in praying do not neces- 
sarily require that we should have such a certain particular 
persuasion. — How we are in prayer to act faith upon tem- 
poral promises, and how upon spiritual. . . . 420 



Of the excellence and use of faith. — That good works are not 
slighted by exalting faith. — Of the excellency of faith, in that 
it gives all honour to God and Christ ; and that for this 



reason God hath appointed it to be the grace by which wo 
arc saved. — Of the excellency of faith, as it hath a general 
influence on all our graces. .... 459 


The difficulty of faith. — That it is above all the powers and 
faculties in man. — That all which is in man is so far from 
enabling him to believe, that it doth withstand his believing. 
— That faith is the work of the alone mighty power of God. 480 


Though faith be a difficult work, yet we ought to use our endea- 
vours to believe. — What those endeavours are. — Cautions 
about using them. ..... 520 


Though faith be a difficult work above our power, yet God com- 
mands us to use our utmost endeavours to believe. — The 
reasons why God commands us so to do, and how the infinite 
power of God in working faith, and our own endeavours, are 
very well consistent together. — Discouragements removed, 
which may arise either from our own unability to believe, or 
from the sense of our great sinfulness, or from the thoughts 
of an absolute decree of election, resolving to save only some 
particular persons. — Directions to guide us in our endeavours 
to believe. ...... 546 


As in this fourth volume of the author's works, which by the generous 
encouragement of some few worthy gentlemen, who in a noble zeal to 
promote the doctrines of the gospel, engaged to take off the whole impres- 
sion, there are great and important truths discoursed with the same life 
and spirit which shined in the former, so I doubt not but it will find the 
same grateful acceptance. After the discourse of the person and mediation 
of our blessed Lord Jesus, which you had in the third volume, it naturally 
follows in order to have the knowledge of the genuine nature of that faith 
which looks to the Mediator, and comes to him from an interest in his 
person, sacrifice, blood, and righteousness. You have first the infinite 
mercies of God's nature displayed as far as man's thoughts and words can 
reach them, proposed as the great object which a believer regards, as the 
spring of all those acts of grace exerted in saving a sinner, and in which he 
trusts and hopes. You have then the promises, which are nothing but 
the mercies of the divine nature, and his gracious purposes proclaimed to, 
us, and so are absolute as they themselves are, proposed as another object 
which the soul considers in believing. You have then Jesus Christ set 
forth as the great object of faith in his person God-man ; and it is 
indeed a sufficient argument to prove his divinity, that we are commanded 
to believe on him ; nor could we have a certain and undoubted faith in 
him if he were not God : for what assured confidence and hope could we 
have in a creature, whose goodness, wisdom, and power, in the highest ex- 
cellence of them, are imperfect and defective ? The author therefore insists 
on it, that the true believer who heartily comes to Christ for life and salva- 
tion, regards him as the Son of God, and looks to and considers the spiritual 
excellencies of his person. He is the object of faith, too, in respect of what 
he hath done and suffered for our salvation, and of what he at present doth. 
He is the object of faith proposed to us in his death, resurrection, and in- 
tercession : and therefore I once had thoughts to have drawn into this dis- 
course of the object and acts of faith, as into their proper place, those 

* As the greater portion of this preface relates to the treatise contained in this 
volume, it i3 inserted here. — Ed. 


treatises of the triumph of faith in Christ's death, resurrection, and inter- 
cession, which were many years ago printed in quarto by my dear father 
himself. But when I considered that that excellent book is in so many 
hands, and perhaps the most of them who will have this volume have that 
already, I apprehended it would look like a wrong, and an imposing upon 
them, to reprint it again, to make them pay for what they had already. 
Therefore the reader is to take notice, that the latter end of the title of the 
second book in this first part of the object of faith, directs him to those 
discourses of the triumph of faith which are in the quarto volume. 

The second part of this treatise is concerning the acts of faith, in which 
that chapter about joy in the Holy Ghost was his Concio ad Clerum, which 
the author made when he commenced Bachelor of Divinity in Cambridge, 
but finding in his papers that he designed it to be a part of this discourse, 
and not finding that he had clone it into English himself, I translated it, 
that it might be suitable to the other parts, though my English doth not 
reach the eloquence of his Latin. 

The third part treats of the properties of faith, and in it you have dis- 
couragements removed, and the Arminian objections answered. They 
reproach us, that by depriving men unregenerate of power to believe, and 
by ascribing the work of faith entirely to grace, we make men's endeavours 
to believe impossible, and all their attempts of this nature frivolous and 
vain. The author, with great strength of thought and clearness of expres- 
sion, baffles these unreasonable cavils, and shews how the prevailing and 
always victorious grace of God and our endeavours may very well be con- 
sistent together. 

In the discourse of the order and government of the churches of Christ,* 
though the author hath drawn down those forms which have been erected 
by men, and fashioned to suit with the political regiment of kingdoms, and 
hath in the room of it asserted that order which is of Christ's own institu- 
tion, which, though it doth not dazzle and take men's vain minds with any 
appearance of greatness and state, yet sufficiently recommends itself by its 
own plain native beauty. Though it is not pompous, yet it is handsome ; 
though it is not framed according to the admired rules of human policy, 
yet it is orderly, and so perfectly suited by the wisdom of the Great King 
of saints to the cases, circumstances, and necessities of them his subjects 
in all ages, so fitted to prevent corruption both of doctrine and manners, to 
promote holiness, and to attain all the ends of religion, that as there never 
hath been any need, so there never will be, to add anything to his orders. 
It is this institution of Christ which the author asserts, but maintains it 
with that candour as well as strength of mind, that they who differ from 
him in judgment cannot be angry. Here is no pride nor arrogance, which 
is insufferable in any man, much more in a minister of the gospel. Here 
are no reproaches, no base and sly insinuations, no invidious reflections 
with which controversies are usually managed ; but here are sober thoughts, 
* To be given in a subsequent volume of this series. — Ed. 


calm reasonings, and the truth shewing itself in such a mild and lovely 
aspect as may creato inclinations to it in the souls of all persons whom 
passion or interest liath not too much prejudiced. 

Thus T have endeavoured to set before thee at one view tho general 
design of this book ; and that thou mayest see that thou hast all the MSS. 
which I promised printed in it, 1 have annexed a catalogue* of them, direct- 
ing in what part of the book thou mayest find any of them. 

I am, 

Thy hearty sonant, 

In our TiOrd Jesus, 


* This catalogue it has not been thought necessary to insert. — Ed. 








Of the object of faith. 


The mercies in GocVs nature the object, and support, and encouragement of 
faith. — How ice are to act faith thereon. 


The words of the text opened. — That the mercies in God's heart and nature are 
a fundamental object and support of faith. — Presumption thereon beaten off. 

Let Israel hope in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him 
is plenteous redemption. — Psalm CXXX. 7. 

The ' work of faith,' John vi. 29, whereby a sinner's heart is first won, 
then strengthened and supported to trust and stay itself on God for its 
eternal salvation, is in general experience found to be a matter of greatest 
difficulty, exercise, and conflict. There is need therefore of all sorts of 
encouragements and suggests that can possibly be raised out of the holy 
Scriptures, with the largest dilatings on them, which may either serve to 
bring humbled and broken hearts and God together at first, or afterwards 
to hearten them to ' hold fast the beginning of their confidence firm and 
stedfast to the end,' Heb. iii. 6, 14, and all little enough ; such, and so 
great, and so manifold are the discouragements which unbelief within us 
doth foment, and which Satan doth indiscernibly cast in. Now above all 
other inducers and supporters unto faith, the consideration of the mercies in 
God's heart and nature is the strongest, the most winning and obliging. Unto 


thoroughly humbled and broken hearts it is I write this. As for others, 
who were never heavy laden with sin, look as sin sits light upon their 
hearts, so they set as light by the mercies of God, and a confused slight 
apprehension that God is merciful (which yet is their common plea) serves 
their turn, and is a salve sufficient for their sore ; which indeed is but 
proportionable unto that like confused apprehension of their sinfulness, 
which in like manner they use to wrap up, that we are all sinners. Ay, 
but take a soul that hath been unhinged from off the opinion of his being 
in a good estate, which is so natural to us, and our souls do turn them- 
selves upon, and who also is made thoroughly sensible of the abounding 
' sinfulness of sin,' as sin, the least ; and then hath taken in the dismal 
prospect of the heinous guilt of his bold presumptions and crying rebellions 
against knowledge, and especially hath been amazed with that numberless 
account of the innumerable multitude and variety of sinnings which he is 
to give unto God the judge of all men ; and together herewith hath been 
struck as with lightning and a thunderbolt, with the dreadfulness of that 
wrath of the great God that is due thereunto (all which apprehensions do 
yet prepare men's souls for faith justifying, and dispose them the more readily 
to attend to, and take in these encouragements unto faith that follow) ; and 
to work some apprehensions of these, and to set forth these, hath been the 
drift of those the subjects of the foregoing treatises. Unto such a soul (I 
say), filled with the apprehensions of these things, the most enlarged, full 
discovery that can any way be made of the riches of the mercies that are 
in the heart and nature of God, and of the fulness of merit that is in 
Christ's righteousness and redemption, do all prove little enough effective, 
either to beget a sound and saving faith, when upon this conviction it is 
anew to be wrought in such a soul, or when some beginnings of that faith 
are in some degree raised to keep it up, nourish and sustain it in a com- 
fortable rest and confidence unto the end ; which difficulty doth not arise 
from any want or scantiness in the objects themselves, which are so over- 
rich and superabundant for the pardon of sinners, but from the deep 
incredulity, and vast fears, jealousies, and misgivings which our souls 
(when the hideous apparitions of sin and wrath are raised up once in men's 
consciences) do create and harbour in themselves in matters of so infinite 
moment, as salvation and damnation appear then to be at such times.. 
The truth of these things, besides daily experience, we may readily perceive 
by the pulse of his heart that penned this psalm, and the beatings thereof 
therein ; who being sunk into the greatest depths — ' Out of the depths 
have I cried,' &c. — which depths (when we fathom them) we find to be 
his sins, both in the multitude and heinousness of them, as the following 
verse, ver. 3, tells us: ' If thou, Lord, shouldst mark iniquities' (therein 
lay the bottom of his distress), ' Lord, who shall stand? ' In which con- 
flict and sad condition, what hath his faith its next and immediate recourse 
unto of all other things, which the word of God (for that, as the 5th verse 
says, he consulted) did afford, and which he commends unto all the Israel 
of God, ver. 7, as the mainest prop and support unto his and their faith ? 
Even this: ' With the Lord there is mercy, and with him there is plenteous 
redemption,' ver. 7 ; and then again, ' With thee there is forgiveness,' 
verse 4, as the fruit both of mercy and redemption ; and therefore it is that 
' my soul doth wait for the Lord,' ver. 7. And therefore ' let Israel hope 
in the Lord.' And ' he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities,' ver. 
7 and 8. This is the summary effect of this psalm. Nor yet herein do 
we find this poor humbled soul to pitch his hope and confidence upon any 

Chap. I.] of justifying faith. 5 

gracious works had been wrought, or wcro in or with himself; ho is 
altogether silent as to any mention of such, but wholly and absolutely his 
alliance is upon what was with God, and in God : ' Mercy is with him,' 
&C, says he. And this is it was the foundation and bottom of his hope ; 
this was all ho had now to say ; and yet opposcth this alone unto all the sins 
and iniquities which came up before his view, whether in their greatness or 
multitude. There is mercy with God, enough to pardon them, yea, and 
more than enough: 'plenteous redemption,' overflowing redemption, and 
of mercies together with it. Again, whether all these mercies were as 
yet his own in particular or no, he speaks not that neither; not whether 
God were the God of his mercies (as David, when established in assurance, 
elsewhere speaks, Ps. lxxxix. 24), but only utters this for the present (and 
that he was sure of) that ' mercy was with God,' and in God: ' Forgiveness 
was with him ; ' there it was to be had for such sinners as he was, and for 
the Israel of God, and therefore he personally puts in for a share in them ; 
that was all his hope. Yea, and thereupon he quietly ' waits,' as he there 
professeth to do, till the Lord should give forth some farther special word 
of comfort to his doleful and desolate soul. 

I. Three things are here said to be with God, which phrase, with God, 
he again and again chooseth to expi-ess the grounds of his hope in God by. 
He applies it: 1. To mercy, the original and womb of all: ' Mercy is with 
him.' When a quality is in one as a disposition, or his nature, we find it 
said, that it is with him : of Nabal, ' Folly is with him ; as is his name, so 
is he,' 1 Sam. xxv. 25. 2. To redemption, which I understand to be the 
mediation and satisfaction of the Messiah (which was in those times in the 
psalmist and other believers' eyes) the procuring cause of all. 3. To 
forgiveness, as the fruit and effect of both : ' Forgiveness also is with thee.' 

Yet, II., these three axe said to be with him in a differing sense or 

1. Mercy is with God ; that is, it is in him as his nature, and is all one 
as if he had said, He is of himself, and of his own inclination, a most 
gracious and merciful God, mercifully disposed to forgive ; ' ready to for- 
give,' as the 86th Psalm expresseth it. It is his name, it is his nature ; 
and in this sense it is said to be with him. It is also in his purposes and 
resolutions of his will ; yea, it is the ' delight' of his soul. 

2. Redemption is in that sense said to be with God, as his treasures are 
elsewhere said to be with him, that is, laid up with him or by him, Deut. 
xxxii. 84. And thus Christ's redemption or righteousness was then with 
him, in the virtue of Christ's bond and covenant given to God to perform 
it ; and as truly with God then as since that Christ hath actually paid it, 
Christ being ' the Lamb slain from the beginning of the world.' And God 
did accordingly then under the Old Testament pardon sinners upon the 
intuition and security thereof, as Rom. iii. 25, 26 shews; which place 
plainly speaks forth this truth, as also Acts xv. 11 the same. In Job, you 
have a term equivalent unto the psalmist's word ' redemption:' Job xxxiii. 
24, 'Deliver him' (saith God of an humbled sinner); 'I have found a 
ransom,' or atonement. 

III. In the virtue and intuition of these two it is that David says, ' For- 
giveness is also with him ;' that is, it is laid up ready by him on purpose 
to be had from him ; as money coined lies ready by a rich man, as a rich 
man lays up ready money designed for such a special use, so is forgiveness 
laid up as on purpose. He is ' ready to forgive,' Ps. lxxxvi. 5. And God 
hath minted his mercies forth from out of his purposes into promises, 


where they lie exposed, and to he given forth to every one that will come 
in for grace, and take them from mercy's hands, even ' redemption from 
all iniquity,' whereof there is this undoubted evidence given in the psalm, 
that God would have the sons of men thereupon, and for that cause to 
' fear' him; that is, to worship him and come to him, which if forgiveness 
were not with him, and to be had from him, for him, they would never do. 
You find moreover a special encomium of plenteous given to one of those 
three, in saying • plenteous redemption,' which is placed in the midst of 
the three, on purpose to shew that the glory of this epithet is to be trans- 
fused to both those other ; and so what is given to that one is in like 
manner to be attributed to the other two, but especially unto the first, 
viz., mercy, which hath in other scriptures eminently the glory of riches 
or plenteousness ascribed unto it, that being the original both of redemp- 
tion and forgiveness, and they but derivatives from it. And so it is all 
one as if he had plainly said, that 'plenteous mercy' also is with him. 
And indeed elsewhere David gives the very same attribute unto mercy : 
Ps. ciii. 8, ' The Lord is plenteous in mercy.' And for that other of for- 
giveness (the effect of both), it is impliedly all one as if he had said of 
that also, that ' plenteous forgiveness is with him,' which very style God 
himself doth in terms equivalent elsewhere use of it: Isa. lv. 7, ' I will 
abundantly pardon.' So then plenteousness and riches were intended, 
and are to be attributed to them all, but above all unto mercy, of which 
you so often read the same to be spoken of; as ' abundant mercy,' 1 Peter 
i. 3; 'the exceeding riches of his grace,' Eph. ii. 7. 

The heart and drift of the psalmist being thus laid open, I begin with 
the mercies of God, these being the original, the matrix, the prima 
primum, the first causes of our salvation, and that other of Christ's right- 
eousness (or redemption) but a primo ortum, or that which sprang or rose 
up from thence. This therefore of the mercies in God's heart ought to 
have the priority, as having deservedly the pre-eminence in the thing itself, 
and as being most fundamental, and accordingly procreative of faith. 

Obs. The observation for our practice which comes forth and meets us 
out of the whole is, that it is a most behoveful and advantageous way for 
humbled sinners, in their treaties with God for forgiveness, to take the 
most ample view of the infinite mercies that are in the heart and nature of 
God, together with promises of forgiveness indefinitely delivered, and so 
to plead them unto God ; which to do will prove the greatest support and 
strength to their souls for believing. This I confess to be in view so plain 
a point, and so obvious in the very proposal of it unto every common 
understanding in Christianity, that it will perhaps be wondered at that I 
should so largely insist upon it ; yet this I will aforehand say, that the 
true and real spiritual exercise and practice of it, as it is not commonly 
enough and experimentally understood, but very greatly disused, so the 
use and benefit that follows thereupon is exceeding great, and not suffi- 
ciently known. And unto souls humbled and broken as aforesaid, that 
this course should be taken by them, is so remote from strengthening 
presumption in them, that on the contrary, through the efficacy of the 
same mercy, it proves most operative to make the soul holy and obedient 
unto God, according unto that true, ancient, and frequent character given 
of saints under the Old Testament, where we find these two joined, as 
impossible to be ever separated (when they are in truth either of them), 
'one that feareth God' (whereby his obedience is expressed), and 'that 
hopes in his mercy' (whereby his faith is expressed); as Ps. xxxiii. 18, 

Chap. II. J of justifying faith. 7 

1 Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that 
hope in his mercy;' and Ps. cxlvii. 11, * The Lord taketh pleasure in 
them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.' And as you find 
these two distinctly thus mentioned, and these two alone mentioned, to 
speak tho whole sum of all true practical religion, so of the two you find 
the special indigitation to be set over and put on that latter of these 
characters in both places, ' upon them that hope in his mercy.' Those, 
and those especially, that are eminent in that grace it is that ' his eyes 
arc upon,' and whom he hath pleasure in. And let this be sufficient once 
for all to strike off the presumptuousness of impenitent sinners, that 
resolve to go on in sin, from laying on impure hands upon these ' holy 
mercies' (as the mercies of Christ are styled by the apostle, Acts xiii. 34, 
out of Isa. lv. 3, see the margin of your Bibles). And finally, to roll the 
fatal stone upon the sepulchre of such sinners as shall thus presume on 
mercy, take but that one scripture, Deut. xxix. 18-20, ' If any man or 
woman hearing the words of this curse ' (which is there pronounced upon 
one's turning away from the Lord after the tender of the covenant of 
grace, published in that and the following chapter, as Rom. x. shews), 
1 shall bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk 
in the imagination of mine heart: the anger of the Lord shall smoke 
against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie 
upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under heaven.' And 
this, to be sure, is load enough to press down such sinners above any other 
to the very bottom of hell, who, bearing themselves upon that grace made 
known and tendered them, shall wilfully go on in sin without repentance 
and turning unto God. 


An explication how this assertion is to be understood: 1. On the negative. 
Not as if alone considered, the mercies in God (as they are abstractly in 
God's nature) were a sole foundation for faith, but as being joined with an 
indefinite declaration of his good will to us men; and in that conjuncture 
all the mercies that are in God do flow in to support our faith. This 
negative part of this explication confirmed from the instance of the devils, 
and of our first parents, until God's revelation of his good will to manldnd 
made to them. 2. The positive ground of faith laid open, and the reason 
why a declaration of his will is necessary. — Two premissory cautions more 
added, for the tinder standing the assertion. 

Ere I come to the proof of the assertion, it is necessary to state and ex- 
plain it, to prevent mistakes. 

And first, on the negative ; it is not as if the knowledge of the mercies 
in God's nature were alone a single adequate ground of faith, though we 
could attain unto never so enlarged apprehensions thereof. This negative 
is evident, 

1. Because where and whom God hath absolutely and peremptorily, and 
for ever, by a special bar and proviso, declared, and excepted from mercy 
and pardon, there and unto those all the mercies that are in God's nature, 
though known by them, can no way be drawn in, or ever become an object 
or ground for their faith, such as shall anyway benefit those persons 


declared against. This is the case of the devils, who are shut out from 
mercy ; and this not only hy that single holt of the law, ' Cursed he every 
one that continues not,' &c. ; for that doth alike shut us men up, until 
faith, that is, the gospel, he revealed ; hut they have that, and a farther and 
stronger holt and bar, never to he shot bach, or rather (as the apostle meta- 
phors it), ' everlasting chains,' of God's making, never to he broken or 
knocked off, that hold them fast under darkness. Which chains are super- 
added to that single sentence or curse, which merely the law pronounceth 
against them, for that alone might have been annulled through a grace of 
pardon, as well as to us men it is ; but God did further declare . irreco- 
verably against them, and each of them, personally, on the negative, 
that he will never be merciful to them : ' He spared them not,' says the 
apostle, ' but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of 
darkness, to be reserved unto judgment ;' he gave them no quarter. And 
thereupon some divines have said (which I will not dispute) that despair of 
mercy, taken abstractly for this single apprehension in their understand- 
ings, that God will have no mercy on them ; and that apprehension also, 
as it is accompanied simply with no hope of mercy, that this alone would 
be no sin in them, seeing it is but conformed unto what is the truth, which 
God hath revealed to them concerning themselves ; only the consequences 
hereof in them are the sins, as blasphemy and the like. 

2. But however, secondly, I may more safely assert, whatsoever the 
devils do believe, or ma}' be supposed to believe, of the mercies that are in 
God's nature, that yet, however, their faith thereof doth no way capacitate 
them to lay hold upon them for pardon, but cause them the more to tremble 
at the thoughts that they are for ever utterly excluded, whilst they revolve 
within themselves that such riches of mercy are in God, but in nowise do 
concern them, and withal to think (which hath the sting in it) that all 
those mercies should be ' kept,' and entirely ' reserved' (as God's expression 
in the second commandment is) for the sinners of the sons of men, while 
themselves, on the contrary, are ' kept' and reserved under those ' chains 
unto judgment,' as the words of two apostles are, 2 Pet. ii. 4, Jude 6. But, 
that these apprehensions should enrage and provoke them unto that 
resolved and obstinate malice and revenge, which they bear against God, 
these all, I am sure (without any debate), are sins, yea, the highest kinds 
of sinnings, and yet are but the consequents of that despair fore-mentioned, 
which in itself alone would be no sin. 

8. Nor yet, thirdly, would the single knowledge of all the mercies that 
are in the nature of God have been a full and sole ground of actual posi- 
tive faith, unto us sinners of the sons of men, had not God after the fall 
first unbosomed himself, and declared his purposes of mercy towards us in 
his Messiah. Our first parents, during that doleful space of interim (sus- 
pension shall I call it) between their fall and that ever-to-be-blessed decla- 
ration let fall by God, of his good will to men, in the promise of the 
blessed ' seed of the woman,' &c, until then, I say, although they were not 
utterly debarred upon their sinning, as the devils were upon theirs, yet 
they had not any ground or footing for a positive act of faith, for forgive- 
ness : notwithstanding we should or might suppose them to have known, 
and (after their fall) to have retained, and continued to have known or 
remembered that infinite goodness, which is the spring of mercies in God, 
to have been in the divine nature, as well as any other divine perfections ; 
and that possibly that goodness might be dissolved and melted into mercy 
and forgiveness unto sinners, such as now themselves were become. But 

Chap. II. J of justifying faith. 9 

yet still the curse of the law, ' Thou shalt die the death,' standing in full 
force and lull butt (as we say) against them; and that being the whole of 
the mind and will of God, which at that present was revealed to them; 
therefore they had no ' door of faith' and hope in any way open before them, 
but were, as to their own apprehension, utterly shut up, unless some ' word 
of faith' should be further made known to them. God had not let fall the 
hast intimation of mercy, neither by proclaiming his nature to be merciful, 
nor as yet had he said, ' I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious ;' nor 
was there any instance or example of any one of the sons of men (for, alas ! 
there were but those two extant) whom he had de facto pardoned, which 
might give them any encouragement or dawn of hope. 

But notwithstanding, perhaps it might be proposed as a question that 
would require a just debate, whether an utter despair (such as we speak oi 
to be in the devils), singly considered, and cut off from the cursed conse- 
quents fore-mentioned, had not yet in them been properly a sin during that 
interval, which in the devils simply and alone it is not. And the ground 
of the demur is this apparent difference between the devils' condition and 
theirs, during that space, that God had not negatively pronounced of 
them, I will never be merciful, as of the devils he had from the first of 
their sinning. Yet still this must be said, that they had not the smallest 
twig for a positive act of faith to ' set foot upon' (I allude to that in 
Noah's flood) : but in that condition of theirs, nothing in sight did appear, 
but an overflowing deluge of wrath, which did environ and overspread 
them, and their posterity in and with them, through the first curse, not as 
yet taken off, nor mitigated by any new declaration cf God. This for the 
negative state of the assertion. 

II. For the positive ground of faith. Blessed, yea, for ever blessed be 
our God, who hath not only by that promise to them, but with millions of 
other promises and declarations since made to us, thrown open all the win- 
dows of heaven, and freely exposed all the mercies in his heart and nature 
unto us the sinful sons of men, ' Peace on earth, good will towards men,' 
&c, not in hell, nor to the devils : and withal hath given an invitation, 
nay, a command, to hope in them ; and hath taught us to know him by this 
of his mercy, above all his perfections ; yea, and pronounced of our know- 
ledge and faith thereon, that he esteems it to be our glory, yea, his own 
greatest glory, that we should ' know him to be a God that exerciseth 
loving-kindness, righteousness, and judgment in the earth' (on earth still, 
not in hell) ; and < that therein he doth delight,' Jer. ix. 24. Moreover, in 
that he hath not, by any express proviso or exception, declared against any 
sort of sinners, or any individual person of the sons of men ; so as to say 
of any such, or such, I will never be merciful to, nor pardon them (as 
against the devils he did), that sort only excepted that sin against the Holy 
Ghost ; thereby it comes to pass, that not any one can say, I am debarred 
or excluded. And hence a wide door for hope and faith stands open, for 
any one to come in at. Nay, he further ' commands every man every- 
where to repent,' upon the hopes of mercy, through the indefinite promul- 
gation of it ; adding withal, ' whosoever believeth and repenteth, he shall 
be saved,' laying at the gage for the performance thereof, all the mercies 
in his nature, by which we, through these declaration?., have free access 
unto, and full liberty to plead them all afore him, and urge him with them. 
The product or issue of all which is, that the revelation of the mercies of 
his nature, thus joined with the declarations of his gracious willingness to 
shew mercy to us men, is now become a just and meet ground and object 


for a sinner's faith : whereas otherwise, like as breasts never so full, if there 
were not a teat, and a vent fitted to the child's mouth, they would never 
afford any succour to a perishing infant, so here in this case. And it is 
not an allusion foreign to the Scriptures, to compare God's mercies and 
promises unto ' breasts of consolation.' And the reason of this conclusion 
is, because God's shewing or his actual exercising of mercy dependeth upon 
an act of his will, and is not a mere, sole, single effect of his nature. For 
if it were solely an act of his nature, it would have been, and would still be 
necessary for him to shew mercy on the devils : and therefore look as God's 
actual shewing mercy dependeth upon an act of his will, — ' I will be merciful 
to whom I will,' &c. — so some revelation or manifestation of his goodwill (at 
least indefinite to mankind) is necessary to our faith, and not merely the 
knowledge of the mercy in his nature ; and as both concur to the effecting 
the thing, so also the apprehension of both should do unto our believing. 
And otherwise, ' Who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath been 
his counsellor ?' Rom. xi. 31. And it is notorious that the apostle utters 
that maxim upon this very point of God's will, in shewing mercy, for which 
compare ver. 30-32. 

I add unto these things concerning the stating of this assertion, these 
two premises more, for the practical understanding of it. 

1. I must not be understood, as if that every time the soul doth exer- 
cise an act of faith, he must of absolute necessity take into his thoughts 
such an ample review of these mercies ; and that otherwise it were not 
faith. No : for it often falls out, that in the exercise of believing, such 
things as are most fundamental to faith, and were at first explicitly taken in 
and considered by believers, are afterwards but as things taken for granted 
and supposed. And yet, notwithstanding, all those subsequent after-acts 
of faith are put forth in the strength of them. We may know that general 
principles of knowledge in any kind being once inlaid and preconceived, do 
yet virtually work, and the force of them conduces to the making of every 
conclusion, when yet we do not explicitly think of those principles. And in 
like manner it comes to pass, that our souls do many times really act true 
faith upon particular promises of forgiveness, or the like promises, when 
yet we did not aforeband, or together therewith, revolve in our minds at 
large the thoughts of these mercies, which yet are to be always supposed 
the bottom of those promises, and fundamental to our faith. And notwith- 
standing this, yet the belief of them doth secretly and really work and 
accompany such a faith : even as principles of knowledge, innate and taken 
for granted, are wont to do our improvements of knowledge from them, 
whilst those principles lie dormant as to our thinking, and yet those 
improvements grow up in the virtue and strength of them. We may see 
this in that one most fundamental principle of faith of all other, that there 
is a God ; which being inlaid in the bottom of the heart of every believer, 
works in all particular acts of faith whatever ; and they are all founded and 
borne up upon the strength and w r eight thereof, when itself, in the way of 
a formed proposition, is not discerned, nor brought forth into an explicit 
act or thought. And thus it falls out in the faith of forgiveness, it is always 
put forth in the force of the belief of those mercies, when yet the concep- 
tions thereof lay hidden deep in the soul. Which to be so, may appear by 
this experiment : that all our faith for forgiveness may at any time be 
readily and finally resolved into the mercies of God, as the ultimum objec- 
tion in quod, as the ultimate object or foundation. This will be found if 
the heart will at any time call for the bottom-ground of its faith, or of its 

Chap. III.] of justifying faith. 11 

recourse unto God for forgiveness, and but ask of itself the reason why it 
so believes, Yet, 

fc- 2. It still stands good (and is even sufficiently inferred from that which 
was last said) that the more ample diffused prospect, view, and contempla- 
tion of these mercies, which upon all great occasions (especially in conflicts 
of believing) we can possibly make or attain to, is the most conducible ex- 
pedite way to give an abundant evidence unto faith, and doth wonderfully 
hearten a broken-hearted sinner to lay hold upon any particular promise, 
especially of forgiveness; which otherwise comes but barely clad, in com- 
parison of what it appears to be, when the riches of mercy (being appre- 
hended with it) do environ and array it, which superadd wonderful allure- 
ments to our faith. And this assertion, as I said, is inferred even from 
what was spoken afore, viz., that if the tacit hidden belief of fundamental 
principles (such this is) do virtually, yet strongly, influence all subsequent 
acts of faith, then much more if there be an extensive revolving of them in 
our thoughts, they will come to have, according to the proportion of that 
enlargement (through the Spirit's accompanying of them), answerable 
effects, in an enlargement and increase of faith in us. 


The proofs of this assertion: 1, by Scripture, and afterwards by reasons.' — One 
Scrij)ture above all other singled forth, and that alone, Exod. xxxiv. G, 7. — 
This made a new text for the subsequent discourse. — The grand assertion 
resolved into two heads, both of them distinctly drawn out, and proposed to 
be proved out of the text. — The eminency of this one Scripture is commended 
thereby to all our faiths. — Old Testament faith, and New, one and the same. 

I come to the confirmation of the assertion, as thus stated and explained, 
which proceeds, 

1. By Scripture. 

2. By the true and innate reasons thereof, drawn from the nature of 
faith, and the wonderful suitedness that the mercies in God's heart hold, 
by way of object, with and unto that principle of faith in our hearts, so as 
to attract and draw forth faith in all the acts of it. 

1. By Scripture. I single out only that renowned original God himself 
immediately published unto Moses concerning his pardoning mercies to him 
and us all; for unto him it was, though on our behalf also, that they were 
proclaimed, Exod. xxxiv. Two grand daeds there were, which Old Tes- 
tament faith held all upon. The first, of the promised Messiah, given to 
Eve and Adam at first by God himself, the immediate revealer, and after 
renewed to Abraham, David, and so on. The second, this glorious display 
of pardoning mercies, which was as immediately, but far more solemnly 
proclaimed, regio more, by God himself. And these two were as the two 
pillars, Boaz and Jachim, in the house of God, and are in Ps. exxx. set 
out as two known ' cities of refuge ' for broken hearts to fly unto. I shall 
make the latter of these the stage or substratum of all throughout this 
treatise, the grace and mercy in God being the originale originans, the 
womb or original even of the promise of Christ himself, and bears up an 
answerable pre-eminence of order and stress in the foundation of our faith. 
And this scripture, Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7, holds forth the amplest and largest 
display of mercy any other affords. And therefore I have most deservedly 


made choice of this one, to sustain henceforth the whole weight of all that 
follows, and shall accordingly found all upon it as upon a new text. 

And the Lord passed before him, and 2»'ocl aimed, The Lord, the Lord God, 
merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 
keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin, and 
that will by no means clear the guilty ; visiting the iniquity of the fathers 
upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto tlie third and to 
the fourth generation. — Exod. XXXIV. 6, 7. 

I shall not yet handle it in such an orderly and continued way as is usual 
to complete the exposition of a text, but do reserve that when I come to 
the merits of it afterwards. In the mean while, I shall only make obser- 
vation of such things about and out of it, as do directly tend to prove that 
general subject I affixed as the title to the whole discourse in the front, 
upon the entrance unto it; the substance of which is resolved into two 
propositions and heads. 1. That the mercies in God's heart and nature 
are a prime object and support of faith, as it hath been stated. 2. That 
mercy and grace in God are truly and properly properties of the divine 
nature and being; or, that God is of a merciful nature, and that his heart 
and purposes are to shew mercy, as the effects of that mercy in his nature ; 
which two will make the demonstration complete. And my design is to 
allege the heads of no other proofs for either than what these words, and 
the coherence of them, and circumstances about them, or citations of them 
elsewhere, do afford ground for ; and shall call in no other scriptures, but 
reductive only, for aid, and but such as of themselves will come about 
this, to back and confirm those proofs first, so grounded on the words. 
The grounds for the first head are two : 1st, Some special observations 
made upon this proclamation itself of mercy, which contains the occasion, 
circumstances, end, and purpose of it, and the issue and use made of it by 
Moses at that instant time. All which, as they do wonderfully enhance 
the grace and mercy of God proclaimed in it, so do mightily also commend 
these words unto our faith. 2dty, That these very words (as to before the 
substance of them) were ever after made use of as the common refuge and 
asylum (and therefore the object) of the faith of the saints of the Old Tes- 
tament, as to which they ordinarily had recourse for their support in point 
of forgiveness, and upon other occasions in which they stood in need of 
mercy ; the evidence of both which, when they shall be spread before us, 
and punctually exemplified in so many instances of the best and greatest of 
saints, and their practice, this rich parcel of Scripture will come concredited 
and recommended to our faith, with a mighty testimonial, under the hands 
of so many renowned witnesses that lived and died in the faith ; as the 
apostle speaks of those saints, Heb. xi., throughout that chapter, and in 
chapter xii. ; and as the apostle there exhorts those Hebrews of the New 
Testament to live by faith, from the instances of such a cloud of witnesses 
under the Old Testament, of whom he gives the catalogue, so may I, upon 
as just a ground, invite all believers needfully to attend this scripture, as 
being also the spring of all other scriptures about God's mercies that after 
followed, which are but as lesser streams from a fountain. And I may 
withal invite them to study the mercies of God as they are set forth 
therein, and to have it much in their meditations, treaties, and pleadings 
with God, and in all their exercises of believing ; because in this small 
compass of words God hath met with, and by it supported so many of his 

Chap. IV.] ov justifying paith. 13 

precious ones of old." 1 And we that arc believers under the New Testament, 
1 we having the same spirit of faith; according as it is written, I believed, 
and therefore have I spoken, wo also believe, and therefore speak,' 2 Cor. 
iv. 13, as the great apostle, citiug David's Old Testament faith to express 
his own New Testament faith by ; and wo professing with all the apostles 
and primitive saints to ' believe that wo shall bo saved by the same grace 
of Christ' and mercy of God that they, under the Old Testament, were 
saved by (which great maxim is expressly uttered in the name of the 
apostles, and of all the Christians of the New, Acts xv. 11), may well be 
induced to make a like improvement and valuation of this Old Testament 
carkanet,* bestudded with so many jewels. 


That the mercies of God's heart and nature are the prime object of faith. — The 
first proof drawn from some special observations upon this proclamation of 
mercy, Exod. xxxiv. G, 7; and upon the story, occasion, occurrences, cir- 
cumstances, end, and purpose of it by God. — The issue and effect of it, and 
the use Moses made of it; which, as they exceedingly exalt the grace and 
mercy proclaimed, so do greatly commend it to our faith, for the support 
of it'. 

That this proclamation of grace was fully intended by G od for a founda- 
tion to our faith, and that it tendeth directly to prove the assertion, the 
following observations will, I hope, when taken along and put together, 
sufficiently possess us of. It is true that these observations themselves 
are but about circumstantials of the proclaiming it, in comparison unto the 
gracious matter and merits themselves contained in the proclamation itself; 
and these concern but the occasion, season, &c, which God took for this 
first publishing of it; yet such they are as the consideration of them doth 
greatly tend to the exalting of God's grace, which is proclaimed therein ; 
and the two last of them will end in a punctual proof of this first, head. 

Obs. 1. That it was God himself who immediately published this. Wise 
princes, if matters of extraordinary grace be to be declared or manifested, 
choose to do it themselves, and not by others, though favourites. And if 
ever there were words of grace spoken, then are these such. They are 
suavissima concio (as onef styles them), the sweetest sermon that ever was 
preached. And God himself was the preacher, and for the reason fore- 
mentioned would be the proclaimer of them. 

The vulgar translation, and the Romanists addicted thereunto, do put 
the honour of proclaiming it upon Moses (forsooth), and that it should be 
he who said, 'Jehovah, merciful,' &c, to the great obscuring of the great- 
ness, yea, majesty, of God, given demonstration of herein. 

It is true those words in verse 5, translated ' he proclaimed the name of 
Jehovah,' are elsewhere rendered ' called on the name of Jehovah.' And 
indeed the very same words, in the Hebrew, are used of Jacob: J Gen. 
xii. 8, that he ' called upon the name of the Lord.' And so if the 
coherence here had not apparently contradicted it, it might have been so 
understood here, and attributed to Moses. But, to be sure, those words, 
verse 6, ' And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, 
* A collar or necklace. — Ed. f Osiander. % ' Abraham.' — Ed. 


merciful,' &c, this must necessarily be referred to God himself, not to 
Moses. For, 

1. He that passed by was he that proclaimed this, and that was God. 

2. We find God himself, in chap, xxxiii., to have given it out to Moses, 
and to have beforehand promised that himself would be the proclaimer: 
' I will proclaim the name of the Lord' (saith he), and so not dictate it 
only for Moses to proclaim it. And accordingly we see that here in chap, 
xxxiv. he performs it: ver. 5, 6, 'The Lord descended in the cloud, and 
stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the 
Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, 
merciful,' &c. 

3. Moses's true time and first beginning to speak was but at the 8th 
and 10th verses: 'And Moses made haste, and bowed his head, and wor- 
shipped. And he said,' &c, namely, after that God had done speaking. 
And thereupon it was that he began to speak in all great haste, and to 
urge what God himself had said. So as indeed it is plain that both 
speeches, both that in verse 5 as well as that in verse 6, are to be under- 
stood not of invocating the name of the Lord, but of proclaiming the Lord, 
as our translators have rendered them both, and both alike to be wholly 
referred to God as the proclaimer. And that it should be twice said he 
proclaimed, was to put a notoriety upon it, and to shew of what moment 
it was for us to know that the great God proclaimed thus his own name 
and glory. And the stream of the Hebrew text runs thus, verse 5, ' And 
the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed 
the name of the Lord.' He that descended and stood with Moses, he it 
was that proclaimed it; and that, to be sure, was God. 

But we find Moses, in Num. xiv., expressly urging these words as 
God's own words upon him, so to put the more force into his plea: 
ver. 17, ' And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great, 
according as thou hast spoken, saying' (quemadmodum pronunciasti 
dicendo* even as thou hast pronounced, God, in saying), ' The Lord is 
long-suffering,' &c. 

Obs. 2. It is further said, that ' God descended to proclaim this, '"in 
verse 5, which still speaks the more grace. I know it is historically 
meant of God's visible descending in the cloud ; yet give me leave from 
that shadow or type thereof, to decipher the impresses of grace signified 
thereby. For, 

1st, That God should shew mercy to sinners, hath the greatest con- 
descension in it, but much more to come down and proclaim it: 'He 
humbled himself to behold things in heaven' (even to behold his angels 
that never sinned), Ps. cxiii. 6 ; but for him not only to behold, but withal 
to deign to cast an eye of grace and mercy upon sinners, the things on 
earth, yea, and himself to descend unto earth to proclaim it, this is con- 
descending indeed in ' the high and lofty One.' And further, 

2dly, For the great God to shut up the emblazoning his incomprehen- 
sible simple nature into the narrow compass of a few words and form of 
speech, and those words importing several distinct things, and so, as it 
were, to pourtray forth himself by piecemeals and brokenly, by an imperfect 
delineation (for such these epithets are) to the end to bring himself down 
to our low capacities and conceits, this was a farther condescending 
indeed ; it is a speaking to us of himself in the image of our own puerile 
understandings. But, 

* Junius and Tremel. 

Chap. IV.J of justifying faith. 15 

8dly, This his visible descending in the view of all the people, to pro- 
claim this grace by words, was a most certain pledge given that be who 
was tbo Jehovah, God blessed for ever, would ono day break the heavens, 
and come down and take our nature, and dwell among us, and put tbis 
proclamation into full force and virtue, which in the mean while, until ho 
should do this, had yet its efficacy upon the saints of the Old Testament ; 
and upon that descending, to bo sure, we shall have cause to say, as in 
the same chapter, that ' the law came by Moses, but grace and truth by 
Jesus Christ;' which are the great materials of this great proclamation, and 
of which the second person, the Son of God, was indeed the proclaimer. 

Obs. 3. The subject-matter of this proclamation consists chiefly of grace 
and mercy. It is true matter of justice comes in and hath a place in it, 
but how ? Afterwards ; but mercy excels, exceeds, and is the prevailing 

1. In the number of the particulars here recited. There are thirteen 
titles (say the Jewish writers) given to God here; others reckon fewer, 
some but eleven (that is the least), whereof the three first are counted by 
them to be the proper names of God: Jehovah, Jevohah El, translated the 
Lord, the Lord God ; all which three do yet suit with and impliedly intend 
mercy. Tho other nine (which are attributes) even seven of them speak 
altogether God's gracious affections towards repentant and believing sinners, 
as is evident in the very reading and counting of them. 

2. If all the first three be taken for the proper names of God, yet of 
those attributes that follow, mercy, &c, have the first place and rank ; 
yea, and all the seven (the whole set for mercy) are placed together first, 
and so claim to have the chief place in point of order and precedence 
before all. 

3. In God's own foreshewn declaration of what his mind was to be 
therein (chap, xxxiii. 19, which explains this), where, when he promiseth, 
1 1 will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee,' he adds, ' I will be 
gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will shew mercy to whom I will 
shew mercy.' Why are these latter so nearly and immediately subjoined 
to his proclaiming his name, but that his great name, which he then and 
here intended to proclaim, consisted most in his being merciful and 
gracious,* &c. Himself beforehand professeth it ; yea, and the other, the 
first words before these in the same verse refer most properly thereunto. 
• I will cause all my goodness to pass before thee ; ' and goodness is the 
genus that comprehends mercy, grace, long-suffering, kindness, truth, &c, 
in it, as branches from that as the root. 

4. The quotations that David so often, and the prophets, make of the 
words, do confirm this, they rehearsing no other but only those that belong 
to mercy :f Ps. lxxxvi. 15 ; Ps. ciii. 8; Ps. cxlv. 8. 

The two latter, indeed: 1. 'That will not clearing clear the guilty;' 
2. ' Visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the children, to the third and 
fourth generations ; ' these two are commonly referred to punitive justice, 
as importing acts and resolutions in God thereof, the first being rendered, 
that will by no means clear the impenitent. And yet, 

1st. About this meaning there is a very great controversy among inter- 
preters, some very judicious casting this very clause in among God's 
mercies, in chastising, but not destroying ; in taking vengeance on their 

* Quod potissiniiim in misericordia consistit. — Oleaster. 

t Non est pars ultima gratia quod nos ad se talibus blauditiis allicit Deus. — Cal. 
in Ps. cxlv. 8. 


inventions, and yet forgiving them, as in Ps. xcix. 8, of which interpreta- 
tion afterwards. And if so, then justice hath but one left, and mercy may 
challenge eight of the nine to belong to it ; but however mercy may 
triumph and say, if justice be avenged twofold, mercy is gracious seven- 
fold, it carries it clear. 

2dly. This rehearsal of his mercy and grace doth come in directly and 
absolutely and for themselves, and the current of them hath its spring 
purely from tbe heart of God, and runs with a straight, direct, natural 
stream ; but these of justice mentioned come in but accidentally, and 
indeed but as occasioned by God's having gone so far in declaring so much 
mercy, and having poured forth so much grace from his whole heart, to the 
view of sinners of all sorts and sizes. Because he knew how much and 
how deeply this root of bitterness was seated in men's hearts, to say in 
their hearts, ' I shall have peace though I walk in the imagination of 
my heart,' &c, Deut. xxix. 19; and how apt are they to 'turn all this 
grace into wantonness ; ' therefore it is that at last, and but at last, he 
brings this high threatening in, ' that will by no means clear the impeni- 
tent.' And so, as the apostle says of the law, that it was ' added because 
of transgression,' so is this a mere occasioned additional (though most 
necessary by reason of man's corruption), because of obstinate sinners 
continuing in sin against light, and indeed but to vindicate and turn the 
glory of his mercy, which he is pleased to account his highest glory, from 
impure claim and profane hands of presumptuous sinners laying hold 
thereon when resolved to continue in their sins. And look, as mercy 
itself in him is from and of itself, not moved by anything in the creature, 
but, on the contrary, justice (though it is as essential to him as mercy) yet 
makes and puts forth itself but only upon man's sin, just so doth tbe 
mention of it come in but in relation and for the prevention of man's sin, 
and abusing of his mercy. 

Sdly. Again, unto those acts of justice specified there are bounds and 
limits set, 'visiting the iniquities, &c, to the fourth generation,' and 
further; and after that is passed and gone, leaving the door for mercy wide 
open ; and it is for them that hate him, which is the second command- 
ment's addition ; and those that hate him love death. Yea, in that very 
decalogue, the law (which, if any part of Scripture, was designed to speak 
justice and wrath), the comparison between the shewing mercy exceeds by 
thousands, so as it is not the proportion of one thousand to three or four, 
but of thousands ; * and to how many thousands he limits not that neither, 
but leaves room for to set down millions of millions of thousands, and yet 
this is in the law. But here in this gospel declaration he plainly sets no 
number either of thousands or millions of thousands, none at all; for of his 
mercy there is no end.f And at this very time, whilst God renewed that 
law and those words in it with his own hands, he utters with his own 
mouth this proclamation of grace so far excelling, professing to pardon all 
sorts of iniquities, transgressions, and sins, which he knew and foresaw the 
sons of men would commit against that law. 

Obs. 4. The season which God was pleased to take the advantage of is 
most observable. It was this: this people had immediately before com- 
mitted that greatly heightened sin in all manner of circumstances of it, of 
making and worshipping the golden calf; the story of this you find to be 

* Quia Dei dementia judicium exsuperat. — Calvin, in verba. 
f ISotaudum est Deum iras suae terminum ponero, misericordirc nullum. — Rivetus 
in verba. 


the subject 'of, chap, xxxii. throughout, by which high transgression they 
had utterly, on their parts, broken the covenant, as Moses his breaking the 
tables of stone did shew ; the sense of the high heinousness of which sin 
the Jews bear upon their spirits unto this day, it being usual with them 
wben any eminent punishment befalls their nation, to say that an ounce of 
the golden calf is in it. In which chapter you also have the deep resent- 
ment which God took thereat, and a most eager zeal to have been avenged 
was breaking forth: 'Lot me alone,' says he to Moses, that was about to 
intercede for them, • that my wrath may wax hot against them to consume 
them,' ver. 10, which, though in sound of words seems to express an high 
indignation conceived, and to check Moses, as it were, for praying for them, 
yet in reality did tacitly insinuate an inclinableness to mercy upon Moses's 
farther entreaty ; and indeed, to invite him the more earnestly to put him- 
self forth in interceding for them, importing that he was not absolutely or 
wholly resolved, but overcomeable by entreaties, which Moses took the 
advantage of, and followed his suit, and upon the assault God began to 
relent of the severity he had threatened;* and yet still God did not reveal 
this to Moses, but kept it to himself, for, ver. 30, Moses, as it were, speaks 
of it uncertainly to the people : ' Peradventure I shall make an atonement 
for your sins.' But God carried it still to him, as if it still stuck with him, 
so as to be avenged, as by the hard conflict Moses had with God, carried 
dialogue-wise between them, and God's quick reply unto his prayer, ver. 31 
to the end of the chapter, appears. And again, chap, xxxiii. to ver. 4, the 
tidings hereof the people hearing, though they mourned and humbled them- 
selves, ver. 4, yet still God carries it reservedly and aloof off to them, as 
unto what he would do with them (as those words shew, ' that I may know 
what to do unto thee,' ver. 5), whether pardon or destroy them. But 
Moses thereupon farther speaking with God, the Lord was so familiar with 
him above all times ever before, either with himself or ever with any other 
man, that Moses was bold to plead for farther favour to that people, and 
for a special high privilege to himself : ' Shew me thy glory ; ' all which 
transactions were the most lively representations and types of Christ's 
intercession and prevalency for us, in and by whom God was to manifest 
all his glory, specially of grace and mercy, to his chosen children ; John 
i. 17 and 18 compared. And hereupon God sets him a time, which was 
the next day early ; and at his time set comes down to him (which was in 
view of all the people), and then comes off like the great God himself, 
proclaiming all those his mercies to him of ' pardoning iniquity, trans- 
gression, and sin.' And though this was done in his hearing alone, yet 
for the people's sake, and on their behalf, for whom he had so vehemently 
interceded, whose concernment this was as well as his own, as that clause, 
• keeping mercy for thousands,' shews. And having done this, he restores 
and estates them into the same favour they were in before, he renews his 
covenant with them which they had broke : ver. 10, ' Behold, I make a 
covenant ; before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been 
done in all the earth, nor in any nation ; and all the people amongst which 
thou art shall see the work of the Lord.' 

Obs. 5. Observe the haste God made to do this. After that this treat- 
ment between himself and Moses was come to its full issue, he makes no 
delay, his heart was so full of it : ver. 2, ' Be ready,' says God to Moses, 
' in the morning.' And it could be appointed no sooner; for the solemnity 
which the Lord was pleased to make and observe in the doing it, which 

* Diodati. 



was to have all the people forewarned, ver. 3, put in expectation, &c, and 
then himself to descend in their view, ver. 5. And according to God's 
command, ' Moses rose up early in the morning,' and, it is added, ' as the 
Lord had commanded him ' (so that God had appointed the very earliest 
of the morning too), and all speed was used that could be, and God made 
him not stay for a moment. After Moses was come, ' the Lord descended in 
the cloud and stood with him there ; ' and then ' the Lord passed by before 
him, and proclaimed,' &c. And what he performed to Moses and the 
people in this respect he also doth to us ; for how often do you read of his 
hearing us in the morning ; as in Ps. v. 3, and of his ' causing us to hear 
of his loving-kindness in the morning ; ' as Ps* cxliii. 7, 8, ' Hear me 
speedily, Lord ! Cause me to hear thy loving-kindness in the morning.' 
And Ps. xc. 14, '0 satisfy us early with thy mercy.' Look, as Moses 
hasted, ver.'8 (as is said), to put up his suit and petition upon it, and that 
we are bidden to seek God early, so God was as early with him, which was 
intended for a precedent for us that shall for ever need this grace and 
mercy which he here proclaims. Nay, sometimes God prevents us before 
we call, but is always ready to forgive ' (as the Psalmist's word is), and, to 
be sure, comes down to ' help in time of need,' Heb. iv. 16. Oh the 
riches of his grace ! and the depth of the ' riches of the wisdom and know- 
ledge of God,' Rom. xi. 33, that thus contrived and took the fairest season 
and opportunity for advantage for his expressing his grace and heart to us, 
magnifying thereby his mercy and goodness to the utmost. I said there 
were two grand pillars in the Old Testament: one, God's promise of Christ; 
and the other, this manifesto of God's gracious nature : and lo, the advan- 
tage God took for both, upon the commission of the most heinous sins ; 
the one upon occasion of the first and greatest sin, and of the largest 
extent of mischief in the consequence that ever was committed, viz., our 
first parents' fall, by which all mankind were undone ; and it was upon 
that occasion he let fall that promise of Christ, which was the first founda- 
tion of Old Testament faith, and continues such to the end : and now again 
upon the first greatest sin this people did commit after their having received 
the law, and heard God's voice, it was that he publisheth this other. And 
he pardoned each of these their sins whilst he was a-speaking and uttering 
of these promises ; and this latter of his mercy was the original of that 
other of the Messiah himself, considered as he is our Saviour, and the over- 
comer of Satan for us. We may well, therefore, hereupon glorifying him 
say, as that the Lord is ' gracious and full of bowels' (with the apostle 
James), so in respect to the opportunity God took, that he ' waiteth to be 
gracious' (with the prophet Isaiah), that is, to manifest it in the fittest sea- 
eon ; for he is a God of judgment, Isa. xxx. 18. What heart guilty of the 
most heinous sins, that is now humbled for them, should not this move 
and encourage to come in unto such a God ! * 

Obs. 6. Moses having heard what God had spoken, God then speaks 
anew inwardly to Moses's heart, and Moses instantly puts it into practice 
and suit. Now, as this shews most effectually what God's intention had 
been in uttering his meaning, Isa. Iv. 10, 11, so it doth most exemplarily 
instruct us what use this publication of mercy is to be put out unto by us ; 
that we should lay hold on it by faith, and turn, and put it into prayer, 
but especially in the case of pardon of sins. For so of Moses it is said, 
ver. 8, that when God had done speaking, and was passing apace by him, 
' Moses made haste, and bowed his head towards the earth, and worshipped ;' 
* Talibus blanditiis allicit ad se nos Deus. — Calvin. 

Chap. V.] of justifying faith. 19 

even as one that is an humble suppliant to a king, as he passcth by him, 
follows him, and humbly presents his petition in haste, lest ho should be 
gone out of sight ; so here. 

If it be said, might he not at leisure have, at any time afterwards, put 
up the same petition upon the same ground ? the answer is, that when God 
is near, and greatly present to the soul (as he was here to Moses), that is 
the most acceptable time of praying for all or anything a believing soul 
desires. Let them take that opportunity, and though such a special near- 
ness should not fall out till towards the end of one's prayer, yet let them 
then take the advantage of that time and tide to pray over again afresh, 
and put in all they desire to pray for, or would have God do for them, for 
God is with them. 

Now, what was Moses's petition ? It follows, ver. 9, ' And he said, Now 
if I have found grace in thy sight, Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee,, go. 
amongst us, for it is a stiff-necked people, and pardon our iniquities and 
our sin, and take us for thine inheritance.' In which, as I said, he puts 
into use and practice (laying hold on the words now spoken by God) him- 
self to speak a good word from thence for that people. The effect of which 
prayer is, that although they were indeed a stiff-necked people, as any ia 
the world (this he first confessed), that yet God, for this his name's sake, 
would not leave them, but pardon their iniquities, and mine own too, Lord, 
says he, for the expression is, ' pardon our iniquities.' Which for God to 
do w T as the plain intent of his declaring it. And it is implied fob at God 
would do this not for the present only, but to continue to do it. He prays 
for the future as well as for the present when he says, ' Pardon our ini- 
quities,' &c. This the words foregoing, 'for it is a stiff-necked people,' i. e., 
they will ever and anon be sinning against thee, and also the words that 
follow, do shew, ' Take us for thine inheritance,' says Moses, which words 
Calvin renders ut possideas nos, that thou mayest possess us for thine in- 
heritance. As if he had said, says he, God cannot come to enjoy and 
possess his chosen as his inheritance, otherwise than by pardoning their 
sins continually; for man's frailty is such that they would, after his receiv- 
ing pardon, fall from that grace, if they be not continually reconciled to 
him ; which concerns us Gentiles as well as them then. God must not 
only take us to be his, but keep us to be his, and continue to be merciful 
to us, according to this his great name, or we shall be utterly lost and 


TJiat the mercies of God's nature, as they are proclaimed in Exodus xxxiv., 
are a prime object and support of faith. — That this name of God, Exodus 
xxxiv. 6, 7, was an asylum or strong tower, unto which the faith of the 
most eminent saints of the Old Testament had recourse, especially for forgive- 
ness ; and the evidence hereof carried through the times of the Old Testament, 
from Moses, by a cloud of witnesses, as Moses, David, Nehemiah, and the 

This proclamation of grace being a magna charta of the Old Testament, 
was so highly valued by the prophets and saints of those times, that ever 


after it had been proclaimed to Moses, they had, throughout all ages,* 
frequent recourse thereto ; and their wont was to make rehearsals of it 
upon several occasions, as either when particular mercies were to be ob- 
tained, or exhortations made to bring men in to God, or thanksgiving and 
praise offered. Their manner was upon such occasions to rehearse these 
words, but especially in the point of forgiveness. Besides that use that 
Moses made of it instantly upon the place, when God had done proclaiming 
it, he putting it presently in suit in all haste in the behalf of tbat people, 
the same Moses, in more cool blood, makes the same improvement of it in 
after times. And the occasion was another most beinous sin of murmuring 
committed by this people, and then he again urgeth God with these his 
own words for a forgiveness of them: Num. xiv. 17, 18, 19, ' And now, I 
beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great, according as thou hast 
spoken, saying, Tbe Lord is long-suffering, and of great mercy, forgiving 
iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the impenitent,' — 
or perhaps, rather as others, ' clearing I will not clear;' that is, although 
he forgive, yet he will chastise, and not altogether leave unpunished, — 
' visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and 
fourth generation.' 

Next comes David, who, although he had, over and above this proclama- 
tion of mercy, common to him with all the saints, a personal covenant of 
sure mercies particularly made and renewed to himself, yet, however, he 
had an usual recourse unto this more general refuge ; of such use and 
valuation was it with him, and ought to be with us. Thus in Ps. lxxxvi., 
twice, in ver. 5 and 15, by way of prayer, ' Thou, Lord, art a God full 
of compassion, long-suffering, plenteous in mercy and truth ; have mercy 
upon me, and save me,' ver. 16. And then again, in another psalm, viz., 
cxlv., he brings in all the saints, with their hearts and moutbs full of it, 
pouring forth in a way of praise (for in that channel the stream of that 
psalm runs) the very same words ; having first said, ver. 7, ' They utter 
the memory of thy great goodness, and sing of thy righteousness.' Then 
in tbe next follows, as being their universal joint outcry, and the burden of 
their singing, ' The Lord is gracious, full of compassion, slow to anger, and 
of great mercy.' So as this was the general vogue of the saints of tbose 
times to cry this scripture up. 

In Psalm ciii. we have a reference to these words, yea, an express quota- 
tion of them. David repeats these very words of Moses in ver. 8, • The 
Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.' In 
which rehearsal there is not only a videtur alludere ad Mud Mosis, an allu- 
sion, &c. (as Calvin), but a plain citing or quoting of the words, as having 
been spoken to Moses by name, and as punctually alleging them out of him 
in such a manner as we use to quote Jeremiah, Isaiah, or any other of the 
prophets' writings when we have occasion ; for in the very words before, 
ver. 7, he says, ' He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the 
children of Israel.' 

The coherence of which words, ver. 7, interpreters have wholly drawn 

* Nee mirum est Davidem sumpsisse hasc Elogia ex celebri illo Mosis loco, Exod. 
xxxiv. 6, quum prophetis visionem, qua? illic refertur, summo in prctio fuisse : quia, 
nusquam clarius, vel familiarius, exprimitur Dei natura. — Calvin in Ps. cxlv. ver. 8. 

Mollerus, upon the 86th Psalm (where this description of mercy is twice re- 
hearsed), hath these words : ' Sumptus est hie versus ex Mose, et quia tanquam 
insignis quasdam gemma inter cseteras promissiones elucet, crebrb repetitur in scrip- 
lura.' — Mollerus in ver. 15, Ps. lxxxvi. 


up, and exhale into vcr. G, as if these words, ' He made known his ways to 
Moses,' were intended only for a particular instance of God's delivering the 
oppressed, as ho had done the Israelites ; because, in the verse before (ver. 
5) say they, he had spoken of God's vindication of such as were oppressed. 
But some later critics have, to a more ample scope, drawn those words of 
ver. 7, down to a coherence with the next, ver. 8, ' The Lord is merciful,' 
&c, the very words of God to Moses ; and to justify this coherence rather 
than the former, those writers do pertinently compare the words which 
Moses had first spoken to God, chap, xxxiii. 13, with these of God's unto 
Moses in this chap, xxxiv., which (say they) were spoken by God, as in 
answer unto what Moses had there said. Now, in the foregoing chapter, 
Exod. xxxiii. 13, Moses had said, ' I pray thee, if I have found grace in 
thy sight, I pray thee shew me thy way ' (or thy ways, as Junius, and Dru- 
sius., and others render it), ' that I may know thee' ; that is, say they, 
know thee by what thy inclination and disposition is, and dealings shall be 
towards this people ; for, in the following words, he had presented before 
him the case of this people : ' Consider,' says he, ' that this nation is thy 
people' ; and thereupon was further bold to ask, ' Shew me thy glory.' 
Upon which request on Moses's part it was, that God promiseth there to 
proclaim his name. Now, the Jewish writers* usually understand by thy 
ways, the properties of God, his inclination and disposition ; by which, or 
from which, being inwardly in his nature moved, he outwardly goeth forth 
to dispense unto his people ; and so by ways, in this speech of Moses, are 
complexly understood both the attributes of God's nature, as the root and 
the principles in his heart, or the original cause, and his dealings, proceed- 
ing from thence, as the effects ; and to know what these ways were, was 
that thing which Moses desired of God, that he would fully reveal to him, 
that so he might know him, both for his own comfort, but especially in 
reference to what was, or how his mind stood, towards this people. And 
God in answer hereto did punctually, according to these two requests, first 
promise to do this for him : chap, xxxiii. 19, ' I will cause my goodness to 
pass before thee : and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee' ; 
and then did perform it, in the words of my text : chap, xxxiv. 6, ' Pro- 
claiming the name of the Lord, the Lord God, merciful,' &c. Hereupon 
these interpreters, comparing all these things together, are bold (and that 
rightly) to understand this passage in Ps. ciii., 'He made known his ways 
to Moses,' to be meant both of that his name and properties proclaimed by 
God in Exodus unto Moses. What ways ? (says Drusius on Exod. xxxiii. 
13) or what properties ? He is passionate for this explication of Moses ; 
and that by ways God's purposes, innate dispositions, mores or ingenium 
should be meant. And before him Genebrard, out of the Jewish writers, 
doth the like on Ps. ciii. Dr Hammond, on Ps. ciii. 7, 8, vehemently con- 
tends for the same coherence : The place (says he) evidently refers to 
Exod. xxxiii., where Moses petitions God: 'Shew me thy way'; then, 
ver. 18, ' Shew me thy glory.' By his way and glory, meaning his 
nature, and his ways of dealing with men. 'And God said, I will make all 
my goodness pass before thee, and proclaim the name of the Lord ; ' by 
which his nature is signified ; and what that name is, is set down by the 
enumerations of his attributes, chap, xxxiv. 6. He proclaimed the Lord 

* Viassuas, hoc est, qualiter se gerat erga suos. — Muis. Apud Hebrseos plerunque 
via significat rationem, et institutum vitse, mores, negotia, &c, et Scire viam tuam, 
id est, rationem agendi qua, uteris erga tuos, vel simpliciter quomodo cum piis agas. 
— Mollerus in Ps. lxxxvi. 11. 


merciful, gracious, &c, just as here (says he) in the Psalm, in the next 
verse, the Lord is merciful, &c. Only Dr Hammond differs from the other 
in this, that he interprets by ways made known to Moses, God's manner of 
his dealings, or his actions, to be meant ; and the following words, his acts, 
to the children of Israel, the word translated his acts he would have to 
import his nature and attributes that follow, according to his understanding 
the Hebrew phrase, &c. ; but he and they all agree in that scope I allege 
this place for. And indeed the psalmist teacheth us that God's ways mean 
his inward dispositions, Ps. ciii., for after he had said, ' He made his ways 
known to Moses,' he subjoins, ' The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow 
to anger, and plenteous in mercy,' God thereby declaring at once to Moses 
that these were the dispositions in his nature, and that according unto these 
they should find his proceedings should be, not with this people only, but 
with all his children for ever in the world, as also with wicked men impeni- 
tent ; so as Moses might certainly know him thereby, as he requested, and 
know where to have him, as we use to say, which was the main intent of 
what he had desired to know. And accordingly the rest of the psalm that 
follows is a verification in so many experiments of what God's ways in 
mercy had been to that people from Moses's time downwards, drawn into 
maxims or propositions, according unto what he had here declared to Moses 
so long before. 

And that his ivays should more particularly and eminently note out his 
mercies in pardoning sins, &c. (which is one of David's applications and 
interpretations of Moses here), that passage in Isa. lv. confirms. For 
speaking of God's ' having mercy,' and ' abundantly pardoning,' ver. 7, he 
adds, ver. 8, 9, ' For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your 
ways, my icays, saith the Lord : for as the heavens are higher than the 
earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your 
thoughts.' The like many other scriptures express. I conclude, What is 
all this other than that David, in this famous psalm of mercy, as in which 
he makes a celebration of the mercies of God to himself, from ver. 1 to 7, 
and from thence towards others of his children, in sundry particulars, doth 
first professedly take these words of Moses for his text, even as we are wont 
to do some portion of scripture, and make a sermon upon it ; that is, that 
part of them that concerned mercy, and then plainly writes a comment upon 
it in the rehearsal of sundry particular gracious dealings ? All which are 
but explanations, confirmed from experience, of these several properties of 
grace, mercy, long-suffering, &c, more briefly summed up by God himself, 
in Moses. And this might, though not in the same order, be exactly shewn, 
if prolixity here forbade it not. 

But we meet not with these words only in David, upon these occasions 
specified, but as frequently also, at least with some pieces of them, in the 
prophets, unto the same or other like purposes. As Jeremiah, in that 
solemn prayer for the church, in the condition it was in his times, Jer. 
xxxii. 18. Then again, in the prophet Joel, he lays it as a foundation and 
corner-stone of faith and hope, to persuade the people to come in, and turn 
to God : Joel ii. 12, 13, « Turn ye to me,' says God himself by him, ' with 
all your heart, with fasting, and weeping, &c, and turn unto the Lord your 
God, for he is gracious, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness,' 
&c. These are still God's words in Moses anew repeated. 

Yea, Jonah points as plainly unto these words, as those the remembrance 
whereof moved God to be merciful in pardoning the Ninevites, upon their 
serious and solemn repentance. He attributes that his sparing them, unto 

Chap. V.] of justifying faith. 23 

the substance of these worils which Jonah had learned from Moses, as the 
cause of God's pardoning them ; and was certainly led to do it by the Holy 
Ghost that penned that prophecy ; although ho uttered it whilst ho was 
expostulating the matter with God for his having spared them, that when 
he had sent him with so precise a message to foretell them of their utter 
destruction within so many days : ' I knew,' says he, ' that thou art a 
gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and 
repentest of the evil,' Jonah iv. 2. And his saying, ' / knew, 1 prompts 
evidently that the knowledge he had of God, had been taken from these 
words in Moses, as that which from his writings was the familiar, wonted, 
and common notion ; which both he and that people that knew the law 
were nourished up in. And that when matter of threatening judgment was 
apprehended (which excited to repentance), the thoughts of this scripture 
was at hand, and rose up in their minds, as here it did in his, although 
to a worse purpose, as in his thought. Yea, and Jonah tells God there 
plainly that, from the knowledge of that very declaration of mercy, and 
God's wont in pardoning, he had suspected that this might or would prove 
to be the issue ; and that the remembrance of mercy, as he had declared it 
to Moses, would overcome him, and prevail with him haply to give repent- 
ance to those Ninevites, and thereupon to save them, even against the 
peremptory message of their destruction, wherein God shewed he loved the 
glory of his mercy more than of his justice, or his own declared threatening, 
and his own prophet's credit. 

And which is yet more to be wondered at, and God to be adoi*ed in it, 
is, that although the prophet knew this aforehand from this scripture in 
Moses, yet the poor Ninevites knew not thereof, having not seen as then 
Moses's writings, nor had ever heard one", tittle of this proclamation of 
mercy ; nor can we think that Jonah had revealed it to them, for a 
denunciation of destruction was precisely all of his commission ; but it was 
God's own Holy Spirit who alone prompted these poor ignorant souls with 
this suggestion, to ' cry mightily unto God ; and to turn every one from 
his evil way, who can tell if God will repent, and turn away from his fierce 
anger, that we perish not?' chap. iii. 8, 9. And they had to do with God, 
who to be sure knew and was privy to himself, what he had set forth him- 
self by, as that which was in his heart and nature ; and he ' could not deny 
himself,' and his own declaration of it, though these poor souls could not 
have challenged him by it. 

I only add this comfortable observation (comfortable indeed to us 
Gentiles) from Jonah's allegation of these words, even that 'Jehovah, 
gracious and merciful,' &c, as in Moses it was proclaimed, that this pro- 
clamation concerned not only the Jews, or was a measure for God to go 
by towards that people, but was intended by God, even at the first delivery, 
for us Gentiles also. For he proceeded according to the tenor of it with 
those Ninevites, who were an handsel of the Gentiles' conversion to come. 
And therefore let us Gentiles, from the apostle's instruction, Rom. xv. 9-11, 
adore and glorify God for his mercy, and exercise our faith much upon 
these blessed words, ' Jehovah, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant 
in kindness and truth,' as having been proclaimed and written that we 
might have as much hope as the Jews had therein, and so turn to the Lord, 
as these Ninevites did. This for Jonah. 

Next the prophet Micah brings in a piece of it, chap. vii. 18, by way of 
wonderment at such and so gracious a God : ' Jehovah, Jehovah God, 
pardoning iniquity and sin.' Thus God speaks to Moses: ' Who is a God 


like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression 
of the remnant of his heritage ?' So the prophet there. ; 

Hezekiak also, that holy king, writing to his brethren of the ten tribes, 
inviting them to return to God from forth of that long and great apostasy and 
revolt from God and his worship which they had made, assuring them that 
God would notwithstanding pardon and receive them again upon their repent- 
ance. He assures and he persuades them of it by God's own words, the 
words of this proclamation, so commonly known amongst all Israel : 2 Chron. 
xxx. 9, ' For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and therefore 
will not turn away his face from you if you return unto him.' 

Lastly, good Nehemiah, almost a thousand years after Moses, doth make 
mention of these words : Neh. ix. 17, ' Thou art a God ready to pardon, 
gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest 
them not.' Mark the whole drift of that which follows in that chapter, 
and you will find it to be : first, to ascribe all the mercies and forgive- 
nesses of that people, both in the wilderness, and in after ages that followed, 
upon and after most grievous backslidings, which he there all along 
reciteth, unto that declaration of mercies first uttered to Moses, as the 
cause of all, and as that which had been verified over and over in so many 
experiments, through so many ages ; and, secondly, his scope was to put 
force into his present prayer and plea for mercy and restoration for tie 
future to this then so sinful and broken a people, which he pursues as his 
main drift in that chapter, concluding his prayer thus: ' Thou art a merci- 
ful and a gracious God.' Yer. 13, ' Now therefore our God, the great, the 
mighty, and the terrible God, who keepest covenant and mercy.' &c. 
Now that word of his therefore draws unto this his conclusive pra} T er the 
strength of all he had alleged, both of that proclamation recited, ver. 17, 
and of all God's merciful dealings with that people in former ages, 
according to the tenor thereof ; and that, therefore, God would please to 
manifest and magnify, and put forth the same grace now to them. Yea, 
and to that end he repeats and revives again the memorial of the same 
words (for it is a blessed memorial to all generations), as our translators 
have observed, in referring us unto Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7. 

And Xehemiah's times being with the last of those (I do not say the last) 
wherewith Scripture records of the Old Testament do end, and he in that 9th 
chapter having gone over all times that had been past from Moses's time, 
and having devolved all God's merciful dispensations during all those times 
into the mercy of God then published, as the well-head of them all, and he 
still continuing to plead the same for the whole time to come, from those 
times of his, from hence I may well conclude that this publication of 
mercy was accounted the basis or foundation of Old Testament mercies, on 
God's part, and faith on theirs, in all the after ages of it. 

You see I have traversed this from Moses to the last of Scripture records. 
And though a thousand other promises had been given between, yet still 
this is above all rehearsed, as the original of all other. So as I may well 
conclude it to have been a main article of the Old Testament creed. 

Chap. YL] of justifying faith. 25 


117/(7/ ig imported by the name Jehovah made use of in this proclamation of 
mercy, Eacod. xxxiv. G, 7. — 2 hat as it signifies (ii^Vs infinite essence, it 
denotes the subject of all those mercies which are in him.- — That this name 
of God, Jehovah, doth best suit, and is most fitly joined with those epithets 
merciful and gracious. — What supports of faith may he derived from these 
two, Jehovah and merciful, joined together. 

Having thus shewed that the mercies of God's nature, as proclaimed 
in Exod. xxxiv., are the great ohject and support of faith, I now come to 
the description itself in this his proclamation, and which is God's picture 
drawn by his own pencil, as far as words could render it ; the smaller 
models whereof David and the prophets drew, as I have shewn, and wore 
next their hearts, as men wear precious medals of their friends upon their 

It is mavi&sima concio, as one* styles it, the sweetest sermon that ever 
was preached, and preached by God himself, upon the highest subject, and 
therefore the richest text the whole Bible affords. It is maxhne insignis 
natures Dei description the most renowned and signal description of the 
nature of God. 

Dr Preston | hath singularly displayed the glory of God set out in this 
delineation, as altogether most lovely, but his scope was to win the souls 
of men to lore him (which the reader may consult as he thinks meet), but 
my design in this explication which follows is to consider it as it is a ground 
for and support of faith, to draw men to believe, which was God's original 
and primary purpose in this his first delivery of it, though it as fully con- 
duceth to that other end also. 

And we have example for disposing it to either of these purposes, the 
prophet David having penned two Psalms, more eminently appropriated 
by him to himself as his own : the one enstyled David's prayer, though 
many other psalms are prayers — it is Psalm lxxxvi. ; the other, David's 
praise, Ps. cxlv., no psalms else in their titles bearing these ensigns of 
honour but these two, the first his tephilla, the latter his tehilla ; in each 
of these he makes a solemn rehearsal of these very words in Moses. In 
the first, Ps. lxxxvi., he brings them in as they were a support unto his 
faith in his distresses from sins and miseries, to which use he puts them, 
ver. 3, 4, G, and 7. And again, ver. 16. 17, he makes a plea of these 
words by way of prayer (which is exercising faith) in that distressed con- 
dition. In the second, Ps. cxlv., he brings them in as they are an elogium 
or celebration of the glorious nature and excellencies of God, to excite the 
sons of men to love and praise him. And upon the like design he doth 
again resume them in a rehearsal, in Ps. ciii. Now as that worthy man 
fore-mentioned made this latter his design, so I shall take the first for mine. 
And yet as David, in those places specified, culls out and takes only what 
of God's words concerned his mercies, leaving out the threatening part, as 
that of 'visiting the iniquities of the fathers on their children,' so shall I 
insist only on the mercies of God therein promulged, that being the sole 
subject of my pursuance. 

The materials of this description I reduce to two parts, which of them- 
selves the words fall into. 
* Osiander. f Calvin in Psalm lxxxvi. \ In nis sermon of Love, from p. 35 to 44. 


1. Quis sit, who he is, and what proper name or names of his it is, of 
which and under which he makes this proclamation of himself. It is 
Jehovah, Jehovah, twice repeated, translated 'the Lord, the Lord;' to 
which is added El, ' the strong God.' 

2. Qualis est, what a God he is. This is expressed in those several per- 
fections that follow, attributed to him, which we usually call properties 
and attributes ; as that he is strong, merciful, and gracious, &c. Or if 
you will, 

1st, That name Jehovah notes his infinite essence, as the substratum of 
those attributes. 

2dry, The other that follow set out those perfections of that essence, as 
merciful, &c. 

I. Who? Jehovah. 

There are of those proper names of God which signify (and we so trans- 
late them) God or Lord, three that are most eminent, and all three revealed 
to Moses. 

1. Ehije, I am: first mentioned, Exod. hi. 14. 

2. Jehovah, Exod. vi. 3. 

3. The abridgment of Jehovah, Jah : Exod. xv. 2, ' Jah is my strength,' 
first there used. 

And these are the chiefest names of God, and for substance signified one 
and the same thing. 1. And all of them, Jehovah especially, are the chiefest 
names, proper to God alone, and never given, or to be given (as other 
names are) to any creature : Ps. lxxxiii. 18, ' That men may know, that thou 
whose name alone is Jehovah, art the Most High over all "the earth.' And 
of Jah it is said, it is that name by which God will especially be exalted : 
Ps. lxviii. 4, ' Sing unto God, sing praises to his name ; extol him that 
rideth upon the heavens by his name Jah.'* 2. They all three of them 
signify that God is being, being fulness of being, the original of all being. 
They all speak absolute essence and existence alone, and of himself. 

Jehovah, therefore, is of all other names placed here designedly, as the 
seat and subject of these attributes that follow ; for as this name speaks 
him to be the whole of being, so these attributes speak the excellencies and 
perfections of that divine being, and are but particular explications and 
decipherings of what a God he is that entitleth himself Jehovah, or 1 am. 

But, 2 (which is more to my purpose), the first revelation of it with 
God's own comment made upon it, was to betoken, and be a sign of 
mercy, and in a more especial design. And pHmum being mensura reli- 
quorum, the first, the pattern or measure of what follows it, therefore Jehovah, 
of all other names, doth best suit and join with merciful and gracious. Now 
that it was first given and revealed as a token and signal of grace and 
merc}^, is evident thus. 

When God first appeared to Moses in the burning bush, Exod. hi., and 
had thus told him, ver. 7-11, ' And the Lord said, I have surely seen the 
affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by 
reason of their task-masters ; for I know their sorrows ; and I am come 
down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them 
up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with 
milk and honey ; and to the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, 
and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 
Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me : 

* From rnrr. 

Chap. VI.] of justifying faith. 27 

and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. 
Come now therefore, I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring 
forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.' Moses thereupon, to 
obtain a farther information and confirmation from God of his intentions 
of grace to that people, particularly desires to know by what name he 
should represent him unto them, vcr. 13-15 : ' And Moses said unto God, 
Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, 
The God of our fathers hath sent me unto you ; and they shall say to me, 
What is his name ? what shall I say unto them ? And God said unto 
Moses, I am that I am : and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the chil- 
dren of Israel, I am hath sent me unto you. And God said moreover unto 
Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The Lord God of 
our fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, 
hath sent me unto you : this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial 
unto all generations.' Ainsworth, penetrating into the mystery of this 
question and petition, conceives Moses's drift therein to be to draw forth 
from God more fully and explicitly, whether he sent him upon a message 
of mercy (pure mercy), or for judgment (as in the issue it might prove) ; 
and that he would signify so much by some special name he would please 
to assume, to testify so much thereby. And in answer unto Moses, God 
first there tells him his name was Ehijeh, &c, ' I am that I am,' ver. 14. 
And this was his first answer unto Moses's request. Now this Ehijeh is 
in signification for substance the same with this of Jehovah. 

Therefore, again, when a second time God was pleased to renew his 
instructions to this his ambassador (the most extraordinary of any other until 
Christ came) in Exod. vi., still in further answer thereunto, God says, ver. 
1-7, ' And Jehovah said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do unto 
Pharaoh ; for by a strong hand shall he send them away, and by a strong 
hand shall he drive them out of his land. And God spake unto Moses, and 
said unto him, I am Jehovah. And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, 
and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty ; but by my name Jehovah 
was I not known to them. And also I established my covenant with them, 
to give unto them the land of Canaan, the land of their sojournings, in the 
which they sojourned. And also I have heard the groaning of the sons of 
Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in servitude, and I have remembered my 
covenant. Therefore say thou unto the sons of Israel, I am Jehovah, and 
I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will 
rid you out of your servitude : and I will redeem you with a stretched-out 
arm, and with great judgments ; and I will take you to me for a people, 
and I will be to you a God, and ye shall know that I am Jehovah your 
God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.' 
God in this declaration puts over the whole of that covenant, and these 
mercies thereof, and his purposes therein, unto the import and memorial of 
his name Jehovah, to signify so much to them, and doth farther lay that 
as his gage, to inform them thus at the close of all, ver. 8 : ' And I will 
bring you in unto the land which I did lift up my hand to give it to Abra- 
ham, to Isaac, and to Jacob ; and I will give it to you for an heritage : I 
am Jehovah.' This last clause, ' I am Jehovah,' I look upon to be put in 
at last, as one useth to do his name and seal unto a covenant or deed (such 
as this is) for performance ; so God he subscribes unto all, ' I am Jehovah ;' 
all hath this seal, as the apostle elsewhere speaks. 

Now the ground upon which Ainsworth affixeth this meaning upon that 
question of Moses, chap. iii. 13 (besides that God himself, in the 7th verse 


of that chapter hath solemnly assured us, that he did electively give, and 
designed himself this name unto these graceful ends and purposes), his 
ground I say is this (as in his note on the 13th verse of the 3d chapter he 
declares), that Moses understood that God by names might, or was wont 
to manifest his works. So the Hebrews teach upon this place (says he), 
that when God judgeth his creatures, he is called Elohim (God), Sabaoth 
(Lord of Hosts) ; when he doth mercy unto the world he is called Jehovah, 
as in Exod. xxxiv. 6, ' Jehovah, Jehovah, God merciful and gracious.' 

You see the sense which the Jews themselves do put upon it, and how 
that they refer us to this very text, ' Jehovah, merciful, gracious,' &c. And 
surely if God himself did so expressly assume this name as a sign and seal 
of his gracious covenant, and the mercies thereof, &c, then that in this new 
proclamation of grace and gospel-mercies he should to a greater emphasis 
double it, ' Jehovah, Jehovah, gracious,' &c, surely it was electively and 
designedly done, to shew that this name (of all other) should bear the flag 
and colours of mercy. 

And let us farther join to all these this one remark, that in that deliverance 
specified in those chapters, Exod. iii. and vi., their redemption out of Egypt 
(which w T as the occasion of God's first revelation and application of that 
name to the mercy of that deliverance, put afterwards into the command- 
ments), God had therein an higher aim unto that mercy promised their 
fathers to be performed by Christ, of whom as Moses was the type, so this 
deliverance was of that redemption performed by Christ, Luke i. 72. And 
I am Jehovah, is the gage to the performance of both, the latter as well 
as the former. We may see reason, then, why that when God cometh to 
proclaim his gospel-mercies more illustriously (as here he doth, if any- 
where in the Old Testament, yea, in the whole Scripture), he should make 
his proclamation of them under his great and chiefest name Jehovah, as 
the great standard-bearer of those transcendent mercies. 

2. And what if in the New Testament you find (conform to what is here) 
this his name Jehovah expressly assigned as the fountain of the whole of 
his grace, as the spring likewise of peace, which is the whole of spiritual, 
yea, all, blessings ? And yet thus we do expressly find it ; and in the last 
book of the New Testament, which puts the farther weight upon this notion. 
'Grace and peace' had been often wished in other Epistles of the New 
Testament from God, as • the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,' &c. ; but 
in Rev. i. 4, ' grace and peace' is prayed for ' from him who is, and which 
was, and which is to come.' This directly points us unto these very 
places in Exodus, 3d and 6th chapters, where the name Jehovah is used, 
and which we have explained as the most judicious interpreters do gene- 
rally observe, and our worthy translators have in their marginal citations 
referred us.* And as his name Jah is the brief of Jehovah, so he that 
is, he that was, and he that is to come, is, in words at length, the un- 
deciphering of the same name Jehovah, of which afterwards. Now, from 
God as such, that is, as Jehovah, is the whole of gospel grace at once 
wished and prayed for, this name being the ground and original of the 
gospel itself, and of all the mercies of it. 

Use. And ere we go any farther, let us here stand and wonder at the 

* And otherwise this is strange and uncouth language to Grecian ears to say > 
dffo Td\> o u/v, and so of the rest, and not arrb rov ovrog, &c. But the reason is 
this, his great name Jehovah stands as inflexible and indeclinable as his nature is 
immutable. It keeps its state, and will not be subject to the laws and rules of 
grammar, as in other languages. 

Chap. VI.] of justifying faith. 29 

thought that this name, of all other names, this ' great and terrihlo name, 
by which he chooscth to be exalted, Ps. lxviii. 4, that this great name, as 
Jer. xliv. 20, which is so terrible and so holy (as, Ps. xcix. 3, he meaneth 
this name there, for it is that name which was made known to Moses and 
Aaron, as it follows there, verse 6, whereby we are referred to those very 
passages in Exodus, 3d and Gth chapters), that name so terrible to tho 
Jews for these many hundreds of years, that they have not dared to pro- 
nounce it, and is called his 'dreadful name among the heathens,'* Mai. 
i. 14, that this should be made the basis, the subject, tho signal of so 
much grace; this must needs (in the very entrance) afford us strong 
consolation, in that out of the strong should come forth sweetness, Judges 
xiv. 14. And the reason hereof doth hold forth this, that God accounts 
mercy to be his greatest attribute (at least in the name Jah), as Jehovah 
his greatest name, which he hath chosen to be the special subject of mercy 
and grace as the predicate. 

The inquiry next will be, what special particular affinities there are 
between this great name Jehovah and the mercies of God, or rather (as 
being more close to our purpose) what special supports of faith (the aim 
of my subject) may be fetched from the blessed and intimate conjunction 
of these two, Jehovah and merciful, put together ? I answer, much every 
way. I shall instance but in some few, leaving it to others to enlarge unto 
more on this argument. 

1. This great name wholly and abstractly speaks being itself: ' I am 
Jehovah;' that is, I have fulness of being, I am an immense sea of being, 
and am all, and in whole, very being itself. That then God should put 
Jehovah, and merciful, and gracious together, what is the result hereof? 
and what would God have us to understand thereby, but that his mercies 
have being itself for their root and foundation, not only that mercies are 
with him, but that they have a very being itself to rely upon, whilst we 
rely upon them ? So as look what Wisdom, or Christ (who is Jehovah), 
in the Proverbs says of himself — Prov. viii. 21, 'I cause those that love 
me to inherit substance,' — the same (God thus inviting us to believe on 
Jehovah, merciful) may we as confidently say, that we believe upon what 
is substance, upon substantial mercies. And hence it is that even our 
faith, when pitched on God, is alone dignified (and no other kind of know- 
ledge is so) with the title of bnoGTaeig, subsistence or reality, Heb. xi. 1, and 
said, to be our rest. For why, God himself is the ultimate object of it, 
1 Peter i. 22, and basis of its reliance ; as also his Son Christ, they being 
subsistence and reality. And to this purpose you find these his names, 
Jah, Jehovah (which is indeed Jehovah doubled or repeated twice as here), 
to be put under the feet of our faith as a firm rock of being to stand upon : 
Isa. xxvi. 4, ' Trust in the Lord for ever: for in Jah Jehovah is the rock 
of ages.' So in the original; and the translators have here signally, on 
set purpose, put Jehovah in capital letters. They might have done so by 
Jah also, which they translate 'the Lord;' for it is not singly Jehovah, 
but accompanied with Jah, which is being, and being itself. And he 
fetcheth this out of these two names, that he is therefore a rock, and a 
' rock of ages,' whom we may therefore perfectly trust on ; for in the rela- 
tion he speaks this in the verse before, ' Thou wilt keep him in perfect 

* That the heathens knew him to he the God of the Jews under this name Jah, 
or law, as the Grecians wrote it, and that they called their chief god Jove, is well 
known. See Aug. de Consens. Rcligionis, c. 22 ; Diodor. Siculus, lib. ii. c. 5 ; 
Macrobius, lib. i. ; Saturni, c. 18 ; and Grotius his Animadvert, de Verit. Relig. 


peace, whose mind is stayed on thee;' unto which perfectly answers that 
of the apostle, 1 Peter i. 13, 'Trust perfectly on the grace revealed' (so 
in the margin also). And why? Because in trusting on that grace you 
have being itself for the foundation, Jehovah, gracious, who is the first 
being, and therefore the lowest foundation, on which all that is built stands 

2. Jehovah imports that God only is, or alone hath true being in him. 
For why else doth he appropriate this name Jehovah to himself alone as 
incommunicable unto creatures, since all his creatures are but ccquivoce 
entia, shadows or pictures of being, not true being itself; as a man's pic- 
ture is called a man equivocally, and not in a true sense. And as their 
being is but a shadow of being, such are all the mercies in them but 
equivocally mercies, in comparison unto the mercies that are in God, who 
is Jehovah, merciful, in whom his mercies have being, or rather are him- 
self. So that it must be said that God alone is ' merciful and gracious,' 
as truly as Christ says that God alone is good, for mercy is but a branch 
of goodness. That Jehovah is merciful as God, not as creatures, I shall 
have occasion afterwards to pursue this more fully. 

If therefore we at any time think we may have any degree of confidence 
upon the mercies and pities that are in creatures, even such as are in nearest 
and dearest relation to us, as fathers, &c, of whom Christ says, ' Though 
evil, they yet know how to give good things to their children,' and so like- 
wise to pity them, then how much more may we be encouraged to rely on 
God, who is an heavenly Father to us, the only true and loving Father, as 
he only is the true and living God, and is withal styled ' the Father of 
mercies,' 2 Cor. i. 3. And his mercies are true and living mercies, as 
himself is. That passage in Ps. lxxxvi. 10, ' Thou art God alone,' will be 
found eminently to be spoken as a magnifying of him, in relation to his 
mercy (if the 5th and 15th verses be compared with it); and indeed it is 
the main current of that whole psalm, of which hereafter; so as we may 
say he is merciful alone. And if sins come to be pardoned, there God's 
mercies solely and alone can stand us in any stead, not only because that 
God alone can pardon sins committed against himself, the great sovereign 
Being, nor can any creature have any influence thereinto — ' none can 
forgive sins but God,' Luke v. 21 — but besides, for this, that he alone 
hath mercy great enough in him to do it. The creatures have not mercy 
sufficient enough in them, great sins they could not find in their hearts 
to pardon; so great an iniquity, if to themselves, as sin is against God, 
they cannot forgive : ' Who is a God like unto our God, pardoning 
iniquity?' &c. 

The inference and direction to our faith from hence is, as to trust per- 
fectly on him (as before), so only and alone upon him: 'My soul, wait 
thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. He only is my 
rock,' Ps. lxii. 5, 6; all one as to say, he only hath firmness of being, 
whom my soul can build upon ; and therefore he is my salvation. If any 
creature had all the goodness and clemency, mercy and grace, that is dif- 
fused throughout the whole of intelligent natures, angels and men, it were 
not to be relied upon, but being laid in the balance with God, he were 
' altogether lighter than vanity,' as it follows there, ver. 9. And the 
reason is correspondent, if in their being they are vanity — Isa. xl. 17, 
' All nations before him are as nothing ; and they are counted to him less 
than nothing, and vanity,' — then in their goodness much more. And as 
God only is being, so only to be relied on as merciful. Yea, if your own 


graces, that arc in your own hearts, though wrought hy God's Spirit, even 
that mercy and kindness which you have for yourselves, whom you love so 
much, yet are no way to he trusted in, but are as to such a purpose lighter 
than vanity, and would fail but for his mercy, the maintainor of them, then 
much more all that is in all creatures else whatever. 

I shall after have occasion to shew, that the ground for all this exhorta- 
tion, thus only to trust in God, is, in the latter end of this very psalm, 
centred upon, and referred to the words of this proclamation, my text, in 
verses 11, 12. 

3. Jehovah imports that his being is of himself, ivrouv, &woq>V7)g, and 
such is Jehovah as merciful, or his saving mercies; and indeed all his 
mercies whatsoever, they flow and proceed wholly from himself, having no 
motive but from what is in himself, either as to the persons to whom, or 
as to the things and mercies bestowed. For although to be merciful is his 
nature, yet the dispensation or giving forth of mercy is from his will; and 
that which his will is guided by is the good pleasure of his will, Eph. i. 5, 
and according as he is pleased to ' purpose within himself, verse 9, you 
may observe is this, ' I will be merciful to whom I will be merciful.' This 
is the royal preface and effort unto this proclamation of his nature,* in 
which he speaks but himself to be Jehovah, merciful, or the possessor of 
all being. And that looking as Jehovah, he is Lord of being itself, so the 
Lord of all his mercies themselves ; and that as his being is of himself, so 
that his shewing mercy is from himself. And all reason is there for.it; 
for his mercies, whence these acts of mercy flow, are himself; and also 
where and to whom his saving mercies go, himself goes with them. He 
bestows his whole self on whomsoever he bestoweth them. This you 
expressly find, Isa. xliii. 25, ' I, even /, am he that blotteth out thy 
transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins;' i.e., I 
that am what / am, Jehovah, am he that doth it, and I do it of myself. 
He resolves it wholly into himself, and as moved by nothing but himself, 
so as he assumes this thing to himself, and takes it wholly on himself. 
The prophet Ezekiel, chap, xxxvi. ver. 22, thus expresseth it, ' I do not this 
for your sakes, but for my own holy name's sake.' And again, lest they 
should not take in the weight of this sufficiently at once saying, he repeats 
it, and withal leaves a smart and round memento behind him for them to 
think on, why they should consider it: ver. 32, not for your sakes do I 
this, ' be it known to you.' And this there spoken of was the cleansing 
them from their sins, ver. 25 ; and giving them a new heart and saving 
repentance, ver. 26, 31 ; mercies to salvation all of them. And that 
clause at the close of all, its being known to them, rounds them in with a 
witness. And by a good token of the clean contrary in yourselves do you 
remember (says he): ver. 31, 'Then shall ye remember your own evil 
ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in 
your own sight, for your iniquities, and for your abominations.' Thus 
mercy comes over them with a triumph, as sinners confounded even with 
their being pardoned ; as elsewhere it is said, that ' mercy rejoiceth against 

4. Jehovah imports him in general to be the fountain of all being to all 
things else that have being, and him to be the original Being, other things 
but derivative ; so the best and noblest, highest sort or rank of beings, do 
derive their original, and hold their dependence entirely upon Jehovah, as 
he is gracious and merciful. And therefore Jehovah, merciful are well 

* Compare Exod. xxxiii. and xxxiv. 


joined together, seeing it is grace and mercy that gives being to the most 
transcendent works of God. 

Those of our redemption, the first sort of beings, that hold their copies 
of him, are the works of his first creation, of which himself thus speaks, 
Isa. lxvi. 1,2,' All these things have my hands made,' pointing to heaven 
and earth, this visible world, and all therein. And all ' those things have 
been ' (says he) ; that is, by this same hand of mine all these things exist 
and have a being, as you also have it Acts xvii. 25, 28; or all these things 
' continue in being,' as elsewhere the word is used. And this is dictum 
Jehovce, the saying of Jehovah ; and it is as if he had said, You all that 
have being and existence hold of me in capite, as I am Jehovah. But 
there is another, an higher rank of beings, that holds of him as he is 
Jehovah, gracious and merciful. And such a superior kind of beings God 
himself there intimates in saj'ing, with difference from those other makes 
or beings, ' To him will I look' (or ' but to those will I look') ' that is of 
poor and contrite spirit, and trembles at my word;' that is, who hath a 
gracious heart, of which, and all that belong to it, Jehovah as merciful is 
the founder. And the dilating on this being full and pertinent to the 
notion in hand, and tending so much to the glory of our Jehovah, and the 
mercy of him, I shall enlarge upon this division of tbese two ranks, as 
taking up and dividing between them the whole breadth of beings, as both 
the Scriptures and the schoolmen abundantly shew. 

1st, The schoolmen reduced all things derivative from God as the 
fountain unto two orders. The first is ordo natures, the order of things in 
nature, which are those by the first creation, which are continued in exist- 
enceby common providence, whereof God in the prophet there first speaks. 
Secondly, ordo gratia 1 ,, the order of things in grace, which are wholly super- 
natural, which also the prophet there insinuates, with distinction of one 
from the other. 

2dly, The Scripture also itself speaks the difference of their productions, 
as when it speaks of some things ' not made with hands, and not of this 
building,' Heb. ix. 11; that is, not of this ordinary make, by the first 
creation or common providence, of which God also so slightly and under- 
valuingly had spoken in that of Isaiah, ' These things my hands have made ; 
but,' &c. 

(1.) For the proof of this I will instance in the highest of that rank, in 
the order of grace, and things supernatural, the head of them all, viz., 
Christ's human nature, in its advancement by personal union with the Son 
of God; ay, and Christ's body too, as having been conceived by the Holy 
Ghost, Heb. ix. 11, where it is said that hereby he became an high priest 
1 by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to 
say, not of this building.' Also as to the work of grace wrought by a new 
creation in the heart of a sinner (which is the image of Christ with differ- 
ence from that of Adam), as it is said to be ' a new creature,' so the way 
of producing it is said to be a new creation ' made without hands,' Col. 
ii. 11. And this new creature, with the whole system of things belonging 
to it, is called another new world, or beings of another kind. And, 

(2.) All those things appertaining to this order of grace have the name 
and nature of being as truly as those other: 'of him' (that is, of God) 
'you are in Christ Jesus,' 1 Cor. i. 30; i.e., you have another being 
founded in Christ de novo, anew. You have your existence in him; God 
declares himself there the founder of a new creation, and Christ to be the 
head of it. And these things that are by this new creation, he s ets in 

Chap. VI. 1 of justifying faith. 83 

opposition to all else of the old creation, and that are the highest perfec- 
tions of them, in saying he brings to nought things that are by things that 
are not, which he nameth anew to be of him. 

(3.) And these things of the new creation are an higher and more tran- 
scendent kind of beings (not only a differing being), and are so in God's 
esteem ; for in that place of Isaiah he speaks of the greatest things of the 
first creation, pointing to them undervaluingly, ' All these things have my 
hand made;' but 'unto him will I look,' and have respect, and my eye is 
upon, that is of my new creation. And of Christ's human nature (in that 
Heb. ix. 11), though it be made of the same stuff we are all made of, yet 
because it was brought forth by this new way of creation, he terms it ' a 
greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands.' 

(4.) All things of the new creation hold their existence of Jehovah upon 
this title of Jehovah, gracious. ' Of him ye are in Christ Jesus,' says the 
apostle ; but of him as Jehovah, gracious and merciful, says the prophet ; 
for the apostle refers us for the proof of this unto Jer. ix. 23, 24, ' Thus 
saith Jehovah, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,' &c. : ' but let 
him that glories glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that 
I am Jehovah which exercise loving-kindness, and judgment, and right- 
eousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, says Jehovah.' To 
this place the apostle refers us, as appears by his next verse: ver. 31, 
' That according as it is written,' says he, ' He that glories, let him glory 
in the Lord.' He hath Jehovah and Jehovah over and again, and him as 
exercising loving-kindness, and so as merciful (in which he delights), as 
the foundation of this new being in Christ : ' Of him ye are in Christ 
Jesus,' whereof this he brings as the proof. 

And this is the account given why he assumes the name Jehovah, as if 
he had never been known by that name before ; though we find it in Moses 
from the very 2nd of Genesis, and so on, often used, yet our most judicious 
commentators say that it was to signify he came to give being to his pro- 
mises. He had made promises before, made a covenant, promised that 
good land, which he had done under other names ; but now, says he, I 
come to shew myself Jehovah, in giving being to those promises and that 
covenant, to give existence to them. Which is all founded on this, that 
his name Jehovah is not only to shew that he hath being in himself, but 
to give being to all things else, but especially to his covenant of mercy and 
grace, whereof those things were the types. 

In the New Testament, this is the founder of this new rank of beings in 
grace, as ' Jehovah merciful ' is set out by that blessed title, more suitable 
to the expression of the New Testament, of his being ' the Father of mer- 
cies;' that is, the conditor or author novi ordinis: 2 Cor. i. 3, ' Blessed be 
God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, the 
God of all comforts.' His being Father of all gospel mercies is set next to 
his being the Father of Christ, because of him we are in Christ Jesus 
what we are in grace. This his title of 'Father of mercies' bears two 
senses : 

1. That he is a merciful Father, it being an Hebraism, say some, as 
when he is called the ' Father of glory,' &c. ; that is, a glorious Father. 
And in that he says of mercies in the plural, this intends or augments the 
emphasis of it. It is as if he had said, he is summe misericors, he is a most 
merciful Father in the highest degree. Thus Beza, Grotius, and others. 

2. He becomes the author and original of all gospel mercies that are 
founded in Christ, having taken on him first the relation of a father to us 

vol. vin. c 


in Christ, mercies being here taken for the effects of mercy, as often in 
Scripture the word mercies is used for merciful effects or benefits. And 
the -word bixrigpuv, in Latin miserationes, doth properly signify the gracious 
effects flowing from mercy in God, which are called his mercies, and so do 
differ from tXtog, which signify the mercy that is seated in the heart of 
God himself." And mercies being thus understood, when it is said he is 
the Father of mercies, it implies he is a Father that gives being to those 
mercies, as a father doth to his child. And they are the mercies of the 
gospel, and all the mercies of the gospel in Christ, which here he especially 
and apart intends ; for he speaks of such mercies, which he bestows as he 
is the Father of Christ, as well as he is the Father of mercies, as the words 
following imply, ' the God of all comfort,' and therefore likewise the Father 
of all mercies. 

Now of these mercies or benefits of this new rank of beings which God, 
as Jehovah merciful, is the Father of, there are two sorts : 

1st, Such as impress something on us, work some real new being in us, 
which we call a physical change. 

2dly, There are privileges granted us, which work a mighty change in 
us in our state and condition before the Lord. The first are such as when 
he makes us holy, and the like, and such were most of the benefits of the 
first creation, when we were framed and formed first out of nothing. But 
the greatest benefits in grace do impress nothing upon us, make no physical 
change (though such a change is the consequent of them), and yet are 
things of the greatest make, and have the greatest reality in them, and the 
title of creation given to them. The first sort are like unto that, that he 
will at the resurrection ' change our vile bodies into the likeness of his 
glorious body,' in Phil. iii. 21, which is done ' according to the working 
whereby he is able even to subdue all things to himself.' But the latter 
are efyvaiai, they are privileges ; as in John i. it is said, he gave us 
e^ovsiav, power, or right, or privilege (as it is in the margin) to become the 
sons of God. And answerably (to explicate this), there is a twofold power 
in God. First, That which we call potentia, whereby he is the author of 
all those works which flow from mere power and force, whereby he made 
the world. But, secondly, there is potestas, dominion or sovereignty; and 
the acts of this kind of power, or sovereignty, by which he makes things 
that are not, to be, of the two are the greater, far greater than the other. 
The greatest works in the order of grace are of sovereignty's make; you 
may see it by that in kings, who have no more physical power than other 
men ; by their own hands they can work no more than another man, yet 
they can do strange acts of another kind, which flow from their sove- 
reignty: they can make knights, create noblemen, set up favourites, which 
are called their creatures; which actings of theirs are not by any internal 
workings on the person, but by external works as to the person, that 
resides in their own breast, and then expressed and put forth : and yet 
they are as real effects in their kind as any other. 

You may see these two different works in that, 1 Cor. i. 30, where Christ 
is said to be made righteousness to us, and sanctification to us. Righteous- 
ness of justification is a work of God upon us, but sanctification is a work- 
ing holiness in us; and yet each of these have the title of being given 
to them, • Of him ye are in Christ Jesus, who is made both these to you.' 
I shall only enlarge upon the latter of these two, namely, that these out- 

* Vid. Drusium in 2 Cor. i 3- 

Chap. VI.] of justifying faith. 35 

ward privileges have yet the most real heing in them ; which will also ap- 
pear hy tho consequents that follow. 

Thus, in Scripture phrase, God's advancing to an office or dignity is 
said to be a making or constituting: thus Ex. vii. 1, ' The Lord said to 
Moses, See I have made thee a god to Pharaoh, and Aaron thy brother 
shall be thy prophet.' And 1 Sam. xii. G, ' The Lord advanced' (that is, 
made) • Moses and Aaron,' and set them up in those offices, furnish- 
ing them with gifts suitable. Thus, Mark iii. 14, it is said, ' Christ or- 
dained twelve,' apostles namely; the word is 'made' them. Ho prefers 
them to that office out of grace ; for in Rom. i. 5 it is called ' grace and 
apostleship.' These were acts of grace, making of them, or constituting 
of them in an outward office, the consequence whereof was enabling them 
with such and such gifts ; but the office was but an external privilege with 
authority. Now, there are many of the greatest blessings or benefits we 
receive in Christ that are an external preferring us unto a dignity, an high 
privilege, in which the benefit mainly consists, but hath for its concomi- 
tant and its consequence the most real effects of any other. And the 
privilege itself hath a transcendent being in itself, and they are bestowed 
upon us by way of a creation, or God's making or calling us so to be, 
according to what is said, Rom. iv. 17, ' God calls those things that are 
not as though they were,' and gives them being. From this general I give 
particular instances. 

First, That we should be the people of God. His calling us to be so 
is his making us so by way of privilege, from the contrary state wherein we 
were, of not being his people till he is pleased to call us so ; and this is 
answerable unto a new creation of mercy : 1 Pet. ii. 10, ' Who in times 
past were not a people, but are now the people of God, which had not 
obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.' This was done by calling, 
ver. 9. Here is a change wrought in our state and condition, analogous 
to that political change which a king makes in a man when he prefers him ; 
and this wholly the effect of mercy, ' who have obtained mercy;' and hereof 
the Scripture uses the same phrase of making us his people, as truly as it 
is used of the old creation : Ps. c. 3, ' Know ye that the Lord he is God ; 
it is he that made us, and not we ourselves, his people ;' that is, made us 
his people. He speaks in distinction from the first make, and it is founded 
on this, that he gives us this new being as he is Jehovah, as he is God, 
and this is done by way of preferment or exaltation. That in Deut. xxxii. 
6, ' Is not God thy Father? hath he not made thee, and established thee?' 
in Acts xiii. 17 is thus expressed, ' The God of his people Israel chose our 
fathers, and exalted the people.' 

