(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 "A body of divinity: wherein the doctrines of the Christian religion are explained and defended, being the substance of several lectures on the Assembly's larger catechism"

//.2.^\ o£ 

Srom t^e £t6ravg of 

(pxoftBBox ^antuef (giifPer 

in (JUemcr)? of 

Subge ^amuef (Qltffer QBrec^inribge 

gjresente^ fig 

^amuef (gltffer QBrecftinribge feon^ 

to f^e fetfirari? of 

Qprtnceton S^eofo^icaf ^entinarg 

BX 9174 .R51 1814 v. 3 
Ridgley, Thomas, 1667?-1734| 
A body of divinity 

Digitized by tine Internet Archive ' 
in 2009 with funding from 
Princeton Theological Seminary Library 














-■«*"*■ ■■■■»-■■ ■- ■ ■■ - ,i>; ~. 

VOL. Ill 







Quest. LXV, LXVI. Of the benefits which the invi- 
sible church enjoy by Christ. 

WHAT these beiiejits are^ Page 9 

Union with Christy and Communion in grace and glory 10 

Ufiion with Christ illustrated 11 

by a conjugal union in particular 12 

The elect united to Christ 13 

In their effectual calling 15 

Quest. LXVII, LXVIII. Of effectual calling. 

The Gospel-call described 16 

Its difference from effectual calling ibid 

Hoxvfar improved without special grace 20 

A note 19 

Not saving without it 20 

Its effcacy depends on the power of God 39 

Its issue and consequence 26 

Offers of grace explained 16 

God''s design therein ibid 

Effectual calling 39 

A work of almighty poxver 40 

A xvork of grace 59 

Wrought by the Spirit 54 

This doctrine does not savour of enthusiasm 55 

Objections answered ibid 

His xvork ifiternal and super- natural 51 

Objections answered 58 

God'' s poxver and grace irresistible 61 

The seasons of effectual calling 63 

The state of man before and after it 28 

The Pelagians' notion of it ' 30 

Their account of conversion absurd 31 

The nature of huvian liberty ZA' 

[n xvhat respects the will acts freely, 35 

In ~i;h(it nst ibid 


How it differs from moral virtue 161 

Heathens have^ in some thing's^ excelled Christians 163 

And yet xuere not sanctified ibid 

Practical inferences from Sanctifcation 165 

Quest. LXXVI. Of Repentance unto life 166 

Repentance -what, a note 167" 

The subjects of it 167 

It is the ivork of the Holy Spirit 169 

Hox^) -wrought by the xvord 169 

Jt differs from a legal Repentance 172 

Its various acts i7i 

Inferences from this doctrine 17 S 

Quest. LXXVII. Wherein Justification and Sanctifi- 

cation differ 176 

Quest. LXXVIII. Of tli^ Imperfection of Sanctifica- 

tion in this life 178 

The proof of this Imperfectic7i 179 

Why Sanctification not perfected at once 1 82 

Wherein this Imperfection appears 183 

The ccrifiict of a renewed soul 186 

Of an enlightened conscience 1 84< 

Of the spirit against the fiesk 187 

How this is maintained 188 

Consequences -when sin prevails 1 90 

Inferences from this Imperfection 192 

Quest. LXXIX. Of the saints Perseverance in Grace 


This dottrine explained 197' 

Preferable to the contrary 195 

The Father and the Son glorified hy it 216 

The saints kept by God'' s power 199 

This doctrine proxied 

From God's unchangeable love 201 

From the covenant of Grace 202 

Frofn the promises 203 

An objection answered 204 

From the saints union to Christ 207 

From Christ's intercession 209 

From the Spirit^- indwelling 210 

From 2 Tim. ii. 19. " 217 


Hoto the saints cannot sin 212 

The principle of Grace ever abides 213 

Shipwreck made of doctrines 218 

Not of the Grace of faith 219 
Objections answered^ taken 

Frojn instances of apostacy 220 

Solomon's case cleared 221 

He was a true penitent 222 

Therefore no apostate 224 

From the apostacy <?/ Judas 225 

And of the Jewish church 226 

From the parable of the debtor 238 

From Ezek. xviii. 24. 227 

Heb. X. 38. 229 

Chap. vi. 4—6. 232 

Chap. X. 29. 334 

2 Pet. ii. 20—22. 237 

1 Cor. ix. 27. 240 

Inferences from the saints' Perseverance 241 

Quest. LXXX. Of Assurance of Salvation ^ 243 

What we are to understand by it 243 

It is attainable iji this life , 245 

Without extraordinary revelation 247 

The Spirit promised^ to give it 250 

In an ordinary way 251 

Hoxv it arises from his witness 266 

This doctrine savours not of Enthusiasjii 252 

To whom assurance belongs 253 

The means of attaining it 254 

Self examination a duty 256 

How to be performed ibid 

Ride for tryitig marks of grace 259 

Uncertain marks of grace 260 

True marks of grace 262 

What they tnust do who knoxv not the time of their conversion 263 

Quest. LXXXI. Some true believers destitute of As- 
surance 268 

What Assurance essential to faith 370 

And what not so ibid 

Texts relating to this explained 271 

.!{ssurance may be long waited ft 272 

Lost by manifold distempers 273 

B'j sins and tcvr^ytations "Ti 


How these subjects should be insisted on 381 

Quest. XC. Of the Privileges and Honours of the 

saints at the last day 382 

They shall be acknowledged and acquitted 383 

They shall judge the xuorld^ and angels 384 

What meant thereby; qucere tamen. ibid 

They shall be received into heaven 387 

Whether knoxvn to one another there 393 

They shall be freed from sin and misery 388 

Made perfectly happy 389 

And joined with angels ibid 

Their happiness shall be eternal 399 

Of the latiguage of heaven 390 

Of the beatific vision and fruition of God 399 

A note 394, 397 

Of degrees of the heavenly glory 399 

Whether any additions shall be made thereunto 399 

Inferences from the heavenly happiness 403 

Quest. XCI,XCIL 

Of man! s obligation to obedience 405 

Note on the foundatioJi of moral obligafio7i 405 

God^s revealed will a law 408 


the Moral Law 409 

What it is 410 

What obedience it requires 411 

Its sanction 412 

Its use to all ??ren 413 

To the unregenerate 414 

To the regenerate 415 

Antinomians, who are such ' 418 

Ungu<irded expressions hurtful 420 

Quest. XCVIIL The Moral Law^ where summarily 

comprehended 421 

Of the law given from mount Sinai 421 

Of the judicial law 422 

Of the ceremonial la-w 423 

Holy places J with the vessels thereof 424 


Of ministers in holy things 4^6 

Of holy tijnes or festivals 427 

Quest. XCIX. Rules for the understanding the Ten 

Commandments 428 to 431 

Quest. C, CI, CII. The Sum of the Ten Command- 
ments 432 

The preface to them 432 

Their division into tzvo tables 433 

Re7narks on their subject-matter 434 

The sum of the first four ibid 

Quest. CIII, CIV. The Duties required in the First 

Commandment 435 to 438 

Quest. CV, CVI. The Sins forbidden in the First 

Commandment 438 

Of atheistical thoughts 439 

Of idolatry. The origin of it 443 

Of heart-idolatry 447 

Li idolizing self ibid 

In lovi7i.g the zvorld 448 

In regarding the dictates of Satan 449 

Of the case of the xvitch of Kndor 451 

Joseph no sorcerer 452 

Moses no astrologer 454 

But learned in all the rvisdom o/'Egj^pt ibid 

Quest. CVII, CVIII, CIX, CX. An Explication o£ 

the Second Commandment 455 

The duties required 456 

The sins forbidden 459 

The reasons annexed 465 

Of Popish superstition 460 

Of making to ourselves images 461 

Of image-ivorship and idolatry 462 

The Papists guilty of both ibid 

Quest. CXI, CXII, CXIII, CXIV. An Explication 

of the Third Commandment 466 

The duties required in it 468 

The sins forbidden in it 469 


The reasons annexed to it 476 

Of religious oaths 472 

Various forms used therein 471 

Swearing by God^s Name" a duty 470 

Of profane oaths and curses 4<fO 

When God^s Name is taken in vain 473 

Quest. CXV, CXVI. An Explication' of the Fourth 

Commandment 477 

The sabbath. Its original institution 482 

A note ibid 

In xvhat respect moral 478 

In what positive 479 

Its morality proved 480 

Objections answered 481 

Was no ceremonial institution 481 

Its change proved 486 

From the example of Christ 488 

Objections answered 488 

From the practice of the Apostles 491 

And of the Christian church 494 

The proportion of time to be observed 495 

Quest. CXVII, CXVIII. Of sanctifying the Sabbath 

or Lord's-day 497 

The duties preparatory for it 497 

The rest required upon that day 500 

Works of necessity then lawful 502 

The whole day to be sanctified 505 

The duties of the evoiing of that day 506 

Quest. CXIX, CXX, CXXI. Of Sias forbidden in 

the Fourth Commandment 508 

The Gmission of holy duties 509 

A careless performance of them ibid 

The reasons annexed to this Comma7idmcnt 510 

Objections anszvered 511 

The import of the xvord Remember 512 

Inferences 513 

Quest. CXXII. The Sum of the six Commandments, 
respecting our duty to man ; or, of doing as wc 

would be done by 514 


CXXVII, CXXVIII. An Explication of the Fifth 

Commandment 517 

Relatio7is^ hoxv founded 518 

Duties ofeacli differ^ ibid 

Superiors, zv/iy coiled fathers ibid 

Duties of inferiors to superiors 520 

Of children to parents ibid 

Of servants to masters 523 

Of subjects to magistrates 525 

The necessity and advantage of civil government 524 

Papists arguments for deposing princes^ answered 526 

The sins of inferiors 529 


CXXXIII. The Duties of superiors, ^c 530 

The duties of parents to their children 531 

Of 7nasters to servants 533 

Of magistrates to subjects 534 

The sins of superiors ibid 

The duties of equals 535 

The sins of equals 536 

Reasons annexed to this Commandment ibid 

Of the promise of long life 537 

Old age how far to be desired 538 


plication of the Sixth Commandment 539 

The life of others to be preserved 540 

When lawful to take it away 541 

Of duels 542 

KWjah not guilty of murder 543 

Nor Abraham in offering Isaac 544 

Nor Moses in killing the Egyptian 545 

Self-murder a great sin ibid 

Whether Samson was guilty of it 546 

God"* s judgments on murderers 547 

Sinful anger is heart-murder 548 

Passionate men, their sin and guilt 549 

Hoiv to be dealt xvith 550 






Quest. LXV. What special benefits do the members of the 
invisible church enjoy by Christ ? 

Answ. The members of the invisible church, by Christ, enjoy 
union and communion with him in grace and glory. 