Secondly, He hath called us to be the sons of God : it is but a title and 
privilege in itself, as out of John i. 12 I shewed. He gave them s^ousiav 
to become the sons of God, as a privilege by patent; as also to be heirs 
and co-heirs with Christ, as in Rom. viii. 17. But this in the consequents 
of it appears to have the greatest being to follow upon it; it hath so in 
itself; but I say it doth appear, it will appear one day to have so : 1 John 
iii. 1, ' Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that 
we should be called the sons of God. Beloved, now we are the sons of 
God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be.' What will be the con- 
sequent of it ? ' But we know that when he shall appear, we shall he like 
him, for we shall see him as he is.' And it is but the Father's calling us 
to be his sons. What is that ? It is but giving us that relation upon his 
own saying, we shall be so. It is calling us what we were not to be now 


what we are ; and his saying we shall be his sons, it is but an act external 
upon us ; and yet this hath the greatest reality of being flowing from it, 
and contained in it. 

Thirdly, It is thus also in justification. It is but calling us from what 
we are not, yea, from the contrary, to be righteous in his righteousness, by 
the power and dominion of him that is Jehovah, the fountain of being, who 
says to an ungodly person, ' Thou art righteous,' and in saying it makes 
him such : Rom. v. 19, ' By the obedience of one many shall be made (or 
constituted) righteous.' This is a matter of the greatest reality, and hath 
the firmest being in it, and yet is but an act external upon us ; the 
soul in itself hath no being as to this righteousness, for God justifies it as 
ungodly ; it hath no such being, but God gives it, and gives it by an act that 
is external to us, answering to that forensical act of pronouncing a man 
innocent at the bar. 

The second sort of beings or blessings of grace are such as do impress 
something upon us, and their beings consist wholly in such an impression. 
As when God comes to a soul that is nothing but sin, and gives it a new 
heart, and a new spirit, and it becomes a workmanship created to good 
works, this he does by working this new creature in it, by internal chang- 
ing our corrupt hearts, as one day he will do our vile bodies. These, and 
all such effects, are but the fruits of Jehovah merciful. 

3dly, There is a third sort of this rank'of mercies which are imminent* in 
the heart of God, which are called his thoughts of peace and mercy, Isa. 
lv. 7, 8, which in Ps. xl. 5, Christ says, are infinite for multitude towards 
us, being continued, fixed in him from everlasting : Jer. xxix. 11, ' I know 
the thoughts that I think towards you.' And these I call imminent* in 
himself, according to that Eph. i. 9, 11, ' which he purposed in himself.' 

There are also a middle between his purposes in himself, and the execu- 
tion of them upon us, all which are called mercies. There are also 
promises which are his promises of mercy, a middle between both, and 
unto all these he gives a being as he is Jehovah merciful : ' All the pro- 
mises of God are yea and amen,' 2 Cor. i. 20. And that these in Christ 
are said to be amen, it imports they have a real being and existence ; for 
what is amen but ' so be it ; ' so that he sets to his promises answerably, 
' Let it be so' (which was the word at the first creation, and it was so), and 
so shall these promises one day be. 

But what do I, treating of these little makes of grace, mercy in and upon, 
and towards us, that shew Jehovah gracious and merciful, in giving a 
being to them all, while I am to give instances of a far greater make and 
being that flow from Jehovah gracious to be sure ? for it is the grace of 
union we now speak of. 

1. What say you to Jesus Christ, that new thing? Jer. xxxi. 22, 
Jehovah ' created a new thing in the earth, a woman shall compass a man ; ' 
that man of men, that strong man Jesus, conceived in the womb of that 
virgin in Nazareth, a city of the ten tribes, whom therefore he exhorts to return. 
Now take Jesus Christ as God-man and mediator, and all of him from top to 
toe, and all he was made of, it is all of God, out of grace, I will not say of 
mercy. That the Son of God should take that flesh was a new thing, which 
I need not insist on. 

2. As his person, so all his offices were all made things by Jehovah 
gracious : Acts ii. 36, ' That all the house of Israel may assuredly know, 
that he hath made that same Jesus Lord and Christ.' He made him a 

* Qu. ' immanent ' ? — Ed. 

Chap. VI.] of justifying faith. 87 

king : Ps. lxxxix. 27, ' I will make my first-born, higher than the kings of 
the earth.' He was made a surety and mediator : Heb. vii. 22, ' He was 
made a priest after,' &c. ' By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better 
testament ; ' ' made an high priest,' Heb. iii. 2, so the margin hath it ; 
all out of grace and prerogative. Thus in himself. 

3. To be sure, whatever he is made to us to be, that is of Jehovah 
merciful to us : 1 Cor. i. 30, ' Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God 
is made to us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.' 

4. Then how was he made these to us ? 

He ' made him sin,' 2 Cor. v. 21, as strange a work for God to make 
his Son to be, as any of the former. ' He made him sin, that knew no 
sin.' Will you have it further? 'He made him a curse,' Gal. iii. 13. 
And these were real makings, for his soul felt the effects of them, though in 
themselves they were but external imputations. But he felt the effects of 
them as we do the benefits of his being made such. And thus as to his per- 
son and offices, and what he is made to us all, are new beings of Jehovah 
gracious to him, aud merciful to us. 

3dly, He is Jehovah merciful ; he is the Father of all the mercies that 
are in the heart of Christ himself, through whose heart all God's mercies 
run and flow to us. Jehovah merciful gave being to them, God com- 
manded him to love us, and put into his heart, as a man, that ' love- which 
passeth knowledge,' Eph. iii. 19. All those sure mercies of David, that is, 
of Christ (Acts xiii. 34, and Isa. lv. 3), that are either in his heart towards 
us, or are the benefits he purchased and bestows upon us, Jehovah merciful 
is the Father of them all ; that he is ' a merciful high priest,' Heb. ii. 17 ; 
that he does pity us according to the measure of our needs, Heb. v. 2 ; 
that he hath mercies in his soul wherewith to do it : all this is what God 
bestows upon his heart to make him such. As God gave him a body fitted, 
he gave him a heart fitted : Ps. lxxxix. 24, speaking of Christ under the 
type of David, says he, ' My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him,' 
and he speaks it as in relation unto his government and dispensation of 
things to us, even as of David in the type it is there spoken in relation to 
his government. My mercy shall be with him (says God) to execute all 
for me, and to dispense all the mercies out of mercifulness in himself, which 
I myself would dispense, God having given up all into his hand, God's 
mercies and faithfulness are with him in the execution. 

Lastly, It would be too poor a thing for me now to tell you that Jehovah 
merciful gives being to all the mercies in the hearts of fathers, mothers, 
friends, or whomever you know to be pitiful. Bead over all stories, and 
put all the mercies you can read of or hear of into one heart, if a father 
had all the mercies that a father ever had, how pitiful would he be. But 
who is the Father of these, and gives being to them ? It is Jehovah 
merciful ; and shall not he that made the eye see, and shall not he that 
put these mercies into all the hearts of all the creatures, yea, into the 
hearts of them that are evil (for such are parents, both fathers and mothers), 
be himself merciful ? And shall it be said, • How can a mother forget her 
child ? ' And shall not this, in a more infinite transcendent manner, be 
attributed to God ? I have told you he is the Father of Christ, and of all the 
mercies in Christ, and that is beyond all. Bemember that he is Jehovah 
merciful, that gives being to all in whom your souls do trust. 

5. The name Jehovah, by which God makes himself known in this pro- 
clamation of mercy, Exod. xxxiv. 6, imports him also to be the first and 
last in being, and so his giving being to all things from the first unto the 


last, and that they all -wholly and all along depend upon him for being ; 
which is in a great part the mind of that speech, Isa. xliv. 6, ' I am the 
first, and I am the last.' And in another place of the same prophet, chap, 
xli. 4, ' Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from 
the beginning ? I the Lord, the first, and with the last, I am he.' He 
speaks it in relation unto all created beings, from the first creation through- 
out all generations. Wherein observe how he is absolutely in both places 
said to be the first, but not with the last, which is only in the latter text, 
for time was when there was no creature with him from all eternity, and 
then he was first only and alone. But in this second text he is said to be 
with the last, and yet nevertheless he is said to be the last in that other. 
The reasons of which I take up thus, that for time to come God hath 
ordained some sort of creatures to exist to eternity, like as himself doth, 
and so in that respect he is said to be with the last, even of them ; but yet 
take in this with it, that nevertheless he is also the last, as truly as the 
first, chap. xliv. 6, as also Rev. i. 11. This is to be understood in respect 
(say I) of their total, and absolute, and continual dependency upon him ; 
and it is all one as if he had said, although they do continue to eternity, 
yet it is through me and from me, for I am the last however, because it is 
I uphold them in being so to do ; for I only have immortality of being, 
1 Tim: vi. 10, and they but by participation from me, and so in truth and 
de jure, of right, • I am the last.' 

Now what the prophet speaks, as in respect to those first beings of the 
creation, the apostle in his Revelation applies unto grace and salvation, the 
things of the second sort of beings. For in respect thereto it is the apostle 
utters the same saying, as by comparing Rev. i. 4th and 8th verses appears. 
In the 4th verse he wisheth ' grace and peace from him which is, and 
which was, and which is to come.' And from Jesus Christ, ver. 5, who, 
ver. 8, says of himself, ' I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the 
ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, 
the Almighty.' And this his title, ' I am the beginning and the ending,' 
is spoken in relation unto grace and salvation ; for upon this title it is that 
grace is wished from him as well as from the Father ; and also they are 
the very benefits of salvation which he had there spoken of, ver. 5, 6. 
Thus then in grace he is the first and the last, as well as in the prophet he 
is said to be so in relation unto the beings of the first creation. 

And his being the first and the last notes forth not only the two extremes 
of grace and salvation, that is, of the first beginning and last ending or 
accomplishment of our salvation, as if he were the author only of these ; 
but this expression of his being the first and last encloseth and taketh in 
the whole line and series of benefits of grace and salvation whatsoever, 
continued all along between that first and last. Even as in respect of 
natural beings (as life and motion), his being the first and last takes in all, 
whatsoever of them, from first to last. 

Only I observe, that his being 'Alpha and Omega' in this respect is 
resolved into his being Jehovah, for both in ver. 4 and 8 it runs thus, 
' From him that was, and is, and is to come,' which is the deciphering of 
Jehovah; and thereby he is apparently made and is declared the fountain 
of all and every whit of grace, both past, present, and to come ; and not 
only at first, or at the last alone, but all along in the intervals of time 
between. 1. 'From him that was;' and so he is the eternal spring of 
that grace which was from everlasting, and is shewn at conversion. 
2. Which is;' that is, he at present continues to dispense all grace to us. 

Chap. VI.] of justifying faith. 89 

8. ' Who is to como;' so ho is the author of all grace, for everlasting, unto 
the last. 

And yet I will not restrain these his titles only unto matters of graco and 
salvation, for they comprehensively relate unto all other works which Christ 
doth for his church, or towards others, or that are prophesied of in this 
book, as by the repetition of them, chap. xxii. 13, at the end of this book, 
and as after all the works of his kingdom perfected, it^appears. f I am 
Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last;' yet 
still so as here at the beginning of the book, wherein grace and peace is 
wished, it must be allowed to have a special relation to grace and the works 
thereof. Thus God is the immediate forger of every link of that golden 
chain, whereof the first is rivetted in his own heart, and the last ends in 
him also. Thus it is in his loving us, and thus it is in his saving us ; he 
is the first and last in both. 

1. In loving us (which is the foundation of all grace to us, for love is 
the ground of all mercy, Eph. ii. 4, and so of all benefits of salvation) he 
is the first. So it is said expressly, 1 John iv. 19, ' We love him because 
he first loved us,' and not we him, ver. 10. And he is the last in loving 
also; ' whom he loved he loved to the end,' John xiii. 1 ; and we should 
not love him to the end, if he did not continue to love us to the end. Thus 
it is in the foundation of mercy. 

2. In the works of salvation he is the first and the last, Heb. xii. 2. 
He is the ' author of our faith,' and so the first, and ' the finisher,' and so 
the last. Thus he is at death too, when we ' receive the end of our faith, 
the salvation of our souls,' 1 Pet. i. 9. And after that, he is thus to us at 
the day of judgment: 2 Tim. i. 18, ' The Lord grant he may find mercy at 
that day.' It is then we have need of mercy, and he is the giver of it. 
And as at the first and last, so all along between, he is thus the fountain 
of all mercy and grace to us. ' It is by the grace of God I am that I am,' 
says the apostle, 1 Cor. xv. 10 ; ' and it is not I, but the grace of God that 
is with me;' i. e., which is all along with me in every act and step. We 
are therefore continually to look for, and depend upon the mercy of our 
Lord Jesus Christ even all along unto eternal life, Jude 21. 

It is not as the Papists say, who acknowledge God to be the first in the 
benefits of salvation, as that at the first mercy doth all in justification (and 
they call it therefore the first justification), which they ascribe to God's 
grace wholly; but then they feign a second justification, as that which saves 
us, and makes us heirs of eternal life through the merits of works. Oh, 
but Jehovah merciful and gracious is the first and the last, and all and 
everything of grace depends upon him, and it is wholly grace and mercy 
from first to last. 

Yea, and he is Jehovah gracious with the last (as you heard the prophet 
Isaiah speak, chap. xli. 4), for eternal glory is as much from his grace as 
conversion itself at first. ' It is the gift of God,' Eom. vi. 23, and ' grace 
reigns' even in heaven to eternity, Rom. v. 21, as much as ever it did in 
this life, and more, and it is grace then that entertains us in heaven : Eph. 
ii. 5-7, ' Who hath quickened us and saved us' (so in this life, as he 
had said in the verses before), ' that he in ages to come might shew the 
exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness towards us through Christ 
Jesus.' This is to be done in heaven. We have grace here but by 
driblets, and but imperfect holiness, and a defective communion with God, 
&c. ; there it is he profusely spends and pours forth his riches reserved to 
that time, and then the vessels of mercy possess the whole of ' the riches 


of glory,' Rom. ix. 23, the well-head whereof is mercy, as there is ex- 

6. This name of God Jehovah imports also his being • from everlasting 
to everlasting;' and as his name El that follows, translated God, notes 
forth his power, so Jehovah and Ehije his eternity, as Calvin and others 
observe. But we have a sm*er word of prophecy that the import of it is 
eternity, from the before-cited apostle's own paraphrase upon it: Rev. i. 4 
(which many of our divines upon that place have observed), ' Him which 
is, which was, and which is to come,' which is the unciphering of the very 
name Jehovah, and the true reason why he saith not uko rov ovrog, but 
arrb tov 6 uv, was (as Calvin and Beza have observed), to point as with the 
finger unto this very name Jehovah, lam, Exod. 3d and 6th chapters. Yea, 
the form of the Hebrew word Jehovah, says Ainsworth, implies so much, 
Je being a sign of the time to come, and so Jehovah, he will be ; Ho, of 
the time present, Hovah, he that is, and Yah, of the time past; Havah, he 
was. And again elsewhere the same author observes,* that Jehovah cometh 
of Havah, he was, and by the first letter, J, it signifies he will be, and by 
Ho, it signifies he is ;f and this the Hebrew doctors, says he, acknowledge, 
in saying that the three times, past, present, and to come, are compre- 
hended in this proper name Jehovah, as it is known to all, say they. 
Thus Ainsworth on Gen. ii. 4 out of them. 

Now, as his being, so these his mercies are from everlasting; for both 
Jehovah and merciful are still correspondent: Ps. xxv. 6, ' Remember, 
Lord, thy tender mercies, and thy loving-kindnesses, which have been ever 
of old.' They are mercies as to time past, which the word 'remember' 
insinuates ; and they are his special mercies to his elect, which with dif 
ference he styleth his 'tender mercies;' and they are his 'loving-kind- 
nesses,' which word imports his entirest love, as Ps. xviii. 2. The same 
word signifies to love heartily in the midst of the bowels. And these have 
been ' ever of old,' and that not only as of a time of an old date, and so 
the word is elsewhere used, but these have been for ever of old; it is that 
oldness of eternity. They are as old as Jehovah himself, the ' Ancient of 
days,' is. And why? Because they are the mercies of him that is 
Jehovah. And thus we find his everlasting love stated in difference from 
what is of old : Jer. xxxi. 3, the Lord hath ' appeared to me of old.' This 
the church says, that is, in ancient times, in former times; ah, but appears 
not now to me. In answer thereto says God, Dost thou speak of times of 
old? Yea, 'I have loved thee with an everlasting love,' &c, and so of an 
elder date than that old time thou speakest of, in which I should have 
appeared to thee. And thus here our translators have emphatically trans- 
lated the words ' for ever of old.' 

But what, are they everlasting only from time past ? No ; but as Jeho- 
vah imports his being to everlasting also, so his mercies are : Ps. c. 5, ' The 
Lord is good, his mercy is everlasting, and his truth endureth to all gene- 
rations.' And the eternity in this place is that part of it for time to come, 
for it is from generation to generation. And as we find the everlastingness 
of them either way thus singly and apart set out in these Psalms mentioned, 
so we find them in Psalm ciii. 17 to be conjoined, ' The mercy of the Lord 

* Ainsworth on Ps. Ixxxiii. 18, which is, with a special observation, cited by Dr 
Jackson, of the divine essence and attributes. 

t Phrasis est quae oecurrit apud Judseos, qua Deura significare volunt, et aeterni- 
tatem TaecapsuG-iySjg exprimi.— Capellus in Apoc. chap. i. ver. 4. 

Chap. VI.] of justifying faitii. 41 

is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him.' So, then, 
Jehovah that was, that is, and that is to come, is merciful and gracious. 

And this speaks more than what is in the former assertion ; for by this 
he is not simply the first in grace, and so in mercy to us : that might have 
been, though he had begun to have loved but then when he first wrought 
on us, or as having purposed it from some very ancient date ; but this 
imports his having ever loved us since he was God, and had being, or shall 
have being, both his own nature inclining him, together with his purposes 
of mercy taken up by his own will towards us. For he would have his 
mercies unto his children to bear the resemblance of his very being Jehovah, 
and so answer to his name in being as eternal as himself : Isa. liv. 7, 8, 10, 
' For a small moment have I forsaken thee ; but with great mercies will I 
gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment ; but 
with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy 
Redeemer. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed ; but 
my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my 
peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.' 

Use. The use of which is this, to trust on him at all times and seasons. 
You heard befoi*e, out of Ps. lxii., you should trust in Jehovah solely, and 
alone, so ver. 5 ; but ver. 8 you have that added, ' Trust in him at all 
times ;' for he that was, is, and is to come, is your Jehovah merciful. The 
worst times are those when you have sinned against him, yet come to him 
with faith at such time. You are not to imagine that indeed when we have 
walked holily, and only then, we may come with expectation of mercy and 
pardon from him : no, but trust in him ' at all times,' only come humbling 
yourselves, and turning unto him ; draw near to him and he will draw near 
to you. God is not as man, to be merciful by fits, when the good humour 
comes on him ; but consider, he is merciful as Jehovah, and therefore with 
a constancy, and continually, which in express words you have, Ps. lxxi. 3, 
' Be thou my strong habitation whereunto I may continually resort : thou 
hast given commandment to save me ; for thou art my rock and my for- 
tress.' Ver. 14, ' But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more 
and more.' 

7. The name Jehovah also imports immutability, unchangeableness of 
being : Mai. hi. 6, ' I am Jehovah, I change not ;' so in the original. It 
is as if he should say, My name Jehovah speaks my being to be unchange- 
able. His name, / am, in short, imports, that he is always one and the 
same in being ; which Christ, as being God, assumes when he said, ' Before 
Abraham was, I am,' John viii. 58. And the apostle says also of him, 
Christ, ' the same to-day, yesterday, and for ever,' Heb. xiii. 8. And 
therein also you have interpreted what is spoken of Christ, Bev. i. 8, ' He 
that was, that is, and is to come' (the paraphrase of Jehovah), to be meant 
of unchangeableness ; semper idem, always one and the same. And as God 
is thus in his being unchangeable, so in his mercies ; the mercies of this 
David are ' sure mercies,' Isa. lv. 3 ; Acts. xiii. 34. These his special 
mercies to his chosen have the similitude of his being. It is Jehovah that 
is merciful ; and as Jehovah signifies firmitude of being, and is therefore 
compared to a rock, &c, so these his mercies are likened to things of longest 
duration, to those things which to us men are such in our account. Thus 
he compares them to the mountains, which cannot be removed ; yea, moun- 
tains of brass, Zech. vi. 1 : Isa. liv. 10, ' For the mountains shall depart, 
and the hills be removed ; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, 
neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that 


hath mercy on thee.' Also, in Ps. Ixxxix., the perpetuity of mercy is one 
eminent piece of this psalm ; for with that he begins, ver. 2, ' For I have 
said, Mercy shall be built up for ever : thy faithfulness shalt thou establish 
in the very heaven.' And they are the sure mercies of our spiritual David 
(Christ), he means. Now, to set forth the perpetuity hereof, he first useth 
words that express firmitude, as ' established,' ' built up for ever,' ver. 2, 4. 
Then he uses such similitudes as are taken from things which are held 
most firm and inviolable amongst men, as ver. 4, fcedus incidi, I have cut 
or engraven my covenant (so in the Hebrew), alluding to what was then in 
use, when covenants were mutually to be made, such as they intended to 
be inviolate, and never to be broken ; to signify so much, they did engrave 
and cut them into the most durable lasting matter, as marble, or brass, or 
the like. You may see this to have been the way of writing in use, as 
what was to last for ever : as Job xix. 24, ' Oh that my words were graven 
with an iron pen and lead, in the rock for ever !' And what is that rock 
or marble here ? No other than the heart itself of our gracious and most 
merciful Jehovah, and his most unalterable and immoveable purposes, 
truth and faithfulness.* This is that foundation in the heavens, whereon 
mercy is built up for ever ; as ver. 2, which (as the apostle says) ' remains 
for ever ;' and so they become ' the sure mercies of David,' Isa. lv. 3. 
Again, solemn oaths amongst men serve to ratify and make things sworn 
to perpetual. This also is there specified as having been taken by God, 
' Once have I sworn by my holiness,' &c, and sworn by him that cannot 
lie, and sworn to that end, ' to shew the immutability of his counsel,' Heb. 
vi. 17. And not only is the immutability of his mercy illustrated by these 
things taken from what is firm on earth, but he ascends up to the heavens, 
and first into the very highest heavens : ver. 2, ' For I have said, Mercy 
shall be built up for ever : thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very 
heaven :' comparing them to an house built not on earth, or upon a foun- 
dation of earth, which thieves break through, and violence destroys, but in 
heaven, whither they cannot reach. And there is good reason for it, for 
these mercies have a ' sure foundation' laid in God's heart, ' The Lord 
knows who are his.' And then they are founded also on that ' corner- 
stone, elect and precious,' Christ ; and which having been begun to be laid 
in the heart once of every one that is regenerate (though but the other day 
converted), yet will never cease to be built up even to eternity. We are 
apt to think, How little of mercy have I yet shewn forth upon me ! Con- 
sider, God hath but begun with thee ; he laid in thy heart at conversion a 
small spark and seed of grace ; and therewith, as the foundation, the par- 
don of all thy sins, which, as to all that is to follow, is but as a foundation 
buried under ground. But mercy hath not done with thee ; for it is in 
infinite glorious works that follow, to be ' built up for ever,' continually to 
be added unto, both in grace and glory. For God's dispensations in heaven 
are but a continuation of mercy to eternity, and a laying forth riches of 
grace and kindness on this structure, Eph. ii. 7. The prophet adds in that 
verse, ' Thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens.' Some 
say, cum ccelis, with the heavens ; that is, it is a mercy as stable as heaven 
itself, meaning the visible ones. But I take it to be a supernatural super- 
creation phrase, to express a grace and mercy above all that is or was 
earthly in our first creation-condition, and above all comparisons to be 
made therewith, consisting altogether of blessings heavenly ; yea, super- 
celestial, as the word is in Eph. i. 4. And thus much the expression ' in 
* Marmor liic nihil aliud est quam iminotissima Dei fides, Veritas, &c. — Musculus. 


the heavens' doth import : as in Luke x. 20, ' Rejoice that your names are 
written in heaven.' And Heb. xii. 23, ' The first-born whose names are 
written in heaven.' And in saying hero that these mercies are ' established 
in the heavens,' I understand them to be such super-celestial mercies 
spoken of. The heavens is the place they came from, and where they are 
established and fixed, and unto which they tend, rising up to their original, 
and where they are finished and completed. They are established in the 
heavens, in the highest heavens, where the angels and saints are,* ver. 2, 
5, 6, 7, compared. And therefore they are as sure and safe as treasure there 
laid up is, as Christ says. This house of mercy is as eternal and unde- 
molishable as that our house in those highest heavens is, 2 Cor. v. 1. 

And because we see not those highest heavens (but only by faith) he 
farther points us to the heavens we see : ver. 28, 29, ' My mercy will I 
keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. 
His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of 
heaven;' which in ver. 3G, 37, is more punctually amplified : 'His seed 
Bhall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me : it shall be 
established for ever, as the moon ; and as a faithful witness in heaven. 
Selah.' And he introduceth these not as examples only, to which his 
mercies for their unchangeableness may be likened, but he proposeth them 
as God's faithful witnesses thereof. f As the rauibow is set forth as a wit- 
ness that God will destroy the world with waters no more, thus the conti- 
nuation of the heavens, and of the sun and moon, are proposed as wit- 
nesses of the perpetuity and unchangeableness of these mercies ; and this 
not for duration only, but immoveableness and fixedness. For though the 
sun sets, and leaves darkness behind him for half the time of his course, 
yet this Father of lights is without so much as ' shadow of turning' in his 
mercies towards us, as the apostle's comparison is, James i. 17, and else- 
where. He hath pawned the covenant of day and night : Jer. xxxi. 35, 36, 
1 Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordi- 
nances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth 
the sea when the waves thereof roar ; The Lord of hosts is his name : If 
those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of 
Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.' The like is 
in Jer. xxxiii. 20, < Thus saith the Lord, If you can break my covenant of the 
day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night 
in their season; then may also my covenant be broken,' &c. Yea, and that 
covenant of the waters of Noah (we spake of) to which the rainbow is appointed 
as a faithful witness, is also appealed unto, and called in by God as a wit- 
ness of this his mercy's covenant : Isa. liv. 9, 10, ' For this is as the waters 
of Noah unto me : for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no 
more go over the earth ; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with 
thee, nor rebuke thee. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be 
removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the 
covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.' 

Now this unchangeableness of mercy is put upon the account of his 
being Jehovah, as was observed out of Mai. iii. 6, ' I Jehovah change not ; 
therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed.' Unto which bring that of 
Lam. iii. 22, and then you have what it is in Jehovah which is the cause 
that we are not consumed : ' It is the Lord's mercy we are not consumed,' 

* Coeli non visibiles, sed qui mundi architecturam superaut. — Calvin. 
t Non solum proponit ea ut exeinpla, sed ut testes : Quarum rerum? Earum scili- 
cet quas Davidi promisit. 


which is all one as to say, It is of the Lord's mercy, as the cause why we 
are not consumed. So then the evident inference or conclusion from hoth is, 
you are not consumed, because my mercies, who am Jehovah, change not, 
which the words that follow do more expressly shew to be the cause or 
reason of this, ' because his compassions fail not ; ' which still carries this 
before them, that we are not consumed, because his mercies consume not, 
because God, that is, Jehovah, consumes not, fails not, changeth not. 
Job xiv. 11, ' The waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and 
drieth up,' but these his special mercies fail not, nor are ever drawn dry, 
because Jehovah, or inexhaustible being, is the inexhaustible fountain of 
those mercies. 

I have given the reason why the name Jehovah merciful is used ; but 
farther, the duplication of it here is to be considered : Exod. xxxiv. 6, 
' Jehovah, Jehovah.' The reason hereof, which interpreters ordinarily 
give, riseth but to this, that it was to stir up Moses his and our attention 
the more unto the matter that follows. I should rather and further say, 

1. It is to shew an infinite vehemency and heartiness of affection to have 
been in the heart of God when he uttered this, and it manifests how much 
his soul was in what his voice proclaimed. Such duplications have (as it 
were) a double strength in them, to heighten and enforce those things 
they are prefixed unto, according to the nature of the matter unto which 
they are prefixed. Thus if the matter be an affirmation, the reiteration 
affixed intends and makes it an asseveration far the stronger. Thus when 
the two tribes and a half made an appeal to God in the case of their altar, 
to the intent to express the truth and sincerity of their souls therein, in the 
highest manner, say they, ' The God of gods, Jehovah, the God of gods, 
Jehovah, he knoweth,' &c, Josh. xxii. 22. In this appeal to God as a 
witness (for such it is), they rehearse no less than three names of God (say 
some), El, Elohim, Jehovah ; or, as others interpret it, ' God of gods, 
Jehovah.' But whatever meaning we take, it is certain that they are 
repeated twice over, which must needs have the greatest emphasis that 
could be given, and all was to give the greatest confirmation to the matter 
affirmed by them. Again, if it be set unto matter of prayer or praise, the 
repetition of ' Lord, Lord,' Ps. lxxii. 18, or of ' Jehovah' (as of the person 
invocated or praised) or the doubling the matter petitioned for, as ' be 
merciful, be merciful,' Ps. lvii. 1, likewise when the seal to either is put 
at the close of either, as of ' Amen and amen,' Ps. lxxii. 19, such doubled 
rehearsements do manifest a redoubled vehemency and intention in the 
invocators. Now according to this general rule, 

2. In this duplication of the name of Jehovah here must be allowed the 
like intended emphaticalness, according to the kind of the matter it is 
prefixed unto. Now that which it is prefixed unto is a description of God, 
or a lively character of him, even as when we would notify the character 
given of a man to be most proper, genuine, and expressive of what the man 
is, we use before or after it to make a double indigitation of his name, 
which carries this import or signification : ' This is the man, this is he.' 
To the same purpose is it that God's name is doubled here. And it is as 
if in words he had more plainly said, ' This is your God, this am I ; ' or if 
you would know what a God I am, look upon this description of me, upon 
this my portraiture drawn to life : ' Such a God am I, Jehovah, Jehovah 

When the watchmen in the Canticles saw the spouse keep such ado, 
Cant. v. 9, 10, and to make so anxious an inquisition after her beloved : 

Chap. VII. J of justifying faith. 45 

* What is thy beloved,' said they, ' more than another beloved ? ' ' What' ? 
says she. She then describes him in all his beauties from head to foot ; 
and at the close, having said, ' he is altogether lovely,' she adds, ' This is 
my beloved, and this is my friend.' She doubles it there, and with the 
same efficacy doth God in his setting forth himself double this his name 
here : ' Jehovah, Jehovah,' &c, as if he should say, ' This, this am I.' 

Nay, yet further here in this proclamation in my text there is not a 
duplication only, but a triplication of the subject; that is, the name of 
God is not only twice repeated, but thrice, j-flrT miT Vn> translated • The 
Lord, Lord, God.' And what is or can be the mind or intent hereof other 
than this, that God, the whole that is in God, is merciful and gracious? &c. 


The other name of God, ^, El, used in this ■proclamation of mercy, Exod. 
xxxiv. 6, 7. — This name imports that all the three persons are merciful, 
which is particularly proved concerning the Holy Ghost. — This name El 
also imports an attribute in God, his strength and power, and that it is in 
conjunction with mercy. — How much this hath an influence to make mercy 
effectually prevailing, and to conquer all difficulties which lie in the way of 
its acting. 

' I have considered the first name of God, Jehovah, implied in this pro- 
clamation of mercy, Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7, and have evinced that mercy is an 
essential property of his nature ; what remains next to be considered is 
what the other name of God, ^, El, here made use of, imports. 

There are two significations of this name of God. It is sometimes put 
for an essential name proper to God, as our translators have rendered it in 
this text, and it is sometimes put for a special attribnte of God, • strong, 
powerful,' noting greatness and dominion, and both here intended, for it 
signifies both ; and truly Junius always translates the word El wherever he 
finds it Deusfortis, the strong God, and so puts both together. 

Now if we translate it as our translators have done it, ' God, Jehovah, 
Jehovah,' El, God (he repeats the name of God three times), the import 
of that is, that the three persons are herein proclaimed to be merciful and 
gracious. There must be some great mystery in the thrice repeating it. 
If the thrice repeating an attribute, ' Holy, holy, holy,' if the thrice repeat- 
ing, ' The Lord, the Lord, the Lord,' Num. vi. 23-26, hath the mystery 
of all three persons, then the repetition of the name of God, fixed to mercy 
and gracious, hath the like. So Ainsworth and others have improved it. 
So that from this it is evident that all three persons incline to be merciful 
and gracious, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost ; 
and what is this other than what we have, 2 Cor. xiii. 14, * The grace of 
the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the 
Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.' The Holy Ghost is therefore both 
gracious and loving, as well as the Father and Son, for it is he communicates 
the love and grace of both those persons. I find not (I confess) a scripture 
where the Holy Ghost is called merciful, but I find scripture where he is 
called good, which is the root of mercy: Ps. cxliii. 10, ' Thy Spirit is good.' 
Neh. ix. 20, ' Thou gavest them thy good Spirit.' I find also that love is 
ascribed to him, Eom. xv. 13. Now what is mercy ? It is but love and 
goodness extended to creatures in misery. I find also that grace and 


mercy are the fountain of all blessings both spiritual and temporal, Eph. 
i. 2, 3. And I find grace, and mercy, and peace is wished as from God 
the Father, and God the Son, so from God the Holy Ghost, Rev. i. 3, 4. 
So then he is the fountain of grace. I will not open that controversy 
between papists and us about seven spirits ; it is but one Spirit, 1 Cor. 
xii. 4. But what I will insist on is, an answer to that question, Why the 
Holy Ghost should bear the name of ^, El, ' strong,' ' the strong God,' 
for it signifies both an attribute as well as a person ; Jehovah the Father 
is called, and Jehovah the Son is called, and the Holy Ghost is called so 
too ; but why is this name El here, ' the strong God,' given unto him 
rather than Jehovah ? 

The answer is, he hath the execution of all the mercy that God doth dis- 
pense to us; it is committed to him. The Father had the decreeing part 
of all mercy, the Son the purchasing part, and the Holy Ghost the opera- 
tive part, which requires power and strength ; and therefore you find so 
often the Holy Ghost to be expressed as ' the power of God,' as Christ's 
person in the Proverbs is called ' the Wisdom of God.' The Holy Ghost 
is called 'the power of God:' Luke i. 35, 'The Holy Ghost shall come 
upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee.' And in 
Luke xxiv. 49, he is called ' the promise of the Father.' Who is that 
promise ? Compare it with Acts i. 4, and you will find it is the Holy 
Ghost. What is the Holy Ghost called in that place of the Acts ? 
* Christ being assembled together with them, commanded them that they 
should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father.' 
Where was that promise ? The 5th verse tells us, ' You shall be baptized 
with the Holy Ghost.' How is the meaning of that expressed ? ' You 
shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you,' ver. 8. 
And in Scripture these things are often joined : ' The gospel came not in 
word only, but in the Holy Ghost, and power,' 1 Thes. i. 5. 

The Holy Ghost then is he that shews mercy, he is o s>.ioJv. There are 
five offices which the Holy Ghost exerciseth in the churches, mentioned in 
Rom. xii. 8, and the last is called 6 eXsuv, a shewer or executor of mercy, 
to supply all needs and necessities to the sick, &c. : ' Let him that is the 
shewer of mercy do it with cheerfulness ;' i.e., whose office is to be merciful. 
There are many particular mercies which the Holy Ghost hath the office to 
distribute, as he is the dispenser of mercy. For example, 

1. Begin with regeneration; that is mercy: 'According to his abundant 
mercy he hath begotten us,' 1 Peter i. 3. Who begets ? The Holy Ghost. 

2. Who brings home all the sure mercies of David, all that the Father 
hath decreed, or the Son purchased '? John xvi. 14, 15. He will not leave 
us as orphans unprovided for. Therefore, 

3. Is it not mercy to take care of orphans, children that are fatherless 
and motherless, that else would be destitute ? John xiv. 17, 18. The Holy 
Ghost says, ' I will not leave you orphans ;' the word is so in the original. 
Is it not mercy to tend the sick ? Alas ! how doth the Holy Ghost attend 
thy soul all the time of thy infirmities and sicknesses ; and to ease thee he 
bears them, Rom. viii. 26. 

4. Who is the advocate to plead for thee, and undertakes all thy suits 
for thee, and to obtain all good ? It is the Holy Ghost ? Who makes all 
thy prayers, Rom. viii. 26, draws all the petitions thou puttest up ? He 
indites them. Who does bear with the noisomeness that is in thee ? It 
is the Holy Ghost. And is it not that mercy, as it is in a nurse or mother, 
to bear the noisomeness of a poor child ? And though he be grieved, yet 

Chap. VII.] of justifying faith. 47 

ho continues his love and care, so as no mother nor nnrse doth tho like. 
Is not this mercy ? Who mourns with thee in misery like a dove (as he is 
called), who keeps thee company, and brings thee cordials ? It is he who 
is the author of all comfort, Acts ix. 31. Who fills thee with all joy and 
peace in believing ? It is the Holy Ghost, Rom. xv. 13. To conclude, 
who strengthens thee in all temptations, and upholds thy feeble knees and 
weak hands ? It is tho Holy Ghost. And is not that mercy ? Eph. iii. 
16, ' That you might be strengthened with might, by his Spirit in the 
inner man.' I have done with this word 7N, El, as it signifies a person, 
and imports the mercy of the Holy Ghost. I come now to bit, El, as it 
is an attribute (and the most of translators so render it; Junius calls it 
Deus fords, ' the strong God'), and so the word signifies strength, strength- 
ening, strong in might. We call it vis in Latin, ' that power that subdues 
all things to itself,' Philip, iii. 21. And so God is 'mighty in strength,' 
Job ix. 4. Now I am to handle it as an attribute, I join greatness with 
it, for so they are joined, and both with mercy; as in Jer. xxxii. 17-19, 
where he joins 'great,' and 'mighty,' and 'mei-ciful' all together: magnus 
Me, jjotens Me, as Piscator renders it. I confess I wonder at it, to find it 
up and down when they make prayers in Scripture, as Jeremiah does 
here, that they should put 'merciful' and 'mighty,' 'terrible' and 'great,' 
all together; you shall find it so, Neh. i. 5, ' Lord God of heaven, the 
great and terrible God, that keepest covenant and mercy,' &c. Here 
they are joined together. And so when he made his solemn prayer, Neh. 
ix. 32, ' Our God,' says he, ' the great, the mighty, and the terrible God, 
who keepest covenant and mercy,' &c. ; which is plainly the same that 
Moses expresseth it in Exodus. You have it also in Dan. ix. 4, in his 
solemn prayer, ' Lord,' says he, ' the great and dreadful God, keeping 
the covenant and mercy,' &c. Thus mercy, and great, and terrible are 
joined all together, and all refer to this passage in Moses, as the margin of 
your Bible shews. Now, when he says ' the terrible God,' truly it imports 
two things : 

1st, His being glorious and illustrious, and that he is to be reverenced. 

2dly, It imports a dreadfulness : he is 'terrible in praises,' Exod. 
xv. 11. What doth that imply ? That he is magnified, illustrious, great, 
and glorious in praises, not only doing things that are dreadful, though so 
he is said to be terrible in doing to the sons of men, and yet he speaks not 
of judgment, Ps. lxvi. 5, but wonderful works of mercy. 

That which I am to give account of is, that power and mercy should be 
joined together, God the strong and God the merciful. Take in greatness 
(if you will) and take in terribleness. In Ps. lxii. 11, 12, says he, 'God 
hath spoken once; twice have I heard this, that power belongeth unto 
God. Also to thee, Lord, belongeth mercy, for thou renderest to every 
man according to his works.' I confess it is alleged, I heard it once, and 
twice, that is, God set it on upon me as a special ground of comfort. 
You have the phrase so used in Job xxxiii. 14, ' For God speaketh once, 
yea, twice, yet man perceiveth it not.' I confess I was suspicious it might 
refer to this passage of Moses. I found, first, the English annotators say, 
that it was a plausible interpretation to refer it to what God had said upon 
mount Sinai, where there are two things (say they) said: first, that God 
was a jealous God ; secondly, shewing mercy, Exod. xx. 5, 6. I consulted 
Hammond, and he in his paraphrase refers us to what God had spoken in 
mount Sinai, but he speaks it indefinitely; but the others refer it to the 
second commandment. I stick at this, that jealousy is mentioned in the 


commandment, but power is not; but here he says, 'Power belongs to 
thee, Lord God, and mercy.' I thought therefore I might go further, 
and take a step further upon mount Sinai, where the law and this declara- 
tion was given, as it is expressed, Exod. xxxiv. The psalmist says, ' he 
heard it twice;' he heard it from God's mouth, 'that power belongs to 
God,' and he heard it that mercy belongs to God ; and he heard the same 
from Moses, Num. xiv. 15, 16, ' Let the power of my Lord be great, accord- 
ing as thou hast spoken, saying,' &c. In Psalm ciii. he expressly quotes 
God's saying to Moses, 'The Lord, gracious and merciful;' and in Psalm 
lxii. he says he heard it once and twice, again and again, both from God 
and Moses, that power belongs to him, and mercy belongs to him. 

I come now to that which is the main thing which I shall endeavour to 
make use of, which is this, why these two are joined together, power and 
mercy, by Moses, Num. xiv., by Daniel, Nehemiah, and Jeremiah. I will 
not give you the heathen account ; you know Tully says, Jupiter is called 
optimtts maximus ; he reduceth it to this very thing ; he is called optimus, 
the most good god, the most good, or thrice good god (says he), he is for 
his benefits ; propter vim vero et potentiam maximus; for his force and 
power he is called the great God ; he knew God to be good, but knew not 
God to be merciful. But let us follow Scripture. 

The inquisition is this, why he joins strength, and greatness, and dread- 
fulness with mercy. 1. Say I, to set mercy out the more, to exalt mercy 
the more. Certainly it is prefaced to that purpose, Neh. ix. 32, ' Our God, 
the great, the mighty, and the terrible God, who keepest covenant and 
mercy,' &c. It was well he could say first ' our God,' before he says ' the 
great and terrible God,' that so they might be sure that should import no 
hurt to them. But the preface is to set forth and aggrandise mercy the 
more, that a God so great, so dreadful, should yet be merciful. The lion 
in Christ commends the lamb that is in him, as Rev. v. 5, 6, that he that 
is so great, and strong, and terrible, should be a lamb. It is because ' the 
name of God is in him' that he is strong, and he is merciful too. Look, 
as the unworthiness and sinfulness of us, whom God loves and shews 
mercy to, commends his love, as you have it in Rom. v. 8, so the greatness 
and terribleness of the person that loves doth advance and magnify his 
goodness and mercy, that he that is so great and terrible, and hath such 
power, should yet be so merciful, Psalm lxxxix. It is a Psalm which pro- 
fesseth to sing and set forth the mercies of God, and the sure mercies of 
David; ' I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever,' and ' mercy shall 
be built up for ever,' ver. 5. ' The heavens shall praise thy wonder,' thy 
miracle. He calls mercy the greatest miracle that ever was. Wherein 
lieth it ? He tells us in these words, ' Who in the heavens can be com- 
pared to the Lord? God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the 
saints, and to be had in reverence of all that are round about him : Who 
is a strong Lord like unto thee ?' &c. So that mercy in the first verse 
meets in this God, that in the seventh and eighth verses is so great a God, 
so fearful to all that are round about him ; and they that are nearest him 
know him best; they say so of him, that this God should be a God of 
mercy. This begets a stupor, an amazement, that he that is able to rebuke 
all, and destroy all with a nod, should yet have so much love and mercy. 
This exalts and sets out his mercy, and makes it a wonder. 2. This great- 
ness and power in God conduce to make him — we must not use that word 
make but after the manner of men — to be merciful and gracious. The multi- 
plying grace issues from Jehovah as he is almighty. This is the difference 


between God and man. In man, weakness is the foundation of mercy very 
much; those that are weakest for age, as children, will cry bitterly if they 
see any one in misery ; those that are weakest in sex, as women, arc most 
pitiful ; those that are of softest tempers amongst men, are more merciful, 
which ariseth from weakness; but in God mercy flows from strength, and 
power, and greatness : ' The Lord God, strong, merciful.' You find in 
scripture God is merciful, not after the manner of men : 2 Sam. vii. 19, 
' Is this the manner of man, Lord God ?' Thus he spake when he con- 
sidered the greatness of the mercy bestowed, as when it is said, ' My 
thoughts are not your thoughts ; but as the heavens exceed the earth, so,' 
&c, Isa. lv. 8, 9. It is also true, God is merciful not after the manner of 
men for kind of mercies : ' I am God, and not man,' therefore you are not 
consumed, Hos. xi, 9; i.e., because I am merciful as God. His mercy 
then proceeds from his greatness and his strength. From his greatness, as 
is plain from 2 Sam. vii. 19, when he had said, ' Is this the manner of 
men, Lord God?' says he; ' according to thine own heart hast thou done 
all these great things : wherefore thou art great, Lord God : for there is 
none like unto thee, neither is there any God besides thee.' God did it 
out of his own heart, as having a great heart. The mercies he declares to 
David there, proceed from strength, as he is ' the Lord God, strong and 
merciful.' So it is also Num. xiv. 17, ' Let the power of my Lord be 
great, as thou hast spoken.' 

I would make it plain that God's mercy proceeds from strength; or that, 
because he is a strong God, able to do all things, because he is almighty, 
therefore he is merciful. 1st, It fits him to be merciful ; his strength doth 
so qualify him, as we may speak after the manner of men. He hath all 
that qualifies a person for the reality of mercy. He is free from all misery, 
hath no subjection to any kind of misery whatsoever; hath no subjection 
to potentiality, as the schoolmen speak in this point. Why? Because he 
is a strong God, he is a powerful God, and an almighty God, and that 
keeps him off from all misery, and exempts him from all the dints and im- 
pressions of misery. 

There is, I say, a blasphemous question that hath been traversed up and 
down by corrupt divines, Whether God hath mercy truly in him, and be of 
a merciful disposition ? And what reason do they give for it but this ? 
Say they, Mercy arises from sense of misery, that one lays to heart others' 
misery, as that which may be one's own, which we cannot suppose to be 
in God." 

Say I, to answer it, Here lies the question, What it is that is truly 
mercy, whether it be that one out of weakness is condoling you or pitying 
you, that is unable to help, whether that be truly mercy or no? Or 
whether a readiness of will and a propenseness of affection, joined with 
ability to succour effectually and irresistibly, whether this be not mercy 
rather? since the first proceeds from weakness, but this from strength. I 
say here lies the question, whether yea or no, one that out of weakness and 
passion condoles with you, and hath from that ground pity in him, that 
affection of pity, of suffering with you, and is sorry you are in misery, and 
troubled you are so, but yet is unable to help, whether this be mercy truly 
or no ? Or whether one that hath readiness of will, his soul is inclined to 
help, and he joins ability to help, which of these two is mercy? Say I, 
the last, and that is in God, and it is demonstrable thus : 

1. If he that is merciful be himself liable to misery, he is not in that 
sense merciful. Why ? Because he is so far weak and unable to help. 



That same king in the famine could not shew mercy, because he could not 
help: 2 Kings vi. 26, 27, '0 lord my king, kelp,' says the poor woman. 
If anybody kelp, a king could ; but, says ke, ' if tke Lord kelps tkee not, I 
cannot.' I am a poor weak creature, in plain words. Skould I kelp tkee 
out of tke barn, to give tkee bread; or winepress, to give tkee drink? I 
can do neitker, saitk ke. "What was the reason he was thus unable to 
grant an aid ? He was weak and ready to die, as well as other men. 
That is mercy wkick in tke issue and event will prove itself so ; tkat is 
mercy indeed and truly. 

2. If ke be not able to help you efficaciously, he does but increase your 
misery, as you see in the case of this poor woman and the king. Poor 
woman, wkat ailed ske ? He told ker ke could not kelp ker. Tke woman 
was extremely disturbed tkat ske came to tke king, and tke king could not 
help ker. ' Wkat ailetk you ? ' says ke, 2 Kings vi. 28. Says ske, I 
come not to you for mercy, but for justice ; kere is a woman ate my ckild 
yesterday, and I skould kave ate ker son, but ske katk kid him. So ske 
came to tke king for justice. Directly ke could not kelp ker in tkat 
neitker ; ke could not order tke ckild to be killed, it kad been murder, 
but ke increased ker misery by all tkis. So tkat now, say I, tkat wkick 
fits for mercy is, tkat one is free from all misery, impotency, and weak- 
ness, and katk a fulness of ability to succour, and tkis is from strengtk. 

2dly, To pardon sin (wkick is our case) is in itself an act of tke greatest 
Btrengtk in God, and therefore strengtk fits kim for being merciful. Tke 
Pkarisees said, ' No man is able to forgive sins but God,' Mark ii. 7. 
Says Ckrist, I will skew you I am able to forgive sins. Wky ? To tke 
man sick of tke palsy, says ke, ' Take up tky bed, and walk.' He did 
tkis to skew tkat ke wko kad power and strengtk to keal suck a disease, 
had power alike to be merciful; and had he not been tke almigkty God, ke 
could not kave said, ' Tky sins are forgiven tkee.' 

3dly, For a man to contain kis anger, it is from strengtk : Prov. xvi. 
32, ' He tkat is slow to anger is better tkan tke migkty : and ke tkat 
ruletk kis spirit tkan ke tkat taketk a city.' Tkus it is tke strengtk of a 
man to overcome kis passion : ' Let tke power of my Lord be great, 
according as tkou kast said, Tke Lord is long-suffering,' Num. xiv. 17—19, 
Tbere is a good saying in one of tke Collects in tke Common Prayer Book : 
' Lord, tkat skewest tky omnipotency ckiefly in skewing mercy,' in for- 
giving sins ; wkerein it is accounted an kigk act of omnipotency to forgive 

But you will say, Tkougk kere is an ability to succcur, and out of 
Btrengtk to skew mercy, yet wkere is tke affection of mercy, and wkence 
arisetk tkat ? 

Ans. Tke seat of mercy is tke will, as appears by tkat speeck, ' I will 
be merciful to wkom I will be merciful,' Exod. xxxiii. 19. Now tke will 
of God katk affections in it; for tkere is katred of sin, wkick is an affec- 
tion tkat is natural; and love, an affection of tke will, tkat is natural. 
Tkougk tkcse affections in God are but various postures of kis will to 
various objects, wkat tken is mercy in kis will ? Not a mere act, but a 
propensity, an inward inclination, from out of kis goodness of will, to skew 
mercy to tkem tkat are in misery: Ps. lxxxvi. 5, ke is ready to forgive: 
' Tke Lord is good and ready to forgive, and plenteous in mercy.' Tkese 
are not metapkors (as bowels and tke like, used of mercy); Ps. xxxiv. 18, 
but ' tke Lord is nigh unto them tkat are of a broken keart;' not in respect 

Chap. VII. ] op justifying faith. 61 

of omnipotence merely, so he is to all, but in readiness of disposition and 
inclination, he is ready and quick to be merciful so soon as he sees their 
hearts. If any say that God willeth mercy, and it is his will to shew 
mercy, let them but add and acknowledge that there is a propenseness in 
his will thereunto unto such merciful acts ; and then they must say too, 
that mercy (as to the affection of it) is a property in God. 

But doth his power and strength move and stir that affection in him, and 
render his will prepense unto mercy ? 

Am. Yes. And to prove that it moves, I take that of Moses for my 
ground, Num. xiv. 17—19 ; when pleading for forgiveness, he says, ' Let the 
power of my Lord be great. Pardon, I beseech thee, this people, as thou 
hast forgiven them hitherto.' He woos God with that very consideration, 
and presents it to him. Now it is a sure maxim, that what Moses was 
taught by God to move God with, that God himself is certainly moved 

If you say unto me, But in what manner is he moved with it thereunto ? 

Am. Because he hath power lying by him to ' help in time of need,' and 
he can put it forth as easily and readily as we think a thought, or speak a 

There is a saying in 1 John iii. 17, ' If a man hath this world's goods, 
and seeth his brother hath need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion 
from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him ? ' Truly God hath love 
dwelling in him, yea, ' God is love,' 1 John iv. 16, and he hath power to 
help them whom he loves, and he sets himself to love his children. Why 
then, thinks he with himself, have I power to help them I love, and do I 
see them in misery, and shall my power lie by, and not shew itself? I 
may say that if he thus sees them whom he loves to abide in misery, and 
yet shut up bis affection of mercy towards them, how doth love dwell in 
God ? how is he love to sueh ? So that this is my conclusion. Mercy 
implies in itself a non -subjection to misery, and also an ability and fulness 
of strength to help ; and a will which, though it hath not passions in it, yet 
hath love and propenseness to goodness. There is a readiness to forgive, 
there is an affection which is the foundation of shewing mercy ; so that he 
only is truly merciful. It is a bastard-mercy that is in creatures, for that 
is true mercy that is able to help, with a propenseness to do so, which 
alone is in God, who is ' the Lord God strong, and the Lord God merciful.' 
It is then but a bastardly, spurious mercy that is in creatures, and only 
God is merciful upon this respect, that God only is God. ; 

Use 1. Is God's power and strength joined with mercy ? Is it that 
which fits him for mercy ? Oh bless him that you find so dreadful an attri- 
bute as power joined with mercy. Why, you find them divided elsewhere, 
when they are to be exercised on others than the elect : Kom. ix. 22, ' What 
if God, willing to shew his wrath, and make his power known, endured with 
much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction ? ' There is 
power joined with wrath ; let us therefore adore this God, that hath in this 
proclamation of mercy, Exod. xxxiv., put the God strong and merciful 

Use 2. Do we find mercy and power joined together and paired elsewhere, 
as in Ps. lxii. 11,12? Then, as it is n that psalm, go, trust him in all times ; 
for upon these two grounds he b ds us, ver. 8, to ' trust in him at all 
times.' But there are some times in your lives that you are in such a case 
and condition that you have no kind of hope, or possibility of thought, that 
such a thing should come to pass ; but « trust in him at all times.' Why? 


Because power belongeth to him, and mercy ; these two put together will 
effect anything. What is too difficult for God the strong, and God merci- 
ful ? Now I draw this use out of Jer. xxxii. 17, 18 (which I cited before), 
' I prayed unto the Lord, saying, Ah, Lord God, behold thou hast made the 
heaven and the earth by thy great power, and stretched-out arm ; and there 
is nothing too hard for thee : thou shewest loving-kindness unto thousands, 
and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their chil- 
dren after them : the great, the mighty God, the Loixl of hosts is his name.' 
The case stood thus : The prophet Jeremiah was bid to buy a purchase of 
land, as you read in the fore-part of the chapter ; it was at a time when the 
city was destroyed by the sword, famine, and pestilence, as at ver. 24, and 
the city given into the hands of the Chaldeans, and they were by prophecy 
to be seventy years. The thing that was signified by this was, as God told 
him : ' Thus saith the Lord of hosts, houses and fields shall be possessed 
again in this land.' The poor man's spirit was extremely exercised about 
it, not for the loss of his money, but strangeness of the thing (as you will 
see it a strange thing, but he saw more), and it was the strangest thing 
could fall out, and the greatest mercy to the people of God that could fall 
out. Because the manner of conquerors was to remove all the people ; as 
when they conquered Judea they took all the people and removed them, and 
planted them in other countries, and brought people out of those countries 
and planted them in Judea. They did so with the ten tribes ; they took 
the ten tribes out of their own land, and carried them into Media, and 
planted in the room of them the natives of those countries where them- 
selves were planted. The land of Judea was a fruitful place ; and that 
there should be brought into that land strangers to possess it, and that 
there should be seventy years' time before they should return, this was the 
greatest wonder in the world they should return ; yet, notwithstanding, the 
Lord intended that the land should not be inhabited but by a company of 
poor Jews that were left. But the land was made desolate ; 2 Chron. 
xxxvi. 21, it is said, the land enjoyed its Sabbaths. There was a law, that 
the land, every seventh year, should not be digged, and accordingly God 
says, 2 Chron. xxxvi. 21, 'Your land shall enjoy its Sabbaths, it shall 
be desolate.' But all this tended to make good that which was so strange 
a thing to be done. There was the Babylonian monarchy to be destroyed. 
Of them it is said, ' The children of Israel and the children of Judah 
were oppressed together, and all that took them captives held them 
fast, they refused to let them go : but their Redeemer is strong, the 
Lord of hosts is his name,' Jer. 1. 33. When tbey were destroyed, that 
they should possess every one their own land again, what a wonderful 
thing is this ! The Turk does not thus, yet they were as barbarous as the 
Turks, Neh. v. 12. Nay, the priests were free from taxations upon their 
land; Jeremiah's land stood free, Ezra vii. 24, 25. Was not that a strange 
word, that there should be buying and selling of land again ? It was not 
done for any nation else ; that in Ps. cxxvi. 2, the heathens among them- 
selves said, ' The Lord hath done great things for them.' Now Jeremiah 
received the revelation of this in ver. 15, that there should be houses, and 
fields, and vineyards possessed again in the land. He goes to God to 
strengthen his faith therein : ver. 17, ' Thou art the great and potent God, 
thou shewest loving-kindness unto thousands.' He urges these two attri- 
butes upon God — you may see what it is to urge two such attributes upon 
God, and have faith to do it. — When he had urged these (I shall shew you 
the issue of it), directly God makes this gracious promise upon this prayer 

Chap. VII. J of justifying faith. 53 

of his, to restore them to their own land, and restore him not only his 
money, but land too. Read what God did in answer, from the 3Gth verse, 
to the end of the chapter. This good prayer of his, urging in this difficult 
case these two great things : the power and mercy of God ; you see what 
it drew out from God, and what great things God did for his mercy's sake, 
and by his power, for these poor people. Therefore let us, in all straits 
and difficulties, make use of it, and remember to do likewise. God is the 
strong and merciful. ' Is anything too hard for me ? ' says God, in the 
same chapter. No ; mercy sets God on wcrk, and causes him to exert his 
power, which effects everything. 

/ r ae 3. Let us glorify him according to the greatness of this mercy and 
greatness joined together. Men, the more great they are, do degenerate 
into rigour, and severity, and cruelty. Your great kings have but the name 
of gracious, says Christ, by a reflection on them : Luke xxii. 25, ' The 
kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and they that exercise 
authority upon them are called benefactors.' I take his meaning to be this: 
You call them benefactors ; you are fain to call them so gracious, and so 
clement, and just and gracious, and you call them benefactors for all their 
greatness and exercise of lordship over you, though they rule you according 
to their lusts. But our God, that is, the strong God, is the merciful God ; 
and he that is the great King, whose name is terrible, Mai. i. 14, is also a 
good God, a merciful God, a gracious God. He is so merciful a God as 
all the angels adore him, and worship him, while they consider the miracles 
and wonders of his mercy. Let us therefore adore him, since the angels do 
it. Consider Ps. lxxxix., where the sure mercies of David are set out, and 
the angels celebrate the miracles of his mercy, those angels to whom he is 
so dreadful and fearful in their assemblies, ver. 6-8. Oh, how much more, 
if they magnify the conjunction of power and mercy in God, should we, 
whom God shews mercy to, who are the objects of mercy, and subjects of 
mercy, which the angels are not ! 

Use 4. Is mercy thus joined with power and greatness ? See, poor 
wretch, what need thou hast of his power and mercy every'day, need of 
his strength, need of all mercies to thy soul. As for sanctification, and 
holiness, and faith, and helping us to believe, they are from strength, and 
depend upon the strength of God : Ps. Ixxxvi. 15, 16, ' But thou, Lord 
God, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long-suffering, and 
plenteous in mercy and truth.' Thou, Lord, Adonoi, art a God ; El, 
the strong God, full of compassion ; the same words as Moses useth. 
Instead of Jehovah, Adonoi is used, Lord ; but then El, strong God, is 
the same word. The meaning is, let all the strength and power thou the 
strong God hast in thee be for my advantage. Now, is it not a bold 
request to say, Lord, wilt thou give me all thy strength to help me ? A 
very bold request indeed ; but his mercy moves him to grant it. Thus 
then petition him : Thou art a God merciful and gracious, give thy strength 
to me ! Thou, God, givest all thy attributes up to thy children, to serve 
their advantage, as well as to serve thy own glory ; give me thy strength ! 
Dost not thou need strength, poor wretch ? How oft is thy heart apt to 
sink, and thou canst not believe but so long as God helps thee to do it. 
How apt to swoon in thy despondencies and doubts*. Dost thou find 
strength come in to help thee to believe ? It is the strong God helps 
thee: Ps. exxxviii. 3, ' He strengthened me with strength in my soul,' says 
he, when my soul is sinking. Thou hast a heart weak to duty, feeble 
hands, weak knees ; who strengthens thee in the inner man ? He does it 


according to the riches of his glory, that is, of his mercy, which is emi- 
nently called his glory; he strengthens us in the inward man, Eph. hi. 16. 
Lastly, Is God strong and merciful ? Ps. xxxi. 24, ' Be of good courage, 
all you that hope in the Lord, and he shall strengthen your heart;' for he 
is your strong God, and he is your merciful God. Indeed, if we had faith 
and hearts to improve and put together these two things, what might we 
not ohtain from the hands of God ? Where there is power to enable, and 
mercy to make willing, what cannot be done ? Jeremiah putting together 
these two things, Jer. xxxii. 17, 18, says God, in answer to Jeremiah's 
prayer, ' There is nothing too hard for me ; ' I have power to do it, and 
heart to do it. Improve all to the good of your own souls. Go and say 
unto God, thou God, plenteous in mercy, and full of compassion, give 
me thy strength, I am a poor weak creature ! A little cordial, you see 
what strength it gives ; so a little of the strength of God, how doth it 
strengthen the soul ! Make use of his strength, ' he is the God of your 
strength,' Ps. lxxxix. 16. 

Use 5. If power be thus joined to mercy, then make use of it for pardon 
of sin. Though sins be great, yet in such cases, let the soul go to God 
with these words, ' Let the power of the Lord be great to pardon' and to 
forgive, as you see Moses pleads it. That strength that concurs to do all 
things else, it doth conduce to pardon sin. ' Is it easier to say, Take up 
thy bed and walk, or to say, Thy sins are forgiven thee?' saith our 
Saviour Christ. It is twice said in Jer. xxxii., 'Nothing is too hard for 
me;" God speaks it once at ver. 27, and Jeremiah says it at ver. 17. He 
speaks it of matters of providence ; apply it to sin : there is no sin too hard 
for him, for merciful power, or powerful mercy to pardon. God is as strong 
in forgiving sin, and in the power that forgives, as he is in his providential 
working power; and as God's power is good at making worlds, nay, at 
making his heavens wherein he dwells, the high and holy place, so his 
power is as good at pardoning sins ; and the one is as great a work as the 
other. In such cases, let thy faith bring it to this, God is able to pardon 
thee ; and do but think with thyself, 'He that was able to make a world is 
able to pardon me ; he can find that in his heart as is sufficient to pardon 
me. It is a great step of faith when men see and are convinced of their 
sinfulness, to go to God and say, Thou art able to make me clean, thou 
art able to pardon my sin. 

Use 6. Doth power thus yoke with mercy; nay, is it the eatio of mercy? 
(I mean of that phrase) then take God's counsel to lay hold on his strength. 
Isa. xxvii. 4, ' Fury is not in me.' He speaks as to his vineyard, his 
church ; fury is not in me against my church, I can do that no hurt ; but 
my fury is against briars and thorns : as ver. 4, ' Who would set the briars 
and thorns against God in battle ? He would go through them, and would 
burn them together.' Well, is there no remedy if they be briars and thorns ? 
Yes; even for them there is a remedy. What is that? Ver. 5, 'Let them 
take hold on my strength.' Of my strength; what is that? It is an allu- 
sion to Jacob's story, that had power with God, Gen. xxxii. 28. The 
meaning is, humble yourselves. Suppose a child or servant should see 
one coming to strike him, they fall down in the humblest manner, and lay 
hold upon their han'ds. Lay hold, says God, upon my mercy, and strength 
joined with mercy, and I am charmed, you may rule me ; mercy says it 
twice before power's face, you may make peace with me, and you shall 
make peace with me. 

Chap. VIII.] of justifying faith. 55 


The next word in this proclamation of Estod. xxxiv. G, 7, explained; merciful, 
— -from whence mercy ariscth in God. 

I come now to the next attribute expressed in this proclamation, merciful: 
' The Lord, the Lord God, strong, gracious, merciful, abundant in good- 
ness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgres- 
sion, and sin,' Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7. Things attributed to God here are of 
three sorts : 

1. The inward disposition or inclination, or aptitude and readiness to 
mercy, that is in the four first attributes, merciful, gracious, long-suffering, 
much in goodness, and truth is added. 

2. There are his purposes and resolutions of mercy, keeping mercy for 
thousands; and they are immanent acts in God, kept and laid up in God's 
own breast. 

3. There are extrinsecal acts of mercy issuing from both : ' pardoning 
iniquity, transgression, and sin.' 

The meaning plainly is, first, God is merciful as he is Jehovah ; that is 
his nature. Secondly, he fully resolves to shew mercy ; there is his heart. 
Thirdly, he hath done it, and doth it every day, in pardoning sin ; there ia 
his wont and practice. So that God is every way merciful : in his nature, 
in his purposes, and in his deeds and performances. These four, merciful, 
gracious, long-suffering, much in goodness, are all of mercy's kindred and 
alliance ; and it is very observable, that when, in Ps. ciii. 8, the psalmist 
doth quote Moses's words, he only quotes these four attributes, and leaves 
out truth, for it was not akin to mercy; it was not congenial to it, and waa 
not recited there. Though it fell in with mercy, yet it is not of mercy's 
pedigree. These four are therefore attributes of pure mercy, which yet 
have their distinguishment, which I shall after shew. 

Obs. That which I observe is, that to describe the merciful designs of 
mercy, and grace, and long-suffering, is to define the nature of God. Of 
which I shall say two things : 

1. That all God's being merciful, it is resolved into God's nature of 
being merciful, because if being merciful be the cause of merciful effects, 
then mercy must have an existence before; and where but in him? 
Merciful effects suppose his being merciful as the root and principle in 
himself; so that merciful effects, and pardoning sin, &c, are attributed to 
him as the cause : Ps. lxxviii. 38, * But he being full of compassion, for- 
gave their iniquity, and destroyed them not.' It is plain forgiving their 
iniquity is resolved into this, his being full of mercy, as the causs. Saith 
Calvin, the cause is ascribed to mercy, which is naturally in him. In 
Ps. lxxxvi. he implores merciful gracious effects towards himself; ver. 1-4, 
' Bow down thine ear, Lord, hear me ; for I am poor and needy. 
Preserve my soul, for I am holy : thou my God, save thy servant that 
trusteth in thee. Be merciful unto me, Lord : for I cry unto thee 
daily. Rejoice the soul of thy servant : for unto thee, Lord, do I lift 
up my soul.' These mercies he implores in these verses upon this ground, 
because God himself is merciful ; it is his nature. And so, too, Neh. ■ 
ix. 31, ' Thou didst not utterly consume them, nor forsake them : for thou 
art a gracious and merciful God.' Here these merciful effects of not con- 
suming them is ascribed to mercy as the cause. Jer. hi. 12, 'Return, and 


I will not cause mine .anger to fall upon you : for I am merciful, saith the 
Lord.' Still it runs in the causal particle ; therefore they are infinitely 
out that say, he is said to be merciful because he does merciful effects, 
whereas the Scripture says he does merciful effects, for he is merciful. 

2. The second thing I would say to shew he is merciful is, that he says, 
' Jehovah, Jehovah, God,' and then ' merciful, gracious, long-suffering.' 
This thrice repeating the substantial name of God hath not only a mystery 
in it of the Trinity, but refers also to those attributes that follows to signify 
what Jehovah is ; he gives him his substantial names, and then his other 
properties four times, which declare in reality that Jehovah, Jehovah, God, 
are one and the same with merciful and long-suffering, as I have shewed 
you largely before. And to this end too the name of God is joined with 
faithfulness : Deut. vii. 9, ' Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is 
God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that 
love him, and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.' Here 
is, first, a vehement indigitation of God's being God : ' Know ye therefore,' 
says he, ' know that the Lord thy God he is God.' And to the end they 
may thus know him, he adds, that he was ' the faithful God.' Faithful- 
ness is his truth. That he insists thus on the name of God first, and then 
the faithfulness of God, it is to bring over the Godhead into faithfulness, 
that so they might trust to his faithfulness as his Godhead. And indeed 
you find it expressly called himself: 2 Tim. ii. 13, 'He abideth faithful; 
he cannot deny himself.' Faithfulness is himself: Titus i. 2, ' God that 
cannot lie.' Why? Because he is God ; it is his Godhead to be true and 
faithful. Wherever he hath engaged his word, there his Godhead is 
engaged to make it good, for he is the faithful God ; and wherever his 
mercy is engaged, there is his Godhead engaged, and laid at stake to 
eternity, to shew mercy to that soul. Now read over that Deut. vii. 9 
once more : ' Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful 
God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him, and 
keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.' Then read these 
words in the text of Exod. xxxiv., 'Jehovah, Jehovah, God merciful, 
gracious.' What faithful is there, merciful is here. 

Let us now consider why merciful is in order placed first ; the truth is, 
in order of nature, grace is before mercy, and I could give many scriptures 
where grace is first named ; but the reason why he here puts merciful 
first is, because he is to speak to sinners. He presents himself to sinners ; 
and if to them he had said at first clash, God is good, or God is gracious, 
or God is love, sinners would have said, This speaks short to us, and 
why ? Because he is good to all his creatures that never sinned ; he is 
gracious to angels that never sinned ; ay, but merciful, with that proper 
effect, ' pardoning iniquity, transgression, and sin,' that is a welcome say- 
ing to sinners, and speaks home to their case. 

I shall now consider what is the rise of mercy, which doth involve the 
Godhead itself ; that one attribute should be ratio alterius, as to our appre- 
hension, is allowed by them that did most exquisitely argue about God and 
his attributes. Now then I shall shew you what it is makes him merciful 
(it will help our faith to consider it), not how all attributes fall in, as holi- 
ness, &c, do, but what is the special genealogy and descent of mercy (we 
• speak after the manner of men, and yet the Scripture speaks the same), 
what is the ratio misericordus. Mercy fetcheth its pedigree, — 

1. From his blessedness. God comes to be merciful by descent, from his 
having all fulness of perfection completely in him, and being happy in him- 

Chap. VIII.] of justifying faith. 57 

self, and having no need of any thing, Acts xvii. 25. He is the hlcssed 
God, and all-sufficient God, and so all-sufficient, that lie is ahove all misery, 
that misery cannot reach him; and this makes and inclines him to be mer- 
ciful. God having all within himself transcendency and completely, that 
he need not any thing that is out of himself, ho is therefore able and bath 
power to make others blessed ; and being merciful, therefore, he can par- 
don, though sinners sin against him. For why ? Their sins do not hurt him, 
he is full of all enjoyments, and is equally happy, whether the creatures be 
or not be ; and as equally happy, whether the creature sin or not sin 
against him, for they no- way reach to hurt his enjoyment : Job xxxv. G, 7, 
' If thou sinnest, what dost thou against him ? or if thy transgressions be 
multiplied, what dost thou unto him ? If thou be righteous, what givest thou 
to him, or what receiveth he of thine hand ?' Neither the one nor the 
other can any-way hurt him, or benefit him ; he is not benefitted by the 
righteousness of any creature. Nay, Christ himself says, Ps. xvi. 2, ' My 
righteousness extends not to thee ;' thou art never the better by it, thou art 
so perfect a God. Nor is he hurt by sin ; therefore he can easily pardon. 
All are not alike to him as to his external glory ; but as to his inward essen- 
tial happiness, they are all alike as to any prejudice they can do it. 

What made Paul that he could forgive injuries ? It was that he got 
good by them ; he was not injured at all, Gal. iv. 12. And so the blessed- 
ness of God, and his being above all so high, and above the reach of all, 
is a ground of his being merciful. I observe in Luke i. 72, that mercy is 
there said to be promised ; ' To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, 
and to remember his holy covenant.' Among these it was to Abraham God 
made himself known by name, and it was to strengthen his faith in the 
promise of mercy. And the first name by which he manifests himself is 
this : ' I am,' says he, ' God all-sufficient,' Gen. xvii. 1, and the word sig- 
nifies, I am full of paps, I am all-sufficient of myself, and therefore I am a 
God that can afford what is in me unto others ; I have a breast full for 
others, as well as happiness in myself. And thus, ' God of comfort,' and 
' Father of mercies,' are well joined together, 2 Cor. i. 3, that is, he that 
is so blessed in himself is merciful in himself. Abraham, to whom God 
thus proclaimed himself all-sufficient, is the standard instance of being jus- 
tified, and the father of the faithful ; and that maxim is drawn from his 
example, Rom. iv. 5. Now it was all-sufficiency that Abraham heard of, 
which encouraged him to believe. 

There was also another name of God, and that was jvbu? bit, El Hehjon, 
1 God most high,' brought up by Melchisedek, when he came to Abraham, 
Gen. xiv. 19. It is four times used there, and that is the first use of it 
upon Abraham's occasion. What is the meaning of this ' the most high 
God' ? It is, that he is above all, out of the reach of all. Now you find 
the Scripture calls it, ' the mercy of the Most High,' Ps. xxi. 7. Nay, it 
is observable, that 6 iXswv in Greek, and in the Hebrew ho eleon, is the 
word for merciful. The most high and the merciful God, are well then 
joined together. The schoolmen ordinarily say, true mercy is only in God. 
Why ? Because he only is above all misery, and therefore able to help his 
people out of it. The Scripture says, it is the mercy of the Most High : 
Luke vi. 34, 35, ' Be ye merciful, as your heavenly Father is merciful.' 
That is the exhortation, imitate your Father ; and, says he, ' you shall be 
the children of the highest.' You shall be like him that is highest ; there- 
fore ' be merciful, as your heavenly Father is merciful.' 

2. Mercy is in God ad modum virtutis, as a perfection, which you know 


is after the way of being a virtue. All perfections are in God, and there 
are these three sorts of perfections in him : First, Such as we call meta- 
physical transcendent excellencies in himself, as majesty, glory, unchange- 
ableness, infiniteness, eternity. Secondly, We say there are perfections of 
faculties, of understanding (which the Scripture says is infinite), and of his 
will. But, thirdly, there is also in him perfectiones morales, moral perfec- 
tions. We are forced, and God himself is forced, to speak of himself in this 
manner, that we may understand. It is a good saying of the schoolmen, It 
becomes God to be most perfect, not only in his absolute being, and the 
excellencies thereof, but also in virtue. If you would have Scripture, see 
1 Peter ii. 9, ' Shew forth the praises of him who hath called you.' We 
translate it ' praises,' but in the margin it is ' virtues.' Whom doth he 
speak of ? Not of Christ only, but of God the Father : ' Now you are the 
people of God,' ver. 10. ' As he which hath called you is holy' (there is 
one virtue) ; ' so be ye holy in all manner of conversation,' 1 Pet. i. 15. 
And answerably hereto, ' shew forth the virtues of him which hath called 
you.' Now mercy is one virtue eminently intended in Peter ; for it fol- 
loweth, ' which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of 
God ; which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy,' from 
God, by calling you ; and therefore shew forth that virtue. Now holiness 
is a virtue we all acknowledge : ' As he which hath called you is holy, so 
be ye holy in all manner of conversation.' And what ? Is not this parallel 
to that Scripture, ' Be you merciful, as your heavenly Father is merciful,' 
Luke vi. 35. As holiness, then, is a virtue in him, so mercifulness is a vir- 
tue in him. If you yet doubt of it, consider further what is said, ' Be you 
perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect,' Mat. v. 48. He speaks it of 
mercy, for it refers to verses 4-4, 45 : ' Love your enemies, bless them that 
curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despite- 
fully use you and persecute you ; that ye may be the children of your 
Father which is in heaven.' Now, then, that mercy whereby God is per- 
fect, must needs be himself, his essence, nothing can perfect God but him- 
self; he should otherwise be beholden to an accident, and quality, and 
creature, if anything perfect him but himself. Now to shew the descent of 
mercy for strengthening our faith, consider, 

1. The blessedness of God is the rise of goodness in him (still we speak 
after the manner of men). Now there is Jhis goodness of being, entity of 
goodness ; and there is his goodness by which he communicates himself, 
and that is an attribute, which is all one with his being, only it inclines 
him to communicate : Ps. cxix. G8, • Thou art good, and dost good.' The 
nature of goodness is to communicate itself, and to be sure goodness in God 
is his nature. But how doth it rise from blessedness ? says our Saviour 
Christ (there is but one saying of his that is not in the Evangelists), Acts 
xx. 35, ' It is more blessed to give than to receive.' Is he a blessed God? 
He will give then, he will communicate himself. In Exod. xxxiii. 19, 
which is the preface to this text, Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7, says God to Moses, • I 
will cause all my goodness to pass before thee, and I will proclaim the 
name of the Lord before thee ; and will be gracious to whom I will be 
gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.' Doth God 
proclaim all his goodness ^here ? No; there be many attributes he doth 
not proclaim. The best interpretation I have is, that which is his goodness 
communicative for us (as for his essential goodness, it is himself), such as 
mere} 7 , and grace, and truth, these are those he proclaims, so that his 
goodness is the ground of his being merciful and gracious ; Ps. xxv. 6, 7, 

Chap. VIII.] of justifying faith. 59 

David there praying earnestly for forgiveness, ' Remember,' says he, • 
Lord, thy tender mercies and thy loving-kindnesses ; for they have been 
ever of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions : 
according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness' sake, Lord.' 
He enters upon this, that God was good, and goodness itself, because he 
knew that mercy centred in goodness : Ps. lxxxvi. 5, ' Thou, Lord, art 
good,' that is the first; then 'ready to forgive, and plenteous in mercy.' 
And this is the first burden of many psalms, ' The Lord is good, and his 
mercy endures for ever.' And it was that they sung in the temple, as you 
may read in the Chronicles. You see, then, there is blessedness first, and 
goodness ariseth from blessedness. 

2. The next thing in God is love, and that ariseth from goodness. 
The goodness that is in God inclines him to love, and to be the most pro- 
fuse lover. You read in 1 John iv. 7, 8, ' God is love.' The question 
is, whether this speech doth not import, that he is love in himself, as 
well as that he shews love. There are these reasons why it imports what 
he is in himself, when he says, God is love. Says he, ver. 7, 'Every 
one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God,' that is the affirmative; 
and ver. 8. ' He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love '; 
that is, he knows not God in what is most proper to him, as to what doth 
most abound in him, for God is love. We ordinarily say of a man that is 
of such a disposition, I know him, he is so and so ; so the believer knows 
God to be love. Thus the apostle says positively, ' He that is born of 
God knows God, for God is love.' I take the meaning thus : When a 
man hath tasted^that the Lord is gracious, the truth is, it is not only an 
act of love that he tastes, but he tastes God, he sucks in dietatem, he 
sucks in this, that there is a principle in God to maintain his love to 
eternity. And so God being love, he knows him to be so. Again, he 
says, ' All love is of God, for God is love.' What is the meaning of that ? 
That if God be the author of all love, then certainly there is love in him ; 
' He that made the eye, shall not he see ? ' But that which most con- 
vinceth me is, that he saith, ver. 12, ' No man hath seen God at any time.' 
He speaks it of his love, which none sees but as manifest by effects; but 
God is love essentially. Says Aquinas, Whoever hath a will, hath a prone- 
ness to love. Says Musculus, As every one is in goodness, so in love. 
If God then hath a will inclined to anything, it is to love ; he hath hatred 
in him to sin, he hath the opposite : he hath a love also to something, only 
it is guided by his will towards creatures. 

3. Love and grace are the roots of mercy. Where he sets his love, if 
there be misery, there love is drawn out to pity and mercy. The school- 
men say, it is but extensio amoris, but an extending of love to the creature 
when in misery. And indeed the Hebrew word for mercy, IDll, signifies 
also love or good will. Our translators oft render it, ' merciful loving- 
kindness :' Ps. cxvii. 2, ' His merciful kindness is great towards": us.' 
And it is mercy he speaks of, for it is quoted in Rom. xv. 9, ' The Gentiles 
shall glorify God for his mercy.' And Ps. cxix. 76, ' Let thy merciful 
loving-kindness be for my comfort ;' or thy loving-kindness be stretched 
out into mercy where there is need. Where there is love, there is a design 
of good to the party loved ; then desires follow. Where there is love, there 
is a rejoicing over the person : when he prospers, then there is joy ; if he be in 
misery, there is a drawing out that love into pity. If you say, ' The Lord 
is gracious,' you go not beyond merciful, for that is grace and love drawn 
out to the full length, as far as grace and love can reach. What ph rase 


the schoolmen expresses it by, the Scripture doth the like ; Ps. xxxvi. 10, 
1 Oh continue thy loving-kindness : ' draw out at length thy loving-kindness 
(so in the margin). And it speaks of mercy, for he magnifies mercy : ver. 
5, ' Thy mercy, Lord, is in the heavens.' In that scripture too which is 
famous amongst us, Jer. xxxi. 3, ' I have loved thee with an everlasting 
love, therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee,' that last clause 
hath two significations (it is varied in the margin) : I have extended loving- 
kindness to thee, I have stretched out loving-kindness to thee; so Piscator 
reads it. Now hence it comes to pass, that in shewing mercy God makes 
the foundation of it to be love : Ephes. ii. 4, 5, ' But God, who is rich in 
mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us.' Bom. v. 8, ' God com- 
mendeth his love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ 
died for us.' Mercy is there called love; and it is indeed but a commending 
or extending of love towards sinners ; ' when we were sinners, Christ died.' 
Tit. hi. 4, ' The kindness and love of God our Saviour towards man ap- 
peared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according 
to his mercy he saved us.' When the kindness and love of God appears, 
mercy follows ; according to his mercy (being sinners) he saveth us. 

Use 1. Is mercy the nature of God, and is he mercy himself ? Then 
consider, look how great God is, so great is his mercy. Our transla- 
tion reads it, As is his greatness, so is his mercy. Why '? Because 
it is God's. Where he pitcheth mercy by his will, there the whole God- 
head is engaged, Jehovah, Jehovah, God gracious and merciful ; he brings 
over all the whole Godhead when he will be merciful. 

Use 2. We do not treat with the will of God every day. He that is a 
believer treats with the will of God, that he would but be merciful to him. 
Now those that treat with the will of God, either in a way of assurance, or 
in throwing themselves upon him, and hoping in his mercy, what have they 
to plead ? All the mercies in the nature of God, to be a ground of plea 
before him, to tell him what a God he is in mercy. Oh that we would but 
inure our hearts to this practice ; it would be a mighty advantage ! La Num. 
xiv., Moses having first urged the mercies that were in God himself, that he 
is a God long-suffering, great in mercy, then he prays, ' According to thy 
great mercy do thou pardon.' What mercy ? The mercy he mentioned 
which is in God himself: ' Deal,' says he, ' according to this mercy in thee 
which thou hast spoken of.' As if one were to supplicate a merciful man, 
he implores the mercy and ingenuity of his nature, which upon all occasions 
he had shewn. Moses was the first that brought up this happy expression, 
' According to thy mercy' (I know not where it is used by any other man), 
that is, according to the infinite mercy in thy heart and nature. David did 
next use it, Ps. xxv. ; and in the great case of his sin of adultery, Ps. 
Ii. 1, ' tbat he would be merciful to him according to the multitude of his 
mercies.' And as he needed all the mercies in God, so he confessed the 
sin of his nature, and hath recourse to the mercies in God's nature. But 
it is Ps. xxv. 7 I pitch on ; there he doth not content himself only with 
this expression, ' According to thy mercy,' but he adds another phrase, 
• For thy mercy's sake', and ' goodness' sake.' Muis observes in this cohe- 
rence, ' Good and upright is the Lord/ that he centres in his nature. 
Thou hast a merciful nature ; deal with me according to that, and for the 
sake of that, according to thy mercy, for thy goodness' sake. The medita- 
tion of that attribute was the foundation of his faith and prayer herein. 
When he hath done, he referreth himself to Moses : ver. 11, ' For thy name's 
sake, Lord, pardon my iniquity, for it is great.' He refers to that name 

Chap. IX.] of justifying faith. 01 

proclaimed before Moses, Exod. xxxiv. G, 7. But you will say, How do these 
expressions, ' for thy name's sake,' ' for thy goodness' sake,' ' for thy mercy's 
sake,' imply the same as ' for himself,' < for his own sake' ? how do they in- 
volve the Godhead ? Look to Isa. xliii. 25, ' I, even I, am he that blotteth 
out thy transgressions for mine own sake,' that is, for my self: Isa. xlviii. 
2, ' For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it.' You have 
it twice in one verse ; and that which is ' for mercy's sake' in one place, is 
1 for mine own sake' in another : and behold it is I, I am he, as I am God, 
who doth it. What is this but ' Jehovah, Jehovah, God merciful' ? We 
may learn from Old Testament phrases that which wc do not so much con- 
sider. They have taught us in their prayers from Moses's example, how 
to pray and urge the mercies of God ; Dan. ix. 18, 19, he has said ' For 
thy mercy's sake do this ;' and at ver. 19, ' For thine own sake do this ;' 
ho puts them both together. To me this is a great thing, that when we 
go to pray, we have the liberty to urge God to shew his mercy for his own 
sake ; that although it is we who have the benefit of the mercies, yet we may 
urge him, Thou shalt have the glory of it, thou shalt have the glory of thy 
grace by it, and the glory of thy mercy by it. It is yet again a greater 
advantage in praying, that we have all the mercies in God before us to 
spread before him; mercies in his word might be limited, but in his nature 
they cannot. What may we not obtain at the hand of God, if we could 
improve this notion, to go to God to be merciful to us as God, and accor- 
ding to the mercies that are in his nature, and for the sake of them ! 


The other part of the proclamation of the mercies of GocVs nature in Exotl. 
xxxiv. explained. — The meaning of those words, Jehovah, pardoning iniquity, 
transgression, and sin, shewed by the explication of another text, Ps. Ixxx. 
30 to 37. — That the covenant of grace in Christ is the substantial scope and 
design of the psalm. — That the promises of God's pardoning mercies do 
concern, and are made unto Christ's spiritual seed. — That there is such an 
amjilifi cation of grace in them as to extend to the worst cases they can 
possibly be supposed to be in. — That they are strengthened by the firmest 

If his children forsake my law, and icalk npt in my judgments ; if they break 
my statutes, and keep not my commandments ; then will I visit their trans- 
gression with the rod, and their iniquity ivith stripes. Nevertheless my 
loving -kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness 
to fail. My covenant will I not bveak, nor alter the thing that is gone out 
of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness, that I ivill not lie unto 
David. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me. 
It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a, faithful witness in 
heaven. Sefo/i.— Psalm LXXXIX. 30-37. 

I shall centre in the 89th Psalm for the illustrating that great attribute 
of Jehovah merciful, Exod. xxxiv., ' Pardoning iniquity, transgression, and 
sin,' &c. ; although, first, I must necessarily premise some few things con- 
cerning the main drift of the psalm. 

I shall first remark the occasion of making this psalm. It is certain 
the penman of it lived in such times wherein great and sad disasters did 


befall the house and throne of David, as appears by what so bitterly he 
complains of, from ver. 38 to the end. But the question lies, what times 
this should belong unto, which ariseth from hence, that Ethan the Ezraite 
is the author of it, of whom we read, 1 Kings iv. 31, that he lived in 
Solomon's time, and therefore most interpreters assign this calamity unto 
the times of Rehoboam's reign, until when that this Ethan should live is 
no wonder ; for Rehoboam succeeded Solomon, and it was in the beginning 
of his reign that the ten tribes were deplorably cut off from David's house, 
and given to Jeroboam, and never did return again. 

Now Piscator and others object, that in ver. 40 it is said, ' Thou hast 
broken down all his hedges, thou hast brought his strongholds to ruin,' 
which cannot (says he) belong to any other times but those of the captivity. 
The answer given by some is, that within the first five years of Rehoboam's 
reign, Sishak king of Egypt took also the cities of Judah, and the strong- 
holds, 2 Chron. xii. 4, yea, he came to Jerusalem itself, and spoiled the 
temple, 1 Kings xiv. 25, by all which David's throne lost its virgin primi- 
tive glory ; as likewise by this Rehoboam himself, the king and his king- 
dom, servants, &c, were made tributaries to Egypt, 2 Chron. xii. 2. This 
event those interpreters judge a full and sufficient ground for the prophet 
to utter his fore-mentioned complaint upon. And indeed it may be said, 
that in this great change there was an initial performance then, and a 
beginning of those final disasters upon David's throne and family, though 
it had a more full accomplishment in the captivity of Babylon, unto which 
Piscator and others do rather refer this psalm. But there is this difficulty 
attends that interpretation of theirs, that there must have been another 
Ethan, and he an Ezraite too, living at the captivity ; which though it 
possibly might fall out, those of the same kindred giving to their posterity 
the same names of their famed ancestors, yet this not being extant, I should, 
to compound all, rather think that this Ethan of Solomon's time, seeing 
that this dismal calamity began in Rehoboam's time, did further, by the 
spirit of prophecy, foresee how an after total eclipse would in the issue fall 
out from this unhappy beginning, it foreboding that final ruin which fol- 
lowed, this being a laying the axe to the root of the tree, and so he wraps 
up both in one. But be it either the one or the other, however, he that 
wrote it did upon these fatal events begin deeply to consider what that 
covenant made with David should mean and intend, especially as touching 
that clause of the perpetuity thereof; the promise being, that it was estab- 
lished for ever, as at the first promulgation of it was declared, 2 Sam. vii. 13, 
whenas this prophet by these occurrences foresaw that David's successive 
outward kingdom would one day cease. And that at the captivity it had a 
fatal period, Ezekiel did pronounce : chap. xxi. 25-27, ' And thou, profane 
wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an 
end; thus saith the Lord God, Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: 
this shall not be the same : exalt him that is low, and abase him that is 
high.' With which compare this Ps. Ixxxix. 39, ' Thou hast profaned his 
crown by casting it to the ground.' And as he had begun, so he threatens 
to go on : 'I will overturn, overturn, overturn it: and it shall be no more, 
until he come whose right it is ; and I will give it him ; ' that is, until the 
true David shall come, who was intended by the type of David's temporary 
kingdom. And by the consideration of these things our psalmist was by 
the Spirit led into the clear understanding of the mystery of the covenant 
of grace, founded on Christ the spiritual David, to set forth which is the 
intimate scope of the psalm. And by this it was that he comforts and 

Chap. IX.] of justifying faith. 03 

relieves himself (as he well might) against those sad overthrows that fell 
upon that external successive kingdom and shadowy covenant of David's 
house over Israel, which was temporary. And those words (which I 
understand to he the prophet's own), ver. 23, ' I have said, Mercy shall 
be built up for ever, thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very 
heaven ; for I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto 
David, my servant,' do express so much. And it is as if he had said, I 
have, notwithstanding the wreck I have seen hath and shall fall out to 
David's family, set down with myself as a fixed conclusion, that there are sure, 
stable mercies of David signified, that shall be built up for ever. And this 
he was resolved and assured of (and his words at last do argue as much), 
that notwithstanding those doleful miseries befallen David's family, and 
the Jews, related from ver. 39, &c, that he should yet be in the faith and 
confidence of those spiritual mercies. And accordingly he concludes the 
last verse, ' Blessed be the Lord for evermore. Amen, and amen.' 

This he according to this scope proposeth at the beginning : ver. 1, ' I will 
sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever : with my mouth will I make known 
thy faithfulness to all generations.' And these mercies (as was said) are 
those of the covenant of grace (which afterwards are in this psalm set forth), 
and summarily they are the mercies promised unto Christ and his seed, 
whom David tvpified, as they are formed up into a covenant of grace ; of 
which he professeth to sing throughout this psalm ; and therefore the most 
particulars therein are to be understood to relate thereunto. This sum- 
mary or breviate of all he declares in the 3d and 4th verses expressly, as 
the words of God himself, whom he introduceth to speak in the midst of 
his own discourse in these words : ' I have made a covenant with my 
chosen ; I have sworn unto David my servant, Thy seed will I establish 
for ever ; and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah.' 

That the covenant of grace in Christ is the substantial scope of this 
psalm, all Christian^interpreters * do agree, and the arguments are invincible 
which Musculus and Calvin have urged to persuade this, as not only that 
our Saviour hath the very name of David their king given him by the 
prophets, Jer. xxx. 9, Ezek. xxxiv. 23, Amos ix. 11, and by the apostle, 
Acts xiii. 34, as in relation to these sure mercies, who is therefore intended 
as the substance of this shadow, but because the promises in this psalm 
are not fulfilled if not in him. For not only David's seed, but his kingdom 
and throne, are said to continue for ever. And if the fleshly seed of David 
can be supposed to continue still on earth, yet to be sure his kingdom hath 
not, whereas the promise is of his kingdom's continuance for ever, as well 
as of his seed. And if God hath failed in point of his successive kingdom, 
who will believe that other of his seed, unless as both were accomplished 
in our Jesus ? And this the angels at his conception do expressly assert : 
Luke i. 32, 33, ' He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the 
Highest ; and the Lord shall give unto him the throne of his father David : 
and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever ; and of his kingdom 
there shall be no end.' Which was taken from Isa. ix. 6, 'For unto us a 
Child is born, unto us a Son is given : and the government shall be upon 
his shoulder : his name shall be called "Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty 
God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of peace.' 

Christ's kindgom is said to be the throne of David, because shadowed 

* Kegnura Christi vocatur regnum Davidis, quia adumbratum fuit regno Davidis, 
&c. Sic Theophilactus inter Grsecos, Bernardus inter Latinos. — Lucas Brugensis in 


out by that of David ; * himself professeth that his ' kingdom was not of 
this world,' John xviii. 36, which David's kingdom was, after the mode and 
splendour of other earthly kings, which hitherto Christ's hath no way been. 
And in this psalm those great promises of pardon of sin, from ver. 30, 
appertain to that spiritual kingdom which Christ did found. And answer- 
ably, the seed of this David are a spiritual seed, which by his word and 
Spirit he begets, who are therefore named Israel, even the very Gentiles, 
Isa. xliv. 5 (who are the surrogate Israel), and their conversion (as well as 
of the Jews) the apostle expressly terms ' the building again tbe tabernacle 
of David : ' Acts xv. 16, 17, ' After this I will return, and will build again 
the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down ; and I will build again the 
ruins thereof, and I will set it up : that the residue of men might seek 
after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith 
the Lord, who doth all these things.' In which speech is also confirmed, 
that David's outward successive kingdom was utterly brought to ruin (as 
to be sure in Herod's time, wherein Christ was born, it was), and that now 
it was wholly to be raised up anew by Christ in a spiritual kingdom, then 
begun over both Jew and Gentile, they becoming one fold, and David 
their king becoming one shepherd over them, as the prophet hath it, 
Ezek. xxxiv. 23. 

These covenant mercies then being the declared ditto of his song, and the 
most eminent mercies in that covenant being God's ' pardoning mercies ' 
to those under this covenant, he therefore particularly singles forth those, 
and they have a special and large room in this psalm, from ver. 30, &c. 
But before I come to discourse of the greatness of these mercies in par- 
doning sin, I cannot pass over that praise and celebration which the 
psalmist breaks forth into, of our great God who is the Father and Founder 
of this mercy and covenant, in the 5th verse, which is as a preludium to 
his song : ' And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, Lord ; thy faith- 
fulness also in the congregation of thy saints.' 

Herein to provoke us men to sing and set forth these mercies, he sets 
before us the example of the glorious angels in heaven, who though never 
having sinned, and so never needed the pardoning mercies of this covenant, 
do yet praise God for it, and on our behalf; then how much more are we 
obliged ! 

' The heavens do praise thy wonders, Lord.' These wonders are 
those w T onderful mercies last mentioned (for he continues to speak punc- 
tually to this his subject he had thus proposed to sing and celebrate), and 
so they are not chiefly to be understood of God's wonders at large, though 
that is a truth also, that the angels celebrate God for them. 

That the angels are expressed by the heavens, t sundry places do shew : 
Job xv. 15 : ' Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints ; yea, the heavens 
are not clean in his sight ;' compared with chap. iv. 18, ' Behold, he puts 
no trust in his servants ; his angels he charged with folly.' See also Ps. 1. 
4, 6. And that the angels are meant in this place by the psalmist, all 
interpreters, from the force of the coherence before and after, do agree. 
For it follows immediately in the same 5th verse, ' Thy faithfulness also in 
the congregation of thy saints ;' that is, is also praised among them ; 
which being a continuation of the same sentence and matter, must be 
understood of the same kind of praise, though indeed by another order of 

• Dicitur Messise iniperiuni Davidis solium, quod Davidis solio adumbrabatur. 
Et sic locum, 2 Sam. vii. 13, explicat Isaac Ben. Arama. — Grotius in locum. 
t The Eastern translations, Syriac, &c, do concur with this. 

Chap. IX. J of justifying faitii. 65 

praises.* That it is not meant of tho material heavens is clear, it being 
the praise of the wonders of his mercy and faithfulness, as was said. And 
such praises are subjects of that super-celestial nature, which tho material 
heavens are not capable to set forth the praise of. Nay, they have not the 
least material impress or stamp upon them to hold them forth unto us 
men. They declare indeed the glory of God in his works of creation, pro- 
vidence, &c, but not those of grace. And if anywhere it be applied 
thereto, it is but merely allusively, as out of Ps. xix. The apostle doth, 
in Rom. x., apply the psalmist's word of the heavens, Ps. xix. 1 ; and, 
indeed, but as by way of parallel type, shadowing forth the apostle's 
preaching throughout the earth. And besides, would he set (think we) 
and join the material heavens, inanimate creatures, and the congregation 
of the saints, in one choir together, in their praising God ; as in like man- 
ner in singing^forth these like praises of covenant-mercies and faithfulness, 
especially when the heavens spoken of are brought in as the precentors, or 
chief and first singers in this sacred concert ? The heavens therefore here 
are the inhabitants of heaven, as earth is often put for the inhabitants of 
the earth ; you have both in one place, Ps. 1. 4. 

His wonders. The word in the original is the singular number : mirabiU 
tuum, ' thy wonder,' the eminent wonder above all wonders, the sum of 
wonders, which are the contents of the covenant of grace. The contrive- 
ments and dispensations of it are all wonders, nothing but wonder, both in 
the whole] of it, and every the least part of it, and all make up but one 
wonder of wonders, above and beyond all wonders ; and therefore by way 
of transcendent eminency it is thus styled. The head of this covenant 
also, Christ, our spiritual David, his ' name is Wonderful,' Isa. ix. 6. 
Again, God's pardoning iniquity, transgression, and sin (to celebrate which 
so many verses in this psalm are spent), is a wonder of wonders: ' Who is 
a God like unto thee, that pardonest iniquity ?' &c, Micah vii. 18. 

It follows in the psalmist, in the same verse, ' Thy faithfulness also in 
the congregation of the saints' ; namely, of the saints on earth, who have 
the most reason to magnify God for his mercy in it, as Rom. xv. And 
from whom also it is, by what is published in their assemblies, that the 
angels do learn much of these wonders, as that scripture shews (which is a 
place greatly parallel to this here), Eph. iii. 10, ' To the intent that now 
unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places, might be known 
by the church the manifold wisdom of God.' I say, parallel to this, for as 
there the angels and the church (on earth), so here the heavens and the 
congregations of the saints on earth, are joined in their adoration of these 

I only shall observe, that the angels' principal part in this celebration is 
distinct from that of us men ; it is to praise the wonders of this covenant ; 
or as it is a wonder, so it is most proper to them to admire and ''adore God 
for it. Well, but the mercy itself, and the faithfulness of God therein, 
that you see is ascribed and allotted to the congregations of the saints, or 
men on earth, as their theme, and to praise, that is our part. For why ? 
That is an interest peculiar and proper to us, the top and height of our joy 
and comfort lies herein. But the angels they fall down chiefly to the 
wonders and excellencies of w T isdom and glory that are discovered in it, 
which they are therefore (as out of curiosity) said to pry into, 1 Pet. i. 12. 
And it is upon the account hereof they worship: Rev. vii. 11, 12, 'And 
all the angels stood round the throne, and about the elders and the four 
* Qu. 'praisers '? — Ed. 

vol. viii. E 


beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, 
saying, Amen : Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgivirig, and 
honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.' 
Which place, though at first it shews that they heartily rejoice in what 
concerns the salvation of us men contained therein, in that they first say 
Amen unto a song which the sons of men had in praise of God begun before 
them to sing, ver. 10, ' Salvation' (that is, the glory of our salvation) ' be 
unto God, and the Lamb ;' and unto this the angels say Amen first, ere 
they begin their own, of blessing him for his glory, wisdom, &c. The 
salvation then, and so the mercy and faithfulness of God therein, is the 
eminent argument of our song. But the wisdom and power shewn therein, 
though we chant forth the glory of them also, is principally the matter of 

The grand mercies and faithfulness promised unto Christ our David (the 
subject of this song), I reduce unto three heads, according to what we find 
summarily put together in ver. 3, 4, where you have, 

1. The promise of a throne and kingdom to be established. 

2. The choice and designation of the person (Christ), the true David, 
under the type and shadow of king David. 

3. The promise of mercy to the seed of Christ under the same type. As 
for the perpetuity of these mercies, it runs along through the whole of all. 

1. As touching the throne promised, you have a magnific description of 
a kingdom, which begins at the 7th verse, and reaches to the 15th, which 
kingdom, indeed (as there described), is that which God the Father pro- 
miseth unto his Son Christ, our David. And it is a matter worthy our 
inquiry, why the kingdom which God the Father did hold and visibly 
execute in the Old Testament, should be set out here, when he promiseth 
his Son a throne, &c. The true mystery and resolve of which is, that it is 
the same throne and kingdom for substance and economy which himself 
held, which he promiseth to his Son, and that therefore he sets forth his 
own herein ; for indeed it is all one. We know how Christ himself says, 
that God the Father had ' committed all judgment' to him, because he was 
the Son of man, John v. 22-27 ; and that the Father visibly judgeth no 
man, but hath given up all to his Son ; and this to that end, ' that all men 
might honour the Son as they honour the Father,' ver. 23 ; and therefore 
it is he is said to ' come in the glory of the Father,' and to ' sit on the 
Father's throne,' Rev. iii. 21, yea, and it is called • the throne of God and 
of the Lamb,' Rev. xxii. 3. Hence therefore it is that the prophet being 
to declare what a throne it was which God here intended and promiseth to 
give to him, makes sq ample a description of God's own kingdom (although 
much in the Old Testament language) as that which he meant to estate this 
his Son into, who yet because he was to come of David in the flesh, and 
David was his type, this kingdom is styled the throne of David in the 
shadow, but in reality and in the substance is indeed the kingdom of God 
the Father. And this, to be the true air or scope of those verses, seems 
to me most genuine and accommodate, and the best account that perhaps 
will be given of those verses. This for the kingdom, expressed in the first 
part of the psalm. 

There is inserted between this and the other parts that follow a most 
comfortable application, directed (as in the midst of this discourse) to those 
that are under this covenant, and are the blessed objects of this grace and 
mercy of so great a God their King, who either live under the continual 
sound thereof, and have their hearts stirred and awakened with the sound 

Chap. IX.] of justifying fjvith. 67 

thereof, so as by faith to pursue after the enjoyment of it, or especially 
those that have arrived unto a solid assurance of their share and interest 
therein. Or, if you will, the following words are a congratulation of their 
infinite happiness, as elsewhere it is expressed, • Blessed are the people 
whose God is the Lord,' Ps. xxxiii. 12. The hlessedness of the people 
instated in this covenant is displayed in thisPsalin lxxxix., 15-18, ' Blessed 
is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, Lord, in the 
light of thy countenance. In thy name shall they rejoice all the day ; and 
in thy righteousness shall they be exalted. For thou art the glory of their 
strength ; and in thy favour our horn shall be exalted. For the Lord is 
our defence ; and the Holy One of Israel is our King.' 

2. The choice, and advancement, and dignity of the person who was to 
be estated in this throne, even of Christ, is described under the shadow of 
David. This Christ he dignifies with the highest titles of honour ; ' his 
holy One,' ' his mighty One,' upon whom God laid help for us all; ' his 
chosen, his exalted One,' ver. 19, ' his Servant,' his Cbrist and Messiah, 
with God's own holy oil anointed by God himself, ver. 20, in whom should 
rest all the power of God (which before in ver. 8, 10, 13, you heard of), 
to establish and strengthen this his Christ, and beat down his enemies, and 
wherewith to overrule all, ver. 21-23. And compare but the expressions 
in ver. 8, 13, with these ver. 21-23, likewise ver. 9 and ver. 25; in like 
manner yer. 10 with ver. 22-24, in which latter he says, their* mercy also 
and faithfulness (which the prophet had said did support God's throne, and 
did go before him to execute all the administrations of his kingdom, ver. 8 
and 14) is promised unto this his King: ver. 24, ' My mercy and my faith- 
fulness,' says God, ' shall be with him;' that is, in the whole of his govern- 
ment towards my church, to perform all with as much mercy and faithful- 
ness as I myself would. If you will farther have it, God committed all the 
mercies that ever he had promised, or meant to bestow upon any or all his 
children, into the hands of his Christ, to give forth to them, and constituted 
him to be his own executor, and hath given him an heart of mercy of equal 
largeness thereunto, and faithfulness to perform it unto every tittle, as 
himself hath ; so as he that shall compare all those descriptions of God's 
kingdom in the foregoing verses with the expressions of Christ's kingdom 
here, will readily acknowledge that God's Spirit in this psalmist did on 
purpose set forth the former representation of God's kingdom to the end, 
to shew that the like glory, yea, the same kingdom for substance, he hath 
devolved upon his Son, and put into his hands ; which was the genuine 
drift and scope of so large a description of God's kingdom therein made. 
In the conclusion he proclaims, among other of the royal titles which God 
bestows upon his Christ, that of being God's Son: He shall cry unto me, 
'Thou art my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation.' Which in 
how transcendent a manner it is true of Christ, you may read, Eph. i. 3, 
1 Pet. i. 3 ; and of all sons, his first-born is ' higher than the kings of the 
earth,' ver. 26, 27 of this 89th Psalm, with which comports that of Rev. 
i. 5, ' The Prince of the kings of the earth.' These titles of Christ you 
find from ver. 19 to 28. 

3. The other part of Psalm lxxxix. is that which I have chosen as my 
text, from ver. 28 to 37, and this part principally concerns the seed, the 
spiritual seed of Christ, as the former does his kingdom and personal dig- 
nities. You may remember how it was said that the mercies of this cove- 
nant were prophesied by the Psalmist as the eminent subject of his song : 

* Qu. ' his ' ?— Ed. 


• I will sing,' says he, • of the mercies of the Lord for ever,' &c. ; that is, 
1 which are for ever.' And in this special part of the song we find mercy's 
voice elevated to the highest note, or to the highest ela* which can be 
supposed it should reach unto. For as the height and top of mercy's glory 
is put forth and seen in pardoning of sins — that is the most proper seat 
or subject wherein and whereupon the mercies of God are manifested and 
spent — so in this paragraph, if anywhere in all the Scriptures, pardoning 
mercies are ascendant, and in their supremest elevation. 

Two things are to be farther cleared towards a foundation unto that 
setting forth the greatness of God's pardoning mercies to his children, as 
here they are held forth. The first, that by David's children here the 
spiritual seed of Christ are intended, as by David Christ himself is (as hath 
been shewn), and so the parallel runs thus: 1. David's person is the 
shadow of Christ's person. 2. David's temporal throne of Christ's throne, 
who was his eminent seed after the flesh. 3. That as David had other 
children after the flesh in a succession, so Christ a spiritual seed in their 
several generations. And of this spiritual seed, or children of Christ, and 
of God's pardoning mercies unto them, is this paragraph to be understood. 
1. That Christ hath a spiritual seed, unto whom he is the father, as David 
was a father to his other successive seed ; and that David bore the shadow 
thereof, there are many passages in this and other scriptures which do con- 
firm it. It is observable that in the 9th of Isaiah, before cited, when the 
promise of the throne of David is again more expressly than here repeated, 
that withal, ver. 6, one eminent title amongst those other is, of his being 
' the everlasting Father,' which title doth necessarily relate to a seed, unto 
whom he that is said to sit upon David's throne is also a Father. And 
answerably, we see both the promise of Christ's throne and these promises 
to his seed and children to be nearly conjoined in several passages in this 
Psalm, as being inseparably riveted and involved both of them in this one 
and the same covenant, and as the alike substantial parts thereof, and in- 
volved in the same oath. Tbus ver. 28-30, ' My mercy will I keep for 
him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. His seed 
also will I make to endure for ever; and his throne as the days of heaven. 
If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments,' &c. At 
the entrance of my text, and again at the conclusion, ver. 35, 36, • Once 
have I sworn by my holiness, that I will not lie unto David. His seed 
shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me.' For he pos- 
sesseth his throne upon such terms as that his children also should be 
effectually saved. And what reason there should be that any should sever 
these two, which God hath so closely joined together, I understand not. 
We cannot conceive that the promise of the throne, which is unto Christ's 
person, should be the sole and alone subject of the oath, but the promise 
concerning the other seed and children should be without oath, and limited 
to David's other fleshly children in their successions as unto temporal 
respects, and not to take in the spiritual seed of Christ, or those of David's 
seed who were such, especially seeing in other scriptures true believers on 
Christ, whether Jews or Gentiles, are so frequently termed the seed and 
children of Christ (our David), ' Lo here am I, and the children which thou 
hast given me,' Heb. ii. 13. And in Psalm xxii., which so lively sets forth 
Christ as he was hanging on the very cross, the issue and product of his 
crucifying is in the close said to be, that • a seed should serve him, and it 
shall be counted to the Lord for a generation.' Parallel unto which is that 
* The highest note in the musical scale, according to the notation then in use. — Ed. 


Isaiah liii., in which Christ Jesus is as evidently also held forth as crucified ; 
the fruit whereof is there declared to be, that ' ho shall see his seed,' and 
' see the travail of his soul, and be satisfied in them,' and their effectual 
salvation by him, ver. 10, 11, for nothing else will satisfy Christ about 

And to this purpose it may be farther observed, that in these promises 
in my text, made in David's name, as in behalf of his children, there is 
this strange difference apparently made between David the father and his 
children, that the Holy Ghost says not on his part, ' If he forsake my law, 
I will visit him with rods,' &c, but only if his children do, ver. 30, 31, 
whenas yet we all know, take David personally, he did foully forsake God's 
law, yea, despise the commandment, as the prophet Nathan challenged 
him, and was sharply visited with rods. Yet there is no mention of any 
of his sins, nor so much as of an if about any such matter, but all of him 
is passed over in silence. And to what other mystical purpose should 
this be, but that as Melchisedec's genealogy is omitted to make up a like- 
ness to the Son of God, to the like intent there is omitted the mention of 
David's sins in this place, that David hereby might bear the type and 
shadow of Christ's person, and withal be a perfect type of him in his rela- 
tion unto his children, who was in his own person not only without sin, 
but above the least supposition of it ? But if his children should sin, and 
some of them might be left unto great sins, yet for the mercy promised 
him they should be pardoned. And under this representation David 
comes to personate Christ, as he was to bear the relation of father unto 
his spiritual children, as for whose sake those promises were made. And 
in this manner, upon Christ as such a father and our David, and those 
promises to his seed, did that oath rest, as well as for the throne. If we 
also take the succession of David's fleshly seed, good and bad, the mercies 
and forbearance of God towards them (taking the circumstances of their 
sinnings, &c.) were greater towards them than unto any other succession 
of men that have been on earth. And we find it often in the story of the 
Kings and Chronicles put literally upon this reason, that is, ' for David 
my servant's sake.' And these dispensations of temporal mercies to those 
his children were but the shadows of those sure mercies, of pardoning 
mercies, promised to the spiritual seed of Christ. And for a farther con- 
firmation of this, the spiritual children or seed of Christ are also termed 
David's seed and children here in the text, by the same just reason that the 
faithful are termed the sons of Abraham. For the foundation of Abra- 
ham's title to his being the father of all the faithful stood thus, that 
because a covenant and oath was promulged personally and particularly 
unto him, how that in Christ, who was to be his seed after the flesh, all 
the nations of the earth should be blessed; and that seed out of all 
nations being Christ's seed first, therefore he had the honour to be styled 
' the father of all the faithful,' whether Jews or Gentiles, and the repre- 
senter of Christ therein. Yea, and that oath and covenant involved the 
spiritual seed, as made unto them as well as unto himself, who laid hold 
upon it by faith, or as unto Christ, or rather with Christ for them, for so 
it is expressly interpreted to be: Heb. vi. 16, 17, 'For men verily swear 
by the greater ; and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all 
strife. Wherein God, willing to shew unto the heirs of promise the im- 
mutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath.' Now, the very same 
covenant and oath being in more ample and plain terms renewed unto 
David, the analogy holds between David and Abraham, and this psalm is 


an evidence of it. If then Christ and the spiritual seed in Abraham's case 
are not to be separated, then not in the case of David, wherein both are 
more distinctly and expressly mentioned, and included in one and the same 
covenant, than in Abraham's they were. Only David being a king set up 
so immediately by God, therefore the promise of the throne unto Christ his 
successor is more eminently indeed spoken of, yet not so as that it should 
be the sole object of that oath, but that God's faithfulness unto the children 
of Cbrist, or heirs of salvation, is taken in, as in Abraham's case it was, 
though far more obscurely. 

And that the spiritual seed of Christ are reckoned as David's house and 
children, that place alone may perhaps be sufficient to prove, in which the 
conversion of the Gentiles is termed ' the building up the tabernacle of 
David:' Acts xv. 15-17, 'Unto this agree the words of the prophets; as 
it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of 
David, which is fallen down ; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and 
I will set it up : that the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all 
the Gentiles upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doth all 
these things.' Among the Hebrews* a tabernacle was put for one's 
house ; and that house signifies children is well known : Luke i. 33, ' He 
sball reign over the house of Jacob for ever;' by which is meant the spiri- 
tual seed, whether of Jew or Gentile, as before opened. 

Having thus cleared and evinced it, that by David's children here in 
this Psalm lxxxix. 30 is intended the spiritual seed of Christ, I come now 
to shew how in verses 30-37, the glories of Jehovah, pardoning iniquity, 
transgression, and sin, are most signally displayed in this 89th Psalm, 
from verse 30 to verse 38, ' If his children forsake my law, and walk not 
in my judgments; if they break my statutes, and keep not my command- 
ments ; 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. My covenant will I not break, nor 
alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my 
holiness, that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever, 
and his throne as the sun before me. It shall be established for ever as 
the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah. But thou hast 
cast off and abhorred, thou hast been wroth with thine anointed.' That 
God will pardon your sins of ordinary infirmities that you commit, that 
you think easily the covenant of grace doth reach and extend to ; ay, but 
here is a proviso (you call them so in acts and wills) which is an amplia- 
tion of the covenant of grace upon the supposition of the worst of cases, 
of the worst of those who are under the covenant of grace : ' If his chil- 
dren forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments,' &c. You see the 
amplitude of the covenant of grace (what hath God to do to run out to 
this ?), and you shall see the largeness of the covenant of grace, how far it 

1. I begin with the word if; it implies, that it is a case may fall out, 
God hath not said temere, rashly, or used all these words in vain. It is a 
case may sometimes fall out. 

2. What is the reason of this if, if they shall do so and so ? It is not 
so much, as Museums says, to shew what man will do, but it is to shew 
what God will do. If men do so and so (and make a supposition to the 
utmost), if they do so and so, yet I will do so and so (says God), as far, 

* Hebraeis omne habitaculum ffx'/jr/} dicitur, quia ea habitatio vetustissima. — 
Grotius in locum. 


nay, beyond what the imagination of man can reach, as Christ is a Saviour 
to the utmost. 

3. Ho useth the word if, not that what is supposed does oft fall ont, for 
there are millions of saints go to heaven, and not come within the compass 
of this place, and therefore it is what seldom happens. Ay, but sometimes 
it does, for God would not in vain use so many words. It is hard to say 
what sins God pardons after regeneration ; in some God exalts his justify- 
ing grace more, in some his sanctifying. If one of ninety-nine be gone, he 
leaves all the other for those few's sake ; he hath made provisoes in this 
covenant of grace, he hath put this // in. 

4. He repeats it, and indigitates it over and over; for, as Calvin says, 
it is the hardest thing in the world to believe it, and whoever lives in 
great sins, it is the hardest thing in the world to believe that God will 
pardon him. 

But doth he speak of the members of Christ, is it of those that are actual 
members of Christ that he speaks this ? Is it not of their sins before con- 
version rather? Nay, but it is after: 'If his sons forsake my law,' says 
the 30th verse. Those that are his sons and children are actually in the 
state of grace. At the day of judgment, says he, Heb. ii. 13, ' Lo I and 
the children which God hath given me;' and he is called an 'everlasting 
Father,' Isa. ix. 6. 

Another observation is concerning his seed, that the greatest of their 
sins may come under this if, under this proviso ; so Calvin and Musculus 
observe. David did not commit a sin of infirmity when he despised the 
commandment of the Lord, but his sin extended to the most heinous guilt. 
And he speaks of such sins as may not be called mere infirmities. Observe 
how he sets out their sins supposable. 

1. He reckons up all sorts of laws broken: ver. 30, 31, there is my laws, 
judgments, statutes, and commandments ; and interpreters fetch out all the 
judicial laws in rites and statutes, and moral laws in commandments. 

2. Then observe how he expresseth it, for the act: ver. 30, ' If they for- 
sake my law, and walk not in my judgment;' ver. 31, 'If they break my 
statutes, and keep not my commandments ;' here is a worse than all, ' If 
they profane my statutes.' It is translated, 'If they break my statutes;' 
but in the Hebrew, and so in the margin, it is ' If they profane my statutes.' 
Now, for a saint to be a profane person, as Esau was, Heb. xii., how heinous 
is the guilt ! 

3. Take the title of their sins ; he calls them • transgressions' and ' ini- 
quities,' ver. 32 ; ■ pardoning iniquity, transgression, and sin.' One of 
the words signify falseness, treachery of sin. Thus he sets out the great- 
ness of those sins which it is supposed saints may fall into, after they are 

4. Here are sins of omission and commission. Of omission : ' if they 
walk not in my judgments,' ver. 30. Of commission : ' if they forsake my 
law, and break my statutes, or profane them,' ver. 31. I will not say that 
it is not to be said how far men may sin ; as it cannot be said how far men 
may go and not be sincere, so neither how far a man may sin. Though it 
is certain there was a seed of God remained, yet that person that was 
excommunicated is called ' the wicked person.' And you know the story 
of the apostle John's young thief, recorded by Eusebius, which was an 
amazing instance of a man's falling into sin. Water may be so heated, that 
any body that puts his hand into it may say, Here is no cold in it ; but yet, 
though it scalds, let it stand a while and all the heat will be gone. Let 


men in a state of grace be inflamed with lusts, that one would think there 
is nothing of grace, yet there is a principle of grace which will reduce them 
at last. Thus much for the greatness of sin. 

5. God promiseth chastisements in such cases. He does not bring 
great chastisements for ordinary infirmities, but for such sins as these are, 
that they may not be judged of the world : 1 Peter i. 17, ' If ye call on 
the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every 
man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear.' Though he be 
a Father, yet therefore be afraid of him. It is not for men to say, Let 
men live as they list, they shall be saved ; no, says God, I will put a stop 
to you by chastising you. See what these chastisements are in these cases, 
and how he speaks of them : you may see the covenant of grace to shine 
in all still. First he says, he will ' visit them with rods and with stripes.' 
He calls them rods, 2 Sam. vii. 14, when the promise was first made to 
David (this very promise), < I will be his Father, and he shall be my son. 
If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with 
the stripes of the children of men.' It is a moderation of the correction, 
I will not whip him so hard as to kill him, says God, but as you whip 
men : I will not chasten with soreness of my displeasure, but deal with 
them as men. The truth is, God whips with rushes, in comparison to his 
vengeance in the other world : it is with the rod of men, which men may 
bear. He hath a sweet word, ' I will visit their transgressions with rods.' 
He says not, I will strike ; no, it is a fatherly word, I will visit them as 
you do sick folks, to help them : it is a word full of tenderness. Again, 
he says, * I will visit their iniquities :' it is a sweet word ; he does not say, 
I will visit them ; no, I love them, I have no anger at them, and wrath for 
them, but I have at their transgressions, Isa. xx. This is all the fruit of 
my chastising, to take away sin. 

6. Consider the promises he makes to this case (the promises of chas- 
tisements you heard), but consider the other part of the promises that are 
here mentioned, and it will extremely affect your hearts. 

1st, Says he, I will be kind for all this, I will not make my kindness 
void : so it is in the Hebrew, ver. 33, ' Nevertheless, my loving-kindness 
will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.' My 
kindness shall never fail in pardoning iniquity, transgression, and sin ; I 
will ever be abundant in kindness and truth, Exod. xxxiv. 7. Well, go 
then, count the number of promises he makes of this kind ; they are just 
the number of what he says of their sins. He had said four things of their 
sins : ' If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments : if 
they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments ;' and there 
are four several expressions which relate to his pardoning them, ' Not- 
withstanding my loving-kindness will I not make void, nor suffer my faith- 
fulness to lie : my covenant will I not profane, nor alter the things gone 
out of my lips.' So that here is four to four. 

2dly, Consider how he suits these expressions in correspondency to 
their sins. 

1st, ' If they keep not my commandments,' ver. 31 ; ' My mercy will I 
keep for him for evermore,' ver. 28. 

2dly, < If they forsake my law,' ver. 30 ; ' I will not alter the thing gone 
out of my lips,' ver. 31. 

3dly, ' If they profane my statutes,' ver. 31 ; ' I will not profane my 
covenant,' ver. 34. It is a mighty speech ; as if God had said, I should 
run into profaneness, and be as profane as you, if I should break covenant : 

Chap. IX.] of justifying faith. 73 

as if God were in danger of this, if he failed Christ's seed in this case, of 
being a profane God, and an unholy God, and a lying God to David, which 
can never be. 

7. He binds all this with an oath ; ' Once have I* sworn by my holi- 
ness, that I will not lie unto David.' I have sworn absolutely. Now con- 
sider : 

1st, An oath is the highest confirmation of all other, Heb. vi. G. 

2dly, He tells you it is an oath but once taken. Why but once ? To 
shew that all is irrevocable, both oath and thing sworn to. 

3dly, Though it bo sworn but once, to shew it is irrevocable, yet not- 
withstanding we hear of it twice in this psalm : ver. 3, ' I have sworn unto 
David my servant ;' and again, ver. 35, he took the oath but once, but 
we hear of it twice. He took an oath to his Son, that ho would make him 
a king, and set up his throne ; that the 3d verse shews ; and he takes an 
oath for his seed, and his seed in this case of sinning, and it is as sacred to 
him concerning his children, as it is to Christ, to oblige himself to give him 
a throne and kingdom. 

4thly, Consider what he swears by. Of all things else this amazeth me, 
he swears by his holiness : ' Once have I sworn by my holiness.' Now 
bring all your consciences to God, and what is it you do dread in God ? His 
holiness. What is it provokes him ? It is laid in the foundation of jus- 
tice and wrath ; and because he is a God so pure that his eyes can endure 
no iniquity. Now then that his holiness, which is the most against sin, 
should be brought in to be sworn to pardon sin, what can you have more ? 
Calvin says, to swear by his holiness, is more than to swear by himself; 
for he swears by that thing which is like to be your greatest enemy, to con- 
demn and destroy you. 

5thly, Lastly, He swears by that which is most eminent in his holiness, 
and must be profane and lie, if he doth not perform. 

8. Consider that all this is founded upon Christ, though the mercies are 
in the heart of God. It is a mighty expression when he says, ' If his chil- 
dren forsake my law, I will visit their transgressions.' He speaks to them, 
If they do so and so ; but when he comes to make his promise, ' notwith- 
standing my loving-kindness shall not be void from him.' From him, 
ver. 28, i.e., from Christ. What, does Jesus Christ need any mercy? 
Ay, it is well for us he doth not for himself. But thus, as he is the head 
of all saints, and he and they make one body, the covenant of grace and 
mercy was made with him, and so they are called ' the sure mercies of 
David,' Isa. lv. 3. All the mercies God bestows are for his sake ; and it 
is well now that God hath sworn, that he will not take his mercies from 
Christ in relation to us ; and that Jesus Christ can go to God and plead, 
Lord, I have no need of mercy ; but thou hast given me all thy mercies 
for those who are mine ; Lord, fulfil th ;m to them. There is one use which 
Calvin makes, Live upon the covenant of grace, you need no more ; and if 
you be guilty of great sins, you had need live upon it. But let me com- 
mend one use, which David makes in the midst of the psalm, ver. 15-18, 
• Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound,' &c. He speaks in 
relation to the covenant of grace, to all them that are under it. He sets 
it in the midst as an use of application to the persons under it. But what 
kind of persons are they that are under it ? They ' know the joyful sound.' 
All interpreters acknowledge it is an allusion to the sounding the trumpets, 
which you read of, Num. x. 4, 10 ; Lev. xxiii. 23. This I find by Ains- 
worth and others, that 'joyful sound' here imports (what was typified by the 


sounding their trumpets and cornets) the spiritual joy the people of God 
should have in the favour of God, and meeting with God, and communion 
with God, in his covenant of grace. This is plainly the meaning, for (says 
he) • they shall walk in the light of thy countenance.' When did they 
sound trumpets ? They sounded trumpets for war, for feasts, upon extra- 
ordinary occasions of great joy, as at the dedication of the temple, Ezra 
iii. 11, 12 ; when the people returned from captivity, 2 Chron. v. 12, 13 ; 
when the foundation of the temple was laid, Ezek. iii. 10 ; and at its dedi- 
cation, Neh. xii. 35 ; and every new year they had trumpets and cornets 
sounded ; the one was made of rams' horns, which they called a cornet, the 
other of silver ; the one had a loud sound, the other a shrill, Ps. xcviii. 6. 
There is both trumpets and sound of cornets ; with these they made a joy- 
ful noise. Now what is the meaning of this, but to tell us, Oh blessed are 
those people into whose ears God blows joy, and peace, and salvation ? 
Says the apostle, ' If the trumpet gives an uncertain sound,' who knows 
what is meant ? 1 Cor. xiv. 7, 8. But when God comes and speaks to a 
man's soul all this that I have said of the covenant of grace, and tells him, 
that he is his salvation, and blows this with his own immediate voice, ' Oh 
blessed is that man that hears this joyful sound :' this man may • walk in the 
light of God's countenance.' Consider what he says of it : ' They shall walk 
in the light of thy countenance, and in thy name shall they rejoice, and in 
thy faithfulness shall they be exalted : thou art the glory of their strength,' 
&c. Such as have had this trumpet sounding in their souls, are enabled 
to walk triumphingly, and are prepared for war. They sounded the trum- 
pet for war : we are in war ' more than conquerors ;' ' grave, where is 
thy victory ?' Oh seek to the Lord that he would blow and make this 
blessed sound in your souls, that you may have God to rejoice in, and God 
himself alone. The angels may wonder at the wonders of the covenant, 
but you rejoice in them as yours, and you may do it all the day long ; and 
in doing so you will be taken off from all that is in yourselves. ' La thy 
name shall they rejoice :' ' They glory in this, that they know thee that 
exerciseth loving-kindness in the earth,' and ' their joy shall none take 
from them,' Ps. lxxxix. 6. 


Of the mercies of God's heart and nature. — That mercy and grace are true 
essential properties in the divine being. — That there are some that deny this. 
— This head discoursed in three branches: 1. An explication; 2. Th« 
proofs out of the text; 3. Answers to the principal objections. — 1. The ex- 
planation: 1st, How it is to be understood that mercy, or any other 
attribute, is the nature of God ; 2dly, Of the difference between those mere 
similitudinary attributes borrowed from man, as sorrow, repenting, dc, and 
those substantial attributes in God, the likeness whereof are communicated 
to man, and so attributed both to God and also to man, such as holiness, 
goodness, mercy. — The state I put the question into, for the jxroofs of the 

It may be greatly wondered at, that it should ever so much as have en- 
tered into the thoughts of any of the sons of men,* sinful men, who there- 

* It need not stumble any that such an opinion is vented by the same persons 
that speak at the same rate of the sacrifice which Christ made by offering up him- 

Chap. X.] of justifying faitii. 75 

fore need an infinity of mercy from the great God, to save and pardon them, 
to affirm that all tho mercy which God himself so magnifies in this scrip- 
ture, and for which other scriptures do so highly extol him, should be 
ascribed to God only e similituiline effectus ;* that is, because he doth and 
exerciseth loving-kindness ; and only because that his outward dispensations 
are such as men who are mercifully disposed use to exercise, out of a 
pitiful nature. But God, say they, without any inherent disposition or 
affections which should properly have tho name of mercy, or which, as 
such, should be the root and inward principle of such merciful acts, doth 
exert them. They answerably affirm mercy to be an attribute of that rank 
which are usually termed after the manner of man : as when God is said 
to grieve and repent, which are merely ascribed to him, because he doth 
6uch things towards us, as we men are wont to do when we grieve and 
repent ; but God doth them without any inward principle of grief or repent- 
ance: and it is so here in the case of mercy, say they. But their question- 
ing this great truth is not the occasion of my speaking to this point in 
this place ; but my method and subject necessarily lead me to it ; without 
the demonstration of which added to the former, my grand assertion, which 
bears the title of my subject, would be imperfect, and of less power and 
force upon believers' minds : and being thereby obliged to prove it out of 
the text, I saw some necessity first to premise that general explication that 
follows, to prevent mistakes out of vulgar apprehensions. 

I offer then an explication, how it is to be understood that any of God's 
attributes are of the nature of God, or may be said to be^the nature of God. 

This explication of this I shall absolve by these two explanatory pro- 
positions : 1st, The Scriptures say, that he is God by nature, Gal. iv. 8, 
in difference from those that are but called gods ; and so we may affirm 
that what God is, he is by nature, that is, by his being himself God ; and 
eo the perfections of his being are himself, and termed his Godhead, 
Col. ii. 9. 

1. These divina nomina (as the ancients call them), that is, these names 
attributed to God, such as wise, powerful, holy, good, merciful, are said to 
be his nature, because there is that in his divine nature or Godhead which 
truly answers to what is intended to be signified by these names, and he is 
by nature that which these attributes do express him to be. 

2. It were absurd to think or understand that any attributes whatsoever, 
as they are words and outward characters or expressions, should be the 
nature of God ; but yet these things signified by these outward words and 
characters are truly and inwardly in the nature of God, and he is such a 
God by nature ; and that these outward words and names do proprio et 
primario sic/nificatv , as the schools speak of them, in their primary and 
proper signification, convey to our minds what is really in God's nature. 

3. Nor yet are those glorious inward conceptions and apprehensions that 
are conveyed to, and begotten in, our minds by these significant characters, 

self for the sins of us men ; denying that also to be a price or ransom properly to 
redeem us, and would make it to be but metaphorical. And truly, when these two 
grand pillars of faith are thus enervated, and made weak, by taking from them what 
gives the strength and substance unto them, what remains there of solidity sufficient 
for the heart of a sinner, loaden with that infinite weight of his sins, to sustain and 
bear it up, and him to stay himself upon ? 

* Quoad actus secundos ; non quoad actus primos : quoad effectum, non affectum : 
objective ; shewing mercy to us ; not subjective, as from mercy in himself : xar' 


begotten by tbe Spirit in us ; nor are tbese the nature of God, although 
they be the inward bright rays and shillings thereof. Both which is evident 
from that speech, 2 Cor. iv. 6, ' God, that commanded' (by creation namely) 
' light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light 
of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ ;' where, 
first, it is the glory of God himself that is said to be known ; and yet, 
secondly, the most illustrious light that was in the minds of the apostles them- 
selves, whereby they knew him, was but a created resemblance of that glory 
of God made in and through the face and person of Jesus Christ, who is a 
far more glorious/epresentation of the Godhead than what those attributed 
names can any way render to us. 

4. It remains to be proved, that yet the things themselves conceived of 
by us, and expressed by these names, are substantially and by nature in 
God ; or that there are those perfections in his nature and Godhead as do 
really answer to what these outward significant characters of attributes, 
and those inward beams of himself in our conceptions, do represent his 
nature to be. And the evidence for this may be drawn from the lesser to 
the greater, from that lower representation of God and his Godhead, made 
to the heathens by the works of God's providence and creation. And 
surely, look what those representations or manifestations of God made to 
them are termed, or what is spoken of them, we are warranted to speak 
the same, yea, much more, of these attributes of God's own choice to set 
forth himself by. Now, it is expressly said, Rom. i. 20, that ' the in- 
visible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being 
understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and God- 
head ;' where, 1st, ' those invisible things of God ' are his properties, 
such as are essential to him, and particularly power and eternity are there 
instanced in ; which, 2dly, are invisible in themselves to us, as LnYGodhead 
is, and but known of us, as God is pleased to make show of them unto us, 
as ver. 19, ' Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them, 
for God hath shewed it unto them.' And, thirdly, that those invisible 
things or properties of God are essentially and by nature in him ; there is 
this evidence in that text, that what of them is manifested is said to have 
been in God himself before he made, yea, although he had never made the 
world (which is the manifestation of them there specified), or had any of 
these names given him ; and he gives for instance those two essential at- 
tributes, eternity and power. And in that he says eternal, he proclaims 
the reality of that attribute which we call power, to have been substantially 
in him from eternity, like as eternity itself also, before ever these attributed 
names were given him, or before any such works or effects of his were ex- 
tant, by which these are made manifest. The things were in him before. 

Yea, he riseth up higher, and expressly styles that which was signified 
and represented by these works, &c, to be his Godhead, in adding his 
eternal power and Godhead, which let critics interpret how they please, 
either to his divinity, as Beza, or Godhead, as our translators, yet either 
both do and must centre in this conclusion, that it is styled either of these, 
because there is that in his Godhead and divine being which in an excess 
of fulness doth in truth answer unto that manifestation of him. And so 
the argument becomes strong and prevalent for the point before me, that 
if those ruder and obscurer impresses made of himself by the works of 
creation, ver. 20, and those imperfect medals of himself stamped upon the 
souls of those heathens thereby, of which, ver. 19, he speaks (' for God 
hath shewed it to them'), be called his Godhead, then how much more 

Chap. X.J of justifying faith. 77 

do those names or attributes which God in his word, by his own institution, 
hath appointed, and in infinite wisdom himself invented and revealed, being 
accompanied and brought home by the power, supernatural light, and 
blessing of his Spirit to the souls of his saints, through his word (as out of 
2 Cor. iv. 6 was observed) ; how much more, I say, shall these be styled 
his Godhead in the sense and for the reason above said, even because they 
do, in their proper, direct, and absolute signification, shew what his Godhead 
is ! And there is that in God that corresponds to, and to an infinity doth 
make good what is spoken of him by these, as we call the representation of 
a man's face in water the man's face which it represents, because, as 
Solomon says, it answers ' as faco to face ; ' and so it is here. And the 
representations by these are but as those of a man's face or whole person 
in broken pieces of a looking-glass severed one from the other, whereby it 
comes to pass that not the whole in any is entirely seen, but one lineament 
or cast of the countenance is represented in one ; another part, as an eye, 
in another piece of that glass, and so of the rest. And therefore in the 
plural it is here said, ' The invisible things of God are clearly seen,' &c, 
in relation unto our multiplied conceptions of them in and by his works or 
attributes severally. For whilst by one act we take into our conception 
that he is wise, we then do not so much as think of his power or goodness. 
We see an eye in a distinct attribute severed as it were from the rest, but 
actually see not an hand at that instant, and so of the rest. God hath cast 
the apprehensions of himself into lesser moulds, to fit the narrow bore of 
our understandings. And if any man, apprehending some one or more, as 
those in the text, should say, there are no more, he should greatly derogate 
from the Godhead. But notwithstanding the multiplicity of the represen- 
tations of these attributes, or of our conceptions thereby, yet still there are 
all those perfections in the Godhead, which do in omnimodd et unitissimd 
simpUcitate, in an undivided unity and simplicity in the Godhead, answer 
unto all these. And look as we call the broken, scattered, diffused beams 
of the sun upon disturbed or surging waters, the sun, although they repre- 
sent it but by piecemeal, this beam in one wave in one part, and that beam 
in another wave another piece of it, because though it be thus scatteredly and 
brokenly done, yet there is that in the light and body of the sun that answereth 
unto all these, so it is here. And were it not thus, we could not be said 
to ' know him that is the true God,' as John xvii. 3, nor to know the truth of 
God as it is in God ; and so the heathen had not been ' without excuse, in 
that when they knew God they glorified him not as God.'* Only we are 
to correct these our imperfect conceptions by this rule, that whilst we make 
a composition of all these, to the end that thereby we might come to 
understand what God in the whole is (which is but a multiplicity in our 
imperfect contemplations of him), that yet still in the close of all we sit 
down with the faith of this, that in him all these perfections are inseparably 
one indivisible being, and all of them himself, and withal comforting and 
relieving ourselves against that present deficiency, that God hath reserved 
a time in the other world, in which with one intuitive act of knowledge or 

* I leave it to the schools to dispute : the Scotists on the one side, other school- 
men on the other; Quid sit fundamentum distinclionis attributorum in Deo, num in re 
an in ratione ratiocinante. This I am sure of, that what of the things of God are 
multiplied in our conceptions, are hut one in God, and one God. Sicut si quceratur 
an potentia sensiliva coloris et odoris sint idem, an distinguantur ? Respondendum, 
in sensibus externis quidem distingui, in sensu interno esse realitlr idem. — (Raphael 
Aversade Sanseverino in Part, prima, Quaest. 3. Sect. 4). 


entire view at once, we shall see all those perfections of his to be but one 
simple nature and fulness of the Godhead, which is a seeing God face to 
face. And then we shall find also that these attributes in this life did yet 
truly and really represent what was really and truly in himself. 

And thus much for the first explaining narrative or account (as I call it, 
because it consists of so many branches), which though it contains but 
what is common to other attributes, yet was necessary to be premised both 
for the better understanding of the proofs, and for the preventing mistakes 
perhaps in some vulgar understandings, as also conducing to the bringing 
forth something towards the state of this question, as it particularly con- 
cerneth mercy, viz., this, 

That this attribute of merciful is said to be natural to God, or the nature 
of God, because it directly signifies what is in God's nature, truly answer- 
able thereunto ; and that God's intent in proclaiming himself merciful, &c, 
is to declare what properly himself is, and his Godhead is. 

II. The second explanatory proposition is, that there are two ranks of 
these attributes, as our divines, and the attributes themselves, as in the 
Scriptures they are related, speak them to be. 

1. The first is of such as are utterly incommunicable unto us creatures, 
nor have they any respect unto the creatures ; such are God's infinity, sim- 
plicity, immensity. 

2. There are those that are communicable to us, that is, in the shadow 
and likeness of them, as wisdom, holiness, truth, goodness, mercy ; and 
such as have a respect unto the creature, as power, which is seen in creating 
and governing the creatures ; and goodness likewise, which respects a com- 
munication {of good unto the creature, whereof grace and mercy are eminent 
branches, and to be sure do respect the creature only, for God is not 
merciful to himself. ' The Lord is good, and his mercy endureth for ever,' 
was the solemn set song in the temple wherewith to praise the Lord. And 
this communicableness of some that are God's essential properties is 
evinced by that speech, ' He makes us partakers of his holiness,' Heb. 
xii. 10. And in like manner it holds of his wisdom, truth, goodness, 
mercy, kindness, long- suffering, &c, in that these are styled the image of 
God, that is, of what is in God, as the original pattern, *gaar6twnf. Now 
because the attributes of this latter rank are in a shadow communicable to 
the creature, and have a respect unto the creature, &c, therefore these men 
do confound these kind of attributes, at least some of them (as they please 
to except), with those that are but metaphorically attributed to God, and 
are apparently but borrowed from what is really in the creatures, and 
attributed unto God. And they do utterly deny these are first really and 
essentially in God, but only the image and shadow of them communicated 
to us, as hath been said, whilst yet they acknowledge those of the first 
rank to be essentially in God. But for the confirmation that the second 
rank communicated, &c, are no less essentially his divine nature than the 
first, I shall allege but two arguments. 

1st. The first is out of 2 Pet. i. 4, where we are said to be 'partakers of 
the divine nature;' whereby either, 1, the divine nature or Godhead itself 
is intended : and so we are said to be partakers of it in this just sense, by 
way of communion with the Godhead in the three persons, who, becoming 
our God, gives up himself, and all the perfections that are in him, unto us, 
to be enjoyed by us ; and so either here or hereafter we are to be ' filled 
with all the fulness of God,' Eph. iii. 19; not bodily (or by personal union, 
as Christ, CoL ii. 9), but in the objective communications thereof, for our 


eternal happiness. And if this be understood, as many do understand it, 
we have his Godhead directly and immediately termed his divine nature, 
which yields an additional confirmation to what was affirmed in the former 
explication. Or, 2, by divino nature there is meant that Dei/ormltus, as 
the ancients called it; that is, the image of God, or a conformity unto God 
in us, which is the more common opinion ; and so understood, it falls in 
to be a proof of the assertion of this second explication ; for therein three 
things are necessarily imported: 1, that there are in God such perfections, 
as whereof we, in the likeness of them, are participants ; and so that that 
whole set and sort of communicable perfections in God are intended, and 
are expressly termed the divine nature, because they are first and originally 
in him, and then in us. Again, 2, the image of those perfections are 
styled the divine nature in us, as being the imitation of his ; and that not 
only in respect of the resemblance or likeness which the graces communi- 
cated have to his perfections, as those we have inherent in us bear the 
semblance of those in him. But further, 3, in respect that they become 
a new and divine nature in us, in our kind, even as his perfections (thus 
communicated) are a nature in him, even a blessed and divine nature. 
And for their resemblance unto him in that very respect, they are in com- 
mon called a divine nature in both him and us; being first true of him, 
and then in us, as the apostle John, in case of love, speaks of Christ and 
us, 1 John ii. And for that they are a nature in him as well as in us, 
therefore the conclusion is, that these communicable attributes are truly 
his divine nature, as well as the incommunicable. But, 4, there is this 
difference betwixt these perfections in God and those communicated to us, 
that in us they are but inherent qualities, which are termed a nature, be- 
cause they become as natural in us as any inbred and innate qualities can 
be said to be; whereas in God, look as he himself is ' the most high God,' 
Gen. xiv. 22, and elsewhere, ' God most high,' so these perfections are 
accordingly in him after a most high and transcendently supreme surpass- 
ing manner, incomprehensible by us ; whereof the following argument is an 
invincible evidence. 

Arg. 2. These communicable attributes of wisdom, holiness, truth, good- 
ness, power, &c, are so attributed to him, as such as are in him alone; 
notwithstanding that we men do partake of these, and the angels also do 
far excel us men in all these; thus, ' as wise as an angel of God' is the 
expression, 2 Sam. xiv. 17, and they are styled ' the holy angels,' and 'that 
excel in strength,' Ps. ciii. 20, far above us men in this life. Yet God 
alone retains and challenges the honour of being ' only wise,' Bom. xvi. 27, 
1 only holy,' Bev. xv. 4, ' only good,' Mat. xix. 17, ' the only true God,' 
Bom. iii. 4. Which attributions with an only must and do necessarily 
import, 1, that this wisdom, holiness, goodness, truth, and strength, are 
in God as God, and that they are of his divine essence and nature, which 
we creatures are in no wise capable of. Our souls are one thing, namely, 
substances; our graces another, namely, accidents; but the essence of God, 
and his divine properties, are but one and the same ; of which more after- 
wards. And hence it is that although these are communicated to us, yet 
indeed are but equivoce attributed to the creatures, and are in them but in 
a semblance, even as the picture of a man is called a man. And though 
because men assumed and imposed these names first, and applied them to 
men, and seeing such and such qualities in them, they thereupon gave them 
the names of wise and merciful, to signify those things in a man which, 
according to man, is wisdom and mercy ; and it was they that gave these 


denominations to men like themselves, because men are next and first in 
our view; yet in truth and reality the sole honour and glory of these names, 
thus invented by men, and applied to men, are due to God alone, for the 
true reality and substance of these in the creature is in God, and men had 
the gifts and qualifications of them derived from God. And men having 
given such and such several names unto those excellencies that are in men 
and angels, calling man, for that little wisdom in him, wise; for holiness, 
holy ; yet these falling out to be the likeness and resemblance of what is 
in God substantially, therefore God, in speaking of himself unto men, useth 
the same terms and style, to set out those glories in himself; and this 
account the schoolmen* have wisely given. Seeing, then, that these 
attributes that are communicated to the creatures are as they are in God 
his nature, as well as the incommunicable, there are these consectaries 
from thence. 

The first is to shew the apparent and jet infinitely vast difference that 
is between those attributes which are said to be ascribed to God after the 
manner of man, which have been specified again and again, and those we 
call communicable to men, and are in common ascribed to us and to God. 
The difference is manifest; that those after the manner of man (as when 
God is said to grieve, Gen. vi., be troubled, Jer. xxxi. 20, his repentings, 
Hos. xi. 8, &c, of which sort those men would persuade us the mercies 
in God to be, and would reduce and bring mercy in God thereto) are such 
as are truly, and properly, and originally in the creature first, and then 
borrowed from the creature by way of similitude only, God condescending 
in that language to speak of himself after our manner, and weaknesses, and 
passions, so to make a smart and sensible impression upon our dull souls. 
But, on the clean contrary, these communicable attributes, whereof mercy 
is one, are first and originally in God, and derived from his fulness, which 
God vouchsafes to express to us by those names which we men give to the 
semblance of them in us men, as hath been explained. 

Hence, 2, we may likewise discern how easily men may err from the 
right in this matter; because mercy in us men, in the sound of it, speaks 
weakness and an affectionate passion as the conjunct of it; and when 
spoken of God, is expressed by the sounding of bowels, &c, and by God's 
being troubled for us, which is acknowledged to be indeed spoken of him; 
but it is to be understood after the manner of men, because he doth that 
which merciful men are wont to do when their bowels yearn within them. 
But yet still mercy itself, that is the root of all as it is in God, is another 
thing. We must cut off all such imperfections, whilst yet we are helped 
by them, as we are men, to conceive how tender his mercies are towards 
us. We poor creatures are apt to drench our conceptions in what mercy 
in the creature is, and through the tincture and apprehension we have 
thereof, taken from the creature, do we look upon the mercies in God, and 
so conceive of them as if God had borrowed the denomination of them 
from us, to express himself to us by; and so we are apt to think mercy to 
be a mere metaphorical [attribute in God. We grant mercy in us to be 
analogous to what is in God, but that mercy in God to be the original 
idea, and not metaphorical or similitudinary. 

Hence, 3, let us, in our thoughts about these mercies in God, form and 
cast our conceptions in the mould of this rule, that though they be in God, 

* Ista nomina per prius dicuntur de Deo, quam de creaturis: sed quantum ad 
impositionem per prius a natis imponuntur creaturis (quas prius cognoscimus). — 
Aquinas, 1 parte, Quoest. 13, articulo 6, in fine. 

Chap. XL] of justifying faith. 81 

yet after an unconceivable manner to us ; and that they aro in God for the 
kind and being of them, with an infinite difference, — as being in God as 
God, and in the creature but as a creature ; and therefore, that as far as 
God's essence and being transcends ours for kind of being, so far doth 
holiuess and mercy in him exceed the mercies that arc in us, even for kind 
also, as Christ in the very point of mercy informs us, in saying, ' So shall 
you be the children of the Most High,' Luke vi. 35, 3G. And so much 
higher in mercy is God than we, for our comfort, ' as the heavens are 
higher than the earth ;' as God himself speaks of himself, Isaiah lv. 9. 

These things forelaid, the true measure of the decision of this question 
(if any will dare to make a question of it) is, 

Whether that these attributes, merciful and gracious, &c, although in 
common attributed unto man, do not yet serve, and be not intended by 
God, as really and fully to express and set out to our faith what a God he 
is in himself, and what his very nature and inward disposition, and inclina- 
tions of soul are, and affections of heart, a root and principle of merciful 
effects ; as when he is said to be holy, good, wise, true, strong, powerful, 
or the like; which are all communicated to man, and yet not ascribed to 
God after the manner of men only ; as when he is said to be grieved, and 
pricked at the heart. 

And if any will deny these, and such-like, to be essential attributes, or 
expressive of the true nature of God, they must affirm that no attributes, 
whereof men partake the name, are at all such, and that all do serve to 
express but outward effects merely, and no way inward dispositions, as the 
principle of those effects in him. And thus proposed, I shall make this 
one main argument of the assertion, viz., that mercy is a parallel attribute 
with those other. None dare say that he is holy in his works, or in respect 
he doth holy works, but that he is holy in his being, as he is God. The 
like is to be understood of his being good, wise, merciful, &c. 


That mercy and grace in God are properties of his divine being and glory. — 
No other proof alleged but from the text, Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7. 

I come now to the farther proofs of this assertion, that mercy and grace 
are properties of the divine nature. And I profess to allege no other (that 
I may shew this text to be a complete abundary of all God's mercies) than 
what the text, either in the words themselves, or the aspect of them upon 
what went before, do afford the heads of, and foundations for ; and I shall 
then call in the help but of such other scriptures, which as volunteers 
willingly offer themselves to assist in this cause, and verify and confirm 
each hereof, when first extracted out of the word. 

The point to be proved is, that mercy and grace are glorious properties 
of the divine being or nature. 

Arg. 1. The first argument is drawn from the true reference and strict 
correspondency this proclamation of God, merciful, &c, holds with the 
foregone transactions in the chapter before, Exod. xxxiii., which lead on to 
it, which were Moses's request, God's answer and promise unto his request ; 
and here in my text, God's performance according to his promise. These 
three are correspondent, one to the other. Observe we then, 1st, what 
it was Moses desired of God ; and, 2dly, what God promised to gratify 


him in ; and, 3dly, the thing which God did punctually perform. And, in 
my beginning with this first, I shall but keep to that method generally 
observed for the opening of a text, in discovering its occasion, coherence; 
and yet withal prove my assertion at once. In the 33d chapter, Moses had 
desired of God that he would shew him his face and glory ; that is, his 
divine essence immediately, or his essential glory as it is in himself. This 
Moses aspired unto, ver. 18, ' I beseech thee, shew me thy glory ;' but God 
tells him that this seeing his face, or the immediate vision of his essence 
or being, none is capable of, and live, ver. 20, which yet leaves a room for 
hope that the frailties of this life being removed, a man may see God's 
face in that other life. But yet, in lieu thereof, God, to gratify him, pro- 
fesses his gracious resolution to grant the privilege, as far as was possible 
for any mere man to partake of it and live ; and to manifest his foresaid 
face and glory, and his being God, as far as was expressible, and might be 
represented unto man, and he live, in these words : ver. 19, ' And he said, 
I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name 
of the Lord before thee, and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, 
and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.' And the best interpre- 
tation of this is that which I find in Oleaster,* who paraphrasing those 
words of God's, ' all my good,' that is, myself, says he, in whom is all that 
is good or excellent, or a perfection, shall pass before thee, and be made 
known by voice signifying it, ' I will proclaim my name,' &c, or by a 
vision of his, ver. 23, ' Thou shalt see my back parts,' representing it. 
And you heard how the names or attributes of God do signify truly and 
properly what is really the nature of God. So then God's essential divine 
perfections are intended and promised by God, to be seen and ^proclaimed 
by such characters of words ; or a name and attributes, as far as was 
possible, those perfections in himself to be by words expressed ; yet so as 
still these words should be such as should represent what was in himself, 
or the divine nature, in truth and reality answering thereunto, as in my 
explication premised, chap, vi., I have shewn. 

From whence I argue, that if these first and chief attributes proclaimed, 
viz., Jehovah, merciful, gracions, long-suffering, much in goodness and 
truth, had not served to signify that essential goodness which was in him- 
self ; or if there had not been that glory essentially in himself which these 
names were intended to signify, then God had neitber gratified Moses to 
the utmost he was capacitated for, nor answered his desire to see his glory, 
as far as he was capable to see it, and live. For that there are some such 
other names and attributes of his in Scripture which do express his nature 
and essence, all do, and must acknowledge, as wisdom, holiness, &c, which 
are not here expressed ; and therefore, if he doth it not in these here, 
professedly by himself proclaimed, and proclaimed as professedly to that 
very end and purpose, make his essence known ; then nowhere else should 
he be thought or judged to do it ; nay, he had done it in none, for he had 
professed beforehand he would do it in these, that he would proclaim his 
goodness and glory. And whereas there are (as was said) other attributes 
and epithets that would have set forth his divine being and glory, that he 
should name none of those, but, in lieu thereof, choose and single forth 
merciful, gracious, above all others, to express bis glory by, argues that 
mercy is not only his nature, but the glory of it ; at least, it must be 

* Ego transire faciam omne meum bonum, id est, meipsum ; in quo sunt omnia 
bona quae coram te explicabuntur voce : Clamabo nomen Domini. — Oleaster in 

Chap. XL] of justifying faith. 88 

acknowledged such as do signify what his nature is, as really and as 
properly as any other denomination whatsoever can do, or ever will do. 
Yea, he would, since he professeth to proclaim that name which should 
express his glory, rather have made choice of those other names that are 
essential, if those had not been such as much as any. And this first 
argument is but as the porch or portal to the whole building. 

Arg. 2. My second argument is from the very order and division which 
the words (as to the point of mercy) do naturally fall into ; and this may 
well be taken for one proof of this assertion, a preliminary one, for I yet 
make but an entry to the text. For three things may be easily discerned 
distinct in this proclamation, and succeeding one the other in an orderly 
dependence one upon the other. 

1. An inward, merciful, and gracious disposition to shew mercy, which 
is the root or spring, placed therefore in order the first: 'Jehovah, 
Jehovah, God merciful and gracious, long- suffering, much in goodness and 

2. His blessed purposes and resolutions to bestow it, in these words : 
' keeping mercy for thousands ; ' that is, reserving it in his intendments to 
bestow it, which are immanent acts in God, flowing from the former, kept 
and laid up in his own breast, and now uttered. 

3. Extrinsecal, or outward works of mercy issuing from both : as ' par- 
doning iniquity, transgression, and sin,' that being given as one instance 
(the most eminent), for all other of that sort, external mercies. 

Whereof the sum is, 1st, he is merciful and gracious : that is his nature 
as he is Jehovah, Jehovah ; 2dly, he fully resolveth to shew mercy : there 
is his heart ; 3dly, he hath done it, and doth it, in pardoning every day : 
there is his wont and practice, as Moses upon it says : Numb, xiv., ' Par- 
don as thou hast pardoned, from Egypt until now.' And by these three 
God sets himself out to be every way, and all sorts of ways, merciful. 

And this general may serve instead of a more exact division of the words 
which others would give, and doth give some light to prove this head, if 
there were no other to follow ; but this is but as the threshold or first 
entrance to the whole. 

Arg. 3. Merciful effects are ascribed unto the mercy of God as the proper 
cause of them, and therefore the mercy attributed to God must be properly 
an inward principle in God, whence those effects do proceed. It is an 
approved maxim, and will approve itself, and carry itself thorugh the 
whole Scriptures, that as in the general all God's works are ascribed to 
God as God, Ps. lxxxvi. 8, 10 ; so in particular every genuine attribute 
hath, for the glory of it, proper work attributed in a special eminency unto 
it as the special cause of that work. As the creation of the world is attri- 
buted to power, Rom. i., and to wisdom, Ps. cxl. 24, yea, and the greatness 
of his work is attributed to the greatness that is in himself, Ps. lxxxvi, 10, 
and Ps. cxlv. 3-6, as in like manner the goodness of them to the goodness 
that resides in him ; and thus the performance of his promises is attributed 
to that essential truth that is in him, and are styled truth ; the like must 
be allowed unto mercy, whilst we find the Scriptures attributing such and 
such works unto mercy in God as the proper cause of them. Furthermore, 
the distinction of one essential attribute from another is, to our under- 
standing, fetched from that special and proper relation they have in 
Scripture given them unto their several objects and effects. Justice refers 
to a sinner as to be punished, mercy to a sinner to be forgiven, and are 
thereby distinguished as to us, who cannot conceive of their simple oneness 


as it is in God's divine being.* There is that really in God which answers 
to each and every one as so distinguished. 

Now, that merciful effects are ascribed to the mercy of God, as the proper 
cause of them, as truly and as roundly as any other effects are to any other 
attributes whatever, is evident out of this text, to which, as for the ground- 
work of my proofs, I have limited myself; as also from other scriptures 
which confirm the same. 

I. Out of this text. 

1. It appears from God's own method. First, 'Jehovah, merciful,' &c, 
absolutely simply such is proclaimed; and then, 'a God that pardons 
iniquity.' The first is placed before as the principle or cause, the latter as 
the effect thereof. 

2. It is evident by Moses his gloss upon the interpretation of it, Num. 
xiv-., where he first allege th, as the foundation of his request, the two chief 
of these first five absolute abstract attributes, power and mercy, as the 
summary of the other : ' Let the power of my Lord be great, according as 
thou hast said, saying, The Lord is long-suffering and of great mercy.' 
Thus as they are in God himself; and then he mentions those that speak 
the effects thereof, ' forgiving iniquity and transgression.' Which having 
premised, his petition is framed accordingly, verse 19, which he indites 
thus, ' Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people, according to the 
greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people from Egypt 
even until now.' Now, compare we the one and the other together, and 
look as the words he cites of God's speech have two parts or clauses — 1, 
the Lord, long-suffering and of great mercy, which are the abstract attributes ; 
2, pardoning iniquity, &c, that speak the effects — accordingly his applica- 
tion of them in his petition hath two parts or clauses manifestly answering 
to and expounding those other two: 1, that phrase, ' according to his great 
mercy,' answereth and expouncleth these words, • the Lord, long-suffering, 
great in mercy,' &c, as strongly pleading that according to that mercy he 
had thereby declared to be in himself and gracious nature as a principle of 
pardoning, he would please to pardon them ; 2, his adding, ' As thou hast 
forgiven them all along from Egypt until now,' denoting matter of fact 
done and put forth by mercy, doth as pertinently expound that clause in 
God's own words cited by him, ' forgiving iniquity and transgression,' 
which in like manner also denoteth matter of fact as the effect of mercy. 
And put both together, and they fall into this true and genuine sense and 
meaning; as if he had said, According to that infinite mercy abounding in 
thy divine nature, who art Jehovah, God, merciful and long-suffering, &c, 
out of which, and according to which, thou hast de facto pardoned them 
hitherto, pardon them again now; which that it is the scope of God's 
words in my text, is the thing I am a-proving. So then in these words, 

1 the Lord, long-suffering, and of great mercy,' there is the cause first 
specified, or principle in God moving him, and which therefore Moses in 
the first place premiseth as his foundation to move God withal. Then in 
the other w r ords, ' pardoning iniquity,' there is the effect promised, with 
this declaration of his nature, which flows from that inward blessed dis- 
position or principle of mercifulness, which he sues unto, and implores 
that God would accordingly put forth in an actual pardoning of them. 

* "We must not say, Formaliter, quod Deus quatenus miscricors punit, nee qua- 
tenus puniens est misericors : non dicitur per misericordiam punire, aut per justitiam 
vindicatricem misereri, sicut non dicitur, per intellectum vult, et per voluntatem 
intelligit. — Sanseverinus, Parti. Quaest. 21, Sect. 1. 


The first speaks mercy to be an attribute of his nature, for he clearly 
parallels it with his power, as an essential attribute: 'Let the power of 
my Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, the Lord God of great 
mercy.' The second, of pardoning iniquity, speaks that effect llowing 
from that nature as an act of his will yet put forth, according to his 
nature, which those words of Moses, ' according to the greatness of thy 
mercy,' do sufficiently import. And it was Moses that first brought up 
this so happy expression in praying, ' according to thy mercy,' upon this 
occasion, and as extracted from those words, ' the Lord, long-suffering* 
merciful,' which was afterwards often used by David and the prophets as 
a ground of their seeking of pardon and mercy, and that unto this very 
purpose and meaning in which I have now expounded it. For this of 
Moses was the original of it, and is the highest and utmost motive that 
can be used to God, to put forth all the mercies of his nature to succour 
us in all our distresses, and that according thereunto he would deal with 
us ; which is enough and enough (as we say) for us to ask, or to support 
our faith in asking. And all these are at once seconded by Nehemiah, 
chap. ix. 31, 'Nevertheless for thy great mercies' sake thou didst not 
utterly consume them, nor forsake them; for thou art a gracious and mer- 
ciful God.' 1. There is the root or bbva^ig of mercifulness in God himself, 
the efficient cause: ' for thou art a gracious and merciful God;' 2, there 
is the effects of that mercy: ' thou therefore forsookest them not;' and 3, 
there is the same mercy in his nature, and set out as the final cause moving 
him thereunto : ' for thy great mercy's sake.' 

By David's application of the words of my text, I shewed in the fore- 
going chapter how David, rehearsing first these four attributes appertain- 
ing to mercy word for word, hath likewise by name cited Moses, as out of 
whose writings he had them. And his method there is accordingly the 
same with this we have shewn was that of Moses. First, abstractly to 
recite those attributes as the principles in him and the cause : Ps. ciii. 8, 

* The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in 
mercy.' And then to bring in many of the outward effects of that mercy: 
ver. 9, 10, ' He will not always chide ; neither will he keep his anger for 
ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according 
to our iniquities.' And amongst others he introduceth that of pardoning 
iniquity, &c. : ver. 12, ' As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he 
removed our transgressions from us.' 

Elsewhere and in other scriptures we find the same ; and indeed other 
scriptures that speak about the mercies of God, speak but according to 
God's intent in these words, they being derivatives all from this. Now, 
when in Psalm Ixxviii. 38 it is said, ' He, being full of compassion, forgave 
their iniquities,' he plainly assigns the mercifulness in God to have been 
the cause* of his forgiving them, and therefore mercy is most properly 
ascribed to God, and is in God. And this speech of his there is but 
explicatory of these words here in the text. In like manner, in Psalm 
lxxxvi., after he had so earnestly sought for mercy at God's hands (as 

* preserve my soul, save thy servant,' ver. 2; ' be merciful to me,' ver. 3), 
he foundeth all his petitions on this, ' For thou art good, and ready to 
forgive ; plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.' He sup- 
plicates his good and merciful nature to move himself to put forth these 
acts of mercy towards him. Likewise Nehemiah, chap. ix. 31, giving an 
account of God's gracious dealings with that people notwithstanding their 

* Causa attribuitur ejus misericordise, quje naturaliter in ipso est. — Cat. in verba. 


sins, « Nevertheless,' saith he, ' thou didst not forsake them, for thou art 
a gracious and merciful God.' That particle for, in this and those other 
places, doth undeniably testify that God being himself truly and properly 
merciful, from thence and according thereunto it is that he acteth 
graciously and compassionately towards us, as moved by and from a true 
principle and disposition in himself. Oh how perfectly contrary are these 
professed dictates of the Holy Ghost unto what some would elevate and 
dilute this attribute unto, viz., that he is only said to be gracious and 
merciful, &c, for or because he doth merciful things; whereas the Scrip- 
ture style all along you see is, he doth merciful works for he is gracious 
and merciful. 

Yea, further, to confirm this, it is so remote that God should be styled 
merciful in relation to his works of mercy, that his works of mercy have 
their denomination or name of mercies * (as frequently they have in the 
Scriptures, and in common use of speech) given them from that proper 
special relation they owe and bear unto the mercy that is in God, from 
whence they do proceed. And so they are not styled mercies because 
they respect us or our needs, the objects of them, but in respect to the 
merciful God, who is the original subject in whom mercy is, and he the 
Father and fountain of them. And as the effect ordinarily bears the name 
of its proper cause, as the child of the father, so those mercies bear their 
name of and from his mercy, who is more eminently styled the Father of 
them than of any other his works wrought by other attributes. And that 
which confirms this notion is, that in the case of other attributes, their 
proper works or effects have their denomination from that attribute which 
is their cause, wherefore so in this. Thus Psalm cxix. 137, 138, ' Right- 
eous art thou, Lord, and upright are thy judgments. Thy testimonies 
that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful.' There they 
are termed righteous and faithful judgments, as proceeding from his being 
a righteous and faithful God, and as from whose righteousness they pro- 
ceed. In like manner also the works of his grace in us are termed grace, 
grace freely given, being the free impressions and fruits of the grace that 
is in himself. And indeed, in that elogium of him that he is the ' Father 
of mercies,' 2 Cor. i. 3, look as the word of mercies, ofarig/iuv, doth import 
mercies bestowed, f so Father of those mercies is spoken of God to a like 
purpose ; as when the sun is said to be the father of lights (for unto the 
sun is that allusion of God in the apostle, James i. 17), the meaning is, 
that the sun hath first all light originally seated in itself, and so communi- 
cates all those lights and glory with which the moon, stars, and air are 
enlightened. Looking-glasses are arrayed and do borrow from that sun, 
and yet themselves are called lights. But how ? Only by participation 
from it, the original light. And in the same respect is God the Father of 
mercies, as he is also entitled the ' Father of glory ' in Eph. i. 17. Which 
in like manner notes, 1st, that he is a glorious God in himself — 'the God 
of glory,' Acts vii.2 — having an essential glory abiding in him, as light 
doth in the sun. And then, 2dly, that he disperseth glory to his saints 
and angels, as the Father of all their glory. And in and for the same 
reason he is magnified to be the ' fountain of life,' Ps. xxxvi. 9 : 
1, because he is the living God, and hath life in himself, as a fountain 

* As in that speech (to name but one instance), ; I am less,' says Jacob, 'than 
the least of all thy mercies;' less in worth than this staff, or any other mercy 

t See Drusius in locum. 

Chap. XL] of justifying faith. 87 

hath water first in itself; and, 2, that from thence he derives life to 
others in lesser streams. And answcrably in the words of the apostle 
Paul, 2 Cor. i. 3, he is styled merciful, and the Father of mercies. These 
being the offspring of his mercy, do bear the name of mercy from God the 
Father of them. 

It hath been sufficiently by all those foregoing passages of Scripture 
proved, that all outward effects of mercy are ascribed unto mercy, an attri- 
bute of God, as their cause and principle. I shall shut up this argument 
with a further proof of this inference, that therefore there is an inward 
principle of mercy in God himself, which is that cause. 

1. First, in reason. If the mercies of God be the cause, they must have 
a real being and existence afore all outward effects of mercy, and a greater 
than the effects, for it produceth them ; and in whom or in what can that 
mercy have an existence or being, but in God himself, whose mercy alone, 
and greatness of mercy too, it is said to be ? It is the mercy of God to 
which those effects are attributed, and therefore it is in God. And cer- 
tainly did those merciful effects proceed from other principles in God more 
eminently than mercy, he would never give the honour away from them, 
and cry up his mercy so much as the principal cause ; he would not give 
the honour to it if it were but a made attribute, and not real and genuine. 
And if that which I before laid at the entrance be true (as it is), viz., that 
genuine attributes have their proper effects attributed to them, in relation 
to which they are distinguished one from another as to our conceptions of 
them, it must then hold, that if all merciful effects are set over by the 
Scriptures unto the mercy of God as their proper cause (as hath been 
shewed), then mercy itself also is and must be as genuine and essential an 
attribute as any of the other. I hope the same plea for other attributes in 
this cause will be admitted and allowed in mercy's behalf; as, for instance, 
when it is said, * the Lord is good, and doth good,' Ps. cxix. 68, here 
doing good, being the effect of his being good, and attributed thereunto a,s 
its proper cause, doth invincibly argue his being good to be an essential 
attribute in him, &c. Thus, in like manner, when it is said, ' God being 
merciful forgave their iniquities' (which is the highest act of mercy), and 
divers others like to this that have been alleged, doth it not as aloud speak 
that God being first merciful in himself, doth out of that merciful disposi- 
tion pardon and forgive sins? Again, when it is said, 'The righteous Lord 
loveth righteousness,' Ps. xi. 17, hereby is imported that God first is 
himself righteous, which righteousness in this place is that integrity, recti- 
tude, and uprightness of his nature, whereby he is wholly addicted, and 
disposed, and inclined unto holiness and righteousness, and then thence a 
suitable affection flows, he loveth righteousness. Then surely on this 
other hand, when it is said God is merciful, and delighteth in mercy, that 
affection of delight ought to be interpreted to arise from an innate propi- 
tiousness unto merciful acts, as proceeding from a merciful inclination and 
disposition of heart, unto which to shew mercy is so naturally agreeable, 
as he delights in it ; and therefore it is said, that above all he is known by 
it; that is, known how merciful in himself he is, even as when it is said 
he is known to be a just God by the judgments that he executes, Ps. ix. 16. 

And indeed, those and such like speeches up and down the Scriptures— 
' Shew us thy mercy, Lord,' Ps. lxxxv. 7 ; thy mercy, that is, which is 
in thee, in thy heart and nature, lying of itself hid and latent there, unless 
and until thou puttest it forth in mercies towards us ; and in Ps. xvii. 7, 
'Shew thy wonderful loving-kindness,' or, as others read it, Mirifica 


misericordiam titan?, 'make wonderful thy mercy ; thy mercy,' which is 
so wonderful in itself, and as it is in thee, therefore shew it and give 
demonstration of it by wonderful effects ; to which corresponds that of Ps. 
cxi. 3, 5, ' His work is honourable and glorious ; and his righteousness 
endureth for ever. He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered : 
the Lord is gracious and full of compassion ; ' as also that in Eph. ii. 7, 
to ' shew outwardly the exceeding riches of his grace ' (namely, within 
himself), — and many the like phrases, I say, do evidence the point in hand. 
For so in the case of other attributes it is acknowledged, that to prove 
them to be essential such expressions do serve ; as when of God's truth 
and uprightness it is said, Ps. xcii. 15, 'To shew the Lord is upright, and 
there is no unrighteousness in him.' So of his power, ' to make his power 
known,' Rom. ix. 22. ' To shew himself strong,' 2 Chron. xvi. 9. And 
this for the third argument, fetched from the relation of mercy in God as 
the cause, and mercies as the effect. 

Arg. 4. That which gives a farther addition of strength unto the fore- 
going argument, and will withal grow up to a new one, is, that God hath 
placed and ranked this of merciful amongst other attributes, which must 
be acknowledged to be of his essence, and to express what his nature is. 
And merciful being seated on this royal throne together with them, without 
any character or difference from them, yea, with the first of them, and with 
an height of greater eminency in some respects, how shall we otherwise 
understand it than that it is an attribute of the same kind, of equal rank 
and dignity, and of as high an alliance to the divine nature as they are of? 

Here are in the text two attributes especially, or indeed four, which God 
hath seated on this high bench, and hath set merciful in equal royal state 
with them, next himself, Jehovah, God. First, the two ; the one sitting 
on the right hand, the other on the left, of merciful placed in the midst, as 
on the throne between them. 1. Strength, or power to assist and strengthen 
the hands of it ; ^, El, indifferently signifies either strong or God (as is 
well known) ; I take both, as Junius throughout the whole Old Testament 
doth, everywhere translating it the ' strong God.' 2. There is on the left 
grace, to quicken mercy in all its actings ; so read the words thus, ' God, 
the strong, merciful, gracious.' 3. Unto which two are added goodness or 
kindness* And 4. Truth. I might reckon in long-suffering as a fifth ; 
but it is so apparently a sprig of mercy, or rather indeed but mercy itself 
stretched out at length, or continued (as waiting is but faith continued), 
that therefore I shut up that into mercy, and mention it not here as 

But I do take in the other two, ' abundant in goodness and truth,' as 
distinct, and as importing inherent principles in God of goodness and truth, 
in which his nature doth abound; and although in our English the word 
abundant would seem to carry the sound or report more toward actual 
kindness, and to God's performance of truth, yet the original word itself, 
and as it is by others translated, signifies as well much, ample, large, 
plenteous in goodness and truth, and is by our own translators, in Ps. 
ciii. 9, rendered 'plenteous in mercy' ; and these words much, plenteous, 
&c, do in their connotation strike deeper, and reach unto the bottom, and 
express the mind and treasury in God's heart and nature, as it is stored 
with a plenteousness in all goodness and truth, and how out of that infinite 
riches it is that in the outward dispensation he so abounds in goodness and 
truth. And that it is thus intended is undeniable ; for, as the Lord is first 
* Note, that some translate that word goodness, others kindness. 


good in himself, and out of that goodness doth good, as in Ps. cxix. G8, 
and like as ho is essential truth first, who ' cannot lie,' Titus i. 2 ; i.e., his 
nature is truth ;* and then from out of that nature it is that having spoken 
once the word, he pcrformeth truth, so for the same reason the ground 
why he is so much and so abundant in goodness and truth, dispensatorily 
or in actual execution, must be, that he is much in goodness and truth first 
in himself essentially. That such exceeding abundance in the one is from 
the superabundancy of the other; and the reason is, because the degrees 
of much kindness and goodness in outward effects do as much depend and 
hold on the plenteousness of each of them in his nature, as simply his doing 
good in the least degree doth upon his being good, or no good at all would 
be done. The abounding therefore of goodness and truth in his nature 
must fundamentally be here understood as the spring, the overflowing of 
which causeth those high floods of each in his actings and dispensations. 
And goodness and kindness in any one who is such do most genuinely 
express nature in him, and what is natural to him, since by way of emi- 
nency we give such dispositions the style of ' good nature.' And so, seeing 
goodness and kindness are thus attributed to God, they speak nature in 
him also, or if yon will, the goodness of his nature (as with reverence I 
may speak), the most of any attributes. 

Upon these fore-mentioned accounts I may justly reckon upon four com- 
peers which mercy here hath, and is every way equal with them, and with 
each of which I might vie on mercy's side, and plead it to be as natural as 
any of them. I reason from them now as they are placed altogether as fixed 
stars, all of them in this glorious constellation, declaring the glory of God, 
Ps. xix., and of the like brightness and equal magnitude ; they are all 
merciful, and all alike formed up and cast in one and the same mould, 
that is, one and the same uniform kind of speech, and under that attri- 
buted alike to God, viz., such a form as was in the foregone argument, 
said to be, denoting inward, innate, inherent dispositions, which the four 
here for certain do, under such a form, denote, and are all four in them- 
selves such. And it is very hard to think and judge, that one alone of 
merciful, uttered in the same tenor, should be otherwise, that that alone 
should be adventitious. God is said to be good, and true, and the strong 
God, from that innate strength, goodness, and truth that is in himself, and 
not only from his doing good, &c. And why ought we not as well conceive 
him to be merciful (as it is here placed amongst these other) from an inhe- 
rent inward merciful disposition in himself, and not in relation only to the 
merciful effects he doth, and every day brings forth ? And God himself, 
who best knows himself, and how to speak of himself, having put no 
character of difference, who shall dare to make a difference ? so vast a 
difference, as to affirm that merciful is but a made, artificial attribute, 
raised up merely from his outward works of mercy, as his style of being 
the Creator is from the works of his creation, without which he had not 
had the actual glory of that title ; whenas those other that sit round about 
it here have the honour (de jure, and of right) to be acknowledged abso- 
lutely, and de se, to be and to have been in him, whether he had ever acted 
according to them, yea or not. 

And further, there may be added unto this that which I inserted, that 

merciful holds this its rank and place amongst them with so great an 

eminency. Search this and other scriptures ; first, here in this it is placed 

* Verus in natura, verax in sermone ; so, in respect of strength, he is loyyi'^ 


with the first, and by Moses made the great dominator, together with 
power, which two he alone supplicates whilst he allegeth these words, 
Num. xiv. 17-10, they two being as eminently set up in the words ; and, 
6econd, elsewhere the Scripture gives and bes .o^s a richer and larger coat 
of arms upon mercy, than on any other attribute that is not akin to this. 
One word usually serves to express any other attribute; but what a multi- 
plication and heaping up of words frequently is there to emblazon the glory 
of this ! In the text here, there is ■ merciful, gracious, long-suffering, 
plenteous in goodness,' which are in a manner all but various characters 
of mercy, and are much the same with mercy. However (as we say), they 
are of nearest kindred to it, and are therefore singled out and severed from 
all the rest of the words that follow in the text, by the psalmist, Ps. ciii. 0. 

Lastly, The Scripture loads mercy in God with titles of honour, and 
supperadded epithets of greatness, riches, glory, plenteousness, fulness, 
abundance, multitude, variety, manifold, eternity, everlastingness, un- 
changeableness, and what not. The like super-attributions might be 
observed given to the outward effects of it, above what to the effects of 
other attributes. It would be therefore yet more strange, and beyond a 
possibility of imagination, that this so magnified an attribute, extolled (as 
we say) to the heavens, yea, above the heavens, yea, great above, and so far 
above the heavens, Ps. cviii. 4, should in the end be but a similitudinary 
metaphorical attribute, ex similitudine effectus, and after the manner of men 
only, and so to have in comparison but the shadow of an attribute, but in 
reality and truth infinitely below all other. 

But there is in other scriptures that which brings in yet new and farther 
confirmation to this fourth argument, in that we find mercy not only natu- 
rally growing up in one bunch or cluster thus with these four (as in this 
one place), but that traversing the large garden of the Scriptures, we may 
besides frequently meet with each of those and mercy apart, and yet some- 
times joined and sprouting forth as two flowers growing upon one sprig ; 
that is, you may up and down espy mercy and power, and they two alone 
joined together in one stalk, then grace and mercy singly and alone on 
another. The like may be observed of mercy and goodness, as also of 
mercy and truth in other scriptures, and thus mercy and they are 2u/xjZ>uro/; 
so that if we acknowledge any of these four, especially if we own all of 
them to be natural attributes in the Godhead, we cannot but own mercy 
to be so too ; for we find both altogether with mercy (as here), and each 
(elsewhere) to grow alike as a natural branch together with another, which 
to be sure is natural, that it must be too hard to think that in so multiplied 
a variation, mercy should still be but as an ingrafture by art, and should 
not naturally grow out of one and the same stock of the divine nature. 

In this argument it holds that both juncta et singula juvant; we have 
argued in general from the conjunction of all together, and now we shall 
argue particularly from the singular and apart constellation of each with 
mercy. And as the conjunction of all, so the singular constellation of each 
with mercy so often will evidence it to be a fixed star indeed in this fir- 

1 . Mercy and power (the two first in the text) are singly paired by Moses, 
when he hath occasion to allege these, God's own words, Num. xiv., ' Let 
the power of my Lord be great,' ver. 17; and pardon joined with it also, 

1 The Lord great in mercy, pardon according to the greatness of thy mercy.' 
He pairs these two and that for greatness alike equally; then are they 
pairs in kind and eminency, which is the particular we are arguing. Yea, 

Chap. XI.] of justifying faith. 91 

and of the two ho greatens mercy, for mercy hath the epithet great twico 
given it; the ' Lord of great mercy,' ver. 18; and again, ' According to tho 
greatness of thy mercy,' ver. 19; and greatness in the latter is in tho 
abstract given, but to power this title is given but once. The prophet 
David also sets these two alone together as most eminent in God : Ps. lxii. 
11, 12, ' Power belongs to God: also unto thee, God, belongeth mercy.' 
Look how power is God's (as some read it), or belongs to him, and is with 
him; so and in like respects mercy is God's, and is with him. There is 
no difference at all put, and that is enough, for power is God's in that 
transcendent manner that it essentially belongs to him. And whereas 
power to be such in him might discourage, he therefore, for his own com- 
fort, and of God's people, adds, 'To thee alto mercy belongeth,' so to poise 
and balance it; which, if mercy were not every way equal to it, it would 
no ways poise his power, and so not have relieved souls that tremble at 
the power of ' the great and mighty dreadful God,' as Nehem. ix, where 
merciful is also joined. And this is not the first time they have been thus 
paired as by David ; for David himself adds, ' For God hath spoken once, 
and twice have I heard this.' It is David's preface to those former words. 
And what will you say if this citation of his refers us and brings us back 
again to those very words, first, of God to Moses in my text, and then of 
Moses to God in this Num. xiv., as that which from both he had heard of 
twice ? Sure I am I find no reference to any other, or any sense given by 
interpreters more probable or so proper. Now, that power is an essential 
attribute of the divine Being, there was none that ever yet denied it, it 
being so expressly entitled his ' eternal power and Godhead,' Eom. i. 20, 
and therefore no less must its compeer mercy be. 

A second pair is mercy and grace, here placed next to merciful, gracious. 
You find these two alone singled out, and paired, as the two great letters of 
his name are, though many more are in it. First, when God promised to 
Moses to proclaim this his name, he specifies but these two only: Ex. 
xxxiii. 19, ' I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be 
gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will 
shew mercy.' And how often elsewhere do you meet with these two in 
like single couples ? I need not abound in instances, they are so many : 
Ps. cxlv. 8, ' The Lord is gracious, and great in mercy ;' moreover, Ps. 
cxvi. 5, before cited. Likewise Neh. ix. 31, ' Nevertheless for thy great 
mercy's sake, thou didst not utterly consume them, nor forsake them; for 
thou art a gracious and merciful God.' 

Now, besides that as to the things themselves, grace and mercy are sub- 
stantially one (for grace, considered in its distinction from mercy, what is 
it but love or favour simply considered, with a connotation of freeness in 
God, as not being obliged by any worth in the creature why he should be 
gracious ?) The very definition of grace giver by God himself is a love 
that is free, and that loveth freely. Thus, Hos. x.v., ' Receive us gra- 
ciously,' prays the church, ver. 2 (and it was Gou that put those words 
into her mouth, as in the same verse), and God answers, ' I will love them 
freely,' ver. 4, so explaining it. And that love in God is the root and 
ground of mei-cy, and mercy but love ampliated, or stretched out and 
enlarged to those he loves when they be in misery, I shall have a fairer 
occasion to demonstrate; and therefore, that if love and grace be an essen- 
tial principle in God, then mercy must needs be also. Besides this way of 
proof (which I now waive), I insist only upon this at present, as that which 
is proper to what is now afore me, viz., that grace and mercy are compeers 


and equals in every respect; and that, therefore, if gracious he an essential 
attribute, then m ■ i/id. Now, that grace is such, I urge this one argument, 
that God accora.is Lis being gracious as the height and top of his glory, 
yea, and his bebg merciful to be so too. Give me leave to put a weight 
upon this. When, in general, it is said of God (as often) that he is a 
glorious God, that which this carries to every understanding is, that an 
infinity of surpassing glory is in himself, and proper to him as God, and 
essential to him, which glory it is required of us to glorify. In like man- 
ner, when, in particular, it is said of any attribute that it is his glory, and 
which we are also called upon to glorify him for, in the manifestation of it 
to us, there is necessarily, withal, imported therein an essential glory, 
which is the root whence that manifestation proceedeth, and which is there- 
fore to be glorified by us, the proper glory of that particular attribute being 
the end of that manifestation. As when either in special it is said of grace, 
as Eph. i. 6, ' To the praise of the glory of his grace,' it is no less nor no 
other than when in general it is said, ' that we should be to the praise of 
his glory.' Surely as in the latter speech, ver. 12, ' To the praise of his 
glory,' by his glory to be praised is meant all the attributes, as power, 
wisdom, &c, the result and crown of all which is his glory, that are the 
causes of, and are manifested in our salvation, all which, both the attributes 
and this glory of them, must be acknowledged to be essential, and that 
answerably there is an essential glory of them in himself, which was and 
had been in him although he had never made any outward manifestation 
at all thereof. So in the former speech, ver. 6, his particular instance, 
the glory of his grace, must necessarily be understood, that his grace is 
glorious with the same kind of essential glory proper to it as the other, 
and to import this it is styled the glory of his grace. Some would have it, 
that by the glory of his grace to be praised should immediately and directly 
be meant the glorious manifestations of his grace, yet still there must be 
imported therewith and thereby an essential glory that is the glory mani- 
fested ; and it must needs be so, for all manifestation is but of what is and 
hath being as the object of that manifestation, so as still we must resolve 
all into an essential glory that is at the bottom, and is the foundation ; 
3 ? ea, and that intrinsecal glory of any attribute is that which is the ultimate 
object of our praise when we are called upon to glorify it, the farthest 
mark, the terminus which we transmit our glorying of God in that respect 
unto, as that which we aim to praise and glorify, as indeed it is ex- 
pressed, • to the praise of the glory of his grace.' The aspirements and 
holy aims and Teachings of godly souls in their giving glory to God, rest 
not in praising or in giving glory to the manifestation of his glory, although 
that be never so glorious, but by means and upon occasion thereof are 
carried out to and terminate in his essential glory itself, as that which is 
in their aims to give glory to. And indeed thereby only it is fulfilled, that 
'he that glorieth, gloricth in the Lord,' as the apostle and prophet calls U3 
to do, whilst both speak of mercy manifested, 1 Cor. i. 31, Jer. ix. 24. 
And indeed either none of those attributes of wisdom, power, &c, shewn 
in our salvation, that wear and have the title of his glory stamped upon 
them, are essential to him, or this of grace also must be so, which is 
styled his glory, xar Igo^ijf, by way of eminency and singularity. The 
truth of these things that one place, Rom. ix. 23, declares, ' that he might 
make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy.' Here is at 
first a manifestation of glory, in those words make known, and withal a 
riches of his glory which is manifest, whereby it is evident that glory must 

Chap. XI.] of justifying faith. 93 

needs be understood to be different from tbat manifestation, be it never so 
glorious; for it is the thing tbat is manifested, and what can tbat be otber 
tban tbose ricbes of glory which be possessetb in himself, and makes 
known by communications and manifestations thereof on bis saints, as it 
follows there ; like as in that speech in the verse afore, verse 22, which in 
coherence is parallel to and yokes with this, ' God willing to make bis power 
known; ' tbat is, bis power being an intrinsccal, essential attribute in him- 
self, he manifests it, and makes it known; the like holds of his glory 
spoken of here. And the close of this is, that those riches of glory there 
do prove to be the glory of his grace and mercy in a special manner 
intended, and so bear the name of glory by way of eminency. This 
iEstius and others have observed; and my ground why specially mercy is 
intended is, because the saints, who are the vessels, or receptacles, or sub- 
jects unto whom these ricbes, &c, are to be communicated and manifested 
in them, are in respect unto this styled ' vessels of mercy.' The riches of 
the glory of mercy, then, are those which are the principal contributors, 
although the glory of all other attributes do likewise empty their streams 
into the same vessels, to fill them with glory. So then mercy stands every 
way equal with grace (an essential attribute), and that in glory, yea, in 
riches of glory, and therefore is of as high an alliance to God as that is. 
They are every way rated alike in God's books, the Scriptures ; and God, 
who is an equal prizer and valuer, doth not set a deeper estimation or 
value tban the real worth doth bear. As then I shewed afore, mercy and 
power were paired as equal for greatness, so mercy and grace we find to be 
equals. These two are for estate and riches equal, and are as peers for 
glory and honour too, and they are both alike God's riches and glory, by 
the valuation of which God shews what a rich and glorious God he is in 
himself. I conclude this, as I did the former, who then shall dare to say 
to rich mercy, to mercy which God accounts his glory (when withal he 
shall see it placed by God himself immediately, and bidden to sit there by 
him on the same throne with equal royalty with other so high-born essen- 
tial attributes of mine), who then shall bid and say, Thou rich, and great, 
and glorious mercy, come off the seat thou sittest on, as too high for thee, 
and sit thou at the footstool of all these other ? 

For those other two attributes, goodness and truth, so much having been 
said of the former two, it is not necessary to enlarge on these ; yet, to com- 
plete this confirmation, I shall add some things as to both. 

A third pair is mercy and goodness. • Merciful, and much or plenteous 
in goodness,' says the text; where, whether goodness imports (as in the 
general notion of it) a communicativeness of good things — ' The Lord is 
good, and doth good,' Ps. cxix. 68, it being the innate property of good- 
ness to be communicative — or whether more specially kindness, bounty, 
benignity be intended, as many translate the word here and elsewhere ; 
however it be taken, it is singly paired with mercy. 

1. As to goodness, how many psalms do begin with, and some also do 
begin and end with, ' The Lord is good, bis mercy endures for ever.' I 
instance only in Ps. cxviii., whereof both the first and last verses have 
those words. It was the usual form of praising the Lord, to sing : ' The 
Lord is good, his mercy endures for ever,' Jer. xxxiii. 11, and had been 
prescribed unto the Levites, 1 Chron. xvi. 41. And though he is good to 
all his creatures, Ps. cxlv., yet here it is that goodness that extends itself 
to his Israel, as Ps. lxxiii. 1, which draws forth the goodness in bis nature 
in the communications of it to its full length ; and tbat is specially intended 


in this text, for it is that goodness which brings forth pardon of sins, saving 
mercies which the text speaks of, which two the psalmist puts together : 
Ps. lxxxvi. 5, ' For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive ; and 
plenteous in mercy to all that call upon thee.' 

2. And as his goodness and mercy are paired, so kindness (x^ ar ^ T7 >^) 
and mercy : Titus iii. 4, ' After that the kindness and love of God our 
Saviour toward man appeared.' And mercy is not far off them: for ver. 5, 
1 According to his mercy hath he saved us,' for indeed they are all but one. 
And again, Luke vi. 35, 36, ' He is kind unto the unthankful, and to the 
evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.' And to 
shut up this, you have both kindness and goodness joined and paired with 
mercy in Ps. xxv. 6, 7, ' Remember, Lord, thy tender mercies, and thy 
loving-kindnesses ; for they have been ever of old. Remember not the 
sins of my youth, nor my transgressions : according to thy mercy remem- 
ber thou me for thy goodness' sake, Lord.' These two import not 
barely his affording outward favours, which we call kindness, nor barely a 
doing kindness, as we use to say, or God's being good to us in benefits 
communicated ; but they connotate withal a root that is in God's nature, 
from whence these outward kindnesses proceed. The Lord is first good in 
himself, and thence and therefore doth good ; and in like manner he is of 
a kind heart and nature in himself first, and thence and therefore is kind 
to others, even to the evil and unthankful, as Luke vi. 35, and the abun- 
dancy of his goodness and kindness in effects is from the amplitude and 
largeness of the goodness and kindness in his own heart and nature, as I 
shewed in the beginning of this second confirmation, and as is evident from 
the 8th verse of that 25th Psalm now cited, it immediately following, ' the 
Lord is good and upright ;' which as an essential principle in God, and the 
root of that mercy and kindness which he sued for, he resolveth ultimately 
his faith into, as Muis hath observed. And among men we use, by way of 
eminenc} 7 , to express goodness in a person by good nature ; and one that 
is kind in his outward deportment, we term him one of a kind heart and 
nature. And indeed kindness denotes an inward kind disposition more 
principally, and in the first place ; even as when the Scripture denominates 
a man ' a liberal man,' it doth it principally from that noble, free, and large 
disposition of liberality in his spirit, whence liberal actions proceed, as 
Isa. xxxii. 8, ' A liberal man' (such in himself) ' deviseth liberal things :' thus 
it is in kindness also. And in God, to whom these are thus attributed, it holds 
much more ; goodness is so essential to him, as he alone is to be called good, 
as also that ' he alone is holy,' Rev. xv. 4, which evidently imports he as God 
hath such and such an holiness and goodness in him as is proper to him alone, 
and transcendeth that goodness that is in creatures, and theirs is no good- 
ness in comparison. And as he was essential holiness, and should have 
been so for ever, although he never had produced a work (who yet is holy 
in all his works he doth produce), so he was and had been essentially 
good, although he never had communicated a good thing to any creature. 
And if it be the nature of goodness to communicate itself, then it is the 
common voice of all mankind, as the common voice of the Scriptures too, 
that goodness is the nature of God. Now mercy is not only paired there- 
with, but it is indeed essentially all one with it. Mercy is but bonitas summd 
externa, as the school speaks, it is but goodness extendible, an aptness or 
readiness in his goodness to extend itself to sinners, as well as to commu- 
nicate good things to others that had not, nor have not sinned, which by 
creation God did. Mercy is but a promptitude to communicate so much 

Chap. XI. J of justifying faith. 95 

further, viz., to sinners. Mercy is but goodness with a nevertheless, that 
is, though they are sinners, as Neh. ix. 81. And, indeed, as in the school- 
men's right apprehensions, they are but one and the same in God, so in 
the sense of the Scriptures also. Thus his mercy to sinners is expressly 
styled his goodness : Rom. xi. 22, ' towards thee goodness,' &c, which 
along after in the chapter doth bear the name of mercy, ver. 30-32, and 
chap. xii. 1. And again, his mercy to sinners is in like manner termed 
kindness, as expressly, Luke vi. 35, ' He is kind to the evil and unthank- 
ful.' Ver. 3G, ' Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.' 
To conclude this, mercy, goodness, kindness, are so near akin, and of ono 
stock, that if one be essential to God, then must the other be also. 

The last pair are truth and mercy : these two are alone thus yoked, one 
under the names either of truth or of faithfulness, the other of mercy or 
loving-kindness. And thus you meet with them so frequently in so many 
psalms as I scarce need particularise any, but might refer it either to tho 
reader's remembrance, or adventure upon his advertency thereof, at his 
but turning over a few leaves, soon to find enough. I will instance but in 
one or two : Is God to be praised ? The height of praises is for his ' mercy 
and truth :' Ps. cviii. 3-5, ' I will praise thee, Lord, among the people : 
and I will sing praises unto thee among the nations. For thy mercy is 
great above the heavens : and thy truth reacheth unto the clouds. Be thou 
exalted, God, above the heavens : and thy glory above all the earth.' 
And you have these words over and over in two several psalms, Ps. 
lvii. 9—11. In Ps. cviii. his mercy is magnified not only to the heavens, 
but as great ' above the heavens ;' that is, to an infinity, as that which the 
heaven of heavens do not, cannot contain, as they do not God himself. And 
so it is an extolling of mercy by this, that it is an infinite, as God himself, 
in whom it is. And that which is translated ' the clouds,' which his truth 
is said to be exalted unto, are indeed the heavens, as two learned critics* 
have with vehemency contended for. And the 138th Psalm hath not only 
joined them together for praisef (vei. 2, 'I will praise thy name for thy 
loving-kindness and thy truth'), but adds, ' for thou hast magnified thy 
word' (namely, as it sets forth those two attributes) ' above all thy name.' 
The greatest part of his word is taken up either with promises which loving- 
kindness or mercy made, or of the performance of them which truth 
effecteth ; so then these two are to be magnified above all his other pro- 
perties whatever ; which two to celebrate all nations are specially called 
upon to praise him for, Ps. cxvii. 1, 2, which is interpreted to mean both 
Jews and Gentiles when converted ; as the summary of the gospel, Rom. 
xv. 8, 9, imports, and as Christ's ministry in the 40th Psalm (a psalm 
made up for Christ, if any other, see ver. 6-8) was foretold : ver. 10, ' I 
have not concealed thy loving-kindness, and thy truth, from the great con- 
gregation.' Or is God to be prayed unto for any kind of saving mercies, 
and the continuance of them ? it follows, ver. 11 of that psalm, ' Withhold 
not thou thy tender mercies from me, Lord : let thy loving-kindness and 
thy truth continually preserve me.' I need mention no more ; paired we 
see they are equally : and of the two, if either be greater, it is his mercy, 

* See Piscator on Ps. lvii. ver. 11, and on Ps. xxxvi. 6, and Dr Hammond on 
Ps. lvii. 10. 

t See Dr Hammond, Annot. on the 2d verse of the 138th Psalm. His word 
being here annexed to loving-kindness and truth, must needs be that part of his 
word to which these two are applicable: 1. His promise; the matter whereof is 
loving-kindness. 2. In the performance of which is truth and fidelity. 


as to whomever, that will attentively consult those scriptures, it will 

Now that his truth is an essential attribute, none can deny that will 
read that scripture, 2 Tina. ii. 13, ' He is faithful, and cannot deny him- 
self.' It is himself; he is true in such a transcendent manner as no crea- 
tures can ever come to be partakers of. Which difference between him 
and them, in respect of truth, I take to be the adequate meaning of that 
Kom. iii. 4, ' Let God be true, and every man a liar.' It is a vehement 
asseveration on God's behalf, as if he should say, Although all men should 
be liars, yet God is truth, that is, there is a possibility for the most faith- 
ful plain-hearted man that ever was yet. to become a liar (Adam and the 
angels that fell were created true and holy, but ' abode not in the truth') ; 
but of God it is pronounced, that he is true in such unchangeable a man- 
ner, that it is ' impossible for him to lie,' Heb. vi. 18, for his truth is his 
Godhead, and himself, and so is mercy. 

Arg. 5. It is a common professed maxim among divines, that whatever 
is in God, is God himself. Quicquid est in Deo Deus est. This in the 
utmost latitude of it I argue not now, for all internal acts are not God's.* 
But when we speak of such as are attributes abstractly given him, whereby 
to describe him ; that these should express his being God, yea, his very 
Godhead, this is generally, and must be adhered unto by us. And how 
this is to be understood and cautioned, I hope to shew afterward. 

That this should hold true of mercy, long-suffering, &c, in a more emi- 
nent way of evidence, that which I shall now further observe out of this 
text, may, I hope, for the present serve to evince, which, if gained, doth 
afford a fifth strong argument, and meet to be brought the last for the shut- 
ting up of all. 

I have so much considered and dilated within myself what should be the 
mystery of so vehement a triple or thrice recital of the substantial names 
of God, by themselves alcno lirst, as ' Jehovah, Jehovah, God,' before 
these four or five attributed abstract names, ' merciful, gracious,' &c, 
which then do as entirely by themselves follow, I cannot but apprehend 
that some more than ordinary mystery must be in it, the like not being 
ordinary that I know of. 

I know that it is put over to the importing the mystery of the three per- 
sons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, to shew they are all merciful, long- 
suffering, &c, and equally or alike such. And that is a great mystery 
indeed, and greatly for our faith and comfort. But then withal reflecting 
that these merciful three do possess and subsist in that one Godhead and 
simple divine essence, and that the attributes they have in common are the 
attributes of the Godhead, or of God himself as God, and so are theirs, 
because each of them is God, I came to this farther inquiry, Why should 
not this triple rehearsal of the names of God be intended to declare that 
God, as God, is merciful, long-suffering, &c, or that merciful, &c, are 
himself in the same, and in as true a sense as any other attribute is said 
to be in Scripture. In the substantial names ' Jehovah,' &c, he proclaims 
who, in the attributed names or properties he declares what that Jehovah 
is, as in which his Godhead and his being Jehovah consisteth, namely, in 
1 merciful, gracious,' &c, so as Jehovah, Jehovah, is these attributes, and 
reciprocally these attributes are Jehovah, Jehovah. In those his substan- 
tial names he speaks himself as at once by the great ; in these attributed 
names or properties he unfolds himself, and explicates himself by parcels, 

* Qu. ' God ? '—Ed. 

Chap. XL] of justifying faith. 97 

for the letting in of himself into our understandings, the bore of which is 
not large enough to take in the whole at once. Thus elsewhere wo also 
find such conjoined to the being of God, though not with this triple men- 
tion of his name : ' Lord, the great and terrible God, that keepeth 
covenant and mercy,' &c, Neb. i. 5. And Solomon before him thus speaks, 
1 Lord God, there is no God like thee, who keepcst covenant and mercy,' 
1 Kings viii. 23. And so for pardoning : ' Who is a God like unto thee, 
that pardoneth iniquity?' &c, Micah vii. 18. And though these, being 
acts, are not God or God himself, yet you see they are attributed as proper 
and peculiar to him as he is God, and do argue him to be God alone, and 
are such as, if he were not God, could not be acted by him ; concerning 
which this rule is to be held, that therefore they necessarily proceed from 
the Godhead itself; and farther, must be ascribed unto those properties of 
the Godhead of the first sort, which in the Scriptures are held forth as the 
proper causes of such acts or effects, and so reductive (as we say), must be 
resolved unto those attributes in God, their causes, which are the very 
Godhead. And in this sense here Jehovah keeping mercy, and pardoning 
iniquity, as acts proper to Jehovah, are to be ascribed to Jehovah (as here), 
Jehovah merciful and gracious (that goes before), as divine properties in 
him, that are causes thereof, and as those that do immediately express his 
Godhead, and are himself, as this triplication of the name of God prefixed 
imports. And thus considered and stated, both sorts do indeed come all 
to one. So, then, we may call them essential attributes, that imports his 
being God, and without which he were not God. 

Nor need it here to stumble any, that 'pardoning sin,' &c, 'keeping 
mercy for thousands,' are also here attributed to him ; but of them it must 
not be said that they are God ; if he shall withal consider that there is this 
vast difference between those first abstract attributes immediately coming 
next to ' Jehovah, Jehovah,' and those other that follow, they being appa- 
rently acts in God, and from God, as his wonts and practices, whereof 
those five of the first rank are the causes, as was at large shewn in the 
argument. And yet even those acts speak him to be God too in this 
respect, that they do necessarily suppose and involve his being God as God, 
as proper to him above,* as he is God, or they would never proceed from 

I begin with the first, that ' merciful,' &c, are one with Jehovah. And 
now I must call in the help of other parallel scriptures, both to confirm the 
thing itself, viz., that as other true and real attributes are one with Jehovah 
himself, or are himself, so mercy is, and that upon the same grounds ; as 
also, by way of parallel, to justify that construction and collection I have 
made of this thrice repetition, and which I make the rise of this argument 
out of the text. 

1 1. One attribute which is undeniably evident to be essential to and with 
Jehovah is truth and faithfulness, which is his Godhead and himself: 
Tit. i. 2, ' God that cannot lie ;' that is, because he is God, or that truth is 
his Godhead, and his Godhead is truth. He were not God else ; and he 
must cease, if otherwise, to be God : whereof the one can no more be than 
the other. Yea, and in terminis it is styled himself: 2 Tim. ii. 13, ' If we 
believe not, yet he abideth faithful : He cannot deny himself.' Why? For 
faithfulness is himself. 

Now let us bring a parallel scripture speaking this very thing of God's 
being faithful as God, and expressing this in the like, yea, well-nigh the 

* Qu. ' alone' ?— Ed. 

vol. vin. G 


same equipage of language with this in Exodus xxxiv., proclaiming Jehovah 
God, merciful God. And the language being the same, and that being the 
intent of it there, it must be the same here. That scripture is Deut. vii. 9, 
' Know that the Lord thy God he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth 
covenant and mercy with them that love him.' Here is first a vehement 
indigitation of his being God, ' the Lord thy God he is God,' to the end 
that they might know that he was the faithful God, as God. He that is 
God, the Lord thy God, is faithful; that is, faithfulness is essential with 
his Godhead, that therefore they might surely build upon it as upon his 
Godhead itself. For why ? Faithfulness was he himself, and it is to the 
intent they might know him. Now, do we not hear God proclaiming him- 
self in a like strain, Jehovah, Jehovah, God merciful, &c, and this to the 
same intent, that they might know him, and know what a God he is, in and 
by these ; yea, and truth or faithfulness being one of those very attributes 
that follow, 'much in truth,' as you have heard? This place, then, in 
Deut. vii. 9, must refer unto that uttered before it in Exod. xxxiv., and 
therefore may well serve to illustrate it, which this also confirms, that 
' keeping mercy for thousands' here in Exodus very well accords with ' he 
keepeth mercy,' &c, in Deuteronomy. Now, then, after you have read 
over once more a second time that passage in Deuteronomy, ' Know that 
the Lord,' &c, and then that preface joined to ' the faithful God,' to shew 
that he is faithful as he is God, with those other said places pre-confirmed, 
then bring this of Exodus to it, ' Jehovah, Jehovah, God merciful,' and 
the same construction and purpose will arise up out of it, that this God, as 
God, is a merciful, gracious God, in the same sense and intendment that 
1 the faithful God' comes in in Deuteronomy, and after comes in here, 
'much in truth;' and thus uttered to the same full intent and purpose, 
that we might know what a God God is. 

And if the parallel of these two be not sufficient to evince the same, then 
take another passage in Psalm lxxxvi. 15, ' But thou, Lord, art a God 
full of compassion, and gracious; long-suffering, and plenteous in mercy 
and truth.' He says not simply, Thou, Lord, art full of compassion, but 
manageth it with this reduplication, ' Thou, Lord, art a God full of com- 
passion ;' and so speaks no less than that, as he is God, so he is merciful, 
&c, and that his Godhead is the substantial root and subject of his mercy. 
And that which adds farther confirmation is, that ' plenteous in truth ' 
comes in, and is coupled with mercy. They are pairs, then, and pairs 
alike in this, that they are his being, and God himself both. This for the 
first, which at once gives strength to our argument and illustration to this 

2. Holiness is argued to be God himself. And why ? Because whereas 
in one place it is said 'he swore by himself, having no greater to swear by,' 
Heb. vi. 13 (God will swear by no less than himself never), in another place 
it is, ' He swore by his holiness,' Ps. Ixxxix. 35. And these two oaths 
were, as to the matter of them, of a kind, being set as seals to the covenant 
of grace and mercy both. The first was given to Abraham, * to perform 
the mercy promised,' Luke i. 72, 73; the second to David, and in his 
name and type, unto Christ, to ascertain ' the sure mercies ' given him. 
And the like instance of the same forms of swearing is given in the case of 
verifying God's threatenings : Amos iv. 2, ' The Lord sware by his holiness. 
And in chap. vi. 8, ' The Lord hath sworn by himself.' So, then, his 
holiness is the Lord himself. And we may add this reason, because he 
can swear by nothing less than himself, as the apostle affirms ; and there- 

Chap. XI. J of justifying faith. 09 

fore swearing by bis boliness, bis holiness must be himself. The evidence 
on mercy's side, that it is himself, is equivalent ; for whereas in some 
places it is said, ' Remember not the sins of my youth, according to thy 
mercies, and for thy goodness' sake,' Ps. xxv. 7; and Neb. ix. 31, 'Never- 
theless, for thy great mercy's sake, thou didst not consume them,' &c. ; 
when God speaking the same hrlsaiah xliii. 25, ' I, even I, am he' (that is, 
that Jehovah merciful) ' that blottetb out thy transgressions for mine own 
sake, and will not remember thy sins.' What in the one is ' for his good- 
ness' sake,' and ' for thy great mercy's sake,' is ' for his own sake' in the 
other. So, then, goodness (as all must confess), yea, and mercy, are him- 
self. You have it again in Daniel's prayer, chapter ix., and there both 
these conjoined are brought in together as explicatory the one of the other;. 
In ver. 18, 19, ' We do not present our supplications before thee for our 
righteousness, but for thy (/rent mercies. Lord, hear, Lord, forgive, 
for thine own sake, my God!' What in the very words before is ' for 
thy great mercies,' which is plainly ' for thy mercy's sake,' is in the next 
petition ' for thine own sake ;' and you have these two picked out as scat- 
tered, one in one place, the other in another, and so brought together, and 
argued from. 

I come now to a third proof. It is certain when we hear such and- such 
effects as involve his being God, and which could not be done unless he 
were God, and do argue him God alone, that then those effects must pro- 
ceed from the Godhead itself. And farther, unto what in the Godhead can 
we ascribe them, but such properties in the Godhead as in the Scriptures 
are held forth as proper to produce such or such effects ? And whilst we 
say such or such a property in God did effect such or such a thing, we may 
warrantably also say that his Godhead did it. The creation of the world 
is a mighty product of the Godhead, and argues him God alone : as Isaiah 
xliv. 24, ' I am the Lord that maketh all things.' And we must say that 
the Godhead did effect it, for ' he made them by himself.' Yet further, we 
find the making of them attributed peculiarly unto power and wisdom, as 
proper causes of such effects ; and withal, that power of his to be styled 
his Godhead, Rom. i. 20. So his wisdom also we find to be styled in- 
finite, Ps. cxlvii. 5, which is equivalent as to say it is his Godhead, for 
that alone is infinite and without bounds. Now, in correspondency unto 
these, we find the effects of pardoning sin, &c, to involve his being God, as 
that which could never be done if he were not God : Micah vii. 18, ' Who 
is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, &c. ? because he delighteth 
in mercy.' That speech, ' Who is a God like unto thee?' is still used to 
shew he is God alone, and that, as the great God, he doth such and such 
works,- which, if he were not God, he could not do: Ps. lxxxvi. 8, 'Among 
the gods there is none like unto thee, Lord ; neither are there any works 
like unto thy works ;' and ver. 10, 'For thou art great, and dost wondrous 
things, thou art God alone.' Now, pardon of sin is a work of such wonder 
and greatness, as none ever more. And you see in that prophet how they 
stand aghast and wondering at him, as a God so great, as God alone, none 
like him, in that he can pardon sin. And if he were not so infinite a God, 
he could not do it ; for sin and sins are infinite. It is his Godhead pardons 
sins, as well as his Godhead made the world. It is a truth, though ill in- 
tended by those that spake it: Mark ii. 7, 'Who can forgive sins but God?' 
And had not Christ been God as well as man, he could not have done it 
then. Now, as other works of God have some special attribute in God as 
* Ps. xxxv, 10, as in Micah in pardoning, so there in delivering. 


their more proper cause, and unto which those works are ascribed for the 
honour of that attribute ; and from thence we rightly argue that they are 
his Godhead (as all those ' invisible things of God ' the apostle terms his 
' Godhead,' Rom. i. 20), so as the Godhead pardons sins ; so read the 
Scriptures, and you find pardon attributed specially to mercy in God as its 
proper cause. I need cite no places. And this is done for the glory of 
his mercy and grace. And certainly he would not instruct us to give this 
honour due to his Godhead, and in which he, as God, is so highly con- 
cerned, if mercy were not his Godhead, as well as any other attribute is. 
He will not give his glory to what is not himself. We may as warrantably 
then say his mercy and Godhead, as the apostle doth his power and God- 
head. And this as intending to make both one and the same ; yea, and 
add his eternal mercy too, for that epithet is given to it, Ps. xxv. 

And when it is pleaded to God that he would pardon sins for his mercies' 
sake, Neh. ix. 31 , the plain meaning and resolution is this, for thy great 
mercies' sake, which are thyself, or which are in thyself. And there is this 
farther reason to back this, and as strong as that before mentioned was for 
the former, that for his mercy's sake, or for the glorifying of thy mercy. 
This denotes God's utmost and most proper end for which he pardons and 
shews mercy, and withal, the highest motive by which he is moved to 
forgive, &c. And it is urged by these in their petitions as the most pre- 
vailing plea they could move God withal. Now that can be no less than 
himself, whose highest and supremest end is himself; and he is moved to 
acts of grace and pardon by nothing but what he is moved with in and from 
himself. And therefore, in that 43d of Isaiah, he holds up himself to their 
view, and himself alone : ' I, even I, am he that blots out thy transgression 
for mine own sake ; ' and we are sure it is mercy for which and by which 
he only is moved thereto within himself, and is himself. And truly doth 
not his thrice repeating there I, I, he, answer to his thrice repeating 
Jehovah, Jehovah, God merciful? &c, Exod. xxxiv. 6. 

Arg. 6. The four first attributes we meet with at the entrance in this 
divine proclamation, Exod. xxxiv. 6, do, in what is common to them all, 
prompt us with a sixth argument, that mercy and grace are essential pro- 
perties of the divine nature. 

1. The four attributes are, 'merciful, gracious, long-suffering, abundant 
in goodness and truth.' But I reckon not that of truth in this enumeration, 
as likewise the psalmist doth not in his rehearsal of the words of this pro- 
clamation, Ps. ciii. 9, which is word for word the same as to these first 
four. They are in the original in both places, though our translators have 
varied their translations of them there from what is here, yet without any 
material difference ; for what there they have rendered ' plenteous in mercy ' 
(which they have varied too in the margin, ' great in mercy,' according to 
the Hebrew), here they render ' abundant in goodness.' But the psalmist 
omitteth the mention of ' and in truth.' And the reason of that omission 
may be the same that mine is in stopping there, namely, because he takes 
those attributes that purely concern mercy, and are branches of it ; whereas 
truth or faithfulness comes in here, not as being any way a branch of 
mercy, but as mercy's supervisor, or mercy's remembrancer, to see to it, 
that mercy does perform what God out of grace hath promised and declared ; 
according to that memorandum of old Zacharias, deduced out of the three 
names of himself, his son John, and Elizabeth : Luke i. 72, ' To perform 
the mercy promised, and to remember his holy covenant, the oath,'' &c. 