Quest. LXVI. What is that union xvhich the elect have zvith 
Christ P 

Answ. The union which the elect have with Christ, is the 
work of God's grace, whereby they are spiritually and mys- 
tically, yet really and inseparably joined to Christ, as theii" 
head and husband, which is done in their effectual calling. 

WE have, in the foregoing part of this work, considered 
man as made upright at first; but not continuing in 
that state, plunged into those depths of sin and misery, which 
would have rendered his state altogether desperate, without 
the interposition of a Mediator; whose designation to this work, 
his fitness for, and faithful discharge thereof, have been parti- 
cularly considered in several foregoing answers, wherein we 
have had an account of his Person as God-man ; his offices of 
Prophet, Priest, and King, his t\.ofold estate, to wit, of humi- 
liation and exaltation ; and the benefits which accrue to the 
church thereby. This church has also been considered as visi- 
ble or invisible ; and the former of these, as enjoying many pri- 
vileges which respect, more especially, the ordinary meant of 

We are now led to consider the benefits which the members 
of the invisible church, to wit, the whole number of the elect, 
who have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under 
Christ, their head, enjoy by him. And these are contained in 
two general heads ; namely, union and communion with him in 

Vol.. IIL B 


grace and glory ; which comprise in them the blessings of both 
worldsj as the result of their relation to, and interest in him» 
First, they are united to him, and then made partakers of his 
benefits. All grace imparted to us here, is the result thereof; 
as the apostle says, Of him are ye in Christ Jesus^ who of God 
is made unto us zvisdom^ and righteousness^ and sanctif cation, 
and redemption, 1 Cor. i. 30. And elsewhere our Saviour says, 
Ife that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth 
much fruit, John xv. 5. And the contrary hereunto is incon- 
sistent with the exercise of any grace : Without me ye can do 

Moreover, that communion which the saints have with 
Christ in glory, whereby they who are brought to a state of 
perfection, participate of those graces and comforts which flow 
from their continued union with him ; and the first fruits, or 
foretastes of glory, which they have in this world, are also 
founded on it. Thus the aposde calls Christ in his people, The 
hope of glory, Colos. i. 27. and speaking of his giving eternal 
life to them, he considers them as being in his hand, from 
whence none shall pluck them out, John x. 28. or separate them 
from him. So that they shall enjoy everlasting happiness with 
him, inasmuch as they shall be found in him, Phil. iii. 9. which 
leads us more particularly to consider. 

What this union with Christ is. The scripture often speaks 
of Christ's being, or abiding in his people, and they in him ; 
and assigns it as an evidence of their interest in the blessings 
he has purchased for them : and, indeed, it is from hence that 
all internal and practical godliness is derived. 

This privilege argues infinite condescension in him, and 
tends to the highest advancement of those who are the subjects 
thereof. Now that we may understand what is intended there- 
by, let us take heed that we do not include in it any thing that 
tends to extenuate it on the one hand ; or to exalt those who 
are made partakers of it above the station or condition into 
which they are brought thereby, on the other. 

It is not sufficient to suppose that this union contains in it 
no more than that his people have the same kind of nature with 
him, as being made partakers of flesh and blood; he having 
himself taken part of the same, Heb. ii. 14. He is indeed allied 
to us, as having all the essential perfections of our nature : and 
this was an instance of infinite condescension in him, and ab- 
solutely necessary to our redemption : nevertheless, this simili- 
tude of nature, abstracted from other considerations, accom- 
panying or flovv'ing from his incarnation, contains in it no other 
idea of union, between Christ and his people, than that which 
they have with one another; nor is it a privilege peculiar to 
believers, since Christ took on him the same human nature that 


all men have, though with a peculiar design of grace to those 
whom he came to redeem. This I the rather take notice of, 
because the Socinians, and others, that speak of this privilege, 
inasmuch as it is often mentioned in scripture, appear to have 
very low thoughts of it, when they suppose nothing more than 
this to be intended thereby. 

Again, this union includes in it more than what is contained 
in that mutual love that is between Christ and believers, in 
that sense in which there is an union of affection between those 
who love one another; as it is said, The soul of Jonathan was 
knit with the soul of David f and Jonathan loved him as his 
own souly 1 Sam. xviii. 1. In which respect believers are uni- 
ted to one another ; or, as the apostle expresses it, their hearts 
are knit together in love^ Col. ii. 2. being like minded^ having 
the same love, being of one accord, of one mind, Phil. ii. 2. or, 
as he adds. Let this mind also be in you, xvhich was also iii 
Christ Jesus, ver. 5. I say it includes more than this, which 
is rather the fruit and consequence of our union with Christ, 
than that wherein it principally consists. 

Moreover we must take heed that we do not, in explaining 
this union between Christ and believers, include more in it than 
what belongs to creatures infinitely below him, to whom thev 
are said to be united : therefore we cannot but abhor the blas- 
phemy of those who speak of an essential union of creatures 
with God ; or, as though they had hereby something derived 
to them in common with Christ the great Mediator.* 

But passing by this method of accounting for the union be- 
tween Christ and believers, there are two senses in which it is 
taken in scripture ; one is, that which results from Christ's be- 
ing their federal head, representative, or surety ; having un- 
dertaken to deal with the justice of God in their behalf, so that 
what he should do, as standing in this relation to them, should 
be placed to their account, as much as though it h^d been done 

• The first that seems to use this ■unsavoury mode of speaking, is Gregory JV'axt- 
anzen ,- -who did not consider how inconsistent some of those rhetorical -ways of speak- 
ing, he seems fond of, are -with that doctrine, -which, in other parts of his writimrSf 
he maintained. Those words Y.ftaloTroiw, and ^tiTroiuv, -which he sometimes tises to eX' 
press t/ie 7iature, or consequence of this union betiveen Christ and believers, are very 
disgustful. In one place of his -writings, {Vid.ejusd. 0»*ar. 41.) exhorting Christians 
to be like Christ, he says. That because he became like unto us, yni»iJi^it. Qtoi It aiulov, 
efiicianiur Dii p)ropter ipsum ; and else-where, {in Oral. 35. de Folio.) he says. Hie 
liomo Dciis effectus postea quam cum Deo coaliiit ivxyiym/jiau'Toa-HTcy fl«oc cs-ov viuvic 
oi*&;a)jr6c i)»»)S>i, ut ipse quoque tantum Deus efficiai* quantum ipse homo, ^nd 
come modern -writers have been fond of the same mode of speaking, especially among 
those -who, from their mysterious and unintelligible mode of expressing themselves, 
have rather exposed than defended the doctrines of the gospel, ff'efind expressions 
of the like nature in a book put forth by Luther, -which is supposed to be -written by 
Taulems, before the lieformation, culled Theologia Gsrmanica, and some otherSf 
since that time, such as Parcelsus, Sivenckfelt, H'eigelius, and those enthusiasts, 
tttat have adhered to their uninteUigible and b'.asphemons modes of spetikir.g. 


i>y them in their own persons : this is what contains in it their 
concern in the covenant of grace, niade with him in their be- 
half; of which something has been said under a foregoing an- 
swer ; * and it is the foundation of their sins being imputed to' 
him, and his righteousness to them ; which will be farther con- 
sidered, v/hen we treat of the doctrine of justification under a 
following answer, f 

Therefore this union with Christ, which is mentioned in the 
answer we are now explaining, is of another nature, and, in 
some respects, may be properly styled a vital union^ as all spi- 
ritual lif,i is derived from it ; or a conjugal union^ as it is foun- 
ded in consent, and said to be by faith. Now there are two 
things observed concerning it. 

1. It is expressed by our being spiritually and mystically 
joined to Christ : it is styled a spiritual imion, in opposition to- 
those gross and carnal conceptions which persons may enter- 
tain concerning things being joined together in a natural way; 
and, indeed, whatever respects salvation is of a spiritual na- 

It is moreover called a mystical union, which is the word 
most used by those who treat on this subject ; and the reason 
is, because the apostle calls it a great 7nysterij^ Eph. v. 32. by 
which we are not to understand the union there is between man 
and wife, as contained in the similitude by which he had be- 
fore illustrated this doctrine, as the Papists pretend, :|: but the 
union that there is between Christ and his church. And it is 
probably styled a mystery^ because it could never have been 
known without divine revelation : and as Christ's condescen- 
sion, expressed herein, can never be sufficiently admired; so 
it cannot be fully comprehended by us. This is such a near- 
ness to him, and such a display of love in him as passeth knotv- 
ledge. However, there are some similitudes used in scripture 
to iilusti>ite it. As, . 

(1.) The union that there is between the vine and the branches^ 
John XV. 1, 2, 5. whereby life, nourishment, growth and fruit- 

* See Vol. If. Quest. C-l.page 167- 

f Quest. 70. 

k This is the principal, if not the only scripture, from which they pretend to prove 
mavria^e to be a sacrament, and they argue thns The Greek church had no other 
word to express what was tifterwards called a sacrament by the Latin church, hit 
;wuc«/><ov, a mistery : therefore since the- apostle culls marriage, as they suppose, a 
mystery, they conclude that it is a sacramcfit ; whieh is a vei^ xueah foundation for 
inser'ing it among those sacraments' which they have added to them that Christ had 
instituted ; for the sacraments are no where called mysteries in Scripture : and there- 
fore we are not to explain doctrines by words which were not used till tome ages after 
the apostles' time ; and if there were any thing in their argument,\'vi. that tliat which 
is called a /ny.^tery in scripture, must needs be a sacrament, it does not appear that 
the apostle calls marriage a g'reat luvstcry, but the union that there is between 
Christ and his church ,- as he expressly rrais in the following words ; I speak con- 
cerning Christ aiid tbe churc'i. 


fulness are conveyed to them : in like manner all our spiritual 
life together, with the exercise and increase of grace, depend 
on our union with, abiding in, and deriving what is necessary 
thereunto, from him. 

(2.) It is also compared to the union there is between the 
head and members^ as the apostle farther illustrates it, when he 
styles him the head^ from xvhich all the body^ by jomts and 
bandi>\ having nourishment 7ninistered^ and knit together^ in" 
creaseth with the increase of God, Col. ii. 19. which is a very 
beautiful similitude, whereby we are given to understand, that 
as the head is the fountain of life and motion to the whole body, 
as the nerves and animal spirits take their rise from thence, so 
that if the communication that there is between them and it, 
be stopped, the members would be useless, dead, and insigni- 
ficant : so Christ is the fountain of spiritual life and motion, to 
all those who are united to him. 

(3.) This union is farther illustrated, by a similitude taken 
from that union which there is between the foundation and the 
building ; and accordingly Christ is styled, in scripture, the 
chitf corner stone^ Eph. ii. 20. and a sure foujidation, Isa. 
xxviii. 16. And there is something peculiar in that phrase 
which the apostle uses, which is more than any similitude can 
express ; when he speaks of Christ as the living st077e, or rock, 
on which the church is built ; and of believers, as lively stones^ 
1 Pet. ii. 4, 5. to denote, that they are not only supported and 
upheld by him, as the building is by the foundation, but ena- 
bled to put forth living actions, as those whose life is derived 
from this union with him. 