2. That which I call common to all these four, from which I would 

Chap. XI.] of justifying faith. 101 

deduce my argument, are two things. First, that the form of speech they 
are attributed to God in is nouns, not participles, which denotes them to 
be inherent dispositions, or properties in God, which set him forth ah intra, 
or by what are in him, the inwards of himself. The second is, that for the 
special kind of them, they are of those which divines stylo the virtues of 
the divine nature. 

3. The argument from these, or either of them, riseth thus: 1st, That 
inherent dispositions in God are to be accounted his nature. 2dly, And 
specially virtuous dispositions are so to be esteemed ; and such mercy and 
grace are, and therefore are truly his nature. 

There are two things then to be performed by me in handling this argu- 
ment, which consists of two branches. (1.) To establish the proof of this 
one proposition, that these four names are attributed in such a form of 
speech as denotes them to be inherent dispositions, intrinsecal properties, 
that are truly in him. (2.) That for the special kind of them, they are 
among the virtues, or virtuous dispositions of the divine nature of God. 
This proposition hath, as you see, two branches. 

2dly. The second thing to be proved is the consequence inferred from 
them, viz., 1. That if they be inherent properties that then they are in 
and of the divine nature. 2. That if they be properly to be reckoned 
among the virtues of God, and so to be esteemed, that then much more 
they are in and of his divine nature. But all these being in their order 
joined and put together will make the argument complete. 

My method shall be to handle the two branches of the proposition and 
the proof of them first, and then the two consequences and the proofs of 
them, whereof the first is a step to the proof of the latter, and both centre 
in one and the same reason of either. 

1. As for the first branch of the proposition or hypothesis, it is the 
animadversion of that learned critic and literal expositor Genebrard, com- 
menting upon the 8th or 9th verse of Ps. ciii., which I even now cited, to 
shew that these four first attributes that set forth mercy are word for word 
in the original, the same with these four here. He beginning to expound 
this first word merciful, speaks on this wise of it, and the like of the rest. 
It is a noun, says he, not a participle, as also those that follow; because 
thereby is declared not the acts of God, but, as it were, an immoveable 
quality, or that which is perpetual in God. And then of the other three 
that follow, for the same reason he pronounceth the same of them : for 
these are properties, says he, that are innate in God ; nor are they assumed 
by him contingently, according as circumstances are and give occasion. 
Thus he. Wherein his argument lies not simply in this, that for the form 
or manner of speech they are nouns, which are not qualities, as great, 
im'mense, but taken conjunctly therewith, that the matter of the things 
attributed are qualities. And whereas Genebrard says that merciful denotes, 
as it were, an immoveable quality in God, his quasi is but to allay and 
qualify our apprehensions, that we should conceive of them with an infinite 
disproportion, as they are in God, and in us men. In us they are mere 
qualities, differing from the essence of us, as accidents are from the subject 
they are in, but in the divine nature there are no accidents ; and yet he is 
fain to make use of an assimilation to these of qualities, to convey their 
inherency, as of qualities, to our apprehensions, as the nearest notion to 
do it by ; and that however they are immoveable principles in the divine 
nature, as inherent qualities use to be. This he absolutely affirms to be 
signified thereby ; and so that mercy is and was permanently in his nature, 


whether he had ever purposed or shewn any act of mercy, yea or no, and 
not contingently attributed for that he acteth mercifully. And this diffe- 
rence he observed to be between such attributes that are expressed of God 
by way of nouns and quality-wise, which these are ; and such as denote 
acts, by participles. 

And this being thus explained, the foundation of the argument proceeds 
from the common use of speech, that when qualities are simply and 
absolutely attributed unto a person in the form of nouns, as that he is 
liberal, holy, devout, courageous, bold, and the like, that then, in the 
wonted acception of speech, men commonly understand, and readily con- 
ceive and apprehend, that he is a person of a liberal spirit, an holy and 
devotional soul, and so addicted inwardly, so or so disposed, inclined, and 
affected within himself; of such a temper, frame, and constitution of spirit, 
or a man of such inherent principles of heart inwardly moving him, sway- 
ing him to liberal and holy actions, and that these are his indoles, ingenium, 
his spirit, as the Scripture word is. And in like manner, God's intention, 
who makes use of our wonted language to make himself known unto us by, 
as in other his attributes is apparent, here analogously should be to describe 
himself in such attributions of speech as we use when we would set forth 
a person, who and what he is, and paint him forth by such qualities and 
dispositions as we know are in him. Thus God here, thereby signifying 
what properties are truly and really in himself, as far as possibly they are 
by words expressible to us. And as we when we have set out a man of 
such qualities, good or evil, we use to say, That is the man ; so we may 
say, This is our God. And indeed, IGod himself here doth say in termini*, 
full} 7 as much as this of himself thrice over, 'Jehovah, Jehovah, El, God, 
God, God, merciful, gracious,' &c, as if he had said, This is your God. 
And as for those other attributions given to God, purely after the manner 
of man, which the opposers would choke this truth with, they are expressed 
by words that denote acts only, and those but occasionally expressed : as 
that ' it grieved him,' ' it repented him,' and the like, as it is obvious to 
observe in these scriptures where they are used. But these are solemn 
names and denominations, whereby God purposely makes a description of 
himself what a God he is ; and accordingly they do fully answer to this 
question, whenever it be demanded, Qitcdis dens sit, ac quis? who and what 
a God is he ? as plainly, and directly, and absolutely, and in the like strain 
of speech, as any other of their fellow- attributes do ; as when it is said, he 
is wise, and good, and almighty, these words are justly judged and acknow- 
ledged to signify what a God he is in his essence ; and in like manner, 
these here to be a description of his nature, and that even such a God he 
is, set out by such characters as are given him ah intra, as our divines 
speak ; that is, such as do declare what a God he is inwardly, that shew 
his very inwards to us. And those characters do express in reality that to 
be in his divine being which answers to all these (as I have opened it in the 
explication I premitted), it being a commonly received maxim among 
divines of all sorts : Deus dicitur quis, ac qualis est, ah eo quad natura est. 

And for the close of this point we may affirm, that this his title of mer- 
ciful, gracious, doth as roundly give and return an absolute answer to any 
such inquiry, What a God is he ? as any other attribute whatsoever : Ps. 
cxvi. 5, ' Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.' 
This is the saints' vogue and saying of him, as here he speaks these of 
himself; and it is formed up so as it may serve to be an answer (as the 
apostle's word is), an account in readiness to be given to any stranger to 

Chap. XI. J or justifying faith. 103 

religion who knows not God. If an heathen, suppose such as were in 
those times, or are now, should be inquisitive, and demand, What a God 
is your God ? say this to him, Our God is merciful ; yea, our God is 
merciful, with an emphasis. And it is as if they had said, If any would 
know what our God is, let him know him by this, that if he have any in- 
ternal perfection (who is all perfections, good, holy, wise, gracious), he is 
as perfectly merciful as any of these. And (say I) if any such an one be 
not satisfied with the saints' plain verdict, given in upon their own know- 
ledge, let them then hear and attend to what God himself says of himself, 
and take from his own mouth what he is : ' Jehovah, Jehovah, God mer- 
ciful and gracious.' He multiplies his substantial name thrice, as well as 
his attribute of mercy four times. And why, but because if God, as 
God, be to be known by anything, it is by these. The psalmist seems to 
vie with all other attributes whatsoever, yea, as it were outvies all other, 
with this of his being merciful, whilst he so vehemently speaks it, ' yea, 
our God is merciful.' He sets the crown upon the head thereof. 

There was an additional branch in the supposition, that these attributes 
are the characters of virtues in the divine nature, or virtuous dispositions 
in God, which superadds unto the former, and is a farther step towards the 
proof of the consequences therefrom, which are to follow, viz., that there- 
fore they are in and of his divine nature. 

All perfections are in God, in all kinds of perfections whatsoever. The 
attributes of God are usually reduced by schoolmen, as well as our divines, 
to three heads. 

1. Such as are utterly incommunicable to us creatures, as unchangeable- 
ness, infinity, eternity, ubiquity, or to be everywhere, and his divine glory. 
These are the absolute and metaphysical excellencies (as I may call them) 
of his divine entity. 

2. There are also all super-excelling habilities that belong to and are found 
in intelligent creatures ; as faculties of understanding, which the psalmist 
says is infinite, knowing all things, &c. So of a sovereign will, which doth 
whatever he pleaseth in the earth, and in the heavens. 

3. All sorts of virtues belonging to either of these, perfectlones morales, 
all such as are not founded upon imperfection (as humility, self-denial, 
&c, are), and when I call them virtues, I mean all the excellencies of good- 
ness, such as are holiness, righteousness, and mercy, and grace there ; 
and truth also, which is mentioned here. God ought to be every way 
most perfect, say the schoolmen, not only in the perfections of entity, or 
of natural being, but in the eminency of goodness and virtue, in that kind 
of being also. Hence his royal titles among the heathens were Deus 
optimus maximus, a God that is most great in power and the absoluteness 
of being, and a God most good. And the goodness therein meant was 
that virtuous goodness we speak of, whereby he is inwardly, and of him- 
self, ready to do good to his creatures, according to that of the psalmist, 
« The Lord is good, and doth good ;' of which goodness,_ mercy and grace 
are the eminent branches, according to that of the psalmist, ' The Lord is 
good, and his mercy endureth for ever.' And therefore I rightly said that 
the virtuousness of mercy in Scripture language is the excellency of his 

And let no man boggle at the word virtue, or deem it as a lowering of 
the Godhead to say he excels in virtues ; for the Scriptures ascribe this to 
him in terminis, 1 Peter ii. 9, where the apostle exhorts ' to shew forth 
the virtues' (so in the original) 'of him that called you.' Observe, they 


are the virtues of him that calleth us, riot our virtues that are iu us that 
are called. 

And by him that called us is meant not Christ only, and his virtues as 
man, but God the Father chiefly,* to whom our calling is there ascribed; 
as also in chap. i. 15, it had been by the same apostle, with the like ex- 
hortation, for there he says, ' As he that hath called you is holy, so be 
you holy,' &c, as children of your Father. Thus in like manner, though 
in other phrase but in substance the same, he entered his exhortation to 
all sorts of goodness, wherein we are to imitate him and be like him, shew 
forth the virtues of him that hath called you ; that is, says Gerard, those 
attributes of God which in calling you he shewed forth. And particularly 
and to be sure the most eminent is that which the apostle specially 
instanceth in, and in this, and in no other else ; so in the following verse, 
' which have now obtained mercy.' So as in effect this exhortation is all 
one with 'Be ye merciful,' because your God that called you is merciful; 
even as in the former exhortation he had said, ' Be holy, for I am holy ;' 
holiness in God being the foundation of all those virtues in God, as well 
as in us, which the comparing of those verses shews ; and the apostle also 
there enforceth from this, that we must be like our Father. 

These virtues are to us poor creatures the especial attributes we praise 
God for, insomuch as the Holy Ghost records it for the title and name of 
praises, the word agerccc there used signifying at once both virtues and 
praises, as it is there translated ; or else let those that boggle at the word 
virtues say of them, that in God they are the patterns, and samples, or 
ideas of what are called virtues in us;f and it is enough to my purpose. 
And the reason why that is to be acknowledged is, that there is not, nor 
can be, any perfection which the creature partaketh of a likeness to God 
in, but it is and must be found after an infinitely more excelling manner in 
God, and the nature of God, than it is in the creature. Only take this in, 
that they are found in God after the manner of God, in us creatures after 
the mode'or manner of creatures, with an infinite difference. 

Observe how in the forming this argument I put in this limitation, there 
is no perfection in man, in which he partaketh of a likeness to God, but the 
perfection thereof is in God. And the reason of this my limitation • is, 
because there are two sorts of gracious perfections in us, whereof some 
indeed are not in God, though in Christ they are found; as humility, 
lowliness of heart, submission of our wills. These are not by way of like- 
ness to the like which correspond in God, but by way of applyings of the 
soul unto God, or by way of subjection of the creature to such other 
attributes in God as are incommunicable; as his sovereignty, greatness, 
absolute will, &c. And in that respect it is they are reckoned parts of the 
divine nature, because they give the greatest glory to the divine nature, in 
the way now specified. But as for such perfections as are said to bear a 
likeness with what is like unto what is attributed unto God, of them all we 
may and must say, that there is no perfection of such in the creature but 
it is much more in God, which is the major or first proposition. And this 
doth in a more special manner hold true in such virtues or spiritual graces, 
in which we are said to be like him, and wherein he is expressly made our 
pattern in the Scriptures. And of those it must be acknowledged, that if 
they be properly in the creature, then they are more properly in God; of 

* See Gerard in locum. 

t Non tam virtutes quam ideas virtutum in Deo sunt. — Eekerman, Si/st. TheoL, 
c. 4. 

Chap. XI. J of justifying faith. 105 

all which the holiness and purity of God's nature is the root, as being in 
himself first, and so becomes the first rule and measure of such virtues 
in us. 

And that this is particularly true of this virtuo of mercy (the thing in 
hand), those speeches of Christ, who came out of the bosom of the Father, 
and hath declared him both in his nature and in his will, do uncontrollably 
evince : Luke vi. 27, 28, ' Love your enemies, do good to them that hate 
you;' and verse 35, 'Love your enemies, and ye shall be the children of 
the Highest: for he is kind to the evil and the unthankful.' And in the 
close of all, verse 36, ' Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is 
merciful:' as, that is, after the image of God, as Col. iii. 10, 'Put on the 
new man, after the image of him that created him ;' whereof mercy and 
love are in the 12th verse following mentioned to be an eminent piece: 
' Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mer- 
cies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering.' And then 
add those other speeches of our Lord in Mat. v., which correspond with 
those recited out of Luke vi. : Mat. v. 48, ' Be you perfect, even as your 
Father which is in heaven is perfect.' He speaks of the perfection of 
virtues, and specially of that of mercy; for unto works of mercy unto 
enemies, &c, he had particularly exhorted: ver. 44, 'But I say unto you, 
Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate 
you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.' 
And this he exhorts to by the instance of God's mercy to the worst 
sinners : ver. 45, ' That ye may be the children of your Father which is 
in heaven : for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and 
sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.' And thereupon exhorts us to 
be perfect in that grace, upon this very ground, because it is a perfection 
in God first, and originally in him, and that we have thereby the likeness 
of the perfection of our Father. This for the proof of the two branches of 
the proposition. 

2. I come to the proof of the consequence in the second place proposed, 
from both, viz., that if these attributes do denote inherent dispositions, 
properties, or permanent qualities, and not acts only, especially such 
qualities as are virtues in God, that then they are of the divine nature 
itself. I put both into one, because the reason of either centres much in 
one, although the reason of the latter greatly adds force to the other. 

And that reason will at once serve both for a proof of the consequence 
and also for a caution in this case, that whilst we are forced to use the 
term of qualities to express them by, to relieve our apprehensions of them 
(whereas indeed they are not such qualities as are in the creature, and yet 
denoting inherency and permanency of like properties in God, and not of 
acts only), they can be no other but his divine nature. 

And the reason is founded on this, that in God there are no accidents 
(and such those in us creatures are) inherent or permanent in him ; and 
therefore these attributes denoting properties, like to qualities in us that 
are inherent and permanent, they therefore can be no other than the divine 
nature itself; which is confirmed by the infinite difference that is and must 
be acknowledged to be between the creatures and God blessed for ever in 
this respect, that the inherent qualities in us men or angels, be they never 
so excellent, yet they differ from the substance or being of the persons in 
whom they are, as accidents do from their subject ; and they are said to 
be added to perfect and adorn the subjects in which they reside. And 
although the most eminent of creature qualifications do vastly differ from 


the substances or essences they are in, yet there are some of them that so 
immediately flow from their substances, and are so proper and specifically 
peculiar to them, that if we should suppose they could be separate from 
that subject or person, the very nature and proper being of that subject 
would withal cease to be what it was. It is an assured maxim, Proprie- 
tatum negatio est naturarum deletio ; as to deny the faculty of reason itself 
to be in one of mankind is to degrade a man as a man, and blot him quite 
out of the catalogue or roll of men, and to set him down a brute; of 
which it is said, Ps. xxxii., ' They want understanding.' So that commonly 
we allow the term of natural unto such properties, and call them essential, 
or belonging to the essence, although not the essence itself ; but yet they 
rise to no higher dignities than of faculties and qualifying abilities, which 
are at best but accidents, though of another kind than ordinary accidents 
are of, and therefore called natural, because they are inbred, inlaid, and 
blended with the inward constitution and temper of the substance itself. 
But, on the contrary, wdien we speak of God, and say, that mercy is a 
property, and of his nature; our intentions, and God's also in so speaking, 
reach infinitely higher, and intend thereby that it is his very divine nature, 
as far as it is by words expressed to us ; even as eternity and power are 
said to be his Godhead, Bom. i. 20. And the reason thereof is, because 
God, and the essential nature -of God, is perfected by nothing but himself, 
and so not by anything differing from his own being ; for then his God- 
bead, as he is God, should be imperfect, and needed something besides 
himself to add perfection and liability unto it, which the Scripture utterly 
denies of him: Acts xvii., 'that he needeth not anything.' And therefore 
all such attributes, and this of merciful, being in tenor of speech given to 
him, after the manner of the attribution of inherent qualities, for our con- 
ception's sake, are to be understood to be his divine nature, in a transcen- 
dent manner, inconceivable by us. 

Moreover, take in this for a second caution also, that when we call both 
these, or any like qualities in men or angels, as also these attributes in 
God, natural or nature in either, the word nature or natural must be taken 
and understood with an infinitely vast differing respect in the one and in 
the other ; for these qualifications, thus said to be natural to us angels and 
men, are but at the best the shadow of what is substantially natural in 
God ; and accordingly, that mercifulness which is in man is but the 
imperfect shim* of that essential mercy which is in the divine being. And 
hence it is so far remote from God's being called merciful, righteous, after 
the manner of man (as those other attributes, the opposite instances, which 
are styled but ad similitudinem effect us), that to the contrary, these inherent 
qualities in man (take them in their perfection) are said to be ' after God,' 
Eph. iii. 24. And therefore they are propriissime, most properly in God 
first ; yea, and in truth only in God (as goodness is said to be), and but 
similitudinarily, and by way of semblance, in man. And this by way of 
caution also. 

But, 2dly, I urge this reason further, upon and from the account of that 
additional, viz., that mercy and grace are to be reckoned among the highest 
virtues that are in God. Now, true and perfect virtues are inherent in that 
person that deserves the style of virtuous, and if they be true, they are 
permanent, and constantly abiding in him ; yea, and the perfection of them 
lies in the inward disposition and addictment of the mind as the root of 
the actings, or performing virtuous things, though they, as being the fruits 
* That is, ' shimmer ' ?— Ed. 

Chap. XL] of justifying faitii. 107 

thereof, have the name of mercy, and their due valuation ; hut still that 
inward principle of those actings much more and above all, so far as they 
have been inbred, and by nature found in any person, that is the height of 
their perfection. And therefore in God, if they be true and perfect virtues 
indeed, as they must bo supposed to be, they must be all these, both inward 
dispositions, strong inclinations, propensions unto merciful acts, and seated 
in his nature, and to be his nature. And to be sure, God is not perfected 
(as man), or grows up in virtue by acquisition, or by the increase of habits 
that use to be acquired by use, practice, and exercise ; this were to lower 
him infinitely yet more, so to affirm. And therefore, if virtues be at all in 
him, and these virtues (as we have proved them to be), then they must be 
acknowledged his divine nature, and his perfections by nature. 

I shall cast in a coronis to all, and which will without contradiction con- 
firm all that I have hitherto said in this third argument : it is those words 
which our Lord hath made the conclusion of his exhortation unto us to be 
merciful, in that 5th of Matthew, last verse, ' Be ye therefore perfect, even 
as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.' 

1. You see here is a perfection attributed to God, which man is exhorted 
to imitate, ' Be ye perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect.' God's 
perfection is the original pattern, and man's imitation that is to be the copy 
to that pattern ; and God's perfection is to be understood after the manner 
wherein God is or ought to be understood to be perfect, as a God ; or as 
the evangelist Luke upon that occasion entitles him ' the Highest,' and 
men, as men in their kind, as ' children of the Highest ; ' so in ver. 35. 
And he therefore speaks it of such a perfection in God as is of the highest 
kind of perfection proper and essential unto God. And to be sure, there 
are some attributes of his that are the essential perfections of his divine 
nature, and then this spoken of by Christ's own arguing is among them 
that are of the highest rank. 

And, 2, it proves to be this so rich and precious attribute of mercy 
which Christ intended here, as appears both by the interpretation, that by 
comparing Christ's discourse about this of our being merciful in those two 
evangelists is apparently given of it. For whereas the one says, Mat. 
v. 48, 'Be ye perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect,' the other says, 
Luke vi. 36, ' Be ye merciful, as your heavenly Father is merciful.' And 
each come in as the last close and conclusion of Christ's exhortation unto 
mercy in either place. So then mercy is one of the highest perfections 
that perfect him that is ' the Highest,' or the most perfect in all perfections. 

3. This perfection of mercy must necessarily be understood to be intrin- 
secal to him, and so his nature. For nothing extrinsecal or outward to God 
can add any perfection to him. His own works, be they of mercy and 
never so excelling, add nothing to him ; he was as perfect a God before he 
made the worlds as since. And what is it can be his perfection but what 
is and was then in himself and of himself? who of himself is the fulness of 
all being; and if anything added the least perfection to him, he must be 
said to be of himself and in himself imperfect. And mercy being so plainly, 
expressly, in particular thus styled his perfection, it must be a property in 
himself and of himself, and without which he would not be so perfect as he 
is said to be ; yea, we may upon this ground further say, that without it 
he were not God. Let the opposites bring all their deductions and wonted 
pleas to make void this so great a truth, and you will see them all melt 
before this speech, as wax when it comes unto the fire, and be confuted in 
every part thereof. 


1st, The}- distinguish and say, God is merciful quoad effectus, in and for 
his doing works of mercy, and not because he is of a merciful nature and 
inward disposition of mercy. 

(1.) Consider that man is here exhorted to be merciful, as God is ; and 
though he in his exhortation mainly instanceth in works of mercy which 
man should perform, yet I demand, doth not the exhortation chiefly intend 
that men should be moved by an inward principle of mercy (compared 
therefore to bowels, which are called the inwards), that should move the 
heart to works of mercy ? Col. hi. 12, 'Put on therefore, as the elect of 
God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, 
meekness, long-suffering.' And when Christ pronounceth that blessing 
upon their souls, Mat. v., 'Blessed are the merciful,' &c, doth not the 
word i\eri/jwveg import inward mercy and pity more than outward ? as 
Spanheim hath observed upon it. And if God were not in like manner 
filled with merciful dispositions moving thereto in his shewing mercy, why 
is his mercy set before them as the excellent pattern, when yet, according 
to them, it reacheth not to this, to be a pattern of inward mercy ? 

(2.) If God were not thus merciful ab intra, his inwards moving him 
thereto, do not they that affirm this make man more merciful than they 
would have God to be, seeing man is merciful with an inward affection of 
bowels, besides his works of mercy ; but God should be merciful only quoad 
effectus, only because he doth acts of mercy without the affection or inward 
principle of mercy ? 

And, 2dly, whereas they say, Mercy is spoken of God after the manner 
of man, or in like sense only as that God is said to grieve, repent, &c. 
But, 1, here in Christ's exhortation, on the contrary, man is called upon 
to be merciful after the manner of God, ' Be ye merciful, as your Father is 
merciful.' And, 2, if it were otherwise, according to that opinion they 
have of God, man should only be exhorted here to exercise and put forth 
outward acts and effects of mercy, for God, say they, doth only so. 
Again, 5 3, that mercy which is there exhorted to is that which is the 
perfection of mercy ; and certainly to be merciful inwardly, and of a merci- 
ful nature, is that which is the life, the height, the perfection of mercy. 

I finally close up all with this summary argument, that grace and virtue, 
that in man is a perfection and a piece of the divine nature in him, and 
likeness to what is in God (he being created after the image of God in 
truth, as the apostle's words are), and which same is likewise attributed to 
God as a perfection of him, and a pattern to us of the same ; that must be 
acknowledged to be in God as his divine nature and being. But such this 
grace or virtue of mercy is ; it is in man a piece of his divine nature, 
created after the image of God in truth ; and it is ascribed unto God as a 
perfection of his Godhead, and made the pattern of our perfection ; there- 
fore, as it is attributed to God, it must be his divine nature. 


Some of the principal objections why mercy should not be a natural attribute 
of the Divine nature, answered out of the proofs and parallels in the foregone 

The proofs in the foregone chapters, especially the paralleling of power 
with mercy, and then of those other attributes, grace, &c, as they confirm 

Chap. XII.] of justifying faitit. 100 

the thing, so they will most amply serve to answer the greatest objections 
that are alleged against it. 

Obj. 1. The first objection lies thus, that is not natural- wherein God 
is arbitrary and free in working any effects thereof, or in the using of it, 
and puttings of it forth. But such is mercy, as even in these very passages 
unto Moses which are alleged ; ' I will be merciful to whom I will be mer- 
ciful,' which is adjoined to this proclamation. Compare Exod. xxxiii. 19, 
' I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee, and will be gracious to 
whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.' 
In brief, that they say is not natural, the working and operation of which 
depends upon God's free will. 

Ans. The answer is ready, and clear, and home, as it may be taken 
from the instance of God's power ; for, according to this rule and measure, 
power itself in God should not be a natural attribute; for 'all things' 
which he worketh by his power, ' he worketh after the counsel of his own 
will,' Eph. i. 11 (and therefore it is he doth not all he can do, Mat. iii. 9 ; 
chap. xxvi. 53), which is the same with the exercise of his mercy, of which 
it is in like manner said they are ' according to the good pleasure of his 
will ' again and again, Eph. i. 5. His will keeps the operations both of 
mercy and power, as it were, under lock and key, and lets them out as 
God himself pleaseth. Yea, and further, you have both of these at once 
put together; and, as you have heard mercy and power in themselves 
paralleled, they are so in their operations too, as being like instances of 
this very thing, as appears in the apostle's allegation, and putting into one 
those two speeches of God : Rom. ix. 17, 18, ' For this same purpose have 
I raised thee up, that I might shew my -power in thee, and that my name 
might be declared throughout the earth : Therefore hath he mercy on whom 
he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.' So, then, both are 
said to depend, and to be guided in their actings by his will alike. Again, 
look, that although the acting and effect of power is but voluntary, yet still 
that effect proceeds from that vis, force, strength, or power, that is natural 
to God, and which in God is infinite ; which power sets itself to the effect- 
ing everything, only his will still orders that putting forth of it where, and 
when, and the measure of it. And therefore it is all one to say, ' Who 
hath resisted his will?' as the apostle, as to say, ' Who hath hardened him- 
self against his power?' as in Job ix. 4, for his natural power immediately 
is that in him which exerts itself in every such act of his will, and without 
that nothing would be done or hath been done. And in parallel unto this, 
the manifestation of mercy in all the works of our salvation depends upon 
his good pleasure, and yet in and unto the effecting or endowing us with 
any and every benefit or saving work thereof, the whole of the riches of his 
grace that is intrinsecal to him doth immediately put forth themselves ; and 
without a mercy so infinite and natural to God, none of them would be 
bestowed or effected. Moreover, look, as if you should deny power to be 
in God essentially, because it is put forth by his will and pleasure, and 
affirm it to be but a metaphorical attribute, you should thereby make him 
no God at all ; for a weak God is no God. So, if you take mercy from 
him, denying it, in the reality and principle of it, to be in him, you despoil 
and rob him of his greatest riches, and make but a poor God of him to all 
that shall call upon him, and so, in effect, no God at all, either to be feared 
or worshipped. 

The mistake of the argument proceeds on this, that because acts or 
* Deus non utitur naturalibus, say they. 


shewing of mercy do hold of his will, therefore his very being merciful, the 
principle of those acts, must do so too. We grant his acting graciously to 
be arbitrary in him, and from his will, but not his being merciful and gra- 
cious ; that depends not on his will 5 though with his will ; that depends 
not upon an act of his will, though it be with will. 

But the true resolve of all is, that indeed his will (take it for the power 
of willing, or that whereby he willeth) is the very immediate subject of 
mercy, which mercy, as it is in his will, is but a propenseness, a strong 
and ready inclination in his will, that moves and sways him to those mer- 
ciful actings, which is not from an act, but an inherent disposition in his 
will, and natural to it, that it should be readily so disposed. 

Obj. 2. A second objection is, that mercy imports and ariseth from the 
weakness and deficiency in man's nature, * as from an apprehension tbat 
men themselves, being subject to the like miseries, shew mercy to the 
miserable, and so mercy is always joined with a passion (which we call 
compassion), trouble, or grief, in the heart of a man that is merciful ; all 
which infirmities and passions man only, not God, is said to be subject to, 
with difference from God, Acts xiv. 15. 

Ans. This is utterly an heathenish imagination, and had its original 
from them. ~" Aristotle says, thatf it is an uncouth, not agreeing to, or 
becoming the being of God, to say he loves. He thought it stood not 
with his greatness, nor was compatible with it. And Epicurus before him 
said, the divine nature was not penetrable by mercy or pity, because these 
find no entrance into the hearts of men, but through some defect or want. 
I may say of them in this point (as Christ of the Sadducees' denying the 
resurrection), ' They erred, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of 
God.' For whereas they would that mercy and pity should spring out of 
weakness and deficiency, as in man it doth since his fall, or at least is 
always accompanied with it ; such as grief and trouble, and the like 
passions ; on the perfect contrary in God it ariseth from and is accom- 
panied with his infinite power, all-sufficiency, and blessedness. And by 
how much he is above all and utterly incapable of any defect, the more 
able he is to succour and relieve us in misery, and also by so much the 
more his glorious will is the more disposed and prepense to mercy. Kings 
who live in an higher region, and are not subjicible to the common gusts 
of innumerable miseries, which their subjects in the lower regions are, yet 
out of the gi'eatness and generosity of their spirits are oftentimes merci- 
fully disposed, and forbearing unto those that apply themselves to them 
under such miseries which themselves never had, and of which they have 
not the least apprehension that they shall fall under them. The lion's 
strength and courage makes him sometimes to spare a poor lamb's life that 
lies prostrate at his feet ; which holds a semblance of what is in kings, and 
in God more transcendently, though both these indeed are but imperfect 
shims and glimmerings of what to an infinity is super-eminently in God. 
I betake myself, for the proof of this, to Moses his unfolding the mystery 
of God's joining power and mercy : ' Let the power of my Lord be great, 
as thou hast spoken, The Lord is long-suffering and of great mercy, 
forgiving iniquity and transgression : forgive, I beseech thee, this people ;' 
which is as to say, Let thy mercy, which is thy power, or which proceeds 

* Misericordia est compassio super aliena miseria, et in tantum miseretur in 
quantum dolet. — Aquinas 22, q. 30, Art. 2d. 

f arcn-ov yf'.g dv sit} 'it rig (pair) <pi>.i7v tov A ice. — Aristot. Mag. Moral, lib. 2, 
cap. 11, Tom. 3, oper. Edit. Du Val, Paris, 1639. 

Chap. XII. 1 of justifying faith. Ill 

from and is strengthened by the almighty power that is in thee, be shewn 
in pardoning ; or, Thou, God, which declarest thy almighty power chiefly 
in shewing mercy and pity, forgive thy people. 

But be it so, that want, and weakness, and passion, as in man, are 
furtherances unto and companions of, yea, and the very rise of mercy in 
man ; yet that the same must hold in God, so as he cannot be inwardly in 
'his soul merciful, unless he be merciful from the same principle that man 
is, must be denied. How oft is it said, that God is not merciful as man 
is, but is infinitely beyond all that the thoughts and apprehensions of man 
can reach to, either in his own mercies he thinks himself to shew, yea, or 
that he is not able to think what mercy is, or what it should be in God, 
they are of such an infinite extent beyond his possible imaginations, ' as 
heaven is above the earth' ! Shall, then, man's mercies, or the imperfec- 
tions and passions of them, be made the measure of what mercy itself is in 
God ? God forbid. Man loveth not without a passion, and therefore shall 
not God, who is love (because he loves not as man doth), be said properly 
to love his creatures out of a pure and perfect principle of love in himself, as 
truly as to love himself or his Son ? It is said, ' the weakness of God is 
stronger than man ; ' and shall the weakness of man be the measure to him 
that is the God and strength of Israel, which in 1 Sam. xv. 29 is so highly 
protested against ? ' The strength of Israel is not as man,' &c. that 
ever the weakness of the creature should have been thought to have been 
a rule for the strength of Israel ! 

Again, in what doth the true substance and reality of mercy lie and con- 
sist ? Not in an apprehension of one's own self to be subject or exposed to 
the like distresses, or in being troubled and grieved as the consequents of that 
apprehension, especially if he cannot help. These are but accidental unto 
mercy, and but as it is in such or such a subject that is subjected unto 
infirmities, as in a man it is, who alone is capable of those fore-mentioried 
passions ; for mercy, and that more truly, is in Christ glorified, yea, in the 
angels and ' spirits of just men made perfect ; ' and therefore perfect in this 
virtue, but without any of these passions and disturbances as requisites 
to move them to be merciful. In what doth the substance, yea, the 
height of mercy lie or consist, but in a readiness and promptness of affection 
in the will of God to relieve and succour those that are in misery, whom he 
loves, joined with fulness of power to relieve them ? "Which latter clause, 
with fulness of power, doth especially render him most truly and highly 

I shall further proceed to shew how the parallel of those other attributes, 
grace, goodness, and truth, as well as with mercy, will abundantly put to 
silence another objection. 

Obj. 3. How can that, say they, be an essential attribute in God's nature, 
which if man had never been miserable had not been in God ? For mercy 
speaks a relation unto sin and misery, and if it depend on such a condition 
of ours, or the creatures' being first miserable, then it must be in God but 
contingently and occasionally, and not naturally. 

Am. The answer is from what the parallel of these four attributes afford, 
as likewise many other attributes which might be instanced in. 

1. Power or might in God relateth unto external effects, as unto the 
creation of this frame of heaven and earth, &c, Rom. i. 20. Now before 
God ever made any of them, or suppose he never had made any, shall we 
say he had not essential power inherent in him, whereby he was able to 
make them, and in respect thereunto was truly a God almighty ? 


2. Again, his power relates unto all he is still able to make or effect, and 
not to be confined unto what he hath done. There are an infinity of things 
possible to be done by him, which his power will never produce, but shall 
remain in a state of mere possibility; and yet his being styled almighty in- 
cludes a power to be in him in respect to those, as when it is said, ' God is 
able to raise up out of these stones children to Abraham,' Mat. xxiv. 53, Luke 
xix. 40, Mark xiv. 36. His divine ability is expressly said to extend to 
these, and shall we affirm he had no such radical power in respect to these, 
because he will never put it forth in bringing them to existence ? Nay, it 
must be said, that things thus possible are only and merely called such in 
respect of the power of his nature, but things which he causeth actually 
do respect his will and good pleasure joining with the power of his 
nature : Ps. cxv. 3, ' But our God is in the heavens, he hath done whatso- 
ever he pleased.' 

3. In like manner the parallel of grace and goodness evinceth the same. 
Had not God been good (who is goodness itself, both as he is God, and in 
respect of a communicative disposition in himself, who is the fountain of 
goodness), although yet he had never made a creature to communicate any 
good things to. Surely yes. Then likewise he is gracious, though his 
pleasure had been never to have had one angel or man existed whom he 
would be gracious unto. The root of this matter had been in him, though 
never no effect or fruit of it had appeared above ground. His grace must 
be acknowledged to respect the creature only, for he is no way gracious to 
himself; and would he not thus have been, though no creature had been ? 
Must he of necessity have made creatures, if he would be truly gracious ? 
A man is to be acknowledged one of a liberal disposition, who is so in his 
natural temper, though he lives alone in a desolate wilderness uninhabited, 
where there are no poor, nor any one person to bestow his alms, or com- 
municate his riches to. The great element of fire is fire, and ready to 
burn, though it never yet had any fuel to prey upon. The like is to be 
said of truth, ' God cannot lie,' Titus i. 2 : and it is impossible, Heb. 
vi. 8, it is contrary to his nature ; and therefore truth (the contrary thereto) 
is his nature ; and this had been so eternally, although he had never given 
forth one word or promise, of threatening, or the like, for the performance 
of which he might have been styled true. Now yet it is apparent it was 
purely at his will and pleasure whether to have given forth any such word 
or not. And thus God also was truly and really merciful, and ready to 
forgive, although he never had pardoned one sin, nor ever had promised 
pardon to any one sinner. What need we say more ? 

Obj. 4. If any further object that word merciful (□["!!> Unchain) here used 
is a metaphor taken from bowels ; but God hath no bowels, and therefore 
it is but a metaphorical attribute ; I answer, 

Ans. 1. That some, as Polanus, render the word OJTV Bacham, diUrjere, 
to love, to be at the root of it ; and to be sure love in God is no metapho- 
rical attribute. 

Ans. 2. According to the measure of this argument, because this 
almighty power or strength in God is expressed by an arm, as Ps. 
lxxxix. 13, Luke i. 51, or that his all-seeing knowledge is set forth by an 
eye, and eyes that ' run through the earth,' 2 Chron. xvi. 9 ; that ' behold 
the nations,' Ps. Ixvi. 7 ; yea, ' behold all things in heaven and earth,' Ps. 
cxiii. 6 ; doth this put any prejudice that power and knowledge in him sig- 
nified thereby should not be essential? No more doth the ascribing 
bowels to him exclude mercy from being such. God speaks to us hereby 

Chap. XII. j of justifying faith. 113 

in our own piterills, in our own childish language, so to affect us the more, 
yet so as there is substantial reality in his heart answering to, yea, trans- 
cending what metaphors can express. And should ho speak these heavenly 
things in their own language, we could not receive them, as Christ tells us, 
John iii. 12. 

And certainly the psalmist's argument is so convincing, that as himself 
prefaceth of it, none of the most hrutish among the heathens should be 
able to gainsay it, Ps. xciv. 9, namely, why God as God must have an 
omnisciency, or an all-knowing power, within himself, which the Scripture 
expresses by an ear or an eye : ' He that planted the ear, shall not he 
hear ? He that framed the eye, shall not he see ? He that teacheth man 
knowledge, shall not he understand ?' This as certainly holds undeniable 
in this point of mercy ; shall not he that planted the inwards of us men, 
and bowels of mercy and pity in them, a natural storge* in parents to their 
children, and hath taught us to love, 1 Thes. iv. 9, and be good, and kind, 
and merciful to one another after his own example : Col. iii. 12, 13, ' Pat 
on, as the elect of God, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, 
meekness, long- suffering ; forbearing one another, and forgiving one 
another,' &c. Shall not he have eminently and transcendently the perfec- 
tions of all these towards them he intends to love and make his children ? 
• Like as a father pitieth his children, so doth the Lord them that fear 
him,' Ps. ciii. 18. The foundation of the psalmist's reasoning lies in this, 
that it is impossible any excellency should be in the creature, of which 
God is and must be the author, but the same must be virtually and in an 
higher reality in God himself. It is true indeed, that God hath neither 
eyes nor bowels of flesh, as Job says of him, and to him : ' Hast thou eyes 
of flesh ? or seest thou as man sees ?' that is, by the means of such organs 
or instruments of that sense, Job x. 4. So say I, Hath he bowels of flesh ? 
that is, such dolorous painful pangs of grief and trouble as we frail men 
clothed with flesh use to have, when moved with pity ? or is he merciful 
only as man is ? Woe were then to us. ' I am God, and not man,' says 
he, Hos. xi. 9, and he speaks it upon occasion of his being moved to mercy, 
as ver. 8, and yet he professeth himself moved to mercy as God, though 
not as man ; and yet as infinitely beyond us as the Godhead ; from whence 
he argues his transcending mercy exceedeth what is in man, as that speech 
insinuates. So as whilst in ver. 8 he speaks of himself after the manner 
of men, as of his heart and ' bowels being turned within him,' yet there, 
in the 9th, he avoweth of himself, that he is moved hereunto as God, and 
not as man is ; in so high sublime a way as is proper to him alone as God, 
and yet with a mercy, represented by bowels and heart, which is as infinite 
as his Godhead is, yea, it is his very Godhead. For so that speech that 
he assumes to himself, and this which I have brought forth by way of 
answer to an objection, I might have improved into two strong arguments 
for the thing in hand, that mercy is substantially and properly in him. 

Ans. 3. That bowels, though a metaphor, yet in its analogy is peculiarly 
fitted and adapted singularly to express what the iuward natural disposition 
of any one is. For, 

1st, It imports a natural affection, for it is put to express that which we 
call storge, : \ or the natural affection that is in parents. 

And, 2dly, with all the most inwardness and depth of that affection. 

* i. e., Gro^yn. — Ed. 

t Rahum, quasi visceratus, misericordia, arooyf, naturali amore et affectu prose- 
quens. — Genebrard upon the word in Ps. ciii. 13. 



The eye that served to express God's omiscience, the arm, his omnipotence, 
these are outward parts ; but the bowels are of all most inward, and there- 
fore of all other speak what is most inward in God himself, and imports a 
principle of being mercifully moved from within himself. 


That in every object there is some special attractive to affect the faculties and 
principles in man's heart, to excite them to act on it. — That litis general 
maxim holds true, as to all the main acts of faith, for forgiveness : and that 
the mercies of God have the most proper influence into the faith of forgive- 
ness of sins, of all other attributes of God.' — This assertion carried through, 
and made good, in all the eminent acts of faith. 

We all know and acknowledge, that, in the nature of the thing, the whole 
being and subsistence of all sorts of mercies vouchsafed to us, hold of those 
mercies that are in God ; so as were it not that mercy is with him, our 
faith would be in vain, and we should have no such things or subject-mat- 
ter at all for us to believe. But that which I endeavour to demonstrate is, 
that take all sorts of mercies, with the particular promises made of them, 
as they come to be made objects of our faith, and in that respect the ori- 
ginal mercies in God's nature are the great fundamental which doth give 
and contribute an esse credibile, a credibility, or a believableness unto all 
the promises of mercies,* and a hopefulness to obtain them, so as not 
only an apprehension that God, who is faithful in his nature, hath made 
such promises, and useth to bestow such mercies, but the thought that there 
are such riches of mercy in his heart and nature plentifully and naturally 
to afford them, wonderfully addeth to the credibility and believableness (as I 
call it) of those promises and particular mercies, to be derived from that 
fountain, which we need or desire. For as all particular mercies pro- 
mised have their dependence upon the mercies of God's nature, in esse rei, 
in the nature of the thing (for they have their being thence, as from the 
Father of them), so further, our knowledge and apprehensions that such 
a treasure of grace is in his nature, mightily strengthened, and encourageth, 
and enhanceth faith in us. There is that in all other objects, whether of 
sense or knowledge, which philosophers term motivum objection, viz., that 
thing or consideration in the object proposed or apprehended, which is apt 
and fitted most properly to move, affect, and make impression upon that 
faculty, principle, or habit, that God hath made for it and suited to it ; as 
that beautiful colour should affect the sight or fancy. The like by analogy 
holds in the objects of divine faith. And what those naturalists term the 
objective motive, or that which the object moveth, that in divine objects 
proposed to faith, the Holy Ghost (as we shall see), using the same 
language, styles persuasivum fdei, the persuasives of faith. There are some 
special things in these objects that chiefly persuade the soul unto believing 
them, or bringing the heart over to believe, and so to embrace them accord- 
ingly. "We find in Scripture the great act of believing to be from our being 
first ' persuaded ;' as Heb. xi. 13, ' Having seen the promises afar off 
(there is the object), ' they were persuaded,' it is said, ' and embraced 
them.' And again, the same word is used of Abraham's faith ; ' being 

* Quod constitnit objecta divina in esse credibile : nam credibile, ut credibile, est 
ratio objectiva. — Snarez c/<= fide. 

Chap. XIII. 1 of justifying faith. 115 

persuaded,' &o., Rom. iv. 21. The schoolmen do therefore accurately 
inquire, what in divine objects principally it is that constitutes them in ease 
eredibile, or that gives their being of credibility to them. 

To bring this down to our purpose. From hence it follows, that what 
thing or things in divine objects revealed are found to bo the most fit and 
powerful in the way of object, to make a persuasion in the heart to a 
believing or embracement of them when they are proposed to us, that 
thing or those things we must acknowledge to give unto them their esse 
eredibile, or their being of believableness. Let us therefore now consider 
if that the view of the sight and light of the mercies in God's nature let 
into the soul, and shining upon the promises of mercy, like as the light 
upon colours, do not superadd a lustre and life upon them, and impregnate 
them, as the sun doth the plants, and all things below that have either life, 
spirit, or virtue in them. Let us try if the thoughts of these mercies in 
God will not put life into and quicken the soul of him that views them 
together with those promises, yea, and contribute so much to persuade to 
the faith of them, although the promises be but indefinite promises or 
declarations of God's will touching the forgiveness of sins, although these 
promises be indefinite, I say, as to persons, not naming who, nor excluding 
any ; yet let us [seej if the thoughts of God's mercies do not contribute 
and bring with the consideration of them the most of what is or may be 
supposed motivum, or persuasivum fidei, that which may persuade or draw 
out a faith on such promises. The truth of this will best appear by a 
survey made of what are the most eminent acts of faith. There are three 
more eminent acts of faith for forgiveness and all other spiritual blessings. 

1. There is a sight of the things promised, or to be believed ; but then 
that sight must be such a sight as hath an wroerausig or subsistence of the 
things promised, made, and given to the heart of a believer, together with 
the proposal of them. 

2. There is a discerning of a goodness in them, to allure the will and 
affections to embrace them, and cleave to them. 

3. There is a trusting on God, and a relying on him for the performance 
of them. 

I need not quote scriptures that these are the acts of faith. Two of 
them, viz., sight and embracing them, you have seen in the fore- mentioned 
Heb. si. 13. The other of trusting you meet with everywhere almost 
where faith is spoken of. I shall carry the reasons of the present assertion 
through each of these three acts, and shew how it holds good in each of 

1st. The first act of faith is a sight of the things believed, with a real 
subsistence given to them in the soul until the time of performance. Now 
the mercies in God apprehended, do give the most real subsistence unto 
forgiveness, and all other benefits whatsoever. 

The nature of faith requires that its object be presented to it, not with 
bare knowledge thereof only, but with a subsistence and reality given to it 
in the heart of a believer : for faith is defined to be the uv6sra<fi$, • the 
substance,' or subsistence, ' of things hoped for,' Heb. xi. 1, and likewise 
' the evidence, ' or sight, * of things though not seen.' For which compare 
Heb. xi. 1, 19, 27. God in the mean while, during the space and time 
that comes between the promise and the performance itself, is pleased to 
vouchsafe an aforehand image and substantial impress or wroeraffie, to the 
end to support the heart. Look, as the Son of God, the second person, 
being at last actually to be made flesh, it was meet and proper for him in 


the mean time, while he was but in the promise, that he above any other of 
the persons should be the person who should vouchsafe these precursory- 
forehand apparitions unto the fathers of the Old Testament, which gave 
an vnoaraag unto their faith, until the great promise of his coming in the 
ilesh, personally united, should be performed, so in some analogy it is in 
the matter before us. I have alleged this but by way of illustration only 
of God's gracious dispensation to his people in respect of a subsistence 
vouchsafed to their sense, which bears some resemblance unto this subsist- 
ence vouchsafed to faith inwardly, whereby the things as yet remaining in 
the promise are set before the soul ; which things therefore, when believed, 
must be some way made real and subsistent ; otherwise, indeed, it is not a 
true sight or spiritual faith, but vanisheth with its object proposed into an 
empty notion and speculation. It is therefore that thing in God, the re- 
velation of which gives a subsistence to the object of faith, that doth put 
it into an esse credibile, a being of believableness. 

I now proceed then to demonstrate that our first real believing the 
mercies in God do give a subsistence unto forgiveness in the promises. 

The subsistence that any divine object hath, is from a real and true 
knowledge of God himself made subsistent, first to the "soul, and then ex- 
plicitly or implicitly it concurreth to every true act of faith of any other 
particular object. Our [Saviour therefore, instructing them in particular 
acts of faith, Mark xi. 23, 24, first proposeth this general rule to them 
requisite to all true faith : ver. 22., ' Have faith in God,' or have the faith 
of God, because into that faith of him, or something in him (as his power 
or truth, &c), is the subsistence of every particular thing promised re- 
solved. ' He that comes to God must believe that he is,' &c, Heb. xi. 6. 
This is general to all true faith, but more particularly that attribute or rela- 
tion in God which is the most proper and direct cause of the thing promised, 
in esse rei, in the being thereof; that very same attribute being viewed by- 
faith, togetber with the promise, is of all other fitted most properly to give 
this subsistence to our faith. Thus when Abraham found that his body 
was dead, and Sarah's womb dead as to procreation, Rom. iv. 19, and that 
yet God had promised him a son ; that attribute in God, on which this 
thing promised did most directly and proximately depend, that attribute 
accordingly was with the promise presented to Abraham's faith, and ' he 
was persuaded that what he had promised, he was able to perform, and so 
became strong in faith, giving glory to God,' Rom. iv. 20, 21. Where we 
see that persuasion the apostle speaks of, the most proper ratio credendi, 
or ultimate ground of believing, and persuasive of his faith in that very 
particular thing, was that special attribute that in God was the most proper 
cause of the thing promised ; and the same was it which gave the subsist- 
ence to the thing and to his faith. 

Now therefore, to come home to the thing in hand. It is hence to be 
observed by this general rule or maxim, that whensoever the heart of a 
sinner shall attempt to believe the forgiveness of sin, there is nothing can 
be supposed to be in God, or concerning God, revealed, that should give a 
greater reality, and subsistence, and certainty of the promises in and to 
the heart of a believer, than the consideration of those mercies in God, 
which are the most eminent cause of that forgiveness, which is the thing 
promised. When the soul considers, that he who is so great a God, and 
so greatly merciful and gracious, is the same God who hath promised it, 
and hath means in him to make it good, what other thing (I say) can be 
so great a persuasive to believe as the light hereof ? And the greater the 

Chap. XIII.] of justifying faitii. 117 

light thereof is, which is brought down into such a promise, and with the 
promiso shines into the heart, the more, and in the greatest degree, doth 
the light of the true subsistence of forgiveness shine with it, and becomes 
realized to the soul, and appears clothed with such an evidence and sub- 
sistence as will eincaciously strike, move, and draw out real faith, that 
being the principle which is properly and specially suited to that object. 
And seeing it is the light of God himself shining in some attribute or other, 
either habitually or actually, implicitly or explicitly, immediately or re- 
motely, that must be the bottom of faith, and accompany faith always, and 
in every promise give that subsistence spoken of unto faith (whether it be 
his truth, faithfulness, goodness, or the like) ; then certainly that which of 
all other must needs be most effectual and genuine, in this case of forgive- 
ness, is this light and faith into God's mercies ; for they are those which 
move God most to forgive, and therefore move us most to believe in God 
for it. 

And the reason of this further is, that although all benefits whatever are 
the effects of mercy, and so styled (as the call of the Gentiles is, Rom. xv. 
9, and the ' Gentiles glorify God for his mercy,' and the splendour of the 
whole of their salvation from conversion downwards, as a people ' that had 
not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy,' 1 Pet. ii. 10), yet .for- 
giveness of sins doth of all other most purely, immediately, and directly, 
depend upon mercies. Forgiveness is a pure act of and from grace ; as 
old Zacharias speaks in his song : Luke i. 77, 78. ' To give the knowledge 
of salvation by the remission of sins, through the tender mercies (or bowels) 
of our God.' To give other things, or to do for us in another kind, may 
require the calling in the help of some other attribute immediately to effect 
it ; as the resurrection of our bodies and glorifying of us, which (though it 
be a work of infinite mercy), requires the aid of power to effect it, even 
that ' power whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself,' Philip, 
iii. 21. But forgiveness and pardon of sin peculiarly and immediately hold 
of mercy, and own and adore mercy for their immediate founder and bene- 
factor. Pardon and forgiveness are a pure emanation from grace, and 
issue in the glory thereof, above all other in God : Eph. i. 7, in Christ 
we have ' the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace ; ' 
Exod. xxxiv. 7, ' The Lord God, gracious and merciful' ; and then, ' par- 
doning iniquity, transgression, and sin.' This is a stream that springs 
and flows out immediately from that fountain : Ps. lsxxvi. 5, ' The Lord 
is good, and ready to forgive ; plenteous in mercy.' His being ready to 
forgive, flows gushing forth from his goodness, and his being plenteous in 
mercy. God is ' the Father of mercies,' all mercies bestowed being the 
most natural and immediate children of mercy in himself, and he thereout 
giving existence and being to them, as a father doth to his children. And 
from hence the heart of a humble sinner, when it is to seek any mercies at 
the hand of God, or hath received any, may and will readily know and 
acknowledge mere mercy, infinite mercy, to be the father of them. But 
above all other, pardon (when either we come to seek it, or to be thankful 
for it, this forgiveness of sins being the first-born of benefits in our calling) 
will own and know its Father, the Father of mercies, and cause the heart 
to fall upon its knees, and ask blessings for it. 

The truth of that general maxim holds in any other attribute, as touch- 
ing that particular dependency which its proper effects have upon it : as 
when God is styled ' the Father of lights,' in relation unto wisdom to be 
asked and given ; and when he is called ' the Lord of hope,' when joy 


and peace in believing are spoken of; and the ' God of all comforts' and 
1 Father of glory,' when comfort and glory are to be bestowed. But there 
is a farther reason why this or that attribute in God, that gives the sub- 
sistence to the performance, should, above all other, most properly conduce 
to give the subsistence to the faith of a believer (although the subsistence 
of the performance is differing from the subsistence given to faith in the 
mean time), because that hereby faith doth see all along, even until tbe 
performance of the promised blessings, the existence of tbem in wbat are 
their native roots and direct immediate causes. Thus it is said, Heb. xi. 
13, ' They saw the promises afar off, and were persuaded.' That phrase, 
afar off, refers not, wholly or altogether, to an importing the distance of 
time to come ere performed (though take that in also), but also to the words 
that went before, ' they saw them afar off,' that is, though the mercies were 
at a distance as to their individual existence, which was afar off, and remote 
out of sight, yet however this act of their faith was a sight, for they saw 
them really subsisting, or else their faith had not been worthy the name of 
sight. So then they were presented as if really subsisting afar off. Now, 
wherein or whereby should it be that they saw them thus subsisting afore- 
hand, when the things had not any actual existence ? There certainly was 
a seeing them in God, and in God by viewing those attributes especially 
that were to be the most direct and native causes of them. The knowledge 
of philosophy holds some resemblance, or like kind of existence, with this. 
Philosophy instructs us tbat though roses in winter have no existence, and 
though tulips have no flower nor stalks above ground for the greatest part 
of the year, and so they have not an actual existence for so long time, yet 
that in a true sense tbey may be said to have a real being and existence in 
nature, the mother and womb of all things. If vulgar apprehensions might 
be judges of this, they will say, Where is it ? they are not, for we see no 
such things extant. But a philosopher or a wise gardener will tell you 
tbat they have a being in their roots ; yea, and that each and every kind 
of those flowers have a several being in their several roots proper to their 
kind, in which, as in their causes, they have a latent hidden existence and 
being, which reason assures them to be true. And therefore a gardener 
doth, before summer comes, put a high value upon such roots as those that 
will bring forth such flowers. He sees them afar off in those roots, as their 
causes, many months before, and expects their growing up in their seasons. 
Even thus, and more satisfyingly, doth faith see in God a subsistence of 
the promises, whilst it views them in those attributes which are the proper 
originals of them, according to their kind. 

I shall now consider the second act of faith, which is, ' embrace the pro- 
mise ' ; and I shall demonstrate that an enlarged consideration of the mercies 
of God's nature do wonderfully persuade the heart to embrace the promises 
of forgiveness. The promises do thus persuade, by mercy's super-adding a 
real taste of transcendent goodness and sweetness, an overcoming sweet- 
ness, unto this grand benefit of forgiveness, and the promises thereof, by 
which the will and affections are demulced, and effectually drawn to 
embrace them. That these benefits of salvation are in themselves good, 
and must needs be most welcome, or, as the apostle expresseth it, 1 Tim. 
i. 15, 'worthy of all acceptation,' by a sinner sensible of his own sinful 
misery, we may very well and readily conceive, for they are suited unto all 
self-love in such a soul. But farther, that unto a truly broken, humbled 
sinner, the mercies that are in God, out of which he pardons, should have, 
as needs they must, infinitely more of goodness and sweetness in them 


than pardon, or all things else that are in the promises, or apprehended 
with them, is that which a soul that hath tasted how good the Lord is will 
instantly acknowledge. A promise of life to a condemned man is sweet, 
for life is sweet, as we say; but 'thy loving-kindness,' said David, who 
had tasted how good the Lord is, ' is better than life,' and infinitely 
sweeter, Ps. lxiii. 3. And again says David, ' Because thy mercy is good, 
deliver thou me,' Ps. cix. 21. Deliverance was good; yea, but the mercy 
in God apprehended therewith was infinitely more good to him, which was 
the greatest inducement to him to seek deliverance. And indeed God's 
mercy doth eminently bear the style of goodness. Thus God himself says 
to Moses (Exod. xxxiii. 18, 19 compared), ' I will make all my goodness 
pass before thee ; I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious.' And 
David in this psalm first laid hold on the goodness that is in the mercy of 
God, and then prays and pleads, Deliver me. The same again you have 
Psalm lxix. 10, ' Hear me, for thy loving-kindness is good;' that is, it is 
sweet, it is pleasant.* And when the thing sought for comes to be granted 
and obtained, a believer rejoiceth more in the mercy and loving-kindness 
he finds to be in God's heart towards him, than in the benefit vouchsafed, 
and that is it which takes his heart: Ps. xxxi. 7, ' I will be glad and rejoice 
in thy mercy : for thou hast considered my trouble ; thou hast known my 
soul in adversities.' That God's mercy and kindness should own his soul 
at such a time, was more than the deliverance. And as the mercy of God 
stirs up the soul thus to a rejoicing at the performance, so it pleasantly 
allures and obligeth the soul to trust on the promise in hope of perform- 
ance; as those words, 1 Peter ii. 3, imply, ' If so be you have tasted that 
the Lord is gracious.' As we find them in the apostle, they do refer unto 
the psalmist's speech — Ps. xxxiv. 8, ' taste and see that the Lord is 
good ! ' — for his grace and mercy are his goodness : for so the apostle 
renders it, ' If you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.' The vulgar 
translation, whenever the psalmist says ' God is good,' do still render it 
Suavis est Dominus, 'the Lord is sweet;' and his mercies indeed are the 
primum dulce, the original sweetness of all other, which diffuse delicious- 
ness both into the promises and the benefits vouchsafed, and make them 
to be as honey to the taste ; and it is that taste of his graciousness which 
causeth us joyfully to receive and embrace them, and then to trust in him 
(which is the next act), for it follows in the next words of that verse of 
that psalm, ' Blessed is the man that trusteth in him.' The apostle in 
that place mentioned instanceth in those that were and are but new-born 
babes in Christianity ; of whom yet he says, ' If so be you have tasted 
that the Lord is gracious.' What is it especially that Christians, whilst 
babes, do from the first of their faith seek out in the first and chief place 
for ? It is the forgiveness of their sins ; and that benefit it is which God 
first vouchsafes them as to their sense. And therefore most suitably to 
that state of theirs the apostle speaks thus to them, with difference from 
others grown up, ' I write unto you babes, because your sins are forgiven 
you,' 1 John ii. 12. He writes it as the most welcome news to them, and 
as that which whilst babes they are in the most eager pursuance of, and 
thence they seek out in the word for promises that speak forgiveness, and 
those they suck and lie tugging at, even as infants use to do the breast 
for the milk that is in it, and this from the first of their birth, next after 
crying. And if they could come at variety of breasts, they would and do 
affect the sweetest milk; and hereto they are led by a taste of that sweet- 

* Piscator in locum. 


ness. And the apostle's allusion is unto this, whilst he exhorts us ' as 
new-born babes, to desire the sincere milk of the word,' and subjoins, ' if 
so be you have tasted that the Lord is gracious,' namely, in his having 
forgiven you all your trespasses, which so earnestly you then sought. And 
he joins these two together; for whilst we are seeking or sucking of for- 
giveness out of particular promises of forgiveness, we find God come at 
last, and his mercy and grace that forgive we meet with therein, and feel 
them to flow in with the promise, for they are the fountain of forgiveness, 
and of the promises also. It is God, you see, who is said to be tasted, 
and the sweetness of his mercies. It is not said so much that the sweet- 
ness of pardon, or that salvation, or the promise, are tasted; but over and 
above all it is God's grace that is tasted in and with them all, and that is 
it which makes us so greedy and desirous to suck comfort out of those 
breasts of consolation. For that desire, the apostle says, flows from taste, 
and this our sucking and tasting are through faith, and in the exercise of 
that we taste the grace that is in God's and Christ's heart towards us, 
whereof that grace in God's nature is the spring, or ocean rather, and we 
find that to be the most delicious of all other. My advice therefore to 
those that seek to believe is, to put in all of this sugar they can gather 
and grasp out of the original cane itself, as in the Scriptures they find it 
sprouting up, and therewith to sweeten all the promises they do or would 
lay hold on, as that which will most overcomingly persuade their wills to 
embrace them. 

We will -now consider the third act of faith, which is trust in God, and 
will prove that the view and intuition of the mercies in God doth mightily 
strengthen the heart to trust and stay itself upon God for forgiveness. 
And I shall shew how this is done, by persuading the heart even of the 
very truth and faithfulness of God in the promises, and of the assured 
performance of them, and how they give the most real evidence: 1st, of 
God's real intention; and, 2dly, of ability in the event to fulfil them; 
which two are the main causes of trust on the truth of any promise. And 
God's mercies do sufficiently alone assure us of all these, though we had 
no other evidence thereof. 

It is needless to insist that trust is an act of faith, and an eminent act 
thereof, and how a saint is characterised to be one that ' hopes in God's 
mercy,' Ps. xxxiii. 18, Ps. cxlvii. 11 ; and one that ' trusteth in his mercy,' 
Ps. xiii. 5; and Ps. Hi. 8, ' I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.' 
That which is specially incumbent on me is to give demonstration that the 
ample meditation of God's mercies will prove most effective to cause (as 
David's word is, Ps. cxix. 49) the heart to trust in God, over and above 
the consideration of the promises alone. 

It may be thought that God having once given forth promises of forgive- 
ness in his word, we should need the consideration of his mercies no more ; 
for out of mercy it is that the promises are given, and of mercy it is they 
speak, and carry it in the mouth of them. Of what use then can it be to 
have a distinct view of these mercies whereof we treat, in order to draw 
forth trust on them, since the ground of that is the truth of God ? If 
therefore our faith needed an establishment in those promises, it may have 
recourse rather unto the truth of God, or unto the assurance that God is 
true in his word and faithful in his promises ; and as for mercy, that is 
sufficiently supposed in his promises themselves. 

I acknowledge that these other attributes of truth and faithfulness hnve 
their share, and a great share too, in influencing the support of our faith. 

Chap. XIII.] of justifying faith. 1 21 

We cannot want the knowledge of any of his attributes, but our faith will 
be the weaker for it. We cannot bo without the knowledge of truth espe- 
cially, which is therefore so frequently mentioned with mercy. But yet 

still our hearts being too ' sbw to believe' (as Christ hath told us), when 
deeply humbled once, do foment and harbour so many jealousies of God, 
and are as full of dark cells of fears, doubts, suspicions of God, as full of 
unbelief, carnal reasonings against itself, as the earth is of damps, stilling 
vapours contained in vast caverns within the womb of it. Our hearts, I 
say, do therefore stand in need of the most spiritual cordials (as those that 
dig in mines, and work in the earth's caverns, are wont ever and anon to 
take) ; which cordials, the most sovereign to such a fainting soul apt to 
sinkings, are the rich mercies in the heart of God, which like to a box of 
the most costly ointment, do, when opened, fill the whole house (the 
heart) with the savour thereof; a savour (if any) of ' life unto life,' as the 
apostle speaks, 2 Cor. ii. 16. But over and above what spirit of life and 
consolation God's mercies in themselves immediately afford, my under- 
taking further is to shew, that an ample view of these infinite mercies 
entertained by us doth by inference or consequence wonderfully conduce 
to our very belief of the truth, and faithfulness, and willingness of God 
manifested in those promises to forgive and pardon us upon that account. 
And I shall also still continue the prosecution of my begun exhortation, to 
press and urge this practice and course upon the spirits of believers, or 
souls endeavouring to believe, viz., to fill and possess their souls with the 
most comprehensive apprehensions of the mercies of God, as to the draw- 
ing forth of trust or affiance on the promises of forgiveness, to be the most 
behoveful of all other. It is certain that in all trust and confidence upon 
another, whether in human matters on man, or divine on God, the know- 
ledge of the person whom we trust, and the inward qualifications, and dis- 
positions, and habilities that are in that person, are a greater basis and 
ground for trust than all or any sorts of declarations of that person, or any 
obligations by promises, oaths, &c., can be supposed to be: 2 Tim. i. 12, 
' I know whom I have believed,' or ' trusted,' as it is varied in the margin. 
His perfect knowledge of the person, viz., of God, did weigh above all with 
him, unto which fully accordeth that of the psalmist: Ps. ix. 10, 'They 
that know thy name will trust in thee,' And though promises are the 
means by which we believe, yet it is the promiser that is the basis or the 
foundation on whom our hearts ultimately and quietly rest for the per- 
formance. All our confidence is therefore resolved into the person, and 
what he is. Indeed, the greatness of the sum or thing promised, and the 
security given (whether it be by bond or the like), do greatly conduce to 
cheer the heart of one that trusts; but still all these are in the virtue of 
what we apprehend the promiser to be in his inward and innate disposition 
and habilities. 

There are two things especially that give the real truth to any promise 
made, and chiefly beget the adherence thereto in the soul of any that con- 
fide thereon. 

1. The honesty of the promiser, in respect of a real intention in him 
when he made the promise, and still continuing in him to perform it. 

2. That in the event it will assuredly de facto be performed. 

The reason why I add the latter to the first, and join both together, is, 
that the truth of a promise notes a respect and relation unto an actual 
performance, as that without which the promise cannot be said to be, or at 
least will not prove true in the reality of the thing, though it should be 


never so faithfully intended by him that promised. Hence then he that 
doth believe the truth of the promises of forgiveness, must necessarily be 
assured of the latter as well as the first, and indeed of both these two things 

I shall speak to each particularly, and shew how much our faith on these 
two is confirmed, even by our belief of this, that so great and infinite mer- 
cies are in the heart and nature of God. 

1. As to the truth and faithfulness of God's intention in these promises, 
that (say I) is as abundantly if not more confirmed to us by our firm belief 
of the mercies in God, than by any other arguments whatsoever; for it 
was mercy in God that wholly made those promises, and was the founder 
of them; and God had no other motive to make them than his mercies, 
and could have no other or greater design in the making, but firmly to 
resolve to perform them to the glorifying of his mercy, which is the Alpha 
and Omega, the beginning and ending, of all therein. And therefore the 
belief of his mercies must needs have as great an influence into our belief 
of the truth of the promises as any other thiug whatever. 

1st, Mercy, pure mercy, tenderness of mercy, made the promises, and 
caused him first thus to declare of himself, ' I will be merciful,' as Rom. 
ix., Exod. xxxiii. Yea, and his mercy was utterly free in his doing this. 
The grace we are saved by is the freest principle in God's nature. He 
might have chosen whether ever or no he would have let fall a word of 
mercy to any of mankind, and yet to choose he did it. And it was mercy, 
pure mercy, that was the head of and leader on of all the rest of the attri- 
butes to concur in this design. 

Nor, secondly, had he any other end to attain upon the sons of men 
which he should have aimed at, or would obtain by his giving and uttering 
those promises, but that truly and really he should forgive, must be all 
and the whole of his intent, and utmost of the design. Forgiveness of our 
sius is wholly ascribed unto mercy, as being from ' the riches of his grace,' 
Eph. i. 7. 

Nor, indeed, 3dly, could he have any other design but this ; it could not 
be to gain or bring us unto himself under the pretensions of offers of 
mercy, and the overtures thereof; for himself knew and foreknew that we 
all were and would be such wretched reckless creatures in ourselves, that 
all the promulgations and offers that should or could be made would not 
stir or move our hearts a jot unto the least attempt of nearer access unto 
God, unless himself first moved us thereunto. Mercy itself must work 
with the promises, or we should sit still and move not : Eph. ii. 4, 5, 'But 
God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even 
when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ (by 
grace ye are saved), and hath raised us up together,' &c. And faith, it is 
' the gift of God, and not of ourselves,' as there it follows. And therefore 
it had been in vain to have made pretensions of promises, in hopes or 
expectation of our being willing, or of our coming in, if God himself were 
not really resolved. No ; the apostle hath resolved us it must be God 
himself must shew us that mercy to cause us to will and run, Bom. ix. 16. 
Therefore, as mercy was the first and sole mover, so it must itself be the 
performer, or all is in vain. 

4thly. Besides this, let us weigh that our great God did, long before he 
put forth those promises, both know and perfectly consider with himself 
what riches of grace and mercy lay by him, whereby he found his own 
sufficiency over and over abundantly to perform such promises, which to 

Chap. XIII.] of justifying FAiTrr. 123 

perform is more easy for him than for us to think or speak a word. 'I say 
unto theo' (says Christ, 6 X&yoj, the Word), 'thy sins are forgiven thee,' 
Mat. ix. 2. It was but a word of his mouth. The all-sufficiency of his 
own heart told him how merciful he could for ever find in his heart to be 
(as our phrase is of ourselves), and he first reckoned with himself, and told 
over what his ' riches in mercy ' were, and to what an infinite sum they 
arose, and found, by the largeness of his heart therein, that he could never 
be disenabled or impoverished in the expense of them, nor his heart grow 
narrower or scantier in process of time afterwards, when men should have 
acted and perpetrated their sins, than now it was when he made the pro- 
mise before they had sinned. ' I know my thoughts towards you, thoughts 
of peace,' &c., Jer. xxix. 11. And thereupon and withal there declares 
how in the end and event, as I have phrased it, the thing will assuredly 
be fulfilled which he had promised; so it follows, ' to give you an expected 
end.' For ' I know my thoughts towards you,' says he; I have summed 
and cast up all. I know what I have resolved I am able to do, and there- 
fore wait you, and expect the issue. And likewise he found in himself that 
he had for ever the absolute and full power of his own will. And upon 
this and such forethoughts within himself it was that he both took up those 
purposes of forgiveness, and issued out from thence those promises adequate 
thereunto.* When the covenant of grace and mercy, the sure mercies, 
were given forth to David under the type of him and his house, but sig- 
nifying his seed Christ, and those that were to be of him, David, in totwn, 
and in the whole, resolveth all those promises into God's own greatness and 
all- sufficiency within himself, as that from which alone, together with the 
consideration of his Christ, he was moved to make those promises : 2 Sam. 
vii. 21, ' For thy Word's sake' (which I would interpret of Christ, 6 /.oyo;, 
the Worclf), and according to thine own heart hast thou done all these great 
things.' And the great things he speaks of as done by God were his uttering 
those promises by Nathan, ver. 11-16, which David indigitates, ver. 19, 
1 But thou hast spoken,' See., all which was in the reality intended of Christ, 
and those children whom God gives him (as the apostle calls them), so Ps. 
lxxxix. 28, 29 ; Isaiah lv. And the consideration that God made these 
promises so freely, and out of his own heart, was that great foundation 
which confirmed David's heart in the faith of those promises, and may 
abundantly strengthen ours. Yea, the promises themselves that were made 
being so high and illustriously great, this became an invincible argument 
to David's faith, that God that made them was the true God, and he alone : 
so ver. 22, ' Wherefore thou art great, Lord God : for there is none like 
thee, neither is there any God besides thee.' For he considered with him- 
self that it could not enter into the hearts of men, or of any mere creature, 
to make such promises, of so large and ample extent, of such and so great 
mercies and forgiveness : ' Is this the manner of men, Lord God ?' ver. 
19. And therefore, if there were no other evidence, this alone sufficiently 
testified to him the greatness of God, 'Thou art God alone ;' and his heart 
being thus filled and enlarged with the mercies of God, and the greatness 
of God in them, he thereupon readily gave up his faith to the belief of the 
truth of them. And no wonder if we find in that first proclamation, Exod. 
xxxiv. 7, ' The Lord God, gracious, merciful, abundant in goodness or kind- 
ness,' set first, and then to follow ■ abundant in truth' also ; for the abun- 

* Compare with it Psalm lxxxix, 28, 29 ; Isaiah lv. 

+ Compare Dan. ix. 17, ' For the Lord's sake ;' that is, for Christ's ; and ver. 19, 
' For thine own sake,' 


dancy and overflowing of that kindness and mercy that God in those 
declarations professeth to be in himself, is that which assures us of the 
truth and reality of God's heart in the whole of it, as also of those promises 
which next do follow, of ' pardoning iniquity, transgression, and sin.' His 
truth in his promises doth spring, and hath its rise, from that fountain, 
his super- abundancy of mercy. And as the promises are said to be ' true 
in Christ,' 2 Cor. i. 18, 20, because he purchased them, so upon the like 
ground they may also be said to be true in God, because mercy is the 
founder and maintainer of them. And from hence it follows, that as God's 
own knowing his own heart, and riches, and all- sufficiency to perform what 
he should promise, caused him to engage his truth at first in making these 
promises, so answerably it is operative in the soul of a believer, the more 
it comes to believe the truth of those promises, as there is a good reason 
it should do so. For this is a sure and undeniable rule, that what most 
moves God's heart to do a thing, that, when declared and revealed by God, 
must needs be most efficacious to cause the heart of a sinner to believe 
that he will do it. 

The second thing I proposed, as that which goes to make up the truth of 
a promise, is the assured reality of the performance of it in the event, or, 
as the prophet speaks, that ' though it tarry, wait for it, because it will 
surely come, it will not tarry,' Hub. ii. 3 ; that is, that it will certainly in 
the issue be fulfilled, for otherwise the promise is not re ipsa true as to the 
thing itself, and so not such as he that is to confide in it may build upon 
it. And the reason of this is, not only that the substantialness and essen- 
tiality of a promise relates to the actual execution of it, but farther, like- 
wise, because often it falls out that the person promising may have honestly 
and faithfully intended it, and promised it, and yet in the issue prove 
unable to perform, as we see amongst men it often falls out ; and then in 
that case and respect the promise doth in reality fall short of its eventual 
t'uth. Hence, therefore, to constitute a promise true, there must be 
added unto the sincerity of the intention of the promiser the reality of 
making the promise good ; and that as necessarily doth farther depend 
upon a full and sufficient ability in the promiser to perform it, as it doth 
upon the honesty of his intention. Hence, therefore, in like manner it 
must be acknowledged that in and to the full confidence of faith of him 
that depends upon the promise of another, there must necessarily also be a 
persuasion of the full and perfect ability of the promiser in the issue cer- 
tainly to perform it, so that on his part it shall not nor can any way be 
hindered. And this belief of the ability of the promiser to accomplish, is 
as great an ingredient into trust as any. This we may see in the apostle's 
faith : 2 Tim. i. 12, ' I know whom I have trusted, that he is able,' &c. 
Thus that wherein God's greatest sufficiency and ability, de facto, or actually 
to forgive our sins, doth lie, the apprehension and belief thereof must needs 
be judged the strongest inducer of us to trust on God for the forgiveness. 
Now it is evident that his all-sufficiency and ability to forgive doth properly 
and peculiarly consist in his being merciful. Not to cite many scriptures, 
this 34th of Exodus may suffice, ' The Lord strong, merciful and gracious, 
pardoning iniquity, transgression, and sin.' Likewise Ps. lxxxvi. 5 (which 
is an extract from this), ' For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive, 
and plenteous in mercy, unto all them that call upon thee.' You see here 
that his readiness to forgive flows from his goodness, and his being ' plen- 
teous in mercy.' And in analogous reason this may be seen in its shadow, 
the mercy that is in man. What is it that enables a man to forgive ? 

Chap. XIV.] of justifying faith. 125 

Merely tho goodness and mercy that is in him, so as a weak woman, or the 
poorest and otherwise most impotent man (if they abound in bowels of 
mercy, and be of tender hearts and natures), are able to forgive an injury, 
when yet they are utterly unablo to do any other good thing, especially not 
any great thing, for the party whom they forgive. But the mercy that is 
in them alone sufficiently empowereth them unto forgiveness, when to 
nothing else. So, then, if a firm belief of the ability of the person be the 
Btrongest persuasive unto trust and confidence, joined with that of his 
honest intention, further to confirm us of the certain real performance 
itself, then although from other topics we may come to believe that God is 
true in those his promises of forgiveness, yet more abundantly, as the 
apostle says in a like case, this belief springs from the intuition of the 
abundancy of the mercies that are in God, than from any other whatsoever ; 
and the firm belief of the ability to perform is that which most of all 
causeth trust. Thus it was in the faith of Abraham, that he staggered not 
at the truth of the promise as to the real performance, because he chiefly 
believed God's all- sufficiency to make it good : Rom. iv. 20, 21, ' He stag- 
gered not at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith, 
giving glory to God, and being fully persuaded that what he had promised 
he was able to perform ;' and so was assured thereby that the event would 
be accordingly. If a great person that had promised to give such or so 
vast a sum of money as is necessary to furnish a private man's house with 
household stuff and utensils, wares and provisions of all kinds, and to stock 
the man's ground, and had given his word and truth for the performance of 
all these, but, together therewith, had led that poor indigent person into 
all his treasures, and shewn him his riches, and where it was that all those 
kinds of such furniture do lie, and then had carried him into his fields, 
barns, and warehouses, where he should also see stock for cattle, corn, and 
wares of all sorts lie piled up, how would this hearten that man, or any of 
you, to believe that great person, the promiser, in his word and promise 
given. So it is here. Now consider those great riches of God which the 
Scriptures predicate so much, and out of which he pardons ; they properly 
consist in his mercies. These are they that are his substance, and give 
him ability to forgive : He is ' plenteous in mercy, and ready to forgive,' 
Ps. lxxxvi. 5. It is mercy that is even the principal obligee in the promise 
or bond, and truth and other attributes come in but secondarily as to this 
business of forgiveness, and rather but as witnesses to confirm what mercy 
had declared and signed before them. 


The uses of the doctrine. — That the thoughts of the mercies in God's nature 
should encourage us to come to him for salvation and life. — That the con- 
sideration of them should cause any soul to hope that God will pardon 
him in particular. 

Use 1. Let the thoughts of these treasures of mercies, which have been 
described and demonstrated to be in God's nature, encourage us to come 
to him. Let us consider that there is no other use of all these riches of 
mercy in God, but to be given all forth unto sinners for his glory : whereas 
all his other attributes are to himself, and for himself. Thus his wisdom 
is the perfection of his own being : his love is that whereby he loves him- 


self : his all-sufficience is that which makes himself blessed ; but his mercies 
redound not in this manner unto or upon himself (for he is not merciful 
unto himself, or for himself), but the sole improvement and glory of thorn 
consists in extending them to others, so as otherwise they would lie useless 
by him. Now then, as a man's having a great estate lying by him, is the 
greatest provocation that can be to him to make him willing to lay it forth 
unto an improvement ; so these vast treasures of mercies which God pos- 
sesseth, are a motive unto him to expend them upon sinners. Full breasts 
love to be sucked and drawn, their fulness otherwise becomes a pain. It 
is the greatest vanity to have riches, and not to know on whom to bestow 
them. Do but possess thy heart then with the thoughts that there is this 
fulness of grace, these great riches of mercy in God, and it will make thy 
soul easy of belief, that there is a willingness in God to bestow them, and 
that he is resolved to give them out to thee whenever thou comest to him, 
especially since himself hath set them forth, and pi'oclaimed them on pur- 
pose to us ; as we find in the Scriptures, that where God doth set himself 
to persuade sinners to come to him, he thinks it sufficient to give them pro- 
mises of mercy and pardon. 

When convinced sinners come to have the prospect of their hearts, and 
of their lives past, and of their sins therein, in the great aggravations of 
them, set in order before them ; when the account of tbeir ten thousand 
talents comes in ; then, unless the superabounding mercies in God, which 
should pardon them, arise up to their faith, and are in solido told out before 
their eyes, and their faith prevails to assure them in good earnest that 
there are such infinite mercies in God, they cannot entertain a thought of 
hope or comfort. Till they see how the mercies of God are superabound- 
ingly able to forgive all these their heinous and aggravated sins, and to 
remove those heaps upon heaps of them, they will not be brought to 
believe ; but as Jacob's heart fainted, and he believed not till he saw the 
waggons which Joseph had sent to carry him, and then his spirit revived, 
Gen. xlv. 26, 27, so neither will these sinners believe till they see the 
mercies which God hath sent forth to carry them to heaven. Till then 
they are apt to cry out (as Cain did, Gen. iv. 13), ' My sin is greater than 
I can bear :' or as those in Jer. xviii., who, when God had invited them to 
turn from their evil ways, say at the 12th verse, ' there is no hope,' or our 
case is desperate. And so they forsook their own mercies (as Jonah 
expresseth it), and left the everlasting and never-failing spring thereof, 
ver. 14, and forgot the Lord, ver. 15, and betook themselves to lying vani- 
ties to give them comfort and ease. And other souls who are preserved 
from despair, yet think within themselves, and say, Oh, where are the 
mercies to be found that should pardon all those sins ? Is it possible that 
God should find in his heart to do it ? Is it possible that God should find 
in his heart mercy and grace enough to pardon such, and so great a sum 
of sins committed against grace itself ? And in this lies the stop and obstruc- 
tion of faith, as it did in like manner with them in the wilderness, who 
said, ' Can God furnish a table in the wilderness ?' Ps. lxxviii. 19. Their 
doubt (when matters came to a stress) was more of his power and ability, 
than of his will. The question is, Can God ? They do not say God will 
not. And truly there is as much unbelief in men's hearts about his mercy, 
when it comes to a pinch, as about his power ; though men ordinarily say 
that they question neither, and indeed till they are put to a distress, they 
question neither, but take them in an overly way for granted. But still 
there is the same reason of men's questioning the all- sufficiency of God's 

Chap. XIV.] of justifying faith. 127 

mercy, as there was in those Jews, and is in us upon any the like occasion, 
of questioning his power. Accordingly, we find these two in like manner 
expressly joined as parallel, and as points of like difficulty to he believed, 
Ps. lxii. 8, 11, 12 ; and indeed in doubtiDg one we question the other, espe- 
cially when we hear that God's ability to forgive lieth in his mercy ; for 
then to limit his power is as to this particular all one as to limit his mercy. 
And when men's consciences are throughly awakened to see their sins, 
then unbelief, on the other hand, awakens thoughts in them to limit God's 
mercies, which is another phrase used, Ps. lxxviii. 41. For men's narrow 
spirits, if not enlarged by faith, do much measure God's heart by their own, 
and so think God to be like themselves, Ps. 1. 21. They cannot imagine 
how a person so high, so great, and so grievously provoked, should be able 
to forgive, and therefore apprehend that he cannot be willing ; and hence 
a thousand jealousies of God do arise in men's souls, which are as full of 
dark cells of unbelief as the earth is of vast caverns within the womb of it. 
"We may judge that the disease lies here, by the remedy and application the 
Scriptures make, which, to satisfy men's souls in these very scruples, do set 
forth God in the greatness and prerogative power of his mercies, as the 
mercies of so great a God, and proportionable to his greatness. As men's 
hearts rise not up to glorify God as God, Rom. i. 21, so nor to believe 
mercies to be in him as a God so great and infinite, proportionable to his ■ 
greatness. God hath therefore in the Scriptures taken several ways, and 
at sundry times hath set forth his mercies to persuade men. Sometimes 
they are set out by way of admiration and wonderment : Micah vii. 18, 19, 
' Who is a God like our God, pardoning iniquity, and passing by the trans- 
gression of the remnant of his inheritance, and that delighteth in mercy ?' 
Sometimes they are displayed by comparing his thoughts and heart in par- 
doning, with what may be supposed to be in the thoughts of the largest 
and most tender-hearted parent, father or mother, and with the bowels 
which all men put together may be supposed to have in them ; and God's 
heart is declared to exceed them all in mercies and thoughts of forgiveness, 
as much as the heaven exceeds the earth : Isa. lv. 7, ' Let the wicked for- 
sake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts ; and return unto the 
Lord, and he will abundantly pardon.' Yea, but the sinner will say, 
My thoughts of sinning have for time past already been infinite, ' only 
evil, and continually' evil from my infancy, and my ways have been con- 
tinually perverse and froward, ungracious and opposite to God and his 
mercies, that should pardon me. Humbled sinners' thoughts will go on so far 
in a belief that God may pardon them, though they have gone out so far in 
sinning, as to think that if they had only at such a time of their lives 
sinned so and so against him, and been false to him, and not continued to 
sin out of the presumption of that grace that now should pardon them, 
then they might have hope of mercy. But they think that because they 
have so long provoked him, that now he may have sworn against them in 
his wrath, and that he cannot find in his heart to forgive such a wretch, 
though he may otherwise pardon as much as all men and angels putting 
their stock of mercies together, and making up one great purse of mercy, 
as would be sufficient to extend to forgive and discharge great debts. Oh 
but, says God, measure not my thoughts in pardoning either by the evil in 
your thoughts, or by your ways in sinning ; nor yet measure them by what 
the thoughts and ways of yourselves, men or angels, have or can have to 
forgive withal ! ' For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my 
ways your ways, saith the Lord. As the heavens be higher than the earth, 


so are my ways higher than your ways.' My ways of mercy are both above 
your ways of sinning, and they also exceed all the thoughts of mercy which 
the best natured of you can have in pardoning others. My ways and 
designs that I have upon you, and dealings I purpose towards you, tran- 
scend them all in opposite goodness, graciousness, and forgiveness, as much 
as the heavens do the earth. And also says God, ' My thoughts are not 
as your thoughts.' He speaks all this of his exceeding them all in pardoning. 
Nay, further, it rises higher, to this, meaning that the mercies of God do 
not only exceed men's thoughts in what any, or all of them, could find in 
their hearts in their proportion to pardon, but that also if you extend the 
compasses of your thoughts, that you or any believers have had of what 
mercies of God, and what tboughts of grace, have been exercised in pardon- 
ing themselves or other sinners ; yet the merciful thoughts of God in 
reality do exceed, and are above all such apprehensions that you or airy can 
take up, as much as the heavens are above the earth, and are still higher 
also, since ' his mercies are above the heavens.' For lo ! ' these are but 
parts of his ways, but how little a portion is heard of him,' or appre- 
hended by us men, or that can be spoken by himself, unto what is in him- 
self ! Job xxvi. 14. 

I have enlarged upon these reasons, not so much for conviction, which 
in so plain a point needed not, as to stir up believers to the frequent 
exercise of this so useful an experiment, wherein when faith is versed it 
will find an abundant entrance into every promise that belongeth unto 
mercy in any kind, as well as in the point of forgiveness ; and yet this 
practice is neglected by Christians, for the want of which their faith con- 
tinues weak and narrow, and their joy and comfort in believing kept low 
and small, and God himself bereft of much of the glory would arise unto 
his mercy, if, together with the promises laid hold on, they would have 
recourse unto the spring and fountain, the mercies of God. But the nar- 
rowness of their spirits in believing causeth them to content themselves 
with a single and bare view of the things promised, and of the promises of 
them under the notion of being the word of God ; but they enlarge not in 
considering the rich mercies of God, that moved him to make those pro- 
mises. They have the consideration of the truth of God in them to perform, 
but expatiate not to the mercies that both gave the promises, and is the 
cause of all the causes of the performance. 

My advice to believers is, to meditate much upon, and to study the 
infinite riches of God's mercies, as the Scriptures so frequently (and there- 
fore call for the like frequency of thoughts upon them in our hearts) have 
set them forth unto us. Let us still join them all together upon any great 
and solemn occasion of exercising faith on promises ; and as, in the point of 
thanksgiving after mercies received, we have many precedents of saints 
recounting ' the loving kindnesses of the Lord, according to all he hath 
bestowed on them, according to his mercies, and according to the multitude 
of his loving-kindnesses,' Isa. lxiii. 7, so in like manner our faith should, in 
its pursuit to obtain mercies, collect and make the like catalogue, as we 
have been even now abundantly instructed ; for hereby we shall greatly 
honour God, and strengthen our own hearts. 

1. We shall honour God greatly (to give glory unto whom in the most 
ample manner is the most proper use of faith, Rom. iv. 20), for thereby we 
acknowledge and do homage to his mercies as the universal cause of all ; 
for this is an undoubted maxim, that what is first in any kind is the uni- 
versal cause of all that kind. Consider then in God all that is mercy in any 


kind, and he being originally and only merciful as well as only good, all else of 
mercy must hold its tenor of that mercy that is in him. This I under- 
stand to be the full of that title given him by the apostle, 2 Cor. i. 3, 
1 The father of mercies ; ' i. e., he being a fulness of mercy in himself first, 
he became the Father of all mercies, of what kind soever. He is the first 
in that kind; mercy itself is his nature, and all mercies purposed, promised, 
performed, held forth, or applied to faith, are all his immediate children, 
and not one of them have any existence but from him, and that considered 
as he is merciful too. Thus in another respect he is styled ' the Father of 
lights,' James i. 17, in respect of heavenly gifts from above, they holding 
in chief of him as such in that kind of effects ; like as the sun (to which 
the allusion manifestly there is) may be called the father, or first original 
of all heavenly light that comes down upon the world from itself, or from 
stars that have their light from it. 

2. And also this course of meditating on the riches of God's mercies will 
prove most comfortable to us ; for, 2 Cor. i. 3, now cited, where he pro- 
pounds him to our faith as the Father of mercies, he adds this other 
immediately, ' the God of all comforts ; ' for in exercising our faith on him 
as a Father of mercies, we shall find him to be a God of comfort to us, 
whilst we are but expectants and waiters on him by faith all along until the 

3. And by virtue of his mercies being the universal, supreme, and 
sovereign cause of all mercies, promises, &c, it holds good that our faith 
may have a free, ample, and immediate recourse unto them in all cases, or 
occasions whatsoever. For the law or privilege that accompanies his being 
the first cause in other kind of effects, doth by analogy hold in this. Take 
him as he is primus motor, the first and universal cause of all being and 
motion, and it is a maxim universally consented to by all divines, that 
although there be a chain of second causes subordinate one to another, that 
have a power each to bring forth their proper effects (as the sun brings 
forth light, and that light heat and warmth, and that warmth quickens and 
enlivens the seeds and roots in the earth, and they bring forth herbs, which 
herbs and flowers have divers colours and qualities they are adorned withal), 
yet God, who is the first and universal cause, hath an immediate influence 
and concurrence into all and each, as immediately into the very last as 
into the first ; and that a far greater than they have all or severally into 
their effects ; so as God not only works by them, but with them, and he as 
immediately causeth the light to quicken plants as to send out light, and 
as immediately he causeth the plants to bring forth flowers, yea, and that 
last effect too, those orient colours with which the lilies (that are our tulips) 
are arrayed above Solomon in all his royalty ; yet these particulars are 
immediately attributed unto God more than unto their second causes : ' If 
God,' says our Saviour, ' so clothe the grass of the field,' Mat. vi. 28, 30, 
Luke xii. 17, 28 ; and indeed he works ' all in all,' 1 Cor. xii. 6. I need 
not insist on it further, being it is but for illustration ; be you only exhorted 
to hold this golden chain and descent of mercies let down to your faith to 
lay hold upon ; see his thoughts and purposes to have mercy immediately 
flowing from the essential mercies of his nature, and then regard his pro- 
mises of bestowing such and [such] mercies as another link let down from 
his purposes. And though the faith of a believer lays hold on these promises 
as on what are next it, yet those first and essential mercies (so celebrated 
in his word) do immediately touch, influence, and reach unto all and each 
of these, unto the last as well as the first, to give subsistence to them, and 



to make all good to the faith of a sinner. And hence the faith of believers, 
whilst it clasps itself into the promise of forgiveness, or any other promise 
in the word, may not only remotely depend on God's mercies (as a man 
that hangs his whole weight upon the. lowest link of a chain, may be said 
to hang also upon the uppermost, to which all are in subordination fastened), 
but he may in and with the promise have an immediate recourse to the top 
and supreme mercies themselves, for they are ready and present with the 
declaration of his word to make them good and real to the faith of a sinner, 
for whose sake and comfort they are and were written. He may bring 
down the consideration of all these mercies into every such promise, &c, 
to strengthen his heart in believing, and in treating with God for forgive- 
ness, for they are the original cause of those promises, and all promises of 
mercy are immediately conjunct unto, and dependent on, the mercies in 
God's nature, even as all particular rivers depend upon the universal ocean, 
from which they all come, and into which they run, as Solomon tells us, 
Eccles. i. 7, and each of them have the whole sea to maintain and feed 
them. And as they flow also into the sea, and every vessel, small or great, 
that floats in any of those particular rivers hath an open passage into the 
main, keeping to the course of that river, so is it here between the mercies 
of God, the ocean, and the current of promises of salvation, and the faith 
of a believer. And in this case there is that privilege which often falls not 
out in such as we have alluded to, viz., that the smallest rivulet of salva- 
tion running in the promises may bear up a vessel of mercy, and may be 
for his supply, if he thinks or finds he wants water, and sticks in the deeps 
of mire and quicksand. The believer's faith hath the freedom and liberty 
to suck and draw in the ocean of God's mercies, to draw (if it were possible) 
the whole of the sea itself to make a full stream for its support, and to help 
it off aground, and to help its being borne aloft above all mire of tempta- 
tions. Nor are there any stints set how much or how little it may let in ; 
and to confirm this, why should not faith as well have this immediate 
recourse, in and with the promises whilst yet unperformed, unto these 
essential mercies aforehand, to bestow and give forth the things promised, 
as well as after in thanksgiving, when we have received the mercies as per- 
formed unto us, we bless God for them, and we celebrate all those essential 
mercies in God as the original and immediate causes of them ? Thus 
Nehemiah did, Neh. ix. 17-20, &c. The great return which the Gentiles, 
and all the nations in the world, are said to bring unto God (when converted 
by the gospel), as the richest present of thankfulness, is set out by this, 
1 to glorify God for his mercy,' Rom. xv. 9. Now there is the same reason 
for one as for the other, and we shall find that, in the exercise hereof, and 
treating with God thereby, there will flow in upon our souls an abundance 
of strength and consolation, even spring-tides of them, to fill the channels 
of the promises, and also of our hearts, that give themselves up to them. 

Use 2. I shall yet farther, by way of use and application, enlarge this 
head, by adding, that this comprehension or intuition of the mercies in 
God's nature will also prove a great persuasive and encouragement to a 
bringing on an hope in men's souls, an hope of God's willingness to pardon 
themselves in particular. And this is a matter of great moment, it being 
found, in ordinary and common experience, that whilst humbled souls are 
helped so far on in their way of believing as to acknowledge the truth of 
God's intentions in the promises of forgiveness, and the reality of the per- 
formance to some or other, yet still they stick or waver whether God be 
willing to pardon them in particular. Now, whatever other encouragements 

Chap. XIV.] of justifying faith. 131 

unto such a soul others will allege, whereof there may be many, yet I shall 
insist on this one, and that alone, it lying in my way, and being suitable to 
the design of my discourse ; that if God but possesses and fill thy soul with 
an ample and enlarged apprehension of the mercies that are in himself, this 
will create withal an encouragement to thee that he intends good to thy 
soul in particular. As the flood, when it rose higher and higher, did lift 
up together with itself the ark, so an inuring thy soul to those comprehen- 
sions will insensibly elevate and raise up thy soul to a confidence that God 
doth intend all good to thee. Look, as if one that is timorous, and unused 
to travel in great waters, should be set in never so safe a vessel in the midst 
of the sea, or great overflow, where he saw himself environed about with 
nothing but waves, he would fear his being drowned and cast away ; so, on 
the contrary, if you set the most weak and fearful soul in the full view and 
prospect of God's mercies, and the vast ocean thereof, that he sees neither 
shore nor bottom, this poor but otherwise tumbled soul will soon take heart 
and courage to itself. For, 

1. The full and clear revelation of any divine truth in a way of sub- 
sistence to a man's soul, doth leave some application of itself to a man"s 
soul. And if a discovery be made of good things, the manifestation thereof 
doth usually leave an encouragement in the heart that they belong and 
appertain unto one's-self. The very manifestation that God makes of them 
(when God makes it) carries so much engraven in it. As this is found 
true in experience, so that definition of faith, Heb. xi. 1, 2, confirms it, 
even that the main of faith lies in a conviction of the substance of the 
things themselves, which, when it is made in the abundancy of the object 
revealed, the very sight and presence thereof is that which mainly draws in 
the heart to apply it, and cleave and adhere unto it for its ease in parti- 
cular. The truth of this might be abundantly made out, and it holds good 
in the particular point before me in a more especial manner, by how much 
the infinite sweetness of God's mercy hath a magnetic or a loadstone virtue 
in it, by alluring (as Hosea's phrase is, chap. ii. 14) to attract and draw in 
the heart unto them, and cause men to think that they may come to have 
a part and portion in them. Whilst they deeply consider that there is such 
an height and depth of mercy, a bottomless gulf in God's heart, it induceth 
the soul to cast anchor within the veil, as mariners do their anchors in the 
bottom of the sea blindfold ; which anchor is an hope of mercy for a man's 
self, upon what he clearly as yet sees not to belong unto him. 

2. For the confirmation hereof (besides this general ground) I observe, 
that when God himself doth set himself to draw men unto him, to turn to 
him, and so to believe and lay hold on his mercy, and would persuade them 
thereunto, the most efficacious course he takes is, in the most ample man- 
ner that may be in the first and chief place, to possess the hearts of those 
he addresseth his invitations unto of those infinite riches of grace that are 
in his heart and nature only in a general declaration of them only, whilst 
yet, in applying of them and of the promises to the persons, he is pleased 
to give but imperfect intimations and suspensive discourses of what he will 
do for them in particular. That one instance in Joel ii. 13, 14, may suffi- 
ciently serve for many others ; for the thing he there instantly exhorts unto 
is this, ' Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn unto me with all your 
heart,' &c. But what are the encouragements or invitations by which he 
would induce them to it ? What grounds doth he propose unto their faith '? 
They are two. The first and great one is, the royal declaration of the 
mercies that are in the nature of God barely proposed, and it is the same 


in the very words with that of his old and first proclamation, so often 
repeated throughout all ages (which he will for ever abide by), Exod. xxxiv., 
for so he begins, ' For he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of 
great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.' 2. There are and use to 
be in the word more particular promises, wherein he far more utters what 
his will and resolution is for shewing mercy unto those whom he speaks to. 
Now, indeed, you will find that some promises are also annexed hereunto 
in this his exhortation, and both intended to provoke them to believe and 
turn to God ; but I beseech you to observe the vast and strange difference ; 
that is, the manner of his declaring the first and the latter. 

The first, viz., magnific description of his nature, he utters in the fullest 
and most enlarged, absolute, assertory way that possibly might be. He 
proclaims that with open mouth, and speaks plainly without reservation or 
hesitation. That magnific description of himself he utters with open mouth 
in the fullest and amplest manner that possible might be ; but the second, 
viz., the promise made to the persons, and the things pi'omised, he is 
pleased but to mutter (as I may so speak), and concerning this he says no 
more but, ' Who knows if God will repent and leave a blessing behind 
him ? ' He is sparing and reserved, you see, in this way of the declaration 
of his will : yea, and elsewhere, the hope he gives as to this part is yet 
more slender; for but to an • It may be,' Amos v. 15; Zeph. ii. 3; yea, 
but to an ' If there may be hope,' Lament, iii. 29. To say tbat ' there is 
hope,' gives us a sight but afar off; but to say, ' If there may be hope,' 
gives a far more uncertain sound. Yet this is what God doth in this sort 
of declaration concerning what his will in promises to these persons lets 
fall to them. 

By all which we may clearly see that it is the certain and clear conviction 
and evidence of the grace in God, though joined but with such promises 
that speak but indefinitely, and contain but imperfect obscure hints and 
intimations, and that give but a slender hope (as one would give of good 
will to a man in his particular) that it is this conviction which hath the 
strength and attractive influence in it, and is sufficient, with those promises, 
to draw in the soul to cast itself upon God, and to hope in his mercy. 
And this inference from that fore-mentioned passage in Joel is strong and 
clear ; for it must not be denied that God, in those treaties and proposals 
to men, did apply himself to work faith in them, and accordingly gave forth 
what was most effective, at least sufficient, to beget faith in men's hearts, 
and to bring them in to him. And further, it must be owned that the great 
God (the proposer here), knowing our frame, and what it is wherein the 
unbelief in men's hearts doth mostly lie, did therefore apply himself, and 
frame his exhortations up of such things as would be most effective of faith 
in us, and best able to remove the contrary obstruction of unbelief. Now, 
we plainly see that in these passages he spreads the plaster thickest and 
deepest with that medicinal salve, viz., of the display of the mercies of 
God's nature, and but thinly with that other of suspensive intimations of 
his good will to the persons in the promises annexed. And therefore that 
which is the most hardened core of unbelief in us, must be understood to 
consist chiefly in the doubting of the plenteousness and fulness of mercies 
that are in him to pardon us. This is the great and deep ' sore of men's 
hearts,' if men would but know it in themselves, as Solomon speaks, 
1 Kings viii. ; and the virtue and influence of this sovereign plaster men- 
tioned is it which doth dissolve that core and work of the devil ; and in 
our believing of these things of our God it is that the main stress of faith 

Chap. XV.] of justifying faith. 133 

doth lie (though men discover it not), and in that point their faith needs 
most to be strengthened aud relieved, rather than in the other. And this 
one thing apprehended once, though but with slender half promises of that 
mercy to us, which are but intimations rather than promises, will yet be 
abundantly effective to persuade the heart, and beget in it a good hope 
through grace of mercy for itself, and thereupon to come in and turn unto 
God, who thereupon will reveal himself in other promises more fully to his 


That God, considered as justifying the ungodly, is the object of faith. — How 
we may be said to be justified from eternity. — In what sense it is to be under- 
stood that we were justified upon the resurrection of Christ. — How we are 
said to be justified when we believe. 

Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect ? It is God that justi- 
fieth.— Rom. VIII. 33. 

In seeking justification, our faith must have recourse to God, as justify- 
ing also. Thus in the words of the text it is expressed, ' It is God that 
justifies.' And upon this the apostle builds his confidence, as well as upon 
that, that Christ died. Therefore we find, that as Christ dying, so God as 
justifying is made the object of faith; Rom. iv. 5, ' That believeth on him 
that justifieth the ungodly ' i. e., who believeth on God the Father, imput- 
ing Christ's righteousness to persons ungodly. And therefore you shall 
find that the righteousness we are justified by is called as often ■ the 
righteousness of God,' as of Christ : thus Rom. i. 17, ' The righteousness 
of God is revealed from faith to faith ;' for as faith looks at this righteous- 
ness as purchased by Christ, so appointed by God, and bestowed by him, 
and imputed by 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.' We* see Christ there to be the meritorious cause of that righteous- 
ness, for his soul paid for it. But his Father was the original cause of all, 
for he made him sin for us, and he makes his righteousness ours. It is 
called ' the righteousness of Christ,' as he is the worker of it; but ' the 
righteousness of God,' as he is the appointer and imputer of it. So Rom. 
iii. 25, 26, it is called ' the righteousness of God' for a double reason ; 
because God sent forth and appointed Christ, ver. 25, and because he is 
the justifier by it, ver. 26. It is called ' the righteousness of faith,' as the 
apprehender of it, Rom. iv. 13. It is called 'man's righteousness' (Job 
xxxiii. 26, 'He will render to man his righteousness'), because it was 
extended to him, and paid for him. Yea, let me add this farther, that God 
justifying is the main and ultimate object of your faith. Christ, though he 
is the first and next to you, yet God is the ultimate, in whom faith rests. 
Therefore believers, 1 Pet. i. 21, are said ' by him to believe in God, that 
their faith and hope might be in God.' Thus, as the promise brings you 
to Christ, so Christ brings you to God. 

The reason of this is, because God hath as great a hand in justifying 
you as Christ ; yea, he is the principal in it : 2 Cor. v. 18, ' And all things 
are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath 
given to us the ministry of reconciliation.' Therefore in the matter of 


justification, Isaiah liii. 11, God calls him his servant; ' My servant shall 
justify many.' It was God against whom principally our sins are com- 
mitted, and unto whom the satisfaction of Christ was paid, and by whom 
it was ordained, and by virtue of whose decree it hath power to justify. 
As the value of it to justify us depends on the worth that is in Christ, so 
the acceptation of it for us depends upon God's will ; ' By which will ye 
are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus,' Heb. x. 10. It is 
the will of God, spoken of before, which Christ came to accomplish. It was 
God that appointed the persons for whom Christ died, and Christ, as Me- 
diator, put not in a man, but whom his Father gave him ; and then the 
great blessing of pardon comes to be bestowed. God guides, and directs, 
and orders the bestowing of it, and sets his hand to the act of grace, ere 
pardon comes down. Christ's merits have their efficacy to justify us ex 
compacto, from agreement between the Father and the Son ; for though the 
merits are in themselves superabundant, uvsgiir'Kiovaes, 1 Tim. i. 14, the 
apostle therefore shewing how the righteousness of Christ is more to us 
than Adam's sin, tells us also that free grace must put in before it can be 
accepted for us, Rom. v. 17. 

There are two things in justification. 

1. The righteousness imputed; and that is Cbrist's, and to him we go 
for it. 

2. The act of imputation, the accounting it mine or thine ; and that is 
the act of God primarily. 

Justification is attributed as much to free grace as to Christ's righteous- 
ness, for both are joined : Rom. iii. 24, 25, ' Being justified freely by his 
grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ : whom God hath 
set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to declare his 
righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbear- 
ance of God.' Therefore faith looks as much to free grace ordaining and 
imputing, as to Christ performing. In a word, God's free grace is the 
original, Christ's righteousness is instrumental to the manifestation of free 
grace, and faith is the instrument of apprehending all ; and yet God still 
is in all, 2 Cor. v. 18 ; and Christ is ' all in all,' Col. iii. 11. And faith, 
as it is our act, is nothing at all in our justification, but only as it appre- 
hends all. 