(4.) There is another similitude taken from that nourish- 
ment which the body receives, by the use of food ; and there- 
fore our Saviour styles himself the bread of life, or the bread 
xvhich cometh doxvn from heaven, that a man may eat thereof 
andtiot die; and proceeds to speak of his giving his flesh for 
the life of the xvorld ; and adds, ke that eateth 7ny flesh and 
drinketh my blood, dwclleth in me, and I in him, John vi. 48 — 

(5.) There is another similitude, by which our being united 
to Christ by faith, is more especially illustrated, taken from 
the union which there is between man and wife; accordingly 
this is generally styled, a conjugal union, between Christ and 
believers. Thus the prophet says. Thy Maker is thine Hus- 
band, the Lord of hosts is his nayne ; and thy Redeemer, the holy 
One of Israel, Isa. liv. 5. And the apostle, speaking of a man's 
leaving his father and mother, and being joined unto his xvife^ 
and they two being one flesh, Eph. v. 31, 32. applies it, as 
was before observed, to the union that there is between Christ 
and the church ; and adds, that xve are ynembers of his Uodu^ 


cfhisjlesh^ and of his bones^ ver. 30. which expression, if net 
compared with other scriptures, would be very hard to be un- 
derstood; but it may be explained by the like phraseology, 
used elsewhere. Thus, when God formed Eve at first, and 
brought her to Adam, and thereby joined them together in a 
conjugal relation : he says upon this occasion. This is noxv 
bone of mij hone^ and flesh of mij fleshy Gen. ii. 23. And wc 
find also, diat other relations, which are more remote than this, 
are expressed by the same inode of speaking. Thus Laban 
says to YACoh^ Surely thou art my bone and my fleshy Gen. xxix. 
14. And Abimelech pleading the relation he stood in to the 
men of Shechem, as a pretence of his right to reign over them, 
tells them, lam your bone and your flesh, Jxidgts ix. 2. There- 
fore the apostle makes use of the same expression, agreeably 
to the common mode of speaking used in scripture, to set forth 
the conjugal relation which there is between Christ and be- 

The apostle, indeed, elsewhere alters the phrase, when he 
says. He that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit, 1 Cor. vi. 17. 
which is so dillicult an expression, that some who treat on this 
subject, though concluding that there is in it something that 
denotes the intimacy and nearness of this union, and more than 
M'hat is contained in the other phrase, of their being one flesh, 
nevertheless, reckon it among those expressions which are in- 
explicable ; though I cannot but give into the sense in which 
some understand it ; namely, that inasmuch as the same Spirit 
dwells in believers that dwelt in Christ, though with different 
views and designs, they are hereby wrought up, in their mea- 
sure, to the same temper and disposition ; or as it is expressed 
elsewhere. The same miJid is in them that was in Christ, Phil. 
ii. 5. which is such an eflfect of this conjugal relation that there 
is between him and them, as is not always the result of the 
same relation amongst men. The reason why I call this our 
being united to Christ, by faith, is because it is founded in a 
mutual consent; as the Lord avouches them on the one hand, 
to be his people, so they, on the other hand, avouch hi?n to be 
their God, Deut. xxvi. 17, 18. the latter of which is, properly 
speaking, an act of faith ; whereby they give up themselves 
to he his servants, to all intents and purposes, and that for ever. 

It is farther observed m this answer. That union with Christ -j 

is a work of God's grace : this it must certainly be, since it is \ 

the spring and fountain from whence all acts of grace proceed ; l 

and indeed, from the nature of the thing, it cannot be other- 
wise : for if there be a wonderful instance of condescending 
grace in God's conferring those blessings that accompany sal- jj 

vation ; this may much more be deemed so. If Christ be plea- I 

sed to d^i'r"// vv ith, and i7^ his people, and to xvalk in them, 2 


Coy. vi. i6. or as it is said elsewhere, to live in thnu^ Gal. ii. 
20. as a pledge and earnest of their being forever with him in 
heaven ; and if, as the result hereof, they be admitted to the 
greatest intimacy with him ; we may from hence take occa- 
sion to apply what was spoken by one of Christ's disciples, to 
him, with becoming humility and admiration ; /ioty i.v it that 
thou rvilt manifest thijself unto us, and not unto theivorld? 
John xiv. 22. Is it not a great instance of grace, that the Son 
of God should make choice of so mean an habitation, as that 
of the souls of sinful men; and not only be present with, but 
united to them in those instances which have been before con- 
sidered ? 

2. It is farther observed in this answer, that we are united 
to Christ in effectual calling ; which leads us to consider what 
is contained in the two following answers. 

Quest. LXVII. What is effectual calling ? 

Answ. Effectual calling is the work of God's almighty power 
and grace ; whereby, out of his free and special love to his 
elect, and from nothing in them moving him thereunto, he 
doth, in his accepted lime, invite and draw them to Jesus 
Christ by his word and Spirit, savingly enlightening their 
minds, renewing, and powerfully determining their wills; 
so as they, although in them.selves dead in sin, are hereby 
made willing and able, freely to answer his call, and to ac- 
cept and embrace the grace offered and conveyed therein. 

Quest. LXVIII. Are the elect effectually called? 

Axsw. All the elect, and they only, are effectually called; al- 
though others may be, and often are, outwardly called by the 
ministry of the word, and have some common operations of 
the Spirit; who, for their wilful neglect and contemj^t of the 
grace offered to them, being justly left in their unbelief, do 
never truly come to Jesus Christ. 

WE have, in these answers, an account of the first step 
that God takes, in applying the redemption purchased 
by Christ; which is expressed, in general, b}- the word calling; 
whereby sinners are invited, commanded, enrouragcd, and ena- 
bled, to come to Christ, in order to th.eir being made j)artakers 
of his benefits : the apostle styles it an high, hohj, and hcavenhj 
railings Phil. iii. 14. 2 Tim. i. 9. Heb. iii. 1. and a being called 
vnio theffllc-a-^hip of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, 1 Cor. i. 


8. Herein we are called out of darkness into his marvellous lights 

1 Pet. ii. 9. and to his eternal glory by Jesus Christy chap. v. 

10. And, indeed, the word is very emphatical : For, 

1. A call supposes a person to be separate, or at a distance 

from him that calls him ; and it contains an intimation of leave 
to come into his presence. Thus, in effectual calling, he who 
was departed from God, is brought nigh to him. God, as it 
were, says to him, as he did to Adam, when flying from him, 
and dreading nothing so much as his presence, wl^en appre- 
hending himself exposed to the stroke of his vindictive justice. 
Where art thou ? Gen. iii. 9. which is styled, God^s calling itnto 
him. Or, it is like as when a traveller is taking a wrong way, 
and in danger of falling into some pit, or snare ; and a kind 
friend calls after him to return, and sets him in the right way : 
thus God calls to sinners, or says, as the prophet expresses it ; 
Thine ears shall hear a xvord behind thee^ sayings This is the 
rvay, xualk ye in it; when ye turn to the right hand^ and when 
ye turn to the left, 

2. Herein God deals with men as reasonable creatures; 
which is by no means to be excluded from our ideas of the 
work of grace ; though this work contain in it some superior, 
or supernatural methods of acting, in order to bring it about | 
yet we may be under a divine influence, as turning to God, or 
effectually called by him, and accordingly acted by a superna- 
tural principle ; and at the same time our understandings, or 
reasoning powers, not rendered useless, but enlightened or im- 
proved thereby ; by which means, every thing that we do, in 
obedience to the call of God, appears to be most just and rea- 
sonable. This gives no ground for any one to conclude, that, 
according to our method of explaining this doctrine, we lay 
ourselves open to the absurd consequence fastened upon it j as 
though God dealt with us as stocks and stones : but more of 
this may be considered under a following head. 

We now proceed, more particularly, to consider the subject- 
matter of these two answers ; wherein we have an account of 
the difference between the external call of the gospel, which is 
explained in the latter of them, and the internal^ saving, and 
powerful call, which is justly termed effectual; and is consider- 
ed in the former of them. And, 

Firsts Concerning the outward and common call, together 
with the persons to whom it is given ; the design of God in 
giving it, and also the issue thereof, with respect to a great 
number of those who are said to be called. 

The reason why we choose to insist on this common call, in 
the first place, is because it is antecedent, and made subser- 
vient to the other in the method of the divine dispensation j 


inasmuch as we are first favoured with the word and ordinan- 
ces, and then they are made effectual to salvation. 

1. Therefore we shall consider what we are to understand 
by this common call. 

It is observed, that it is by the ministry of the word, in which 
Christ is set forth in his person and offices, and sinners are 
called to come to him ; and in so doing, to be made partakers 
of the blessings which he has purchased. This is the sum and 
substance of the gospel-ministry; and it is illustrated Matt, 
xxii. 1, & seq> by the parable of the marriage-feast^ which the 
king made for his son, and sent his servants; by which is sig- 
nified gospel-ministers, to ca/i or invite, and therein to use all 
persuasive arguments to prevail with persons to come to it : 
this is styled their being called. And the observation made on 
persons refusing to comply with this call, when it is said. Many 
are called^ but few are chosen^ ver. 14. plainly intimates, that our* 
Saviour here means no other than a common or ineffectual call. 
And in another parable it is illustrated by an householder's 
hiring labourers into his vineyard^ Matt. xx. 1, & se(/. at seve- 
ral hours of the day : some were hired early in the morning, at 
the third hour ; others at the sixth and ?iinth ; which denotes 
the gospel-call, that the Jewish church had to come to Christ 
before his incarnation, under the ceremonial law -, and others 
were hired at the eleventh hour, denoting those who were call- 
ed, at that time, by the ministry of Christ and his disciples : 
that this was only a common and external call, is evident, not 
only from the intimation that they, who had boms the burden 
and heal of the day ; that is, for many ages had been a profess- 
ing people, murmured^ because others, who Were called at the 
eleventh hour, had an equal share in his regard; but also from 
what is expressly said, (the words are the same with those 
wherewith the other parable before-mentioned, is closed) Mamj 
are called^ but few are chose?!., ver. 16. 

Moreover, the apostle intends this common call, when fie 
speaks of some who have been called into the grace of^rist; 
not called by the power and efficacious grace of Christ, as de- 
noting that the call was effectual ; but called, or invited to come 
and receive the grace of Christ; or called externally, and there- 
by prevailed on to embrace the doctrine of the grace of Christ: 
these are said to be soon removed unto another gospel^ Gal. i. 6. 
And elsewhere, chap. v. 7. he speaks of some, who, when the 
truths or the doctrines of the gospel, were first presented to 
them, expressed, for a time, a readiness to receive it; upon 
which account he says, Te did fun well^ or, ye began well ; but 
yet they did not afterwards yield the obedience of faith, to that 
truth which they seemed, at first, to have a very great regard ; 

Vol. III. C 


upon which occasion the apostle says, This persuasion comef/t 
not of him that calleth you^ ver. 8. 