Now, for a direction concerning God justifying as the object of your 
faith, you are to consider all the acts and ways of God justifying, and to 
direct you to a right conceiving of God as justifying, you must know that 
there are tria momenta, or three stages of motion in this way. I do not 
say that there are three parts of justification itself, which, as it is applied 
to us, is actus individuus, an individual act; but three several steps, three 
paces and progresses of God, as I may call them ; though, in respect of 
the materials which justification consisteth of, it is actus totalis, an entire 
act, a complete discharge from all sin, and a perfect investiture with the 
whole righteousness of Christ. God pardons not the debt by halves, nor 
bestows Christ's righteousness by parcels, but entitles us to the whole in 
every of those moments of justification : yet, in regard of our investiture 
into this, there are several pauses, or several iterations of this act ; as in 
passing over an estate in land, when the deeds are drawn, written, and 
sealed, there is a title or interest given into the whole estate ; and then 
again, when possession is further given, it is not an interest into any new 
parcel, but both convey the whole estate ; yet they may be called several 
acts oi conveyance, and of title and admission into it : and such several 

Chap. XV. J of justifying faith. 135 

acts of investiture of us into this whole grace of justification were performed 
towards us by God, which go to the accomplishment of it. This also 
answers to the distinct works of the three persons, who, as they have a 
distinct hand in the whole work of redemption, so also in this main point 
of our justification. 

1. The first progress or step was at the first covenant-making and 
striking of the bargain from all eternity. We may say of all spiritual 
blessings in Christ what is said of Christ, that their ' goings forth are from 
everlasting.' Justified then we were when first elected, though not in our 
own persons, yet in our Head, as he had our persons then given him, and 
we came to have a being and interest in him. ' You are in Christ,' saith 
the apostle, and so we had the promise made of all spiritual blessings in 
him, and he took all the deeds of all in our name ; so that in Christ we 
were 'blessed with all spiritual blessings,' Eph. i. 3; as we are blessed 
with all other, so with this also, that we were justified then in Christ. To 
this purpose is that place, Rom. viii. 30, where he speaks of all those 
blessings which are applied to us after redemption, as calling, justification, 
glorification, as of things already past and done, even then when he did 
predestinate us : ' Whom he hath predestinated, them he hath called, them 
he hath justified, them he hath glorified.' He speaks it as in the time 
past. Neither speaks he thus of these blessings as past simply in regard 
of that presence, in which all things stand before him from eternity, all 
things both past, present, and to come, being to him as present. Nor doth 
he speak it only in regard of a resolution or purpose taken up to call and 
justify, he ' calling things that are not as if they were,' Rom. iv. 17. For 
thus it may be said of all his other works towards the creatures in common, 
that he hath created and preserved them from everlasting. But in a more 
special relation are these blessings decreed said to have been bestowed, 
because, though they existed not in themselves, yet they existed really in a 
Head that represented them and us, who was by to answer for them, and 
to undertake for them, which other creatures could not do ; and there was 
an actual donation and receiving of all these for us (as truly as a feoffee in 
trust may take lands for one unborn), by virtue of a covenant made with 
Christ, whereby Christ had all our sins imputed unto him, and so taken off 
from us, Christ having then covenanted to take all our sins upon him when 
he took our persons to be his ; and God having covenanted not to impute 
sin unto us, but to look at him for the payment of all, and at us as dis- 
charged. Of this seems that place, 2 Cor. v. 19, evidently to speak, as 
importing that everlasting transaction, as I have shewn,* ' God was in 
Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses 
unto them' ; i. e., not imputing them then, when he was reconciling us unto 
himself in Christ. So as then God told Christ, as it were, (for it was a real 
covenant), that he would look for his debt and satisfaction of him, and that 
he did let the sinners go free ; and so they are in this respect justified from 
all eternity. And indeed, if the promise of life was then given us (as the 
apostle Paul speaks, Titus i. 2), then also justification of life, without which 
we could not come to life. Yet this is but the inchoation, though it be an 
estating us into the whole tenure of life. 

2. There is a farther act of justifying us, which passeth from God 
towards us in Christ, upon the payment and performance by Christ at his 
resurrection : for Jesus Christ (who as he was one with us by stipulation 

* In his discourse of Christ the Mediator, Book i. chap. i. in vol. iii. of his works* 
[Vol. V. of this edition.— Ed.] 


before, so then by representation), at the time, the fulness of the time of 
payment appointed (which the apostle therefore calls the ' due time,' Rom. 
v. 6), came into the world as our surety, and as representing our persons, 
as Adam once did ; and at several payments, for three and thirty years and 
upwards, at last finished all at his death, and laid down the last payment 
when he laid down his life and his body in the grave, sin and the curse all 
the while holding him in bands as a debtor : but at that instant when he 
arose, God then performed a farther act of justification towards him, and 
us in him, admitting him as our advocate, into the actual possession of jus- 
tification of life, acquitting him from all those sins which he had charged 
upon him. Therefore we read, that as Christ was made sin in his life and 
death, so that he was justified also, 1 Tim. iii. 16. After he had said, 
that he was ' manifested in the flesh,' i. e., the likeness of sinful flesh, he 
says, he was ' justified in the Spirit,' when by the power of that eternal 
Spirit he was quickened, and so declared to be that righteous one with 
power ; at which time, as he vindicated himself before men, of all those 
imputations laid on him by men, as being an impostor (which, when he was 
under the curse, he lay under, but now was justified to all the world), so 
also before and by his Father he was discharged, and justified also from 
all those debts he had before charged him with, as now having fully paid 
the utmost farthing, and so received him up into glory, as it follows in that 
text. I say then, in the same sense that God made him sin, in the same 
sense he is said to have justified him ; and therefore, Heb. ix. 28, it is 
said, he shall at the latter day ' appear without sin ;' implying, that when 
he appeared here, he appeared with sin : therefore there was a time when 
these sins were taken off, and the first moment of it was when he rose from 
under that state of humiliation (whereof the last part was his lying in the 
grave), and when he began to enter upon a glorified state, which was at his 
resurrection. And that he should be thus justified, is not spoken of him 
abstractly considered in himself, but as he hath us conjoined in him, and 
as he connotates us ; this new title to life, and of being righteous, he 
entered not upon for himself alone, but he was an attorney, took posses- 
sion, and was admitted for us, and we by him as our advocate ; which I 
take to be the meaning of that place, Rom. iv. 25, ' He died for our sins, 
and rose again for our justification.' When he died, then he paid our debts, 
and God received from him the price, and therefore the matter of justifica- 
tion is indeed the merit of his obedience and death ; but at his rising, then 
the formal act and deed of discbarge was delivered to him by God, and that 
for our justification : ' He rose for our justification.' And our justification 
is attributed to his resurrection, not only because he rose again to apply 
it, but principally in this respect, because at his rising he received it for 
us, for he being justified then, we were justified in him : and therefore, 
as justification in respect of the matter imputed is attributed to his death 
and blood (we were justified by his blood) so the formal imputation of it to 
us ; may be ascribed to his resurrection, when the discharge of all was 
reckoned to Christ. And in this respect, when the apostle would shew 
them the benefit and necessity of Christ's resurrection in respect of them- 
selves, he says, 1 Cor. xv. 17, ' If Christ be not risen, your faith is in 
vain, ye are yet in your sins,' i. e., that although Christ died for your sins, 
and you had faith in that his death to be justified from your sins, yet this 
faith would be in vain, and neither it nor Christ's death would justify you ; 
and your title to justification were nothing worth, if Christ be not risen : 
for though you did believe, and could say the money was paid for you, if 

Chap. XV.] of justifying faith. 137 

Christ had not risen to take delivery and seisin of the estate in your names, 
your plea would have been made void, the formality of justification being 
wanting. Now all this argues that our justification hath a farther depend- 
ence upon his resurrection than merely as to working faith, and that he 
rose not only to give us faith, but that supposing we could have faith in 
his death, yet without his resurrection it had been in vain. For indeed 
this present state of our justification by faith depends upon that fore-passed 
justification of his in our stead then ; and as when he ascended we ascended 
with him (and therefore we are said now to ' sit together with him in 
heavenly places,' Eph. ii. G), so when he was justified we were justified also 
in him ; and as it may be said, Adam condemned us all, and corrupted ua 
all, when he fell, so did then Christ perfect us all, and God justified us all, 
when he died and rose again. 

3. But these two acts of justification are wholly out of us, immanent acts 
in God ; and though they concern us, and are towards us, yet are not acts 
of God upon us, they being performed towards us, not as actually existing 
in ourselves, but only as existing in our Head, who covenanted for us, and 
represented us : so as though by these acts we are estated into a right 
title to justification, yet the benefit and the possession of that estate we 
have not without a farther act to be passed upon us, whereby we have not 
as existing in our head only, as a feoffee in trust for us, as children under 
age, this excellent grace given us, but are to be in our own persons, 
though still through Christ, possessed of it, and to have all the deeds 
and evidences committed to the custody and apprehension of our faith. 
We are in our own persons made true owners and enjoyers of it, which is 
then done at that instant when we first believe ; which act is the comple- 
tion and accomplishment of the former, and is that great and famous justi- 
fication by faith which the Scripture so much inculcates, and almost only 
mentioneth ; yea, and so speaks of it, as if we were not justified at all till 
then : so 1 Cor. vi. 11, ' Such were some of you; but now ye are sancti- 
fied, now ye are justified :' which before they were not; and therefore the 
apostle speaks of a now of justification, being ' now justified,' Kom. v. 9, 
that is, ' now we believe,' ver. 1 ; and so ver. 11, 'By whom we have 
now received the atonement,' because though it was given in Christ afore 
for us, yet then only we receive it ; and therefore before faith the Scrip- 
ture pronounceth the very elect, even those whom Christ died for, ' chil- 
dren of wrath as well as others,' till they believe, Eph. ii. 3. So as when 
we are said to be justified by faith, it is not only because then faith appre- 
hends that justification that was in God's breast before, and that then we 
are justified merely foro conscientue, though before we were so in foro Dei, 
as much as ever (as some express it) ; but further it must be said, that even 
in foro Dei, in God's court, and according to the judgment of that open 
court which God hath set up in his word, and according to the proceedings 
of his word (which is the rule he professeth to judge men by, and therein 
he keeps to the rules of his word, as Christ says, ' I judge no man, but the 
word I speak shall judge you,' John xii. 47, 48), God doth judge, and 
pronounceth his elect ungodly and unjustified, till they believe ; yea, and 
bj' the Spirit of bondage he testifies to their consciences, that before faith 
they are ungodly, unjustified, and children of wrath. If it were not a real 
truth, the Spirit of truth would not evidence this to them : so, therefore, 
when we are said to be justified by faith, it implies more than a justifica- 
tion in our consciences, and causing us to apprehend our justification ; for 
upon believing there'is an act passeth from God which makes a real change 


in our estates, from a state of ungodliness to an estate of justification ; 
which is a real moral change, as truly and as really as sanctification is a 
physical change, and that not only in our apprehension and judging of our- 
selves, but in the course of God's proceedings of judgment upon us ; that 
whereas before, he, by the rules of his word, which he keeps to, would and 
must have proceeded with us as persons ungodly, out of Christ, now 
according to those rules he doth pronounce us just, and we come actually 
to have a real claim, title, and interest, according to course of law, as we 
say, in justification, which till now we were debarred of. 

But the question may be put, How could they be said to be justified 
afore, both from eternity and in Christ, if they may be truly said even 
in God's judgment to be justified but now, and that they were till now 

The answer is, That these seeming contradictions, in divers respects, are 
both true. 

1. That before God, according to the rules of his word, which are the 
rules of his proceedings before men, being God's revealed will, they are 
as yet unjustified ; but according to those secret passages of his secret will 
transacted with Christ, and to which he is privy, they are justified persons 
before him. 

2. Though the person abstractly considered is always justified before 
God, yet the person concretely taken, as invested with, and remaining in 
an estate of unbelief, is in relation to that estate, according to the rules of 
his word, unjustified ; so as the change is first and primarily in regard of 
the state of the person from unbelief to faith, and then it looks towards the 
person himself. 

3. Their justification before faith, coram Deo, in the sight of God, is of 
them not as actually existing in themselves, but only as they were repre- 
sented in their head; for their persons, as considered as represented in 
Christ, did in him, as their head, receive justification, and all blessings else, 
but not in themselves do they receive them actually as existing until faith ; 
as we are said then to be condemned and corrupted in the first Adam, 
when he sinned, as representing us, but we are in our own persons not 
actually corrupted till we exist and are born from him. So as to conclude 
this, they are said before faith to be justified in Christ by representation 
only, and not as in themselves. They are said to be in themselves actually 
justified through Christ after faith, but they cannot be said to be justified 
of themselves without Christ, neither before nor after faith. At the closure 
of these three advancements and passings forth of our justification, take 
these two observations concerning them all. 

Obs. 1. That each of these being in and through Jesus Christ, who is 
our righteousness, and so they all depend upon him, therefore these three 
progresses of God going on to justify us, depend upon three several acts of 
Jesus Christ, which as he puts forth, so doth God also answerably put 
forth a new step in this work. 

(1.) When Christ did but undertake for us, and took by covenant our 
sins off from us, and indented with and entered into bond to God for our 
debts, God then discharged us in his secret purpose ; and knowing Christ 
able and faithful, expected all from him. 

(2.) When in the fulness of time he had performed what he under- 
took, as Christ did a new act, so did God also therein justify both him 
and us. 

(3.) When Christ by his Spirit knits us to him, and works faith in us, 

Chap. XV.] of justifying faith. 139 

to look towards that satisfaction and justification wrought for us, then doth 
God put forth another act (and it is the last act, and the accomplishment 
of all), and pronounceth us righteous in ourselves through him. 

Obs. 2. All these acts of justification, as they depend upon Christ, so 
upon our being one with Christ ; and look what kind of union there is, 
answerable is the act of justification passed forthwith. From all eternity we 
were one with Christ by stipulation, he by a secret covenant undertaking 
for us ; and answerably that act of God's justifying us was but as we were 
considered in his undertaking. When Christ died and rose again, we were 
in him by representation, as performing it for us, and no otherwise ; but 
as so considered we were justified. But now when we come in our per- 
sons, by our own consent, to be made one with him actually, then we come 
in our persons through him to be personally and in ourselves justified, and 
receive the atonement by faith. 



The second object of faith, Jesus Christ. — Of our being drawn to him by the 
Father, and our treating with him for an interest in his person and salva- 
tion by him. — That Christ as God-man in one person is the object of our 
faith. — That as a spiritual Messiah and Saviour he is propounded to our 
faith. — That not only Christ in his person, but in all that he hath done 
and suffered for our salvation, and now doth for tis in heaven, is the object 
of our faith. 


That the mercies in God's nature are not the object of our faith, but as they 
are considered together with Christ. — That God's mercies and Jesus Christ 
are accordingly propounded jointly to our faith. 

There are two grand objects our faith doth act upon, God the Father and 
Jesus Christ; the Holy Spirit beiDg the person -who anoints us, generally 
teaching us all things. Our Saviour Christ therefore, John xvii. 3, havirig 
spoken of giving eternal life to them that believe, superadds, ' This is eternal 
life, to know thee' (the Father), ' the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom 
thou hast sent;' thereby setting forth them two as the objects which our 
faith and knowledge are carried out unto for eternal life ; which eternal life 
is begun in this world by the knowledge of faith, and perfected by the know- 
ledge of sight in the world to come. 

That which in the Father our faith cloth specially act upon, are the riches 
of his grace ; and free grace is indeed, and in reality, but the love of God 
in election, though uttered in absolute promises and declarations, yet ex- 
pressed indefinitely as to persons. God indeed absolutely declareth in the 
promises and covenant of grace what his heart was and is unto an elect 
company, but conceals the persons (which promises I therefore term 
indefinite), thereby ascertaining us that there are some of mankind he so 
loves resolvedly and unchangeably, whom he intends therein ; which pro- 
mises shall infallibly take hold on them. And that covenant and those 
promises I call absolute, because they promise to give the very conditions 
required to salvation in that covenant. 

The other object of our faith is Jesus Christ, both in his person and his 
suffering, death, resurrection, intercession; and likewise the benefits that 
are the fruits of all these. And our faith is to aim at the having fellow- 
ship with him in all these, as the object of faith, as well as the free grace 
of God the Father. In all which benefits which our faith seeks from these 
two, I might quote many scriptures, wherein Christ and the free grace of 
the Father are still joined, and go hand in hand. I instance particularly 

Chap. I.J of justifying faith. 141 

in justification for all tho rest, in which thero is both the grace of the 
Father and the righteousness of the Son, that concur both thereunto ; and 
our faith is distinctly to exercise itself upon both these, for obtaining jus- 
tification. This conjunction you see in Horn. iii. 24, * Being justified freely 
by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.' You have 
it also in Rom. v. 15, ' The grace of God,' that is, of God the Father, and 
1 tbe gift by grace ' (tho gift of righteousness and justification thereby) 
' which is by one man Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.' And 
again he says at verse 17, ' They which receive abundance of grace, and 
of the gift of righteousness,' &c. — a righteousness by which we are made 
righteous, ver. 19. There is both the grace of God in the heart of the 
Father, and there is the gift of righteousness by grace, ' which is by one 
man Jesus Christ,' as by whose righteousness we are made righteous; and 
these concur to our 'justification of life,' as it is termed in verse 18. 
Now, there being these two grand objects of the faith of all believers for 
the first benefit they are brought to seek at first, all converts under the 
gospel are therefore brought to a distinct communion and fellowship 
(through faith) both with the Father and also with the Son, to obtain both 
grace and righteousness from both, and afterwards in the course of their 
lives they enjoy a distinct fellowship with both Father and Son: 1 John 
i. 3, ' These things I write to you, that you may have fellowship with us : 
and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ;' 
with these two objectively is our fellowship transacted. The Holy Ghost 
is he who, 1 John ii. 20, is styled the ' anointing' of us and our eyes, to 
converse with these, and by whom we 'know all things;' but our fellow- 
ship is objectively with the Father, and with his Son. 

In the old covenant there were two grand utensils placed at the upper- 
most end of the holy of holies (which the believing Jews had their eyes 
upon whilst they looked towards the holy temple), the ark and the mercy- 
seat. The ark was the type of Christ's person; the mercy- seat, as the 
apostle denominates it, Heb. vii., was the type of God's grace joined with 
Christ's person, as atoned and made propitious by Jesus Christ; for the 
word in the Hebrew signifies expiation, which alone was made by Christ, 
but imports therewith pardoning mercy through his expiation ; and so it 
respected at once both the grace in God atoned, and also Christ; who is 
therefore, Rom. iii. 25, styled ' the propitiation for our sins.' And yet 
withal that propitiatory hath the name of mercy-seat given it by the 
apostle himself, Heb. ix. 5, by which name our translators have therefore, 
in Exodus xxv. 17, rendered the Hebrew. Thus it was in the type; and 
the thing signified thereby is that throne of grace whereat Christ officiates, 
as the same apostle in substance styles it, Heb. iv. I cite it to shew that 
these two, ark and mercy-seat, were immediately and inseparably conjoined 
together, and the one set upon the other; as if you should set two plain 
chests one on the top of the other immediately, and nothing between. 
The mercy-seat was uppermost on the top of the ark, as you read Exodus 
xxv. 21 ; this being imported thereby, that all the grace in God's heart 
flowing to us is through Christ, and as supported by Christ, and his 
mediation and expiation, so as it is God's grace and mercy as in Christ. 
And unto these two the eyes of the believing Jews were cast, and had their 
expectation fixed for grace and mercy, as appears by the instance of that 
humbled publican — ' Lord, be merciful to me a sinner ' — whose coming to 
the temple to worship, as it doth shew him to be a Jew or Jewish pro- 
selyte, so the word wherein Christ forms that his petition is Old Testament 


language, as of one who, looking towards the propitiatory or mercy-seat, 
prays to God to this effect, ' Lord, be mercifully propitious to me from 
thy mercy-seat;' which in gospel language is 'from thy throne of grace.' 
And furthermore observe, that these two were both of a like size and pro- 
portion, as long, as broad, as deep, the one as the other (Exod. xxv. 10, 
17 compared), to shew that however the essential grace and mercy in 
God's nature is essentially infinite, yet his dispensatory mercy and grace 
laid up for us, and intended towards us sinners of the sons of men, are of 
the same extent and commensuration with Christ, and his merits and 
righteousness, &c, because all that grace which God hath intended to 
bestow upon us, for the matter, manner, or measure, is but commensur- 
able, and of like extent, with all that Christ purchased and procured, and 
is no more nor no less. As also because that these two must never be 
separated; for God hath conjoined them thus closely and immediately one 
to the other, only God's grace is uppermost, and the fountain of us, and 
Christ, and all; and the glory of it is the supreme end of all, Eph. i. 5, 6. 
Some converts indeed more distinctly, and withal amply and abundantly, 
have their hearts run out sometimes to God the Father, and pursue after 
the attainment of his love and grace, and have their hearts drawn and set 
more largely to treat with the Father, and his grace, and to seek the obtain- 
ing more frequently the manifestations of his grace, and have their hearts 
more intent upon what his work for their salvation in his heart is. They 
consider that it was he who first decreed Christ, and our salvation through 
him, and called Cbrist to die for us, and gave us to Christ, &c, and with 
a peremptory and unchangeable love ordained the salvation of some through 
faith and holiness ; and accordingly they desire to have the manifestations 
of his grace made forth upon their souls. But others have the Lord Jesus 
Christ in their eye, and treat with him through his death, redemption, and 
the w T orks which he performed towards it, in a more large and abundant 
manner. But though his heart goes out thus more amply to Jesus Christ, 
and hath communion with him and his righteousness, yet he believeth also 
on God the Father, that ordained and sent his Son out of his grace, and 
believes on him as the pardoner of his sin. And, e contra, he that hath 
communion with God the Father in seeking his love, he doth it in Cbrist 
impliedly, as through whose mediation he hath access unto the Father. 
But still the eyes of either may be more setly and wistly set, and fixed 
upon one of them, as on Christ, or the Father, more explicitly than on the 
other. It is what the apostle intimates, 1 John ii. 13 (I cite it to this very 
purpose, to shew that sometimes the heart of one Christian runs out more 
to the Father, and at other times more to the Son), ' I write unto you, 
fathers, because you have known him that is from the beginning.' Who 
is that? Jesus Christ; chap. LI, 1 That which was from the beginning, 
which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have 
looked upon, and our hands have handled of the word of life :' that is appa- 
rently Jesus Christ. Then again, says he, • I write unto you, little chil- 
dren, because ye have known the Father.' Here the spirits of the one run 
out at differing seasons, sometimes more to God, sometimes more to Jesus 
Christ. I will not stand to explain whom he means by fathers, and whom 
by babes, nor need I do it as to my purpose ; it is enough for the present 
that it is ascribed to the same sort of persons at different times, that when 
they were babes, they knew the Father ; when fathers, they knew Christ 
more intently. The reason of which different intentions of our spirits is, 
that our souls are narrow vessels, and use not to be intent on two so emi- 

Chap. I.] of justifying faith. 143 

nent objects at once, which thcuforo take their turns in our hearts, that we 
take in sometimes the one, and sometimes the other. 

There must also be allowed a great variety of God's method herein. The 
apostles, though living under Christ's ministry, yet their faith had acted a 
long while on God, far more than unto Christ, of whom then they had but 
the Old Testament notions and conceptions, though they believed he was 
he, the Messiah already come : John xiv. 1, ' Ye believe on God, believe 
also on me.' And so it is now with many Christians, who at first have 
recourse to Old Testament promises, which speak of grace and mercy in 
God for pardon of sin, through a promised Messiah, and so treat with God 
for their salvation ; and though they do it with an intermingled knowledge 
of Christ, yet not so much applying themselves to him. And the reason 
is, because it is God in whose name the arraignment for the guilt of all 
our sins is in Scripture drawn. And therefore the nature of the thing, 
when we are convinced of sin, calls for it, and we apply ourselves to him, 
whose grace and mercy is to forgive us : and repentance being that grace, 
which in a special manner is called for towards God, Acts xx. 21, hence, 
therefore (though with imperfect actings of faith, and hopes of mercy from 
God), it is taken for granted, that it is in and through Christ, in whom 
God alone is merciful. Though, according unto John the Baptist's ministry 
(who directed to believe on Christ, in the close and issue of it), we come 
to Christ at last, yet at first we attend far more unto repentance towards 
God ; but God leaving us unto a failure of comfort from the evidences 
thereof (as to our discerning them), the Father sets our hearts agoing unto 
Jesus Christ amain, as sensible how much we had neglected him, and his 
interest in our salvation ; and he sets us a-work to seek and look for justi- 
fication from him with might and main ; and then to come to God himself 
again for mercy. But there are others who at first dash do believe and 
fasten on Christ at the work of humiliation ; as the jailor (in Acts xvi. 31, 
where his first conversion is recorded) comes to Paul trembling, being struck 
with a sight of, and terror for sin, and cries out, ' What shall I do to be 
saved '?' The apostle puts him upon Jesus Christ at very first : ' Believe,' 
says he, ' on the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved.' The apostle took 
the shortest course with him ; and thereupon his heart entertained the Lord 
Jesus. But then read on the story at verse 34, and you will find that his 
believing on Christ brought him to God ; for it is said, ' He rejoiced, 
believing in God, with all his house :' whereby was answerabty fulfilled 
that of 1 Pet. i. 21, ' Who by him,' namely Christ, ' do believe in God, 
who raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory, that your faith and 
hope might be in God.' And Rom. v., shewing the fruits of faith, how 
that ' being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord 
Jesus Christ,' ver. 1. And going on to other effects of faith, the last fruit 
he mentions is in ver. 11, ' Not only so,' says he, ' but we also joy in God, 
through our Lord Jesus Christ.' 



That when we come to Christ, and believe on him, there is a concurrence and 
consent of all the three persons in the Godhead unto that yreat work. 

No man can come to me, except the Father, which hath sent me, draw him; 

and I will raise him up at the last day. 
And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, 

except it were given unto him of my Father. — John VI., 44th and 65th 

verses compared. 

I design to prove from these words, that as Christ is the ohject of faith, 
so, when any soul is converted, and drawn to believe on him, there is the 
concurrence of all the three persons in the Trinity to that work, and that 
they all put forth conjointly a renewed act of agreement in it. I confess 
in this text there is mention only of the Father, and his consent in it, for 
indeed it is hard for me to take a text that will hold forth all three persons 
together ; but in this chapter you have all three. You have the Father's 
consent here in these words, ' No man can come to me, except the Father, 
which hath sent me, draw him.' You have the Son's consent, ver. 37, 
1 Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.' And you have (as 
some interpret it) the Holy Ghost's also at the 63d verse, ' It is the Spirit 
that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing ; the words that I speak unto 
you they are spirit, and they are life,' though I think by spirit is there 
rather meant the Godhead quickening the human nature of Christ. This 
is a subject of great and weighty moment, and will be of use to you many 
ways to quicken your hearts. I will first open and prove it to you, and 
then make use of it. 

"When God doth convert and draw our souls on to believe, we use to 
look upon the work itself as a great work wrought in ourselves ; and it is 
true, as I shall after shew. But there is more done for us in heaven than 
is done in our hearts at that time. At that great union which is made 
between Christ and the soul, and the drawing on of the heart to close with 
Christ, there is a special council called ; there is a concurrence, a consent, 
a joint meeting of all three persons to this great work, and that in a special 
manner. Though they concur in all works, yet where a council of them 
all is professedly called, there is a plain note and character of a more 
special and remarkable concurrence. Thus, at the making of man espe- 
cially, they are all named : as you read in Gen. i. 26, that when God made 
man, he called a council : ' Let us make man,' saith he, and all the three 
persons did concur and join in that great work. Now, at the making of 
the new man there is the like council held ; there is the Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost. The Father draweth, the Son accepteth, and the Holy 
Ghost is the instrument of both, and quickeneth and enliveneth the heart. 
Such a great conjunction is a matter of infinite wonder. If you look into 
the heavens, you shall not see great conjunctions of planets every day. 
There hath been but seven since the creation itself, and the creation itself 
began with one of them. But here is a greater conjunction in the heaven 
of heavens, when there is an influence of all the three persons into a soul 
at its first turning to God. 

There are four great conjunctions (as I may so speak) of these three 

Chap. II. J of justifying faith. 145 

1. The one was from everlasting, at our election, in which both Father, 
Son, and Holy Ghost had a hand. 

2. The other was at our redemption, when Jesus Christ himself was 
sealed up to bo the son of God ; and at his baptism the Father from 
heaven appears and owns him, and the Holy Ghost descendeth like a dove 
and lighteth upon him. And there was the Son of God, the second person, 
dwelling in the human nature. Thus did all these three meet together at 
that time. And upon the cross likewise they did the like, for the Father's 
hand bruised him; therefore he cries out to him, 'My God, my God,' &c, 
but all that while the Holy Ghost supported and upheld him, and he was 
filled with the Spirit beyond measure for strength to stand under the 
weight of the Father's wrath, for no created strength could have done it. 
And he himself also, through the eternal Spirit, the Godhead dwelling in 
him, offered up himself as a sacrifice to his Father, Heb. ix. 14. 

3. The third conjunction of them is, when faith is wrought, when the 
sinner is called to Christ, which I am now to speak of. 

4. The last conjunction is in heaven, when God and all the three per- 
sons shall be all in all for evermore, which is the great conjunction indeed, 
and to which all the rest tend, and where they all centre. 

I remember, in Acts xiv. 27, faith is called ' the door of faith.' Truly 
there are three keys to open this door, and they are severally in the hands 
of these three persons of the Trinity, and they all concur and bring their 
keys with them when the heart is opened and the soul is drawn to Christ. 

Though I dare not say that faith on our part is always explicitly a 
marriage act, or that the soul did at first take Christ under the nature and 
consideration of a husband explicitly so considered, yet the thing in itself, 
in the nature of it, is a marriage, and it is the solemnisation of the greatest 
marriage that ever was but one, and that was when the human nature and 
the Son of God were married together, whereby that man Christ Jesus 
became the natural Son of God. Now at this marriage all the Trinity are 
present ; and although Christ is offered to the soul at other times in the 
preaching of the word, yet now he is actually given and bestowed. The 
souls of all believers were given to Jesus Christ from everlasting, John 
xvii. 6, and Jesus Christ was given for thee upon the cross ; but when thou 
comest to believe, and God cometh to reveal Christ in thee and for thee, 
then he is actually given to thee even by the Father. 

That 1 may express it to you, and tell you what great things are done in 
heaven for you when your hearts are drawn to believe, and then make it 
out when I have done, 

1. Let me tell you, that when your souls are first turned to God, and 
when you bebeve, though perhaps you know neither the time nor the thing 
I now speak of, yet notwithstanding even at that time, first God the Father 
riseth up in heaven (as I may so express it), and as Jesus Christ said to 
his mother when he hung upon the cross, ' Woman, behold thy Son,' so 
saith God the Father, « Son, yonder is a soul which I gave thee from ever- 
lasting, which thou diedst for upon the cross, and now is the fulness of 
time come for to have mercy upon that soul, go take him and own him for 
thine, and actually now possess him.' This you have here in John vi. 37, 
♦ All that the Father gives me shall come to me.' Here is, you see, a 
giving before our coming, and it is a giving de prasenti, at present, to dis- 
tinguish it from that of everlasting ; a deed of gift made, and that by the 
Father ; an actual delivery and seizin, whereby the soul is put into the 
hands of Jesus Christ. And the Father likewise, he whispers to the heart 

vol. vm. k 


of the sinner, woos the soul to come to Christ ; and therefore the 43d verse 
saith here, that ' they shall be all taught of God,' that is, the Father; and 
that ' no man can come unto Christ except the Father draw him,' ver. 44. 
It may be thou art at church, or in the assembly of the saints, and there 
thou hearest the word preached, and perhaps standest in the crowd mingled 
among many others; or it may be thou art at home, and there art weeping 
and bewailing thy lost condition ; saith God the Father unto Jesus Christ, 
' Son, behold thy spouse ; behold yonder soul that stands in such a place, 
I will marry you two before such time as this soul stirs out of this place.' 
It is as if a king, when his son comes into an assembly, should rise up 
from his royal throne, having spied out a beggar all in rags standing in the 
midst of the crowd, and should say, Son, yonder is your wife, go and take her 
and marry her here presently before me. So it is here ; for there is none 
comes to Christ but those to whom he is thus given. And then Jesus 
Christ is glad that the hour is come ; This is the joyful day (saith he), that 
I have long expected ; and so he goes and embraces that soul, though per- 
haps the soul knows not this. 

2. Our Lord and Saviour Christ knows all his byname, John x. 14, 15, 
which place indeed is very emphatical ; for he saith, that look as the 
Father knows him, and as he knows the Father, so he knows his sheep, 
and is known of them (for known of them he shall be in the end), and he 
knows them all by name. And when the Father hath thus commended 
and actually given a soul unto him, Jesus Christ looks upon that soul, and 
thinketh with himself, Yonder soul I should know ; that is the soul that 
my Father presented unto me in all that beauty from everlasting, which I 
now am to be the author of, and must bestow upon it. Ay, but doth 
Christ know the soul in all her sins ? Yes ; and by a good token (saith he), 
I should know that soul though in her sins, for I remember she was brought 
to me in all her sins, when I hung upon the cross to die for her ; and together 
with her was the catalogue of these very sins presented to me when I was 
in the garden, and when I hung upon the tree. And what doth Christ now 
do? He apprehends this soul (as the apostle saith, Phil. iii. 12), takes it, 
and takes it as commended unto him actually by the Father: ' That I may 
apprehend,' saith Paul there, ' that for which I am apprehended of Christ 
Jesus.' He had spoken before of a race which he was to run ; now, saith 
he, Jesus Christ took me by the hand when I entered into this race. It 
may have an allusion to that, or it may allude to the mother's apprehend- 
ing the child in the womb, which she doth, though the child apprehends 
not her. However, this is certain, that he speaks of conversion and 
entrance into the race of Christianity ; and that before we apprehend Jesus 
Christ, he apprebends us, and takes us upon the gift of his Father as his ; 
even as we love God because he loved us first, so we apprehend Christ 
because he apprehends us first. And Jesus Christ doth this with the 
greatest gladness that can be ; for as he longed to die for all our souls 
(' Now is my soul troubled,' saith he, John xii. 27, and ' for this cause 
came I unto this hour'), so when the fulness of time is come that the 
Father hath appointed for him to receive a soul, how glad is he of tbat 
hour ! If he sits in heaven expecting when his enemies sball be made his 
footstool, how much more doth he expect when a soul which he hath loved 
and paid so dear for shall be brought unto him. 

3. And then when the Son hath thus owned and acknowledged this soul 
anew, the Holy Ghost, who is the third person, and who is privy to God's 
election, and to the heart of Jesus Christ when he died, and knows for whom 


ho died, and had a hand in all, he is sent down from heaven by Jesus Christ : 
Gal. iv. 0, • Because you are sons' (sons by election), ' God hath sent forth 
the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.' And as 
there was a fulness of time, and when that fulness of time was come (as it 
is verso the fourth), ■ God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made 
under the law ; ' and as the Holy Ghost did come and overshadow the Virgin 
Mary (as you have it in Luke), and did unite that man, that beginning of 
an infant (bow shall I express it ? for Christ was in the womb as we are, 
as small and as little as we are), as there was a fulness of time in which 
that nature was formed by the Holy Ghost, and was united to the Son of 
God, so there is a fulness of time whenas the Holy Ghost, thus sent by 
Jesus Christ, having taken and apprehended the soul, cometh down into 
the heart. In Isa. liii. 1, the Holy Ghost is called 'the arm of the Lord;' 
and why is he called so ? but because he is the arm of the Son of God by 
whom he takes hold of the soul. Now this Spirit, when he comes down 
thus into the heart, works eyes, and feet, and hands, and all for to look 
upon Christ, and to come to Christ, and to lay hold upon Christ ; for faith 
is expressed by all these : by seeing of him, and coming to him, and receiv- 
ing him, and laying hold of him. And faith is eyes, and hands, and feet, 
yea, and mouth, and stomach, and all ; for we eat his flesh and drink his 
blood by faith. It is compared to all the members, for the new man is 
originally nothing but faith. Thus now, as Jesus Christ takes hold of us, 
so by the work of the Holy Ghost we come to take hold of him ; and we 
embrace him, as the phrase is in Heb. xi., and we embrace him gladly, as 
it is in Acts ii. 41. 

And all three persons having thus severally and apart agreed together in 
it between themselves, the Father beginning the business in commending 
us to the Son, and the Son sending the Spirit into the soul, and the Holy 
Ghost working grace in us, he leads us from one person to the other back 
again. And therefore in our coming unto God, you have all the three persons 
mentioned together : Eph. ii. 18, ' Through him we have access by one 
Spirit unto the Father.' Here is Christ, Father, Spirit. The word there 
which we translate access, in the original it is a conduct, a leading us by the 
hand, KgoGaywynv ; for as Jesus Christ took us, and took us by the hand as 
it were, and led us into that race, and took hold of us by his Spirit, so 
what doth the Spirit do ? He leads us by Christ to the Father, for we 
come to God by and through Christ, being led in the hand of the Spirit. 
Thus the soul comes to have communion with all the three persons, fellow- 
ship with the Father, and with the Son, and with the Holy Ghost, till this 
fellowship is perfected in heaven. And though you see not these things, 
though you see not what the blessed Trinity do for you then at that time 
when you believe, as that the Father thus gives you to Christ, and that 
Christ himself apprehends you, and that the Holy Ghost is sent down into 
your hearts, and takes you by the hand thus, and carries you back again 
through Christ to the Father, yet all these things are done, and they are 
done for you ; and when God causeth your souls to close with the Lord 
Jesus, they are thus transacted in heaven for you. 

I will give you some instances of this in the conversions of men in the 
New Testament, and I will take Paul's first ; and although his story has this 
extraordinary in it (which indeed is all the privilege he had in this above 
us), that Jesus Christ appeared visibly from heaven unto him, and the Holy 
Ghost likewise in a visible manner fell down upon him ; and the story tells 
us distinctly, that Christ and the Holy Ghost did thus and thus appear in 


it, and in that I say the story is extraordinary ; yet notwithstanding what- 
soever was done at his conversion by God the Father, and by Jesus Christ, 
and by the Holy Ghost visibly, the like is done by the three persons be- 
tween themselves invisibly at the conversion of every soul that is drawn to 
believe in Christ. For in matter of redemption, and of salvation, and of 
conversion, and of faith, and the like, the apostles themselves had no privi- 
lege which we have not. Now we see how all three persons met at his conver- 
sion. First, in Gal. i. 15, you have the Father ; he had appointed a time 
when he meant to give Paul to Christ, and to reveal Christ unto Paul. 
Mark the phrase, ' When it pleased God' (that is, when the time was come), 
' who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, 
to reveal his Son in me.' When it pleased God, saith he, i. e., God the 
Father, for he saith, it pleased God to reveal his Son in him, so that it 
was he who appointed the time, and who at that time began anew to act 
for him. And though God had Paul in his eye from his mother's womb, 
yet there was a time appointed to call Paul in, and until then (saith he in 
the verses before), I lived as other Jews ; but then when it pleased God, 
namely, God the Father, to reveal his Son in me, then it was thus and thus 
with me. Here now is God the Father. You shall see likewise the second 
person, Jesus Christ, coming in. When Paul was journeying towards 
Damascus, Acts ix. 6, Christ from heaven appears to him, and thus speaks 
to him, ' I am Jesus whom thou persecutest ; arise, and go into the city, 
and it shall be told thee what thou must do.' And as Jesus Christ himself 
speaks to Paul, so likewise Christ goes and speaks to Ananias : verse 11, 
' The Lord said unto him in a vision, Ananias, arise, and go into the street 
which is called Straight, and inquire for one called Saul of Tarsus.' You 
see both that Christ knew Paul fully, and took notice of him, and knew 
him by name ; and so he doth every soul that is turned to him. And he 
names the house too, he vouchsafeth to do so ; ' Go,' saith he, ' and inquire 
at the house of Judas.' This was to shew what notice he takes of all 
circumstances when a soul is converted to him. And he tells Ananias like- 
wise what Paul is doing : ' Behold,' saith he, ' he prayeth,' he is mourning 
and bewailing his condition. And he takes notice too of his election, and 
under that notion sends Ananias to him : ' He is,' saith he, verse 15, ' a 
chosen vessel unto me.' You see how withal he orders every circumstance. 
Thus now you have, first, the Father appointing the time, and at that time 
putting forth his act, — • When it pleased the Father to reveal his Son in 
me,' — and you have the Son likewise appearing from heaven to Paul, telling 
him that he would send Ananias to him (so verse 12), and appearing to 
Ananias likewise, and telling him that he must go to Paul. Now, at the 
17th verse, you have the Holy Ghost, the third person, for he in a visible 
manner falls upon Paul when Ananias came to him, and had laid his hands 
on him. Here then, in this instance of Paul's, you have all three persons 
concurring in this great work. Now that which was thus acted in this 
extraordinary and visible manner towards Paul in his conversion (I mean 
visibly by the Son, and by the Holy Ghost), the like is done invisibly, that 
is, undiscernibly to thee. Paul's conversion had a pattern in it, and it is 
a pattern of the extraordinary conversion of the Jews his countrymen, who, 
it is thought, shall be called after the same manner, and it is most likely 
they shall be so. But yet, notwithstanding, if you take that in this con- 
version of Paul's, which is the privilege of all believers, namely, to have 
then the joint consent of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, so far his conversion 
is a pattern of all conversions, and of the work of faith in all God's people 

Chap. II.] of justifying faith. 149 

to tho end of tho world. And do but mark it, that which wa3 done here 
visibly, in the conversion of Paul, and by express direction from heaven, is in 
effect oftentimes done as plainly in ordinary conversions here below. You 
shall find a soul guided by a secret providence to go to such a church to 
hear such a man. Though it is true indeed he is not directed by an 
extraordinary revelation, as Paul was to Ananias, yet moved and guided he 
is to go to such a place, and there he goes, he knows not why ; and when 
he is there, God directs the minister to speak that to the soul which shall 
most nearly concern it, even as in a vision he directed Ananias to speak to 
Paul what concerned him. Now when he hath brought the heart and the 
word thus together, by his providence (for what he did then visibly, he doth 
now by his providence) tho Holy Ghost falls upon the heart, and draws it 
to Jesus Christ. 

You shall find the like in the story of Cornelius, Acts x., which likewise 
is an instance of the same thing. While Peter was speaking those words, 
namely, preaching of Christ to him, for, saith he, verse 43, ' To him give 
all the prophets witness, that, through his name, whosoever believeth in 
him shall receive remission of sins.' While Peter yet spake these words,' 
saith the text, ' the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.' 
And you have the same story repeated again by Peter himself, Acts xi. 15. 
' As I began to speak,' saith he, ' the Holy Ghost fell on them.' And as 
the Spirit fell on them thus in their hearing the word, so Christ himself 
bade Peter go, for he had a vision from heaven, and the Lord spake to him 
to that purpose. Here now is both the Son and the Holy Ghost visibly 
concurring in the working of faith, yea, of that distinct degree of faith which 
Cornelius had to believe evangelically, though he had a faith before in the 
Messias to come. Now look what extraordinarily the three persons did 
thus in heaven, and from heaven by revelation then, the same thing, though 
in an ordinary and in a secret invisible way, doth the Holy Ghost, and the 
Son, and God the Father, now do for all souls that are turned to Christ. 
They do by a secret providence guide thee, and cast thee to live in such a 
family, and there thou receivest this and that instruction ; or they guide 
thee to such a ministry, or to such a passage of Scripture, and then the Holy 
Ghost falls on thee. Jesus Christ hath as much hand in this, and the Holy 
Ghost as strong a hand, and it is as great and strong a fruit of the eternal 
decree of God, as it was to Paul and to Ananias.* Though many do not 
know the time of their conversion, yet by the story of it you shall have as 
strange and as extraordinary providences of God, in bringing them to the 
means of comfort, and the means of comfort to them, and in bringing them 
to the means of faith, and setting it on upon their hearts ; and you shall 
herein have as strong a providence as this was of speaking visibly from 
heaven to Paul and Ananias. And the reason of it is plain ; for what is 
our calling and believing ? It is but the acting, or rather fulfilling, of 
election ; and accordingly it hath the name of election given to it oftentimes 
in the Scripture. Now what the three persons did at thy election, the 
same is done when thy soul is called and believeth ; though perhaps thou 
hast not the knowledge of the time when, much less of the thing, yet all this 
is done for thee, and that in heaven, when God doth draw thy heart first to 

* Qu. ' Cornelius' ?— Ed. 



The uses of the doctrine. — We should consider faith on the Lord Jesus as a 
matter of the greatest importance, since all the jjersons of the Godhead 
concern themselves in it. — We shoidd not neglect this great business of believ- 
ing. — We shoidd glorify all the three persons for the great things which they 
do for us at the time of our believing. 

The doctrine which I have explained and proved in the former chapter, 
affords us these great and useful inferences. 

1. You see that salvation is no slight thing, and that believing and turn- 
ing to God is no slight matter, when all the three persons do thus concur 
in it. The converting and drawing of a soul to believe is a business of 
infinite moment; and why? Because all heaven, and all hell, and often- 
times earth, or much on earth, are stirred about it, even as they use to be 
at great transactions. What a stir there is in the spirits of men when a 
great transaction falls out in state affairs ! There is much more in this. 
All in heaven are stirred, for you have seen that the three persons move 
in it; and Christ tells us there is joy in heaven even amongst the angels 
when a soul is turned to God. And all in hell are stirred about it too, for 
all the devils rage and come forth, and are all in arms. The strong man, 
when he is bound and cast out, is in a rage, and therefore pours forth all 
the floods of persecutions, and disgraces, and temptations, and violence 
upon the soul. And earth is stirred about it too, for you shall have carnal 
friends and companions, and this world, stand amazed at it, and think it 
strange, as the apostle saith. Herein the soul is conformed to the image 
of Christ himself. When Christ was born, they were all stirred at it. 
Heaven was stirred at it, for the Father sent the Holy Ghost down ; and 
the angels came and sung the news of it, and the shepherds come and 
bring the news of it; and 'Herod was troubled, and all Jerusalem with 
him,' Mat. ii. 3, Luke ii. It is a great business, and God gives evidence 
of it that it is a great business; for all heaven (I say), and earth, and hell 
are stirred when God doth thus bring a soul home to Christ. 

2. We therefore should not neglect the great business of salvation, nor 
the time of God's stirring of us. Though God offers Christ at all times in 
the ministry of the word, yet you never come actually to believe till all 
tbree persons thus concur in it, and till they join in a special concurrence 
together for your turning and conversion. Consider with yourselves, you 
that think you can believe and repent when you will, can you call this 
great council together in heaven ? Can you appoint God the time when it 
shall be done? No. 'It pleased the Father,' saith the apostle, 'to reveal 
his Son in me.' It is the Father draweth, and it is the Son that must 
take hold of you, and it is the Holy Ghost that must come down into your 
hearts. And it is not in man's power to call this great assembly together, 
thus to join votes together. Is it in the power of subjects to call the three 
estates, of king, and both the other estates when they please ? No. So 
neither is it in the power of any creature to call together this great council 
of heaven. You may as well order the conjunction of the stars, and call the 
planets together when you will, which is impossible, Job xxxviii. 31. He 
speaks under the very allusion that I now mention it for: ' Canst thou 
bring forth Mazzaroth in his season ? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his 
sons ? ' He meaneth stars, which have these several names given them. 

Chap. III.] of justifying faith. 151 

• Knowest thou tho ordinances of heaven ? Canst thou set the dominion 
thereof in the earth?' that is, canst thou appoint when the stars shall 
meet, and hy their conjunction have great influences upon men ? can you 
go and set that clock ? No, saith he, you must wait upon God at his 
time to do it. When therefore the Spirit of God moves you, then think, 
Now I will follow, and now it may be is the time that God will reveal his 
Son to me; and because thou knowest not the time, therefore, I say, wait 
upon God at all times. Though God in the ministry of the word offers at 
all times, and stands ready to bestow (if thou couldst come) faith upon 
thee, and to draw thy heart, and actually to bestow Christ upon thee, yet 
for this there is a fulness of time, a special time, which thou must wait for, 
even as the world waited for the fulness of time when God should send his 
Son in the flesh. This conjunction is not towards the elect at all times, it 
is but then when the fulness of time comes in which God means to turn 
them. And this is the reason why the elect, though they are moved often 
beforehand, and have many motions in their hearts, yet there is not an 
effectual faith wrought till such a time appointed by the Father. And 
this should make no man neglect, but stir him up rather, because salvation 
is so great a business, and the time is not in our own hands. Canst thou 
move God to give his Son to thee actually when thou wilt ? Or canst thou 
move Jesus Christ to come and take possession of thee when thou wilt ? 
Or canst thou move the Spirit of God to come and give thee faith when 
thou wilt? No; all these are in the gift of the three persons; and no 
man receiveth anything except it be given him from above, John hi. 27. 
Therefore you should wait upon the Lord, and observe his time, and that 
with fear and trembling (if I may so express it by the contrary). They 
that serve the devil, as conjurors and witches, wait for the falling of fern 
seed, as they call it, night after night, when it is told them it is in the 
possession of such and such angels ; which, when they have got, they 
think they can do great wonders by it. Are they in this dependence upon 
their head, Satan, that damneth and undoeth them ? How should we 
then wait upon God for the droppings and influences of heaven, and for 
the sending of the Holy Ghost into us to work faith in us ? 

3. Thou that art a believer, do but look back upon the work in thy con- 
version and turning to God ; though perhaps thou canst not tell the timewhen 
it was done, yet it may be thou canst tell when it was not done. Do but 
think with thyself (I say) what great matters were done for thee in heaven, 
when thou wast first brought to Jesus Christ, which it may be thou never 
takest notice of. Perhaps thou hast been searching into the work of God ■ 
within thee, and thou hast done well so to do ; and it may be thou hast 
seen and took notice of the great difficulty of that work, and what a great 
many lifts were put to thy heart, and a great many knocks, before such 
time as it was driven home to the Lord Jesus. But hast thou withal con- 
sidered that there was as great things actually done for thee then in heaven as 
when thou wast first chosen, or as when Jesus Christ hung upon the cross ? 
The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost were all set on work to make up the 
marriage between thy soul and Christ ; and they all set providences on 
work to that purpose. If a condemned man were not to have a pardon 
till three kings met, and there were no more but three kings in the world, 
and these must all concur together for the sealing and signing of it, how 
would he value that pardon ! Thou lookest, it may be, on the difficulty of 
the work in thine, own heart only, and how thou wentest from one ordi- 
nance to another, and what rubs there were in the way, and thou hast 


considerations what was done upon earth in thy own heart; hut look up 
higher, and consider what was done in heaven as the original of all, and 
let that be the thing for which thou praisest and blessest God. Go home, 
and down upon thy knees, and thank these three persons that have done 
all this for thee, though thou sawest it not, when thy heart was first drawn 
to Christ. For God doth give thee assurance, that all the three persons 
concur, 1 John v. 7, 8. There is the Father from heaven, and the Son, 
and the Holy Ghost, and all these give a testimony; and the truth is, a 
testimony is to be had distinctly from all these apart, for the apostle would 
never have mentioned them there unless the witness both of the Father, 
Son, and Holy Ghost was to be given apart; even as water, and spirit, 
and blood are distinct, though they all concur, so are the witness of all 
these three persons in giving assurance. 

I have known them who, when they have been turned to God, have 
looked back upon the greatness of the work to be such, as that for ten 
hundred thousand worlds they would not have it to be done again. Why ? 
For fear it should not be wrought. I would not have you to do so, for that 
God who did work it out of his eternal love, he repents not, and therefore 
he would do it again if it were not done, or if it were to do again, so well 
he loveth you. Only in this imitate them, to set an high price and value 
on it, and consider that ere this match was made, the Father said Amen in 
heaven, and the Son said Amen, and the Holy Ghost said Amen, before ever 
thy heart said Amen. And withal consider that all the three persons are 
likewise engaged, and will everlastingly carry on this work. 

4. You see the reason why, though the gospel is preached, and sets forth 
Christ the great object of faith, yet all do not believe. Our Saviour resolves 
it even into this, that the three persons do not concur in the doing of it, as 
you may observe it here in John vi., ver. 36, 37, ' I said unto you,' saith 
he, ' that ye also have seen me, and believe.' What is the reason ? Look 
the next words, ' All that the Father giveth me shall come unto me ;' and 
the reason why you do not come is, because my Father hath not bestowed 
you upon me. And therefore he goes on in like manner, ver. 44, ' No man 
can come to me, except the Father draw him ;' which he brings in to answer 
the murmuring of the Jews (for, ver. 41, -it is said they murmured amongst 
themselves), and to shew the reason why they did not believe ; • No man 
can come to me,' saith he, ' except the Father draw him.' And so likewise 
afterward, ver. 64, he gives the reason why, when he had twelve disciples, 
yet one of them believed not : ' For Jesus knew from the beginning who 
they were that believed not, and he said, Therefore said I unto you, that 
no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.' 
You shall see it evident, saith he, amongst yourselves, all among yourselves 
do not believe. Why ? Because those only believe that are drawn by the 
Father, and are given to me by the Father, and to whom the Father doth 
give power to believe. 

5. Therefore by this also magnify the free grace of God in calling yoa, 
and in working faith in your hearts. Do not only consider that you had 
the three persons thus concurring, but likewise that they have called you 
out, and not others ; and that though the same gospel is preached to others 
that is preached to you, who come and hear the same sermons which you 
do, yea, and it may be their hearts are mightily moved by the Holy Ghost, 
yet thou hast faith wrought effectually in thee, which is not in them. 
What is the reason ? Because that was done in heaven for thee by all 
three persons, which was not done for them ; and they were not given to 


Jesus Christ by the Father, and therefore he did not give his Spirit effec- 
tually to dwell in their hearts. By this consideration also magnify the free 
grace of God. 


Of a believer's being drawn unto Christ by the Father. — The reasons why it is 
the proper work of the Father to draw the soul unto Christ. 

No man can come unto me, except the Father, which hath sent me, draw him : 
and I u-ill raise him up at the last day. — John VI. 44. 

The subject I have next afore me is, a believer's being drawn to Christ, 
and that by the Father, and the soul's treating with Christ for its salvation. 
My assertion is, that Christians are to make it one great exercise of their 
faith' distinctly to treat with the person of Christ for their salvation, as well 
as with God the Father through Christ : and this, as at their first conver- 
sion to obtain salvation, so afterwards all along in their lives, to maintain 
fellowship both with the Father and the Son. But I shall first discourse 
how it is the Father who teacheth us to know Christ, and draws us to him ; 
and also shall shew how the Father teacheth. 

1. I speak not of the working the principles and habits of faith, the 
hearing ear, and the understanding heart; but of the actings of faith, 
•which the Father draws out in the soul towards Christ. 

2. I limit it not unto the actings of faith at first conversion, but I mean 
those which are continued all a man's life long, which are all ascribed to 
the Father, as well as those at one's first conversion, as in Mat. xi. 25-27 
you find it, where all that is revealed of the Son is ascribed unto the Father. 
And indeed, at our first conversion, our treating with Christ is eminently 
for pardon of sin, and justification, which are the usual inducements of our 
first coming to him. But that is too narrow, for Christ, in the whole 
latitude of him, in his person, and in whatever belongs to him, is that 
which the Father goeth on to teach us all our lives long. 

3. I yet limit it to the attainments by faith of recumbence (a sort of 
faith which is common to all Christians), and my reason is, because in the 
text it is that faith whereof he speaks, which all shall be taught. And so 
in Isaiah liv. 13, and in Jer. xxxi. 34 (which two are the prophets which 
our Saviour here refers to, speaking in the plural), the promise runs, 
1 They shall be all taught, from the least to the greatest.' I shall not 
therefore speak of that faith which only some particular Christians arrive 
to, as faith of personal assurance, accompanied with joy unspeakable and 
full of glory, for that is the Spirit's work, as he is the Comforter ; but I 
shall discourse of that faith which is common to all the children, as in 
Isaiah liv. 13 they are called ; and as salvation is called the ' common sal- 
vation,' Jude 1, so that act of faith is the act that is common to all Chris- 
tians in all states, whereby the soul casts itself on Christ to be saved and 
justified; and such is the apostle's faith said at first to have been, Gal. ii. 
16. It is a believing in Christ, that we may be justified : ' We believed in 
Christ,' says he, ' that we might be justified.' So they began thus to treat 
with Christ, to have salvation from him. This is the faith which I intend, 
whereby I come to Christ (though I know not I am the person designed by 
him in his dying), my heart being drawn from its being taken with what it 


knows of Christ in order to its salvation ; all which I plead to move him to 
receive me, and to plead which my heart is strengthened, trusting on him 
to ohtain it. 

4. I animadvert here about this faith of recumbency, that there may be 
many attainments in the course of this sort of faith, which every such 
believer arrives not at : so as my meaning is not that unless all and every 
one hath experimented in themselves all and every such actings, that they 
should not have a true faith of recumbence ; but my intent is to mention 
no other acts than what such a state and elevation of believing is capable 
of, and so may be attained by all, though their faith for their salvation 
rises not up to personal assurance, which much tends to the comfort of 
such believers, and serves to provoke them to seek those attainments. 

5. I animadvert that I aim not to set down in a method these workings 
and actings of faith on Christ in such an order as to say this is first 
wrought, then follows that, and so a third ; for God himself in his workings 
doth not always use one and the same method, but according to his good 
pleasure. God's ways of wooing us to his Son, and Christ's winning of 
our hearts to himself, are as the way of a man with a maid (as Solomon 
speaks of their wooings), various ; and as occasions lead on to their dis- 
covery, temptations being diverse, the discoveries which answer them are 
various. So as what I for my method's sake may handle first, God may 
have wrought last in thy soul ; and what I shall mention last, or in the 
middle of this discourse, God may have wrought first in thee. But first 
and last such dealings of his as follow use to be transacted with us, and in 
us, in the way of believing. 

6. When I limit it thus to faith of recumbency upon Christ, where may 
fall out many experiments I shall mention, which every particular person 
hath not yet attained to, who yet is a true believer ; for they are the ex- 
periments of a man's whole life in this way of treaty which I aim at ; yet 
some or other of these experiments will suit the lowest of all in that lower 
form. But however, though a man should continue all his days but a 
recumbent, he is yet capable of them at one time or another. 

7. Into this drawing of our souls to Christ by the Father I shall not 
draw in the handling of the preparatory works ; as the work of humiliation 
for sin, contrition, self-emptiness, regeneration, and the like, which yet tho 
Father, in drawing us unto Christ, maketh use of; but the work itself is 
properly the Spirit's, to whom our first regeneration is attributed : ' That 
which is born of the Spirit is spirit,' John iii. 6. This is also the effect of 
John Baptist's ministry, who baptized with the Spirit as with water, which 
Spirit did regenerate : Luke i. 10, ' Many of the children of Israel shall he 
turn to the Lord their God.' And in Isaiah xl. (in which chapter his 
ministry is prophesied of), the effects of it on men's hearts are expressly 
attributed to the Spirit : ver. 7, ' The Spirit of the Lord blows upon it ;' 
blasting, through the sight of sin, all the excellencies that men glory in. 
And this ministry, as preparative to the actings of faith, must last to the 
end of the world ; for as Christ himself preached it, Marki. 15, ' to repent,' 
in order to receiving the gospel, so, when he sent his apostles out, he gave 
this commission, that ' repentance and remission of sins should be preached 
in his name among all nations,' Luke xxiv. 47 ; that is, repentance in order 
to receiving remission of sins by faith. But the working the acts of be- 
lieving, and to teach and instruct souls to come to Christ, this is the work 
of God the Father, and is my subject. 

Obs. That to teach and instruct souls to come to Christ, and to draw 

Chap. IV.] of justifying faith. 165 

them to Christ, is the Father's work ; even as to make known the Father 
in his love and grace, so as to draw us to believe on him, is the work of 
Christ the Son. It is the honour our Saviour Christ hath given his Father 
in this text, John vi. 41, interpreting that great promise made to the church 
of the New Testament (Isa. liv. 13, that ' they shall be all taught of God') 
to mean, that it is God the Father who teacheth, and causeth souls to come 
to Christ himself; and he repeats it again, ver. 65 of this chapter, that 
none do come, ' unless it be given them of the Father.' We all know that 
all three persons do concur in every outward work, but yet so as some 
one work is more eminently attributed to one person, and another ,to 
another. And this of revealing Christ, and drawing to Christ, is more 
properly attributed to the Father ; as to reveal the Father is attributed to 
the Son ; and to reveal both Father and Son in the way of personal assu- 
rance, is attributed to the Spirit, who is therefore called ' the Comforter.' 
I shall give a scripture or two to prove it : Mat. xi. 27, ' All things are 
delivered unto me of my Father : and no man knoweth the Son but the 
Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to 
whomsoever the Son will reveal him.' And whereas you may object, that 
it is not there affirmed, ' none knows the Son but the Father, and he to 
whom the Father shall reveal him,' and that this last clause is not added 
in Christ's speech, the answer is, that there being that addition concern- 
ing the Son's knowing the Father, that ' none knows the Father but to 
whom the Son reveals him,' it doth by the law of parallels imply, that the 
like is also to be added to that of the Father's knowing the Son. But the 
second answer is, it is expressly affirmed before, and was the occasion of 
this his speech ; for he had said, • Father, I thank thee that thou hast 
revealed these things to babes.' And the things revealed were himself, and 
faith to lay hold upon himself ; for he doth upbraid the city, that they had 
not entertained his ministry in his preaching the gospel ; the substance of 
which was his preaching himself, and to believe on him, which those babes 
had received. And the apostle ascribes it expressly to the Father that had 
revealed it to him : Gal. i. 15, 16, « When it pleased God, who separated 
me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son 
in me, that I might preach him among the heathen.' He speaks eminently 
of God the Father's revealing his Son at his first call, which also the Father 
continued to do, and went on further and further to do all his life long ; for 
it was to this end, that he might preach him among the Gentiles, which 
the apostle went on to do, and accordingly grew in knowledge, and in the 
revelation of Christ all his life long, that he might so preach him. You 
have the same, 1 Cor. i. 9, where the calling of us to fellowship with his 
Son is eminently attributed to the Father : < God is faithful, by whom we 
were called into the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.' And his 
calling there is not only by commission, as when a man is called to an 
office, but operatively ; and it is unto the whole fellowship of Christ, from 
first to last, that we enjoy. And it is the Father who is meant in both 
places, for he calls Christ his Son. 

There is a great harmony in theological reason, why this working of 
faith in the soul to Christ, why this wooing work should belong to the 

1. The Father was he that chose our persons for his Son : ' Thine they 
were, and thou gavest them me,' says Christ, John xvii. 6. It was the 
Father that commended us to his Son at first, and presented us to his Son 
in all the glory of which Jesus Christ, if he would but take us and own us 


to be his, should be the author. He did it to allure him, he did speak to 
his heart to die for us, as you have it, Ps. xl. 6-8, which is quoted in Heb. 
x. 7 : l Lo, I come to do thy will, God.' It is added in the psalm, ' Thy 
law is in my heart.' It was God the Father commanded him ; also it was 
he moved him to it, and drew him to it, to speak in the words of the text, 
and did write the very law of it in his heart, for the law written in his heart 
hath reference to his dying for us, and being mediator for us. He wooed 
him, and told him he would love him, if he would die for us : John x. 17, 
1 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life.' Now 
then, who so fit a person as the Father to woo us, when we are to be won, 
and our hearts to be brought to Christ ? and to whom is it more proper to 
woo for his Son than the same Father that commends his Son to us ? And 
who is fitter also than the Father to move the matter to us, to teach us 
and instruct us, and commend his Son to us, and to draw us to take him, 
and to write this law in our hearts, as the greatest obedience we can per- 
form to him ? I speak not of the ministry of humiliation in that work 
going before, but of the wooing part, which is proper to God the Father. 

2. Our believing is a receiving Christ ; it is a giving ourselves up to him 
as to our lord and husband, and it is proper for the Father to woo for him, 
because all other fathers have the power of bestowing their sons or daugh- 
ters, and therefore God hath it much more. Hagar, though but a woman, 
yet had a right, and exercised the power of getting a wife for her son. To 
give in marriage is oft spoken of in Scripture to be by parents, and thus it 
is here in Ps. xlv., where Christ is represented as the husband, and the 
church his wife. Who is it that speaks to the church, to love her hus- 
band, to worship her husband, and to forsake all for him ? It is God the 
Father: ver. 10, ' Hearken, daughter, and consider, and incline thine 
ear,' &c. This is God the Father speaking of Christ unto his church. But 
you will say, This is not found amongst other fathers, that they should con- 
descend to woo the wife for their sons, but it is enough for them to give their 
consents, and leave it to their sons to gain the heart themselves. Thus 
it is amongst men, and the reasons for it amongst men are plain, which 
will not hold as to God. 

1st, Fathers are strangers to the person whom the son is to woo, and so 
leave it to his liking ; it is enough for him to give his consent and leave to 
get the person's heart. But the case here is otherwise, for every elect soul 
is the daughter of God, even in election, before conversion ; and as he 
knows his Son, so he knows the soul, he knows his daughter too, not only 
as made his daughter by marriage to his Son, but as originally chosen by 
him. As Eve is said to be the daughter of God by creation, as Adam was 
the son of God by creation, Luke iii. 38, so it is here. Therefore he 
leaves it not to his Son only to speak for himself, and gain her, but he out 
of the same fatherly interest which he hath in the soul, as well as in his 
Son (though he hath interest in her as his daughter, which is a lower inte- 
rest than what he hath in his Son), wooes her. 

2dly, Marriages amongst men stand upon equal terms, and persons of a 
like rank use to marry together ; and the father will not condescend in 
that case to woo for the son ; no, it were uncouth if he should, and not 
proper. But the church, and every poor soul, is the unworthiest creature 
to be matched so gloriously to Christ that ever was. Nay, it was an enemy 
before, an utter enemy, utterly averse ; so that it becomes a matter not 
only of love, but of grace and mercy, for to have this soul gained and 
brought in to Christ. And it is fulness of mercy and grace to woo such a 

Chap. IV. J of justifying faith. 157 

soul, and an infinite condescension so to do, and none greater but that of 
God's giving his Son to die. And since it thus belongs to grace, the Father 
will have the honour of it as well as the Son, for you read of ' the grace of 
the Lord Jesus, and of the Father,' and sometimes both put together, 
2 Thes. i. 12. Is it a matter of infinite grace, the person being so low 
and unworthy ? In that case, saith the Father, I will be your spokesman, 
for it is matter of grace. It is not matter of pure affection, as a husband 
hath to a wife, but it is a matter of grace which I have to such a soul ; I 
will therefore shew it in this my wooing such a soul. Oh this infinite 
condescension in the great God ! 

8dly, The Father doth engage to woo us to come to Christ, because he 
promised his Son when he wooed him to die for us, and gave us to him ; 
and he promised that when we came to be converted, he would give us, and 
would draw us to his Son : 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.' 
Our Saviour Christ doth not speak like a wooer there, for all he saith is, I 
will not refuse them if they come. He hath indeed an hand in drawing 
the soul : ' When I am lifted up,' says he, ' I will draw all men after me,' 
John xii. 32, but he doth it secretly, and those thou hast given. But 
what is the meaning of those words, John vi. 37 ? It is resolved into this, 
that his Father, in giving them, promised they should come to him, and there- 
fore the Father draws them : and it is therefore the work of the Father. 
In Ps. ex., the Father speaks to Christ, and he promiseth there, that they 
shall be a willing people to him : ver. 1, ' The Lord said unto my Lord' 
(i. e., God the Father said to his Son, the great God Jehovah said to his 
Son), ' Sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool ;' 
and I will destroy thine enemies for thee. And ver. 3, God the Father 
makes this promise to him, ' Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy 
power.' It is the Father's promise ; I will bring the will and heart of thy 
people off to thee, and thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, 
w T hen the gospel comes. 

Use 1. Let us then encourage ourselves in the hope that the match is 
like to go on, if God the Father thus strikes in, and God the Son also. 
Hath God begun with thy soul to represent Christ to thee, to take thy heart '? 
Dost thou set thyself to seek him, to have him ? Thou hast not only thy 
husband Christ to draw thee, but thou hast his Father to draw thee ; and 
he is thy Father too ; and that match will thrive and must go on. 

Use 2. Wouldst thou see and know who it is that is at work in thy 
heart ? (thou poor soul that lay at God day and night to give thee Christ, 
and have thy heart inflamed towards the Lord Jesus) dost thou know who 
it is that is at work in thy heart all this while ? Who ? It is the Father 
of our Lord Jesus Christ. Perhaps we have had little knowledge of this, 
to return the thanks to our God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
whereas indeed it is he does it. Thou hast not one degree of fellowship 
with the Son, but God the Father draws thee to it. ' Not that any man,' 
saith Christ, John vi. 46, ' hath seen the Father.' None seeth the Father 
while he is doing of it, for he doth it secretly, and doth not tell you, I the 
Father am drawing of you. No ; but still he holds up Christ to you, and 
Christ will come and tell you of his love afterwards. The Father does not 
come in to me here as an object of faith in his work. When he works, he 
doth not say, I am he that works it. He doth not come with authority 
and tell thee, I thy Father draw thee, but he is the efficient that draws, 
though he propose not himself objectively nor authoritatively. As Christ 


said to Peter when he washed his feet, ' What I do to thee, thou shalt 
know hereafter.' So God the Father comforts himself (if I may so speak) 
with this, or reserves this glory to himself, that we shall know one day 
what he is doing. ' In that day,' says Christ, John xvi. 25, ' I will shew 
you plainly of the Father.' The Father had wrought all this while, but 
secretly, and had not discovered himself; and though Jesus Christ in his 
doctrine had taught the apostles, and instructed them about the Father, 
yet, alas, poor creatures, they did not understand it ! they did not take it 
in ; it was but as a speaking to them in proverbs : ' But in that day ' (after 
his ascension) ' I shall shew you,' says he, ' plainly of the Father,' ver. 25. 
What do I quote this for ? To shew that though these poor disciples had 
heard say, it was the Father that drew them to believe, and they found the 
work upon them to be powerful and effectual, yet it was obscure to them 
that it was he that did it ; but he tells them that the time cometh (which 
time must be after his ascension) when he would tell them plainly it was 
the Father did it. It was the Father, though now unseen, and spoken of 
in parables and proverbs, that drew thy soul in morning by morning ; and 
thou wilt give all the glory to the Father one day : ' Oh what manner of 
love is it' (viz., of the Father), ' that we should be called the sons of God !' 
1 John iii. 1. Oh what manner of love is it that the Father should woo us 
to be his children, and to receive his Son, and so to be his sons ; for 
herein he ' gives us power to become the sons of God,' John i. 12. It is 
enough for other fathers to give consent, and leave it to their sons ; but here 
in this case, as Jesus Christ came down from heaven to redeem and pur- 
chase his church and spouse, so God the Father comes down into the 
hearts of men, and draws them, and does it immediately. I do not say he 
doth it by his Spirit, as if himself did it not. It is true, the Spirit doth 
join in it, and so doth the Son, but the Father does this himself imme- 
diately. Is it not a mighty thing that the Father should teach us to woo 
his Son, and become a tutor to us and an instructor of us. What conde- 
scension would it be in kings to tutor their children. Poor creatures ! we 
are no more able to woo Jesus Christ than the meanest country creature, 
one that walks up and down the streets in all rags and poverty, is able to 
woo a king ; but the Father comes and teaches us to woo Jesus Christ, and 
makes representations of Christ to us. He made the match with Adam and 
Eve; and as Adam was his son, and Eve his daughter, he wooed her heart 
for him. And he who created her body and soul, and made her a woman, 
and gave Adam her heart, gives the heart of every Christian to his Son. 
You then that know the Lord Jesus, magnify the Father for ever, that hath 
called us to fellowship with his Son. 


That the Father teacheth us to know Christ as the great object of our faith. — 
That he] instructs us that eternal life is to be found and obtained only in 
Christ Ids Son. — That he teacheth us to seek this life only in him. — That 
he teacheth us to look to the person of Christ, and to seek and desire an 
■interest in himself, as well as salvation by him. — How God the Father 
teacheth ws to know Christ his Son, and what are the effects which his 
instructions have upon us. 

I come to the other part of my subject. As I told you it was the Father 
drew you to Christ, so the other part of the subject is this, That the Father 


teacheth ns to know Christ, as tho matter of his teaching, and instructs us 
in what concerns him that may woo us, and teach us to come to Christ. 
As he draws us, so he useth variety of cords, or motives, or persuasions, to 

I shall first shew what it is materially that the Father teacheth us, and 
then I shall shew you the manner how he teacheth. It wero infinite to run 
over all the particulars concerning Christ that the Father teacheth. There 
is a great variety herein, and something takes hold on one man's heart, and 
something on another, as they are scattered up and down. All the doc- 
trines which Christ delivered, that we read of in the gospel of John, and 
which persuade to come to himself, are all of them the words of the Father. 
1 The word which you hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me,' 
John xiv. 24. And those words doth the Father himself speak inwardly 
to the soul of a man. It is a large field, to shew you what he teacheth 
concerning his Son Christ. I think it therefore the best way to give you 
what is said in one scripture, which expressly sets down what is tho 
Father's record: 1 John v. 11, 12, 'This is the record, that God hath 
given us eternal life ; and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son 
hath life : and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.' This is the 
great record of God the Father concerning his Son ; and he that believes 
not the record God gives of his Son, makes God a liar. Here is the great 
doctrinal record summed up to you, and it is short and brief. But you may 
ask me, Was this record given to draw men to believe ? Is it so intended ? 
I answer, that though it intends assurance, yet it intends also the matter 
which God hath recorded to cause faith, and to bring men on to believe. 
This is plain from ver. 13, ' These things have I written to you that 
believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye may know that ye have 
eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.' 
There is assurance : but suppose you want assurance, yet there is what 
may draw you to believe, ' that you may believe on the name of his Son.' 
It is to bring men on to believe ; and therefore in the words before he 
saith, ' He that believes not makes God a liar, because he believeth not 
the record God gave of his Son.' That which causeth them that believe 
further to believe, causeth one that doth not believe to come in to believe. 
It is not designed for them that have assurance. How is that proved ? 
Because the apostle saith, ' He that hath not the Son hath not life ;' and 
therefore what he speaks is to draw men on to believe. Let us see what 
things they are God hath recorded of his Son for to believe concerning 
him, that we who do believe may believe further. 

1. The first record is, that ' the Father hath given us eternal life.' By 
us here is not meant only us that believe already, but it is as well intended 
to induce others to believe. He hath given us, i. e., us men ; he hath 
given amongst us (give me leave to express it) eternal life. As if a man 
goes to a college, they of the college tell him such a founder hath given us 
such a fellowship or exhibition, though every one is not capable of that 
fellowship or exhibition, but yet it is given to the college, and they all can 
say, it is given to us, i. e., to that body amongst us for such uses. Thus 
to give is taken plainly, John vi. 32, * My Father giveth you the true 
bread from heaven.' He speaks to them that never did believe; yet, saith 
he, my Father gives to you eternal life ; to you the sons of men, that grace, 
that mercy is given ' before the world began,' 2 Tim. i. 9. It is made 
known to all the sons of men to whom the gospel is preached, as that 
which is given amongst them ; and there are those among them which 


hear this grace of the gospel to whom it shall be given effectually, and 
therefore it may well be indefinitely expressed, that God intends eternal 
life to the sons of men. This is a great thing in the heart of God, which 
God the Father doth reveal to a poor soul, that his whole purpose, inten- 
tion, and resolution, which he will never be frustrated of, is to give eternal 
life unto the sons of men. This is his heart, his whole heart, and thus 
much of his heart he doth reveal of himself, that his purpose is in and 
through Jesus Christ to give eternal life, John. iii. 16. He hath given 
eternal life with the most serious purposes and unchangeable resolutions 
to the sons of men. Though he doth not tell you the names of the 
persons, and so declare who they are, yet he declares that he gives it to 
them that believe ; therefore, you that hear it, believe and come in. 

2. He says, I have given eternal life, but how must you have it ? This 
life is conveyed to men in my Son (saith God), and by my Son, and there 
is no means else whereby you may have eternal life. Jesus Christ is the 
common receptacle of life eternal, for God hath made Jesus Christ his 
Son to be the fountain of life, to be the bread of God that should give life 
to the world : John vi. 33, ' I am the bread of life, that came down from 
heaven, and giveth life unto the world.' This life is only to be had in his 
Son ; and if you will have life you must go to him, for it is in him. 
God the Father did never vocally preach the gospel in the New Testament 
but once or twice, and then he spake from heaven himself, and not his 
Spirit ; and what said he ? Mat. xvii. 5, ' This is my beloved Son, hear 
him,' i. e., take him, receive him, go to him. Well, though God doth 
not speak vocally now with an outward voice, but secretly in the souls of 
poor sinners, yet he says, This life is in my Son, there I have laid it; you 
cannot have it from me, but him ; he gives his flesh for the life of the 
world, and there is not anything else in heaven or earth will give you life ; 
naj r , I can give you life no other way (i. e., according to his own appoint- 
ment in the New Testament), but by having my Son. The soul sees it is 
not having grace, as humiliation, contrition, but it must have the Son if it 
have life. I have sometimes thought that if I had the life of grace in me, 
I had the Son ; but it is contrary here, you must have the Son if you have 
life. You must not go to God for the righteousness of Christ only, and not 
go to the Son himself. You must do more, you must go to Christ for life : 
1 This life is in my Son,' says God. You must not go to God for Christ's 
sake only, but you must go to Christ. I do not say that you have no 
grace else, for you may have gone to him for his Son's righteouness, and 
for his favour ; but yet you must take his person in too : John vi. 53, 

' Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have 
no life in you.' The Father causeth souls to see a necessity of coming to 
his Son at last. If you could suppose you could give your body to be 
burnt, and had all faith, and knew all mysteries, all would be in vain ; if 
you have not the Son you have not life : ' Except you eat my flesh,' says 
Christ, ' you have no life in you.' The Father puts souls upon a necessity 
of going to Christ. 

3. I observe, that the Father doth allow in his record that a man should 
out of love to himself seek life in Christ and salvation in Christ. He 
allows thee to go to him to be saved, for it is what God bids thee do, and 
prompts thee to it. His record doth declare it to thee ; nay, it is the first 
thing he mentions ; for before he tells you life is in my Son, he tells you, 
eternal life is given amongst you, and bids you seek it. The aim of going 
to Christ for salvation is an allowed aim by God the Father in the record 

Chap. V.] of justifying FAITH. 1G1 

concerning his Son ; nay, he threatens you, that you shall not have life if 
you do not go to him : ■ You will not come to me,' says Christ to the 
Pharisees, ' that ye might have life,' John v. 40. Every soul that comes to 
Jesus Christ comes at first for life: ' We believed in Jesus Christ,' says 
the apostle, Gal. ii. 16, ' that we might be justified ;' it was a self-aim in 
them, you will not come to me to be saved ; this the Father sets on in a 
conviction to the heart, and he puts men on a necessity to come to Christ, 
and allows self-love in coming. The argument is invincible, God in 
ordaining your salvation did ordain it chiefly for his own glory, and yet 
he had infinite love to you. And doth this love of God to you stand with 
God's glory ?; Then certainly your aiming out of self-love at your own salva- 
tion stands with the glory of God in saving of you, and this is in order to 
believing. But withal he tells men this, ' This life is in my Son.' If you 
ask, Where doth it lie ? It lies in my Son (says God), and in having him 
you have life, for eternal life lies not in anything out of the Son of God ; 
no, it lies in himself. Therefore there is no danger in any man's seeking 
Jesus Christ for his own salvation, for he seeks it in Christ himself ; for 
if thou seekest happiness in the Son of God, and life in him, thou mayest 
make self-love thy aim as much as thou wilt, he is your life, Col. iii. 2, 3, 
and Christ lives in you, Gal. ii. 20. People desire heaven; do you know 
what heaven is ? It is to live in God and with God for ever, and you 
place in God glorified above yourselves that happiness you seek. 

4. He puts you upon seeking his Son, and puts you on coming for his Son, 
as that which above all concerns yourselves. How is that proved ? ' He 
that hath the Son,' saith he. It is a powerful phrase, it is a marriage 
phrase. To have him, to enjoy his person (says a poor virgin that truly 
loves him), is more than all. I desire to have him to save me, to have 
him that I may have eternal life, but I principally desire to have himself. 
This is the record which God the Father gives concerning his Son, to draw 
men on to believe. 

5. God the Father directs us to seek to have Christ as the Son of God, as 
well as [as] a Saviour. ' He that hath the Son,' saith he, ' hath life ; ' we must 
then come to him as the Son, and give up ourselves to him as the Son, as well 
as regard him as the author of life and means of salvation to us : it is not having 
the Redeemer only, but it is having the Son ; as he lives by the Father, so 
we live by him ; and as Christ says, ' My Father is mine, and I am his,' so 
the soul comes to be Christ's, and Christ becomes its salvation and life. 
Observe what the apostle says, Gal. ii. 20, ' The life I lead in the flesh it is by 
faith,' of two things, or of Christ considered in two notions, as Son of 
God, and as Redeemer, ' who loved me, and gave himself for me.' If you 
rightly examine the story of the disciples'^believing in Christ, recorded in 
the 1st, 2d, and 3d chapters of John, you will find that sometimes they 
say, they had found the Saviour of the world, sometimes they would say 
they had found the Son of God, and sometimes the Son and Saviour ; you 
are therefore to have him as Son of God, and to believe in him, and to 
love him as God loves him. What doth God love him for ? What, only 
because he died for you? No ; he loves him above all, because he is his 
Son. Now you are to have the image of God's heart in your hearts ; you 
must have an heart after God's heart toward the Lord Jesus. You love 
him because you come to him to be saved by him ; but if you love him as 
God doth, you must come to him as the Son, and love him as the Son, 
the glory of whose person is infinite. This is the record God gives of him, 
that you must not only look at Christ as an ordinance to save you, but as 

vox,, vni. L 


the Son. I do not say all this is done for a poor soul at first conversion, 
but this is the record God teaches you and will bring you to, viz., not only 
to seek his redemption, but to have his Son, and to have your hearts 
flaming in love after his Son. 

Secondly, I come now to shew how God doth teach these things con- 
cerning his Son. Will you know how the Father teacheth, and when it is 
his teaching ? His teaching is not to teach you the doctrinals of salvation 
and of the Son, for he leaves that to ministers and to the Bible, to 
teach you the doctrinals only in a doctrinal way. But God the Father's 

1. Is to bring the knowledge you have of Christ home to your souls, to 
say to your souls, Ps. xxxv. 3 ; to speak to your hearts, Hosea ii. 14. 
They all heard Christ's sermons, but ' those come to me,' says he, ' that 
have heard and learned of the Father,' John vi. 45. The Father doth not 
speak to us of his Son vocally, as I told you he spake of his Son to Adam 
(the giving of the ten commandments was by the ministration of angels), 
but he teacheth your hearts. What is the meaning of that ? Among all 
the notions which you have of Christ as the object of faith, if there is but 
one notion of Christ set home upon the soul (I call it an intuitive beam of 
light of the knowledge of Christ), that is the notion the Father teaches ; 
and all the knowledge thou hast otherwise is not the teaching of the 
Father, nor will save thee. No ; it is what he teaches thy soul, what he 
opens thy heart to receive, that is saving. If you would go to Christ with 
all the knowledge that notionally you have, and spread it before him, and 
woo him, it would not take effect ; but if thou feel such a light brought 
into thy soul concerning Christ that comes to thy heart, go to Jesus Christ 
with that one notion, and he knows his Father's voice in thy heart, and he 
accepts thee, and listens to thee. When a man comes to die that hath a 
great deal of knowledge, it is one little promise, one beam of light that 
comforts him, and he hath that instruction sealed to him : Isa. 1. 4, ' He 
wakeneth morning by morning; he wakeneth my ear to hear as the learned.' 
It is a prophecy how God the Father taught Jesus Christ ; he did not know 
everything at once, but morning by morning he knew something still of 
himself. Thus the Father comes and awakens thine ear, and causeth thy 
soul to be attentive, and brings home something to thy soul ; thou mayest 
read the Bible all the day afterward, and not understand so much as to 
have it brought thus home, and thy heart awakened. 

2. A second thing he teacheth : he doth take thy heart with what he 
saith thus to thee, by an intuitive beam. I compare this to the beams of 
the sun in a burning glass ; as they burn the thing they fall upon, so this 
beam from God takes and inflames the heart. The poor disciples (Luke 
xxiv. 32) talked with Christ, and knew not that it was Christ, till ' he 
opened their understandings,' ver. 45, and then (say they) ' Did not our 
hearts burn within us ?' &c. There is an inflammation of the spirit, a taking 
of the heart, that accompanieth such teachings as the Father teacheth. A 
father's teaching imports affection, which doth draw : 1 Cor. viii. 3, ' If 
any man love God, the same is known of him ;' i. e., is made to know God (so 
Beza and Austin read it), whom God hath made to know ; so that still when 
God teacheth, there goeth affection with it. As there he speaks of love, I 
speak of believing ; when the Father comes and teacheth, and brings in the 
light of Christ, then the affections, the will, the whole heart follow, there 
is longing, thirsting, eager desires. 

3. The manner of his teaching is expressed, Eph. iv. 20, 21, ' If so be 

Chap. V.] of justifying faith. 103 

that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in 
Jesus.' He speaks of such a teaching as all Christians have, for he speaks 
it of such a teaching as makes them holy. It is spoken of Christ himself, 
of Christ properly, therefore he saith, ' as the truth is in Jesus.' The 
words are a plain distinction of a double knowledge. There is a know- 
ledge which is not as the truth is in Jesus ; but if you have been taught 
the truth as it is in Jesus, that is the Father's teaching, and that is his 
Son's teaching. Truly, if the gospel of John had been written before Paul 
writ this epistle, I would have said Paul had alluded to those words of John, 
for he hath all three words, heard, read, learned, of the Father. 

But you will say, is it a false knowledge which carnal men have of Christ, 
who are not taught of the Father ? Truly, I say, it is not a true know- 
ledge, it is false in regard it is not as the truth is in Jesus ; it is not a fantas- 
tical knowledge, but it is a phantasmatical knowledge. Now what is it to 
be taught Christ as the truth is in Jesus ? It is a real knowledge : 1 John 
v. 20, ' He hath given us an understanding to know him that is true :' he 
speaks it of the Father, but it follows of Christ too, to know the true Christ. 
There is a parhelion of Christ, } 7 ou call it a false sun, but the true sun 
always outshines it, and the other is but a shadow ; but this is to know 
Jesus Christ in the substance of himself. If you see the picture of a man, 
it is a knowing the man, but it is not a knowing the true man indeed whose 
person it represents. As God the Father did beget his own Son from eter- 
nity, so he begets that real idea of the Lord Jesus Christ in a poor believer, 
that never entered into the heart of any other man : so that the believer 
can say, I have been with Christ to-daj 7 , as one said, Jesus Christ and I 
have been together this day ; I saw him this morning. He who sees the 
Son, and believes on him, hath life, John vi. 40 ; it is a real, solid, sub- 
stantial sight, so that we have an understanding given anew to know the 
true Christ. It is not the phantasma, but it is something let in from the 
person himself, that begets that idea that is taken from the person himself. 
Though it is hard to express it, yet our ordinary comparison illustrates it. 
When a man is asleep, we call them phantasms which in a dream repre- 
sent images of fathers and mothers, and persons that are dead ; but if you 
see the person himself, you say, Man, I am sure that this is he ; this is 
not a dream; as the poor blind man said, ' Behold, I see ;' therefore this is 
put in by Christ and his apostles themselves, ' We know assuredly thou 
art the Son of God,' and that thou earnest from God. Thus the Father's 
teaching shews you the true Christ, whom the apostles have seen, heard, 
and felt, 1 John i. 1, 2. When Christ rose again, said he to his disciples, 
' Feel, here is flesh and bones, a spirit hath them not ;' a spectrum hath 
them not. When Christ is represented to the soul by the Father, the soul 
is not deceived, though it hath not assurance personal of its own interest : 
his presence is real, and it is called the real presence of the Lord Jesus ; 
and this is to teach the truth as the truth is in Jesus. 

4. It is so to teach you, as to persuade you that all you know of him is 
for his glory, that all tends to the glorifying of him. Look what particu- 
lars the Father teacheth you concerning Christ, there goes along with and 
accompanies that light, that which tends to glorify the Son ; and if you 
cannot believe that he is yours, there will be secret veins and strains of 
holy affections accompanying your glorifying him in your hearts : 2 Thes. 
i. 12, ' That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, 
and ye in him, according to the grace of our God, and the Lord Jesus 
Christ.' Therefore, if the Father teach you any thing about his Son, his 


person, sufferings, justification, or the like, there is something in the heart 
doth rise up to the glorifying this Jesus : 2 Cor. iii. 18, ' We behold 
the glory of the Lord,' which is meant of Christ. Thus when Thomas 
would not believe, John xx., our Saviour, as a means to make him believe, 
shews him his hands and his feet ; his heart falls down, though his knees 
did not, and he cries out, ' My Lord, and my God.' You read in the 
evangelists of man} 7 that received cure from him, came to him and wor- 
shipped him with their bodies and souls too, as it is commanded, Ps. 
xlv. 11, ' He is thy Lord, worship thou him,' says the Father to his church. 
Oh, when there comes in but a beam of the excellency of Christ's person, 
that makes the believer to glorify him : Oh how precious is this Lord Jesus ! 
And the soul doth sanctify him in his heart, in his will and affections, and 
the soul comes to him for his blood, and the Father hath taught it so to do. 
Oh how precious is that blood, saith the poor soul, if I might have a part 
in it, that can make sinners righteous, that can bring in everlasting right- 
eousness, that sin shall never undo me, that can justify all my sins in a 
moment ! Perhaps the soul cannot say, I have a portion in it, but yet it 
can say, I come to him to have it so, 1 Pet. ii. 7. No cordial so precious 
as this blood of Christ to justify the soul ; and though the soul cannot say, 
I have part in this righteousness, yet it doth say, if I had all the righteous- 
ness of men and angels, I would account it dog's-meat, fling it away that I 
might have his righteousness. The soul falls down aghast at this righteous- 
ness in an admiration, Oh how glorious is this righteousness ! So that 
although the soul knows not its interest in it, but remains in doubts, yet 
it hath the highest value of it, and stands adoring, as John did, when he 
said, ' Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world,' 
John i. 29. In seeing this Jesus that hath sufficiency to take away sin, 
the soul stands aghast, and worships him ; and though it doth not fall down 
on its knees, yet adores him in its heart. These are the teachings of the 
Father, which have such effects, and thus you have seen how he teacheth. 
He brings home the light of the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ to the 
soul, he induceth a special light, he wakens the soul morning by morning, 
affects the heart, takes the soul, represents all in the truth, in the reality, 
as the truth is in Jesus, and teacheth the soul so to know Christ, as to 
give glory to him. For when Christ is represented as he is a Jesus, 
there is a glory that accompanies that representation, a glory which so 
raiseth the soul above itself, that it stands amazed at him, and falls down 
before him, and glorifies him. 


Christ our Saviour typified by Noah's ark. — As Noah was instructed by God 
to enter into the ark for his safety, so God in the covenant of grace teacheth 
us to knoiv Chnst, and to come to him for salvation. — That onr faith looks 
both to the free grace of God bringing us to Christ, as icell as to Christ. — 
Without Christ the grace of God doth not, nor can, save us; and therefore 
it is necessary that we explicitly act faith on him for salvation. 

For this is as the ivaters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters 
of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would 
not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. For the mountains shall depart, 
and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither 

Chap. VI. ] of justifying faith. 1G5 

shall the covenant of my peace be removal, snith the Lord that hath mercy 
on thee, thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted! behold, 
I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and In;/ thy foundations with sapphires. 
And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy nates of carbuncles, and all 

thy borders of pleasant stones. And all thy children shall be taught of the 
Lord, and great shall be the peace of thy children. — Isaiah LIV. 9-13. 

I have, in a discourse* on this scripture, shewed the parallel betwixt 
Noah's covenant, about his entrance into the ark to be saved from the flood, 
and the covenant of grace. I came to an use, which hath been this, that 
the example of Noah in his entrance into the ark, and making of the ark, 
and the like, was a figure of the saving work that God effects upon the 
hearts of his people, in bringing them under the covenant of grace, and 
Avithin the safe bounds of it. I shall accordingly consider the work of 
faith wrought in Noah, he being made heir of the righteousness of faith. 
Noah was instructed by God in two things as objects of his faith. The 
first was the grace of God : ' Thou hast found grace in my sight.' The other 
was the necessity of his entrance into the ark, which was to him the type 
of Christ; hence correspondency to answer the type we have what is said 
in verse 13, ' They shall be all taught of God.' The covenant of grace did 
undertake, Jer. xxxi. 34, that God would teach them to know him, and 
that they should not need any other to teach them. The grace under the 
covenant of the gospel teaches us to know two things. The first is, to 
know God in his grace: Jer. ix. 24, 'Let him that glorieth glory in this, 
that he understandeth and knoweth me.' As to what ? It follows, ' That 
I am the Lord that exerciseth loving-kindness, judgment, and righteous- 
ness, in the earth : for in these things do I delight.' To know God in his 
loving-kindness, this is what God doth instruct his people in, and teacheth 
them to exercise faith ahout it. The second thing which the covenant of 
grace teaches us is, to know Christ who is our ark : John vi. 45, • It is 
written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man 
therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto 
me.' So then these two things before me are naturally deduced from the 
text, and example of Noah. God teaches his people to know him in his 
free grace, and be teaches them to know him in his Christ, and instructs 
them in the nature of faith in him. From God's instructing Noah to 
enter into the ark, we may infer that God doth also, in the covenant of 
grace, which this is a prophecy of, instruct us to know his Son Christ, 
and to come unto him. When the ark was prepared, God invites Noah 
into the ark: Gen. vii. 1, 'And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou, and 
all thy house, into the ark;' which words I shall by and by translate into 
pure gospel, and I will shew you that the very same language is used con- 
cerning our believing in Christ only. I must first shew you this thing, 
that the ark was the type of Christ, for that is the first thing I must turn 
into gospel, the ark into Christ. The ancient writers of the church, the 
fathers (as they call them), say, that by ark is meant the church. Now, it 
is true that one and the same type often signifieth two or three things ; as, 
for example, the temple signified the body of Christ — ' Destroy this temple,' 
saith Christ — it signified the church universal, the body of Christ mystical ; 
it signifieth every particular soul: ' Ye are the temple of the Holy Ghost,' 
1 Cor. vi. 19. But this let me say, when you shall find a parallel made 
between the thing and the thing signified, and in particular applied to one 
* In vol. ii. of his works. 


thing, you must only understand it so, and there you must not understand 
it as a type of the other. In 1 Peter i. 21 you have Noah's ark made a 
type of Christ, as he is administered to us in baptism : ' The like figure 
whereunto ' (having spoken of the ark) ' wherein few, that is, eight persons 
were saved through water.' The like figure is baptism, whereby we are 
saved; but here baptism, signified bj T the ark, bears not the figure of the 
church, and that plainly for this reason, because the ark is the figure of 
that wherein we are saved ('wherein few were saved, eight persons'). 
Now, the eight were the persons saved, and saved in the ark, and they 
bare the resemblance of the church in being saved ; but it is the ark that 
bears the resemblance of that wherein we are saved, who is Jesus Christ, 
the Saviour of the world, signified and applied to us in baptism. You will 
say it is baptism that saves us; but how doth it so? Because we are bap- 
tized into Christ, Rom. vi. 3; and it is said to be therefore by the resur- 
rection of Christ that he saves; although he mentions the resurrection as 
signified in baptism, he means his death too, for he puts that part, the 
resurrection, for the whole. Baptism unto the person baptized under the 
water (whether by pouring it upon it, or dipping under it, it is all one, for 
baptism is called sprinkling) implies a covering under the water and rising 
again. How doth Christ save ? ' He died for our sins, and rose again 
for our justification,' Rom. iv. 25; and we are said to be 'baptized into 
his death' as well as into Christ and his resurrection, Rom. vi. 3. It is 
the most lively example that ever was ; we are baptized into Christ, and 
into his death, and into his resurrection, as ye have it there expressed. 
This baptism thus representing Christ is said to be figured out by the ark. 
As for the ark, Ainsworth, that holy man, well observes concerning it : 
Every Christian (saith he) is baptized with Christ; and as Noah was in 
the ark, so we were all in Christ representatively, when he hung on the 
cross, and when he rose. And so we were in the ark: when that was 
under water, we were under water; when the ark got up, we rose up upon 
the water. It was impossible for the ark to be overwhelmed, because 
God took care of it; so it was with Christ, God upheld him; and death, 
although he was laid in the grave, could not have dominion over him. It 
was impossible for death to hold him. The ark too kept Noah and the 
church, the ark bare off all (I need not stand to enlarge upon it) ; there is 
no example or figure (as I know) so lively. Moses being baptized in the 
cloud and the Red Sea of baptism (because it was the figure of it), is no- 
thing so lively as this. Now, the ark being thus proved to be a type of 
Christ, wherein we are saved, we shall next consider God's invitation of 
Noah to come into the ark: Gen. vii. 1, ' Come thou, enter into the ark.' 
I shall decipher this out into gospel language, and give you plain words 
for every tittle of it: ' Come thou, and thy house, and enter into the ark.' 
Here is, 

1. An invitation to come into the ark, like to Christ's inviting sinners to 
come to him: Mat. xi. 28, 29, 'Come to me,' saith Christ, 'all ye that 
are weary and heavy laden;' and Rev. xxii. 17, 'The bride saith, Come, 
and the Spirit saith, Come, and take of the water of life freely.' 

2. What is this coming? It is that which is applied to Christ: John 
vi. 33, ' He that comes to me shall never thirst.' Coming is believing, for 
to believe is to come to Christ to be saved : ' You will not come to me,' 
saith Christ, ' that you may have life,' John v. 40. 

3. The words of God's invitation to Noah are, ' Come, and enter.' The 
expression is answerable concerning faith : Heb. xi. 3, 'Through faith we 

Chap. VI.] of justifying faith. 107 

understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God; so that thincs 
which are seen were not made of things which do appear.' This it is like- 
wise expressed, Mat. xi. 28, ' Come unto me, all ye that labour and are 
heavy laden, and I will give you rest.' By coming to Christ, and believing 
on him, we enter both into him and also into rest. 

4. "We are said to enter into Christ only by coming and believing, 
whereas we were out of Christ before : ' He was,' saith the apostle, Rom. 
xvi. 7, ' in Christ before me.' When he did believe, he entered into 
Christ, he came to be in Christ, as Noah was in the ark, and so was saved. 
Suitable hereunto is also that text in Rom. viii. 1, ' There is no condemna- 
tion to them that are in Christ,' no more than there was destruction unto 
them that were in the ark, for they were brought safe to land. As we thus 
enter into Christ by faith, so we dwell in Christ, and continue in Christ, 
1 John ii. 23, 24. 

5. Yet it falls well, as God invited Noah to come into the ark, so he 
invited his family too : ' Come thou and thy house.' The gospel invitation 
runs thus in these very words, Acts xvi. 11, when the poor jailor came, 
and knows not what to do to be saved ; • Believe thou on the Lord Jesus,' 
says the apostle. Do but come into the ark, and ' thou shalt be saved, 
and thy house.' Thus the gospel was preached, as might apparently be 
shewed at large ; so that I have demonstrated unto you that Gen. vii. 1 is 
plain gospel, and the word about believing answers it. Christ is your ai'k, 
and faith is your coming, and by faith you enter into Christ, and continue 
in him (answerably as Noah did in the ark), till thou arrivest safe to land, 
thou and thy house. Thus you see that still the parallel holds on about 
Noah in his covenant and the work of faith. I shall now proceed to shew 
in some proportion that God teaches us to believe upon Christ as he taught 
Noah to enter into the ark. 

1st. I shall first answer a case or two. I told you that Christ is the 
object of your faith, distinct from free grace, or that we are to believe on 
Christ, and treat with him, as well as with God's free grace. Now the 
case to be resolved is this : Many souls (some such souls I am sure I have 
known) have been mightily carried out to treat with God the Father and 
his free grace, and they have found an open door, if they will go in at that 
room. If they will go to the Father, they find all the love in his heart in 
giving men to Christ, and commanding him to die for them ; and they find 
all this love to be free and unchangeable, and they find the thoughts of it 
to be a support of faith ; and although they have not found assurance, yet 
they are so much assured of the will of God, as to know that he is resolved 
to save sinners, and they know that salvation must flow from it, and that 
makes them seek God, and apply themselves to free grace ; and they can 
turn all other considerations of Christ into motives and pleas, and so lay 
themselves at the feet of God. Yet, while they do this, they take it for 
granted that all God's love is through Christ, and that he was God in 
Christ reconciling the world to himself, or that he had never done it else. 
And so, though Jesus Christ is implicitly honoured by them apart and 
distinctly, yet they do not explicitly apply themselves in a distinct manner 
to the Lord Jesus. They do not make use of Christ so distinctly, although 
they go to God through Christ. The answer to this case is useful and 

1. I say that here are two objects of faith, and they are equal objects of 
faith at least, and equally necessary ; but I say, too, that where the Father 
is, there is the Son : John xiv. 10, 11, ' I am in the Father, and the Father 


in me, and I in you ;' and you shall know this one day ; and ' my Father 
and I are one,' and we ' agree in one, John x. 30. Their hearts are not 
divided ; so that if thou canst find the heart of God open to thee, and that 
there is a full door open, and that thy heart is strengthened to go in at it, 
then for certain thou hast also a sense of the love of Christ, and thou takest 
it for granted that all that thou hast is through Christ, and is from the 
heart of Christ; and so far thou givest him the honour of it. Thou mayest 
be sure of it by this token, that Christ himself hath to do with his Father 
in saving us, more than with himself. He eyes his will, and regards what 
he hath said to him about our salvation, and the undertaking of it, and the 
carrying of it through : John vi. 37, ' I came clown from above, not to do 
my own will, but the will of him that sent me ;' thus saith Jesus Christ 
himself; ' And this is my Father's will, that he hath sent me, and that of 
all that he hath given me I should lose none.' Now, canst thou go unto 
the heart of the Father, and regard him as the fountain of all that Christ 
hath done, and look on him as giving to Christ them that he would have 
saved ? Dost thou see that Christ hath undertaken to him for thee, and 
that he hath such and such a love in his heart to save thee, and that, thou 
hast a declaration of it, and the indefinite promise of it in the gospel '? 
And do these thoughts take thy heart, and dost thou thus treat with the 
Father, and his will, and free grace for salvation ? Thou herein honourest 
Christ, for it is no question but Christ, that came to do his Father's will, 
agrees to it, and hath it always in his view. He tells us that he doth his 
Father's will as to the persons who are to be saved : John vi. 37, ' All that 
the Father giveth me shall come to me ; and him that cometh to me I will 
not cast out, for I came not to do my will, but the will of him that sent 
me,' i. e., to save the persons that God the Father gave me. Dost thou go 
to God, although he doth not tell thee immediately that he loves thee ? 
This is the will of the Father, and Christ came to do the will of the Father 
unto persons, and therefore to those persons whose hearts are taken with 
his grace. And this is a sign Jesus Christ hath satisfied for thee, and 
makes application to the Father for thee : John v. 24, ' Verily, verily, I 
say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent 
me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation ; but is 
passed from death to life.' You must know this, that one great end of 
Christ's preaching was to discover the Father, and to shew how much the 
Father's heart was engaged in saving man by him, and in sending him into 
the world. Now suppose that in his preaching a good soul had been taken 
with this love of God the Father that gave his Son, and that this soul was 
drawn out upon that to apply itself to the Father, it herein heard Christ, 
and applied itself to him also. ' He that heareth my words,' saith Christ, 
while he is magnifying God the Father, John v. 24, and understandeth, 
' and believeth on him that sent me' (i.e., believes upon him as having 
sent me), that man, saith he, ' hath everlasting life ;' although eminently 
thus his heart is carried unto the Father that sent him. 

2. The soul of man is apt to be intent upon one object, and so to be 
more flat in another : this is undeniable matter of experience. Oh that I 
were humbled! says the soul sometimes, when the heart goes out to be 
abated for sin. At another time the heart is as much drawn out for Christ 
and for his grace ; and while it is drawn out that way, a zealous love for 
holiness comes in, and then it runs out to that. We cannot be intent 
upon many objects with intenseness of thought, through a narrowness of 
mind. Sometimes all about the Father and his free grace takes up our 

Chap. VI. J of justifying faith. K'»9 

thoughts, and the Boul runs out that way; and soraetiracs the Son, and 
sometimes the Spirit, employ all our thoughts, as indeed we must adore 
every person in his office. Sometimes we are carried to communion with 
the Father, and sometimes to enjoy it with the Son, and sometimes to have 
it with the Eoly Ghost. Now all this ariseth from the narrowness of our 
minds, and therefore Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are fain to take their 
turns, and to be entertained by vicissitudes. 

3. Is the Father discovered to thee in his free grace to draw thy heart 
into communion, while Christ is not so free to thee when thou attemptest 
to go to him ? Know this for a truth, that whatever is discovered of the 
Father's heart, it is done by Christ; and whatever is discovered of the 
Son's heart in dying and rising, it is done by the Father ; therefore thou 
mayest be sure that the Father is with thee when thy heart is drawn to 
Christ, for that drawing is from the Father ; and if thou hast thy heart 
drawn to the Father, it is effected by Christ, Mat. xi. 27. How is it that 
thy heart is drawn unto the Son, and thy heart is all set upon Christ? It 
is the Father that doth it, and he doth it secretly in the word he doth 
teach thee ; yet no man hath seen him ; he doth it, and doth it secretly ; 
and so likewise no man cometh to the Father but by Christ. Thou art no 
sooner with Christ, and hath put forth a few acts of faith, but he sends 
thee to the Father, or thou couldst not come to him, as thou couldst not 
come to Christ but by the Father, and as the Father discovers him. And 
therefore be assured that he who hath the Father hath the Son, and he 
that hath the Son hath him by the Father. 