They who express some regard to this call, are generally 
said to have common grace, as contradistinguished from others, 
who are under the powerful, arid efficacious influences of the 
Spirit, which are styled special. The former of these are often- 
times under some impressive influences by the common work 
of the Spirit, under the preaching of the gospel ; who, notwith- 
standing, are in an unconverted state j their consciences are 
sometimes awakened, and they bring many charges and accu- 
sations against themselves ; and from a dread of the conse- 
quences thereof, abstain from many enormous crimes, as well 
as practise several duties of religion ; they are also said to be 
made partakers of some great degrees of restraining grace; 
and all this arises from no other than the Spirit's common work 
of conviction ; as he is said, to reprove the world of sin, John 
xvi. 8. 

These are styled, in this answer, the common operations of 
the Spirit : they may be called operations, inasmuch as they 
contain in them something more than God's sending ministers 
to address themselves to sinners, in a way of persuasion or 
arguing ; for, the Spirit of God deals with their consciences 
under the ministry of the word. It is true, this is no more than 
common grace ; yet it may be styled the Spirit's work : for 
though the call be no other than common, and the Spirit con- 
sidered as an external agent, inasmuch as he never dwells in 
the hearts of any but believers, yet the effect produced, is in- 
ternal in the mind and consciences of men, and, in some de- 
gree, in the will ; which is almost persuaded to comply with it. 
These operations are sometimes called the Spirit's striving xvith 
man. Gen. vi. 3. but inasmuch as many of these internal mo- 
tions are said to be resisted and quenched, when persons first 
act contrary to the dictates of their consciences, and afterwards 
vholly extinguish them ; therefore the Spirit's work in those 
whora he thus calls, is not effectual or saving ; these are not 
united lo Christ by his Spirit, nor by faith ; and this is gene- 
rally styled common grace, in speaking to which, we shall 

(1.) That there are some things presented to us, in an ob- 
jective way, which contain the subject matter of the gospel, or 
that call, which is given to sinnerb to pursue those methods, 
which, by divine appointment, lead to salvation. As faith com- 
eth by hearing, and hearing by the xvord of God, Rom. x. 17. 
so do common convictions, and whatever carries in it the ap- 
pearance of grace in the unregenerate. In this respect God 
deals with men as intelligent creatures, capable of making such 
improvement of those instructions and intimations, as may tend. 


in many respects, to their advantage. This must be supposed, 
or else the preaching of the gospel could not be reckoned an 
universal blessing to them who are favoured with it, abstract- 
ing from those saving advantages which some are to receive 
hereby. This is here called the grace which is offered to them, 
who are outwardly called, by the ministry of the word. 

Offers of grace, and invitations to come to Christ, are words 
used by almost all who have treated on this subject: though 
some, of late, have been reacjy to conclude, that these modes 
of speaking tend to overthrow the doctrine we are maintaining ; 
for they argue to this purpose ; that an overture, or invitation, 
supposes a power in him to whom it is given to comply with 
it. Did I think this idea necessarily contained in these words, 
I should rather choose to subtitute others in the room of them : 
however, to remove prejudices, or unjust representations, which 
the use thereof may occasion, either here or elsewhere, I shall 
briefly give an account of the reason why I use them, and what 
I understand thereby. If it be said. This mode of speaking is 
not to be found in scripture ; this, it is true, should make us 
less teaacious of it. Nevertheless, it may be used without just 
offence given, if it be explained agreeably thereunto, (a) There- 
fore let it be considered, 

(a) That the invitations of the gospel are not restricted to a few amongst a 
larger number who hear them, is clear, from various considerations. 

The term evangel, or gospel, importing good tidings, evinces, that it is de 
signed not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance and salvation. 

The blessings, which it announces, lead to the same conclusion ; liberty is of- 
fered to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound ; 
those who labour and are heavily laden, are invited to seek, and obtain rest : those 
wh-j hunger and thirst after righteousness, are assured that they shall be filled ; 
the riches of grace and of glory are promised to the poor in Spirit ; sight is offer- 
ed to the blind -, and howsoever diseased, those who are afflicted are invited to 
come to the great Physician ; and even those who are dead in sin are revived by 
his life-giving word. Such are the circumstances of the worst of nien, who are 
consequently the objects of the mercies proffered in the gospel. 

The unrcgenerate elect, who stand amongst those who will not be saved, are 
like them, possessed of prevailing inclinations to sin, and equally impotent to 
good : they are all equally guilty of an aversation of heart from God, and so pos- 
sess in themselves nothing which can evidence a right to gospel blessings more 
liian otliers. 

The invitations of the gospel are In universal terms, and although such term a 
are sometimes restricted by the sense, yet where no such restriction appears, 
they are to be taken in their own unlimited extent; the ransom is asserted to 
have been rendered for all ; the Lord willeth not the destruction of any, but that 
ail should turn and live ; Christ proclaimed to sinners, if any man tkir.it, let hitfi 
i.ome unto me and drink ,■ and directed his disciples to go and teach all nations ; and 
it is his will, that the gospel should be preacl)ed unto every creature. 

It in the day of fiaal account, tlie abominable crimes of Sodom and Gotnorrha 
shall evince less guilt than the impenltency of Chorazln and Bethsaida ; the ag- 
gravation of guilt, which the gospel produces, demonstrates that its messages 
are directed unto the worst of men, as well as others. 

Those who are guided by the light of nature, ai-e guilty, because they violate 
thjB rule of conscience •. such as possessed the law of God were still more guilty i 


(2.) That the presenting an object, whatever it be, to the 
understanding and will, is generally called, an qfering- it; as 
Gad says to David, from the Lord ; / ofer thee three things^ 
choose thee one of them^ &c. 1 Sam. xxiv. 12. So if God sets 
before us life and death, blessing and cursing, and bids us 
choose which we will have ; this is equivalent to what is gene- 
rally called, an offer of grace. 

And as for invitations to come to Christ, it is plain, that there 
are many scriptures that speak to that purpose ; namely, when 
it is said. In the last day^ that great day of the feasty fesxis 
stood and cried, saying-. If any man thirst, let him come unto 
me and drink, John vii. 37. And, Ho every one that thirsteth, 
come ye to the waters, Isa. Iv. 1. And elsewhere Christ says. 
Come unto me all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and Izvill 
g-ive you rest. Matt. xi. 28. And, Let him that is athirst come; 
and whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely, 
Rev. xxii. 17. 

(3.) When an offer, or invitation to accept of a thing, thus 
objectively presented to us, is made, it always supposes the 
valuableness thereof; and how much it would be our interest 
to accept of it ; and that it is our indispensable duty so to do ; 
which are the principal ideas that I intend, in my sense of the 
word, when I speak of offers of grace in the gospel, or invita- 
tions to come to Christ. Nevertheless, taking them in this 
sense, does not necessarily infer a power in us to accept them, 
without the assistance of divine grace : thus it may be isaid, 
that Christ came into the world to save sinners ; and that he 
will certainly apply the redemption, which he has purchased, 
to all, for whom this price was given ; and also, that a right to 
salvation is inseparably connected with faith and repentance ; 
and that these, and all other graces are God's gifts; and that 
we are to pray, wait, and hope for them, under the ministry of 
the word ; and if we be, in God's own time and way, enabled 
to exercise these graces, this will be our unspeakable advan- 
tage : and therefoa-e it cannot but be our duty to attend upon 
God in all his holy institutions, in hope of saving blessings : 
these things may be done ; and consequently the gospel may be 
thus preached, without supposing that grace is in our own 

but sinners under the liglit of the gospel, who trample under foot the blood of 
Chrisl, and despise and reject the mercies of the gospel, are guilty in the highest 
degree. It is just that thev should not receive the oflered pardon, but remain 
under the condemnation of the law, the dominion of iniquity, the slavery of Sa- 
tan, and be left in their beloved darkness until they sink in despair. Yet nothing 
but their own aversion rejects the invitation, or prevents their salvation : they 
are straitened in their own bowels, and are the causes of their own destruction. 
Thus salvation is offered in general* and God is just, though the application of 
it is plainly special. 


power : and this is what we principally intend by gospel-over- 
tures or invitations. 

(4.) Nevertheless we cannot approve of some expressions 
subversive of the doctrine of special redemption, how moving 
and pathetic soever they may appear to be ; as when any one, 
to induce sinners to come to Christ, tells them, that God is 
willing, and Christ is willing, and has done his part, and the 
Spirit is ready to do his ; and shall we be unwilling, and there- 
by destroy ourselves ? Christ has purchased salvation for us : 
the Spirit offers his assistances to us ; and shall we refuse these 
overtures ? Christ invites us to come to him, and leaves it to 
our free-will, whether we will comply with, or reject these in- 
vitations : he is, at it were, indeterminate, whether he shall save 
us or no, and leaves the matter to our own conduct ; we ought 
therefore to be persuaded to comply with the invitation. This 
Dfiethod of explaining offers of grace, and invitations, to come 
to Christ, is not what we intend when we make use of these 

2. We are now to consider the persons to whom this com- 
mon call is given. It is indefinite, not directed only to the elect, 
or those, with respect to whom God designs to make it efl'ec- 
tual to their salvation ; for, according to the commission which 
our Saviour gave to his apostles, the gospel was to be preach- 
ed to all nations, or to every creature in those places to which 
it was sent : and the reason of this is obvious ; namely, because 
the counsel of God, concerning election, is secret, and not to 
be considered as the rule of human conduct; nor are they, 
whom God is pleased to employ in preaching the gospel, sup- 
posed to know whether he will succeed their endeavours, by 
enabling those who are called, to comply with it. 

3. We shall now shew how far the gospel-call may,H\ithout 
the superadded assistance of special grace, be improved by 
men, in order to their attaining some advantage by it, though 
short of salvation : this may be done in two respects. 

(1.) Gioss enormous crimes may hereby be avoided: this 
appears in many unconverted persons, who not only avoid, but 
abhor them ; being induced hereunto by something in nature 
that gives an aversion to them. And it may be farther argued, 
from the liableness of those who commit them, to punishment 
in proportion to their respective aggravations ; which must 
either suppose in man, a power to avoid them : or else, the 
greatest degree of punishment would be the result of a neces- 
sity of nature, and not self-procured by any act of man's will; 
though all suppose the will to be free, with respect to actions 
that are sinful. It would be a very poor excuse for the mur- 
derer to allege, that he could not govern his passion, but was 
under an unavoidable necessity to take away the life of ano* 


ther. Shall the man that commits those sins, which are contra- 
ry to nature, say, That his natural temper and disposition is so 
much inclined thereunto, that he could, by no means, avoid 
them ? If our natural constitution be so depraved and vitiated, 
that it leads us, with an uncommon and impetuous violence, to 
those sins that we were not formerly inclined to : whence does 
this arise, but from the habits of vice, being increased by a wil- 
ful and obstinate continuance therein, and many repeated acts 
which they have produced ? and might not this, at least, in 
some degree, have been avoided ? We must distinguish be- 
tween habits of sin, that immediately flow from the universal 
corruption of nature, and those that have taken deeper root in 
us, by being indulged, and exerting themselves, without any 
endeavours used, to restrain and give a check to them. 

' And if it be supposed that our natures are more habitually 
inclined to sin than once they were, might we not so far use 
the liberty of our wills, as to avoi;! some things, which, we are 
sensible, will prove a temptation to those particular acts there- 
of; whereby the corruption of nature, that is so prone to com- 
ply with it, might be in some measure, restrained, though not 
overcome : this may be done without converting grace ; and 
consequently some great sins may be avoided. To deny this, 
would be not only to palliate, but open a door to all manner of 

(2.) Man has a power to do some things that are materially 
good; though not good in r]l those circumstances in which ac- 
tions are good that accompany or flow from regenerating grace. 
Ahab's humility, 1 Kings xxi. 29. and Nineveh^s repentance, 
Jonah iii. 5. and seq. arose from the dread they had of the di- 
vine threatenings ; which is such an inducement to repentance 
and reformation, as takes its rise from nothing more than the 
influence of common grace. Herod himself, though a vile per- 
son, yd-ar^/Zyo/m, knoxmn^ that he was a Just man and an holy : 
and when he heard him, did mawj things, and heard him glad- 
ly, Mark vi. 20. And the Gentiles are said to do by nature, the 
things ; that is, some things contained in the law ; insomufh 
that they are a law unto themselves, Rom. ii. 14. Therefore 
they did them by the influence of common grace. And these 
things, namely, abstaining from grosser sins, apd doing some 
actions materially good, have certainly some advantage atten- 
ding them ; as thereby the world is not so much like hell as it 
would otherwise be : and as to what respects themselves, a 
greater degree of punishment is hereby avoided. 

3. We are now to consider the design of God in giving this 
common call in the gospel, which cannot be the salvation of all 
who are thus called : this is evident ; because all shall not be 
saved; whereas, if God had designed their salvation, he would 


certainly have brought it about; since his purpose cannot he 
■frustrated. To sa)^ that God has no determinations relating to 
the success of the gospel, reflects on his wisdom : and to con- 
clude that things may happen contrary to his purpose, argues 
a defect of power ; as though he could not attain the ends he 
designed : but this having before been insisted on, under the 
heads of election and special redemption, I shall pass it by at 
present, and only consider, that the ends which God designed 
in giving the gospel, were such as were attained by it, namely, 
the salvation of those who shall eventually be saved, the re- 
straining of those wlio have only common grace, and the setting 
forth the glorious work of redemption by Jesus Christ; which, 
as it is the wonder of angels, who desire to look into it ; so it 
is hereby designed to be recommended as worthy of the high- 
est esteem, even in those who cast contempt on it : and here- 
by they are convicted, who shut their eyes against, and neglect 
to behold that glorious light which shines so brightly therein. 

Object. To this it is objected, that if Christ invites and calls 
men to come to him, as he often does in the New Testament ; 
and when they refuse to do it, mentions their refusal with a 
kind of regret; as when .he says, 2'e rvill not co7ne to me^ that 
ye might have li/Cy John v. 40. this, they suppose, is no other 
than an insult on mankind, a bidding them come without th« 
least design that they should ; as if a magistrate should go to 
the prison door, and tell the unhappy man, who is not only un- 
der lock and key, but loaded with irons, that he would have 
liim leave that place of misery and confinement, and how much 
he should rejoice, if he would come out; and upon that condi- 
tion, propose to him several honours that he has in reserve for 
him : this, say they, is not to deal seriously with him. And if 
the offer of grace in the gospel, answers the similitude, as they 
suppose it exactly does, then there is no need for any thing 
farther to be replied to it ; the doctrine confutes itself; as it 
argues the divine dealings with men illusory. 

Artsiv, This similitude, how plausible soever it may appear 
to be to some, is far from giving a just representation of the 
doctrine we are maintaining : for when the magistrate is sup- 
posed to signify his desire that the prisoner would set himself 
free, which he knows he cannot do ; hereby it is intimated, that 
though God knows that the sinner cannot convert himself, yet 
he commands him to do it, or to put forth supernatural acts ot 
giace, though he has no principle of grace in him : but let it 
be considered, that this God no where commands any to do. (a) 
Our Saviour intends as much as this, when he speaks of the 
free^s being- made good^ before the fruit it produces can be so. 
Matt. xii. 33. or that it is impossible for men to gather grafies 

(rt) Vide Fuller's •• Ggspel worthy of all Acceptation " 


of thorns^ or figs of thistles^ chap. vii. 17. im])lylng, tliat there 
must be an internal disposition wrought, belore any acts of 
grace can be put forth : this is supposed in the preaching of 
the gospel, or the call to sinners to repent and believe, which 
they have no reason to conclude that they can do without the 
aids of divine grace, and these they are to wait, pray and hope 
for, in all God's instituted methods. 

Moreover, as for those promises which are made to us, if 
we would release ourselves from the chains of sin, and the ac- 
count given, how much God would rejoice in our being set 
free, when the thing is, in itself, impossible ; this is no other- 
wise true than as it contains a declaration of the connexion 
there is between conversion and salvation, or freedom from the 
slavery of sin, and God's conferring many spiritual honours and 
privileges on those who are converted ; not that it does, in the 
least, denote that it is in our own power to convert ourselves : 
but that this may be more clearly understood, we shall consi- 
der it with relation to the two branches before mentioned, and 
so speak of God, either as commanding, calling, and inviting 
men to do what is out of their power, namely, to repent, and 
believe ; or else, as holding forth promises of that salvation 
which they shall not attain ; because these graces are out of 
their power, which contains the substance of what is usually 
objected against the doctrine we are maintaining, by those who 
are on the other side of the question ; who suppose that this 
method of procedure is illusory, and therefore unbecoming the 
divine perfections. And, 

1. Concerning God's commanding, calling, and inviting men 
to do what is out of their own power ; as for instance, bidding 
a dead man to arise, or one that is blind to see, or those that 
are shut up in prison, to come out from thence. This is to be 
explained, and then, perhaps, the doctrine we are maintaining, 
will appear to be less exceptionable. We have, elsewhiere, in 
defending the head of particular redemption, against an objec- 
tion not much unlike to this, considered how Christ is said to 
be offered in the gospel,* or in what sense the overture may 
be said to be made to all that are favoured with it ; and yet the 
efficacy thereof, only extend to those whom Christ has redeem- 
ed, and shall be effectually called. But that we may a little 
farther explain this matter, let us consider, 

(1.) That the gospel contains a declaration, that God de- 
signs to save a part of this miserable world ; and, that in sub- 
serviency thereunto, he has given them a discovery of Christ, as 
the object of faith, and the purchaser and author of salvation. 

(2.) He does not therein give the least intimation to any, 
while in a state of unregeneracy, that they shall be enabled to 
believe : and, as the consequence thereof, be saved. Their 
* See Vol. II. page 3"3, 


names, characters, or places of abode, or their natural embel- 
lishments, who shall attain this privilege, are no where pointed 
at in scripture ; nor is the book ot God's secret purpose, con- 
cerning election to eternal life, opened, so as that any one can 
discern his name written in it, before he be effectually called 3 
for we have no warrant to look any farther than God's reveal- 
ed will, which assigns no evidence of our interest in the saving 
blessings of the gospel, till they are experienced by us, in this 
effectual call. 

(3.) God plainly discovers to men, in the gospel^ that all 
those graces, which are inseparably connected with salvation, 
are his work and gift, and consequently out of their own pow- 
er; or that it is not of him that willeth^ nor of him that 7-unneth, 
but of God that shexvcth mercij^ Rom. ix. 16. Therefore he 
no where tells the rnan, who is tied and bound with tht chain 
of his sin^ that he is able to set himself free; but puis him up- 
on expecting and praying for it, from tht pitifulness of his great 
mercy. He no where tells him, that he can implant a principle 
of spiritual life and grace in himself; or that he ought so much 
as to attempt to do any thing to atone for his sins, by his obe- 
dience and sufferings, but suggests the contrary, when he says, 
Surely^ shall one say^ in the Lord have I 7'ighteoiisness and 
stren^th^ Isa. xlv. 24. 

(4.) He gives none the least ground to expect, or lay claim 
to salvation, till they believe ; and as faith and salvation are 
both his gifts, he puts them upon seeking, and desiring them, 
in their respective order; first grace, and then glory. 

(5.) The gospel-call is designed to put men upon a diligent 
attendance on the ordinances, as means of grace, and to leave 
the issue and success thereof to God, who xvaits that he may 
be gracious ; that so his sovereignty may appear more eminent- 
ly in the dispensing this privilege ; and, in the mean time, as- 
signs it as their duty to xv ait for him^ chap. xxx. 18. And 
while we are engaged in this duty, we are to acknowledge, that 
we have nothing that can give us any right to this privilege t 
So that God might justly deny success to his ordinances. Ne- 
vertheless, if he is pleased to give us, while we arc attending 
on them, those earnest desires of their being made effectual to 
our conversion and salvation, we may conclude this to be a to- 
ken for good, that he designs us some special advantage there- 
by ; and we do not know but tiaat even this desire of grace may 
be the beginning of the Spirit's saving work, and therefore an 
earnest of his carrying it on. 

(6.) When God commands persons, in the gospel, to do 
those things which cannot be performed without his special 
grace, he sometimes supposes them, when he gives forth the 
uommand, to have a nrinciple of spiritual Jife and grace, which 

Vol. Ill, " n' 


is» in effect to bid one that is made alive, to put forth living ac- 
tions ; which respect, more especially, the progress of grace af- 
ter the work is begun ; in which sense 1 understand those 
words of the apostle, Jf'oi'k out your salvatioii xv'ith fear and 
trembling ; for it is God which worketh ; that is, hath wrought, 
in you both to will and to do^ of his good pleasure^ Phil. ii. 12. 