4. It is best to have the heart both drawn out to the free grace that is 
in the Father's heart, and to have the heart drawn out to Jesus Christ and 
his fulness. It is best for thee to have thy heart from the beginning (as 
some have had) to know both the Father and the Son, and to continue thy 
addresses to either. Oh that is best ! I will give you a great many scrip- 
tares for it. Thus it was with Paul from his first conversion: 1 Tim. L 14, 
< The grace of our Lord was abundant, with faith, and love, which is in 
Jesus Christ.' By our Lord there is meant the Father, for he is made 
distinct from Jesus Christ in the next words. Paul had an abundant 
entrance both to God the Father in his free grace at his conversion, and 
he had abundant entrance unto Jesus Christ with faith and love drawn out 
unto him. To the same purpose is 1 John ii. 13, 'I write unto you, 
fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write 
unto j'ou, young men, because you have overcome the wicked one. I write 
unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.' Let that 
therefore abide in you which you have heard from the beginning, let it 
remain in you, and you shall continue in the Son and in the Father. You 
knew the Father at first, and believed on him and Christ, and if you will 
cleave unto your first works, to what you have heard and had from the 
beginning, to what you have known of God the Father, and of the Son, 
you will continue in both, and there lies your comfort ; and if you cast it 
off, as those heretics did (who knew the Father, but not the Son), thou 
hast not the Father nor the Son. Thy case, indeed, may be such, that 
though thou knowest both, yet thy heart is not so taken with the one as 
the other ; but yet, while thou goest unto Christ, it is because the Father 
hath sent him, and it is his will that thou believe on him. If thou dost go 
unto the Father, it is because Jesus Christ hath died, and they both agree 
in one. It is best to join both : Rom. iii. 24, ' Being justified freely by ins 
grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ' It is best to join 


the grace of God, and faith on the blood of Christ, and to have our hearts 
equally carried to the one and the other, although the Father must have 
the pre-eminence. This is the truest and rightest frame of a Christian. 

But you will say, Is not the knowledge of the Father and his grace alone 
sufficient, although I have not the other ? Is not the saving knowledge of 
the mercy and grace of God sufficient, although I do not know Christ nor 
believe on him ? And so on the contrary. 

1. I answer, No ; grace alone would not save you without a Christ, for 
he is to satisfy the justice of God, that so grace may save thee, and that 
God might be just, and the justifier of those that believe. I will not enter 
into that discourse, that through the whole Old Testament there was a 
glimmering of Christ, that it began in Adam (that Christ should destroy 
the works of the devil), and in Enoch's ministry, and in Noah's ministry, 
who as he was ' heir of righteousness by faith,' so he was the preacher of 
it, and is said to preach Jesus Christ in his day. Peter, speaking of the Jews, 
how they were saved, saith, Acts xv. 11, ' There was a yoke that neither we 
nor our fathers could bear; yet if we believe on the Lord Jesus, we shall be 
saved, as they were ;' and how ? By the grace of Christ, and by believing 
on him, and having an eye to Christ. They knew not the way how Christ 
would save them ; they did not dream it should be by dying, but they had 
an eye to him, as shewed in the type. There was the temple, and they 
looked towards it and the mercy- seat, &c. The ark was Christ, and the 
mercy-seat was the favour of God, and the mercy-seat and the ark were 
equal. Thus look what purpose of grace he hath to save, the ark, which 
is Jesus Christ, is as large. You have the mercy-seat, the favour of God ; 
and the purchase of Christ, who is the ark, is equal to it. 

2. The necessity of coming to Christ was more clearly insisted on after 
the time of Christ's ascension, and the publication of the gospel to all 
nations. They are required to believe on Christ distinctly, and to treat 
with him distinctly, as well as with the Father ; and sooner or later the 
elect shall do it, and have some glances to Christ. Christ answerably prays, 
John xvii., 'I pray not for these only, but for all that shall believe on me 
through their word ;' we all believe through their word to this day. 
How doth Jesus Christ characterise his church that was to come ? He 
doth it by this mark, that they should believe on him, and (saith he) ' I 
pray not for the world.' Can you think then that any man since should 
have knowledge to grow up to salvation, from a principle of nature, without 
Jesus Christ ? No ; they are left out in Jesus Christ's prayer. Thus like- 
wise Christ saith, John viii. 2-i, « If you do not believe that I am he ; if 
you do not come to me that ye may have life, that ye may be saved, you 
will die in your sins.' There must be an absolute treating with Jesus 
Christ, a flashy faith is not sufficient ; nor is it enough that you have pur- 
posed such an act, but you must come to Christ, and treat with him, and 
continue to do so to the end. In Noah's covenant (for I follow the figure, 
and I have shewed in another discourse how it was a type of the covenant 
of grace unto the church in the New Testament) it was necessary for Noah 
and his family to come and enter into the ark if he would be saved ; and 
so it is as necessary for us to come and enter into Christ by faith to be 
saved : as Noah entered into that ark to be saved from the waters, so we 
into this ark to be saved from the wrath of God. All that grace which 
Noah found in God would not have saved him by way of his ordination, but 
in and by the ark. I have saved you and you. Though he was acknow- 
ledged by God to be a righteous man, and though he had been a preacher 

Chap. VI.] of justifying faith. 171 

of righteousness, yet all this righteousness, and all the good sermons which 
he had made, would not save him from these waters, but he must have 
drowned with the rest had he not entered into the ark. Thus though thou 
wert as righteous as Noah, yet if thou art saved, it must be by coming into the 
ark. Say what you will of yourselves, beiug puffed up with vain hopes, 
you must be saved by Jesus Christ alone. And therefore it is said that 
Noah and his house entered into the ark. If you take the church in general, 
there is no salvation out of the church (so some have applied this figure of 
the ark) ; ay, but I say, ' there is no other name by which we can be 
saved, but that of Jesus,' and no other benefit but faith, nulla solus extra 
( '/tritium, no salvation out of Christ. If thou art without God and without 
Christ, thou art in a desperate case. 

My design is to shew the necessity of faith on Christ, by going over the 
story of the progress of the gospel from the first and earliest beginning of 
it, when the gospel began. When John the Baptist began it before Christ 
preached, his point was to point and direct men to believe on Christ. You 
find that the gospel began with John: Luke xvi. 16, ' The law and the 
prophets were until John ;' when he baptized men, he said to the people, 
I baptize you, but, saith he, believe on Christ. John verily baptized men 
with the baptism of repentance and humiliation ; though he taught them 
repentance, he yet enjoins them to believe on Christ, Acts xix. 4, he did 
join faith with repentance : he pointed men to Christ, and told the Pha- 
risees there was such a one among them, whose shoe-latchet he was not 
worthy to unloose, and sets forth the fame of Christ's ministry. He bap- 
tized, to make Christ manifest unto the people of Israel, John i. 38—41, 
and his disciples, Simon and Andrew, fell to Christ. It is also set down 
in the very beginning of the gospel, that faith on Christ is the only way of 
life : John iii. 36, ' He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life : 
and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life ; but the wrath of God 
abideth on him.' "When the gospel began, this was still put into it, that 
we must believe on Christ. It is evidenced also by the care that our Lord 
and Saviour is at to make himself known to poor souls, that they may 
believe on him, although he preach the Father's love too. The poor blind 
man had his eyesight given him, but he knew not who did it, yet there 
was something within him that did defend Christ against the Pharisees ; 
and Jesus Christ takes occasion to meet him again, and though even then 
he did not know him, yet afterwards he did make himself manifest. 
There were some that did know him, as Nathanael, but they did not 
believe distinctly on him ; but Christ takes care that this poor blind man 
should. There is a poor woman also, John iv. 26, to whom Christ reveals 
himself: • I am he,' I am the Christ that speaks to thee, saith he. And 
then there Were others too who did believe on him, as ye read there. He 
would go out of the nation of the Jews, to a place where an elect woman 
was, on purpose to reveal himself to her. When the time was come for 
the Canaanitish woman to believe on him, he went out to the coasts of 
Tyre and Sidon ; and so he never went out but once to the coasts of the 
Gadarenes. And then he came to that poor woman * to discover himself 
to her; and yet how averse was she at first, but at last she followed him, 
and found that he was the Messiah, and Christ did approve and own her 
faith. The eunuch, Acts viii. 37, came to Jerusalem to worship, and 

* The author seems here to go back to the case of the woman of Samaria. There 
is no woman mentioned as having been brought to follow him while he was in the 
country of the Gadarenes. — Ed. 


believed on Christ to come, but did not know that he was come ; yet what 
care doth Christ take that he should know him ! He was devoutly read- 
ing in the Scriptures in his chariot (he employs his time well), and he 
reads that full text of the Old Testament concerning Christ. Providence 
so orders it that Philip is going the same way, and is commanded to join 
himself to him to do that work of instructing him, and he preacheth Christ 
to him, and the eunuch's heart is taken, and straightway he believeth. As 
Christ calls poor fishermen, and they straightway left their nets and fol- 
lowed him, so this man straightway believed on Jesus Christ, and goes 
home, and rejoiceth. 

What is the reason that after Christ's suffering, and after the gospel was 
thus preached, God would have us, in order to salvation, to know Christ, 
and come to him ? 

1. It is ' that all may honour the Son, as they honour the Father,' John 
v. 23. In honouring Christ, they honour the Father and his grace. In 
looking to the grace of God that was in his heart to save, they honoured 
the Father, they believed on him, and so honoured him ; but you must 
believe also on the Son and honour him, and how is that but by believing? 
John v. 23. Christ having spoken of believing, brings the other in ; God 
will have all men to honour the Son, by believing on him, as well as on the 
Father. Salvation runs on in the knowledge of God the Father and the 
Son, John xvii. 2, 3 ; 2 Pet. i. 2. 

2. Another reason is, because now God had fully manifested his Son 
unto the apostles who preached him ; whoever therefore upon their preach- 
ing did not believe on Christ, it was a sign that the god of this world had 
blinded their minds. For God had now sent his Son : ' He hath in these 
last days spoken to us by his Son,' Heb. i. 1, immediately after his tak- 
ing flesh, and therefore he would have the knowledge of his Son to take 
place. John vi. 37, Christ speaks to the same purpose, ' Him that comes 
to me, I will not cast out ; and all that the Father hath given me shall 
come to me, for my Father sent me.' And he sent Christ on purpose that 
he might be known and manifest unto all the world. He therefore that 
doth not now believe on the Son, doth frustrate the end of God's sending 
him, for he did it with an intention that those souls that are saved should 
believe on him. 

3. It is the ordination cf God, it is the will of God that it should be so, 
John vi. 3G-38, our Saviour Christ doth use a very sweet argument and 
parallel. The reason (saith he) that I must receive all that come unto me 
is, because the Father sent me, and gave me them before I came into the 
world, and I was sent to do his will answerably. That you should come 
to me, this is the Father's will, because he hath sent me on purpose to be 
made known to all that shall be saved : John vi. 40, ' All that the Father 
hath given me shall come to me.' The text doth plainly shew this, that 
God himself, that gave his Son, doth not save men unless they come to his 
Son ; and therefore if he will have them, whom he did give unto Christ to 
be saved, he is fain to draw them to come to him. In marriage you have 
the father usually to give the daughter unto the husband ; but if she doth 
not give her consent, it is not the father's giving that makes it a marriage. 
Thus it is not our Father's gift, but our consent unto Christ, that makes a 
match with our souls. All the Scriptures, and all in the Scriptures, will 
not save you, if you have not faith in Jesus Christ. If you should suppose 
that you had all the Scripture in your mind and heart, it would not save 
you, 2 Tim. iii. 15. Though thou art a Timothy, brought up from a child 

Chap. "VI. J of justifying faith. 178 

to read the Scriptures as he did, and knowest there, rot they are able to 
make thee wise unto salvation only through faith which is in Jesus Christ. 
If thou hast not faith in Jesus Christ, all that wisdom in the Scriptures 
will not save thee, nor have power to save thee. If they save thee, it is 
through faith on Christ revealed in them. ' Search the Scriptures' (says 
Christ, John v. 39), ' for ye think therein ye have salvation ; ' but search 
them, for they speak of me more than of anything else, and ye ought to 
know me, or ye shall die in your sins. But you will say, May not a man 
have love to God the Father upon the thoughts of his free grace alone, and 
may be* not then repent for sin ? I say, no ; you cannot repent unless 
you believe on his Son Christ, Rom. i. 5. Love to God, and turning to 
God, will not save you, if you swerve from the means of grace and the way 
of faith. What says Christ ? John v. 42, 43, ' But I know you, that ye 
have not the love of God in you. I am come in my Father's name, and 
ye receive me not : if another shall come in his own name, him ye will 
receive.' I know that you have not the love of God in you ; why ? Be- 
cause you want faith in me. Love to God springs from faith in Christ, 
and therefore never talk of love to God, if you have not treated concerning 
salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. Acts xxvi. 17-19, what saith Christ 
himself from heaven, when he gave Paul his commission ? ' I send thee,' 
saith he, ' to open the eyes of the Gentiles, to turn them from darkness to 
light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive for- 
giveness of sin, and an inheritance among them that are sanctified.' Will 
not all this do ? Will not turning unto God from self-love, and loving 
God, and being sanctified, serve to save us under the gospel ? No ; read 
the next words : it must all be, says Christ, ' through faith that is in me.' 
Christ saith it from heaven, this is his commission, and he declares it, that, 
under the gospel, remission of sins and turning to God, forgiveness of sin 
and sanctification, were all through faith in him. Be convinced then, that 
if ever you be saved, there is a necessity that God teach you to come to the 
Son. You think it is an easy thing to come to Christ, and to look to him and 
to his name for pardon, and to go to him for forgiveness and sanctification : 
but let this be preached to you, and inculcated to you, to go to Christ : let 
it all be urged upon you, yet you will not come to Christ that you may have 
life, and you will die in your sins, unless God the Father draws you to him. 
Our Lord. Jesus Christ gives a great instance of this : John vi. 63, 64, 
' It is the Spirit that quickeneth ; the flesh profiteth nothing : the words 
that I speak unto you, they are spirit, they are life. But there are some 
of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were 
that believed not, and who should betray him.' He doth give the greatest 
instance in the world, that let men live under the highest preaching of the 
gospel, and the powerfullest ministry that ever spake, even the preaching 
of Christ himself, yet a man will not come to Christ. Whom doth Christ 
pitch upon for an instance but upon Judas, that had been with him from 
the beginning, and had heard him preach all his sermons, and heard his 
parables ? and yet he is a devil for all this. • For he knew from the begin- 
ning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. There- 
fore I said,' says he, ' that no man can come to me, except it were given 
unto him of the Father,' ver. 65. Therefore there must be a teaching 
from God, and none but those that are taught by a secret work, beyond 
what any powerful minister in the world can make, will believe. A man 
otherwise will never do it, he will never give up himself to God and Christ, 
but there will be ' a heart departing from the living God,' Heb. iii. 12, 


that is, from Christ, as the coherence of the words shew. So that it is a 
plain case, that those whe live in gospel-times, must all of them be taught 
of God, if they ever come to Christ. They that live under never so power- 
ful means, if God doth not touch their hearts, they will never come. Oh 
bless the Lord, that hath taught you to know his free grace, and to believe 
on his Son, which is the great work of God, as Christ calls it, John vi. 29. 
It is instead of all else to believe on God, and him whom he hath sent. 
To him to whom the gathering must be, to him you must come, as mem- 
bers to a head, and as lost creatures to a Saviour. Do not come to this 
and that sign, and think you have none of Christ, because you cannot find 
them ; but come to him, and dwell with him, and remain with him, day 
and night. 


That Jesus is proposed to our faith as a spiritual Christ and Saviour. — That 
unless he was the Son of God, he could not be a quickening Spirit to us. 

In the 6th chapter of John our Lord makes it the set subject of his dis- 
course, to draw his hearers unto a true spiritual faith upon himself; and 
to that end proposeth himself altogether (as indeed he was) a spiritual 
Messiah, and inculcates it over and over. The occasion which he took 
was the falling short of this spiritual faith, in that faith which those of 
Capernaum had of him. They acknowledged him indeed upon the miracle 
of the loaves, — ver, 14, ' This is of a truth that prophet that should come 
into the world,' — a prophet, and a far greater prophet than Moses, who 
had given their fathers bread from heaven in the wilderness, ver. 31. But 
Christ speaking of a living bread which his Father would give, and which 
himself would give, vers. 27 and 32, and that it was the ' true bread ' 
typified by Moses his manna, and which endured to eternal life, they had 
upon that speech a further advance of faith concerning him, viz., That he 
was able, by his interest in God his Father, to procure a bread whereby 
their bodies might live for ever, as Adam's should have done by eating of 
the tree of life : ver. 34, ' Then said they, Lord, evermore give us this 
bread.' Thus far they went in believing on him. But when they heard 
him say that he himself was that living bread that came down from heaven, 
and that he who eateth that bread should live for ever ; yea, and that it 
was his flesh, as he was Son of man, which they must eat, and that which 
he would give for the life of the world ; there they stopped and left him, 
and were offended (vers. 61 and 66) at his sayings, which were too hard 
to bear, ver. 60. That glorious sermon wherein he makes this very argu- 
ment his subject, you may read from ver. 27 to the very end of that 
chapter. At ver. 63 he opens and unriddles all, and discovers the mystery 
to them to lie in this : ' It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth 
nothing. The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are 
life,' thereby explaining how and whence it was that he was living bread, 
and what made his very flesh or human nature to be eternal life, and gives 
a perfect reason why those who do eat it, and receive it, and himself there- 
with, in that manner as he and his Father intended in the giving of it, and 
agreeably to the nature of it, should live. The words are the key to all that 
sermon foregoing, and unto what follows after ; and it is as if he had said, 
You must all know that my very person, whom you do not yet truly under- 
stand and fully believe in as you ought ; for you see and behold me but as 

Chap. VII.] of justifying faith. 175 

a man who works these wonders (as ver. 3G, ' Ye have also seen me, and 
believe not') ; you must yet know, that this my person consists of more 
than a mere man consisting of bod}- and soul, which you only look at, and 
whom you suppose God is present with, more than ever with any man that 
hath been in the world ; but know I am God in my person as well as man, 
and it is that Spirit or Godhead which is that which gives the life that I 
speak of, * it is the Spirit that quickens,' which elevates and advanceth 
my flesh or humanity to that high state of life, as to give life to men, in 
that I who am God united unto that flesh in one person, and giving and 
offering it as a sacrifice to my Father ' for the life of the world ' (they being 
sinners) — as his words are, ver. 51, ' And the bread that I will give is my 
flesh, which I will give for the life of the world ' — I who am God have 
sublimated and spirited this sacrificed flesh (by reason of this union) to be 
a spiritual food to your spirits and souls, which flesh alone, if it had been 
separated from, and not thus united to this Spirit, would have profited 
nothing as to giving that life I have been speaking of; and therefore you 
must understand all my former words I have been speaking about eating 
my flesh, &c, spiritually, and of a spiritual eating, for so the nature of the 
thing requires ; for I am a spiritual Christ, and a spiritual Saviour, and 
not a fleshly. And hence it is that ' my w r ords ' which I have uttered ' are 
spirit and life,' and do become such to any of you that hear and under- 
stand me aright ; and there were some present who at that time, and in 
that manner understood those words, and found him and these his words 
to be spiritual life unto them, as ver. 67, 68 shews. And as my flesh is 
by virtue hereof the procurer of life unto you as sinners, so my person, 
consisting of God-man, is eternal life in itself to them who as sinners do 
eat my flesh by faith. And they have not only eternal life from me, but 
I am in my person eternal life unto them in their communion with me. 

This passage, as thus interpreted of his Godhead and human nature, is 
the centre into which all the lines of that sermon do run, and will approve 
itself to be the true and genuine meaning, as wherein he doth at once not 
simply give an explanation of what his scope and meaning was, namely, 
that the eating his flesh, &c, was in a spiritual way to be understood by 
faith, and not of a carnal eating (which his last words of that verse do 
import, • My words they are spirit and life'), but chiefly beyond that, it is 
to give the account and ground why it was so in those first words : * It is 
the Spirit that quickens,' &c, which putting life into the human nature, 
and offering it up to God to give us life, made his flesh and himself to be 
altogether a spiritual food (though the most real of foods, ' meat indeed,' 
as ver. 55) unto the souls of men ; and also, because thereby he answers 
all their cavils, queries, and exceptions they had before made. And the 
view of all these have confirmed me in the foresaid interpretation of his 
Godhead to be meant by spirit, and by flesh his human nature, which was 
the sense of the ancients. And I have wondered that the most of our 
latest interpreters have diverted from it, and betaken themselves wholly to 
expound this scripture to design the manner of eating to be spiritual (as 
Beza, and after him divers), and have rested solely in that sense as full 
and adequate; whereas this other interpretation I have given not only 
takes in that of theirs, but beyond it gives the reason of it, why it can be 
no other than a spiritual eating, for the life the Godhead gives cannot be 
corporeally eaten. And then the concurrence of other scriptures, using 
the same words to express the Godhead's dwelling in his human nature 
personally, doth further confirm me in it. And lastly, the disciples' words 


■which they return in answer to this discourse of Christ's (which shews 
how they understood it), doth put me out of all doubt that this was indeed 
his meaning ; and I am more confirmed in it by the concurrence of other 

1. We have the concurrence of Rom. i. 3, 4, ' Concerning his Sou 
Jesus Christ our Lord, who was made the seed of David according to the 
flesh ; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit 
of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.' Where, as his 'flesh' is 
his humanity, so that ' Spirit of holiness ' is the Godhead of him, as he is 
the Son of God, and termed here the ' Spirit of holiness ;' as Heb. ix. 14, 
it is called the ' eternal Spirit,' the Son of God being the fulness of the 
Godhead dwelling in that flesh, which (as he adds) he was declared to be, 
by the resurrection from the dead, that Spirit or Godhead of his raising 
him up again by his own power. For which cause he is also said to be 
' quickened in the Spirit,' or by the Spirit ' having been put to death in 
the flesh,' 1 Peter iii. 18, and likewise 'justified in the Spirit,' 1 Tim. 
iii. 16, namely, to be God as well as man, as himself had declared himself 
to be. But would you have this of the first chapter to the Romans more 
plainly deciphered ? The same apostle doth it in plainer words in the 
same Epistle. That parallel in the same Epistle, Rom. ix. 5, relates to 
what hath been said, ' Whose are the fathers, and of whom, as concerning 
the flesh, Christ came, who is God over all, blessed for ever. Amen.' As 
in that first chapter he had distinguished about his person, saying, as con- 
cerning the flesh, that is, his human nature received from David his fore- 
father, as his seed, so in this chap. ix. he useth the same again, ' Of 
whom' (viz., the fathers), ' as concerning the flesh, Christ came.' And in 
his so cautious distinguishing in both places as concerning the flesh, doth 
evidently import he had somewhat else, some other thing or nature 
besides which his person (the Christ) consisted of. And what that other 
nature should be, required a farther declaration, and might be expected he 
should say it, which the apostle doth with the highest solemnity and 
adoration of him, when he addeth, 'who is God, blessed for ever. Amen,' 
which Godhead acknowledged in the 9th chapter he had styled ' Spirit' in 
chap, i., and which you find also in John vi., in Christ's speech : ' It is 
the Spirit that quickens, the flesh profiteth nothing,' that is, of itself alone. 
And this Spirit or Godhead, thus united into one person, is said to ' be made 
a quickening Spirit' to us, 1 Cor. xv. 45, 4G, in similitude to Adam his 
being a living soul ; that is, a person consisting of a reasonable soul, 
united to a body which it dwelleth in and inspireth, and then by generation 
propagateth us the like unto him therein ; so here in Christ typified by 
him, his Godhead or Spirit dwelleth bodily in his flesh or human nature, 
and thereby doth first quicken and spirit that flesh even by the spiritual- 
ness and heavenliness, above all that is communicated to mere creatures ; 
and therefore he is himself there styled a spiritual and heavenly man, who 
in the virtue hereof is then made, by a regeneration both of our souls and 
bodies, ' a quickening Spirit' to us. And though this there spoken of him 
(as to us) is particularly in relation to his quickening and raising our 
bodies, yet his so doing must first and more specially be understood, that 
he is a quickening Spirit to the souls of those in this life, whose bodies he 
raiseth at the resurrection, as Eph. ii. 1 the phrase is used. 

2. This interpretation doth alone solve all the riddles and quarrels which 
had been raised before by the Capernaites ; and this sense therefore, con- 
taining a sufficient answer unto all and each of them, must needs have been 

Chap. YIL; of justifying faith. 177 

intended and directed as an answer to them, whereas that other narrowed 
sense mention, cl falls short of this scope. They murmured, ver. 41, 42, 
because he said, ' I am the bread which came down from heaven. And 
they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother 
we know ? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven ? ' 
Now this one speech of his, ' It is the Spirit that quickeneth,' is a sufficient 
account how both might stand. I am God, says he, the Son of God, and 
the Godhead (which he calls Spirit, and is the Spirit of that Son) is in me, 
and it was thai which came down from heaven ; but my flesh, my human 
nature, that indeed I had from my mother, whom you knew ; and yet let 
me withal further tell you, says he, that this Son of man, whom you think 
only to be a mere earthly man, should, by the right of natural inheritance 
had from his being united into one person with the Godhead and Son of 
God, have been in heaven at the first instant of that union, and by due 
never have lived upon earth in frail flesh, but only to that end to redeem 
you by giving his life for the world, ver. 51, and this Christ tells them in 
the very words before : ver. 61, 62, ' When Jesus knew they murmured at 
it, he said unto them, Doth this also offend you ? What and if ye shall 
see the Son of man ascend up where he was before ?' i. e., in his due right. 
And accordingly, in 1 Cor. xv., it is from this very ground of his union 
with that Spirit, the quickening Spirit, his Godhead, ver. 45, that he, the 
man, is said to be the Lord from heaven ; ver. 47, ' The first man is of the 
earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven;' and an heavenly 
man, ver. 48, for in the right of that union he was to have been ' in heaven ;' 
and in that respect he is said to be ' from heaven' here in John vi., as also 
in this to the Corinthians, 1 Cor. xv., because that his due was to have 
been there before ever he came on earth. They had also quarrelled with 
him how he, being but a mere man, could be the living bread that came 
down from heaven, as he had said, ver. 41 and 52, and that ' he that 
eateth of that bread shall live for ever,' ver. 58. Now this word quickening 
spirit resolves the difficulty, for it was his Godhead, united to that flesh, 
that was the principle of that eternal life which we partake of from him ; 
therefore ' he that eateth me,' saith he, ' even he shall live by me,' ver. 57, 
and yet so as it was that his manhood and flesh, as it was united to the 
Godhead, which made him to become bread and food to us, without which 
his Godhead alone simply would not have been fit meat either for soul or 
body ; nor would his flesh alone, if it had been separated from the God- 
head, have profited anything. And thus the personal union between both 
natures is not only asserted, but made the ground of all he had spoken of 

3. Again, that question, ver. 52, ' How can this man give us his flesh 
to eat?' is by this mystery unfolded, even that he is in his person Spirit 
united to flesh. And it is the Spirit that gives the life ; and therefore it 
was that his flesh must be understood to be a spiritual food, made to be 
such by the Spirit in him. And this also shews his speeches to have been 
so intended, that thence and therefore answerably their eating must be a 
spiritual eating of the soul or spirit by faith ; and that any one hearing 
and understanding those his words which he had uttered concerning it, and 
receiving them by faith, their souls should find them to be spirit and life 
to them, by conveying himself (who is eternal life) to them through faith 
on him, who, as a quickening Spirit, is their life : and thus their cavil (how 
can this be?) is solved ; for thus it might and could well be, according to 
spiritual principles, rationally suited to and corresponding one with another. 



And, moreover, it further appears that he meant it not at all of a corporeal 
eating, as our bodies do our ordinary food, by that saying he subjoineth, 
ver. 56, ' He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, 
and I in him ;' for no man is said to dwell in his meat, though for a while, 
till concocted, his meat may be said to be in his body ; but, says he, ' He 
that eateth my flesh dwells in me, and lives in and by me, even as I live in 
the living Father,' as it follows, ver. 57. Thus this interpretation answers 
all their exceptions. 

4. That confession which his disciples hereupon made, which is the last 
part of the chapter, is indeed but a short sum of all this, even a brief ex- 
position and confirmation of Christ's whole sermon, but especially of this, 
ver. 63. The print and impression on their souls who had savingly be- 
lieved punctually answered to this his doctrine ; for when our Saviour saw 
that his new disciples of Capernaum had so soon left him (ver. 66, ' From 
tbat time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him'), 
he turneth himself to his old disciples, Peter, and the rest of them that had 
stood by, and heard all the discourse ; thus speaking to them, ver. 67, 
• Then said Jesus to the twelve. Will ye also go away?' And now hear 
them speak according to their experimental sense : ver. 58, 59, ' Then 
Simon Peter,' in the name of the rest, ' answered him, Lord, to whom shall 
we go ? Thou hast the words of eternal life ; and we believe, and are sure, 
that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.' They had by blessed 
experience found him to be a fountain of spiritual life to their souls, 
because he was God's Son. They had found, they had felt him to be their 
life, because that flesh, that is, that man, whom they saw with their eyes, 
whom they had conversed with, and had heard so many words and sermons 
from, and this among the rest, was indeed in his person the Son of God, 
and united to the Son of God personally, and that the Spirit or Godhead 
in him the Son had quickened their souls full many a time ; for they had 
found that his words he had spoken concerning himself, in declaring that 
he was the Son of God, and God, had been eternal life to them. They 
therefore cry out as men that should be undone if they should ever come 
once to leave him; 'Whither shall we go?' say they ; 'thou hast the 
words of eternal life.' And this life he had in his very person, and in his 
being God's Son, which, therefore, Simon, ver. 69, superadds, ' And we 
believe, and are sure, that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.' 
If, therefore, there should be a parting of us and thee, farewell eternal 
life, and let go our souls, and all, for thou art the soul of our souls, the 
life of our lives ; which life he withal affirms to be conveyed to them, and 
maintained in them, by and through their believing on him as the Son of 

And now observe the full and express correspondency which the words 
of this their confession holds in reference unto Christ's words, specially 
those in ver. 63. Our Lord had, in the 57th verse, ascended higher in 
setting open the fountain and original source or cause of his own blessed 
and eternal life, to the end that, carrying their thoughts to the well-head 
of all life, they might know to whom ultimately to attribute the glory of 
this life together with himself, and might discern the blessedness of that 
life itself derived to them, and the descent and derivation of it. His words 
are, ' As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father, so he 
that eateth me shall live by me.' It is as if he had said, The Father is 
the primum vivens, the original principle of all spiritual life ; being a Spirit 
(as John iv. 24), the fountain of that life which is in me, and from me let 


down to you; whence it is that the life with which I quicken you and other 
believers is a communication of the life that is in my Father himself 
through me ; and the foundation of my own life in myself, and of being 
life unto you, or any believers, lies in this, that I am his Son, the Son of 
God; having the same, the very same life essentially in me who am God 
that is in my Father, so as there is the same Spirit and Godhead in both. 
I am the living Son of this living God, who, as such, is my Father, and 
have life in myself, though from him ; and he sent me who am this life 
down from heaven in this flesh, which j r ou behold with your bodily eyes, 
to give life to the world ; and therefore I am able, through and by means 
of this my flesh, who is one person with me, to derive and let down this 
life to you, and the life which my Father himself hath, even eternal life; 
fur he is the eternal God, and therefore I am eternal life also ; and there- 
fore it is that the life I can and do communicate from him to you is eternal 
life likewise. And again, as my Father is a Spirit (as John iv. 24), so am 
I, and therefore it is a spiritual life which I make souls partakers of, which 
is conveyed to those souls by a spiritual means, wrought on purpose by 
my Father in their hearts, unto whom he hath appointed to give this life ; 
which means is believing on me with their whole hearts, and by that faith 
entertaining mj r words which I speak of myself, who am life to them. 

Xow let us come to their short and summary confession fore-mentioned : 
ver. 69, ' We believe and are sure thou art that Christ, the Son of the 
living God.' This they allege as the ground and reason why they found 
that he was eternal life to them ; concerning which confession I note three 
things, answering to what had gone afore in Christ's speeches. 

(1.) That he is God ; which is evident they acknowledge, by saying the 
Son of the living God, the natural Son of the living Father, as he had said 
before, ver. 57. Creatures that are living themselves, animals, as we call 
them, do beget living creatures too, endowed with a life like their own, 
and they beget in their kind, as a lion begets a lion, and a man begets a 
man. Thus God begetting this Son (and he is his only begotten Son), he 
begets him like himself, a God ; and therefore to say he is the Son of the 
living God, imports that he is God, and that living God. 

(2.) Observe (which in substance is the very same), he had said of him- 
self in ver. 63, ' It is the Spirit,' or the Godhead in me, ' that quickeneth.' 

(3.) Observe that it was by faith on him and his word that they had life 
eternal derived unto their souls from him. ' We believe,' say they; which 
is in return unto all that Christ had spoken of believing, and eating his 
flesh, to be that spiritual eating by faith throughout that sermon, from 
ver. 14. 

(4.) And let me cast in this to this confession of theirs. One of those 
apostles that then stood by (the apostle John, who survived, and wrote his 
first Epistle after all the rest of them were dead), reviveth this very same 
confession of theirs, here made, in his own name, and in the names of 
them all (as Peter here), though dead, and allegeth that their general sense 
and experience they had of the same of which they here spoke. Thus in 
1 John i. 1, 2, ' That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, 
which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our 
hands have handled, of the Word of life ; for the life was manifested, and 
we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, 
which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us.' We, by which 
he means these his fellow- apostles that had been, not himself only, nor 
other fellow- Christians then alive, for he speaks of those who had seen, 


heard, and handled of the Word of life, viz., the true Christ ; and how 
they had all found that he was that Word of life, and eternal life that was 
with the Father afore the world was ; whom after often in that Epistle he 
styles his Son, and God, and concludes the Epistle with the same, even as 
he had hegun — ' This is the true God, and eternal life.' 

Thus we have seen the truth of all this justified hy wisdom's children, 
and sealed to by their experience. 

Now, in the last place, take notice (and it is to our purpose) that in the 
midst of this sermon it is that Christ lets fall the words of my grand text, 
for a part of this sermon it is ; and that for this cause, and on this occa- 
sion it was, that because he is so spiritual a Messias, that therefore it is 
necessary that every one that believes in Christ, so as to have life, must 
be ' taught,' and have ' learned from the Father,' that grand teacher of his 
Son ; and that all this is put upon this very ground, because they are to 
know and receive him spiritually, — spiritually, I say, in both those respects 
fore-mentioned at the entrance ; for he is a spiritual Christ, who is the 
object, and the faith he is to be received withal, in the subject, must be 
spiritual, suited unto the true spiritualness that is in this object ; his 
person, as God-man, or a quickening Spirit in flesh, and as he is a Saviour, 
giving his flesh for the life of the world (both which he treats of in that 
sermon) in the real savoury eating whereof, and in whom eternal life con- 
sists, and is derived, neither of which no man can do unless first taught 
by the Father to know him, and then drawn by God to him as to a spiritual 
Saviour. And for confirmation of this you may again observe, how that 
presently after he had uttered these words, ver. 63, from the doctrine 
thereof he infers, ver. 65, ' Therefore said I unto you, that no man can 
come unto me, except it were given to him of my Father.' Which speech 
and particle therefore plainly refers unto the words of ver. 63 we have been 
upon, and is as if he had said, Because I am to be believed on as a Spirit, 
or God dwelling in this flesh, to be the quickener of all that believe, there- 
fore, or for that reason it is, that no man can come to me for life unless 
taught by the Father spiritually ; for to believe on me in a suitable manner, 
that is, spiritually, suitable unto what I am in my person, and also in my 
salvation and life, that I do give to others, and in both which I am a Spirit 
quickening ; and correspondent^ 7 , to believe on me, and on tbe Godhead 
dwelling in my flesh personally, this is above the reach of nature, or of 
flesh and blood, and therefore this must be given by my Father, who 
seeks such professors and disciples of me as believe on me in spirit and 

From all which we may conclude, that to know Christ spiritually, both 
in himself: 1, as he is a spiritual Christ; and, 2, a Saviour in the true 
spiritualness of him ; and, 3, in a spiritual manner to understand him in 
both, and come to him under the true representation thereof, is that teach- 
ing of the Father meant as the truth is in Jesus, and for want of which, or 
falling short of which, it is that men perish. This therefore must be 
accounted a point of greatest moment to us to know, and to be searched into. 

That Christ represented as a quickening Spirit is a proper object of our faith. 

My next work therefore shall be to shew that Christ, as represented a 
quickening Spirit, in that latitude of sense which the Scriptures in that 

Chap. VIII.] of justifying faith. 181 

notion of him intended, and revealed by the Father as the truth thereof is 
in him, and taken in and understood by us accordingly, doth become and 
prove as proper and full an object for our faith to exercise itself upon, as 
any other notion whatsoever wherein he is represented. 

I have in this large title comprehended the main materials that follow, 
and in laying open the spiritualness of our Christ (the object, which in 
Scripture is expressed by Spirit that quickens), the spiritualness of the 
faith and heart of a true believer, with difference from common faith in a 
carnal heart, will all along appear, and appear by this, that when the 
spiritualness that is in the object is spiritually discovered, if the actings of 
the soul be really and in verity conformable, and answerable thereto, then 
it is spiritual faith in us also. For it is a certain rule, that the spiritual- 
ness of the subject, viz., the soul, lieth in a suitableness unto, and closing 
with the spirituality of its objects as represented in their bare and naked 
true spiritualness, abstracting from other respects, for then they attinge 
and affect that object as it is in itself. So here in this case, when the 
true spiritualness of Christ is presented, and apprehended as the truth is 
in Jesus, the spiritualness or fleshliness of the heart will be discovered 
thereby, as the heart shall be found to fall in with or bear off from what is 
in that object purely spiritual. I shall not then need to discourse any 
more than to discover to you what a Christ you have, and how spiritual, 
and then do you lay your hearts to the naked apprehension thereof, and 
see how your hearts agree with him, and are affected accordingly towards 
him, and what it is in him causeth you to ' desire him,' as the prophet 
speaks, as such a Christ, comparing spiritual hearts with spiritual Christ, 
see how they agree and like each other. 

Other ways and modes out of scriptures are and have been taken by 
others unto a great success in their discoveries of Christ, and the truth of 
saving faith thereby, and for substance they are the same with this of mine 
that follows. But I chose this as that which my Saviour's sermon in this 
sixth chapter of John hath led me to, and which hath fallen into my own 
heart, and hath animated my pursuances after Christ in a more special 
manner than any other apprehensions of him whatsoever. I limit myself 
unto what this notion, viz., ' a quickening Spirit,' will afford herein. For 
it is made a kind of definition of him (if I may so speak), or the most 
proper description, whether in his person or what he is made to us, in two 
words, ' a quickening Spirit,' 1 Cor. xv. 45. Christ's speech, ' God is a 
Spirit,' John iv. 24, is as proper a definition of God as can be given (for 
he passeth our logic), it expressing the kind of his being, as his name 
Jehovah, that he is fulness of being. And this definition of Christ is like 
it ; given first by Christ himself in this 6th of John, and then by the apostle : 
1 The Lord is that Spirit,' 2 Cor. iii. 17; and again, ' a quickening Spirit,' 
1 Cor. xv. 45, and I call it a definition of him, or rather the exactest 
description of him, because it is used to illustrate both his person and his 
work as a Saviour : 1 Cor. xv. 45 to 50, ' The first man Adam was made 
a living soul ; the last Adam was made a quickening Spirit. Howbeit that 
was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural ; and afterwards 
that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy : the second 
man is the Lord from heaven.' I think I may, without the hazard of being 
confuted, undertake to say, that this is a more perfect definition, or at 
least an exacter character of Adam the first man, given him by God him- 
self,|from and upon his very creation, than ever any philosopher gave of 
man, whilst they went about to make a definition of him ; and I may 


answerably affirm the like of this definition of Christ, that he is a quicken- 
ing Spirit. It denotes his person to be God, ' the Lord from heaven,' and 
withal a man in one person with God, ' the second man.' That the word 
spirit in the New Testament is often set to express his Godhead as his 
humanity flesh, is so well known (Rom. i. 3, 1 Tim. iii. 16, 1 Peter 
iii. 18, 19, Heb. ix. 14), as it needs not be insisted on. The parallel 
then between our Christ and the first Adam, by way of super- eminent 
comparative on Christ's part, will run thus: Look, as Adam the first man 
was in his own person first and originally made a living soul, having that 
animal rational soul, ' the breath of lives ' infused by God into a body 
organised for that soul to act and enliven, as our souls do our bodies, and 
so make up one person with it; so the Godhead of the second person, 
united into one person, was thereby made a quickening Spirit unto that 
flesh of his assumed. Only we must here abate of the parallel (for it is 
but a type, and so holds not in all things), that the Godhead in Christ is 
not the soul of his body, for he hath a soul which makes up with his body 
an entire human nature ; but his Godhead is that which makes up one 
person with that human nature, and infinitely enliveneth and spiriteth it 
above what our souls do, or can do our bodies. And he useth the word 
quickening to express that super-celestial life by; not that Christ's human 
nature was dead before, but that it was called up to and raised from* 
what it was not (and God's calling things that are not as if they were, the 
apostle parallels with a resurrection, Rom. iv.), nor never would have 
been, if he had been but a mere man, though made by a new creation, 
bestowing never so excelling a soul and body, above the soul and body 
which the first man, Adam, consisted of. But here the Spirit or Godhead 
elevated that soul and body of Christ's human nature into a state of life, 
of an higher kind and rank, infinitely surpassing the life which any soul or 
body, if but mere creatures, could have been capable of, or than even 
God's power (without making a personal union thereof with the Godhead) 
could have raised such a mere creature unto. It is a divine and super- 
celestial life, above all that of angels in heaven, peculiar to him through 
that union by inheritance, as being now become by inheritance the Lord 
of heaven, and in taking flesh the Lord from heaven, which to have been 
was his right at the first instant that he was man. The apostle therefore, 
being to express that life which by the Godhead the second Adam was 
raised unto, doth it by a term of super-excellency, in a way of comparison 
unto the first man's being but ' a living soul ;' but calls this and gives it 
an higher term of ' quickening,' denoting this high and transcending eleva- 
tion of it above what by mere creation could have been communicated. 
And he useth the word spirit in the way of super-eminency unto that of 
soul; that look, as the Godhead in Christ's person excels the soul or spirit 
in man, so proportionably doth that life, flowing from that spirit or God- 
head in Christ, excel the life that was in Adam by creation, or that could 
have been in any mere creature. And because it is a raising it up unto a 
life (that was not, nor never would have been, in any mere creature, but is 
wholly a super-creation life), he therefore deservedly calls it a quickening 
even of the human nature of Christ. And whereas it is said, he was 
' made a quickening spirit,' the meaning is not, nor can be, that the Spirit 
or Godhead itself in him was made. No; far be it from me so to interpret 
it ; but the meaning is, that by that union of the Godhead with the human 
nature, the Godhead was made a quickening Spirit thereunto. And so the 

* Qu. 'to'?— Ed. 

Chap. VIII.] of justifying faith. 183 

parallel, as to Christ's person, runs no further than to this, that as Adam's 
soul breathed into his body, and becoming one person with it, did inspire 
and impregnate it, and he became a living soul, so the Godhead inspirited 
this his human nature with a divine life, suitable to the glory of that God- 
head which dwelt in him. And the reason why this parallel, as in respect 
to Christ's own person, is intended to extend no further, is, because this 
of Adam's state is alleged but as a type and shadow, and therefore not in 
all things holding a likeness unto the substance typified out thereby. Thus 
it is true first of the person of Christ, that his person as God-man is con- 
stituted or made up of a quickening spirit; and certainly as the first man 
Adam is in his person intended first in this of being a living soul, so Christ's 
person in that of a quickening spirit. 

But, 2, as Adam is said to be made a living soul also in respect of 
conveying a like life and image unto us men his sons, as the next verses 
do plainly express the scope to be, so the parallel of Christ's being made a 
quickening spirit, aims to signify also what he is made (by virtue of that 
his personal union) to be unto us, of which there can be no doubt. From 
this notion of his being a quickening spirit (as it hath been explained), the 
spiritualness of this our great Christ, as he is made and set forth the spiri- 
tual object of our faith, and accordingly taught by the Father, as the truth 
is in Jesus, to all believers, hath these two branches in it, in the handling 
of which distinctly I shall accomplish this task I have undertaken. 

1. You have the spiritualness that is in the person, as 'the Word was 
made flesh;' or what he is in himself, Son of God, and God dwelling in 
our nature personally, and quickening thereof. 

2. The spiritualness of him as a Saviour, or in what he is and hath done 
for us as sinners, that were dead in sins and trespasses. And although 
the particular occasion of the apostle's introducing these words, was what 
he is to us in the resurrection of our bodies, yet it in general reacheth to 
all that he is to our souls, for our eternal salvation. I divide this argu- 
ment into these two heads ; for these two were the two eminent titles or 
descriptions given him, as he was the Christ, by those disciples that first 
believed on him from the beginning of his manifestation to Israel. John 
the Baptist (from whom Christ's other disciples learned him to be the 
Messias or Christ), in a sermon to his disciples, recorded by the evan- 
gelist John, chap, i., first represents him to their faith as a Saviour for 
sinners: 'Behold,' says he, 'the Lamb of God, that takes away the sins 
of the world ! ' So at the beginning of it, ver. 29 ; but in the close of it, 
ver. 34, ' And I saw, and bare record, that this is the Son of God.' And 
the Son of God consisting of two natures : as a man, he was conceived after 
the Baptist himself (as by the story, Luke i., appears) ; but he had another 
nature, in respect of which he says he was ' afore him,' that is, as God, and 
Son of God. Thus verse 30, ' This is he of whom I said, After me cometh 
a man w T hich is preferred before me ; for he was before me.' So then Christ 
as God-man, the Son of God, and Saviour from sin, is set forth to a believer's 
faith, and this from the first, by John. 

And sometimes some of those first disciples utter their faith on him as 
Son of God, sometimes others speak their faith on him as Saviour of the 
world. Some express their faith on him as Son of God. So Nathanael 
upon his very first seeing and hearing of him : John i. 49, ' Nathanael 
answered and said unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God, thou art the 
King of Israel.' The faith of the Samaritan disciples, chap, iv., is thus 
expressed: John iv. 42, ' Now we believe, for we have heard him ourselves, 


and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.' And 
Peter, in the name of the disciples, expresseth the same: Mat. xvi. 16, 
' Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God;' just as here in John vi. G9 
you find. And the revelation of this, in that spiritual manner that you 
have heard, was that which caused them to cleave to him and say, 
' Whither shall we go ?' &c. And it was from the Father teaching: Mat. 
xvi. 17, 'Blessed art thou, Simon: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it 
unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.' It was the Father had 
taught him so to believe on his own Son ; ' and upon this rock,' saith 
Christ, ver. 18, 'I will build my church;' for all the saints of the New 
Testament did all ' come to the unity of faith, and knowledge of the Son 
of God,' Eph. iv. 13. And in their so believing he was the Son of God, 
they believed that he was such a Son of God as was God, or that Son of 
God who was God, which their confessing him the Son of the living God 
imported, as was observed. And therefore Christ, in his arguing with the 
Jews (who quarrelled with him, that he being a man should make himself 
God), makes the conclusion of an argument, wherein he proves he was 
God, to run thus : John x. 33-36, ' The Jews answered him, saying, For 
a good work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy; and because that thou, 
being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written 
in your law, I said, Ye are gods ? If he called them gods unto whom the 
word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; say ye of him 
whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blas- 
phemest; because I said, I am the Son of God,' that is, such a Son as 
was true God ; for the thing wherein they had said he blasphemed, verse 
32, was, that he said he was God, yet he concludes that he was the Son 
of God ; so that to believe he was the Son of God, was all one as to believe 
he was God. And hence it also was that in other scriptures to believe on 
him as God, and on him as Saviour, are also joined in the apostles' con- 
fession by the same Peter: 2 Peter i. 1, ' Simon Peter, a servant and an 
apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with 
us, through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.' And 
they are also by Paul joined together: Titus ii. 13, 'The great God, and 
our Saviour Jesus Christ.' 


That Christ's person, as Son of God, in one person with the man Jesus, is 
the prime object of faith, and taught by the Father, as the truth is in 

To evidence that Christ's person, as the Son of God in one person with 
the man Jesus, is the great object of our faith, two things are to be con- 
sidered : 

1. That the spirits of the first believers on Christ were generally taught 
by God, and carried out to him, to receive, obtain, close with him as such ; 
that is, under the apprehension of his person, Son of God, and God-man 
(which properly is called his person), not God simply in his divine nature 
singly considered, but God manifest in flesh, or the Son of God made flesh. 
You heard before the Baptist's confession, who was the leader on unto this 
distinct faith on him in this particular, as also the confession of the apostles, 
even long before Christ's ascension. 

Chap. IX.] of justifying faith. 185 

Other particular instances may be given ; as you find this to have been 
at the bottom of Martha's faith, when Christ himself ransacked and searched 
into it : John xi., Christ puts her faith to it by way of question, vcr. 25, 26, 
' Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life : he that believeth 
in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and 
believeth in me, shall never die. Believest thou this ?' But she answers 
not in terminu and directly: ver. 27, ' She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I 
I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into 
the world.' She brings forth the very bottom of her faith, and ground of 
all, the chief, the primary thing which she believed about him, which car- 
ried all the rest. She utters what lay most near her heart. Thus also 
unbelieving Thomas, when his faith had obtained a resurrection, upon occa- 
sion of Christ's being risen from the dead (whereby he was declared to be 
the Son of God, and God, Rom. i. 3, 4), whither runs his faith thereupon ? 
' My Lord, and my God,' John xx. 28. The eunuch heard Philip expound 
to him the 53d chapter of Isaiah, which treats of Christ's being a Saviour, 
and bearing our sins : Acts viii. 32, 33, ' The place of Scripture which he 
read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter ; and like a lamb 
dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth. In his humiliation 
his judgment was taken away ; and who shall declare his generation ? for 
his life is taken from the earth.' This text must needs lead Philip to 
preach Jesus to him as a Saviour for sinners ; but he beginning (as it is 
there said) but with that scripture, proceeded to add many more : ver. 35, 
' Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and 
preached unto him Jesus.' And whereas there was but one passage in that 
which he read that gave occasion to preach him to be the Son of God, viz., 
1 Who shall declare his generation ?' or whose Son he was ; yet that neces- 
sarily fell in, and deciphered who the person was that was to be the Saviour. 
Now observe how the eunuch's faith took hold of that above all other ; for 
when Philip told him, ver. 37, ' If thou believest with all thine heart, thou 
mayest be baptized, the eunuch's heart tells us what it was above all other 
which his whole soul closed in with ; and that was, ' I believe that Jesus 
Christ is the Son of God.' And yet we may well suppose that Philip's dis- 
course had run mainly upon his being a Saviour, and his bearing our sin, 
for it was the main argument of the text, which the eunuch gave him to 
expound, and sure he kept to it : ' He was led as a sheep to the slaughter, 
and as a lamb dumb before the shearer ;' which the Baptist referred to in 
his ' Behold the Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world,' 
John i. 29. But the Spirit of God did (we see) set that other character 
of his person, which the Baptist also gave him, ' Jesus Christ, the Son of 

But to give over the pursuit of any more single instances, let us see the 
universal effect of this doctrine, both in the Baptist's ministry, and of the 
apostles', upon the whole lump, body, and generality of believers. What 
the effect of John Baptist's ministry was, is prophesied of Isa. xl. 3, ' The 
voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, 
make straight in the desert a highway for our God ;' which is undeniably 
applied by three evangelists to mean, that that Lord and God, to make way 
for whom in men's hearts that preparation was, is evidently our Lord Christ, 
as appears in the same evangelists. And what was the issue and conse- 
quent of it, that Christ coming and preaching after John ? ' The glory of 
the Lord' (Christ) 'was revealed; and all flesh' (that is, believing flesb, 
whose eyes Satan had not blinded) ' saw it together ;' that is, they all enter- 


tained him by faith, as their Lord and their God (as Thomas professed 
him), when he began to manifest his glory, John ii. 11. 

Then again, what was the effect of the apostles' ministry, who, after 
Christ's ascension, were sent forth to preach him ? It follows in tbe same 
prophecj 7 , Isa. xl. 9 : '0 Zion, thatbringest good tidings, get thee up into 
tbe high mountain ; Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy 
voice with strength : lift it up, be not afraid : say unto the cities of Judah, 
Behold your God.' This gospel message was, ' Behold your God !' that 
is, your Christ, who is your God, Son of God in his person, the ruler, the 
rewarder, in whom is eternal life, and the shepherd of his people : ver. 
10, 11, ' Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm 
shall rule for him ; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before 
him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd ; he shall gather the lambs 
with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that 
are with young.' The voice of the crier, the Baptist, had cried him up, 
' Behold the Lamb of God !' the Son of God; and the eminentest message 
which the apostles delivered, was, ' Behold your God !' that is, we preach 
a Saviour unto you, who is God. So they preached, and so they believed 
that heard them : 2 Cor. iv. 5, 6, ' For we preach not ourselves, but Christ 
Jesus the Lord ; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God 
who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our 
hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face 
of Jesus Christ.' In the face, that is, in the person of Jesus Christ, who 
is God, and the image of God, ver. 4. And when the veil was taken 
off from all nations, and specially when it shall be taken off from the few* 
(which in the 3d chapter, ver. 15, 16, afore, he had applied the prophecy 
of Isaiah unto), Oh, how will they stand astonished at the faith and revela- 
tion of this very thing, that the person of their Messiah, they so long waited 
for, proves to be their God, Isa. xxv. 7. When the veil shall be taken 
off from all nations, &c, then, ver. 9, ' It shall be said in that day, Lo, 
this is our God, we have waited for him.' Oh, wonderful (will they say), 
this Messiah we waited so for, is our God ; he is so in his person, he will 
save us ; he is our Saviour also, and his name is Jesus, that saves his 
people from their sins ; this is the Lord, and he will save us. God and 
Saviour, you see again, Son of God and Saviour joined ; and this is the 
faith of believers, this is he they believe upon, and this universally. What 
one saint is there distrusting it, or questioning it ? For it found the most 
general acceptation in the hearts of believers, when he wrote to Timothy : 
1 Tim. iii. 16, ' And without controversy,' saith he, or with one consent, 
' great is the mystery of godliness : God was manifest in the flesh,' or made 
flesh ; 'justified in the Spirit :' i. e., his Godhead manifested in the resurrec- 
tion ; ' preached to the Gentiles, and believed on in the world.' This last is 
that which proves that Christ is God-man, Son of God in the flesh, and 
was, as such, the prime grand object of all the believers' faith that were in 
that age of the world ; and he is the great mystery and foundation of all 
Christian religion ; and therefore under that notion and apprehension of 
him, made lively and real to our souls, it is that we must come to him. 
I have not alleged these places singly to prove that Christ is God, though 
they serve for it, but that as such he is the primary foundation of a 
believer's faith. 

2. The second thing is (which I carry with me still along), that to teach 
and reveal to souls, that Christ is the Son of God, is the work of the 
* Qu. 'Jews 1 ?— Ed. 


Father, which he doth in such a manner, as no human understanding doth 
arrive at, nor can attain unto, without his teaching : this is express and 
recognised by our Saviour, as his seal of approbation, set to that confession 
of Peter's, ■ Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God,' Mat. xvi. 16. 
• And Jesus answered,' ver. 17, ' and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon 
Bar-jona : for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father 
which is in heaven.' It was a revelation which made him blessed, and 
such as was peculiar to tbem that are saved, and which all that are saved 
were to have ; and it had not been taught him by man, and by education 
alone, &c, nor from his own natural understanding (by which men that 
live under the knowledge of divine truths come to profess them, but without 
the special revelation of the Father they cannot attain to the blessedness of 
true faith), but wholly it was to be ascribed to the Father's revelation, 
which is there opposed to flesh, or fleshly ways, of discovery. And lastly, 
it is the Father of Christ, his Son : ' My Father,' saith Christ, « hath 
revealed this to thee,' to whom principally this belongs, to reveal this point 
of all other, that I am his Son ; for he begat me, and he discovers me to 
them whom he means to bless. ' He is thy Lord, worship thou him,' Ps. 
xlv. 11. The point the Father instructs her in is, that Christ is her Lord, 
and means her God withal (' My Lord and my God,' says Thomas, instructed 
by the same hand), as the following words, ' worship thou him,' evince ; 
for it is God alone whom we are to worship. 


The uses of the foregoing doctrine. — How ive are to exercise faith on the 
person of Christ, God-man. 

Use 1. One end of mine in enlarging upon this head is to direct your 
faith in your approaches and addresses to Christ, viz., to pitch your souls 
upon his person of being God-man, and under the notion and apprehension 
thereof, taken in and formed in your minds, still to act all the other several 
exercises of your faith upon him. I do not say you have no true faith 
unless you have explicit thoughts hereof in all such actings ; for foundations 
(as this is one) firmly laid in the soul do implicitly work when they are 
not in acta e.vercito, or explicitly thought upon, but an habitual appre- 
hension thereof carried along in the soul may have a true and real efficacy 
in it ; yet the more you have of explicit, enlarged conceptions thereof, and 
reflections thereupon, and the oftener they are renewed, you will find them 
the more powerful and working ; for it being so great a truth, that in the 
reality of the thing itself, his person in being God and God-man, is that 
which gives the ground and foundation, influence and virtue, into all we 
believe upon him for; then the explicit acting of faith hereon, and through 
the faith of it, upon all else he doth for us, must needs have a proportionable 
effect in all. You all know and profess, as touching his person, that he is 
God, Son of God, &c, and volant or flying thoughts thereof run through your 
minds at times, but do your hearts dwell upon the meditation of it as that 
which puts life into your hearts in all you believe concerning him ? For 
this his person is not only eternal life (taken abstractedly, as it shall be 
possessed in heaven) in the sequel alone, but it is the life of your faith 
exercised on his death for forgiveness of sins, for saving from wrath. Many 
in their judgments think that the doctrine of the Trinity, and the doctrine 


that Christ is God, is but a matter of speculation and contemplation ; and 
though it is a truth, yet it is such as one might let lie by him, as that 
which will do them no hurt nor good. And most men in the practice of 
their faith make little more use of it than this comes to, whereas it is such 
a truth as thy life lies in it, even eternal life. And such the apostles and 
those believers accounted it, and did cleave to Christ accordingly through 
the faith of it, and of him under the contemplation of it. Christ having 
said he was ' the bread of life that came down from heaven,' and it was his 
Godhead made him to be that living bread, John vi. 56, useth this phrase, 
' He that eateth my flesh, &c, dwelleth in me, and I in him.' As a man 
first chews with delight, and then takes down his meat, and by its abiding, 
its dwelling in him, and his digesting it, it turns into his own body, and so 
gives life and strength to him, so must it be with our knowledge of Christ; 
he must dwell in us by faith, and we in him, and this will quicken you to 
purpose. Hath the Father thus taught and instructed thee to live upon 
him, and to come to him for life as such ? It is his participation of life 
from the Father, and so his being Son of the living God, that gives him 
life, and so through him thou comest to have that life of the Father in thee, 
by dwelling in him, as the next verse, ver. 57, shews, • As the living 
Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father ; so he that eateth me, shall 
live by me.' 

Use 2. The next use is for information of the right state of this assertion 
I have been upon, that the person of Christ as God-man is the principal 
object of faith. You will ask me, Do all that truly believe on him come to 
him under that apprehension, simply for his person's sake, as moved there- 
unto by the consideration simply of his person ? This is a spiritual pitch 
indeed ; but do all believers at first come to him under this apprehension, 
and cleave to him for it ? 

I answer, that there are two scopes or purposes that I drive at in my 
having pressed this, that Christ's person is the object of faith. 

1st. That the faith on his person as God-man is the foundation of all 
else we believe upon him for as he is our Saviour ; and as that is it which 
makes him able to take sins away, and to give us a righteousness to justify 
us, and which puts that power in force which his death hath to kill sin, 
and which himself hath to quicken us, so all that we have to deal with him 
for, and all that our faith is carried out to him, and to God through him 
for, is all in the virtue and force of this faith first begotten in you, that he 
is God-man, the Son of God : 1 John v. 5, ' Who is he that overcometh the 
world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God ? ' And so in 
the force, and virtue, and strength of this, that Jesus is the Son of God, it 
is that we have victory over the world. It is remarkable, that when 
Christ had uttered these faithful sayings about himself, John xi. 25, 20, 
unto Martha, ' I am the resurrection and the life : he that believeth on 
me, though he were dead, yet shall he live ; and whosoever liveth and 
believeth on me shall never die. Believest thou this ? ' He then puts her 
faith strictly to it to answer to these particulars (as one puts a catechist to 
answer catechetical questions). Now we see that she doth not answer as 
one would have thought she should, directly and distinctly unto these par- 
ticular points of faith in question put unto her, but seems to divert unto 
another head, unto the great article of faith. She saith unto him, ver. 27, 
' Yea, Lord : I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which 
should come into the world.' This answer she utters in full, and upon the 
whole matter, unto the question he had put, and though it was [not] in 

Chap. X.] of justifying faith. 1R0 

express terms, not in tmuinis, nor in the particulars, but yet fundamentally 
it \\;is a comprehensive answer, and most direct; for therein she shews she 
believed that that was the foundation of all these particulars, and of many 
more things that she believed of him, and indeed of whatever else that 
Christ might ask her. ' I believe,' says she, ' that thou art the Son of 
God ; ' and this she conceived, and most rightly, to be a full answer unto 
these particulars; for she saith, Yea, Lord, I believe them all, I believe all 
that thou hast asked me, by believing this one thing of thee, that thou art 
the Christ, the Son of God, and so art the cause of all these, and of what- 
ever else is attributed unto him that is the Christ, in the prophecies of 
him, that he should come into the world. In the virtue and strength of 
this she believed he was the resurrection of souls dead in sins and tres- 
passes, and of souls that had begun to believe on him ; and then of their 
bodies at the resurrection, and that he was eternal life, so as they that 
believe on him shall never perish, and their souls shall never die, whatever 
their bodies for a while did. And she believed all in the strength of this, 
that he was the Son of God ; so that the believing of this is fundamentally 
necessary for every Christian to know. 

Only I add this, that foundations, though they bear up the whole build- 
ing, yet oftentimes lie hid under ground after they have been first laid ; 
and so it is in our faith of principles and foundations, though they remain 
in the heart, and bear up all of our faith else about what we do believe, yet 
they are not always drawn out in our thoughts into formed-up propositions, 
though at first they were inlaid as such. They bear the weight of all, and 
to have the faith of them is common to all believers, and is universally 
assented to as a foundation : 1 Tim. iii. 1G, ' This is the great mystery of 
godliness ' (that is, the great ground of all godliness, the pith of it) ' God 
manifested in the flesh, believed on in the w r orld.' And Eph. iv. 13, they 
1 all come to the unity of the faith,' that shall be saved through all ages ; 
all that either are now converted, saith the apostle, or that are to be con- 
verted (take the lowest Christian) and have these things in their faith about 
Christ's person, that he is God, and the Son of God. 

So that, 1, in coming to him for that which will save them, they come 
to his person in so doing. They would not have his righteousness and 
blood, and the fruits of either, pardon of sin, &c, without having himself 
also; and so it is his person they believe on for their salvation. 

Yet, 2, they may be at present moved rather with that in his person 
which will save them, than with his person himself. 

And yet withal, 3, even that also, to come to his person for itself, as the 
principal motive wherewith to close, is in radice, in semine, in the bud, but 
not in the blossom. There is that in the heart (if drawn out) which is pre- 
pared to it, disposed to it, and suited to it. 

2dly, A second end and purpose for which God first inlays in the heart 
the knowledge of Christ's person, and the fulness of the Godhead dwelling 
personally in our nature, and for which end also I have pressed it, is, that 
first or last it should become the greatest motive and inducement of our 
coming to Christ, and to close with him, and cleave to him as such, rather 
than as a Saviour ; that the thought of it should be above that of Saviour, 
yea, and abstracted in the consideration of it from that of Saviour ; and 
this explicitly, the heart being drawn to him upon that account, and accom- 
panied with affection answerable. 

Those that will urge that either this is the first inducement, or the more 
common inducement, to come to him, principally to have his person, con- 


sidered in itself and for itself, do press too bard upon weak believers, and 
urge tbat to be at first which tbey are growing up to all tbeir days, and per- 
baps attain it not in tbis life. Alas ! at first our bearts are taken up witb 
tbe tbougbts of sin, and witb Cbrist as tbe remedy and Saviour from sin. 
John's ministry began tbere in tbe bearts of bis disciples, and be called 
upon tbem to ' bebold tbe Lamb of God, tbat took away tbe sins of tbe 
world.' And tbe great apostle pronouncetb tbis to be tbe most ' faitbful 
saying, and wortby of all acceptation, that Cbrist came into tbe world to 
save sinners.' And I am induced to think tbat in bis proposing of it in 
tbat place, where he speaks of his own conversion, he had an intent to 
insinuate that himself had that sentence in his eye at his first conversion 
chiefly or mainly. Dr Preston's similitude is tbe best to express this by 
(I mention him, for I think he was the first that used it of any other), that 
as when a marriage is proposed unto a woman, that which may move her 
at first to listen to it may be the hearsay of an estate, and paying her debts 
with which she is encumbered ; these may persuade her to view and see 
the person, and to entertain a visit from him, and to acquaint herself with 
him ; but after some long converse, her heart is so taken with his person, 
that if he bad nothing, she could beg with him all the world over, for she 
is satisfied witb his person alone. And thus it is between our souls and 
Christ : we come to Christ at first, as the Lamb of God that takes away our 
sins, that will save us from wrath, and pay our debts (and the truth is, we 
must always come so to him, to cleanse us from sin every day). But 
through 'acquainting ourselves' with him (as tbe phrase in Job is), tbere 
often appears tbat to us in bis person which takes our hearts more than 
his being a Saviour to us : est aliquid in Christo formosius Salvatore, there 
is something in Cbrist more beautiful than a Saviour, and our hearts in 
time may rise up to this. The best composition of this matter is that in 
the prophet Isaiah, wbicb takes in both, which speaks the hearts of con- 
verts from whom the veil was taken off, chap. xxv. 7, who thereupon (in 
tbat verse 9) ai'e brought in saying and uttering the bottom of their hearts, 
' Lo, this is our God, we have waited for him, and he will save us.' They 
looked at Christ, and received him both as God and as their Saviour (for 
of Christ it is spoken, compare 2 Cor. iii. 16-18); and it follows, 'We 
will rejoice in bis salvation.' God allows us we should aim at, and hope 
for, and rejoice in our salvation by Christ, and come to him upon that 
account, as well as on the account of his being our God, and Son of God. 
God and Cbrist love us so well, as they love we should love ourselves in 
coming to the Son, and therefore would have us come to him as a Saviour 
as well as for his person; yea, and to be glad, and rejoice in bis salva- 
tion. And truly there is good reason tbat we should do so, both on our 
part and on his also, for it cost Christ's person something to save us; for 
he humbled his person, and gave away himself, for he gave away the pre- 
sent glory of his person due to him, that he might save and redeem us, and 
no less would have done it. And he hath no reason to have his love herein 
lost or forgotten, or swallowed up only in his person. 

Nay, further, led me add, you, being sinners, cannot come to rejoice in 
his person, or to think with yourselves what a husband you have of him in 
himself, till you believe on him for pardon of your sins and the salvation of 
your souls (and therefore faith for justification is in tbat Epistle to the 
B,omans pressed first) ; and after you have seen yourselves lost by reason 
of sin, then you are directed to come to Christ as a propitiation for sin. 
This he doth discourse in chap, iii., from ver. 21, and in chap, iv., and we 

Chap. X.j of justifying faith. 191 

must have peace with God as sinners, being justified by faith, Rom. v. 1, 
ere we can rejoice in God. But then to rejoice in God is made a further 
attainment and fruit of this faith in the issue in these words, ver. 11, ' But 
we joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ.' Yet still take this along 
with you, that if you come to him as to a Saviour, you may and must come 
to him as God, and the Son of God, and believe on him as the person who, 
as such, is your Saviour, and is the foundation of your whole faith on him 
for your salvation. Yea, and though you come as moved chiefly becauso 
he is Saviour, as that for which you come at first, and, in doing so, are 
accepted of God, and justified and pardoned, yet, let me tell you, you will 
be more accepted by God after your faith riseth up to take his person as in 
itself, and as moved to love him from what you see in his person alone, or 
chiefly considered. God the Father loves it more that you should love the 
person of Christ in and for himself: John xvi. 27, ' The Father loveth you, 
because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God ;' 
which is all one as to say, You have believed on and loved me, because I 
am his dearly and only beloved Son ; than which nothing can endear you 
more unto him, nor be a higher exercise of faith in you. Some strains of 
such thoughts and affections as these, though but in the bud, have, as was 
said, some puttings forth intermingled in weaker believers, that are drawn 
to him by the faith and hopes of his being their Saviour. Such spirits may 
run in the veins of your hearts, whilst yet you are most eager to seek sal- 
vation ; but then they are but as in the bud, they are not fully blossomed. 
A soul may find he hath some such things offering to rise, and mix them- 
selves with his faith and hopes for salvation ; and this will make your 
prayers accepted wonderfully, as the words before speak in that John xvi. 
26, 27, ' At that day } 7 e shall ask in my name ; and I say not unto you, 
that I will pray the Father for you; for the Father himself loveth you, 
because you have loved me.' And this will more obtain with God, than 
your faith that your sins are pardoned, and that Christ died for you : yea, 
far above it. I use to say Christ's love in suffering is more to be valued 
by you than his suffering, or the fruits of it ; but his person more than all 
of them. You must know that it is his person you must ultimately abide 
by ; for in the enjoyment of him in his person will be the top and height 
of your eternal life, and so, consequently, you have to do with him for ever- 
more ; and therefore to have him so revealed to you as to have your hearts 
taken therewith at present in some lesser tastes and glimpses, is the most 
spiritual teaching by the Father of all other. And this is attainable in 
this life, for it is in grace as in the root, and will be drawn out and ripened 
by the Father. And surely the disciples had the seeds of such dispositions 
in their hearts, that did look forth sometimes into actual exercises, as 
appears in that speech that Christ useth of them, ' The Father loveth you, 
because you have loved me.' And sure some such thing was in Peter's 
heart when he said, ' Lord, thou knowest that I love thee ;' and that 
because he was the Son of God ; for that is the main thing they expressed 
why they cleaved to him, as was said before. And the imperfection of this, 
and that it abounded no more in them, made Christ complain that they 
should mourn for themselves, because of his departure from them to 
heaven; whereas, says he, ' if you had loved me' (that is, my person itself, 
as the next words shew), ' you would rejoice, because I go to my Father.' 
I put this gloss upon that text ; for it is all one as if he had said, If you 
loved my person for itself, you would love my personal good and happiness 
more than your own, and so have rejoiced more for this than have mourned 


for your own supposed loss and want of present comfort in me. And many 
of those primitive Christians had such goings forth of spirit towards the 
person of Christ as those had whom Peter wrote to : 1 Pet. i. 8, ' On whom 
believing, though you see him not, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable, and 
full of glory.' This must be chiefly in and for his person ; for his person 
it is whom we shall one day see, and rejoice in glory with him ; and it is 
faith in the mean time rising to such a pitch as supplies the room of the 
si»ht of him with a joy springing from something which is answerable to 
that sight. And sure Paul had it, who, above all, and in the first place, 
expresseth his desires to be to win Christ, that is, Christ himself, his per- 
son, and to be found in him, and then to have his righteousness, and the 
power of his death, &c. And I have been induced to think that some such 
strain of heart was somewhat more prevalent in that eunuch, Acts viii. 
The man was truly godly before, and therefore he came to worship; and 
you read his devout employing of himself whilst he was a-travelling. He 
had the 53d of Isaiah preached over to him by Philip, for the words of the 
chapter he gave Philip for his text to preach on. And in that chapter we 
read how that God ' laid upon Christ the iniquity of us all, and made his 
soul an offering for sin;' and that ' he was led as a sheep to the slaughter,' 
to take our sins away, as the Baptist had interpreted it. And so Philip 
preaching to him Jesus, as the text hath it, it lay in his way principally to 
set out Jesus Christ as a sacrifice for sins; and surely Philip did keep to 
his text. There is but one passage in the chapter, and in the words which 
the eunuch read, that gave occasion to him to preach his person to be the 
Son of God, and that is those words, < Who shall declare his generation?' 
Yet we read that when he desired to be baptized, and Philip said to him, 
' If thou believest with thy whole heart,' &c. (as if he had said, What is 
there in thy heart, which thy heart most closeth with, concerning this Christ 
that I preached to thee?), the eunuch says, ' I believe that Jesus is the 
Son of God,' so as he pitcheth upon that as that which his heart was most 
on. And though he closeth with him as a Saviour, according to Philip's 
preaching, yet that is not mentioned by him, but this, that he was the Son 
of God; and so it is said he went away rejoicing, being baptized into Jesus 
Christ, upon that account. 

But though this is attainable, yet Christians are a-growing up to it ordi- 
uarily, but by degrees ; for, poor creatures as we are, we learn Christ by 
piece and piece, as when we look upon the moon through a telescope, it 
appears so big, and vastly great, beyond what we can take in at once, that 
we must travel over it with our eyes, first taking a view of one part, and 
then removing the glass to another, and see, perhaps, but a quarter of it 
at once. And thus it is with our knowing Christ ; that is, with such a 
knowledge as affects us and draws our hearts to him ; with such a know- 
ledge we know one thing of him in one year, and another in another. For 
one sta^e of our lives our hearts run after him for his blood to wash away 
our sins, and for his righteousness to cover us in the presence of God. In 
another stage we pursue after holiness to be had from him, for the subduing 
corruption through the power of his death, and quickening our hearts with 
his life ; and, in another way* we pursue after him for the loveliness of his 
person ; and it is that we should make the top of our desires, why we should 
desire him (as the prophet Isaiah speaks unto believers), we are perhaps 
a-growing up to this all our life long, and attain it not till we come to the 
bein» of a more perfect man, and to the fulness of our stature in Christ, 
* Qu. 'stage'? -Ed. 

Chap. X.] of justifying faith. 103 

which we shall have in this life in the knowledge- of him as the Son of God ; 
whereof tho apostle there speaks, Eph. iv. 13. Yet this let me add, that 
faith of recumbence may bo capable of this, and yet remain in the course 
of a faith of recumbence ; that is, want settled assurance that sins are par- 
doned ; and they may remain such to whom Christ hath not yet said, 
1 Your sins are forgiven,' and thou art the person that I died for : and so 
they have not an assurance that he is their Saviour, though they continually 
exercise faith on him, to be saved through his death ; yet their souls in this 
posture or dispensation are capable of being raised up under this faith, to 
cleave to him, and follow after him for his person more than as a Saviour. 
And the reason is, not only because God often works one way, and discovers 
one thing more to take the heart than he doth another, according to his 
good pleasure, and so he may give a beam of the knowledge of Christ in 
his promise, 2 Cor. iv. G, more bright to inflame their hearts towards him 
than the apprehension that he is a Saviour. There is not only this reason 
of it, but God also deals thus with them, that such may be assured, with a 
clear and certain light, that his person is thus amiable, and glorious, and 
lovely in himself, which causeth them to cleave to him so as they would 
not part with him, no, not with his person, for ten thousand worlds ; when 
yet, whether he died for their sins, or will pardon them, is doubtful to 
them. But the other truth they may have no doubt of, but a discovery of 
it, and the notion of it lieth more open to such a spirit than the attainment 
of the assurance of the pardon of his sins. 

vol. vm. 



The free grace of God, as declared and proposed in the covenant, is the object 
of faith. — Of the soid's applying itself unto the free grace of God, and 
treating with it for its salvation. — That the absolute declarations of this 
free grace, or the absolute promises of the gospel, are the object of faith of 
recumbence, or adherence. — That election-grace, and the immutability of 
God's counsel, as indefinitely proposed in the promises, are also the object of 
faith. — How the believing soul may consider and regard God's absolute 
decree of election. 


How the soul may for its salvation treat with the free grace of God as declared 

in the covenant. 

I shall first discourse of a soul's treating with the free grace of God as it 
is proposed to us in the covenant of grace, before I consider what kind of 
promises they are which are the object of our faith. There is a great cry- 
ing up of free grace, as that which, in the way of believing, men's souls 
rely upon ; but they who have traversed the paths of it, so as to arrive at 
a free and familiar intercourse therewith, find it exceedingly difficult, until 
God guides them into it by a straight and direct line. And there are many 
dangerous mistakes in the application of our souls unto it in the seeking of 
it. I shall therefore treat of it in a way of giving directions about it. 
(1.) We must lay hold on free grace according as it is set forth in the 
covenant of grace. The covenant you have at large in Jer. xxxi., and in 
Ezek. xxxvi., cited in Heb. viii. Now the covenant of grace is but the 
pure resolutions of grace in the heart of God, put into written promises. 
It is a translating of the pure grace in the heart of God, and purposes 
thereof, into promises, into indefinite promises, not naming the persons to 
whom they are designed : they are expressions of purposes as they lay in 
his heart. Men think it an easy thing to deal with the grace of God for 
salvation, and tbat they need no directions and teachings, for God, say they, 
is merciful in his nature ; he is a merciful God, and it is but going to him 
for mercy, &c. But the free grace of the purposes of God, as it is set forth 
in the covenant, is a further thing than a declaration that God is merciful 
in his nature ; and a man needs teaching how to treat with free grace, as 
it is in God's heart, set forth in the promises, in the immediate and abso- 
lute promises : 2 Thes. iii. 5, ' The Lord direct your hearts into the love 
of God.' He speaks of that love which is in the heart of God himself 
towards us : rightly to go to, and close with, and lay hold on that grace, 
needs direction, and that from God. ' The Lord,' says he, ' direct your 
hearts into the love of God !' He speaks to those that already had been 


in some measure acquainted with that love. All of you whom God saves, 
one piece of the indenture of his covenant is, that he will teach you to know 
him. To know him in what ? To know him in the pardon of your sins, 
and how to obtain it at his hands ; for so it follows, ' I will forgive their 
sins, and their iniquities will I remember no more.' And to know how to 
deal with the grace of God for pai'don of sin upon grace's own terms, for 
this men's souls need direction in. ' The Lord direct your hearts into 
the love of God !' 

I shall shew you some of God's teachings. • You shall be all,' says he, 
' taught of God ;' taught of God in his free grace. When free grace comes 
to teach the heart to treat with grace, it teacheth it, 

1. To renounce all self, or else free grace will have nothing to do with 
you. From the very first purpose free grace had to save man, it laid that 
for a foundation, that the salvation should not be of works, but according 
to the purpose of his grace given us before the world was, 2 Tim. i. 9. 
There you have it purely set down as it was in God's heart. And the holy 
apostle, when he speaks of grace, and of our being saved by grace, he still 
puts in this negative, ' not of works,' as the opposite of grace, Rom. 
xi. 5—7. And whereas faith is required wherewith to close with that grace, — 
Eph. ii. 8, ' By faith you are saved, through grace, it is the gift of God,' — 
a man must renounce all power in himself to believe, and all helps to 
believe, but what are drawn from the pure grace of God : Hosea xiv. 2. 
See there God's instructions : ' Take with you words,' says he, ' and turn 
to the Lord, and say to him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us gra- 
ciously,' &c. Here you have free grace (as free grace) instructing and 
teaching men that would turn to God, how to apply themselves unto it. It 
is a treaty of free grace's here that is recorded, ' Receive us graciously.' 

' I will love them,' says he, ' freely,' ver. 5. Now he teacheth you upon 
his own terms how you must deal with his grace. And that it is upon his 
own terms, it is clear by this ; for he bids them take these words in their 
mouth. So that it is a sure way to know how to treat with the free grace 
of God. It must be done with a renunciation of all that is opposite to it, 
and which will spoil the treaty, and enervate and make it void. Accord- 
ingly they say, ' Asshur shall not save us, we will not ride upon horses,' &c. 
Asshur shall not save hs. He expresseth it in Old Testament language under 
the figure of a temporal deliverance. We will not (say they) call in the 
help of Asshur, nor think to ride upon horses. You must be helpless, you 
must not think to deal with free grace on horseback, for you shall not pre- 
vail so ; no, nor on foot neither, for ' it is not in him that willeth, or that 
runneth, but in God that sheweth mercy,' Rom. ix. 16. And so the close 
is here, It is not our hands in which we trust; we will not say, the work of 
our hands shall save us ; but how then ? ' With thee the fatherless find 
mercy :' as if he had said, The strengthless, the helpless, the utterly deso- 
late of all helps by means, but only the free grace of God and Christ, the 
fatherless, shall find mercy. For the soul to give up itself to the gracious- 
ness of grace to accept it, to receive it graciously, to give up itself to the 
efficacy and power of free grace to work what it will, with renunciation of 
all else, this is the first lesson free grace teacheth, when a man will come 
to have salvation by it. I will not meddle with you else, says God ; lay 
that for the foundation of your treaty, or my grace shall not treat with you 
at all. What is free grace ? God tells you in these words, ' I will love 
them freely.' What is grace ? It is love : ' I will love them freely,' says 
God ; and all their backslidings shall be no discouragement to me. Now 


you see God bids you take words ; he hath put the substance and efficacy 
of those words into your mouths, and they are his own terms. I have oft 
said, If a soul would but go and take the very words (understanding them) 
as they are recorded where the covenant of grace was penned (Jer. xxxi. 
33, 34, and the like in Ezek. xxxvi., ' I will give a new heart :' and in Jer. 
xxxii. 40, ' I will put my fear into your hearts, and you shall not depart 
from me ;' this is pure absolute grace). If a man should take these words 
that God hath put into his mouth, and use them, or the effect of them, to 
God, sajdng, Lord, I present them to thee, and beseech thee to make them 
good to my poor soul, and should seek God day and night, the Lord would 
own and accept that poor soul. 

2. God teacheth the soul to treat with the grace of God in the free 
sovereignty of it. There is the grace of God's nature, which you read of 
in Exod. xxxiv., ' The Lord God, gracious and merciful,' &c. The 33d 
chapter was a preface unto what follows in the 34th chapter concerning 
the proclaiming his name ; and, saith God, ' I will proclaim my name 
before thee ; and I will be merciful to whom I will be merciful, and I will 
be gracious to whom I will be gracious.' This is a plain declaration that 
that grace of salvation he would not shew to anybody. It is a limitation : 
' I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, I will be merciful,' &c. ; I 
will have freedom, and exercise dominion in doing of it. Are you to treat 
with grace ? You are to treat with this same declaration — ' I will be 
gracious,' &c, ' and I will be merciful to,' &c. — and you are to apply 
yourselves to the sovereignty of it. This is to treat free grace upon its 
own terms. When a poor soul sees itself lost, and comes to God, to the 
free grace of God, he doth not come on horseback, nor on foot neither, 
but he falls flat down at the throne and sovereignty of God : ' He will be 
gracious to whom he will be gracious,' &c. He hath to do with this same 
will of the great God, and the soul acknowledgeth that he is absolutely 
free, and that he may choose whether to do it to me or any such poor 
unworthy wretch as I am ; he may if he please not shew me any mercy : 
' Whom he will he hardens,' as the apostle saith, Rom. ix. And I am a 
poor creature, says he, and I lay down myself at thy feet; if thou wilt be 
merciful, here I am ; I throw myself upon thee, thou mayest give me up 
to hardness. If souls come thus nakedly to him, he then hath a dominion, 
to cast them off, as fully as to accept them. If thou comest thus nakedly 
to him, thou hast nothing to ingratiate his grace but his own grace, which 
he shews to whom he will ; and that mil hath a will : ' I wiM be gracious 
because I will be gracious.' Because mercy pleaseth him, and mercy and 
grace hath taken thy heart, poor creature, thou comest to him to cast it 
that way. The absolute freeness and dominion of grace is the glory of it, 
and God will have our hearts brought to seek it, as it lies in his heart. 
God loves to have it acknowledged, at one time or other, by every soul he 
saves. Though I dare not say that there is an absolute necessity of such 
a disposition of soul, yet to be sure when the soul thus applies itself in 
treating with grace, there is true faith and dependence on God. There is 
not only an acknowledging that God may refuse me if he please, but the 
soul says, If thou hast no pleasure in me, here I am ; my will is made 
subject as well as my understanding, it must be thine own pleasure purely 
must cast it on me; this is faith of submission. And yet withal thinks the 
soul, Who knows but he may be merciful, and merciful to me ? And that 
keeps it at the throne of grace, and will not let it go away. 

8. Free grace loves to be treated according to the fulness of its own free- 


ness, and the extent of its own freeness. The meaning is, it is absolutely 
as free to God to save any sort of sinner, one as another, it is as indifferent 
to him to save out of any condition. So that put what case you will, put 
what condition you will, free grace hath a freedom to extend itself to it. 
It is not only said, 'I will be merciful to whom I will be merciful' as for 
the person, but there is a nobleness of liberality, so that there is no sort 
of sin (the sin against the Holy Ghost excepted) but may be pardoned, no 
sort of condition — be it poor, weak, contemptible, what you will — but a 
man may be saved in it. Now, when the soul sees this, he honours free 
grace mightily; he comes not to be accepted because he hath fewer sins, 
that were to derogate from grace, nor is he discouraged because of the 
abundance of sin; no, for there is an amplitude in this grace, liom. iii. 
22-24. As to the point of being saved by grace, grace knows no differ- 
ence; so for thy outward condition, be it what it will, there is no condition 
any one is in but one or other have been in it and saved ; for God is no 
accepter of persons, but is rich to all that call upon him. Now, to have 
a soul possessed with the thoughts of the freeness of his grace, and to 
treat with God accordingly, this honours his grace, and this God loves, and 
this he delights in. 

4. We must treat with this grace as that which is absolute, unchange- 
able, irreversible, where it is once pitched. If I in seeking God can find 
this grace of God to own me and embrace me while I seek it, then what 
do I come to ? To a state of irreversible grace, of grace that will carry on 
the work, that will undertake all for me, that is faithful, and will do it. 
What says God ? Ps. lxxxix. 32, 33, < Though they break my laws, I 
will visit their transgressions with the rod, and their iniquities with stripes. 
Nevertheless my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer 
my faithfulness to fail.' You have it also in Isaiah liv. 10, ' With ever- 
lasting kindness will I have mercy on thee. The mountains shall depart, 
and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee.' 
Noah's waters may as soon overflow to cover the earth, as thy sins over- 
flow thy heart. When the soul shall thus have the amplitude of grace, of 
grace past, present, and to come before it, and turns itself round about, 
and sees no end, Oh, says the soul, that my heart may be the subject of 
this grace ! that I may come under the dominion and protection of this 
grace ! For this grace will do the business, it will do it thoroughly ; it 
answers all my objections, makes provisos for them; it satisfies all the 
desires that I have or can have. Now, suppose that God yet carries it 
concealed towards thee, yet thou art happy if he fires thy heart with this 
grace, and causeth thy soul to seek after it, and teacheth thy heart to 
come to God, and to spread all these properties of his grace before him, 
whereby he saves men, and thy heart is strengthened to plead that God 
would cast them upon thyself, and thou canst by the hour relate between 
him and thee how by this grace thou desirest to be saved, and by no other. 
Though thou hearest of other ways, of free-will grace, where God moves 
but leaves thee to will, yet if thou hadst ten thousand souls thou wouldst 
not venture one that way. Dost thou heartily say to God, Lord, I 
had rather go upon this way of free grace than upon that way of free-will 
grace, though offered to all ? Oh save me this way ! Lord, I have no- 
thing to return, but I shall ' render the calves of my lips ;' I shall adore 
thee and bless thee. Oh that there should be such purposes of grace, and 
that they should thus take my heart ; I am resolved to be saved no way if 
not saved this way, and by this grace. To be thus taught and instructed, 


you had need have the Lord ' direct your hearts,' 2 Thes. iii. 5. In the 
original it is to direct by a right line ; it is an emphatical expression to 
signify such a direction as that they shall not go about, but go straight 
and immediately unto the heart of God and love of God. 

Wbat do men do ? They come with their conditions to ingratiate them- 
selves with God when they come to treat with grace, which is to bring to 
grace what should ingratiate their souls to it. We use to say, God's grace 
is a preventing grace, preventing what is in man ; but by this way men 
would prevent the grace of God, and be aforehand with it. Do not go 
round about, but go by a right line, and venture thyself, though thou 
knowest not whether thou beest the person or no, and lie at God's feet. 
To bring conditions whereby thy faith should be raised to free grace is not 
agreeable to the mind of grace. The truth is, you will find free grace will 
say to your souls, I will not be thus dealt withal. 

Ol'j. Would you have us use no endeavours, means ? &c. 

Ans. This I said is so remote from it, as nothing is more. In Noah's 
instance, though God said to him, ' Thou hast found grace in my sight,' 
yet 'he prepared an ark.' And in Philip, ii. 12, 18, we are commanded 
to • work out our salvation ; for it is God that worketh,' &c. But how 
work out our own salvation ? We are to use those endeavours which we 
have power to use, in subordination to the grace of God, that works the 
will and deed, and we are to wait in the use of means, renouncing all we 
do as to any purpose of ingratiating ourselves with God, yet we are to use 
these means in subordination to God, that works the will and the deed. 

Obj. But would you have a man treat free grace thus, and leave out 
holiness ? 

Ans. God forbid ; for if you seek the grace of God in truth, and as it is 
in itself, and in the heart of God, then if your heart know the grace of God 
in truth, it will teach you to be holy, and to make gracious returns to God 
again : Titus ii. 11, 12, ' The grace of God hath appeared, &c, teaching 
us to deny all ungodliness,' &c. It is spoken of the gospel and doctrine 
of it which thus teacheth you. But if God the Father do instruct your 
heart, and make known to you his free grace as it is in his heart and 
draws you to depend upon it, wholly upon it, if so be you have learnt from 
the Father what it is for God to be gracious, and how he is gracious to a 
poor soul (or as it is in John vi. 45, if you have 'learnt of the Father'), 
you will be taught to be holy, yea, it is part of your indenture when you 
come to plead the covenant of grace. The grace of God is the greatest 
teacher of holiness that ever was : says God in that covenant of grace, Jer. 
xxxi., ' I will write my law in their heart.' Of all laws else he will write the 
supreme law which free grace hath to write. What is that ? To have 
the grace in God answered with grace in you ; to have your hearts ingenu- 
ously wrought upon to comply with his grace, and not to abuse it : Col. 
i, 6, ' If you have known the grace of God in truth,' &c. There is a true 
knowledge of the grace of God, and there is a counterfeit one ; but if it 
be true, it teacheth all holiness, it stamps a frame of heart upon you, it 
teacheth you how to apply yourselves to grace in its kind, and therefore to 
return grace for grace and love for love. It is the law of the thing, it is 
the law of nature to love those that love you, and on whose love you 
depend. It is the law of pure nature, and it is the pure law of grace : 
1 John ii. 4, ' He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his command- 
ments, is a liar; ' that is, doth not know God. Not know him ! In what? 
Do not know him in his love, ver. 13, 15. For it is the love of the Father 


he speaks of. I tell yon, no man seeks grace in this manner I speak of, 
but he professeth to God and his own soul that he would not be saved by 
that grace unless it wrought holiness in him. It is part of the indenture 
he draws with God. I acknowledge that to be made holy simply upon the 
sight of the pure grace of God, it is a high and spiritual thing, and our 
hearts are carnal. The law is holy and spiritual, the terms of free grace 
are holy and spiritual, and we poor wretches are carnal and sold under sin, 
and cannot come off to the motives thereof, to be acted by it continually. 
It is true, but yet when the soul lay at God's feet to obtain it, and 
humbled itself, that soul thereby kept on a plea for holiness as well as for 
grace, and doth obtain it, and hath it wrought in his soul. He that hath 
the love of this world, hath not the Father's, 1 John ii. 15. A man whose 
heart is taken with the grace of God to be saved by it, if he loves the 
world inordinately, or more than God, the love of the Father is not in him, 
he knows it not ; but of a gracious soul the apostle saith, Rom. vi. 14, 
• Sin shall not have dominion,' for grace shall break the dominion of sin. 
Those cursed men, Jude 4, turned the grace of God into wantonness (they 
were Simon Magus's followers, and the devil was his master), and what 
did they profess ? That a man was saved wholly by grace, do what he 
would, and that was the grace of the Father. Oh how doth the apostle fly 
out against these men, and follow them with all the curses that God brought 
upon wicked men in the Old Testament, and upon the angels that fell ! 
Men that have nothing but self-righteousness in them to be wrought upon, 
they wonder to hear that the grace of God should work a man above him- 
self, to love God above himself, that a man should be taken with free grace, 
and not abuse it; for the nature of self-love is to run away with free grace, 
and be unthankful. But what is the grace we speak of, as it is in the heart 
of a Christian ? If self-love only, it were the worst direction ever was given 
to teach self-love to serve its turn, and to run away with salvation, and let 
self do as it pleaseth. But the doctrine of free grace which we profess to 
salvation, is a principle of love to God above a man's self; there is that at 
the bottom. If it be so, then the more pure and clear you can bring this 
grace in the heart of God towards a poor soul, you move that man so much 
the more, you boil up grace to a height. If there be love and grace in the 
soul, and that grace be prevailing, it will work answerably, it will make 
the grace of God its greatest interest, because it is God's. "We profess 
this is the principle of grace, and therefore to teach men thus to follow 
the grace of God is to teach them that principle that must be put into 
them by the Holy Ghost. 


What high regards the faith of the apostle Paul had to the free grace of God 
the Father as the object of it. — How he magnifies and celebrates this free 
grace discovered to his apjyrehensions and thoughts. 

I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of 
our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love uhich is in Christ 
Jesus. — 1 Timothy I. 13, 14. 

The Holy Ghost hath declared Paul ' a pattern ' in his conversion ' to those 
that are after to believe,' 1 Tim. i. 16, and as a pattern of encouragement 


and hopes to the greatest of sinners that were to come after him, to believe. 
And so likewise in the very work of conversion he is proposed as an 
example also unto them, although he indeed at first attained unto that 
perfection therein which other converts are growing up unto in their whole 
lives. But yet the seeds of the whole being sown, and foundations laid in 
their first work, they are springing up to a full growth throughout their 
whole lives. As every child that comes into the world by ordinary gene- 
ration hath the same parts essential to mankind, both of the inwards of 
bowels and ventricles of the head, in a less size and proportion than Adam 
had, who was made a man of full stature by an extraordinary way of 
creation, and therefore had all in the full proportions of a man grown up 
to perfection, and also each part acting in their full vigour and activity 
from the first ; so is it here, every convert receives all the same principles 
of faith and love at first, only the actings and increase thereof do in many 
things grow up into an actual energy, and yet so as at the first those prin- 
ciples do necessarily so far act in all converts as is requisite to put them 
into a state of life and salvation. And this, in the point of the actings of 
faith upon God and Christ for justification and salvation, is in a special 
manner seen; some men's spirits being more intensely carried out unto God 
the Father for grace and mercy, others more unto Christ Jesus for his 
righteousness, although whilst they act faith more upon the one or the 
other, they yet implicitly take in the other, whilst they look more on God's 
grace and mercy, yet so as they regard it in and through Christ, and 
e contra. 

But our great convert here, in this narration of his conversion, is pro- 
pounded unto us as an high example of faith drawn forth in an intense 
manner unto each, both the grace of God and Christ, in the most abound- 
ing workings of it. In the book of the Acts, we find an historical relation 
of the outward circumstances and manner of his conversion, twice related 
by himself. In this Epistle to Timothy, he acquaints us with the most 
intimate working, impressions, and sentiments of his spirit, and what 
principally his heart was taken up about at the time thereof, the sense 
whereof he retained unto that day ; and these especially he utters in 
ver. 14 : ' And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith 
and love which is in Christ Jesus.' He had begun to give solemn thanks 
to Christ (the great donor and endower of all gifts unto men, Eph. iv.), 
ver. 12, for putting him into that office and dignity of the apostleship, and 
this from the time of his conversion. ' And I thank Christ Jesus our 
Lord,' says he, ' who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, 
putting me into the ministry,' which blessing he greateneth from the con- 
sideration of his having formerly been so great a blasphemer of Christ, and 
a persecutor of his new created Christian church, and professors of him : 
ver. 13, ' Who,' says he, ' was before a blasphemer, a persecutor, and 
injurious.' But then, in the middle of that ver. 14, he proceeds more 
particularly to magnify the mercy and grace of his conversion for the sal- 
vation of his own soul, without which, though the grace of apostleship 
might have saved others, yet himself had proved a castaway, as was the 
case of Judas ; that therefore is the great mercy which he centres in the 
following verses, and therein first (as I take it, and humbly submit it, 
together with this my analysis of the whole paragraph to ver. 18) he 
predicates the grace and mercy of God the Father shewn to him in and 
through Jesus Christ; 'But I was bemercied,' says he, or was 'endowed 
with mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our 

Chap. II. J of justifying faitii. 201 

Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.' 
Then, secondly, he magnifieth Jesus Christ for his mercy also in coming 
into the world to save him, the chief of sinners ; ver. 15, 16, 'This is a 
faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into 
the world to save sinners ; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I 
obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all long-suffer- 
ing, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life 
everlasting.' And then, lastly, he shuts up the whole with this solemn 
doxology, or giving glory to God the Father : ver. 17, ' Now, unto tho 
King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory 
for ever and ever. Amen.' 

And when he enters upon this narrative of his conversion, he at first 
useth a word somewhat uncouth, whereby to express the mercy of it, a 
word whereof in the English tongue we cannot give the full and proper 
force in one word (which the Greek itself is), I was 'bemercied' (if we 
may so speak), misericordia donatus* endowed with mercy, encompassed 
with mercy. It is a like word unto that spoken to to the blessed virgin, 
Luke i. 28, Ks^afirufiBV^, * gracioused,' or one whom God's singular grace 
owned, embraced; and so here says the apostle, I was 'mercified,' 'endowed 
with mercy,' I had nothing but mercy, and was all over mercy. There was 
not only nothing of merit, but no fitness or any disposition in me towards 
it to make way for it, but the contrary ; only there was a capacity, a possi- 
bility left of having mercy bestowed upon me (that was all), ' because I did 
it ignorantly,' says he, 'and in unbelief; ' which imports that if he had 
pursued those injuriousnesses, and persecuted Christ and his saints, having 
first had a conviction of sight that accompany those actings, they had been 
that unpardonable sin, and would have rendered him incapable of all grace 
and mercy. And he useth this word this first time (for it is after also) in 
relation to God the Father's mercy then vouchsafed in calling him by 
grace (as he elsewhere says, Gal. i. 17, speaking of the Father), which 
proceeded from his electing love, grace, and mercy towards him, which 
there, Gal. i., you have also expressed in those words, ' When it pleased 
God, who had" separated me from the womb' ; (that that is an election- 
phrase, see iEstius on the words, and others). And this/ separation of him 
had ordered all things all along from the womb about him, and in his 
course of life before his conversion had taken care to keep and prevent 
from falling into that unpardonable sin, upon the very brink of the pit 
whereof he had at last walked. And then ' called me by his grace,' says 
he there ; the wonderful mercy of which he here also, narrating his con- 
version, celebrates ; and indeed our first calling, as it is the breaking forth 
of election-grace and mercy, so it bears the image and pattern of it. I was 
then bemercied (says he), drenched, and covered all over with the abundant 
mercies thereof. It was poured forth upon my soul by wholesale, and 
on the sudden, and at once. This was the execution of election; and 
this first mention of this word I in my interpretation refer to God the 
Father's grace, to whom both calling and election are everywhere peculiarly 

Now, observe how he again repeats the same word (for he useth it twice 
on this occasion and in this place, for he delighted in it and in the very 
thinking of it), and inserts it when Christ's part at his conversion comes to 
be related ; ver. 15, 16, 'This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all accep- 
tation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners ; of whom I 
* See Beza's reason against the ordinary translation. 


am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus 
Christ might shew forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them which 
should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.' 

Now in this verse 14 he proceeds to magnify this grace of God the Father, 
discovered at and in his conversion, with the highest elogy and epithets 
that could be given it — ' and the grace of our Lord,' says he, ' was super- 
abundant,' — and together therewith to acquaint us with the principal in- 
ward workings of his heart, and most intimate exercises and actings of his 
own spirit towards that superabundant grace that shined on him at his first 
conversion ; and to declare with what entertainment or acceptation (as his 
word is, ver. 15) he received that, and took in that grace then discovered, 
he adds these words, ' With faith and love, which is in Jesus Christ,' 
which are the two graces that answer, by way of return and reception, unto 
the grace of God when discovered, and are exercised about, and act there- 
upon. He speaks not here of the work of his first humiliation for sin, 
which is the first work in all true conversions (though he hints that he had 
deep and thorough impressions that way, in saying, ver. 15, ' me, the 
chiefest of sinners'), but here he omits it, and mentions only the work of 
faith and love, the principal object directly acted upon being the free grace 
of God. And to set forth these actings of his soul thereupon I take to be 
his principal scope in this verse. The chiefest question about this inter- 
pretation is my referring those words, ' and the grace of our Lord,' unto 
God the Father, because the title our Lord is more frequently given to 
Christ, in distinction from the Father, and is given unto Christ in ver. 12 
afore, and also Christ is only mentioned in ver. 15, 16 afterward. I find 
some interpreters, as Calvin and others,* on this 14th verse call it ' the 
grace of God,' without the mention of Christ here ; and some others say 
gratia Dei in Christo, the grace of God in Christ, which still denotes the 
grace of God, though in and through Christ. And many of those that 
carry the words to Christ, yet ever and anon put in also ' the grace of God,' 
and, as it were, could not forbear but to do it. But the reasons of my 
interpretation, which will also serve to solve the objection, are, — 

1. Because grace is most frequently ascribed to the Father in the point 
of justification and salvation (which is the thing he speaks of here, as ver. 
15 shews), and that in distinction from Christ, as out of Rom. v. and chap, 
iii. may be observed ; though also it is sometimes given to Cbrist, yet most 
usually, I say, unto the Father ; even as the title of our Lord is sometimes 
given the Father, though more commonly to Christ, which solveth part of 
the objection. But besides, to speak more close to the point, those other 
places wherein Paul gives the account of his conversion, which I call 
parallels to this, and therefore argue from them as such, he still entitleth 
the grace thereof unto the Father. Thus Gal. i. 15, 16, ' But when it 
pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by 
his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the 
heathen.' And the very same you find, 1 Cor. xv. 9, 10, ' For I am the 
least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I 
persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am : 
and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain ; but I laboured 
more abundantly than they all : yet not I, but the grace of God which was 
with me.' 

2. There did always rise up to me, in the reading of this scripture, a 
distinction, implied in the verse itself, of Jesus Christ from him whom he 

* Calvin, Dickson, Illyricus. 

Chap. II.] of justifying faith. 203 

calls our Lord, to whom the grace is ascribed. ' The grace of our Lord,' 
says he, ' was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ 
Jesus.' That last clause, ' and love which is in Jesus Christ,' speaks of 
Christ as of anotber person from our Lord spoken of afore. He says not, 
1 and love unto Jesus Christ,' but in Jesus Christ, noting that love of his 
to have been borne to some other person in and through Christ. And if 
so, then unto whom more property than unto that person of whom he had 
immediately before spoken, and whose grace, he says, had been so abound- 
ing to him ? Which person must be the Father, if a person distinct from 
Christ; and so he speaks of a love returned unto him in and through 
Christ, for his grace shewn him in Christ, as all the Father's grace is said 
to be, who hath chosen us in Christ. 

8. Though he from thence runs the rest of his discourse upon Jesus 
Christ in the two following verses, 15, 16, magnifying him for his hand 
and mercy shewn in his conversion, yet in the conclusion he issues all in 
giving glory to God the Father, ver. 17, and as one not having words to 
set forth that grace any further, he chooseth to break off, and falls to 
adoring God the Father : ' Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, 
the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.' 
Wherein he speaks in the usual style of doxologies given to God the Father 
upon such solemn occasions. Thus in the same Epistle we have it, chap, 
vi. 15, 16, ' Who is the blessed and only potentate, the King of kings, and 
Lord of lords ; who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no 
man can approach unto, whom no man hath seen, or can see : to whom be 
honour and power everlasting. Amen.' Wherein this honour and praise 
is given to God the Father distinct from Christ, as by the comparing the 
last words of the verse afore it appears. Now this glory, thus solemnly 
given in this first chapter, all acknowledge to refer to the grace of his con- 
version before related, and so to signify him to have been the person whose 
infinitely abounding grace had done all this for him. He had begun to 
thank Jesus Christ, ver. 12, but he ends with glory to the Father; and in 
reason, that being the grand and solemn conclusion of this his narrative, 
it may well be thought that an express mention of the Father his grace 
therein should be found somewhere in the premises ; and where else if not 
in these words of ver. 14 ? for all the rest did run wholly upon Christ. 
Yea, and if it be not there, then that of the mercy of God the Father is 
wholly left out, unless argued by way of inference, in this narrative of the 
greatest conversion that ever was in the world; and also that when he sets 
himself to celebrate the grace towards him shewn therein in words so high, 
as superabundant, &c, the like to which are not anywhere else to be found, 
unless in that Kom. v. 20, bKigziriPisaivciv r\ %<%?, and there it is appa- 
rently spoken of the grace of the Father, in distinction from, though in 
conjunction with, Christ and his righteousness, as verse the last and those 
afore shew. ' The grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant,' wregsir'ksovage, 
it flowed over, or issued forth with an abundancy, yea, overplus; so in 
Rom. v. ; it overfilled Paul, and ran over and over, as more than enough. 
He compares himself to a vessel (and we are styled vessels of mercy and 
grace, Rom. ix.), into which, on a sudden, were poured forth from above 
spouts and floods by wholesale, that not only filled it brimful, but to a 
running over on every side. Yea, he speaks as if the windows of heaven, 
the flood-gates thereof, even of the heart of God, filled with that infinite 
treasury of love and grace towards him, had been set open, and had poured 
down the streams thereof into his soul. 


t The next inquiry may be, in what manner it is he intends that this grace 
of God had so superabounded, whether in the way of effects, that is, in so 
stupendous a work of converting so prodigious a sinner unto God, in im- 
planting in his soul the principles of faith and love, and of the whole new 
creature, in one so confirmed and hardened in unbelief, and so resolute in 
such a violent fury against Christ and his saints ; so that the abundance of 
that grace was demonstrated in so mighty and wonderful effects (which is 
all, or the main that interpreters here take notice of, as wherein this super- 
abounding grace was seen), or whether withal he intends not to speak 
apprehensive, that is, in respect of the discovery of that grace itself, as it 
was and had been borne towards him in the heart of God, and now broke 
forth upon his soul in and to his own apprehensions. To this query I 

1st, That it is true that the superabundancy of God's grace must needs 
have been discovered to him in so great and wonderful a change and work 
wrought upon him, for it was unparalleled grace to work it, and there was 
a just ground for him to adore it as he doth. Yet, 

2dly, In the knowledge of it barely by such effects, the cause itself 
remains hidden, and might still not have been known in itself, no other- 
wise than in what is different from itself, for so the effects are from their 
causes ; and such a knowledge is but secondary. And, 

3dly, It would not have been said that the grace of the Lord had been 
over-full, or more than enough, in respect of the works of faith and love, 
for the works thereof themselves were yet imperfect in him ; but we may 
say of the grace as it is in God's heart, and as it is apprehended and laid 
hold on by us, by immediate faith, that so indeed it superabounds, both as 
to what it hath wrought, and in all which it hath undertaken to work for 
us ; and this is infinite, and stretcheth itself, and extendeth to all eternity. 
And this grace, thus taken in as it was by Paul (that chosen vessel, Acts ix.), 
might well be deemed to be infinitely more than he could take in, and so 
to overflow, as hath been said. 