2. If we consider the gospel as holding forth promises of 
salvation, when, at the same time, it is not in our power to ex- 
ercise those graces that accompany it ; which gives farther oc- 
casion to those that except against the doctrine we are main- 
taining, to conclude, that it represents God as offering thost- 
blessings which he does not design to bestow : This may give 
us occasion to explain what we mean, when we consider salva- 
tion as offered in the gospel ', whereby we understand nothing 
else but a declaration, that all who repent and believe, shall be 
saved ; which contains a character, or description of the per- 
sons who have ground to expect this privilege : not that salva- 
tion is founded on dubious and uncertain conditions, which de- 
pend upon the power and liberty of our will ; or impossible 
condjiions ; as though God should say, if man will change his 
own iieart, and work faith, and all other graces in himself, then 
he will save him : but all that we mean by it is, that those gra- 
ces, which are inseparably connected with salvation, are to be 
waited for in our attendance on all God's ordinances, and when 
he is pleased to work them, then we may conclude, that we 
have a right to the promise of salvation. Thus concerning the 
gospel-call, what it is, how far it may be improved by those 
who are destitute of special grace, and what is God's design in 
giving it : we now proceed to consider, 

3» The issue and consequence thereof, as it is farther obser- 
ved in this answer, that many wilfully neglect, contemn, or re- 
fuse to comply with it, with respect to whom it is not made ef- 
fectual to their salvation. This appears from the report that 
Christ's disciples brought to him, concerning the excuses that 
many made when called to come to the marriage feast, in the 
parable : One pretended, that he had bought a piece of ground^ 
and 7nust needs go see it; and another, that he had bought five 
yoke of oxeUf and ViwxstgO to prove thern ; and another hud mar- 
ried a ivife^ and therefore could not come. It is elsewhere said, 
that they all made light of it., and xvent their ways ; one to his 
farm^ another to his merchandise; and the remnant took his srr- 
sjants^ and entreated them spitefully^ and slew them^ Luke xiv. 
18 — 20. compared with Matt. xxii. 5, 6. 

And the prophet introduces our Saviour himself as complain- 
ing, / have laboured ifi vain^ I have spent my strength for 
nought., Isa. xlix. 4, 5. And the reason hereof is, because Is- 
rael is not gathered «■ which words are to be undetstood in a 


comparative seuscy as denoting the fewness of those who com- 
plied with his gracious invitations, to come to him, or were 
convinced, by the miracles which he wrought to confirm his 

This is also farther evident, from the small number of those 
who are effectually prevailed upon under the gospel dispensa- 
tion, which the apostle calls the grace of God that brings salva- 
tion^ that hath opl)cared to all rnen^ teaching them to deny all 
nngodiiness and worldly lusts; and to live soberly^ righteously^ 
.and godly, in this present world. And alsu, from the great op- 
position and hatred, which many express to the person ot Christ, 
who is the subject matter thereof; which the prophet not only 
relates, as what was observed in his day, but foretells, that in 
after-ages, a great part of mankind would not believe the report 
jnade concerning him ; but that he should be despised and re- 
jected of men, who would hide, as it were, their faces from him^ 
and not esteem him, Isa. liii. 1, 3. This is certainly the high- 
est contempt of the gos*pel ; for it is arf undervaluing the great 
est privileges, as though they were not worthy to be embraced, 
desired, or sought after ; and inasmuch as this is wilful, arising 
irom the enmity of the Avill of man against God, and the me- 
thod of salvation Avhich he has prescribed therein, it has a ten- 
dency to provoke his wrath ; so that being justly left in their 
unbelief, they will not come to Christ, that they may have life. 
And as they are judicially left to themselves, they contract a 
greater degree of alienation fi-om, and averseness to God, and 
so never truly' come to Jesus Christ ; which is an awful and 
tremendous consideration. 

This is the consequence of it, with respect to those who have 
only this common call ; and therefore we must not conclude, 
that it is sufficient to salvation, unless there be an internal ef- 
fectual call ; and what this is, will be considered under our next 
head ; but before we enter thereon, it is necessary for us to en- 
quire, whether all, at least, those who sit under the sound of 
the gospel, have sufficient grace given them, so as that, by their 
own conduct, without the internal powerful influences of the 
Spirit, they may attain to salvation. This argument is much 
insisted on by those who adhere to the Pelagian scheme ; and 
therefore we cannot wholly pass it over : and for our setting 
this matter in a just light, let it ,be considered ; that every one 
must allow, that all who sit under the sound of the gospel, have 
sufficient objective grace, or sufficient external means, to lead 
them in the way of salvation i for to deny this, would be to de- 
ny that the gospel is a perfect rule of faith : this therefore is al- 
lowed on both sides ; and we think nothing more is intended, 
when God says, concerning the church of the Jews, What 
could have been done more to my vineyard, that / have not dcin.^ 
?n it, Isa. v. 4« 


But the question is, whether there be a sufficlenc}' of power, 
or ability in man ; so that without the internal efficacious grace 
of God, deterrr.ining and inclining the will, to make a right im- 
provement ot It, it may be sufficient to the salvation of those 
to whom it is given ? This is what we cannot but deny. Now, 
that the external means of grace are not rendered effectual to 
the salvation of all who are favoured with them, is evident ; be- 
cause, as was but now observed, many neglect and contemn the 
gospel : and as to others who improve it, so that the means of 
grace become effectual, it must be enquired ; what it is that 
makes them so i How comes it to pass, that the preaching 
thereof is styled, to some, a savour of life, to others, a savour 
of death ? The answer which the Pelagians give to this, is, 
that they, in whom it is effectual, render it so, by their im- 
proving the liberty of their will ; so that they choose what is 
represented in the gospel, as eligible, and refuse the contrary. 
And if the question be asked, who maketh thee to differ from 
another ? they iiave, when disposed to speak agreeably to their 
own scheme, this answer ready at hand, I make myself to dif- 
fer ; that is as much as to say, I have a natural power of im- 
proving the means of grace, without having recourse to God 
for any farther assistance, in a supernatural way. 

It may easily be observed, that this supposition is greatly 
derogatory lo the gloiy of God ; and renders all dependancc 
on him, both to will and to do, unnecessary : It supposes that 
ive have sufficient ability to work those graces in ourselves that 
accompany salvation ; otherwise it is not sufficient to salvation; 
and therefore it is contrary to all those scriptures which speak 
of them as the work, or the effect of the exceeding greatness 
of the power of God : which leads us to consider, 

Secondly^ The doctrine of effectual calling, as contained in 
the former of the ansv/ers, which we are explaining ; in which 
we may observe, 

I. The character of those who are effectually called antece- 
dent thereunto. They have nothing that can recommend them 
. to the divine favour ; for being considered as fallen, guilty 
creatures, they are not only unable to make atonement for sin, 
but to do what is spiritually good : thus the apostle represents 
them, as without strength^ Rom. v. 6. which is the immediate 
consequence of man's first apostacy from God ; and universal 
^xperiencii, proves that we have a propensity to every thing 
that is evil, which daily increases : And to this we may add, 
that the mind is blinded, the affections stupified, the will full 
of obstinacy, the conscience disposed to deal treacherously, 
\yhereby we deceive ourselves ; so that the whole soul is out 
of order. The apostle speaks of man by nature^ as dead in 


trespasses and sins, walking- according" to the course of this zvorld, 
according to the prince oj the power of the air, the spirit that 
now worketh in the children of disobedience ; having their con- 
versation in the lusts of the fesh, fulfilling the desires of the fleshy 
and of the mind, Kph. ii. 1 — 3. And the prophet speaks ot 
ihe heart of man, as being deceitful above all things, and des- 
perately wicked, Jer. xvii. 9. And the apostle describes some 
as * walking in the vanity ot their mind, having the under-> 

* standing darkened, being alienated from the life of God, 

* through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blind- 

* ness of their heart ; who being past feeling, have given them- 
'■ selves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with 
- greediness,' Eph. iv. 17 — 19. and others, as being ' filled with 
all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, ma- 
" liciousness, full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity, 
^ whispei-ers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boast- 

* ers, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without 
' understanding, covenant- breakers, without natural affection, 
' implacable, unmerciful,' Rom. i. 29 — 31. This, indeed, is 
spoken of the Gentiles, wlio were destitute of the means of 
grace, and had contracted greater degrees of impiety than ma- 
ay others ; but they, who are effectually called, would have run 
into the same abominations, their natures being equally incli- 
ned thereunto, without preventing grace ; as some of the church 
of Corinth are said to have done before their conversion, whom 
he speaks of as once having been * unrighteous, fornicators, 
' idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, abusers of themselves with 

* mankind, thieves,' covetous, drunkards, revilers, extortioners,' 
1 Cor. vi. 9, 10, 11. And elsewhere he says, ' We ourselves 

* also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving 

* divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, 

* and hating one another,' Tit. iii. 3. And the obstinacy andl 
perverseness of men, going on in a course of sin, is so great, 
that God reproves a professing people, by telling them, that 
their neck rvas as an iron sineiv, and their brow brass, Isa. 
xlviii. 4. Thus they were, before he refined and chose some 
oi them, in the furnace of affliction, ver. 10. From hence it 
evidently appears, that m.en are not naturally inclined to com- 
ply with the gospel-call ; but this is a privilege conferred on 
them, when, by the Spirit, it is made effectual to their salva- 

Objec. It is objected, to what has been said concerning per- 
oons being dead in sin, before they are effectually called ; tha^ 
that is no other than a metaphorical expression ; and therefore 
the sense thereof is not to be strained so far as to suppose from 
hence, that they are -altogether without a power to do that Avhich 
s spiritually gocd. 


Ansxv. When the state of men, before they are effectually 
called, is styled, a death in sin, which is a metaphorical ex- 
pression, v/e must suppose, that there is a sense affixed to it, 
which, in some respects, is adapted to those ideas that we have 
of the word. If scripture-metaphors prove nothing, because 
the words are transferred from their literal sense to some other 
that is intended thereby, we shall be at the greatest loss to un- 
derstand many important doctrines contained in the sacred 
\vritings, which abound very much with such modes of speak- 
ing. We do not suppose the metaphor to be extended so far, 
as that a person, dead in sin, is incapable of acting, as though 
he was a stock or a stone, the contrary to which is evident, 
from what has been before said concerning the power which 
they, who aie in an unregenerate state, have of doing things 
materially good ; but we are now considering men as unable to 
do what is good in all its circumstances, which may render 
their actions the object of the divine approbation, as agreeable 
to God's revealed will ; and this, we suppose, an unregenerate 
person is as unable to do, as a dead man is to put forth living 
actions ; and the reason is, because he is destitute of a super- 
natural principle of spiritual life. Scripture and experience, 
not only evince the weakness, blindness, and disinclination ot 
such, to what is good, but their averseness to it : So that what- 
ever we do, either in the beginning or progress of the life of 
faith, must proceed from a renewed nature, or a supernatural 
principle implanted in the soul ; which is sometimes called, a 
new hearty Ezek. xxxvi. 26. a divine 7iature^ 2 Pet. i. 4. as 
well as a quickening, or being raised from the dead. This 
leads us to consider, 

II. The change that is wrought in this effectual calling, to- 
gether with the grounds we have to conclude, that it is a su- 
pernatural work, or, as it is styled in this answer, the work of 
God's almighty power and grace. I'hose whom we more es- 
pecially oppose in this head of argument, are the Pelagians, 
and others ', who, though in some things they seem to recede 
from them, yet cannot support their cause without giving into 
their scheme, when treating on the subjects of free-will, nature 
and grace : these all allow that there is a change made in con- 
version or effectual calling ; but they suppose that it is a change 
in man's natural temper and disposition, rather than what arises 
from a supernatural principle, which, according to them, con- 
sists in overcoming those habits of sin, a\ hich we have con- 
tracted, and acquiring habits of virtue, a ceasing to do evil, 
and learning to do well ; and that it is in their own power sup- 
posing the concurrence of God as a God of nature, or at least, 
some superadded assistances, from the external dispensations 
of providence, which have an influence on the minds of \Tien„ 


to produce this change ; by this means they think that grace is 
first attained, and we disposed to comply with the external call 
of the gospel, whereby it is rendered effectual. 