But further, we may know that there is a flowing of the grace and love 
that is in God himself to men's souls in manifestation made by itself, and 
of itself, which the apostle calls a ' shedding abroad the love of God into 
the heart by the Spirit,' Rom. v., and it is one after-fruit of faith which 
many attain to. There is a taste of the pure unmixed sweetness in and of 
the grace of God, as it comes from out of his own heart, and is immediately 
conveyed through those breasts of consolation, the absolute promises 
whereof even new-born babes do oft partake : 1 Pet. ii. 3, ' As new-born 
babes desire the sincere milk, &c, if so be you have tasted that the Lord 
is gracious.' Which surely this our apostle (if ever any) had at this his 
very infancy of regeneration ; and that was it, and the experience thereof 
was it that drew him here to declare that the grace of our Lord was super- 
abundant ; not re ipsa only, as it resides in God's heart unknown to us, 
nor as demonstrated only by those gracious effects it had wrought in him, 
but apprehensive, or in his own apprehensions and sentiments of it ; and in 
that sense it is he especially utters this here. He saw and laid hold of, 
and took in, that fulness of the grace of God borne towards him, and as it 
now was, and had been, from everlasting ; a grace which was over-full, as 
his word is, that is, as to his own thoughts and comprehensions. What he 
prayed for the Ephesians, that they might ' comprehend with all saints, the 
height, the breadth, length, and depth of God's grace towards them, and 
know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge,' the same himself found 


in his measure, in the glorious sight, sense, and taste of this superabounding 
grace, which he found was not only ' sufficient' (as 2 Cor. xii. D), but more 
than enough for his turn ; and, to be sure, more than enough for his soul 
to take in. It camo upon his spirit as a mighty sea, which had neither 
shore nor bottom. He saw there was an infinity of it, which he was no 
more able to take in into his comprehension, no more than a narrow vessel 
is able to take into itself the main ocean ; and in this respect it is he 
terms it such abundant grace. To conclude ; in a word, it is objective 
spoken, as to the grace itself, as it was presented unto him for the object 
of his faith, but apprehensive as to his soul, and not ejficienter only, that is, 
as an efficient cause of that work of faith God had wrought upon his heart, 
unto which most would needs narrow it. It was not a mere reflection upon 
the operation of the grace of faith and love, as in his heart, but a far more 
enlarged contemplation and admiration of the height and depth of the 
grace itself as it was in God's heart, now manifesting itself unto him, how 
superabundantly and how greatly he was beloved (as the angel says of 
Daniel), or how abundantly he was graciously accepted by God in his 
beloved, as in Eph, i. G. And the grace in God himself was its own 
reporter of it. Paul first had seen how sin had abounded in himself, the 
chiefest of sinners (ver. 15), and then that that grace borne in God's heart 
to pardon, love, and accept him, had abounded much more for the pardon 
of it ; and grace, as justifying him without anything in himself, was the 
object his heart was now taken up withal at his conversion. 


That absolute declarations about God and Christ, and absolute ]xromises of 
salvation, are the most proper and only objects of that act of application of 
faith we call faith of recumbency or adherence. 

By absolute declarations, &c, I mean such as are not made unto condi- 
tions or qualifications, which first should be viewed by the soul to be in 
itself as a ground to believe upon God and Christ for justification. 

Gerard, in his controversy* with Bellarmine, puts this meaning upon 
the terms absolute promises and conditional. The promises (says he, 
speaking of the gospel-promises) may be called absolute as in opposition 
unto our works and merit, and yet conditional in that God requireth faith, 
and so no works being required to justification, they are in that respect not 
conditional. But granting, as well as he, that faith is requisite, and faith 
alone, I do withal affirm that there are promises that are absolute, holding 
forth no condition, as they are the object of faith. And faith, viewing 
merely what is in those promises, which specify no condition of faith itself, 
lays hold on God's grace, and Christ as therein manifested. And thus 
absolute promises stand in a full opposition unto all conditional promises, 
as those absolute promises may be supposed, and objected first unto faith's 
view, and as they are the raisers up of it thereupon, so as upon the sight 
thereof the soul is brought to apply the salvation made known in such pro- 
mises. Now the promises are such as these : Jer. xxxi. 33, ' This shall be 
the covenant that I will make with the house; of Israel ; after those days, 
saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and I will write it 
in their hearts ; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.' 
* Ger. de Justif., sect. 134. 


Which being immediately made to the elect, and being an absolute under- 
taking on God's part, to perform the conditions themselves, I therefore call 
them most absolute. That declaration also is absolute in John vi. 37, ' All 
that the Father hath given me shall come to me.' Likewise, Heb. iv. 6, 
' some must enter in,' whereunto God hath bound himself with an oath 
(as there) to perform it. Now as for the persons concerning whom these 
promises are made, they are only known to God : ' The Lord knoweth who 
are his,' 2 Tim. ii. 19. Some detract from the absoluteness of these pro- 
mises, in saying they are made upon other fore-supposed lower and subordi- 
nate prerequisite conditions to be performed first by men, as to improve 
natural helps well, &c. But this were to embase the covenant of grace by 
subjecting it to the covenant of works, as that which must take its rise 
from former actings of ours, predisposing to the gifts of grace. From all 
which works in that very place in Jeremiah, the prophet distinguisheth those 
promises of that covenant of grace. 

Thus absolute pi*omises in the controversies with the remonstrants are 
on all sides understood ; Qua; nan habent annexam conditionem, which have 
not a condition annexed, as upon the sight of which our faith on those 
conditional promises should any way depend. 

I join unto promises of salvation the absolute declarations in the word, 
because there are many such manifestations of God and Christ delivered in 
the word, as they are the objects of our faith, which yet we do not ordi- 
narily term promises, though they are tantamount thereunto, as they are 
objected to our faith. And indeed all such truths and declarations may be 
taken for and turned into absolute promises, and absolute promises into 
such naked declarations ; such declarations, I mean, as these, that Christ 
' came into the world to save sinners,' &c, which is delivered in way of a 
saying: ' This is a faithful saying,' or grand assertion of the gospel, rather 
than in a direct promissory way. And in terming these declarations rather, 
I conform to the language of the Holy Ghost, who, when he most setly 
proposed God and Christ as the objects of our faith, useth that expression 
to do it by, Rom. iii. 25, ' Whom (/. c, Christ) God hath set forth to be 
a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness,' &c. 
Then again, ver. 26, ' To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness, 
that he might be just, and a justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.' It 
is used, you see, both of God and Christ as in relation to our faith. You 
have the like also 1 Tim. ii. 5, 6, ' For there is one God, and one Mediator 
between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom 
for all, to be testified in due time.' And 2 Tim. i. 9, 10, the like, ' Who 
hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our 
works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in 
Christ Jesus before the world began, but is now made manifest by the 
appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and 
brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.' Where not only 
God and Christ as Saviour, &c, but the very eternal purposes and grace of 
God and Christ of saving, as they are properly and only to be limited to 
the elect, are said to be the matter of the gospel. And the manifestation 
and naked declaration of this, according to its plain intent and purpose, is 
the gospel in its height and eminency, and the seed and head of all the 
promises of salvation, from which they are all derived and flow, and into 
which they all do again run, as rivers into the sea. And therefore by ab- 
solute declarations I intend all in the word wherein those purposes of grace 
are indefinitely revealed ; I say indefinitely, because there is no naming the 


persons of the sons of men to whom they are intended, and yet they are 
in that manner revealed, and with that intent, to draw men in to helieve for 
their particular salvation, as well as any other promises whatever. And 
this I hope will appear plainly in this discourse, but especially in that 
which follows it, unto which this is but introductory, the professed subject 
thereof being to shew how faith of adherence may make use of the absolute 
revelation of electing grace, though wanting assurance thereof; which I 
have long since in print promised to publish.* 

Mr Bulkely, in that New-England controversy, seems to be an opposer 
of this opinion, that absolute promises are the means and primary object of 
full assurance of faith, through an immediate testimony of the Spirit, with- 
out conditional promises ; by which only, says he,t in the ordinary course, 
if we will have any trial of our estates by the word, we must have it by tbe 
conditional promises ; yet would I not, says he further, make the absolute 
promises useless. I acknowledge they are of singular use ; 1st, In that 
they shew us the only cause of our salvation, even free grace, and no other ; 
2dly, They are a foundation for the faith of adherence or dependence to 
stay upon. There be two acts of faith, saith he, one of adherence or de- 
pendence, another of assurance. There be also two kinds of promises, 
absolute and conditional. Mark now how these do fit and answer one 
another, the absolute promises to the faith of adherence, the conditional to 
the faith of assurance. For example, God comes and says, For mine own 
sake will I do thus and thus unto you, in an absolute promise. Here is a 
ground for the faith of adherence to cleave unto ; though I be most un- 
worthy, yet will I hang upon this promise, because it is for his own sake 
that the Lord will perform this mercy, that he may be glorified. There be 
also conditional promises, — ' He that believeth shall be saved,' — by means 
of which (we have the experience and feeling of such grace in ourselves) we 
grow to an assurance that we are of those that he will shew the free grace 
upon. And thus the absolute promises are laid before us as the foundation 
of our salvation, which is wrought in the adhering to the promise, and the 
conditional as the foundation of our assurance. And though I do not 
wholly fall in with this latter pai-t of his conclusion, as if conditional pro- 
mises served only for a foundation of assurance, yet with the former part, 
that absolute promises are suited and fitted unto faith of adherence, or of 
the act of justifying faith, properly and truly such, I fully close with, and 
do add, that it is they that are the most proper objects for such a faith, 
and not conditional promises. And I shall endeavour to demonstrate this, 
in the case of one who is now a-beginning first to believe ; for as everything 
must have a beginning, so must a man's believing; and of that case it is I 
now specially treat, though I do withal judge that the true act of faith as 
justifying doth, throughout the whole of a man's life, even of him that hath 
assurance, lie not in an assurance I am justified, but in that of adherence 
only, as I have elsewhere J shewn. 

It is not unknown that besides those believers who have, through grace, 
attained unto a full assurance of faith, there are two ranks of other true 
believers whose faith doth fall short of assurance : 1, such as are now 
a-beginning to believe, as the jailor, Acts xvi. ; and, 2, such as have had 
for some long time true faith already wrought, and many fruits thereof in 
the course of their lives, and yet ' walk in darkness, and have no light,' 

* In my preface unto Christ set forth, in 4to. 

t Discourse of the Covenant, p. 149. 

t Fart II., Book II., Chap. I , of this discourse. 


and are fain to betake themselves to live by a pure and bare faith of recum- 
bency, or of mere casting themselves on God and Christ, renewed afresh 
(even as they did at first) for their salvation. And so they do as good as 
continually begin to believe, as if they had never believed before ; and this 
they do, although they have some glimpses of good hope at times, which 
yet not rising up to overpower and silence doubts, they return to make 
that kind of faith their sole life. And although there may be found some 
difference between these two, yet I put them both into one bag, as we say, 
and range them together in my ensuing discourse, which I shall prosecute 
in the person of one who is now but a-beginning to believe ; concerning 
whose case there is the most difhculty, how to instruct such an one to make 
use of such absolute promises and declarations, and how he should come 
to close with them, and with what faith. And so, whilst I shall speak to 
this case of the one, I shall but speak to the case of the other. That which 
we inquire after is, what object he that is first to believe may find to set 
his foot first upon, and which may become a ground to him of that special 
act of faith whereby he lays hold on Christ for his own salvation. 

I suppose him humbled for sin, and convinced that unless he have a 
ground for his being saved, from something else than what is in or from 
himself, he must perish. I suppose him looking about him into the world, 
and crying out thereupon, as they in Acts ii. and the jailor, ' What shall I 
do to be saved ?' I suppose him, also, to see and apprehend his way to 
be to believe, and cast himself on God and Christ, looking about him for 
a ground or foundation in the word, unto that his faith. 

Now then I shall proceed. 

And here I shall proceed both negatively and positively. 

1. Negatively, I shall shew, that no qualification in a man already wrought 
can be a ground and object for his first act of faith, so that in the sight of 
it he should be certainly and personally persuaded to act that faith on God 
and Christ. 

1st, It is not his humiliation or sight of his sin, or of his being in a lost 
condition, wherein if he remains he must perish. For the sight of that 
but leaves him where he was, and it is faith by which his condition must 
be altered. The sight of sin and misery may and doth indeed put a neces- 
sity upon his soul to look out for salvation, and that is it which makes him 
cry out, ' What shall I do to be saved ? ' And it is such a work, as with- 
out it he would never seek out for Christ, nor go to him to save him. But 
for him to build on that sight as that which he, having had wrought in him, 
he may with confidence believe in Christ, is all one as to say that a male- 
factor's being convicted, and cast, and condemned at the bar by a judge 
and his own conscience, should be a ground for his hopes of pardon and 
salvation ; whereas the procedure so far with him is clean contrary, though 
it be indeed a preparation to quicken him to seek for a pardon, yea, and 
makes him capable of it in this respect, that as by our law none is capable 
of a legal pardon, until he be legally condemned, so nor is such a man of a 
gospel-pardon till he is thus convicted. The proper work or effect of such 
a humiliation, is wholly and altogether to possess the soul with the appre- 
hensions of no other objects than what belonged to his unregenerate and 
unjustified estate, and which would argue him still to be in that estate ; 
and the prospect of this fills his mind, having nothing else in his eye ; and 
though there is and may be somewhat of what is spiritual in that sight of 
his, yet as Christ said to him, John xiii. 7, ' What I do (to thee) thou 
knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter ; ' so we may say of the 



present work that is upon such a man, that after somo light and dawn of 
faith is hroken in upon his spirit, he may afterwards come to see what 
God was then a-doing with him, but not at that present when nothing but 
darkness is upon the face of that earth. 

It is true also that those words of Christ's, ' Come unto me, all ye that 
are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest,' do contain a particular 
invitcment to such, rather than any other sinners, who also doth invite all 
others ; and it is a special condescension in Christ to speak thus particularly 
to those that are heavy laden, because of all others they are apt to be dis- 
couraged ; yet still that wearisomeness is not a ground or foundation for 
that act of his first believing, to build itself upon it for his being saved. 
He that will rest in the sight of that, and not come to Christ, will sit down 
short of salvation, nor is this a ground of his faith, or of his coming to 
Christ. But when such do come to Christ out of a sight and sense of their 
burden, yet it is not upon the sight thereof as a spiritual qualification 
which should render them more acceptable, but it is the sight of their sins 
with which they are burdened, and the sense of the load thereof, and 
thereupon of their need of ease, that drives them to come upon Christ's 
so gracious invitation. They poor creatures look at nothing but them- 
selves, and their sins and loads, and are taken up wholly therewith, and 
with desire of ease. 

That great maxim of the apostle (Rom. iv. 5, ' But to him that worketh 
not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted 
for righteousness') doth confirm all this, and withal doth exclude the sight 
of any other work wrought, or qualification whatsoever that may put in to 
be a ground to any man's faith. Under these words, ' to him that worketh 
not,' I understand all qualifications, and holy dispositions, and actions, for 
they are included under the name of works, as in opposition to faith, and so 
in Scripture language inward works as well as outward. And the root or 
principle inherent in the soul of either, are accordingly here excluded 
from having to do either as ingredients into justification itself, or into a 
man's faith or believing for justification. 

Also, 2dly, by 'him that worketh Hot' is there meant, not he that worketh 
not at all really, but who when he comes to be justified looks at no work of 
his, or anything in or from himself, but singly believes on him that justifies 
the ungodly. 

And so, 3dly, instead of looking to any good in himself, he views nothing 
but the contrary, ungodliness, as in himself considered at that time, and 
the present business he is taken up about namely, to be justified, and to 
believe that he may be so. And although this is spoken of them that are 
in their state godly and holy, for this is a maxim fetched from Abraham's 
example after he was converted many years, even Abraham when he came 
to be justified in that point looked upon himself as ungodly, and viewed 
no works at all in himself, and was in his own eyes as if he had had none ; 
yet this maxim doth much more punctually suit one that is now coming 
forth of his natural state, and hath nothing bat ungodliness to view. And 
unto the sense of those things a man's humiliation brings such a man, and 
therein doth the proper work of it lie ; and our supposition being of one that 
begins to believe, it cannot be otherwise with him. 

2. We are now to consider what positive grounds, or motiva jldei, what 
motives of faith, or what drawings forth of faith are here ; or wherein doth 
the hope concerning this thing, as the Scripture speaks, lie ? My asser- 
tion is this, that it must be some absolute declaration or promise (which 
are tantamount) about what is simply in God and Christ as touching our 



salvation, the light of which coming into the soul is and must be the objec- 
tion motivum, the moving object, the persuader (as Heb. xi. speaks) of a 
man's faith, to draw in his soul thus at first to cleave to God and Christ 
for a man's personal salvation in particular, and hereon his faith is built. 
And the reason is evident from what is foregone ; for if no present or pre- 
cedent qualification in such a soul can prove an effectual persuasive or 
cncourager in part or whole, as a condition or qualification in the person, 
then it, must remain that what is absolutely declared to be in God and 
Christ, without respect to such conditions as first wrought, must be the 
ground and objection motivum of his faith. 

Obj. But some will here say, A promise that mentions the condition of 
faith itself is a sufficient and obvious ground to draw on faith at first, which 
is usually set forth in this syllogism : Whosoever believeth on him (meaning 
Christ), shall never perish ; but I believe, saith the soul, therefore I shall 
not perish. And is not this a conditional promise (will they say) which a 
man may at first close with ? and thus to close with such a promise in the 
former way of such a syllogism men usually are taught. 

Ans. An answer unto this I return, first in general, that when I exclude 
conditional promises from having an influence into our first act of believing, 
my intention is not, nor can it so be understood as, to exclude our believing 
itself from being a necessary requisite qualification, condition (call it what 
you will), for I have already supposed it absolutely necessary to our being 
estated into the actual and personal possession of those good things in those 
promises or declarations which I call absolute. Yea, my very question, 
and the state thereof, as I have proposed it, presupposes so much, and 
takes it for granted, for it is queried with what faith a soul is to close with 
such a promise ? So as my inquisition runs after this, whether such 
absolute promises be not a proper object of faith, which indeed is required 
necessarily to our instating into salvation ? and whether those promises 
be not proposed with an intention in the Scriptures as such ? My search 
is after an object of faith, what it is, and on what inducement a man doth 
so believe, or what is the object of that faith. Every act must have an 
object, and so justifying faith must have so too ; and what that must be is 
my inquest. And my affirmation is, that absolute declarations of God and 
Christ (in the promises and otherwise), as Saviour and justifier, are the 
proper object of such a faith. And therefore when I exclude all conditional 
promises, my exclusion in this argument only is of a conditional promise 
that should be the object of that first faith, as that which the soul first 
viewing to be in itself already wrought, should thereby be heartened and 
persuaded to begin to believe on God and Christ for its personal salvation. 
The meaning of that promise, whoever believeth on him shall be saved, is 
but to shew that an act of believing is absolutely and necessarily required 
to be put forth by him that will come to be partaker of that salvation. But 
still this will remain firm and indubitate, that it is those absolute promises 
or declarations that are the objects or foundation and sole ground of that 
act of believing ; and so absolute promises are the objects of faith as the 
conditional act whereby we are to be estated into the possession of those 
promises ; so as this .objection is no prejudice to my assertion, it touches' 
it not. More summarily take my assertion, thus it is : not that those 
absolute promises (objectively such) require not faith in us ere we be par- 
takers of the salvation in them, for that were to say that God saves his 
elect absolutely, without requiring anything to be wrought in them, which 
sense we have before abhorred; but the meaning is, that they require not 
any intervening condition unto faith itself, upon the sight of which as a 

Chap. III. J of justifying faith. 211 

groundwork faith should come to lay hold upon them ; hut they are exposed 
barely and nakedly unto faith as objects to be laid hold upon (that is, God 
and Christ in them) for our salvation, so as though those promises (who- 
ever believes, &c, and the like) in which faith is mentioned, are but con- 
ditionally in this sense, that they hold forth an act on our part to put forth 
as that without which no man shall obtain salvation, yea, by which he is 
instated into it ; yet let the whole Scripture be searched, and there is not, 
nor can there be, any instance brought of promises that do mention the 
condition of believing, wherein a preceding condition is first mentioned as 
that which must first be seen and viewed by the person who is to believe, 
to be in himself, and which he should build his first act of believing upon. 
And in the argument we have in hand, as hath been stated, that only can 
be called a condition which is a condition to believing itself, and which is 
supposed to be propounded to that end, that faith seeing such and such 
qualifications wrought in the soul, should thereupon be induced to believe, 
so as that condition should be an evidence to him to take or challenge that 
promise as his own, and thereby belonging to him as if he had been per- 
sonally named. Such qualifications I find set out indeed in promises for 
the faith of assurance after a soul's first having believed, as being signs of 
a man's being in the faith, and of his being justified by his faith foregone. 
But no such qualifications can be or ought to be built upon by one that 
comes first to Christ, or ought to be ingredients to his first act of justifying 
faith, nor indeed to any act of true, pure justifying faith as such ; for that 
were to make what is in ourselves after faith to be the foundation of it, 
and to mingle with it, and to make the first act of faith to be assurance 
that I am in the state of grace already, and thereupon I do believe that I 
am saved and justified. 

This assertion our later and more knowing divines have more generally 
declined, which yet the papists would impose upon us protestants, as an 
absurdity generally maintained by us, whenas it is the Lutherans only that 
do at this day affirm the act of justifying faith to be an assured persuasion 
that our sins are pardoned. 

I have often, therefore, reflected upon the application of such like pro- 
mises, ' Whosoever believes shall be saved,' as it is ordinarily formed up 
into this syllogism, "Whoever believeth hath, &c. ; but I believe, therefore 
I have eternal life. I have often reflected upon it, as fearing lest that this 
assumption, ' but I believe,' out of which they fetch a conclusion of assur- 
ance, ' therefore I have eternal life,' be not so well understood, but mis- 
taken by many to be the first act of justifying faith. 

I would therefore, in the second place, examine into what act of faith or 
belief that application of faith in the assumption, in the syllogism, ' but I 
believe,' is to be resolved into. 

1. First, The most judicious do take the meaning of that ' but I believe' 
to be only this : I seeing and finding by experience with myself, that I have 
a true faith wrought in me, and such a faith as the Scripture describes to 
be true and unfeigned, therefore I apply that promise, ' whoever believes,' 
&c, with an assurance to myself, which is the conclusion. And this indeed 
I take to be the most proper sense and mind hereof, as it comes in that 
6yllogism, that can be given of it, and, so understood, it is not to be dis- 
allowed. And I find it in that sense to be interpreted by our greatest 
divines ; but then let me give this animadversion upon it, that so under- 
stood, it cannot be that first act of justifying which an humbled 6inner doth 
put forth, which is the point we seek for ; nor can this be the genuine act 
whereby the sinner is justified, and so not the act of justifying faith itself ; 


and the reason is undeniable, because this believing is indeed but the sight 
and experience of a former, foregone, or forepassed act of faith, which the 
soul must have first put forth. It is that which, in this sense given, is the 
object of his assumption, ' but I believe,' and so we are still to seek as much 
as at first, and put to a new inquiry what that first formal act of believing 
was, and what it should be ; for to be sure this ' but I believe ' is, and 
must needs be, another act than that first was, yea, and of another kind. 
First, it is another act, for it is an act of faith after another, namely, a 
former ; nor is it a mere repeating or renewal of the first act, but a sight 
of that other which was the first act thereby expressed, yea, and is founded 
upon the intuition of the first, in the strength of which intuition the soul 
says, ' but I believe.' It is a secondary and after act arising upon a first. 
Secondly, it is another kind of act, for it is a reflex act of the mind upon 
its own act ; but justifying faith is a direct act on Christ. And again, it 
is an act of another kind, for my seeing I believe is an act of experience, 
which hath sight and sense in it of what is in a man's self ; whereas the 
first act of faith must be a mere pure act of faith, and not of sight. And 
so, thirdly, they differ in their objects ; for the object of my seeing I believe 
is my own believing, but the object of my faith at first, when I began to 
believe, was and must be God and Christ as the objects : John hi. 16, 
' Whoever believes on him hath everlasting life.' 

2. Others have apprehended the meaning of this ' I believe,' to be a 
present act of assurance that I am justified (as supposing that faith of assur- 
ance hath for its object, ' I am justified'), and so that very first act to be 
the condition of the covenant. This opinion differs from the former, for 
in the syllogism before, it is the act of assurance that I am saved, which 
made the conclusion; and the sense that I believe is seeing and finding I 
put forth such an act. But this second sense cannot stand. 

For, 1st, in such a syllogism, Whoever believes shall be saved ; but I 
believe, therefore I shall be saved, this ' but I believe,' if it be understood 
of assurance, doth make the minor proposition all one with the conclusion itself. 

2dly, That actual justification which a sinner hath on God's part, through 
justifying faith, is a consequence of that faith, or follows or ensues upon 
that special act of faith, which is properly styled justifying faith, put forth 
on our part. And that God endows a soul with his justification upon that 
act, and not after this, the Scriptures do expressly affirm : Acts x. 43, ' To 
him gave all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth 
in him shall receive remission of sins.' This receiving remission of sin is 
made the end or issue of our believing. Thus also, Acts xvi. 30, 31, ' What 
shall we do to be saved ? ' or, put into a state of salvation ? ' Believe on 
the Lord Jesus,' says the apostle, ' and thou shalt be saved,' which at 
present thou art not, until thou dost believe, nor until thou believest shalt 
bo ; but on the contrary, without believing, a man remains in a state of 
condemnation, according to what our Saviour had declared, ' He that be- 
lieveth not is condemned already.' The like you have in John viii. 24. 
All which places, and many other, might be alleged to speak, that as an 
actual justification there is obtained and received, so to be bestowed upon 
believing with such a faith, which the Scripture therefore calls justifying ; 
and a man is therefore required thus to believe, to that end that he may 
obtain and receive it. This being an assured truth, it will then follow, that 
not only faith of assurance that my sins are forgiven, is not an essential 
specifical act of justifying faith as such, but that it is impossible it should 
be such ; yea, and that it is a contradiction, that that act of faith whereby 
we believe ourselves justified, should be one and the same individual act 

Chap. III.] of justifying faith. 213 

with that which is called justifying faith ; hut especially it is a contradiction 
that this should be one and the same faith with the first act of faith. And, 
first, the impossibility of it appears in tins, that that faith whereby a man 
is really and actually justified is, in order of nature, first, and must be sup- 
posed first before a man be justified, because, thereupon or therewith, it is 
that God doth justify him, and endow him with that benefit, Rom. v. And 
this is our justification, which is according to the rule of the word which 
we have by faith, and which God will proceed by at the last day, and with- 
out which he will not own any man to be justified and saved. But that 
other act, of faith of assurance, whereby I believe or apprehend that I am 
justified, must necessarily first suppose this act of justification on God's 
part, according to the rules of his word, to have been first passed upon a 
man, and therefore, must suppose also that he hath believed already ; and 
by a former act of faith hath obtained justification, which till then he had 
not, but remained in a state of condemnation. Which first act of believing 
must therefore be such a believing with an aim and end that I may be saved 
and justified, and that my sins may be remitted in such a manner as hitherto 
they have not been remitted, and without which faith I must die in my sins, 
perish eternally ; for so the word of God, which God will proceed b} r , every- 
where tells me. And therefore it is that a sinner that first believes, as ever 
after also, doth apprehend such a necessity of believing, as was said, and 
doth at first, therefore, necessarily look on, and hath in his eye, that justi- 
fication that is according to the rules of his word, and which he aims at as 
upon a thing to be obtained, and which he is to receive, and so to be a 
thing to come upon his believing, which was evidently the case of the jailor, 
and upon those terms required of him by the apostle. Whereas in the other 
act, of faith of assurance, whereby a man believes and apprehends that his 
sins are forgiven, he within that act doth suppose and look upon his justi- 
fication as a thing obtained, and therefore it is impossible that the first act 
of believing, whereby a man is justified, and whereof justification is a con- 
sequence, and that / am justified, should be one and the same individual 
act, but they are necessarily two, not only in order of nature, but in time, 
one before the other. Yea, it would be a vain confidence, nay, a falsehood, 
for any man to believe with his first act of faith that he puts forth, that he 
is justified ; for he cannot truly and justly believe it until he be justified. 
A thing must first be and actually exist ere it can be apprehended, or else 
it is but fancy to him that believes it, unless by way of prophecy. 

2. Upon the same or the like ground it is no less than an apparent 
contradiction, that I should, by my first act of faith, believe that I may be 
justified, and withal to be first justified thereby, and by the same individual 
act believe I am justified from the same sins, for that would make one and 
the same act, and one and the same object of that act, to be at once an 
antecedent and a consequent of itself, to go before itself, and to follow after 
itself, which to me are a contradiction. 

(1.) The object, namely, justification, should according to this opinion be 
bestowed upon a man before he can believe he hath it, and must actually 
exist, when yet justifying faith is declared to be that act upon which, and 
by which, justification is bestowed upon us, and first comes to be existent, 
which is a contradiction in one and the same object. 

(2.) The act of faith, if it should be exercised and have a tendency upon 
both these objects at once, must be before and also after itself ; for all acts 
are diversified by their objects and their tendency thereunto. Now, then, to 
affirm the first (or indeed any) act of faith justifying, to be a belief that a 
man is justified, is to make justification the antecedent to such a faith, 'for 


a thing must be before we believe it to be. And then on the other hand, 
that the first act should be the act whereby a man is justified, necessarily 
makes justification the consequent of its faith, and therefore these two 
would be a contradiction, and cannot consist together. 

Obj. But it may be objected, that there is a justification in God's heart 
and intention from all eternity, and in Christ representatively dying and 
rising as a common person before a man believes ; and so faith is but to 
believe that which is already extant, and a man's justification by faith is but 
a justification inforo conscientia. 

Ans. It is sufficient to say, let that justification or salvation after a man 
believes be what it will, yet to be sure it benefits no man without that jus- 
tification of application to his person, as I may call it: for_ that which 
brings a person into a state of justification, according to the rules of the 
word, is done by God upon believing, and until then a man remains under 
condemnation, and may truly say, God will not, nor cannot own him to be 
a justified person, no, not in his court, the open court which he will keep 
and proceed by at latter day, according to the rules of which he will then 
reckon a man to be under condemnation whilst he was an unbeliever ; and, 
if a man had died in that unbelief, he must have condemned him, as he 
doth all other unbelievers that shall then appear before him : For ' shall 
not the judge of all the world do right?' Gen. xviii. God will not look 
upon him as justified from all eternity, but as one that remains under unbe- 
lief, as the apostle speaks. He will not allege of any that he had justified 
him from eternity, and therefore save him, for his own declared word, 
which is the rule he judges by, would interpose and cause him so to pro- 
nounce and condemn that person that is under unbelief. And Christ hath 
sufficiently informed us in what he says, John xii. 48, ' The word that I 
have spoken, the same shall judge you at latter day.' And he speaks it 
upon occasion of the very thing in hand : ver. 46, ' Whosoever believes in 
me, shall not abide in darkness.' Thus he speaks affirmatively : ' And he 
that believes not on me, there is one that judgeth him,' ver. 47, 48. Thus 
he speaks negatively. And who is that that will judge him ? God. And by 
what will he judge him ? Even by this very word that Christ had spoken, 
ver. 48. And indeed that justification, according to the rules of God's 
word, is that which is the aim and drift of a humbled sinner, which he 
makes after, for it is that which he hears and understands, God calling upon 
him in his word for to seek it : ' Believe, and thou shalt be saved.' In 
answer hereunto the soul says, Lord, I believe that I may be saved ; and 
it is God according to his word that he hath to deal withal herein. 

It is in vain to say, I am justified by faith only in respect to the court of 
mine own conscience. It is in vain to say that a man's apprehension and 
faith that he was justified from eternity, is all that justification which the 
Scripture so constantly speaks of to be by and upon believing ; for, according 
to that opinion, a man was as much justified before he believed as after, 
and his faith would add nothing new to his state, but only his own appre- 
hension of it ; whereas the Scripture speaks of a man's justification by faith 
as of a real thing, and as a thing done anew ; for being justified by faith 
first, we have then peace with God, and peace with God is that justifica- 
tion which is in a man's own conscience, which there is made a fruit of 
justification by faith first, and whereof faith is also first the instrument ; 
and we have ' access by faith into this grace wherein we stand,' so that we 
are actually put into the state of grace before God, considered as he is the 
judge of all men, and thereupon we come to ' rejoice in hope of the glory 
of God.' But yet how far a believer wanting assurance, or one that begins 

Chap. III.] of justifying FAITH. 215 

to believe, may make rise of God's eternal purposes as they are doclared in 
the word, that he will justify sinners of the sons of men ; and how far such 
a one may urge and plead this as a motive which God hath declared to have 
been in his own heart, upon which he is moved to justify us in time ; and 
how far a soul may plead, that thereforo God would bo pleased accordingly 
thereunto to exert and put forth this justification of application, or indeed 
now actually to give it, which such a soul seeks for as yet to come, and 
cometh unto God. for to obtain it ; A how far I say the consideration of these 
decrees or purposes indefinitely made will promote and help forward such 
a one's faith, this is matter of another discussion ; but, in the meanwhile, 
what hath been at tho present said may serve for an answer to the aforesaid 

These things having been thus on the negative cleared, both in shewing 
that no prerequisite condition in us is the object or ground for the first act 
of faith, as also that that act is not, nor cannot be, an assurance of our being 
justified, it comes next to be treated of affirmatively, what that first act 
of faith justifying should then be, both as to the object of it, as also for the 
kind of the act, &c. ; and then, after that, I shall shew that this act of faith 
is, and may be suited to the first sort of promises of salvation, which I 
have termed absolute, and how it may and is to apply itself unto them, 
which is the designed issue I drive all unto. 

I shall therefore propose and pursue the sense which may rightly be, 
and is the mind of one that doth now first set himself to believe ; but I must 
give this caution concerning it, that it is not to be understood as any part 
of that fore-mentioned syllogism, nor to be made the minor of it in those 
terms, ' but I believe,' and yet is a true application of those promises fore- 
mentioned, ' Whoever believes shall be saved' ; for there is this difference 
between this sense and the two former, and the drift of the fore-mentioned 
syllogism formed up by divines on the behalf of Christians that have already 
believed, which is made for, and serves to express their assurance in which 
it ends, for the soul thereupon infers, ' Therefore I shall be saved.' But 
this expression, ' I believe,' expresses what he doth, and what he attempts 
to do, and doth not at last terminate itself upon its own act of believing, as 
the other did, but spends its intention wholly upon God and Christ, who 
are to be the justifiers of him, to whom he therefore hath recourse for his 
justification. This first act of believing, then, is not a studying of, or reflec- 
tion upon, its own act, as seeing that he believes ; but it is a doing the 
thing in a direct manner ; he believes he doth the thing* by a direct act, 
and carries the soul forth of itself unto those who are his judges, and to be 
the justifiers of him, and doth this in a correspondency and an immediate 
answer or obedience unto that faith the promises call for, which directs him 
to, and requires of him to believe. Now then, affirmatively to set forth 
this direct act of justifying faith as properly such, in order to clear how 
absolute declarations or promises about salvation do suit it, and it recipro- 
cally suiteth them, let us fully examine and consider these three things 
about it. 

1. What is the proper object of such an act. 

2. What kind of act it is that he then may put forth. 

3. What is the aim and drift of him in his faith's acting upon that or 
these objects. 

Which three do comprehend, as I take it, all that belongs to the sub- 
stance of that act of believing ; for, as to the adjuncts of it, that it be 
unfeigned faith, spiritual faith, and that all these are in a spiritual manner 
* Qu. ' He believes : lie doth, &c.' ?— Ed. 


to be put forth, all these are supposed in all true fflth ; but it is the sub- 
stantialness of the act which we now inquire into. 

1. The object of such a faith is God and Christ, according to what they 
have declared themselves to be, considered as in relation to their saving 
and justifying of the sons of men ; God considered as declared to be a 
justifier of sinners, and Christ as a saviour ; these two, or either of them 
believed as such, come all to one as to our obtaining of salvation on either, 
which I observe, as from many other instances, so in that of the jailor, 
Acts xvi., which I have had and shall have occasion often to have recourse 
unto ; for here, as the apostle had at first propounded Jesus Christ to him 
as a Saviour — • Believe on the Lord Jesus and thou shalt be saved,' ver. 34, 
— yet when actual believing unto salvation comes to be spoken of, ver. 36, 
it is only mentioned that he believed in God ; for whilst we believe on the 
one in a more distinct manner, we know the interest that either have in 
our salvation, and it is interpreted that we believe in both ; and the believ- 
ing on the one in so explicit a manner is so far from excluding the other 
implied by it, as in concesso it involves both, and the soul knowing the 
interest of both, his faith may be really resolved into a faith of both or 
either of them. 

I shall therefore give instances of God and Christ apart being set forth 
in the promises to our faith. 

(1.) Christ, under the simple and absolute consideration of being a 
Saviour, is represented to us in the promises as the object of our faith : 
Isa. xlv. 22, ' Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth ; 
for I am God, and there is none else.' Christ is there spoken of, as 
appears from what follows in ver. 23. He is set forth as the only Saviour. 
' There is no God else besides me,' says he ; 'a just God and a Saviour.' 
And we see him as such nakedly proposed to our faith, as these words 
shew, ' Look unto me,' &c. We have a place parallel to this in the New 
Testament: John vi/40, 'And this is the will of him that sent me, that 
every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlast- 
ing life : and I will raise him up at the last day.' He that seeth the Son, 
i.e., with a spiritual light, so as to believe on him. These are acts purely 
acting upon him as he is the Christ and a Saviour; and the believing on 
that object requires no conditions first to be looked at by him that is to 
believe. And Christ had proposed himself before in like manner, as lift 
up on the cross and crucified (and thereby being become a Saviour), as the 
naked object for faith to look at: John iii. 14, 15, 'And as Moses lifted 
up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up ; 
that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.' 
We have another instance of his being declared and set forth as a Saviour : 
1 Tim. i. 15, ' This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that 
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners ; of whom I am chief.' 
The words are a bare proposal of him, wherein he is set forth as the 
immediate object to a sinner's faith. His being a Saviour, and his intent 
to save sinners of this world (not devils), is nakedly declared, simply so 
considered. He terms the manifestation of Christ 6 mtsroi Xoyog, ' a faithful 
saying,' speaking of that faithfulness upon which faith may build ; for 
unto faith doth faithfulness relate as an object fitted for it, holding on this 
Christ as a sure foundation for faith : 1 Peter ii. 6, ' Wherefore also it is 
contained in the Scriptures, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, 
elect, precious ; and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.' 
And the apostle Paul in that text, 1 Tim. i. 15, asserts this 'faithful say- 
ing' to be 'worthy of all acceptation.' He means that it deserves hearty 

Chap. III.] of .justifying faith. 217 

entertainment and receiving by faith. And of this faith on Christ tho 
apostle had proposed himself an example in the preceding ver. 14, so that 
this faithful saying had been the ground of his own faith. 

(2.) God the Father, as a justificr of men ungodly, is declared and set 
forth as the object of a sinner's faith : Kom. iv. 5, ' But to him that 
worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth tho ungodly, his faith is 
counted for righteousness.' It is a bare and absolute declaration of him, 
what a God he is in and of himself in justifying, and he is proposed as 
absolute as absolute can be, in opposition unto * all or any prerequisite 
qualification which the person to be justified should view in himself, col- 
laterally, to induce him to believe. 

1st, The justified person, or the subject, is the ungodly ; and God is set 
forth by this attribution, that he is a God that justifies the ungodly. 

2dly, Therefore the man is ungodly in the person's eye who justifies. 
God looks on him as ungodly, as one without any work, or disposition, or 
qualification which he respects in justifying. 

3dly, The person who comes to be justified is ungodly in his own 
thoughts and apprehensions of himself, as the foregoing words, viz., ' He 
that worketh not, but believeth,' &c, do shew. The meaning is, he is 
such an one who looks at no work in himself on the account of which he 
should be justified, or for which, and upon which, he might believe that he 
shall be justified. Yea, he is one who views nothing but the contrary, 
viz., mere ungodliness in himself, for which he should be condemned. It 
is true, indeed, that an act of believing is required of him ; but'jthat is but 
now a-putting forth by him, and therefore he builds not upon any former 
act of faith, for all in himself is in view nothing but ungodliness, and so 
there is an utter want even of faith itself, as any way seen by him, to 
induce him to believe on God. Hence then it is that he believes on God 
nakedly, as viewed to be a justifier of men ungodly ; and it is under that 
consideration he believes on him. And this is the faith which is imputed 
for righteousness, that noble and heroic pure faith which gives glory to 
God. And herein his heart in believing answers unto God's heart in sav- 
ing. For look, as God doth not choose him unto salvation upon faith 
foreseen, or good works foreseen, so nor doth the soul believe in God upon 
works foreseen, or faith foreseen. Such a first choice of us by God upon 
the foresight of our faith and working, would derogate from the freeness of 
that grace which is in his heart : Kom. xi. 6, ' And if by grace, then it is 
no more of works ; otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of 
works, then it is no more grace ; otherwise work is no more work.' That 
it is spoken of election appears by ver. 5, ' Even so then at this present 
time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.' God then 
looks into his own heart only for that which should move him to do this. 
And yet withal, it must be said that he actually saves no man without faith. 
As God thus looks in election at no faith or works in us, so the soul's first 
act of believing knows not, nor looks at any in his own heart to move or 
induce him to believe on God ; but the soul only looks at what is in God's 
heart, as declared in the promises, and at his sole free grace in justifying ; 
and yet he knows withal that faith is requisite that he mayibe justified, 
and that without it all the grace which is in God's heart would never 
justify nor save him, whilst yet he had nothing in his eye viewed in him- 
self either directly or collaterally to move him to believe. He hath nothing 
which either with a direct or squint eye he should consider, but only and 
merely God as justifying. 

We have in the Old Testament a parallel to this Rom. iv. 5, of God's 


being a justifier of the ungodly purely considered : Isa. xliii. 25, 26, ' I, 
even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and 
will not remember thy sins. Put me in remembrance ; let us plead 
together : declare thou, that thou mayest be justified.' This promise Mr 
Bulkely acknowledgeth to be an absolute promise, as such are those wherein 
God says, I will do thus or thus ' for mine own sake.' And that it is 
parallel to this text, Rom. iv. 5, is evident, 

[1.] Because it is spoken of God as a justifier both in ver. 25, where he 
says, ' I am he who blotteth out transgressions,' and in ver. 26, where 
justification is expressly mentioned. 

[2.] He instructs the persons who are to be justified to apprehend their 
own utter ungodliness : ver. 22-24, ' But thou hast not called upon me, 
Jacob ; but thou hast been weary of me, Israel. Thou hast not brought 
me the small cattle of thy burnt- offerings, neither hast thou honoured me 
with thy sacrifices : I have not caused tbee to serve with an offering, nor 
wearied thee with incense. Thou hast brought me no sweet cane with 
money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices ; but thou 
hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine 

[3.] Which, when God had said, he sets forth himself barely, nakedly, 
and absolutely, and as alone considered in what is in himself, as the 
justifier of them. For this is imported by those words, ver. 25, ' I, even 
I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions ; ' whereby he emphatically 
calls in all the thoughts and intentions of tbeir minds to be first on him- 
self, as he is in himself and of himself a God pardoning sins and justifying 
their persons, as the apostle with the like emphasis expresseth it when he 
speaks of him as justifying the ungodly. 

[4.] God tells us that he blots out transgressions for his own name's 
sake, and for that alone ; and that he doth it upon no other motives or 
ground but only what is in his own heart. That he doth it only for the 
sake of that great name of his, uttered and proclaimed on purpose 
(Exod. xxxiv.) to shew what inwardly moves him to be a God pardoning 
iniquity, transgression, and sin. 'I, even I (says God), who am Jehovah, 
gracious, merciful, abundant in kindness and truth, pardoning iniquity, 
&c, do blot out your transgressions, for this mine own name's sake.' 

I remember that Zanchy says that that text, Exod. xxxiv. 7, is also 
spoken of Christ, who is God with God, and the justifier of us also for his 
own sake, and righteousness' sake. However, according to my former 
rule fiven, that God in Christ is always to be understood, Christ must be 
taken in, as the person in whom and in whose righteousness God justifies. 
So that, when I say that God, and what is in God alone represented in 
the promises, is the object of faith, it is to be understood only in opposi- 
tion unto what is in us, and not as opposed to Christ, who is co-partner 
with God in this his glory, and who also was his counsellor; and in like 
manner God is not excluded when we speak of faith in Christ alone. 

[5.] Lastly, To fix their hearts on himself alone when they would seek 
to be justified, he adds in that Isaiah xliii. 26, 'Put me in remembrance; 
let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified.' As if 
he should say, K you can think of any other way of being justified than 
onlv me, tell it of me ; but indeed there is none. 

And these and such I call, 1, declarations and promises; for these two 
in this matter come all to one as to our purpose. And we use that ex- 
pression of God and Christ's being declared and set forth as the objects of 
faith, because it agrees with those phrases used by the apostle to the same 


purpose (as was observed) : Rom. iii. 24, ' Being justified freely by his 
grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ.' Here both God 
and Christ are mentioned as the causes of our justification. He first 
speaks of Christ: ver. 25, ' Whom God hath set forth,' says he, viz., as an 
object of our faith, as justif}ing, ' to be a propitiation through faith in his 
blood.' And then he speaks of God the Father in those words, ' To 
declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through 
the forbearance of God.' He means the righteousness of God justifying, 
which he again repeats : ver. 2G, ' To declare, I say, at this time his right- 
eousness; that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in 

(2.) I call them absolute declarations and promises, because as they aro 
the propounded objects of faith in this matter of justification, so they are 
simply and absolutely to be viewed by us ; and no conditions or qualifica- 
tions are to be considered in us, as upon the intuition of which we should 
come to believe in them. 

And now give me leave to cast in my thoughts concerning that great 
convert Saul; for which if you will not take what follows as proofs, yet 
admit them as conjectures. 

[1.] His first saving faith on Christ was but a bare act of recumbency at 
his first conversion ; so that though he saw Christ in heaven appearing to 
him, yet this sight at that instant wrought not a saving act of faith ; but 
Christ left that for his Spirit to work. The vision stunned him indeed, 
and put a stop to his career, and convinced him, as great miracles did 
others, that he was the Messiah whom he had persecuted. But the true 
and thorough work was done within his own soul, when he was retired 
alone with God and Christ. And my reason why he had not by that 
vision a true saving faith is, because he makes his having known Christ 
visibly with his bodily eyes to be a not knowing him, if compared with 
the knowledge which is the effect of the new creature: 2 Cor. v. 16, 17, 
' Wherefore, henceforth know we no man after the flesh ; yea, though we 
have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no 
more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature : old 
things are passed away; behold, all things are become new;' which scrip- 
ture some interpreters have applied to this very thing. And the same is 
evident also by this chief reason, inasmuch as he had that conviction, 
which first astonished him, by the law, which was preparative to an act of 
saving faith wrought in him after; for so himself gives the account, Rom. 
vii. 7, where he says that he ' had not known sin but by the law.' The 
Pharisees' principle was that lust was no sin; and therefore he say3, 
verse 9, 'I was alive without the law once,' viz., before my conversion, 
while a Pharisee; but ' when the commandment came,' in the true light of 
it, 'sin revived' in my conscience, says he, 'and I died.' He then saw 
himself in a state of death, which wrought a death in the apprehension of 
his soul: Rom. vii. 10, 'And the commandment, which was ordained to 
life, I found to be unto death.' His meaning is, that that law, which he 
verily thought he should live by, was found by him, unto his utter con- 
fusion, to be unto death. And this apostle then in the beginnings of his 
conversion, lying under such apprehensions, with that great account of 
sins coming in withal, may very well be thought to have no mind to eat or 
drink, but to spend his time in humbling himself under the mighty hand 
of God. And then if we bring it to that account which he gives of the 
work of faith in him, Gal. ii. 15, 16, he there including himself with the 
rest of the Christian Jews, yea, and with his fellow-apostles, it shews that 


they altogether with him had come in but with such a faith. And it is 
certain that those converts during John the Baptist's and our Saviour's 
time had but a faith of recumbence, for they received not the Holy Ghost 
as a Comforter and as an assurer till after the ascension. And it was they 
who were the poor, the meek, the captives, &c, to whom Christ at first 
preached, Mat. v. 1-4; and who were the weary and heavy laden, Mat. 
xi. 28, 29; and who were wrought upon by John the Baptist's ministry, 
ver. 12; and then they cleaved to Christ: ' Whither shall we go?' said 
they ; ' with thee are the words of eternal life,' John vi. G8. They had 
assurance that he was the Messiah. And the faith that Paul and the 
other apostles were justified by, was their believing on Christ that they 
might be justified (the words in Gal. ii. 15, 16 are express), and not a 
believing that they were justified already, and therefore it was not an act 
of assurance. 

[2.] My second reason is from the narrative of his conversion, Acts ix. 
It is first said that he did not eat nor drink for three days, ver. 9. Now, 
that he was fasting all that while, and neither ate nor drank, shews his 
humbled condition, and that his sins came in upon him all that time. 
And that conviction you read him mention of himself, Gal. ii., that by the 
works of the law he could not be justified ; which conviction in him was, as 
it is in us now, preparatory to faith in Christ. 

[3.] And yet that Christ should say of him, ' Behold, he prayeth,' verse 
11, doth as clearly argue that he had true justifying faith begun, such, 
viz., as, Gal. ii. 16, he mentions. The first part exactly agrees with his 
relation, Bora, vii. And withal the proofs that he had saving faith then 
is, that he prayed, and so prayed, as Christ gives an eminent signal 
approbation, and so an acceptation of it, with a behold to it: 'Behold, he 
prayeth.' And ' how shall they call on him on whom they have not 
believed?' says himself afterward, Born. x. 14; and yet both his faith and 
prayer in faith seems not to have been an assurance, for it had not risen 
up unto that yet. And my reasons for it are : 

1st, That he had not received the Spirit as a comforter till Ananias was 
sent to him to put his hands upon him, and to tell him he was a chosen 
vessel unto Christ, ver. 15; and therefore Ananias, as it would seem, 
breaking in upon him, calls him brother at first dash, ver. 17. 

2dly, Had he had assurance of faith before the coming of Ananias, he- 
would not have continued without eating and drinking so long, but would 
have received food to strengthen him, as he did upon his receiving the 
Holy Ghost, ver. 19. 

[4.] A distinction of this double work of faith of recumbency first, and 
of personal assurance after, you may observe in Gal. ii., and that both 
were in our apostle, that of recumbency first, and then that of assurance 
expressed afterward, will appear by comparing verses 16 and 20 together. 

First, He had a faith that he might be justified, and a faith it was upon 
a work of conviction in the first place ; for it was wrought first, and was 
common to them all. 

Secondly, There was faith of assurance : ver. 20, ' I am crucified with 
Christ : nevertheless I live ; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me : and the 
life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God, who 
loved me, and gave himself for me.' 

The last observation is, that it was the indefinite declaration, that Jesus 
Christ came into the world to save sinners, and so was the Messiah, which 
was revealed to him as the ground of that his first faith of recumbency, that 
he might be justified, and it was that drew him in. And my conjecture for 

Chap. IV. J of justifying faith. 221 

it is (if you will not allow it to be proof), that after he had proposed his 
example, 1 Tim. i. 15, he commends that faithful saying, that Christ came 
to save sinners, after the story of his conversion that went before, in which 
he at once propounds his own example or pattern of obtaining mercy, and 
also the very ground of that his faith, to all that should afterwards believe, 
as it follows, ver. 1G. 

Obj. But you may say that his expression, ' whereof I am chief,' argues 
his faith to have been assurance. 

Am. 1. I answer, it is true that he had now assurance, and so could add 
it, that Christ came actually and personally to save him. 

Am. 2. Yet his end in doing it was not so much to express his faith as his 
sinfulness, and thereby to prevent and remove a great discouragement that 
keeps souls off from believing, viz., the greatness of sins, which in my 
example you may see, says he, is taken away, and so is no hindrance at all 
to believing. For that the scope of that addition centres in that scripture, 
1 Tim. i. 16, shews : ' Howbeit, for this cause I obtained mercy, that in 
me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to 
them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.' And 
therefore still it may remain firm that the object of his and all believers' 
faith at first is this saying, or the substance of it, as ' worthy of all accep- 
tation, that Christ came into the world to save sinners ;' which, say I, is 
clearly an absolute indefinite declaration in the very sound of it. 

The corollaries from this instance of Paul are these : 

(1.) That both the work of humiliation and of faith wrought in him, 
were for the acts and objects conformable to the work of faith in all other 
believers, though the outward means and other circumstances were ex- 

(2.) By a faith of bare recumbency that we might be justified, founded 
upon an indefinite promise or declaration, we may likewise pray in faith 
for pardon acceptably before assurance obtained. Our faith and prayer 
both may be grounded upon no other than an indefinite promise, declara- 
tion, and example ; yea, and we may from thence be able to plead for the 
pardon of the greatest sins. 


What act of faith it is which those that want assurance may exercise upon such 
absolute declarations and promises, and of the suitableness between that act 
and such objects. 

2. All acts do receive their specification or kind from their objects and 
their tendency thereunto, and so we must next discern the kind of the 
actings of these men's faith from that (with difference from that other per- 
sonal assurance) by their suitableness unto those their objects, viz., these 
absolute promises. In such absolute declarations and promises for salva- 
tion there are eminently two things to be attended. 

(1.) The matter of them, or things contained in them, and absolutely 
promised or declared, and that are exposed to be the object and aim of 

(2.) The tenor of them as they respect persons. 

(1.) The matter of them promised is either salvation itself, which is 
expressed in those promises of God's pardoning a man's sins for his name's 
sake, and of God's being our God, and writing his law in our hearts, and 


his saying, I am a Saviour, and there is none hesides me, and many the 
like ; or there are the causes thereof which do express the motives moving 
God thereunto, such as are the declarations of the riches of his mercy and 
grace, his free love, the good pleasure of his will for his name's sake, &c. 
Although these in the matter of them are thus absolutely declared or pro- 
mised, yet the tenor of them to persons is not universal, as if God intended 
all and every man in such promises, as was said ; but they are indefinite 
only, and promiscuous, yet are to be promulged or made known to all. 
This may suffice as to the object. Again, 

(2.) There being two faculties in the soul, the understanding and the 
will, each of these have a proper acting and exercise of faith towards God 
and Christ, as they have revealed themselves in these declarations and 
promises, that so a soul may obtain the things therein. And we must 
allow even in them that first believe, as well as in any other that want 
assurance, actings of faith both in the understanding and also in the will. 
For every man that believes must believe ' with his whole heart,' as the 
eunuch, Acts viii., and ' with the heart man believeth to salvation,' Rom. 
x., and that with respect towards these absolute promises. 

And in the first place, it must be granted that there is both an assurance 
of faith in the understanding, and in the will a firm adhering to the things 
revealed in the promises. First, In the understanding there must be an 
act of assurance. But how ? and of what ? Namely, of and about that 
first thing we noted in the promises, viz., the matter or things contained in 
them. And as in respect thereunto, look as the promises and declarations 
are absolute, ' yea and amen ;' so every believer must have as absolute an 
assurance of faith thereof. As, for instance, a soul must be assured con- 
cerning Christ that he is a Saviour, and that there is none besides him, 
and that he came into this world with a most absolute purpose to save 
sinners of mankind (for they are only the dwellers in this world to which 
he came), which elogy or saying the apostle doth therefore propose and 
commend to the faith of men as the most sure and faithful saying that ever 
was uttered: 1 Tim. i. 15, ' This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all 
acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners ; of whom 
I i am chief.' I say, he proposeth it to be entertained with all acceptation 
of faith and assent by them, and to be absolutely believed by them without 
wavering or doubting. And Christ himself imposeth the faith thereof as 
essentially necessary to salvation : John viii. 24, ' If ye believe not that I 
am he,' the Messiah, or Saviour of the world, as I have often declared 
myself to be, ' you shall die in your sins.' Thus likewise, concerning God, 
we must absolutely believe that he is a God of mercies, pardoning iniquity, 
transgression, and sin, Exodus xxxiv. 6, a justifier of the ungodly, Bom. 
iv. 5, a God of pardons, Neh. ix. 17 (so it is in the Hebrew). These 
things must be as veriby and indubitably believed with full assurance of 
understanding (as it is termed, Col. ii. 2) as that we believe there is a God; 
for by the same necessity that he that comes to God must believe that he 
is, by the same parallel of necessity, he that cometh to God or Christ to 
be saved and justified, must as absolutely believe that he is a justifier of 
the ungodly. There must be fixed likewise in every believing soul a firm 
persuasion of the full resolvedness of God's and Christ's will, purposes, and 
intentions to save some of the sons of men effectually, concerning which 
there are likewise so many testimonies and absolute declarations in the 

Lastly, There ^is necessary a belief of the infinite riches of mercy that 
are in the divine nature, which are as the sea that feeds and maintains the 

Chap. IV.] of justifying faitu. 223 

springs of those bis purposes and intentions, and the streams issuing from 
those springs in overflowing promises with abundant kindness and truth. 
And the more the soul comes to be persuaded and possessed of all these 
things in the assurance of understanding, the deeper foundation is laid, and 
the stronger hold and obligation there is upon his will to draw it to trust 
on God for a man's particular salvation. 

Secondly, In the will there is to be in every believer a firm and fixed 
adherence or cleaving unto God and Christ, and unto the good things pro- 
mised by them : Ps. lxiii. 8, ' My soul cleaveth unto thee ' (so the Hebrew 
word is, it being the same that is used Deut. x. 20, and chap. xiii. 4) ; it 
is further added, ' My soul cleaveth to thee behind.* The meaning is, that 
when God seemed to turn away from him, and to leave him, yet the soul 
will not part so with him, but takes hold of him, though behind, when yet 
it cannot see his face and favour. A soul that hath assurance, and sees 
the face and favour of God to stand towards him, may be said to cleave 
unto God before ; but when God turns away his face, that soul cleaves to 
him behind ; that is, it both will and doth lay hold on him through adher- 
ence of faith, as it resolves never to leave and forsake him, however he 
should seem to deal with it. Thus Ruth is said to cleave to Naomi, Faith 
i. 14, which act of cleaving to her, when Naomi bade her return, Ruth thus 
expresseth, verse 16, ' Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from 
following after thee, for whither thou goest I will go; and where thou 
lodgest I will lodge : thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.' 
And verse 17, ' Where thou diest I will die, and there will I be buried : 
the Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me.' 
"Which cleaving, verse 18, is further termed a being ' stedfastly minded to 
go with her,' analogically unto which this cleaving of the soul by faith to 
God is termed a cleaving with purpose of heart; that is, a stedfast fixed 
resolution of heart not to part with him, Acts xi. 23. And thus doth the 
will of a believer cleave firmly and stedfastly unto God, when yet God 
makes as if he would shake it off, and to depart therefrom. And whereas 
Ruth said, ' Nought but death shall part thee and me,' Job, he says, 
1 Though thou kill me, I will trust in thee ; ' that is, death itself shall not 
part me from thee, will this soul say unto God in his ultimate resolves. 
Nay, the soul says to God, Hell shall not part thee and me ; for thou art 
there, and I will cleave to thee if thou throwest me thither. Thou shalt 
never be rid of me, for that is my resolution. The reason of this fixedness 
of the will is from that spiritual sight and assurance that (as we said) is in 
the understanding, of the things themselves contained in the promises, the 
understanding being thereby invincibly possessed of those riches of mercy 
and goodness which are in God, of that mercy and forgiveness that is with 
him, and that is there to be had, and of that abundance of grace and 
righteousness which is in Christ, and plenteous redemption for the 
salvation of sinners (Ps. cxxx.), and all these shining in those absolute 
declarations and promises, and through them into the soul. Faith in the 
understanding lets down into the will the absolute and complete goodness 
of the salvation promised, and that in the causes of it ; and the will is 
drawn thereby with as invincible a resolution to cleave unto God for the 
obtainment thereof. And then again, another reason of this its cleaving, 
is, that God, though he hide his particular favour and grace from this soul, 
and holds it yet in suspense as to that, yea, and turns away, as was said : 
yet, in the mean time, he secretly by his right hand upholds that soul, and 
draws it by that his efficacious power to cleave to him ; and that also 

* For this reading of the words, see Piscator, Dutch Annotat., Genebrard, Muis. 


follows in the next words of that verse, in that psalm fore-cited, • Thy right 
hand,' that is, thy power, ' upholdeth me,' and causeth me thus to hang 
upon thee, though it be but behind ; and if he seems to go away, yet then 
the soul is carried to follow hard after him the more ; as our translators 
have rendered it, ' My soul follows hard after thee.' And hence it is that 
though God should defer him long, 3 7 et he continues to seek him. And 
thus you see, as to the matter of those absolute promises, there is both an 
assurance in the understanding, and a firmness of adherency in the will, 
even in him that at present wants sight and assurance of the face and favour 
of God, which was the case of the psalmist at that time, and therefore the 
same may be in any that wants that assurance. 

And these two acts are (though in a greater or lesser degree) common 
unto all believers. 

But, 2dly, there is further, the tenor of those absolute promises, which 
comes to be considered as they respect persons ; and from thence it is that 
so great a difference is between the faith of him that hath a personal 
assurance of his interest therein, and the faith of these other believers that 
want it. As also from hence it is that difficulty ariseth, how such souls, 
wanting personal assurance, may yet come to lay hold on such absolute 
promises for their own persons, and with what kind of faith. 

(1.) What is the difference between that act of faith, which the apostle to 
the Hebrews calls ' full assurance of faith,' Heb. x., as comprehending not 
only an assurance of the things and matter of the promises, as that God's 
absolute will is to save sinners, &c, but together therewith an assurance 
that I am the very individual person whom God means to save, &c. 
Between this faith, I say, and the faith of single and simple adherence, 
the difference lies herein, inasmuch as faith in the understanding of him 
that is an adherent only comes short in this, that he doth not as yet firmly 
and prevailingly over his doubts believe that himself is the individual 
person intended by God in the promises, concerning which the other is 
fully satisfied, and accordingly can and doth with assurance apply those 
promises to himself, that they are his, &c. So as indeed the former hath 
a whole or complete assurance, both of the matter and also of his own 
personal interest ; but this other poor soul hath but an half assurance, 
namely, of the matter, &c, but not of the second, viz., his personal 
interest therein, touching which God is as yet pleased not to reveal that 
to him. ' 

(2.) As to the difficulty mentioned, viz., how such souls may yet have 
recourse to such absolute promises, and with what kind, or rather degree, 
of faith ; for answer hereto, I still take that rule along with me, that faith 
is to be some way or other answering and conformable to what is in the 
promise, or it is not faith ; and that if it comes up to the tenor of it, as 
we see it hath done to the matter thereof, it must needs be true faith. 
And my grand assertion here about it is, that there is and may be place 
for actings of true faith both in the understanding and the will of such an 
one, answering and conformable unto the tenor of these promises, as we 
heard there was in each of those faculties towards the matter of them. 
And this correspondency must be distinguished by its tendency towards 
that tenor of them. Now, this suitableness and conformity between this 
faith wanting personal assurance, and the tenor of these promises (which I 
call absolute) lies thus. 

1. On the part of the promises, the tenor of them is indefinite to 
persons, and not universal to all men. It is true those second sort of 
promises fore-mentioned, which express a condition whereunto salvation 

Chap. IV.] of justifying faith. 225 

is annexed, are universal, that is, to all and every one that hath the 
qualifications in them. And in that strain they run, ' Whosoever bulieveth 
shall be saved ; ' and more emphatically, Rom. iii. 22, the apostle speaks 
of ' the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all, 
and upon all them that believe,' where he ingeminates the universality to 
all, and upon all them that believe, but not to all men absolutely : Pro- 
missiones evangelii universcdes suit/, non absolute, sed resrpectu credentium, says 
Parana very well in his commentary on that text : the promises of the 
gospel are universal, not absolutely, but with respect to believers. But in 
absolute promises it is not so, for they mention no such qualifications 
already wrought. 

[2. 1 In this very tenor of them which thus respecteth persons, we must 
consider that they have yet something of absoluteness, or of certainty, 
concerning persons, which is as certainly to be believed, and yet some- 
thing that is but indefinite ; both which I shall specify, to the end that I 
may by and by shew the punctual conformity of faith wanting personal 
assurance unto the tenor of those promises. 

1st. That which is absolutely or certainly declared in those promises 
concerning persons, for all faith as of a certainty to build on, is this : 

(1.) It is most certain and absolutely declared in such promises concerning 
persons, that some shall have those promises fulfilled on them : Heb. iv. 6, 
' It remaineth, therefore, that some must enter in.' Which declaration 
made thus under the gospel, speaks the true intent of all absolute promises 
as to persons, shewing they are understood, but only of some, and yet cer- 
tainly and absolutely of some. The expression is, ' they must enter in ; ' 
for which also the apostle there allegeth an oath of God, than which 
nothing could make the promise more absolute. Likewise those passages 
of Christ's evidence the same thing: John x. 16, 'Other sheep I have 
which are not of this fold : them also I must bring, and they shall hear 
my voice,' &c. 

(2.) It is absolutely certain also in those promises, that these persons 
are (1.) Of all sorts of sinners, and all manner of iniquity shall be forgiven, 
except that against the Holy Ghost, says Christ, to some or other. (2.) Of 
persons in all ages or successions of times. (3.) In all nations, and of all 
places : ' Look unto me, all the ends of the earth, and be saved ; ' and 
' Thou hast redeemed us out of all nations, tongues, and kindreds,' &c, 
Rev. v. 9. (4.) Out of all ranks and conditions, bond and free, poor and 
rich, kings, and all in authority. By all men, all sorts of men are intended. 

2dly, Yet these promises are withal still indefinitely uttered as to per- 
sons. For if some, and but some — ' that I may win some,' says the greatest 
converter of souls — are saved, then still not all ; if out of all nations, then 
not all in or of a nation. And truly in their saying, ' Thou hast redeemed 
us out of all nations, tongues, and kindreds,' he makes the very redemption 
of Christ to be but of some in all, and they that speak this speak it not of 
themselves, as they had been justified, called, and sanctified. No; they 
say not, Thou hast called us out of all nations, &c, but plainly, Thou hast 
redeemed us with thy blood out of all nations, so limiting it to redemption. 
They speak of those namely on whom Christ, in shedding his blood for 
them (they speaking it to Christ), had his redeeming eye, which he had 
not in redeeming unto the rest of those nations, which are therefore distin- 
guished from these even by a redemption of them, which is not of those 
other. And there is a vast difference between saying, Thou hast redeemed 
all nations, as the Universalists say, and, Thou hast redeemed us, a select 
company, out of all nations, as they speak here. There is no such univer- 



sality the promises are made unto, though these promises are to be pro- 
mulged to the universality of all mankind. And the promises are then 
to be styled indefinite, whilst they absolutely and certainly declare that 
some must and shall enter in, and that all shall not, and yet do no way 
signify who they are, either by any discernible mark or character of differ- 
ence, or by naming those persons (God reserving that to himself, and leav- 
ing it in suspense) until the qualification of faith and such other graces 
are wrought in them. And those promises which are made unto such 
qualifications we call conditional promises, which are in their tenor uni- 
versal ; but not so tbese absolute of this sort which we speak of, for they 
can bear no other title, as they respect persons, but of indefiniteness, 
though they be otherwise never so absolute. If we will take an impartial 
survey of all absolute declarations and promises of salvation, they will be 
found thus indefinite, as in respect to persons, as they are proposed for 
objects unto our faith. Thus it is in that grand proclamation which was 
made on purpose as the foundation of Old Testament faith, wherein the 
riches of the mercy in the divine nature are discovered and exposed, ' The 
Lord, gracious, merciful,' &c, Deut. xxxiv. 6. This, as it respects persons, 
to whom God means to be gracious, have this professed restriction pre- 
mised thereto by God himself the promulger : ' I will be merciful to whom 
I will be merciful ; ' chap, xxxiii. ver. 19, ' I will proclaim the name of 
the Lord before thee, and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and 
will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.' The import of which, what 
is it other than that he will absolutely be merciful unto some, even those 
whom he will, but not to all ? And who those are to whom he will be 
merciful he reserves within himself, and yet professeth to proclaim this, 
that all the people might know it, and accordingly Moses published it to 
all. And this was of all other the first most solemn promulgation of mercy 
publicly made that ever was made before, and so the tenor of it is rrtensura 
reliquorum, the measure of the rest. That God also will blot out, or pardon 
transgressions for his name's sake, Isa. xliii. 25, is an absolute promise, 
fitted to the faith of any one that hath a will to believe. It speaks to no 
condition or qualification, but the contrary : ver. 22-24, ' But thou hast 
not called upon me, Jacob ; but thou hast been weary of me, Israel. 
Thou hast not brought me the small cattle of thy burnt- offerings, neither 
hast thou honoured me with thy sacrifices : I have not caused thee to 
serve with an offering, nor wearied thee with incense. Thou hast bought 
me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of 
thy sacrifices ; but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast 
wearied me with thine iniquities.' He names no person but Jacob ; that 
is, his people elect, as elsewhere he calls them; yea, and there also, ver. 21, 
• The people he had formed for himself, to shew forth his praise,' who are 
in other scriptures termed before their calling, ' children of God,' John 
xi. 52 ; his people, Acts xv. 14, and Acts xviii. 10. But who these are, 
till they believe, none knows. Yea, and he limits this pardon unto them : 
Micah vii. 18, 19, ' Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and 
passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage ? he retaineth 
not his anger for ever, because he delight eth in mercy. He will turn again, 
he will have compassion upon us ; he will subdue our iniquities ; and thou 
wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.' The words are purely 
what are in Exod. xxxiii. and xxxiv., and they whom they concern are but 
the remnant whom he hath chosen for his heritage, which who knows but 
he ? The like we have also in that declaration concerning Christ's inten- 
tion of coming into the world to save sinners, commended for such a 

Chap. IV. J of justifying faith. 227 

faithful saying, for all our faith to receive and accept : 1 Tim. i. 15, ' This 
is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came 
into the world to save sinners ; of whom I am chief.' It is sinners in the 
world indefinitely, he says not all, not all universally, which the very sound 
and tenor of the speech shews. And it is of great force to confirm it to be 
so, that he speaks of that redemption by Christ, and that sort of purpose 
therein to save these sinners, to be every way one and the same with that 
which he had of saving the apostle himself, which the apostle came then 
to find and discern, when Christ had by such an overflow of love and 
almighty power wrought faith in him : ver. 14, ' And the grace of our 
Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love, which is in Christ Jesus.' 
And therefore he was now able with assurance to put in his own name, in 
saying, ' of whom I am chief.' And in saying so he puts himself (we 
evidently see) into the same rank and number, sort and heap, of all the 
sinners that were redeemed, and all of them redeemed with the same grace 
and intention that Paul himself had been redeemed with, and made the 
subject of in Christ's heart. He himself was redeemed with no other aim 
than they all were. That which did put the difference was, that he was 
the chief of that rank in sinning. And surely Christ's aim and eye at him 
in dying for him was out of a special grace and love, whereby he died not 
only to make him salvable, as some would dilute Christ's intention in dying 
for the non-elect, affirming that Christ died for all men thus far, barely to 
make this proposition true of all men, that if they would believe they should 
be saved. It is certain that he died for Paul with a further intention of 
love than so; even efficaciously to give him faith, and invincibly save him. 
For that grace in converting him effectually it is he there so predicates, 
ver. 14, ' The grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and 
love,' &c, and magnifies Christ for having come into the world to bestow it 
on him. Christ did not die with one intention for Paul, and another inten- 
tion for others, for he ranks the other sinners for whom Christ died in 
common with himself, together in one rank with his own person. He puts 
himself and them in the same rank. Now Christ died for him as a chosen 
vessel to himself, &c, as Christ himself that died for him from heaven 
speaks of him, Acts ix. 15, and in dying bore the same love to the rest of 
those sinners he died for that he did to Paul ; he dying for him and them 
considered in one body, Eph. ii., whereof Paul was but a member. And 
therefore Paul propounds himself as a pattern of this grace unto all that 
should by virtue of Christ's dying come to believe : ver. 16, ' For this 
cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all 
long-suffering, for a pattern to them that should hereafter believe on him 
to life everlasting.' And withal commends this faithful saying thus inde- 
finitely uttered, ' that Christ came into the world to save sinners,' as the 
most accommodate object to their faith, upon which they should embrace 
and lay hold on Christ, as it had been so to him, when in his humiliation 
be had seen himself to be the chiefest of sinners. To conclude this, I will 
say, that after all the wringing, and writhing, and turning things this way 
and that, and when men have said all that they can, it will be found that the 
world, which is the adequate object of Christ's aim in dying (which he is 
elsewhere said to have come to save, and is thereupon proclaimed to be 
the Saviour of the world, John iv. 42) is no otherwise to be understood 
than of men in the world indefinitely taken. Yea, and that other phrase of 
'all men,' of whom likewise he is said [to be] the Saviour, will after all agi- 
tations issue in and come to its being an indefinite expression (as we have 
explained it), noting out men in all nations, of all ranks, ages, conditions, 


and sorts of sinners over all the world. And so it imports an indefinite- 
ness, and not an universality of persons to have heen intended in it ; and 
so all these declarations and promises of salvation which are ahsolute are 
to be understood. 

I come now to demonstrate the suitableness of the faith of one that 
knows not of a certainty of himself to be intended, unto the tenor of the 
promises as it respects persons. Let us see then what actings of faith 
there may be in such an one for his own personal salvation, although he is 
not assured of his personal interest, and view withal (which I mainly intend) 
the correspondency which faith in such an one doth hold with the tenor of 
such promises, as it hath been opened ; which will at once evince that such 
a faith is saving; for if faith answers the promise, it is certainly true saving 
faith ; as also make way to instruct us how in such a case we may apply 
ourselves unto absolute promises, which is the point I ultimately drive at. 

I shall, as I have done before, when I shewed the correspondency of 
such a man's faith to the matter of the promises, go over the actings of 
the soul towards the tenor of them, and that as to both the understanding 
and will. 

1. These absolute promises do in the tenor afford and lay before faith 
in the understanding of such an one, these great truths that follow, which 
are productive of faith in his will, and do draw on this will to close with 
God and Christ, with acts therein suitable to the tenor of the promises for 
his particular salvation. They present to faith in his understanding : 
1st, That there are some, and those not a few, persons whom God cer- 
tainly and undoubtedly intends to save, and whom he will effectually give 
faith unto. And although the man may yet be suspensive whether his own 
person or no be included, yet in the mean while faith may and doth meet with 
and come up to this part of the promise, in that he full} r believes that some 
shall be saved. And he may and doth believe this piece of the tenor of it, 
notwithstanding his wavering as to his own person, even as absolutely as 
the promises themselves, viz., that God is absolutely (that is, certainly) 
resolved to save some with a free and efficacious grace. ' There are that 
shall come to me,' says Christ, John vi. 37. And again, there are those 
that are the children of God (in God's purpose) who shall hear my voice, 
John xi. 52 ; and the belief of this at once gives hope as concerning this 
thing ; for if the example of that one person, Paul, is proposed by himself, 
and the Holy Ghost speaking in him, as a pattern and flag of mercy held 
out to toll and invite others in, who were after to believe (as in that 1 Tim. i. 
we may read), then much more are we encouraged when we hear that 
there are a many for whom Christ came into the world with an absolute 
intention to save them. Thus Christ speaks: ' My blood,' said he, ' that 
is shed for many for the remission of sins,' when now he was to die, Mat. 
xxvL 28 ; and when they shall come together in that last great general 
assembly, it is said of them, Rev. vii. 9, ' Lo, a great multitude, which 
no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, 
stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, 
and palms in their hands.' And likewise the belief of thus much concerning 
persons in a matter of so near and great concernment as a man's salvation 
is, will, through the Spirit's drawing, quicken and stir up the will to put in 
for it for a man's self (although he knows not certainly that he is the person 
intended), and accordingly to endeavour after the obtaining of it. This we 
manifestly may find in the coherence of the 6th and 11th verses of Heb. iv., 
' Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein' (namely, that 
rest), ' and they to whom it was first preached entered not in, because of 

Chap. IV.] of justifying faith. 229 

unbelief,' the confirmation of which he prosecutes in the following verses. 
In the 11th verse, he draws forth this inference from that his former : ' Let 
us labour therefore to enter into that rest,' says he in ver. 11, ' lest any 
man fall after the same example of unbelief;' which punctually answers 
in tbe way of exhortation unto both parts of his foregoing doctrine in that 
ver. G ; and the true reason of such an inference may be seen in the ordi- 
nary practice of men : for if when men know aforehand that one, yea, but 
one shall, in running a race, obtain a crown, yet all that are habilitated for 
a race will venture their ability and skill to run for it, and this when it is 
but for a ' corruptible crown,' as the apostle enforceth his exhortation, 
1 Cor. ix. 24, 25, then how much more when we know that not one only, 
but many, and so great a multitude shall obtain, and that the gage or 
price at stake is not a corruptible, but ' an incorruptible crown,' as the 
apostle (ver. 25) further heightens and raiseth his motive and argumenta- 
tion to this our very purpose in hand. 

2. These absolute promises and declarations do lay before the under- 
standing of such an one, that these some or many are of all sorts (as was 
said), out of all nations, ages, both of succession of times, and ages of 
persons, and also of all sinners of all sorts, in all the degrees, and sizes, 
and proportions of sinnings, even the chiefest, as the apostle's vision shews, 
Acts ix. 12; all manner of beasts, wild and creeping things, from the basest 
worms to the most loathed and monstrous beasts, were involved in that 
sheet, which was the figure of the church catholic, represented unto Peter, 
as those that were to be called and converted out of all sorts of sinners, 
even the vilest. These declarations, in like manner, hold forth that it is 
God's very design to comprehend and take in of all these, whatever their 
sins, their ranks, their conditions be. He would have some of all kindreds, 
families, callings, that he might be said to extend his rich free grace unto 
an all, all in some respect. And this opens the door of hope to the soul 
we are speaking of, yet far wider. For he now looking upon himself 
round about in all circumstances whatsoever, and viewing himself all over, 
may see that whatever rank, condition, or sinfulness we can suppose him 
to be in, or he finds himself to be in, yet he finds that his own condition is 
not only not to be excluded, but taken in in that indefinite way mentioned 
in the promise. The very same condition and degree of sinfulness that he 
stands in, is to be found in the persons of some or other, whom in the pro- 
mise God intends, and so comes to be comprehended in the promises ; and, 
further, he may thereby see, in such absolute declarations, all objections of 
all kinds that can any way be made by carnal reason (which is so jealous of 
God), or that can be alleged either from his sins, or circumstances, or con- 
jectures, wholly to be removed and answered ; and all this these absolute 
promises do suggest and prompt him with. And though still he demurs 
whether his person, singly and particularly considered, be certainly the man 
whom God will own still further, yet, even as to that point, namely, his 
person singly considered, he hath this to say, that seeing God hath no 
where, nor by any fatal mark or brand, as upon Cain, set him out for 
destruction, why then (may he not well think thereupon) shall I exclude 
myself? ' There is no difference,' saith the apostle, ' for all have sinned ;' 
being therefore all alike, whoever tbey be that have sinned, they are capable 
alike of being ' freely justified by his grace, through tbe redemption that is 
in Jesus Christ,' Rom. hi. 22-24. The meaning is, that there is no differ- 
ence of sins, small or great (as to the point of God's free grace to justify a 
man), which is any bar that shuts any man out. He finds, likewise, that 
as there is notbing of good in him that should move God to be merciful to 


him ; so, nor on the contrary, nothing of evil that will be of power to divert 
God from his declared resolution to pardon all manner of sin de facto (but 
that one against the Holy Ghost), as Christ that bore our sins, and paid 
the price for us, tells us. So as his single individual person stands free of 
all incumbrances, of all quare imyedits, of all that should prejudge him, and 
let him ; he stands as free for free grace as freely to accept and receive 
him, as ever any man did whom it hath accepted, anything in the whole 
word of God notwithstanding. It is not that such or such sins, or manner 
of sinnings after illuminations, &c, shall be a cross-bar, or spoke, or hin- 
drance against a man, no more than sins before ; for, whenever a man 
cometh to God to be justified, whether after calling or before, he comes and 
sues it sub forma impii, as looking upon himself as an ungodly person, 
whilst he is a-suing for justification, and appears in that court. He is not 
to consider his being already godly ; there is no difference, no, not in that 
respect neither. He may see that it is pure free grace in God's heart he 
hath to deal withal, and to treat with God by, and to try what quarter it 
will give ; and it is the glory thereof that moves God to be merciful where 
he will be merciful ; and where he proves to be gracious, he is to an vkip- 
<x\iovac[j,a, he is to an overflowing superabounding fulness gracious to them. 
Those that run in a race, or strive for masteries, have the confidence of 
their own skill, or strength, or use, and accustomed agility for their confi- 
dence, and do venture thereupon ; but this ?oul hath the absolute grace of 
God before him to rely upon, and so ventures upon what it shall be 
willing to do for him. 

3. These absolute promises do, together with all these considerations, 
hint to him an it may be ; that is, that he may be one God will be merciful 
unto.* If it must be somebody's lot (in that language the apostle speaks, 
Eph. i.), then, says he, why not mine ? So prompts the Holy Ghost often 
such souls ; and this, though but a far-off apprehension, hath brought many 
a soul near, and drawn and encouraged them to come to God for their 
particular salvation. The people of Nineveh believed God in his threaten- 
ings, Jonah iii. 5 ; and this thought withal fell into them by the suggestion 
of the Spirit : ver 6, 9, ' Who can tell if God will return and repent, and 
turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not ? ' And, says the prophet, 
Joel ii. 14, 15, ' The Lord your God is gracious and merciful, slow to 
anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil : who knows if 
he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him ?' In the case 
of the child David sought the Lord : for, says he, ' I said ' (that is, I had this 
saying or apprehension of faith in my mind), ' Who can tell whether God 
will be gracious to me ?' 2 Sam. xii. 22, in sparing his life ; and yet the 
prophet had told him it should die ; but David thought it might be but of 
the nature of a conditional threatening, which by prayer might have been 
diverted. And, in other scriptures, promises are uttered in the slender 
style of an it may be, as Zeph. ii. 3, ' It may be ye shall be hid in the day 
of the Lord's anger.' Some of these were promises and apprehensions in 
case of temporal deliverances, others of eternal salvation connexed with 
them. However, my argument is strong from either, for these so indefinite 
expressions uttered in temporal promises with but an ' it may be,' and 'who 
can tell but that God ?' &c, did yet however draw them in to seek God with 
a true faith for the obtaining the things promised, the faith in them answer- 
ing to the utterance and tenor of the promise from God ; then much more 

* Interrogo nunc credisne, Opeccator, Christo? Dicis, Credo. Quidcredis? Gratis 
nniversa peccata tibi per ipsum posse remilti. Habes quod credidisti. — Aug. Gerard, 
de Just p. 1050. 

Chap. IV.] of justifyinox faith. 231 

in the case of eternal salvation, if tho promises thereof speak, or whisper 
rather, but an it may be, and who knows ? should we be drawn to believe. 
And so much (for certain) these absolute promises do speak of hope to such 
a soul before us, yea, or any soul whatever that hears and observes them ; 
and if they leave but such a hint or impression upon the soul as David had 
and spake of — ' I said, who can tell but God will be gracious to me ?' — that 
so such a soul comes but once to say within itself, Who can tell but God 
will bo gracious to me, in pardoning and saving of me ? This it may be in 
the soul's apprehension may and will have, through the Spirit's assisting, 
and God the Father's drawing (without which never so certain and direct 
promises made to all universally, or particularly to any one by name, would 
not have any drawing virtue in them to work faith), I say these it may bes, 
or I may be the person, may have as much power aud force in them to win 
the heart to believe, and by faith to put in for them, and to pray to obtain 
them, as in temporal salvations they had. For the reason is the same in 
both, yea, and the weight far the more on this side of salvation eternal, by 
how much a man's salvation (the subject-matter of such spiritual promises) 
is infinitely nearer to such a man's soul, to move and stir him, than all or 
any temporal salvation is or can be supposed to be to any. This the 
apostle hath instructed us in, as touching the very point before us : ' They 
strive for a corruptible crown,' says he, 'we for an incorruptible;' it is an 
inference from the less to the infinitely greater. And a soul once made 
apprehensive to purpose, as we say, of the weight of salvation, the massy 
import and concernments thereof joining all their forces with these so weak 
it may bes, will yet, as smaller and more weak cords, twisted with greater 
and stronger, have together a mighty power in them to draw the soul, 
when withal God shall be at the end of these ropes, and draw with them. 
And how slender these hopes, and however contemptible some may and 
do account them, which these it may bes do afford, yet they are from God, 
who is pleased to speak in that style to us men ; and ' the weakness of 
God,' when he comes to work upon souls by them, ' is stronger than the 
greatest power of men.' He can draw a mighty whale to shore with a 
twine thread. He can hold fast the greatest ship in the most tempestuous 
storm by the cable of a slight straw. 

Now, behold the correspondency and conformity of such an apprehen- 
sion of faith in such a soul unto the indetiniteness of these promises in 
the word; just as God speaks, so they believe. God is a gracious and 
merciful God (that is, absolute), and it may be God will be gracious to 
you, and who can tell? So says the promise on God's part, as it is 
spoken unto us; that is, it is but indefinitely spoken. And then says the 
soul, Who can tell but he will be gracious to me (as David said, ' It may be 
God will bless me for Shimei's cursing to-day') ? So speaks the heart as 
it were in an echo to the other voice in the promise. 

4. There is a fourth act of faith may be in the understanding of one that 
is not yet assured of his present personal salvation, and it may be an act 
of assurance too, as for the future, namely, that if that faith which in his 
will he is now a-putting forth (of which next) prove true spiritual faith, 
and that he hold fast the beginning of his confidence unto the end, then it 
is an absolute certainty that he shall be saved. And this is a great addi- 
tion, that crowneth all the former considerations with a further hope ; and 
who is there that is at the very brink of believing would not, upon this 
and the other considerations, cast himself in upon God's mercy? 'He 
that plougheth should plough in hope; and he that thrasheth in hope 
should be partaker of his hope,' 1 Cor. ix. 10. The apostle speaks it to 


another business ; but I may thus far apply it to this in hand, that as it is 
a comfortable encouragement to a ploughman to plough and to cast in his 
seeds into the ground, because he is in an ordinary way hopefully assured 
he shall, if his corn take root, have an expected and desired crop; and 
with that hope he ploughs, and in the hope of it doth at the present throw 
away his seed. Do men take pains to plough, and venture to sow their 
corn in hope ? Then how much more should we ! We endeavour, as the 
apostle's word is, and take pains to believe, knowing that if our seed that 
is cast come to have a root, as Christ in opposition to the thorny ground 
insinuates, it will bring forth fruit unto perfection, and ' in due time we 
shall reap if we faint not.' And this is a sowing far more certain for the 
hopes of it than that other, and yet we see men ordinarily venture both 
their labour and seed corn. Yea, this venture to believe (for so I call it 
as to the soul's own apprehension) upon these it may bes of salvation, are 
far more sure and certain than our exercising faith and spending prayers 
upon those it may bes of temporal promises for things outward. For faith, 
although it be true faith, doth often prove uncertain and issueless as to the 
obtaining of the particular thing we aimed at in such promises for outward 
things (which was David's case in that instance mentioned), but this 
adventure of faith and of our souls on these it may bes for salvation, if it 
prove true faith in the end, though in the lowest degree, will never be un- 
successful as to that salvation we seek for. For Christ hath said, ' He 
that seeks ' (continues so to do) ' shall find, and to him that knocks it 
shall be opened.' 

2. I shall now consider these acts of faith in the will in such a believer, 
and how conformable those also are to the indefinite tenor of absolute pro- 
mises. Let us next consider what acts of faith in the will (that are true 
acts of faith) such a soul may put forth, and which may stand with these 
indefinite apprehensions, when very far short of an assurance that he is 
the person ; for which the pure, absolute promises afford him no further 

(1.) There may be a coming unto God and Christ. The act of coming, 
which is so often used to express believing both on God and Christ (as 
Christ himself expresseth it in his sermons, and we read of coming unto 
God through Christ, Heb. vii.), is an act of the will (as Rev. xxii. 17, 
• Let him that is athirst come, and let him that will,' &c). And the 
saving act of faith is expressed by it : John vii. 37, ' If any man thirst, 
let him come unto me and drink;' and it follows (as explaining what he 
meant by coming), ' He that believeth on me,' &c. And the aim, end, or 
errand of such a soul in its coming, and for which it comes, is said to be 
that it may be saved; that is its business it comes unto God and Christ 
for. Now, such an act may well stand with the fore-mentioned indefinite 
apprehension as concerning his own person, and with that suspensive un- 
certainty (as I may term it), for in that respect he may yet come to have 
it given and made good to him, although he knows not that he hath, or 
certainly shall have, a share in it. And therefore undeniably the saving 
act in the will may be put forth without such a personal assurance. That 
phrase of coming is taken from what is ordinary with men, and is on pur- 
pose chosen out to express the aim of such a faith in such a condition. 
For a man useth to come to another for a thing that is in that man's 
power to bestow whom he comes to, when yet he utterly hath no assur- 
ance from him that he shall obtain it, and yet ventures to come. Nothing 
is more ordinary in common practice than this, and therefore the act of 
faith which is without assurance is most aptly set forth thereby. And 


truly that speech of Christ's, ' Him that cometh unto me I will in no ways 
cast out,' John vi. 37, was spoken as on purpose to the heart of many an 
one that comes (especially at first), to hearten him against, and obviate 
this very fear of being rejected; and who therefore so comes, as in his 
own thoughts he may remain suspensive in himself, whether he shall be 
received as to salvation, which is his errand, yea or no, especially in the 
case of him who but now first comes, seeing that until he hath come and 
put forth such an act, he cannot come to know whether it will be a true 
and spiritual act of faith, or coming with a true heart, yea or no. Yet 
however at his first coming the intent of his soul in coming is, that ho 
may be received. And come he must first in a direct line to Christ ere he 
can reflect upon his coming, whether it be with a true heart (as, Heb. x., 
it is explained), nor will he know his welcome unto Christ until he actually 
comes or hath come. 

And that the aim of such an act of coming to God or Christ, or God in 
Christ, is purely that he may be justified, and that this is that genuine act 
whereupon a man is indeed justified, the example and instance of the 
apostles themselves, as it is alleged by one of the greatest of them in the 
name of himself and all the rest of them, doth manifestly declare : Gal. ii. 
10, ' We, 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.' In which words he tells us plainly, that by such a faith, having 
such an aim or tendency in it, that they might be justified, it was that 
they came to Christ. And it is spoken of their having renounced works 
for justification (which the Jewish principles did lead unto), and their 
betaking themselves unto faith, that they might be justified, from the first 
of their conversion unto Christ. Those words, ' even we,' do point unto 
the other apostles together with himself; even we that were the first-fruits 
of Christianity, and eminentest among believers, had yet but the same like 
faith at first which all believers else have, viz., that which was pitched 
upon the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ (as Peter, 
2 Peter i. 1, speaks), which he styles ' like precious faith,' which was then 
and is to be for ever common to all believers, both small and great, at 
first; which faith (as by comparing this in the Galatians appears) was not 
a believing at the first dash, that they were justified, but a believing that 
they might be justified, and so a coming unto Christ with this aim and 
errand, that I may be justified as to the future. And if any would question 
whether it were spoken of all the apostles or no, yet however, to be sure, 
it was Paul speaks it of himself, and Peter of himself, who was the chief 
of the apostles ; and of Peter, who professed his faith in the name of all 
the apostles, Mat. xvi. For, if you observe, it is the continuation of a 
speech he had begun to make unto Peter personally : ver. 14, ' I said unto 
Peter,' &c, and this is part of what he said to him, ' We who are Jews by 
nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 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 justified ;' in which he proceeds to confute and reprove Peter, who by 
Judaism had exposed no less than the great point of justification by faith. 
But Paul appealeth to his own experience at and from his first conversion, 
and often after, by what a faith he had lived to be justified by it, and 
presseth it on him ' before all' that were present (as he relateth it in verse 
14), as a commonly received principle amongst believers, yea, and even 


amongst us too, says he, that are Jews, and not Gentiles. And that the 
act of coming to Christ, whereby faith is expressed, includes this as the 
end and intent of that coming, and is indeed in the form of it, viz., ' that I 
may be saved,' or, ' that I might be justified,' that speech of Christ's shews 
(although spoken to Pharisees, and yet spoken of the contrary act of un- 
belief in them, and so as the contrary illustrates wherein the spirit of true 
faith lies), ' Ye will not come to me that ye might have life,' John v. 40 ; 
that is, you will not believe, which is a coming to me with that intention 
to have life from me ; which all those whom I save do put forth and 
exercise towards me, and do come unto me for ; but these proud justiciaries 
did scorn to do it, and would not thus come. That particle ha, that, 
denotes out the end or aim which he is to take up, who would come to 
Christ, or believe on him savingly, and imports not only what is the event 
or consequent upon believing.- And as the sole aim of a soul in believing 
is, that he may be saved, so likewise God's will and intention in requiring 
faith is declared to be, that he that believes may have life, John vi., God's 
aim answering that of the believers. And again, that this is the aim and 
business of the soul in coming, Christ's invitation to come shews : Mat. 
xi. 28, &c, ' Come to me, ye that are heavy loaden, and I will give you 
rest ;' which promise in the last words doth at once speak to what their 
souls were burthened for the want of, and most of all desire, namely, rest ; 
and also guides and directs those souls with what they should intend and 
design in coming to obtain from him, even rest : ' And you shall find rest 
to your souls.' Now, as this act of coming with this intention, that I may 
have rest, doth and may well stand with a suspensive uncertainty, that I 
am the person, so it may and doth answer to the indefinite apprehension 
the understanding of such an one hath. The understanding tells him from 
the promise, that he may be the person whom God may justify ; then in 
correspondency, says the will, I do believe, or come to God and Christ, 
that I may be justified, and so he exactly comports with the indefiniteness 
of the promise as to his person ; for as that holds forth an it may be God 
will, &c, so the aim of his coming is, that he may be saved. And it is 
certain in experience, that with such a poor and slender it may be at the 
first, many a soul hath cast anchor within the veil blindfold (as seamen 
cast their anchors when yet they see not the earth at the bottom of the 
sea, or know that their anchor will take hold, nor yet know how to trail it 
or apply it certainly to that earth, so as to be able to say, it shall without 
peradventure fasten and take sure hold thereon, but a long time perhaps 
comes back to them again), and yet have in the end found a firm and sure 
holdfast in the heart of God and grace of Christ, to hang upon with the 
whole weight of their souls, the weight of their sins hanging upon them 
also, with all the pondus of them. 


That election-grace, and the immutability of God's counsel indefinitely proposed 
in the promises, is the object of faith. 

For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, 
he sware by himself, saying, Surely blessing 1 will bless thee, and multiply- 
ing I ivill multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he ob- 

IVU ut significat finem, non solum consequential^ — Brugensis in verba. 


tained the promise. For men verily swear by the greater ; and an oath for 
confirmation is to than an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more 
abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, 
confirmed it by an oath ; that by two immutable things, in which it itas 
impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled 
for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: which hope ire have as 
an anchor of the soul, both sure and sled fast, and which entereth into that 
within the ceil; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made 
an high priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedec. — Heb. VI. 13-20. 

The 11th verse begins an exhortation, whereof all that follows is the 
prosecution. The words of that verse are theso : ' We desire that every 
one of you do shew the same diligence, to the full assurance of hope unto 
the end.' Here are two things distinct : 1st, An exercise, and diligence ; 
2dly, This is directed towards the attainment of full assurance of hope 
unto the end ; which is somewhat parallel to that of Peter, 2d Epist. i. 10, 
1 Brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure.' To ex- 
hort them to all diligence, he lays before them the examples of the eminent 
saints that they had known in their times, — ver. 12, ' That ye be not sloth- 
ful,' — and refers unto using that diligence he speaks of: 'Be followers of 
them who through faith and patience inherit the promises ;' that is, that 
have got possession, and obtained, and have arrived unto eternal glory. 
And by patience, he doth not only mean patience in suffering, but con- 
stancy in well-doing, especially waiting by faith for the attainment of the 
promise, as patience is taken in Rom. ii. 7, ' Who by patient continuance 
in well-doing, seek for glory and immortality.' As for that other part, 
' the full assurance of hope unto the end, he begins at ver. 13, to pro- 
pound the example of Abraham more particularly and eminently, and shews 
how God, to assure him in his hope, did give him a promise and an oath, 
both which you have in ver. 13 ; that is, he arrived at the end of his days at 
the enjoyment and fulfilling of the promises, as those other saints he spake 
of, ver. 12, are said to have ' inherited the promises.' Some refer his 
obtaining the promise to what was in this life, in having Isaac given him, 
&c, and by having the comfort of it ever after while he lived. But he 
had obtained the promise of Isaac before this oath was given, and therefore 
it is rather to be understood to mean it after that oath given, upon his 
offering up Isaac, he having patiently endured to the end of his days, as 
his exhortation (verse 11), had said, that then he attained the full posses- 
sion of it. 

The assurance which was given to Abraham was the greatest that heaven 
could afford, a promise and an oath. I say the greatest, as, 1st, the 
apostle himself argues, ver. 16, if amongst men an oath, when they swear 
by God, that is greater than themselves, is of such authority, as it ends all 
strife, though men be liars, and may be supposed even in swearing to lie, 
yet an oath taken by God, or by their gods, whoever they be, is accounted 
so sacred, and of such authority, as all men rest in it, and there is an end 
of strife ; much more when God shall take an oath. This you have, ver. 
16, ' For men verily swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is 
to them an end of all strife.' For tha^ God himself should swear, the 
apostle says, ver. 18, that 'it was impossible for God to lie therein.' It 
cannot be supposed of him, though of men it may, so ver. 18. But, 2dly, 
Whom did God swear by ? He sware by himself: ver. 13, ' Because he 
could swear by no greater, he swear by himself;' he staked himself; as if 
he had said, I will cease to be God if I do not perform this. 


Tl e thing he sware to was to bless Abraham with all blessings, and that 
unto the end ; ' Surely blessing I will bless thee.' And if he sware by 
himself to perform this, then all the power in God, and long-suffering of 
God towards Abraham, were engaged to the uttermost to work upon Abra- 
ham's soul, and to bear with him effectually to attain this. And whereas 
those that should read but hitherto what Paul said of the oath to Abraham, 
would expect of Paul he should declare how this oath did concern those 
whom he exhorted, or otherwise it had been in vain, and an example not 
applicable to his purpose, which was to exhort them to the ' full assurance 
of hope unto the end,' such as Abraham had. And whereas, because it 
was a voice from heaven, they might think that this was singular and 
proper to Abraham alone, he therefore proceeds in the 17th and 18th verses 
to apply it to them to whom he wrote, to all the heirs of promise and sal- 
vation, and together therewith expounds what was the matter intended in 
the oath and promise. Thus he applies it in these words : ver. 17, 
' Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise 
the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath.' (1.) Observe 
that word, ver. 17, ' wherein God willing,' &c. ' Wherein,' or in which 
oath and promise he had spoken of before. (2.) It is made to the ' heirs 
of pi*omise,' and therefore to all that are heirs with him, which all that are 
Christ's are said to be : Gal. iii. 29, ' And if ye be Christ's, then are you 
Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.' (3.) In verse 18 he 
shews the intent of the oath to be, that we all do believe that have the faith 
of Abraham ; which faith he doth describe by such acts and terms as might 
include the weakest of believers, unto tbat end that all such might have 
strong consolation. So as we are to look upon Abraham in this manner of 
dispensation (though it was so singular an example in him) to him per- 
sonally, as that he therein was, Rom. iv. 16, ' the father of us all.' As in 
the case of imputation of righteousness by faith, it is said in the same Rom. 
iv. 22-21, ' It was imputed to him for righteousness. Now, it was not 
written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him ; but for us all, to 
whom it shall be imputed,' &c. And indeed this is held forth in the very 
promise which was then given him, and which the oath confirmed. The 
promise is in Heb. vi. 14, ' Surely blessing I will bless thee.' Now in 
Gal. iii. 14 the same blessing that was given to Abraham is said to ' come 
on the Gentiles that were after to believe ;' and so, in blessing Abraham, 
he blessed us all that are heirs of promise ; and we have the same promise 
with him and them. For in the latter part of the promise, ' In multiplying 
I will multiply thee,' all the spiritual seed are included. ' In multiplying 
I will multiply thy seed,' or all seed to thee, says God, Gen. xxii., which 
were the spiritual seed, heirs of promise of salvation with him, and children 
of the promise with his Isaac, Rom. ix. 7, 8. 

Let us next consider what is the matter of that promise and oath. 1st, 
in the letter of it, it is to bless him and us with « all spiritual blessings in 
heavenly things,' imported in this doubling the words, ' In blessing I will 
bless thee,' and so thy seed. I will bless thee with faith, with holiness, 
with perseverance to the end, and salvation at the end. But, 2dly, the 
apostle brings forth a deeper and higher matter that this oath and promise 
did intend, and that is, the immutability of his counsel confirming the pro- 
mise by an oath. So, then, his own counsels about Abraham's salvation, 
and of us all, are the same kind of decrees for the salvation of us all that 
was for Abraham's. 

1. If you ask what is meant by his counsel here, I answer, it is his 
everlasting decrees and purposes taken up within himself concerning Ab- 

Chap. V.] of justifying faith. 237 

raham's salvation, and of us all; and it is the same kind of decrees for the 
salvation of us all that was for Abraham's.* 

1st. I say God's decrees and resolute determinations concerning our 
salvation are imported by the word counsel. Concerning Jesus Christ to 
be crucified the apostle utters himself thus, Acts iv. 28, that the Jews did 
but ' whatsoever God's hand and counsel determined before to be done.' 
His counsels, then, are his determinations and purposes. 

And, 2dly, they are his purposes within himself, and so differ from a 
promise. A promise made, is God's outward declaration to do so and so 
for us, but his counsel are his purposes within himself, decreeing so and 
so, as in Eph. i. 9, and v. 11, compared. 

3dly. His counsel imports these his purposes which have been from 
everlasting : Acts iv. 28, ' What thy counsel determined to be done afore- 
hand.' Aud so it imports the same that foreknowledge doth, which in 
matter of our salvation is said to have been before the world began. And 
what other is this counsel of his in matter of Abraham's and our salvation, 
but the very same we find Eph. i. 3, 4, 9, and ver. 11? ' Blessed be the 
God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all 
spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, according as he hath 
chosen us in him before the foundation of the world ; in whom also we have 
obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of 
him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.' What is 
the counsel of God here, is election and predestination there. 

2. As his counsel shews it to be his electing love and purposes, so the 
oath shews these to be immutably fixed and pitched, and that to shew forth 
the immutability of the promise the oath was given, as verse 17 of my text 
imports. God's oath shews an unchangeableness ; not a peremptoriness 
only, but an irreversibleness, and that the matter sworn to shall never be 
recalled. Therefore, in Psalm lxxxix., when God mentions his oath to 
David, the t}"pe of Christ, and to his spiritual seed (the same that was here 
made to Abraham's seed), says God there, in the 35th and 3Gth verses, 
' Once have I sworn by my holiness, that I will not lie unto David, his 
seed shall endure for ever.' Ver. 34, ' My covenant will I not break, nor 
alter the thing that is gone out of my lips;' it having been thus confirmed 
by an oath. Our divines have generally owned this notion, and from 
thence, in the case of our redemption by Christ, that he should suffer in 
our stead, have observed that all God's threatenings of the law (as the law 
itself also) was given without an oath added, and that so God might dis- 
pense with any commination or exchange of the persons threatened, and 
put Christ in their stead; for all those threatenings were without an oath. 
For if they had had an oath annexed to them, we had been everlastingly 
undone and lost, and Christ's redemption would not have saved us. But 
now the gospel coming, and promises thereof, because God intended them 
with an immutability, he hath therefore confirmed them by an oath, Heb. 
vii. 21. Those priests, viz., of the law, verse 19, were made without an 
oath, and therefore were changeable ; as, verse 12, he says both law and 
priesthood were to be changed, because made and given without an oath; 
but this with an oath, and an oath irreversible, ' by him that said unto 
him,' — unto Christ, namely, — ' The Lord sware, and will not repent, thou 

* Jacobus Capellus doth analyse the matter of these 17th and 18th verses. Cujus 
duo sunt prsecipua capita. 1. Qucrnam eleetionis! ostendere hceredibus salutis, ii sunt 
electi. Immutabilitatem, quam sit firraum et immutabile suum prsedestinationis de- 
cretum, Consilii sui secundum electionem scilicet. — Capellus in verba. 


art a priest for ever.' Where he gives an oath, he will never repent, rior 
make alteration of it, viz., of what he hath sworn unto. 