They sometimes indeed, use the word conversion, and speak 
of the power and grace of God herein ; and that they may not 
seem to detract fiom the glory thereof, they profess themselves 
to aciorc and magnify God as the author of this work ; but all 
this amounts to no more than nature acting under the influence 
of common providence. Something, indeed, they ascribe to 
(iod ; but much less than what we think the scripture does. 

That which they ascribe to him therein, is, 

1. That he has made man an intelligent creature, having a 
power capable of choosing whatever seems advantageous, or 
refusing what appears to be destructive to him ; and in order 
hereunto, he is able to discern what is his duty and interest ; 
and when the will duly attends to these dictates of the under- 
standing, it has a power inclining it to be influenced thereby, 
and embrace Avhatever overtures are made conducive to his 
future happiness. 

2. Whereas the understanding and reasoning powers and 
faculties, are oftentimes impaired and hindered, in their method 
of acting, by some accidental inconveniences of nature, such as 
the temperament of the body, or those diseases which it is 
sometimes liable to, wliich affect the mind ; these God, by his 
powerful providence, removes, or fences against, that the work 
may go on successfully. 

3. Sometimes out outward circumstances in the world, give 
a different turn to our passions, and hinder us from entertain- 
ing any inclinations to religion ,* therefore, they suppose, that 
there is a farther hand of providence in ordering the various 
changes or conditions of life, as to what concerns the prosper- 
ous or adverse circumstances thereof, whereby a sanguine tem- 
per is changed to that which has more of a melancholy or 
thoughtful disposition in it, more inclined to be afraid of those 
sins that are like to be prejudicial to him ; an angry and cho- 
leric temper, changed to another that has a greater mixture of 
meekness and humility ; and whatever hinderance may arise 
from his conversing with those who tempt him to lay aside all 
thoughts about religion, or by loading it with reproach, to 
make him ashamed to pretend to it, the providence of God so 
orders circumstances and things, as to make them unaccepta- 
ble to him, or him disinclined to converse with them : by this 
means there arises a congruity, as they call it, between men's 
natural dispositions and that grace which they are called, by 
die gospel, to exert, when they are persuaded to comply with 

t, without which the overture would be in vain. 

4. Pro\id<'nce farther performs its part, by over-ruling some 


concurring circumstances external to, and thought of, by hiin, 
in casting his lot among those who are able and desirous to 
persuade him to alter his sentiments, in matters of religion, 
whose industry and zeal for his good, accompanied with their 
skilfulness in managing those persuasive arguments used t» 
convince him, have a great tendency to prevail upon him ; 
hereby he is persuaded to giv'e the hearing to that which be- 
fore he despised, and made the subject of ridicule ; and some- 
times the motives and inducements that are used, accompanied 
with the pathetic way of address, in those whose ministry he 
attends on, is very conducive to answer the end attained there- 
by, namely, his conviction and altering his conduct of life, pur- 
suant thereunto ; all which is under the unforeseen direction 
of providence. 

5. They add, that there is a kind of internal work in exci- 
ting the passions, by a general influence upon them, leaving it, 
notwithstanding, in man's power to determine them, with re- 
spect to their proper objects ; and as for the will, that still re- 
mains free and unbiassed ; but by this moral suasion, or these 
rational arguments, it is prevailed upon to comply with that 
which is for its advantage. According to this method of ac- 
counting for the work of conversion, what they attribute to the 
grace of God, is nothing more than what is the result of com- 
mon providence ,* and it is supposed to act no otherwise thaa 
in an objective way ; and that which gives the turn to all is, 
the influence of moral suasion, whereby men are prevailed on; 
but in all these respects, they are only beholden to God, as the 
God of nature : and when this is called, by them, a display of 
divine grace, nature and grace, in this matter, are made to sig- 
nifv the same thing, without scripture warrant. 

Moreover, since, it is plain, all this may be done, and yet 
persons remain in an unconverted state, and the gospel-call be 
mefFectual, thev suppose there is something to be performed on 
man's part, which gives a sanction to, and completes the work : 
accordingly he must rightly use and improve the power of rea- 
soning, which God has given him, by diligently observing and 
attending to his law ; and he must persuade himself, that it is 
highly reasonable to obey it ; and must also duly weigh the 
consequence of his compliance or refusal, and endeavour to 
affect himself with the consideration of promised rewards and 
punishments, to excite his diligence, or awaken his fears ; and 
must make use of those motives that are proper to induce him 
to lead a virtuous life ; and when he is brought to conclude 
this most eligible, then he must add hereunto, the force of the 
strongest resolutions, to avoid occasions of sin, perform several 
necessary duties, and associate himself with those whose conver- 
sation and example may induce him to be virtuous ; he must at- 


tend on the word preached, with intenseness of thought, and a 
disposition to iidhere, with the gre:»test impartiality, to what in 
recommended to him therein, as conducive to his iuture hap- 
piness : by this means he is persuaded ; and from thence pro- 
ceed those acts ot grace, whicii afterwards, by being frequent- 
ly repeated, arrive to a habit, which, if it be not lost by negli- 
gence, stupidity, and impcnitencr, or adhering to the tempta- 
tions of Satan, being brought into a state of conversion, he is 
in a fair way to heaven, which, notwithstanding this, he may 
of by apostasy, since the work is to be carried on by him, as it 
was at first begun, by his own conduct. 

This account of effectual calling or conversion, supposes it 
to be little more than a work of common providence ; and all 
the grace they seem to own, is nothing more than nature ex- 
erting itself under the conduct of those reasoning powers which. 
God has given it. None pretend to deny that our reasoning 
powers are herein to be exerted and improved ; or that thosR 
arguments, which tend to give conviction, and motives to en- 
force obedience, must be duly attended to : neither do we deny 
that there is a kind hand of proA'idence seen in over-ruling our 
natural tempers and dispositions, in giving a check to that cor- 
ruption that is prevalent in us; and in rendering our condition 
of life, some way or other conducive to a farther work, which 
God designs to bring about. We also assert, that providence 
greatly favours us in bringing us under the means of grace,^ 
or casting our lot in such places where we have the advantage;; 
of the conversation and example of others, who are burning 
and shining lights in their generation ; nor is it less seen in 
adapting a suitable word to our condition, or in raising our 
affections, while attending to it : but all this falls very short ot 
effectual calling, as it is a display of God's power and grace. 
This work is no more than natural ; whereas conversion is a 
supernatural work. Hitherto we may be led by common grace ; 
but effectual calling is a work of special grace ; the effect of 
this is only a change of life : but we assert, and have scripture • 
ground for it, that there is in that a change of heart. This 
scheme supposes the very principle and spring of grace to be 
acquired by man's improving his natural powers, under the 
conduct of God's providence : whereas, we suppose, and shall 
endeavour to prove, under a following head, tluu it is not ac- 
quired, but infused, and is the effect of divine power. This 
supposes the work to be brought a!)cut by moral suasion ; and 
that the understrmding, taking in the arguments that are made 
use of in an objective way, the v/ill is l?)duced to compliance, 
by choosing that which is good, and refusing that which is 
evil: whereas, we asitu, that the will of man is bowed and 

Vol. in. K 


subjected to Christ, its enmity overcome ; cind accordingly wc 
are said to be made willing in the day ot his power. 

But since that which bears the greatest share in this work, 
according to them, is the will and power oi man, determining 
itself, by proper motives and arguments, to what is good; 
which supposes, that it acts freely therein. This may give us 
occasion to consider the nature of human liberty ; we do not 
deny, in general, that man is endowed with a free will, which 
exerts itself in things of a lower nature, to that which we arc 
speaking of, for this is as evident, as that he is endowed with 
an understanding : we shall therefore, in speaking concerning 
the liberty of the will of man, (1.) Consider what are the es- 
sential properties of liberty,* without which, an action would 
cease to be free. And, (2.) How far the power of man's free- 
will may be extended, with a particular view to the matter, 
under our present consideration. 

1. Concerning the nature and essential properties of human 
liberty. They, whose sentiments of free-will and grace we are 
opposing, suppose that it is essential to a free action, or other- 
wise it could not be denominated free, that it be performed 
with indifterency, that is, that the will of man should be so 
equally poised, that as it determines itself to one extreme, it 
might as well have determined itself to the other: therefore, 
he that loves God freely, might, by a detenrxination of his 
will, as well have inclined himself to hate him ; and on the 
other hand, he that hates God, might, by an act of his will, 
have determined himself to love him : the balance is supposed 
to be equal, and it is the method that the person uses to de- 
termine his will, that gives a turn to it. And from hence they 
infer, that they who persevere in grace, which they do freely, 
may, for the same reason, apostatize ; yea, they proceed far- 
ther, at least some of them, who have maintained, that our Sa- 
viour might have sinned, and consequently the work of our 
redemption have miscairied in his hands ; because, according 
to this notion of liberty, he acted freely in all those exercises 
of grace ; which, we suppose, were no less free, because they 
were necessary ; and also, from this account they give of liber- 
ty, they infer that the angels and glorified saints might sin, and 
so lose that state of blessedness, which they are possessed of; 
otherwise their obedience is not free ; which absurdities are so 
apparently gross, that they who duly weigh them, will not easi- 
ly give into this notion of liberty. And there is another ab- 
surdity, which the Pelagians dare not assert ; for it would be 
the greatest blasphemy that could be contained in words, though 
it equally flows from this method of explaining the nature of 
liberty ; that either God must not act freely, or else he might 
* This h li-ha' is genaalhj called the fomialis ratio ofUbcrr-r. 


act the contrary, with respect to those things in which he acts, 
like himself, as ;i God of infinite perfection ; and accordingly, 
if he loves or dirlights in himst;lf freely, or designs his own 
glory, as the highest end of all that he does, and uses means 
to bring about those ends which are most conducive there- 
unto; wherein his holiness, wisdom, justice, and faithfulness 
appear, I say, it will follow from their scheme, and I cannot 
but tremble to mention it, that he might do the contrary ; and 
what is this but to say, that he might cease to be God. 