3. I add, that such an oath is absolute ; and though there are qualifica- 
tions that God will work, which are necessary to our salvation, and unto 
the complete performance of the oath, yet these conditions God supposes 
and includes in the oath, and by the oath undertakes to work them, and 
effect them in us. When, therefore, God took this oath concerning Abra- 
ham's blessing, ' I blessing will bless thee,' &c. (which also takes in the 
salvation of all the spiritual seed), God did absolutely swear and undertake 
to perform and accomplish it, and to that end, withal, to give all these 
qualifications requisite to the full performance. God doth not swear by 
halves in it, but to do the whole as to Abraham and our salvations. Why, 
now, I appeal unto all sober spirits tbat will consider things, whether they 
will or dare say that God should make an oath for Abraham's salvation, 
when yet, according to the principles of free-will grace, as they state it, 
the performance of this oath must depend upon Abraham's will, and to the 
end of his days, and his will must cast the issue of it, and God would only 
have been to give him such assistance as he should have a power to do so 
and so. It was Abraham's will that must have cast the event, which is so 
mutable and changeable as any of ours is, or can be supposed to be. Can 
we think that God, in swearing that he would save Abraham, and bring 
him to obtain the blessing, as the phrase is here, should depend upon the 
mutability of such a man's will ? He was to live many days after this ; 
and if God in his oath had not undertaken to carry on his will effectually 
and invincibly, as well as to save him in the end, if he went on to will, 
there is a supposition and a possibility that his oath might have failed, and 
that God should have taken his own name in vain. I might say the like 
concerning Isaac, who was included in the oath, who was a young man at 
this time, he being the first of the seed, the pattern of the rest. He was 
included in the seed absolutely, and God's promise was absolute, as to give 
him Isaac, so to continue Isaac, that his covenant might continue with him 
for ever as it was. And do we think that God would betrust an oath, such 
an oath, as to cease to be God if it were not performed, upon any creature's 
will ? What though they suppose he should foreknow certainly their wills 
would hold out unto the end, yet, would God honour a creature's will, so 
mutable a thing as they say it is, as to venture and pawn an oath upon it, 
and swear for their salvation in this manner, so as to say, If Abraham be 
not faithful Abraham to the end, I will not be God ? Do you think that 
God would debase himself so much, if that the keeping Abraham and Isaac, 
and by consequence us all unto the end, had not depended upon his will, 
so as to overcome and carry on theirs and ours infallibly unto the end ? 
If God sware by himself, then certainly he sware by all himself, and will 
therefore put forth all in himself to the utmost whereby to make good his 
oath ; and therefore his will and power to the utmost whereby to make 
good his own word, nay, to make good himself. Their principles put God 
upon these straits, that though God will vouchsafe such means and helps 
as by the laws of free-will-grace they say he doth use, yet if the will of 
Abraham in the freedom of it, or of any or of all the saints, shall be defi- 
cient on its part, then God cannot save him, for he hath tied himself up 
unto the principles of the liberty in the will, to act or not to act, according 
to its innate liberty, and so according to this principle he should swear by 
his holy self to work what he is not able to work, nor can undertake to 
work. It may be objected, that something in Abraham was made the 
cause of that oath : vtr. 16, ' By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord ; for 

Chap. V.J of justifying faith. 239 

because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thy only 
Bon ;- that in blessing I will bless thee.' And therefore it was not an irre- 
spective or an absolute oath, but founded upon an act of Abraham's. 1st, 
I answer in general, the papists, as Pereriug,* would draw this particle 
because, set before the promise and oath, ver. 17, and then again 
repeated, ver. 18, and put after the oath, to favour their merits. And 
truly the force of those particles will as soon, yea, rather make for their 
merits, than for God's having in his decrees had a simple fore-respect unto 
this famous act of Abraham's obedience as foreseen, and upon the fore- 
sight of which he should have thus immutably resolved and taken up such 
a purpose in his decrees ; but it will serve the turn of neither. 

1. Because the promise or matter sworn unto was given to Abraham 
long before this his high act of obedience, and therefore it cannot be the 
merit of this obedience, nor yet could the foresight of this obedience after 
to come any way be the ground of making that promise ; for it is the pro- 
mise that contains the matter of the oath sworn to. Now God long before 
this oath gave the same promise to Abraham without an oath, which here 
he confirms with an oath : Gen. xii. 2, ' I will bless thee, and thou shalt 
be a blessing; and in thee,' that is, in thy seed, as here, Gen. xxii., 'shall 
all the families of the earth be blessed ; ' as here in Heb. vi. it is said, 
' all the nations,' &c. ; and the same again is in Gen. xviii. 17, 18. And 
the apostle also, Heb. vi., affirms the same, by saying that the promise had 
testified the same thing that this oath did, and that the oath was but a 
confirmation thereof. If indeed the promise had been but now first given 
upon his obedience, there might have been some colour for merit, or a 
respective decree, but so it was not. And it is inconsistent to think a 
promise declared a long time before should be in respect unto an act that 
was to come after ; for it must be something that had at that present been 
performed by Abraham, upon which, as foreseen, if anything foreseen had 
been the ground of it, the promise should have been declared. For it 
being so that at the giving of the promise he was actually and indubitately 
estated thereinto, and possessed of it, it therefore must have been some 
present or former act of obedience, upon the respect of which, if any such 
respect had been, the promise should have begun to be uttered to him. 
Now in that Gen. xii., those promises are said to have been given him at, 
and together with, God's first command and invitement of him to go out of 
his own country, and as antecedent to any act of obedience first put forth by 
him. Thus we have the account in ver. 1-3, ' Now the Lord had said unto 
Abraham, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy 
father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee : and I will make of thee a 
great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt 
be a blessing : and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him tbat 
curseth thee : and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.' 
There you have the promises and the date of them ; and then his obedience 
follows after as the effect of those promises uttered to him, and moving his 
heart thereunto. Thus expressly, ver. 4, it follows, ' So Abraham departed, 
as the Lord had spoken to him,' &c. So that of the two, it must be said 
that Abraham had rather an eye and respect unto the promises first given 
absolutely unto him, than that God had a respect unto Abraham's obe- 
dience foreseen, and that he did thereupon declare them. And it will 
remain that God's eternal counsels had first resolved to do such and such 

* Cum sit cansale, et denotat causam meritoriam, non obscure significatur, 
Abrahamum egregio illo facto, meruissc ut sibi tales proraissiones a Deo darentur. 
— Pererius in verba. 


things for Abraham out of mere grace, and from thence put them into 
promises, and uttered them to Abraham without mention of respective 
conditions upon which he should give forth these promises, as foreseeing 
Abraham would do so or so, and those promises drew his heart to that 
obedience upon the manifestation of them. 

But, 2, although we grant that these promises and this oath after them 
might have been given with a respect unto some former or present act of 
obedience, yet still the decree or counsel that determined to give those 
things promised, might still be, yea, and was, absolute ; that is, without 
respect to those acts. Even as a father may and doth often absolutely 
resolve within himself to give such and such good things to his child, and 
yet defers giving the promise of them to him until such or such an act or 
acts of obedience are performed by him ; and then in giving the promise of 
them professeth an high approbation of that obedience, and as a gratifica- 
tion or remuneration of it to him, makes the promise, although the counsel 
and determination of it in his heart had been absolute. And so indeed in 
substance and effect the apostle speaks here, that both the promise and 
oath 'were but to shew or declare the immutability of his counsel and 
absolute determination taken up before, so as still the decree and the 
immutability of it was fixed first, and God did but by these utter and 
declare it. It was not his oath made his counsel for the future immutable, 
but his counsel being immutable, he did by his oath shew it, and gave 
demonstration thereof. 

3. That singular obedience was the occasion of the oath, as Kivet speaks. 
' By myself have I sworn it,' says God ; ' because thou hast done this, and 
hast not withheld,' &c. But it was the immutability of his counsel that 
was the supreme cause why Abraham did that thing. It was that which 
was the cause of that obedience in Abraham, and of the oath and all ; and 
if he had not been greatly strengthened by the promise before given, which 
had absolutely declared and shewn what his counsel was, Abraham had 
never arrived at so high an act of gracious obedience as this was. 

Nor, 4, would God for one singular act of obedience have sworn then 
his perpetual perseverance, which was to consist in so many other acts of 
grace to succeed for so many years yet to come till after Abraham's death, 
had not his own grace immutably decreed it first, and therefore it was that 
he did not stick to make declaration of it by an oath irreversibly, which if 
it had been left to Abraham's will, only assisted with power to persevere or 
not to persevere (as it is said of all other believers by the Arminians, that 
so they are left), God would never have ventured an oath thus. 

But, 5, what he sware to Abraham here therein did God in person swear 
to all Abraham's seed, the heirs of promise with him, whosoever they be, 
and therefore their salvation and perseverance is as sure as Abraham's, 
though they never do or did perform any such high act of self-denial as 
Abraham here did. And therefore this must wholly flow from the immuta- 
bility of God's counsel both towards Abraham and them all alike, or else 
Abraham had this promised him upon more hard and higher, yea, unnatural 
terms than the rest have. 

The corollary which I infer from hence is, that the promises of Abraham's 
salvation and ours are but extracts, transcripts of God's everlasting decrees 
concerning man's salvation. His counsels within himself are the original, 
and those are the types. The matter of the promises are the decrees of 
election. Promises are but God's inward counsels put into words and into 
writing ; as when a man makes his will which he had contrived within 
himself, he sets it down, and seals or swears to it before witnesses. Or 


promises are but tho expressions of election, but concerning persons and 
things only. There is this differing case between the caso of Abraham and 
Isaac in this particular, that the person of Abraham by name was expressed 
in tho promise made of them. But tho promises mado of the rest of the 
seed are as to persons made indefinitely, concerning whom the persons are 
not named, but yet intending them very persons, and them only, and 
therefore they are called children of promise as well and as much as Isaac 
was. And in that place Isaac is called a child of promise as he was an 
elect child of God, and declared by promise so to be, to prove election, 
which is the subject of that chapter ; and first Isaac, then Jacob's instance 
brought for the proof of it. 

It is next to be considered, how doth this oath, as to tho matter of it, 
belong to us ? 

1st. It doth, re ipsa, in the nature of the thing, belong to us as well 
as to Abraham, and our salvation is sworn to as well as Abraham's, 
and therefore it is made sure, whether we have attained the assurance of 
it or no, if we be true believers. And indeed I desire my salvation to be 
no surer than Abraham's was, and it is as sure by this oath as his was. 

2. Yet it tends to the same end that it was made for to Abraham, which 
was for the confirmation of him in his faith, and to us to give ' assurance 
of hope,' Heb. vi. 11, for that is the head of this discourse, and he carries 
it along in his eye, ver. 17, to give a strong consolation ; even as it served 
to give Abraham assurance, so it serves to give us. 

As for observations upon this oath as it relates to us, and Abraham's 
example therein in the tendency of it to give us assurance, I would consider 
this oath two ways. 

(1.) In the matter of it, as it is to be made use of by all believers as a 
ground for them to attain assurance by. 

(2.) In the circumstances of it, as by the story it appears it was personal 
and singly given to Abraham, and God's dealings with him in doing of it 
are to be considered, which are not common to all believers, but yet hold 
some parallel with God's dispensations to some eminent saints in the New 
Testament, as in relation to his giving assurance to them as he gave to 

My observation upon the oath in the matter of it, as it is common to all, 
is this, that the immutability of God's counsel in his electing grace doth 
in the whole of it lie as a fit object to all believers, even the weakest, so as 
it is not only warrantable for them to have recourse to it, and apply it to 
themselves, but it is their duty. I shall prove and explain this by parts. 

1. That it belongs to all believers, we have shewed before from ver. 17 
and 18. But, 

2. That which I observe for this purpose is, that his scope was to relieve 
even the weakest. Do but observe how, ver. 18, when he describes 
believers, his description of them is such as includes the weakest, and such 
as have not attained a faith of assurance but of recumbency, although the 
faith of those that have assurance may be included in that description. 
Yea, in the general it may be observed in that verse, that he speaks of conso- 
lation, and ' strong consolation,' as of a thing which yet might be obtained, 
as distinct from the faith which he doth describe, for so the words run. 
He speaks of their consolation as of a thing which they might have for the 
future. But the faith which he describes is that which in the time past 
all those had already attained, and might now attain to this strong conso- 
lation, so that their strong consolation is a distinct thing from their first 
faith exercised at conversion ; and he chooseth to decipher all believers by 



the acts that were at first, though continued still, that so he might be sure 
to include all the seed. But let us examine every word whereby he doth 
describe their faith, and it will be found to be such as I have said, and 
which the weakest, even they that want assurance, have. 

1st. His first expression, ' We that have fled for refuge.' This speaks 
the very heart and condition of one who at first begun to believe, and doth 
not necessarily import assurance that be is saved, or that he shall certainly 
be saved. For it speaks but his running and flying for refuge and shelter 
to be saved. And, as I said, it speaks the very heart and condition of such 
a man at that time, and in his first act of believing (though he exerciseth 
it all his life, whether with assurance or without it), but his condition at 
first is that which this holds forth. (1.) He hath a sense of present 
danger, and that the extremest, as a man in danger of death by reason of 
his own sins that come upon him, together with an apprehension that the 
wrath of God abideth on him in the estate he hath thereunto continued in; 
and so (2.) flies out of, and from that condition (and that word imports a 
terminus d quo) or, if you will, he flies d Deo irato, from an angry God (or 
from out of that dominion wherein there remains nothing but wrath to him, 
if he continue therein), unto a God of grace, and his dominion of grace in 
and through Christ, as the Scripture expresseth it, Bom. v. and vi. And 
this his then condition, and this act of flying for refuge thereupon, doth not 
necessarily contain in it assurance of being saved, &c, but only a hope 
that he may be saved from the wrath to come, even as coming to Christ 
imports a believing on Christ that we may be saved (as Christ speaks when 
he says, ' Come unto me, that ye may have life'), as also a believing on 
Christ that we may be justified, as the apostle's speech is, which imports 
not a knowledge that we are justified or that we have life. And thus much 
the metaphor here barely insinuates, whether it be taken for one that is in 
danger of his life, and seeks to save it by flying to another dominion, or to 
a privilege place, as the murderer fled to the city of refuge, Num. xxxv., 
not as then knowing he should be able to arrive thither, or whether the 
gates would be set open to him ; or whether it be taken for such a flight 
as that of Joab to the horns of the altar. And all we believers may from 
our experience well know that the first acts of faith at conversion, and per- 
haps for a long while after, were but such as these ; and yet we can all say, 
we, seeing our lost condition, have fled for refuge, all of us. 

2dly. If we consider what it is to lay hold on the hope set before us, the 
question here may be about the word hope, whether the thing hoped for 
should be that intended, or the hope which out of the gospel offers itself 
to, and riseth up in and to a man's own heart and apprehensions from 
what is in and out of the revelation of grace maJe therein. And thus we 
may take hope for the grounds thereof set before the soul in the gospel, 
together with the hopes which they beget in men's hearts upon the revela- 
tion of them, that the salvation spoken of may be theirs, and he or they 
may be the person that shall obtain it. This I find to be the sense of 
Calvin,* and of the most considerative late interpreters; and my main 
reason (as theirs also seems to be) is, that in the next verse he says, 
1 Which hope we have as an anchor,' &c. Now the hope there compared 
to the anchor of the soul must be the hope which a man hath in his own 
heart for himself to obtain it, and it cannot agree to the object of hope or 
thing hoped for, since the things hoped for are such for which this anchor is 

* Certe in vocabulo spei est metonymia, effectus pro causa accipitur : Ego pro- 
migsionem intelligo cui spes innitifur ; nequo enini iis asscntior qui speru accipiunt 
pro re sperata. — Calvin in verba. Thus also Cameron, Jacobus Capellus, Gomarus. 

Chap. V.] of justifying faith. 248 

cast into within the veil. And I add not simply the act of hope in our 
hearts, but withal the grounds of that hope, as arising from out of the 
revelation of the gospel ; or as Calvin cloth most aptly express it, coufidendi 
maUriam, the matter of hoping, there being in the word hope, as he says, 
a metonymy of the effect for the cause, and so the promise on which hope 
bears up itself and is grounded, is connotated in that word hope. So then 
I expound the words thus, that to a man truly a-working upon by the Spirit 
of God, the same Spirit (as he is a Spirit of faith to him) doth begin to raise 
up in his heart a hope, from some declarations or other in the gospel about 
the grace of God, and the intent of Christ coming into the world, and the 
tenor of such promises laying forth this before him, that there is an hope 
for him that he maybe saved, notwithstanding his sinful condition; as it 
is said, ' There is hope in Israel concerning this thing.' And he is said to 
' lay hold on this hope,' which the Spirit of God hath thus raised up to 
him and in him, as a man is said to lay hold on the hopes of such a pre- 
ferment, which the intimations of the person in whose power it is set before 
him, and he resolves not to let slip the opportunity of it, but to put in and 
seek it with all his might. So here this believer lays hold fast upon the 
hopes that have been begotten in him, and the grounds thereof, and will 
not cast them away, but holds them fast, and that strongly too (as the 
word signifies) with all his might, and he will not at any hand forsake 
those mercies which he hopes may be his own. Hope is taken here, as 
Cameron would have it, in opposition to an utter despondency, whereby a 
man doth cast away all hope, and lets all go ; as they in the prophet, who 
said, ' there is no hope.' Now then this also does not necessarily speak 
full assurance, but a faith rather that wants it. For, 

1. Because that is barely and simply called hope, with distinction from 
full ' assurance of hope,' in ver. 11. Here is the hope of the recumbent 
expressed, but there the hope of one fully ascertained and insured. And, 
again, this hope is distinct from ' consolation' in the same ver. 18; and 
hope thus singly taken in this distinction (ver. 11), speaks a lower matter 
than assurance, and we use, in ordinary phrase, to say of a matter we are 
not fully certain of, I hope well. Under the Old Testament, when assur- 
ance was so rare a thing, for they were generally under bondage, their faith 
was expressed by this, ' those that hope in his mercy.' I observe there is 
hope, as it is in us sometimes single and simply said, and there is a good 
hope, which is rising up to some degrees of assurance ; and in all languages, 
when we would express hopes that are exceeding promising, we call them 
good hopes when yet we are not sure ; and this word we have, 2 Thes. ii. 
16, ' Now our Lord Jesus Christ, and God, even our Father, which hath 
loved, and given us everlasting consolation, and given us good hopes through 
grace, comfort your hearts ;' that is, more and more, with further degrees. 
And that consolation which is already vouchsafed, but under good hopes, 
is yet called ' everlasting,' because it is such as will not (finally) be taken 
from us, though suffering many interruptions at present. The consolation 
under such good hope is everlasting consolation, but it riseth not up to 
strong consolation, which the apostle says they may here attain, and which 
those that have an anchor that holds fast may yet want. 

2. This hope is said to be set before them to lay hold on, because the 
groundwork and foundation is in the promises, and the things declared in 
the gospel, which give the heart this hope for its own salvation ; as, for 
example, the promise being indefinitely expressed concerning some, and 
that there is a seed shall be made partakers of it, and that Christ died for 
sinners ; by such promises as these indefinitely expressed doth the Spirit 


of God work a hope in the heart of the weakest believer, and causes the 
heart to think with itself, why may not I be the man that shall obtain ? 
And from such expressions set before us, the heart doth gather itself up 
into hope, and by the power of God lays hold on them in such gospel- 
manifestations that may give it hope. As to Benhadad's servants, a word, 
though afar off, did give them hope concerning the life of their master, and 
they laid hold upon it ; and, says the soul, take away this hope and you 
take away my life. The devil comes and persuades a man to cast it away ; 
but, says the soul, I have laid hold on it, and I will never let it go ; I will 
hold it and keep it, and hold to it. And though neither of these words, 
either of • laying hold,' or that it is said to be • set before us,' do express 
that we have possession of it, or apprehensions that it is ours already, but 
that we view it before us ; and likewise the word to lay hold, or to retain 
so fast as I will not let it go, is short from being a persuasion that it is 
already mine, but argues indeed that I would have it mine, and therefore 
lay hold upon it, and seek it that it may be mine, and that I would keep it 
for mine, yet with hopes it shall never be taken away. 

3. That similitude of an anchor, though it would seem to express an 
assurance of hope, in that it is called ' sure and stedfast,' is more inclining 
to express the hope of a recumbent, than assurance of hope ; for he that 
casts anchor, casts anchor in the dark, blindfold as it were, in the bottom 
of the sea. It expresses a pure act of faith, joined with hope, of what a 
man sees not, and it is usually cast in extremities, just as when a man 
fears he may be cast away, knows not but he may ; and when he casts it, 
he knows not whether it will take hold of the ground or no ; and sometimes 
it comes back again. And whereas it is said, it is an anchor sure and sted- 
fast, it follows not that he speaks in respect of a man's own apprehension, 
but it is so re ipsa, in the nature of the thing itself, through God that 
secretly strengthens it. That weak hope which a poor believer hath doth 
stay it, and but stay it, as a ship in a storm, that it shall not split upon 
rocks of despair. God makes a mere it may be, and who knows but that 
God will be merciful to a man, which is as slender a hope as may be, and 
as a weak straw for holding the heart in a great extremity of temptation, 
and yet God makes it as strong to hold the heart that it shall not sink or 
be cast away, as the strongest cable that is. It is sure, because it breaks 
not, snaps not asunder, as the ropes of the anchor use to do ; and it is 
stedfast, because where it hath took hold, there it sticks, and holds the will 
as firm to cleave to God that he will not let him go till he bless him and 
assure him, when the assurance in the understanding of the party, that God 
will certainly save him, may be fluctuating, and in that respect his soul be 
cast up and down, and ready to sink, and that in the storms of doublings to 
the contrary. Therefore it doth not necessarily imply fulness of assurance. 


How absolute election and absolute promises are the ground of faith of recum- 

The ground of all faith is an expression of God in his word, which is 
either a command or a promise. Now the grounds of justifying faith are 
accordingly the promises of justification and salvation by Christ contained 
in the word, and the command of God to rest on them for their salvation. 
Now that which I would establish is this, that indefinite promises may be, 

Chap. VI.] of justifying faith. 245 

and are sufficient ground to draw tho heart in to believe. By indefinite 
promises I understand such as are not made universally to all men, as some 
would have the promises run, as that God hath loved all, and Christ died 
for all ; nor such as particularly design out the persons that shall be saved, 
or arc intended (as conditional promises do, and the promise first made to 
Abraham personally did design out himself as intended) ; but they are 
called indefinite, because they mention that only some of the sons of men 
are intended by God, not all, and that without mentioning particularly or 
personally who those persons are ; so as they are not indefinite as leaving 
the thing promised uncertain, for salvation is absolutely pronounced unto 
some of the sons of men, but only because they design not the persons who 
are certainly intended. Such are those promises, ' Christ came into the 
world to save sinners,' ' God was in Christ reconciling the world,' which is 
made the matter of the gospel's ministry ; and though the promulgation of 
this bo made to all men — ' Preach the gospel to every creature' — yet this 
is not the gospel to be preached, that God hath promised to save every 
creature, though, upon this promulgation of them, it becomes the duty of 
every one to come to Christ, and a command is laid on men to do it. Now 
a soul that is newly humbled looks out for a promise upon which he may 
come to Christ. He cannot rest on promises conditional, for he sees no 
qualifications of faith or any grace in himself. It is true, says that soul, 
' he that believeth shall be saved,' but I am now to begin to believe, and 
have not faith yet ; and what ground will you give me of believing ? For 
this there is no answer, but to lay such promises before him : • God so 
loved the world, that he gave his only Son,' ' Christ came into the world 
to save sinners,' &c. But how, will the soul say, should I know I am one ? 
That, I say, all the world cannot yet assure thee of ; no promise is so 
general as certainly to include thee, none so certain as to design thee. How 
then ? says the soul. Say I, they are all indefinite, and exclude thee not ; 
they leave thee with an it may be thou mayest be the man ; and it is certain 
some shall be saved, and there is nothing in thee shuts thee out, for God 
hath and will save such as thou art, and he may intend thee. As therefore 
there is in such promises a certainty of the thing promised, that it shall be 
made good to some, so there is an indefiniteness to whom, with a full 
liberty that it may be to thee. Now if the heart answer but the promise, 
two things are begotten in it. 

1. An assurance of the thing promised, that the promise is as true as 
that God is, which is the assurance James requires, chap. i. 

2. But then, concerning the party's own interest that is to believe, the 
soul is not assured, nor can be, that he is one intended, till he hath indeed 
believed ; but the indefiniteness of the promise begets only an hopefulness 
that he may be intended, and that is all that can be required of such a soul, 
and enough to draw forth (if his assent be spiritual) true acts of justifying 
faith, of trusting, waiting, coming to Christ, &c, which when the command 
shall also back and urge him in particular unto it, and make it a necessary 
duty to him, though yet he knows not certainly he shall be accepted, all 
this serves to draw him on to faith, through the power of the Spirit accom- 
panying both. 

Now that such indefinite promises, backed with the command, are 
grounds sufficient enough to draw on such acts of faith, there are these 
proofs : 

1. We have the first in Heb. iv. 11, ' Let us labour therefore to enter 
into that rest, lest any man fall after the example of unbelief.' By enter- 
ing into rest there, he means faith : ver. 3, ' We who have believed do 


enter into rest.' It appears also from the opposition, when he says, 'Lest 
any fall after the example of unbelief;' so as he evidently exhorts unto 
faith. Now this exhortation, ' Let us therefore endeavour to enter in,' 
or truly to believe, and so take heed of a false faith, is an inference of 
something said before. Now what was it the apostle had mainly driven at 
in all his discourse before ? Even this, that there was a promise of rest, 
verse 1, and of a rest that remains for the people of God, ver. 9. More 
particularly, if you examine what promise this is upon which he exhorts to 
faith, it is expressed plainly in the 6th verse, ' Seeing it remains that some 
must enter into rest, let us therefore endeavour,' &c. This was not an univer- 
sal promise, that all men might enter in and be saved ; nay, it is the contrary, 
for this promise was fetched by the apostle out of an oath God had made 
against some that they should not enter in, for so it is in the 5th verse, ' If 
they shall enter into my rest.' It is such a promise as shews that some 
are excluded with an oath ; it is a promise that, in the letter of it, hath 
swearing in it that some shall not enter, and is but by implication or illa- 
tion a promise that some shall. It is indefinite, for he says, that only 
some must enter in, not naming who, but only speaks of some, and so 
leaves it, yet with a certainty of the thing promised unto some, in saying 
some must enter in. There is a must put upon it, that some shall and 
must. In the 9th verse he calls those for whom the rest remains, ' the 
people of God,' the elect, and yet upon this indefinite promise he exhorts 
every one. He says not only, ' Let us' (viz., all) ' endeavour to enter in,' 
but, verse 1, he says more expressly, ' Let us fear, lest, a promise being 
left' (or forsaken of us), ' any of you should come short of it.' So as 
though it is but an indefinite declaration of God's mind to save some, yet 
every one is bound to put in for it, and to take heed that not any one fall 

2. I shall prove this by reason. 1st, If the indefiniteness of God's 
mind declared concerning his intent of saving but some be not sufficient 
ground to faith, then all those divines whose judgments having been for 
particular election and reprobation, and so they must needs understand the 
mind of God's promises not to be universal, could never have come to have 
believed savingly, which would be too hard a censure. Since therefore the 
indefiniteness of the promise was the ground of their believing, this also 
may be ground sufficient to any man's faith. 

2dly, Faith in us is to be but answering unto, and conforming to the 
promise in the word ; and if it be, it may be true faith. Now there are 
promises in the word that speak but indefinitely, that speak but it may bes. 
Thus Moses propounds the promise to the people when they had sinned : 
' I will go to the Lord,' says he, ' peradventure I shall make an atonement 
for you.' Thus the Ninevites reason too : Jonah iii. 9, 10, ' Who knows 
but the Lord may be merciful ?' And yet this wrought repentance, as 
Christ tells us. So likewise speaks Joel, chap. ii. 13, 14, ' Turn unto the 
Lord, for he is gracious and merciful, and repenteth him of the evil ; who 
knows if he will return and repent ?' 

3dly, In temporal promises believers exercise true acts of faith, and it 
is required of them to believe about them ; and yet these promises are but 
indefinite, not absolute to their persons, though it is certain that God will 
perform them to some. Now, therefore, w 7 hy may it not be as well thus in 
matter of salvation ? 

4thly, Answerably the acts of faith themselves required of us, are suit- 
able to such promises. Trusting, and waiting, and coming to Christ, and 
casting one's self upon him, are the acts of application in our faith. Now 

Chap. VI. J of justifying faith. 247 

these arc indefinite acts of tho soul, i. c, which are and may bo performed 
when wo know not certainly that a thing shall be ours, or that we shall 
obtain it. They are often performed by men in other cases with the greatest 
venture that may be, as in Benhadad's servants, that put ropes about their 
necks, and sackcloth on their loins : ' Peradventure,' say they, ' he will savo 
our lives.' Thus men come to Christ, John vi. 37, when they know not 
but they may be cast out. Yea, such a submission is an act of faith, and 
hath its chief excrciso in case of not knowing that a man is certainly 

5thly, Where there is but a true hopefulness, thcro may be faith : 
1 Peter i. 21, ' That your faith and hope might be in God.' _ And to beget 
an hope, tho indefinite promises do serve sufficiently. This saying, that 
Christ died to save sinners, I not knowing but I may be one, may breed 
hope. If you had no promise, then indeed you were without hope : Eph. 
ii. 12, ' Without hope, without promise.' But where there is but a promise 
indefinitely revealed, there may hope be begotten ; and where hope is, there 
may and ought endeavours to be, and so an endeavouring to enter in and to 
believe ; when thou canst not say to the contrary, then ' there is hope con- 
cerning this thing,' Ezra x. 2. And if there be so, then there may be faith 
of recumbency, or trusting on Christ to perform it to me. 

6thly, Where love may be begotten, there may faith or trust also, for 
faith works by love ; but love may be begotten when there is not a cer- 
tainty that we shall obtain. How many fall in love that are taken with a 
person's excellency and beauty, and suitableness to them, though they have 
but little hope, no assurance they shall obtain the party's good will ! This 
we see daily in human experience, and why may it not be so in this case ? 
Yes, we see it to be in many that love God for his being good to sinners, 
&c, though they apprehend not certainly that he will be so to themselves. 
And if love to God is thus produced, why may not faith or trust be so be- 
gotten ? Yea, is not the purest and greatest trust shewn in putting one's 
self into the hands of a spirit whom we know to be noble, though we cer- 
tainly know not how he will deal with us ? 

7thly, The main thing that is in faith, and which draws on the heart to 
cleave to the goodness of the promise, is the sight of the things promised 
in their reality. Thus it appears through the whole 11th chapter of the 
Epistle to the Hebrews, that faith being the evidence of things not seen, 
they saw and were persuaded of them, and embraced the promises. Now, 
therefore, if there be but a spiritual sight, and assurance, and persuasion 
of the existence, and worth, and excellency of the things promised (as 
Christ's righteousness, justification, &c), though the assurance of the in- 
terest be wanting and be left but indefinite, this will cause the heart to 
venture all for them, and to rely on God, and come unto Christ, and this 
is enough. On the other side, if it were a truth that God intended and 
had promised to save all, and this were preached and believed, yet if men 
saw not the excellency of things promised, the persuasion of their interest 
would not move them. 

8thly, It is plain peevishness not to come in to Christ upon such in- 
definite promises. It is such an obstinate temper as was in them who 
would not believe unless he would come off the cross. Thus men will not 
come to him unless he will assure them by a general promise that all may 
be saved, and are intended, and so themselves particularly. It is as if 
men should say, We will not go to church, for there is not room for all ; 
and unless a church be built into which all may come, we will not stir. 
You do not so in case of advantage or preferment. Men use all endeavours 


for a place or a living which many put in for, and hut one can obtain it. 
' Though all run,' says the apostle, ' yet but one obtains ;' and yet the 
worth and glory of the thing moves, because it is a crown, 1 Cor. ix. 25. 
So why should it not be here ? Yea, if you be affected with tbe things 
themselves, you will be glad to venture. 

9thly, Upon such indefinite promises, it becomes a duty to come to 
Cbrist for life, and God may back such promises with a command justly, 
and therefore faith may be wrought, and men are to come in upon 
such promises. Many duties are commanded upon mere uncertainties. 
Thus the believing wife is commanded to stay with her husband, ' For 
what lmowest thou' (says the apostle, 1 Cor. vii. 1G), ' but thou mayest 
save thy husband ?' In like manner doth God command thee to go to 
Christ for salvation, although his promise holds forth but a what lmowest 
thou but thou mayest save thy soul ? and wilt thou not go to him ? So then, 
although the promise were but uncertain in respect of its performance to 
thee, yet it is certain that God commands thee upon this to go to Christ 
and trust on him, and give thy soul up to him ; and this command is 
not indefinite, but universal, and therefore a soul eyeing both hath full 
ground to come in. 

But yet let me add this, that together with the indefinite promise to 
save, God, where he works faith, conveys a secret hint, to the soul whom 
he draws to believe, of his mind, and good will, and inclination towards it. 
Christ doth some way or other break his mind to it, and God gives the 
heart a special ticket of favour from himself, over and above that indefinite 
revelation in the word, ere the soul will come at him, which is part of that 
teaching of the Father meant, John vi. 45, 46, ' He that hath heard and 
learned of the Father, comes unto me.' God whispers in a man's ear that 
which doth specially encourage him, and so Christ also doth by his Spirit. 
Thus it is said, John x. 3, that Christ ' calleth his own sheep by name, 
and they hear his voice.' The meaning is, that whereas there is a general 
invitation goes to men's ears to come to Christ, and a general indefinite 
proclamation, which all men living in the church do hear or may hear, — 
and this is the voice' of us ministers, and God's voice in and by us, — yet 
there is conveyed with this a secret voice, and private ticket, and impress 
on their hearts whom God means to save, of special mercy towards them ; 
which voice only his own sheep hear, whom also he is said to call by 
name, to shew it is thus particular, it being a special intimation, as if a 
man were called by name, as Cyrus was called by name; and as of 
Moses God says that he knew him by name, i. e., took special notice of 
him, so doth Christ of those whom he calls by name, and that makes 
them follow bim. And the want of this is given as the reason, John x. 
26, 27, why the Jews believed not, for Christ says they were * not his 
sheep;' and therefore, in the dispensing the promises, he did not thus 
speak to their hearts as to believers he did, for he adds, ' My sheep hear 
my voice' (the voice before mentioned), 'and I know them, and they 
follow me.' He brings this as the reason why he dispensed not that voice 
to them, and the want of that he assigns to be the cause why they believed 
not. And if you consider verse 16, it will appear that the reason they are 
not called his sheep, is not because they believe not already ; for there he 
calls those his sheep whom he had not yet brought in, ' whom yet I must 
bring in,' says he ; and how will he bring them in ? ' They shall hear my 
voice;' he will call them by name too, as he had done others. And there- 
fore (says he) this is the reason why you, being not of my sheep, believe 
not; for if you were, I would speak to your hearts, and cause you to hear 

Chap. VI. J of justifying faith. 210 

my voice, and to come in; which, bccanso I vouchsafe not to you, there- 
fore it is ye believe not. 

Now, concerning this secret hint or ticket given, which I make to be in 
faith, let me add this to prevent mistakes. I do not mean that it is always 
so loud a voice as shall quell and prevail against doubts in a man's sense, 
so as to triumph with assurance that Christ is his. No, that is not the 
extent of it ; for we should ' condemn a generation of righteous men,' if I 
or any other should teach so ; but it is such a special intimation as really 
gains the heart, and encourageth it to come to Christ, and carries it on 
against discouragements, and it doth the deed so prevalently, as that they 
follow Christ wherever ho goes, and will never leave him. To explain my 
meaning further, you must consider, that in the speaking of a Spirit in 
and to our spirit, though the voice be entertained, yet it is not always dis- 
tinctly discerned to be from another. Satan, when he works effectually on 
the children of disobedience, 2 Thes. ii. 9, 10, so as he makes them 
believe the lie of popery, yet their souls perceive not a voice of Satan dis- 
tinct from their own thoughts, for then they would not believe the error ; 
but their hearts close with the suggestions of the devil, and as soon as cast 
in they are entertained as their own thoughts, yet upon Satan's effectual 
working. Thus when the Spirit of Christ from Christ speaks the mind of 
Christ to the soul, to cause it to believe in him that is true, it follows not 
it should discern that voice distinct from its own thoughts in its own 
sense, but his own thoughts from it effectually entertain such an apprehen- 
sion so as to carry him on to Christ. And the reason is, because every 
thought in a spirit, such as a soul is, is a kind of speech ; it is called 
Xoyog, and therefore the very speeches of the Spirit cast in are often not 
discerned from the man's own. Thus if a man's ear did form sounds in 
itself, and voices in itself, then a secret whisper would not be discerned 
from its own noises, as a loud voice would be. There is a loud voice of 
the Holy Ghost coming as a witness to assure, and then he speaks so loud 
and so distinctly as a man discerns it to be distinct from his own spirit, 
and infallibly to be the voice of God ; and it is as if a voice from heaven 
should say, ' Thy sins are forgiven ' ; but this first voice of Christ in the 
extent of it being to carry the heart on to Christ, and not to assure it, 
therefore it is not always discerned as distinct, yet so as the heart is 
taught effectually this lesson, to go to Christ; and that other voice is 
therefore called a witness, because it hath relation to this hint given to 
put it out of question. It is like the secret scent a bloodhound hath 
gotten of the hart that is struck, when the master hath bade it go seek, 
which though he see not the hart, yet it carries him on till he find him 
out. So this secret voice of the Spirit, though it prevails not against 
doubts in a man's sense, yet it carries him on against discouragements, 
there being an impression of Christ's special inclinableness to it, which 
cannot be worn out by any temptation. 

Now, if this be in faith (as you see it is), then it is not an easy work; 
for, you see, Christ vouchsafes not this to all to whom the gospel is 
preached. He did not vouchsafe it to those Jews who heard the outward 
voice of his mouth as a minister of circumcision, and who believed not 
because they heard not his special voice, which he did not vouchsafe, 
because they were not of his own sheep. Can all the angels in heaven, or 
ministers on earth, procure this voice to you, or bring you news of it ? 
No ; and yet without it the heart makes not after Christ. And therefore 
Paul makes this to be the great difficulty to bring a natural man in to 
believe, because all his understanding cannot know God's mind in the 


word, unless the Spirit reveal it: ' Who knows the mind of a man, hut the 
spirit that is in him ? so nor doth any know the deep things of God, but 
his Spirit,' who is a privy counsellor, and is in his bosom. And therefore 
he concludes to shut nature out herein : ' Who hath known the mind of 
the Lord ? But we have the mind of Christ,' 1 Cor. ii. 16. 


How the faith of a believer should depend on electing grace for salvation. 

Though a believer views God's electing love, and depends on it for his 
salvation, yet he doth not so commit his soul to that one single act of God's 
choosing persons as so to rely on it that God having chosen men's persons 
on his part, they themselves should care to do nothing as on their parts. 
No; this is the highest degree of profaneness and contempt, and a per- 
verting of our whole Christian religion, and to bring in that of Simon 
Magus, and indeed the devil's divinity, for he was the most famous 
sorcerer in the world, Acts viii. 9-11. It was depths, as they themselves 
termed their doctrine; but the Holy Ghost, who penned the Epistle, 
animadverts upon it, and calls them depths, Rev. ii. 20, 24. The Gnostics 
took no other part of the Christian profession but that, ' By grace ye are 
saved,' and so left men unto a licentious liberty, which Peter speaks of: 
2 Peter ii. 19, 'Whilst they promise them' (i. e., their disciples) ' liberty, 
they themselves are the servants of corruption.' That was the latter part 
of their doctrine ; and Jude supplies the forepart in saying, verse 4, that 
they ' turned the grace of God unto lasciviousness.' And yet even this 
hath been affixed as a calumny upon them that profess the doctrine of 
irrespective election. I will therefore explain in these following particulars 
the true dependence of a believing soul upon electing love for salvation. 

1. A soul who hath begun to be wrought upon by ' tasting how good the 
Lord is' in his electing grace, or (as the apostle speaks, Col. i. 6) 'since 
the day he first heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth,' hath 
been affected with it, casts himself upon it to be saved. And so quick, 
and speedy, and operative was the power of God in the ministry of those 
first times, and to such a height did their convert hearers ascend, as to 
apply themselves unto a dependence on that grace for salvation. Where 
God hath thus begun it in us (and we cannot begin any good thing unless 
God himself begins), we may look toward his electing love. Nor is any 
man fit to look toward the grace of God in election, till God awaken him 
with the gracious knowledge of it, no more than a sinner not yet convinced 
of his sin by nature, and his being under the wrath of God for sin, will 
ever look after Christ as a Saviour. 

2. It is not my design to consider whether all saints, from their first 
conversion, know this grace of God in election, as that grace upon which 
salvation doth depend ; but whether sooner or later, as God pleaseth to dis- 
pense great discoveries of grace to him, and whenever his soul begins to 
take in the sense and savour of this grace, he should follow on with might 
and main in his inquest after it. Let him ' follow on to know the Lord ' 
and his grace, and God will ' rain down righteousness upon him,' as the 
prophet speaks in the psalmist's words. Let him ' follow hard after him,' 
where the words in the original are 'follow him behind;' i.e., if thou 
shouldst lose that sight of his face, and the taste that he is good begins to 
grow less and less in thy heart — yea, and he to try thee turns away his 

Chap. VII.] of justifying faitit. 251 

faco from thee, yea, and turns his back on thee, as offering to go away — 
then down on thy knees, and liko an importunate beggar follow him 
behind, and with the most vehement earnestness desire him to give theo 
his grace, and that manifestation of his face again, that overcame and took 
thy heart at the first, and then thou shalt be saved. 

8. Let such a soul be sure to look at and take all along with him the 
whole complex of God's methods and holy purposes and decrees of grace 
belonging to the doctrine of election. Now there are two sorts of decrees: 
the first is an act of absolute election of the persons that are elected unto 
salvation ; the other is of the means by which and through which God 
brings men junto salvation, who are in that manner elected. And both 
these are decreed with the same pcremptoriness as to the decreeing of each, 
and with like absoluteness indispensably ; so as no man ever was or will 
be saved without his diligent attendance to the decree of the means, as 
well as to that of his salvation, which is the decree of the end, as we call 
it. And the putting these two together doth pave the way of seeking God 
according to election complete. These two sorts of decrees we find dis- 
tinguished and stated to our hands : 2 Thess. ii. 13, ' God hath from the 
beginning chosen you,' namely, your persons, ' to salvation.' AVith that 
he begins ; and this is that election first mentioned, Eph. i. 4. And it is 
our foundation, that is, of our persons elected, and also of all things else 
(the means) decreed in order to our salvation ; and these two decrees are 
alike fixed, and made absolutely necessary to be attended to ; but the 
latter as subordinate, or rather subservient to the other, and ordained to 
accomplish and bring into effect that first original act, the election of our 
persons, by bringing us to that salvation which was ordained to us. And 
this decree of the means the apostle subjoins in those words, ' Through 
sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth,' that is, of the gospel, 
which in New Testament speech has that title, the truth, by way of emi- 
nency. Which true means are indeed no other than a true, saving, 
justifying faith, and holiness of heart, and new obedience. And these 
two, as they are the decreed means to bring us to that end of salvation, so 
they are parts or pieces of that salvation itself which we were chosen unto 
by the first decree, and which God has ordained, not as conditions of that 
original act, of which he had said before, he had ' chosen us from the 
beginning unto salvation.' Conditions they are not, in any sense, either 
of the Arminians, who would have a man acknowledge when he has truly 
believed that then he is actually elected, and not before (now, according to 
our doctrine, God chooses no man/o>- his faith, but unto faith, and through 
faith), or of those other divines that orthodoxly do hold election of persons, 
who do call them quasi conditions, but as it icere conditions, no more than 
a pepper-corn, if it be required as an acknowledgment of a rent-farm, 
which is the lowest diminutive term. But I am afraid to give it, lest it 
should diminish from the praise of the glory of God's free grace, and lest 
he should not brook it. 

There are two points which God is especially tender of : that of justifi- 
cation is the one, and his free grace in election is the other. But God is 
especially tender in point of election ; for that act is wholly within himself, 
wherein he has no creature to look on, but the ideas of us which himself 
hath formed and represents us to himself by. In which first act also 
within himself, his grace, the highest principle in him, assumes to himself 
the most sovereign absolute freedom. If you come to that point with him 
(and it is of that point he speaks it), God in his sovereignty proclaims, 
Rom. xi. 35, ' Whoever hath first given him, he shall be recompensed,' be 


it but a pepper-corn. I am afraid to diminish an hair from God in speak- 
ing what will have the sound or preference of the least such appearance in 
the point of justification. It is not the proud notion of merit only (though 
the primitive fathers used the word in a good sense, but our protestants 
have generally avoided it), but of works too, must be exploded. God loves 
not faith as a work, though it saves his children whom he loves, much less 
will he admit- it to be considered in election, which is a purely pure act of 
himself within himself. Besides, I cannot see that what is a part of salva- 
tion itself (at least the beginning of it) should have put upon it the nature 
of a condition. If a father should say, Marry my daughter, upon a con- 
dition that you marry her, I should think he at least speaks not so properly ; 
for to marry her is to have the person herself, and not the condition of 
having her. And whereas the Scripture says, ' Look unto me, all the ends 
of the earth, and be ye saved.' Looking (there) unto him is not the 
condition of being saved, but that whereby we are saved, and so ' he that 
believes hath eternal life.' Marrying a man's daughter (in the case men- 
tioned) is not a condition, but an essential ingredient into the constitutive 
nature of the thing, and the means of enjoying her person. 

Both the decree of, and production of the means decreed, is in Scripture 
expression termed the fruits which flow from his original decree of the 
election of the person, in the virtue of which God bestows them; and God's 
choice of the person is the cause of our performing them, according to that 
of the Psalmist, Ps. Ixv., 'Blessed is the man whom thou choosest' (there 
is the first decree, and then follows), ' and causest to approach unto thee.' 
So as the bestowing of these means which we are to observe and perform 
are seminally contained in the choice of the person, and in the love out of 
which he is chosen. Yea, the love that God bears to the person chosen is 
that which moveth God's heart to appoint the means, and then to work the 
means in the heart. Yea, further, this love moves God to the act of elec- 
tion itself, and is therefore the original grace of all grace, even as that we 
call original sin is the cause and matrix of all sin. Let no man therefore 
(this being the order of God's decrees) separate what God hath inseparably 
and unalterably joined. 

5. Hence, and above all, the principal object which I propose to your 
eye and pursuance is this love and grace which was and is in God's heart, 
and is that love which is the cause of all, but especially of working faith, 
and quickening at the first, and ever after, according to Eph. ii. 4-6 ; yea, 
this love and grace is the cause of election itself, and of all the fruits of it : 
Eph. ii. 4-6, 'But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith ho 
loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with 
Christ (by grace ye are saved) ; and hath raised us up together, and made us 
sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.' It hath been even his love 
from everlasting which hath done it, according to that in Jeremiah, chap, xxxi., 
' I have loved thee with an everlasting love.' Let the soul then infinitely 
admire that love, and possess his heart with all the royal and glorious pro- 
perties of it, as that it is free, absolute, unchangeable, everlasting, &c, as 
follows in those royal titles in which the Scriptures do array and present it 
to the sons of men ; and let him admire and adore that the great God 
should love so well his mere creatures, out of which love that absolute 
decree of election did then flow, and all those purposes concerning the 
means which that love all along continued unto a man's conversion, and 
doth then work, and put them into execution unto salvation itself (for this 
love is actus continuus, as the eternal generation of his Son is, and yet from 
everlasting both), so as at and before, yea, unto the very moment before a 


man's conversion, it is one and the same love for the substanco of it that 
at any time was or shall be ; and it is the same love which wrought con- 
version itself, and which works every good work in us that belongs unto 
salvation, though, according to the general rules of his own word, be hath 
obliged himself from discovering it any way, no, not to the men themselves, 
until that fulness of time bo come, appointed by his secret will, for every 
elect man's first conversion and calling ; and therefore this love is the prin- 
cipal principle and object, which is to be addressed unto and pleaded, 
and God plied with the utmost intenseness of a man's soul and earnest 
diligence, both for the manifestation of itself after conversion, and also to 
convert a man who is as yet to be converted ; and this I eminently propose 
to be noted in this seeking of God in the way of election ; and my proposal 
of it is for two uses or improvements of it in the matter of election. 

1st, That the soul may implore this love, and the grace of it, to manifest 
and discover itself unto the soul of the person by an intuitive light of the 
Spirit, joined with a word of promise, with an overpowering efficacy, as 
when in prayer God sometimes answers, ' Thou art a person so beloved !' 

2dly, That the soul may also wait with the most vehement expectations 
and longings (with a • neck stretched out,' as the apostle's word* is) how 
the work of God goes on in him, and how the discoveries of God's grace 
do rise and spring up in him unto a more perfect day. 

8dly, That the soul may humbly beseech that pure free love both to 
fulfil all and each of those designed graces and blessings decreed, together 
with that act of election, to fetch and dig out every grace thou wantest, or 
art deficient in, in the exercise thereof, and to draw it forth out of that full 
and inexhaustible mine of glory which is in God's grace : Phil. iv. 19, 
• God shall supply all your need according to the riches of his glory by 
Jesus Christ.' And the soul is to regard all and each of these as con- 
sequential fruits that spring from such a love, and were as peremptorily 
decreed to be in a subordination, as fruits of that great act of the election 
of persons. 

For a conclusion, let me but lay open the heart of one scripture: Col. i. 
5, 6, ' Whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, 
which is come unto you, as it is in all the world, and bringeth forth fruit, as 
it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God 
in truth.' The grace of God principally meant, ver. 6, is the grace of 
elective love, which is properly in God's heart toward us. But what 
should be meant by the grace of God made known by preaching by their 
faithful minister, and which, being known by them in truth, brought forth 
faith and love in them from the day they heard it ? The grace of God, as 
it stands in this coherence, must be either the grace which was by the 
gospel made known to be in God's heart toward sinners, to move them to 
come in to God, and so to work faith in them, whereby to be reconciled to 
God ; or else it is the laying open what the grace of God required to be 
wrought in them, and so to direct them how they should turn to God; or 
else both of these, which is the truth. It is not what the grace of God 
required to be wrought in them that only or chiefly should be intended by 
grace, because that grace of God intended is that grace (if you observe the 
Beries of the words) which, after it is known, brings forth that fruit spoken 
of; ' fruit in you,' says the apostle. Now that cannot be understood 
chiefly or only of inherent holiness or faith, for that grace itself is the 
thing that is the very fruit itself, said to be brought forth, and that in them, 
as the phrase there is. And therefore it is not the grace, or the knowing 
* Apparently smxrerjo/Mivog, Phil. iii. 14.— Ed. 


of that grace begun experimentally to be in tbem, that is wholly or chiefly 
meant. There must, therefore, be another grace of God, that was the 
cause of that grace or fruit in themselves, which could be no other than 
the grace in God's heart towards them, taught and discovered to those 
Colossians by the preaching of the truths of the gospel, ver. 5, which gospel 
itself is therefore styled ' the grace of God which bringeth salvation ;' that 
is, the blessed news to sinful men of salvation by the sole grace that is in 
God's heart towards them, Tit. ii. 11 ; and this doth most properly and 
principally bear the name of grace, and of the grace of s God, and is in God 
himself, who is the ' God of all grace,' 1 Pet. v. 10, and is the cause of all 
grace in us, and that by its appearing, being made known to us in truth. 
This is gratia gratians, the grace that makes us gracious. 

But now the inquisition will be, what grace of God borne to us men 
should be here meant, whether to all men alike in common, a love of God 
alike to all men; or the grace of election, exerted at election of some men 
chosen out by God out of the rest of mankind, designing particularly sal- 
vation to their persons, but promulged and proclaimed to all men, so as 
his love to mankind hath appeared to all men, but is not intended to all 
men. That this grace should be intended here, there are these reasons 
which prove it. 

* (1.) Because the truth and reality of God's grace, indeed, is but to a 
remnant: Bom. xi. 5, 'Even so then, at this present time,' when the 
apostle wrote, ' there is a remnant, according to the election of grace,' ver. 
5 ; whose very persons (God's choice carries the sway in it) are styled ' the 
election:' ' The election hath obtained, and the rest,' that are not elected, 
' were blinded,' ver. 7. And this election is but of a remnant whom God 
had reserved to himself, or they had all gone alike to the fire, and been as 
Sodom and Gomorrah, if they had been left to their own free wills. 

(2.) I find election itself expressed by finding grace in God's sight, whilst 
others of the sons of men are not vouchsafed it. Thus Moses his election 
is expressed, Exod. xxxiii. 16, ' Wherein,' pleads Moses to God, « shall it 
be known that I' (Moses myself) ' and this people have found grace in thy 
sicht?' The phrase is used to express the being God's own chosen people. 
And as for Moses, God owns it, and expresseth it to himself: ver. 17, ' I 
will do as thou hast spoken, for thou hast found grace in my sight.' And 
he speaks more expressly for election yet, ' And I know thee by name.' 
And as for the people of the Jews, Jer. xxxi. 2, 3, the chosen elect among 
that people are said to have ' found grace in the wilderness,' the rest being 
cut off by the sword ; and thereby their being an elect people is also ex- 
pressed, for there it follows, ' I have loved thee with an everlasting love ;' 
and that, I am sure you will say, imports their election. And as for Moses, 
whereas he grew bold upon that encouragement, ' I know thee by name,' 
to ask of God to see his face and his glory, God gave him this answer, ' I 
will make all my goodness to pass before thee,' and will proclaim the name 
of the Lord before thee, ' The Lord, the Lord God, gracious and merciful,' 
&c, viz., all the attributes of his gracious nature. But to whom should 
the attributes be applied for their salvation ? God there makes a reserve 
of the elect only to be the persons who should have the benefit of these 
attributes for their particular salvation ; and therefore adds, ' I will be 
gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will be merciful to whom I will 
shew mercy.' As if he had said, I have indeed proclaimed all the attributes 
of grace and mercy that are in my nature, in common to all the people, but 
with this reserve to myself, that as to my will, which governs the manage- 
ment of those attributes unto persons for their salvation, this I keep the 

Chap. VII.] of justifying faith. 255 

counsel of it unto myself, ' according to the counsel of my own will,' Eph. 
i. 11. And so answerably it is in Exod. xxxiv., ' I will be merciful to whom 
I will be merciful.' And the apostle Paul allcgeth these very words, ' I 
will,' &c, to prove the point of election to be by special grace, and the 
good pleasure of his will, in the case of Moses his election, and in the ease 
of hardening Pharaoh. And that phrase, ' they found grace,' doth not 
import a grace inherent or discovered in them, but a grace from God 
without thrm, or dwelling in God's heart towards them, and coming from 
without upon them, not in them. And it is to be observed that that is the 
phrase God himself, in expressing his shewing mercy to the persons whom 
he there chooseth (as hath been opened, Exod. xxxiii. 19), ' I will be mer- 
ciful on whom I will be merciful.' And to bring this home yet nearer to 
these Colossians, and what is spoken of their receiving the grace of God 
without them, which was the cause of their so quick conversion, as I 
observed, this was truly the grace of God inventa et non quash a, in Isaiah's 
words, ' I am found of them that sought me not,' as he promised. And of 
whom and what sort of men did he prophesy it ? Expressly of those heathen 
Gentiles, that had been heathens to the time of their conversion : Isaiah 
lxv. 1, it follows in that verse, ' And I said, Eehold me, behold me, unto 
a nation that was not called by my name ;' which was punctually fulfilled 
in this city of Colosse, who were heathens, till the day they heard the 
gospel of the grace of God ; but from that time brought forth fruit, and the 
like was in all the world. We poor ministers in these times stand picking 
the lock, which asketh often much time, but the apostles and primitive 
ministers broke open the door of faith, as it is called. 




Of the acts of Faith. 


The acts of faith in the understanding is a sight of Christ, a discerning and 
knowledge of his excellencies, and a hearty assent to the truths of the gospel 
concerning him. — That this mere assurance of the object, or a general assent 
to the truth of the promises, is not the act of faith justifying, but an appli- 
cation is necessary. — What the acts of the will are, which are exercised on 
Christ in believing. 


That faith in the understanding is a spiritual sight and knowledge of Christ. 
— That it is a sight distinct from bodily sense, and from reason, and other 
ways of knowledge. — That this sight hath the greatest certainty in it, and 
realiseth to the mind the things believed. — That the true believer sees the 
spiritual excellency and glory that is in Christ, so as to have his heart 
affected with it. — That he sees an all-sufficiency of righteousness in Christ. 
— That he is persuaded of Christ's readiness to save sinners, with some 
secret intimation that there is mercy for himself, though a sinner. 

And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one that seeth the Son, and 
believeth on him, might have everlasting life. — John VI. 40. 

The subject I intend to treat of is to set forth to you those special acts of 
justifying faith exercised upon and towards our Lord Jesus Christ. And 
(that I may be distinctly understood) when I say the acts of faith, I do limit 
myself simply and merely to those acts which are of faith as justifying. 
There are the offices of faith (as you call them), which are many and diverse, 
each whereof have several acts ; as for example, it is the office of faith to 
justify, it is the office of faith to sanctify, it is the office of faith to enablo 
you to live in communion with God and with Christ in all your ways, &c, 
in all conditions. Now I single out one of those offices of faith, and that 
is, as it justifies, as it treats with Christ about justification ; and I shall 



consider the acts that it performs as such. There are likewise several 
degrees in faith, in which every one of those offices is performed. There 
is weak faith and strong faith, there is faith of assurance and faith of 
recumbency. Now in discoursing of the acts of faith, my scope is not 
to speak of the high degrees, hut those that are more essential, and are 
ingredients in the lowest degrees of faith of recumbency, wherein a sinner 
treats with Christ about justification. There are also the effects of faith as 
it purifies, and sanctifies, and conformeth the soul to Christ, and bringeth 
joy and peace, and worketh love, and the like ; my scope is to handle none 
of these now. And thus by shewing you what my scope is not, I do 
thereby open to you particularly what it is that I pitch upon. Now there 
is no one scripture that puts all the acts of faith, as it treateth with Christ 
about justification, together ; neither shall I be able it may be to speak 
of all, but I purpose to follow the method that is here in this text ; and 
I begin first with that of seeing : ' He that seeth the Son,' &c. 

I purpose in a brief way to lay open those acts of faith (as it justifies a 
sinner) whereby the soul doth pitch upon Jesus Christ as the object 
thereof. There is no one scripture that mentions all, neither shall I be 
able to mention all to you ; yet those that are more eminent, and may 
come under what is here in the text, I shall go over with as much brevity 
as I can. 

In these words, compared likewise with the 37th verse of this chapter, 
you have three several sorts of acts of faith : 

1. Seeing the Son : ' Every one that seeth the Son.' 

2. A coming unto him ; so verse 37 (for you may take that verse in 
likewise), ' He that cometh unto me.' 

3. A believing on him : ' And believeth on him.' 

Now it is to be remarked, that that faith by which we are saved, which 
the apostle calls ' believing to the saving of the soul, is seated in the whole 
heart, so you have it in Acts viii. 37, ' If thou believe with thy whole 
heart ; ' and indeed every faculty, and every power of the soul in believing 
doth put forth a several sprig, a several film into Jesus Christ ; as you 
see in the roots that are in the earth, every root shoots a small string into 
that by which the tree and the root is united thereunto ; thus are we rooted 
in Christ, and grounded in him, as the expression is in Col. ii. 7, which is 
then when the faculties do thus shoot forth several acts suitable to them- 
selves, into our Lord Christ, and then the soul believeth on him. 

I will begin first with the first act of faith here, and that is seeing, 
which notes out that act of faith which is in the understanding, which we 
call the act of knowledge. Hence we find that in Scripture our being 
justified by Christ is ascribed to the knowledge which we have of him ; you 
have it in Isa. liii. 11, ' By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify 
many ; ' when he saith by his knowledge, he doth not mean that we are 
justified by the knowledge that is in Christ (though perhaps in some sense 
that might be said), but it is by the knowledge we have of him. The word 
his there is taken objectively ; it is called, you see here, a seeing the Son ; 
here is the act, and here is the object ; the act it is seeing, the object i3 
the Son. In this sight of Christ there are four things which I would 
Epeak to : 

(1.) It is a spiritual sight or knowledge of him. 

(2.) It is a sight in distinction to bodily sight, and in distinction from 
reason, and other ways of knowledge. 

(3.) It hath a certainty in it. 

(4.) It hath a reality in it. 


(1.) It is a spiritual Bight, which doth distinguish it from all knowledge 
of Christ after the flesh; for there is indeed a sight of Christ, and a real 
sight of Christ, which is contradistinct to faith, a sight of the bodily pre- 
Benoe of Christ, and this the apostle speaks of in 1 Peter i. 8, ' In whom, 
though ye see him not, yet ye believe ; ' and the truth is, our faith shall end 
in such a sight, lor we shall one day see him as he is, and to be believing 
in the mean time, having not seen, is that blessedness which is pronounced, 
John xx. 29. When Paul was converted he saw Christ, his eyes were 
elevated to see Christ, whether as in heaven or in the air I will not dispute, 
as some do ; but certain it is that he saw him, and yet that was not a sight 
of faith. Now in 2 Cor. v. 16, 17, he prefers that knowing of Christ after 
the new creature, by that spiritual sight the new creature hath of him, to 
all the knowledge of Christ after the flesh in any such visible manner ; thus 
wicked men shall see him at the latter day, and be never the better for the 
sight of him ; but it is a spiritual sight of Christ by the eye of faith that 
saveth a man. In 1 Cor. ii. 14, the apostle tells us, that spiritual things 
are not known by the natural man, because they are spiritually discerned, 
so that the knowledge of a spiritual man is a spiritual knowledge. The 
meaning is, it is such a knowledge and sight of Christ as is suitable to the 
spiritualness that is in him, it takes in a genuine notion of him. Spiritual 
things may be set out by words to the reason and to the fancies of 
men, so as to take with them ; but we do not know them nor see them till 
we see them purely and nakedly, by an impressson the Holy Ghost makes 
upon us, that conveys the proper, and native, and natural image to us. 
As for example, go take a song in music, that is set or written, or pricked 
upon a book, a man may be taught the art of music, so that he may know 
the proportions and harmony according to the rules of art that are in this 
lesson as it is set or pricked upon the book ; this artificial harmony of it 
he may know, but yet notwithstanding the real, natural harmony, the ear 
only taketh in when this lesson is sung. Why ? Because the ear is that 
sense which is suited to take in the harmony and sound of music. Thus 
as God hath given us an understanding to know spiritual things thereby, 
the reason that is in them, the rational exercises of them, so far forth as 
they may be set out by words, all this the natural man takes in, but still 
there is that which is natural and proper to the things themselves, which 
he understands not. 

(2.) It is, in the second place, called a sight, to distinguish it from reason 
and other knowledge. So faith is expressed, ' He that seeth the Son ;' and 
in Heb. xi., ' They saw the promise afar off,' and Abraham ' saw Christ's 
day,' John viii. 56. And though Christ is now come, and exhibited, and 
is taken again out of our view, yet it is the sight of him that saveth us. It 
is not merely knowing him, but it is knowing him in a way of sight, for we 
may know him in a way of reason, we may gather one thing out of another, 
and so have the knowledge of him, and yet not have that which is faith 
about him, though whatsoever a man doth believe he hath reason for it ; 
reason subserveth and comes in to confirm it, yet the act of faith lies in a 
sight, rather than in a knowledge that is made up out of reason. 

The Holy Ghost still, when he speaks of faith, expresseth it to us by the 
knowledge of the senses, Philip, i. 9. Spiritual knowledge is there called 
sense ; the word i3 so, if you read your margin, and it is so in the original, 
' That your love may abound in knowledge and in all sense ;' so the word 
is. It is true, indeed, that faith is said to be of things not seen, Heb. 
xi. 1, but yet itself is said to be a sight. The things themselves are not 
seen, that is, to reason, and to the bodily senses they are not seen : but 


the mind hath a new sense, as it were, put into it, by which it sees them 
otherwise than either reason or sense could present them to a man. 

The Holy Ghost (to make this a little out to you), when he doth work 
faith in us, and reveal Christ and spiritual things to us, doth two things : 

First, He doth first give us a new understanding, a new eye, as it were 
on purpose, that is as truly suited to behold spiritual things as the natural 
eye is to behold colours : 1 John v. 20, ' He hath given us an understanding 
to know him that is true ;' that is, a new eye to see Christ with ; he puts 
a spiritualness into the understanding ; he doth not create a new faculty, 
but endues this with a new activity, which is as much as if he gave us a 
new understanding. 

Secondly, When he hath done so, himself comes with a light upon this 
new understanding, which light conveys the image of spiritual things in a 
spiritual way to the mind, such an image of the things as is taken off from 
the things themselves, such as no form of words, no reasoning, not all the 
wit and parts of a man, no discourses about Christ and spiritual things, 
would ever form in him. The angels, who have seen Jesus Christ in heaven 
in his glory, if they should all come down, and use all their art, all their 
rhetoric, come with all their pencils to paint and set out Jesus Christ to us 
in the most lively manner that can be ; yet all they could do, or could say, 
would not beget (without the power of the Holy Ghost, without his art 
joined with it) such a sight of Christ as faith gives us. If they should all 
set themselves to beget an image of Jesus Christ in our minds and under- 
standings, it would be but a jiarheUoii , as they call a false sun ; as we can- 
not see the sun but by his own light, so we cannot see Jesus Christ but by 
his own light, and by the light of the Holy Ghost. 

There is a seeing of spiritual things merely by the effects, and there is a 
faith wrought thereby ; for the devils they have a sense, and they have a 
knowledge, and a real knowledge too (so far forth as effects go), that there 
is a God, for they feel the lashes of his wrath upon their spirits ; yet, not- 
withstanding, this is not faith, this is not that faith which is the spiritual 
faith, which is the faith of sight, which here this text and the Scripture 
speaks of ; so that now it is a spiritual sight of him which is in the nature 
of faith. And the truth is, it is such an image of Christ framed in the 
heart (and when I say an image, I mean not the image of Christ in holiness, 
but the image of knowledge of him ; for a man knoweth nothing, but there 
is an image of it framed in his mind) ; such a sight of him by which we 
know him, as all the creatures, and all the knowledge, and all the descrip- 
tion of him in the world, would never work. As you have it in 1 Cor. 
ii. 9, ' Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart 
of man, the things that God hath prepared for them that love him.' He 
speaks there of the things of the gospel, and so of Jesus Christ eminently 
above the rest, and of the knowledge of them. There are such images of 
these things created there by a peculiar artifice of the Holy Ghost, as never 
entered into the heart of carnal men. It is his peculiar art (that is the 
truth of it), which is in no knowledge else, that is thus in faith. It is not 
that which we shall have in heaven, for that is seeing him face to face ; it 
is not such a knowledge only as we have of other things here below, which 
yet we believe really, though we never saw them ; but, I say, there is a 
peculiarity in it, which the Holy Ghost works in the hearts of the people 
of God, which is the sight of faith. It is therefore called in 1 Cor. ii. 4, 
' The demonstration of the Spirit.' There are two principles in Scripture 
which all knowledge, even of spiritual things, is reduced unto. The one 
is called the ' revelation of flesh and blood,' Mat. xvi. 17 ; the other is called 

Chap. I.] of justifying faith. 2G1 

the ' demonstration of the Spirit,' 1 Cor. ii. 4. ' Flesh and blood,' saith 
Christ to Peter, ' hath not revealed these things to thee ;' implying that 
there was a knowledge which flesh and blood works in us, which is the way 
of man's nature : but then there is another knowledge which ariseth from 
the demonstration of tbe Spirit. It is light (as the apostle tells us in Eph. 
v. 13) that makes all tilings manifest. How comes your eye to see colours, 
or to see anything else ? Why there is a light comes, and that light takes 
of the image of the colours, and of the things you see, and brings them to 
your eye. Now spiritual things are all nothing else but light ; now God 
himself and Jesus Christ is nothing else but light ; and so is heaven, it is 
called ' the inheritance of the saints in light.' Now tbe Holy Ghost comes 
with the beams of this light, and every one of those beams doth bring the 
image, the natural, native image of the thing to the eye, to the understand- 
ing ; and therefore the apprehension of it is called sight, and we are there- 
fore said by the psalmist to ■ see light in his light,' Ps. xxxvi. 9 ; the beams 
of the sun, you know, convey every of them an image cf the sun, and such 
an image of the sun whereby you see the sun, so as nothing else can repre- 
sent the sun to you ; and so the Holy Ghost he doth cause the beams of 
God, and of Christ, who, as I said, is nothing else but light, for to shine 
into our hearts, and all those beams which he letteth and bringcth in, they 
convey the image of God and of Christ to us, and so we see him. In 
1 Pet. ii. 9, we are said to be ' translated into his marvellous light.' It is 
cabled ' marvellous' because it is above reason, or the natural knowledge of 
a man; and it is called 'his light,' not only because Christ works it, as in 
Eph. v. 14 it is said, ' Christ shall give thee light,' but because it is the 
light of himself, it conveys the image of himself to the heart. 

Yea, let me tell you this, the sight of faith is so genuine a knowledge, 
that though it differ in degrees, yet the very same knowledge that Christ's 
human nature hath of himself, the same knowledge in its degree doth the Holy 
Ghost work of him in the heart of a Christian. This is a great speech, but 
it is true the knowledge wbereby Jesus Christ knows and sees himself, you 
must needs say is a natural knowledge of himself : that is, he sees himself 
as he is in himself, not by hearsay. Now look what spiritual representa- 
tions Jesus Christ hath of God, and of himself, and of his own righteous- 
ness, in his mind, the Holy Ghost coming fresh from the heart of Christ, 
stampeth the very same upon the heart of a Christian in his measure. You 
will say, How prove you that ? the text is clear for it, in 1 Cor. ii. 16, ' We 
have the mind of Christ.' He speaks there of spiritual knowledge ; that 
whereas other men have the letter, the literal knowledge, yet they have not 
these thoughts, have not that mind stamped upon their minds which is in 
Christ himself; but such we have (saith he), we have the mind of Christ, 
we have those spiritual thoughts as it were from his heart, because w T e have 
the Spirit which works in us, impresseth upon us the same thoughts of 
him that are in his own heart of himself. All other enlightenings that 
men have, they are from Christ indeed ; he is said, John i. 9, to be ' the 
light that enlighteneth every man that comes into the world' with all sorts 
of common knowledge. As now go take the light of the night, all the light 
you see in the night by the moon, it is all the light of the sun, but yet it is 
not that light whereby the sun conveys its beams to the eye when it riseth, 
and when a man beholds it ; so men that are not regenerated, that have 
but a temporary faith, they have a light from Christ, such as is the light of 
the sun shining in the moon ; they have a light, as from the effects ; they 
have a light also which the letter of the Scripture, and the Spirit shining 
upon it, begets in them ; but still it is not a sight of the thing itself, it is 


not seeing the Son, it is not such as when the image of the Son himself is 
conveyed into the mind and understanding by the Holy Ghost. We may 
know there is a sun by what light we see in the moon, but it is another 
thing to have a beam of the sun itself shine into a man's eye, whereby the 
very image of the sun is conveyed into his eye. And therefore this sight 
of faith it is called sight, because it is thus elevated above all rational 
knowledge of Christ whatsoever ; it is a further thing, though joined with 
it ; it is (I say) superadded to reason, let it be elevated and enlightened 
ever so much by the Holy Ghost in a rational way. 

Go, take a temporary believer, it is true he sees those things, by the help 
of the light of the Spirit, which nature would never help him to see, and yet 
it is but by natural understanding, remaining natural, and reason elevated, 
and reason improved, and reason enlarged and convinced. But faith 
goes higher than all this, faith is more than a man's having an optic 
glass set before his eye, to see that which else he could not see, because it 
is so far off ; the eye of itself is capable of it, if it stood nigh it. There is 
more than all this in faith ; it is as it were a new eye, to see those things 
in such a manner as all the optic glasses in the world would never help 
a dim eye to see at a distance. Therefore, now faith (as I said afore), is 
called the ' demonstration of the Spirit ;' all other knowledge is but by 
derived images of the things of Christ, by hearsay, so much of Christ as 
may be conveyed to us by words and by rational discourses, the Holy Ghost 
enlightening them. In all this there are but secondary images conveyed 
to the hearts of carnal men, more or less, as they are more or less en- 
lightened ; but to see the Son as he is in himself, as here the text holds it 
forth, this is proper to believers. So that, take any man that hath been 
never so much enlightened in the knowledge of spiritual things, and not 
savingly enlightened, when that man comes to turn to God, and to believe 
in earnest, he will say he never saw these things before, he will say he 
doth now see Christ so as he never saw him before, and that he sees 
God in that manner as he never saw him before. And though he knew 
never so much before, yet now after he is turned unto God, he sees that 
' old things are passed away, and all things are become new ;' as the apostle 
says in 2 Cor. v. 17, and he speaks it in respect of knowledge. Let now 
a carnal man speak of Christ, and let a holy man who savingly believes 
speak of the same Christ, and of spiritual things, they shall both speak of 
the same things, yet the knowledge, that is, the sight which the believer 
hath of Christ, and of spiritual things, is clearly differing from that of the 

I shall open but one scripture to you to express this ; it is in John iii. 12. 
Our Saviour Christ had been discoursing with Nicodemus, about the point 
of regeneration, which is a thing belonging to the kingdom of heaven. 
Now, saith he, ' if I have told you earthly things, and you believe not, how 
shall you believe if I tell you of heavenly things ?' What is his meaning 
there of having told him of earthly things ? He had spoken of heavenly 
things, and why doth he call them earthly ? Because he had expressed 
them under earthly words, and he had not given light, he had not gone 
forth with what he spake in a spirit of irradiation to Nicodemus his heart ; 
hence, therefore, Nicodemus clean mistakes Christ. But now when Jesus 
Christ doth enlighten a man, whilst he or the ministers of his word speak 
earthly things, he stamps the impress and image of the heavenly themselves 
upon the heart, and then a man believes ; he conveys them in their heavenly 
hue, conveys them in that notion and apprehension that his own heart hath 
of them, and therefore, John iii. 11 (saith he), ' We speak that we know, 

Chap. I.] of justifying faith. 268 

and testify that wo have scon.' And ' wo,' too, who are helievcrs, ' have 
the mind of Christ,' 1 Cor. ii. 1G. So that a believer hath such a kind of 
knowledge of heavenly things as Jesus Christ himself hath, such a know- 
ledge of the Son as Jesus Christ hath of himself, in his measure ; it differs 
indeed in degrees, but it is of the same kind. 

Hence it is that a believer is said, when he believeth, to witness to the 
truth of God, ' to set to his seal that God is true,' John hi. 33. What is 
the reason ? Because ho knows the truths of God, the great truth espe- 
cially about Christ, which is the thing eminently he witnesseth unto, and 
he knows it not by reason, but by sense, by sight, and therefore he is a 
witness. For you know, if any man give a testimony merely by hearsay, 
we account it as no witness in comparison ; but if a man speak by sense 
and by sight, then he speaks like a witness. Now, because a believer takes 
iu spiritual things by a spiritual sense, by a spiritual sight, therefore he is 
said to witness when he doth believe. 

And the sight of faith, though it is joined with reason, yet it is intuitive. 
We do not gather the knowledge of Christ out of other things, but it is a 
sight of himself. In 1 Cor. xiii. 12, we are now said to j see through a 
glass darkly,' yet we are said to see. Rational knowledge is to gather one 
thing out of another, but the knowledge of faith, so far as it is a knowledge 
of faith, is to see a thing in itself, to see Jesus Christ in himself. 

That I may demonstrate this yet further, you shall find that the know- 
ledge of faith in the souls of men, is not proportioned to the compass of 
their natural understanding. Why ? Because it is a way of knowledge 
above what the understanding naturally hath, or can be improved, or raised 
up unto, remaining natural ; it is therefore a way beyond it, it is by way 
of sight. What is the reason that God hath chosen fools, rather than the 
wise men of the world ? < You see your calling,' saith the apostle, ' how 
that not many wise men after the flesh,' &c, 1 Cor. i. 2G. If God had 
meant to convey the knowledge of spiritual things only to those that know 
him here in a rational way, and by reason, elevated by the Holy Ghost, 
certainly he would have chosen the wise men of the world, because they by 
knowledge would have glorified him more in such a way of knowledge. 
No ; but he chose the fools of the world, because he hath a way of con- 
veying himself to their understandings beyond the way of reason, and that 
is by way of sight. Therefore you shall observe, men who are ignorant in 
a rational way, that cannot make out a rational discourse of spiritual 
things, that cannot lay before you a rational connection of one truth 
with another, and when they speak of them, though they have otherwise 
much grace and holiness, they will speak incoherently of them in their 
expressions, and yet it is apparent that yet these men, as being godly, have 
as strong and deep a knowledge of heavenly things as those who have 
infinitely more strength of natural reason. Why ? Because faith goes by 
way of sight, it goes in a way beyond and above reason, and the knowledge 
of God and of Christ in a rational way. When we come to heaven, will 
God then proportion to you a knowledge of himself (and degrees of happi- 
ness depend upon greater degrees of knowledge of him), according to men's 
parts and understandings which they had in this rational way here ? No ; 
but he lets in a light of himself, a light of vision, which he that hath the 
lowest parts, if God let in no more* light to him, shall know more of him 
than these of far greater parts, into whom he hath not let in so much light. 
And so doth God here, because that faith is sight, and is the prelibation, 
the beginning of heaven. 

* Qu. ' let in more' ? — Ed. 


This is clearly (as to me), also the difference between that way of know- 
ing God which believers have now, and that which Adam had in innocency ; 
if Adam had stood, he amongst his children that had the most parts (those 
parts being all carried in a rational way), should have known more of God 
than he that, it may be, was more holy, and had lower parts. But it is not 
so in the second Adam, because he hath a way of letting things into the 
mind beyond the way of reason, by the way of sight and spiritual light, 
conveying beams of himself to us, which conveyeth those images of himself 
and of spiritual things to us, which neither eye hath seen, nor ear heard, 
nor ever entered into the heart of man remaining natural. 

I will only give you a caution, that I may not be misunderstood ; for as 
this is a great truth, so I would clear it from mistakes. The light of faith 
doth not destroy reason, but makes use of it, subordinates reason to itself, 
restoreth, rectifies it, and then useth it, even as reason makes use of sense; 
though the acts of reason, the thoughts of a man in a rational soul, are 
clean differing to what he hath in the sensitive soul, yet reason makes use 
of sense. And thus the Holy Ghost makes use of all the rational discourses 
and descriptions of Christ in the word, makes use of the letter of the word, 
but by them conveys those spiritual thoughts of Christ, which all that letter 
cannot hold forth to a man. And, as I said afore, if the angels from heaven 
should come and preach Jesus Christ to us, should with all their pencils 
go and paint out what knowledge they have of Jesus Christ, they could not 
beget one such sight of Christ in the heart as the Holy Ghost doth when 
he comes to work faith. And yet the apostle tells us it comes by hearing, 
and in hearing. The more rationally the preacher discourseth out of the 
word, and lays open the meaning thereof in a rational way, so much the 
better, because it is suited to the minds of men ; yet where the Holy Ghost 
works faith, he conveys a light beyond all that reason, though he makes use 
of that reason too. This word of God hath an harmony of reason in it, 
and if a man would open a place of Scripture, he should do it rationally; he 
should go and consider the words before and the words after; but yet still, 
if the Holy Ghost comes not with a further light than all this rational 
opening of the word affords, a man will never believe, for faith is a sight 
beyond it. The Holy Ghost useth motives to move you to holy duties, 
but then he comes with a power joined with those motives beyond the 
moral force of them. He useth signs out of your own hearts to comfort 
you, but he comes with a light over and above those signs ; for if you should 
stick there, you would never have comfort; so he useth reason; he de- 
stroyeth it not, but subordinateth it. 

The apostle saith that the Scripture is not of any private interpretation, 
2 Pet. i. 20. If the Scripture might be known by the light of reason (it is 
written rationally, and suiting to reason, I acknowledge), but if the Scrip- 
tures might alone be known, and the meaning of the Holy Ghost therein, 
by the light of reason, they were of private interpretation, for man's reason 
is but a private interpreter in comparison of the Holy Ghost the author ; 
yet notwithstanding he useth reason to interpret it ; but when he hath 
done, he himself comes and seals up to a man's spirit that this is the 
meaning of the Holy Ghost in it, or else a man never believes. So that it 
is the light of the Holy Ghost now that casteth the balance ; and he doth 
this not only in the principles of religion, but in deductions of principles 
too; for though a man gather by reason one thing from another, yet if he 
have not the light of the Spirit to seal up those deductions, he doth not 
believe in a spiritual way ; therefore it is called in Job xxxiii. 16, ' sealing 
of instruction.' If the Holy Ghost do not go, and by a supernatural light 

Chap. I.] of justifying faith, 


reveal the truth to a man, all the reason in the world will never work 
spiritual faith in his heart. Hence now you see why it is called sight. 

The end why I have insisted so long upon this is, as to open it, so to 
take you oil' of yourselves, and all your own knowledge, that you may therefore 
seek out to the Holy Ghost to make spiritual things evident to you by their 
own light, in their own hue, that you may not rest in rational knowledge, 
and in notional knowledge of the things of the word, for you may go to 
hell with all that, unless you have a spiritual sight of the things them- 

(3.) As faith is a spiritual knowledge, and as it is a sight heyond 
that of reason, though of spiritual things, which yet are suited to reason, 
so the knowledge of faith is a certain knowledge. So you have it in Heb. 
xi. 13, ' They saw the promises afar off, and were persuaded of them ;' 
that is, they had a knowledge of assurance of the things they did believe. 
I say the knowledge of faith it is a certain knowledge. And why ? Be- 
cause it is a knowledge of sight. What a man sees, it is certain that he 
sees it when he sees it. "What is the reason? Because sensus turn fallitur 
circa proprium objection, — Sense is never deceived about its proper object. 
Therefore if it be a spiritual sight and a spiritual sense, it hath a certainty 
joined with it. The knowledge of faith it is called assurance in Heb. x. 
22, but in Col. ii. 2, as you do increase in it, you are said to ' increase in 
all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of 
the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ.' It is very em- 
phatical. He tells us in the following words, that there are ' hidden in Christ 
all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge ;' and his scope is to prefer the 
knowledge of the gospel, and of Christ therein, to all other knowledge. 
Nay, saith he, it doth not only excel all other knowledge in regard of the 
object of it, but it is a knowledge that, when it is genuine, when it is saving, 
it excelleth as to the riches of assurance in the knowledge itself. It is such 
an assurance, and so rich, as you cannot have from your senses, or any- 
thing else. The apostle heaps up expressions ; he calls it assurance, he 
calls it full assurance, he calls it full assurance of understanding, he calls it 
riches of full assurance, and he calls it an acknowledgment ; words enough, 
one would think, to make knowledge sure. 

But let me here add a caution too. My meaning is not that every saint 
that is a true believer hath an assurance that Jesus Christ is his, or that 
he hath the assurance of his own salvation. No ; many believers have not 
that, neither is that essential to faith or to the act of application. This 
doth not lie in believing that Christ is mine, for if it did, God would give 
it unto every man ; but the act of application is real application, giving 
myself up unto Christ, that he may be mine, and I his. But now, though 
there is not an act of assurance of my own interest, yet there is an act of 
assurance of the thing I believe on. I do never truly believe, unless there 
be an assured persuasion of the truth of the things on which I believe, 
and which I believe. Thus you must understand those scriptures where 
you have mention of the assurance of faith, as in Heb. x. 22, ' Let us draw 
near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith.' And so in James i. 6, 
' If any man pray, let him ask in faith, without wavering, for he that 
wavereth is like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed.' Of 
which place many have mistook the meaning; for is the meaning this,_that 
when a man comes to ask a promise at the hands of God, he must believe, 
without wavering, that he shall have it ? No ; if this were the faith that 
James here meant when he saith, ' If any man pray, let him ask in faith, 
without wavering,' who almost is there (unless in some special manifesta- 


tions of God to him) that doth thus ask in prayer, or can ask temporal 
promises with such a faith, without wavering? But yet there is a faith 
which is without wavering; that is, there is an assured belief of the truth 
of those promises, that God made them, and that he is faithful to perform 
them according to the intention of them. Here now is a persuasion of the 
thing, and an asking in faith without wavering ; and, saith the apostle, 
' He that wavereth is as a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed ; 
a double-minded man is unstable,' saith he, ' in all his ways.' What is 
the reason that carnal men are unstable, and that they do not walk fully 
up in the ways of religion ? It is because that their faith in the things do 
not rise up to a stableness; it hath a wavering in the belief of the prin- 
ciples themselves, so far forth as they are principles of practice. Whereas 
now, if these things were spiritually and prevailingly rooted in their hearts, 
above the natural darkness of unbelief, that there is a God, who is a 
rewarder of those that seek him, and that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of 
the world, and that he hath made these and these promises, and is thus 
gracious and willing to receive those that come unto him; if these things, 
I say, were believed in a real and spiritual manner, and that the hearts of 
men were, without wavering, persuaded of them, without question it would 
draw men's hearts, and cause them to walk answerably, and keep them 
from being driven with the wind and tossed. 

So that this is the apostle's meaning (which is the thing I drive at), that 
in all faith there is a fixedness, an assuredness, a persuasion, namely, of 
the things that I do believe ; but it doth not follow that it should be an 
assured persuasion of my own interest in the things themselves, for so 
who asketh in faith ? Many poor souls that even ask salvation at the 
hands of God, they do not ask it as fully believing, and being assured that 
they shall be saved, and yet in the mean time they fully believe that sal- 
vation that God hath made known to them, and with which their hearts 
are taken, and that is the persuasion and assurance of faith. I shall give 
you some scriptures that this faith is a knowledge that riseth up to a per- 
suasion, to an assurance, John vi. 69. Peter there, in the name of all the 
apostles, confesseth his faith, and the faith of all the apostles : ' We 
believe,' saith he, 'and are sure' — of what ? that we shall be saved? no; 
but — ' that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.' Of this a man 
must be sure, or it is not faith ; and so likewise he must be sure of all 
other things that are fundamental unto faith ; the things which he lays 
hold on, and which his soul pursues after, he must believe with a certainty 
that they are. When Jesus Christ was to go out of the world, what was 
it that he thanks his Father for, and why ? I can (saith he) comfortably 
leave the world, and leave these disciples in the world ; for ' I have given 
unto them the words which thou gavest me, and they have received them,' 
John xvii. 8. Wherein now lay their receiving them, and their believing 
them ? for that is the meaning of receiving. ' They have received them,' 
saith he, ' and have known surely that I came out from thee.' He had 
begotten in them that faith which rises up to assurance, and he distin- 
guisheth them thus from the world: 'I pray for them,' saith he in the 
very next verse, 'I pray not for the world;' for indeed the world do not 
surely know or are persuaded of the things that are in the word, for if 
they were, certainly that persuasion would alter the frame of their lives, 
and would make them walk answerably, and cause them to be holy. If a 
man be unstable in his ways, it is because he is unstable in the belief of 
the principles he professeth to walk by; and so indeed hereby Christ dis- 
tinguisheth the faith of the world and the faith of those that were his 

Chap. I.] of justifying faith. 207 

disciples, whom he had wrought upon: ' They have surely known,' saith 
he, « that I came out from thee ;' and ' for these,' saith he, ' I pray, but 
I pray not for the world.' And the truth is, this full persuasion or assur- 
ance of the thing, it is an effect of the former property I mentioned, viz., 
of spiritual sight; for if I see a thing, and see it really (which is another 
property of the knowledge of faith, and which I shall speak to by and by), 
it always begets a certain persuasion in me that the thing is. Perhaps I 
may not reflect upon my own knowledge, yet notwithstanding an assur- 
ance and a full persuasion doth always and most necessarily follow a real 
sight of a thing. Take a man that is awake, he can and doth say with 
himself, and say it by way of difference and distinction from one being 
asleep, I know assuredly such a man is before me, I know assuredly that 
the sun shines. Why ? Because he sees the man, and he sees the sun ; 
whereas if a man be asleep, and in a dream, it may be he thinks he doth 
the same, but still there is no certainty in it. But now look where there 
is a reality of sight, there is also always accompanying it so far a full per- 
suasion and assurance ; and the man is able to say, that the knowledge he 
hath is different from all other knowledge. So that, I say, this is the 
third thing in this sight of Christ which a believer hath, he hath an assur- 
ance of the thing. This even the poorest and meanest believer hath, take 
him out of those temptations and doubts which the devil may suggest to 
him ; take him when he is himself, he hath an assurance that is of the 
things themselves. And the reason is clearly this, because he sees spiri- 
tual things by their own light; and the ground of faith, the very formate 
ratio, is the "light and demonstration of the Spirit. 'Now, that is more 
infallible than all that a man knows by his outward senses, or by reason, 
by how much the witness of the Spirit is above the witness of nature, and 
the light of the Spirit above the light of nature ; as an oath hath more 
certainty in it than a promise, so the light and demonstration of the Spirit 
hath more certainty in it than all the rational apprehension a man hath of 
Christ. In a word, the heart of a believer, by the light of the Spirit, sees 
more reason to believe that these things are so and so which the word saith, 
that there is such a Christ, so glorious and so good; he hath, I say, more 
reason to believe it than he could have by all the demonstrations that 
sense or reason can afford. As when a man sees the sun by its own light, 
it hath riches of evidence in it, hath it not ? so when a man sees Christ 
by his own light, it produces riches of assurance, namely, that the thing 
is. I say not that it carries with it riches of assurance that Christ is 
mine, or that I shall be saved, for that is another thing; all the torches in 
the world cannot give that light which the sun itself gives, no more can all 
the rational apprehensions a man hath give him such a sight of Christ as 
a believer hath by the demonstration of the Spirit. 

(4.) This knowledge of faith is a real knowledge, a real sight of Christ 
and of spiritual things. I do not speak of visions and revelations extra- 
ordinary, but it is such a knowledge as doth give a man a real possession 
of the things, and doth make the things themselves really subsisting to a 
man's spirit, and he feeleth really that there is such glory, and excellency, 
and sweetness in Jesus Christ as the word holds forth, and indeed as is in 
Jesus Christ himself; for now the Spirit of Christ is present, and joineth 
with his spirit, for always sight hath, as a certainty, so a reality joined with 
it. A man may have by way of reason a conviction that things are, he may 
know that things do exist, as now a man may know by the light of the 
moon and by the light of the stars that there is a sun, which shines upon 
them, and that this sun existeth; but when a man sees the sun itself, here 


is a knowledge sub esse prasenli; here is a presence of that sun to him, 
which makes it really existing to him. Such is the knowledge of faith; 
and therefore in Heb. xi. 1 faith is called b-oc-uaig, the evidence, that 
which gives a subsistence to the things not seen; that is, by the outward 
senses, or by the light and dictates of reason. Now, suppose that there were 
an artificial instrument made, by which things that we never saw, or never 
took in with our bodily eyes, might be really conveyed into our minds and 
fancies, such (if it were possible) as might stamp the image of them upon 
our fancies, we would say this were a very strange kind of instrument. 
Optic glasses they do not so much ; they indeed will present a thing to 
you which you glimmeringiy discern afar off, but you must first discern it 
with your bodily eye ; but now if there were an engine as could present a 
thing afar off, which your bodily eye never beheld, and stamp it upon your 
fancy, this you would say were strange. Now, the Holy Ghost hath an 
art to do this, and he doth do it, though he useth the word, and the de- 
scription of Christ in the word, and useth the promises, yet that image of 
Christ and of heavenly things wbich he works in the heart of a believer is 
by a peculiar art of his own which he useth, and it is far beyond, infinitely 
beyond, what we can take in by our fancies, or senses, or anything else; 
and therefore, because the knowledge of faith hath this reality in it, you 
shall find that there is almost no sense but in the Scripture faith is com- 
pared to it. And this is merely, I say, because it is such a knowledge as 
hath a reality of the things known conveyed to a man's soul, though they 
be absent. It is compared to hearing: John x. 16, 'My sheep hear my 
voice;' and they hear it so as to discern it from the voice of a stranger. 
It is compared to eating: John vi. 54, 'Whoso eateth my flesh,' &c. 
And elsewhere it is compared to tasting: Ps. xxxiv. 8, 'Taste how good 
the Lord is.' Hence in John vi. 55 Christ saith ' his flesh is meat indeed, 
and his blood is drink indeed ; ' that is, the soul finds a reality in it, and it 
is not as when a man dreams he eats, but Christ and the promises, and 
the things that the soul feeds upon, they have a reality in them, they are 
meat indeed and drink indeed, and the soul finds them so. They that are 
temporary believers have a show of this, both of a sight, and of a reality of 
sight, and they are said to taste of the powers of the world to come ; but 
yet let me say this to distinguish it from this other. 

1. They do not see spiritual things in their spiritual nature, as they are 
in themselves, though they may see an accidental goodness in them, and 
so be taken with them, and so may taste of the sauce of that flesh of 
Christ which it is sauced up in, as I may express it; that is, that acci- 
dental goodness which it is presented to us in, with those benefits that 
accompany it, as freedom from hell and the like ; but the spiritual, the 
genuine, the native excellency that is in Jesus Christ himself, this they do 
not see, nor is it made real to them. Now, to see a thing, or to know a 
thing in the effects, or in the accidental goodness of it, is not to see or to 
know the thing properly and truly ; but to see a thing in its own true, 
genuine notion, to see the spiritual excellency that is in Jesus Christ, and 
so to have the heart taken with him, considered in all his spiritual excel- 
lencies, this is spiritual sight ; and indeed this is only to know the things 
themselves, which the other doth not. 

2. And then again, though there be a seeming reality in the knowledge 
and impression that is made upon the heart of a temporary believer, yet it 
is but as the knowledge one hath that is asleep, and dreams that he sees 
and converseth with a man, which sight then seems to be exceeding real, 
and indeed is more real than the picture of a man is, because in his fancy 

Chap. I.] of justifying faith. 209 

he seems to have the reality of the man presented to him with whom ho 
converseth, and his image seems, as it were, to be stamped upon his fancy ; 
but yet it is but a phantasmatical knowledge ; it is not that knowledge and 
sight of a man which men have that are awake, that giveth a subsistence, 
as the knowledge and sight of faith doth, which is such a knowledge as is 
suited to the things themselves, a spiritual knowledge, and a real knowledgo 
also. I told you before, that the knowledge of a believer is to have such 
thoughts, in his measure and degree, as are in the heart of Christ himself. 
Now those things which yet are not (as the day of judgment is not yet), 
yet arc present to the heart of Christ ; and therefore it is said, God ' calleth 
things that are not as if they were,' Rom. iv. 17. If now I have the mind 
of Christ, if I have that spiritual notion of things to come, of heaven that 
is to come, stamped upon my heart, that is in the heart of Christ, that I 
know them in that manner he knows them, in my degree and proportion, 
then it is present to my heart as it is to his. Jesus Christ doth not only 
know things, but they have a subsistence, they are present to him : ' All 
things are present and naked with him with whom we have to do,' Heb. 
iv. 13. So much faith then, so much openness and nakedness, and so 
much presence of the things we believe. You shall find in 1 Cor. ii. 9, 
that the things of God are said to ' enter into our hearts.' It is not only 
that we know the images and notions of things, but we have the presence 
of the things themselves ; therefore, in Heb. xi. 13, believers are there said 
to ' embrace the promises.' What is the reason they are said to embrace 
them ? Because they so saw them as having a reality in them ; they did 
not embrace a cloud, but they felt a presence, a subsistence, in the things 
promised, in God, and in Christ, on whom they believed, though Christ was 
not then incarnate. And in John vi. 47, 51, and 54, when a man is said to 
believe, he is said to ' eat the flesh of Christ, and to drink his blood,' as truly 
as a man eats meat or drinks wine, and he feels a presence, even as a man 
feels the presence of the wine he drinks to strengthen his spirits. He doth 
not only know that there is wine, and sees it, but he feels a power and 
virtue joining with his body and with his spirits ; so a man knows and feels 
the presence of Christ and of heavenly things in his spirit, while he believes, 
and finds a reality in them : ' My flesh is meat indeed,' saith he, to shew 
that faith feels as true a reality in the things believed, as a man doth in 
the meat he eats. And indeed, what is the reason that carnal men leave 
Christ for the pleasures of the world ? Because the pleasures of the world 
are real things to them ; therefore, unless God make the things of another 
world real too, a man will never leave realities for notions. All that reason 
or notions can represent of Christ, will never take a man's heart off from 
the real things he sees here below ; and therefore God comes, and he weighs 
down the reality of the things of this world, by the reality of the things of 
the other world. And so much now for this first thing in faith, viz., that 
it is a sight : ' He that seeth the Son,' saith he ; and so you have the act 
seeing, with the kind and properties thereof. 

I come now to the acts of faith in the understanding, as terminated on 
the great object of faith. I shall confine myself to Christ, because he is the 
great object of our faith ; and for that I shall say these few things to you. 

First, The soul that God doth give faith to, sees the spiritual excellency 
and glory that is in Jesus Christ, and the heart is taken with it: in 2 Cor. 
iii. 18, saith the apostle, speaking of the beholding of Christ, ' We see as 
in a glass the glory of the Lord.' I mention it for this, that it is called a 
seeing of his glory ; that is, that surpassing excellency, even to a glory, 
that is in Jesus Christ. Every one whom God draws in to believe, he doth 


sooner or later cause some glimpse of the glory of Christ in a spiritual and 
real way to pass before him, which takes the spirit, so that he is like one 
that is fallen in love with one at first sight, when the party is passed by ; 
but there is a sight, a glimpse that has taken the heart ; so though that 
glimpse of Jesus Christ seems to be gone, yet there is that impression upon 
tbe soul, and upon the heart, that other beauties and glories are but as 
shadows in comparison of that which is in Jesus Christ. And such a sight 
of the thing, though it be but in transitu, takes the heart for ever. The 
church in Cant. v. 9 had such a sight of Christ, for see how mightily she 
magnified him ; and though that sight was vanished, yet she was so taken 
with it, as she seeks all the world over for him, insomuch as others stand 
wondering at her; ' What is thy beloved,' say they, 'more than another 
beloved?' They saw no such beauty in him: ' Oh,' saith she, ' my beloved 
is such a beloved as is thus and thus;' and so she falls a-setting out of his 
glories and excellencies. It is such a sight as doth put out a man's eyes 
to all things else for ever doting upon them as formerly he did ; even as 
they that go on pilgrimage to Mahomet's tomb, after they have been there, 
they use to burn out their eyes, that, after that sacred sight, they may 
never behold creatures more. Such a thing now is really wrought in the 
heart of a Christian in some measure; as Christ saith, ' He that drinketh 
of this water shall never thirst any more,' John iv. 13. So he that hath 
thus seen Jesus Christ, he never sees anything more as he saw it before ; 
he may have his heart taken with folly and vanity, yet not so as before, 
because he hath seen the Lord Jesus ; there is that impression made by 
that sight of the glory and excellency which is in him. You have this in 
2 Cor. v. 17, ' If I have known things after the flesh,' saith he, ' henceforth 
know I them no more ' ; that is, I can never value carnal things at that rate 
I have done ; I see through them all, saith he ; I do not value them now 
by a fleshly sight and consideration. If I have seen them so, I see them 
now so no more. Why ? Because I have seen Jesus Christ by the know- 
ledge of the new creature, and now old things are passed away, and all 
things are become new. Even as God has moulded fancies to faces, so he 
hath framed and moulded the knowledge of Christ to Christ; and even as 
the eye is framed to colours, so is the new understanding suited to Jesus 
Christ ; it is a spiritual understanding, and so suited to a spiritual Christ ; 
that having taken in the image of Jesus Christ in the real and spiritual 
notion of him, the heart is moulded into it, and that heart can never be 
taken with 'any other beauty or carnal thing of what kind soever that is 
here below : 1 John v. 20, ' He hath given us an understanding, that we 
may know him that is true.' 

Secondly, When God draws the heart to believe, it sees also an all-suf- 
ficiency of righteousness in Jesus Christ, and in his satisfaction : Ps. 
cxxx. 7, ' With whom is plenteous redemption ;' and in Kom. v. 17, it is 
said, ' They receive abundance of grace, and of the gift of grace ; ' you have 
the like in Philip, iii. 8, ' I count all things,' saith he, ' but loss and dung, 
for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord ; ' and next to 
the knowledge of Christ, what is most valued by him ? The righteousness 
of Christ ; and therefore saith he in the next verse, ' That I may be found 
in him, not having mine own righteousness, but that which is through the 
faith of Christ.' Now a man sees that satisfaction, and that worth aud 
fulness in the righteousness of the Lord Jesus, that if he might have the 
righteousness of Adam, or the righteousness of the angels, or as great a 
righteousness made his, to be his, and be inherent in him, and he to be 
justified by it, he would throw it all away as dross and dung in comparison 

Chap. I.] of justifying faith. 271 

of the righteousness of the Lord Jesus, which he sees held forth to 

The third thing that the soul sees, and is persuaded of when God draws 
the heart to him, it is the graciousness that is in the Lord Jesus Christ ; 
and that in two things : 

First, In the general ; in his readiness to receive sinners. Whatsoever 
thoughts a man had before of Christ (as when a man is first humbled he is 
apt to have hard and sour thoughts of Christ), yet when he comes to know 
' the mind of Christ,' as the apostle saith, 1 Cor. ii. 1G, that is, to know 
his gracious inclination, God doth make an impression and stamp of the 
gracious heart and inclination that is in Jesus Christ to receive sinners, 
and sets it as it were upon the heart, and he persuades them better things 
of Christ than either what they naturally, or when they arc first humbled, 
think of him. 

Secondly, There is stamped upon the heart of a Christian some secret 
hint or whisper of mercy to him ; I do not say it riseth to assurance, 
for then it would quell all doubtings ; but in every one that God takes to 
himself, as he lets him see the readiness that is in Christ to receive sinners 
indefinitely, so there is some secret kind of whisper of mercy and grace to 
him, a secret hint, as I use to call it. In John x. 3, it is said, that Christ 
calls his sheep by name, even as he called Moses by name, and Cyrus, which 
implies a special intimation ; and Christ he doth distinguish, and saith, the 
reason why others that were not his sheep do not come, is because they do not 
hear his voice. Now that you may not mistake me, though it be a whisper, 
yet it is but a whisper and a hint, which the soul oftentimes in itself doth not 
so discern as to reflect upon it, but yet it is full enough to carry the heart 
after Christ, and never to leave him. I use to compare it to the[scent of a 
bloodhound ; when he is sent to seek, though he finds not, j T et having once 
had the scent he never leaves, but hunts up and down till he finds it, and 
though he knows not where it is, yet it is enough to carry him on. So the 
soul, when it hath wound Jesus Christ, as we may so speak, this hint, this 
whisper is enough to carry on to Christ, so as never to leave him, and 
that with some encouragement, though it doth not rise up to assurance, 
and prevail over doubtings. I distinguish it thus : assurance is when the 
Spirit of God so speaks to a man that he speaks as a witness, when he 
comes in and evidenceth to a man the truth of his estate, and that Jesus 
Christ is his ; and when he speaks as a witness he will speak so loud as 
to prevail over all temptations, and over all doubts, or else he will lose his 
end ; for a witness must so speak as to put the thing out of doubt, or else he 
is no witness. But now in this secret whisper of faith he doth not so, he 
doth not come then to speak as a witness, but he comes to speak then as 
one that would work the heart into Jesus Christ, and carry on the heart to 
Jesus Christ, and in this case a secret whisper, which he himself doth really 
back, is enough to carry on the heart, though it is not enough to quell all 
doubts and temptations. Insomuch now as when a man is humbled, and 
sees his misery, and the like, and when he is walking alone, or is in prayer, 
he thinketh in himself, well, I may find mercy from God, Jesus Christ may 
pardon me, &c. This he may take for his own thoughts, because it doth not 
rise to that height as when the Holy Ghost speaks it as a witness, and in 
such a distinct manner from his own thoughts as that he should rest satis- 
fied in it. Nay, a man is apt to take such thoughts, and to fling them 
away, and discerns them not from other thoughts put into his mind about 
other things ; yet for all that the Holy Ghost, that puts them in, leaves them 
not, but carries them on in a way of encouragement and hopefulness, and 


never lcaveth him till they have boiled up either to the vision of Christ, 
or to the assurance of Jesus Christ as bein£ his. 


That the mere assurance of the object, or a general assent to the truth of the pro- 
mises, is not the act of faith justifying, but application is necessary. — This 
proved by several reasons. 

As I have explained the nature of the act of faith in the understanding, 
so now I will shew that true justifying faith includes more in it, or that it is 
not a bare general assent to the truth of the promises, though never so spiritual ; 
for still in Scripture the act of faith that justifies is called ' believing on 
him,' so Rom. iv. 5, and everywhere almost we find it thus : ' He that believes 
on him that justifies the ungodly ; ' it is not he that believes only that 
God will justify the ungodly. It is an ancient received maxim of divines, 
aliucl est credere Deuin, ct in Deum ; for to believe on him implies a par- 
ticular application. Those that are for general assent urge those scriptures 
most, Rom. x. 9, ' If thou believe with thine heart that God raised up 
Christ from the dead, thou shalt be saved ;' and that in 1 John v. 5, ' He 
overcometh the world that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God ; ' and 
ver. 10, ' He that believeth not the record God hath given of his Son, 
makes God a liar.' But it is observable that, in both places, believing on 
him, which is an act of application, is added, as that which makes this 
general assent a complete act of faith. Thus Rom. x. 11, he confirms his 
saying by the Scripture, which withal interprets his meaning : ' For the 
Scripture saith, He that believeth on him shall not be ashamed ; ' and so 
in 1 John v. 10, ' He that believeth on the Son of God.' He leaves it not, 
therefore, in a general assent. I shall now give the reasons of my assertion. 

Reason 1. Faith doth not consist merely in assent, because a man, in 
believing, comes not in simply as a witness to a truth, for so the angels do 
believe, and testify the truth, and might be said to have faith justifying, 
Rev. xix. 10. They are said to ' have the testimony of Jesus ;' they testify 
that God is true in his promises. But when men believe, they come not 
in barely as witnesses to the New Testament, but as legatees for a portion 
in it ; they therefore rest on it for themselves, and so their faith makes an 
application of it. When some have reasoned against general assent to be 
faith, in that the devils believe, as James says, it hath been answered that 
the devils' assent, though it is operative to cause terror, yet it is not a 
spiritual assent and sight of it, such as a believer in the general hath of 
the things he believes. And they say true, for there is a difference in a 
regenerate man's believing there is a God, and it is another sight than 
devils have. But yet still the argument will hold, if fetched from the good 
angels, for they do in as spiritual a manner as the saints believe the truth 
of the promises, and assent to their goodness, and see the excellencies of 
Christ, and adore th