The arguments which they who attempt to support this no- 
tion of liberty, insist on, are taken from the ideas which we 
generally have of a person's acting freely ; as for instance, if 
a man performs any of the common actions of life, such as 
walking, sitting, standing, reading, writing, &c. freely, he may 
do the contrary. 

But to this I answer, That there is a vast difference between 
asserting, that many of the actions of life are arbitrary or in- 
different, so that we might do the contrary ; and saying that in- 
diflerency is essential to liberty ; for that which is essential to 
an action must belong to every individual action of the same 
kind.* Thus concerning their notion of liberty, whom we op- 

But on the other hand, that which we acquiesce in, is, that 
its essential property or nature, consists in a person's doing a 
thing without being laid under a natural necessity to do it;f 
or doing it of his own accord, without any force laid on him.:|: 
Others express it by a person's doing a thing out of choice, as 
iiaving the highest reason to determine him so to do.* This is 
that notion of liberty which we cannot but approve of; and we 
are now to shew, 

(2.) How far the power of man's free-will may be extended, 
with a particular view to the matter under our preseiit consi- 
deration. Here let it be observed, 

1st, That the power of man's will extends itself to things 
within its own sphere, and not above it ; all actions and pow- 
ers of acting, are contained within certain limits, agreeable to 
the nature and capacity of the agent. Creatures below man, 

* IVe ffener ally say, that -.whatever is essential to a thititr, bdovgs to it as such. 
.In J ilwrt in a knoiun rule in loific, A qiiateims ;ul omne valet coiisequcntia; G?id 
the tiien absurd cuiiterjiiences, above meiiticiii'd, r.ould neceisarily foUuv from it. 

I In t/Us respect dix'ines generally consider liberty as opposed to co-action : but 
here 'Vi must distinguish between a nulural co-action and a moral one. /liberty is 
not opposed to a mora! co-action, -luUich is very consis'ent with it. Thus an honest 
man cannot allow himself in a vile action ; he is vniler a moral constraint to the cen- 
trary ; and yeX he abstains fror.i sin freely. A be'iever loves Christ freely, as the 
apostle Paul certainly did; and yet, at the same time, he xias undffr the constraint of 
t'le love of Christ ; as he himself expresses it, 2 Cor. V. 14. 

\ This divines generally call spontaneity. 

' 'J'his some call lubciuia rutioualis. 


cannot put forth rational actions : and man cannot put iorth 
supernatural actions, if he be not made partaker of a divine or 
spiritual nature, a.i being endowed with a supernatural princi- 
ple, such as that which is implanted in regeneration. Consider 
him as an intelligent creature, and it is agreeable to his nature 
to put forth free actions, under the conduct and direction of 
the understanding ; but if we consider him a^ r<^newed, con- 
verted, or effectually called, and acting agreeably thereunto, 
then he is under the influence of an higher principle, which I 
call a divine nature^ according to the phrase which the apostle 
uses, 2 Pet. i. 4. The former of these supposes no more than 
the concourse of common providence, which at first gave, and 
then maintains our reasoning faculties ; whereas the latter sup- 
poses, that we are under the influence of the Spirit ; whereby 
we are enabled to act in a supernatural way, our natures being 
renewed and disposed thereunto, in which we are not divested 
of the liberty of our wills ; but they are improved and enabled 
to do what before they were averse and disinclined to. 

That man acts freely in those things which are agreeable to 
his nature, as an intelligent creature, all will allow. Moreover, 
we consider the understanding and will, as both concurring in 
actions that are free, and that one of these is subservient to the 
other; as for instance, we cannot be said to desire, delight in, 
choose, or refuse a thing unless we have some idea of it, as an 
object, M^hich we apprehend meet to be desired or rejected. 

And if it be farther enquired. Whether the will has, in itself, 
a power to follow the dictates of the understanding, in things 
that are agreeable to our nature, and be generally disposed to 
do it, unless biassed by the passions, inclining and determining 
it another way ? This, I think, is not to be denied j but in our 
present argument, v/e are to consider the will of man as con- 
versant about things supernatural, and accordingly, must give 
a different account of Christiau liberty, from that which is 
merely human, as before described, Tlic Pelagians will allow 
what has been said concerning the nature of liberty in general; 
but the difference between us and them is, that we confine it 
within its own sphere ; whereas they extend it farther, and ap- 
ply it to regeneration, effectual calling, and conversion ; in 
which resnect it discovers itself no othervrise than as enslaved 
to, or a servant of sin;* and the powers and faculties of the 
soul, with relation hereunto, are weakened by the prevalency 
of corruption, so that we are not able to put forth those actions 
which proceed from, and determine a person to be renewed in 
the spirit of his mind; or to have put on the neiv viaji, which 
fifter God is created in righteousness and true holiness. 

Agiin, if it be farther enquired; whether the will necessar 
* T7ii« i?--tf ^':r,;,';f5 cell voluntas sery^. 


f'lly follows the dictates of the understanding, so that the grace 
ofGod takes its first rise from thence ? that which I would 
say in answer thereunto is, That the undei'standing, indeed, re- 
presents things spiritual and heavenly to us, as good and de- 
sirable, and worthy of all acceptation ; and gives us an unde- 
niable conviction, that all the motives used in scripture, to 
choose and embrace them, are highly probable ; but yet it does 
not follow from hence, that the will of man is always over- 
come thereby ;* and the reason is, because of that strong pro- 
pensitv and inclination that there is in corrupt nature to sin, 
which bids defiance to all those arguments and persuasions that 
arc used to the contrary, till we are brought under the influence 
of a supernatxiral principle, implanted in the soul in effectual 

And this leads us farther to enquire : "Whether, supposing a 
man has this principle implanted in effectual calling, he then 
acts freely ; or, what is the libeity of man's will, when internal- 
ly moved and influenced by divine grace ? In answer to which, 
>ve must consider, that special grace does not destroy, but im- 
prove the liberty of man's will : when there is a new nature im- 
planted in him, it discovers its energy, and makes a change in 
all the powers and faculties of the soul ; there is a new light 
r.liining in the understanding, vastly different from, and supe- 
rior to that Vv'hich it had before; and it may truly be called, 
The light of Ikfe^ John viii. 12. not only as it leads to eternal 
life ; but as it proceeds from a principle of spiritual life : and 
this is what we generally catl saving knoxvledge ; as it is said, 
This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true 
God, and Jesus Christ, ivhom thou hast sent, chap. xvii. 13. 
Now this light in the understanding, being attended with power 
in the will, it is hereby induced to comply with its dictates, not 
barely as being prevailed on by rational arguments, but as there 
is a divine power accompanying them ; it is not indeed prevail- 
ed on without arguments ; for the Spirit makes use of the word 
to persuade, as well as to direct ; though we do not, with the 
Pelagians, say, that the will is overcome only by arguments, 

* The queMion hehveen im and the Pelogiana, is not whether the will sometimes 
J'uI!o-::'S the dictates of the iiudemtanilitig, biil^ whether it ciUier ulnuii/a doen to? or, 
if it be othi'i-i'ise, whether that which hindcru it doe.i not arise from a defect in these 
//ictatcs of the understimdi7iif ? Jlccordivgbj theij rpeak of the dictates of the mider- 
stunding as practical, and not barely speculative, and with a particular application 
to ourselves. Thry also consider the will as having bee/t before in some snspense ; but 
that dictate of the iimkrstanding which it follows, is the last, after mature delibera- 
tion ; and it is snppnsed to have compared things together ; and tfiercfore presents a 
t/iing, not only as good, but more eligible than any thing else, -wliich titcy call a con^- 
parate dictate of the understanding ; and by this means the will is persuaded to a 
compliance. But though this may be true in many in stance n that are natural ; yet 
daily experience prm e.-. thai it dots not hddpood zvith peajiect to thirgg i/ivinf a:ul 


as though the victory was owing to our power of reasoning: 
yet we freely own, that we act with judgment, and see the 
highest reason for what we do : we are enabled to use our rea- 
soning powers indeed ; but these are sanctified by the Spirit, 
as well as the will renewed; and both concur together, in or- 
der to our receiving and improving the doctrines contained in 
the gospel ; and the Spirit of God also removes those rooted 
prejudices which we had entertained against the way of salva-* 
tion by Christ : so that upon the whole, the gospel has its use, 
as it directs and excites our faith : our reasoning powers and 
faculties have their use also, as we take in, and are convinced, 
by what is therein contained ; all this would be to no purpose, 
if there were not a superior power determining the will to a 
thorough compliance therewith. We do not deny that moral 
suasion oftentimes has a tendency to incline a man to the per- 
formance of moral duties ; but it is what I rather choose to call 
evangelical pcrsu.'ision, or the Spirit of God setting home ujxia 
the heart and conscience, what is contained in the gospel, that 
makes it effectual to salvation, (a) Thus concerning the na- 

(a) The manners and mnxinis of the world accord with the inclinations of the 
human mind, because they spring- from them : tlie dispositions and tiie ptirsuits 
of men a^-e at v.iriancc with tiie laws of God, the doctrines of tli'=' g^ospel, and the 
practiceof tlie saints, this will appear by connparing Iheui. That the human mind 
should be brouijht to suV>mit to tlie relf-denial requisite to tlie character of a true 
christian, its bins or bent must be changed. Because men are ui'jral agents, va - 
rious motives are addressed to ti'-cni to indvice such chang-c, whfn not attended 
to, they ag-gravate their guilt : when they are followed by the change, which they 
have a tendency to produce, those who yield are said to be " born of the word.'* 
Were it not for the information we derive from the scriptures we sliould proba- 
bly look no further than the proximate cause, and give man tlic g-lory ; but these 
teach us, that the Spirit of God is always in such change, if it be real, the effi- 
cient cause : " God sanctifies by the truth," he " opais the heart to attend" to the 
word, and when any have learned from and been taught or dra^m by the Father 
the}' come unto Christ ; they are therefore also in a higher sense horn of the Spirit. 

liiis work of God immediately upon the mind, is possible to him, wlio formed, 
sustains, and knows the secrets of the heart; if we are unconscious of our crea- 
tion, support in existence, and the access of the Searcher of hearts to our minds, 
we may be unconscious of his influence to change them. If this were sensible, it 
might be a motive incompatible with the safety and moral government of beings» 
who at best, whilst here, are imperfectly holy. 

The communication of the knowledge of saving truths immediately is unne- 
cessary : we have the sacred scriptures, which arc competent to make us wise 
unto salvation. The inspiration anciently given, is distinct from the change of 
bias, or disposition necessary to a preparation for heaven, might exist without, 
and is therefore inferior to it. 

It is not the sole effect of moral suasion, it is a work of the spirit not the let- 
ter, of power not the word : it is a birth, not by " blood, nor by the will of the 
flesh, nor by the will of man, but of God," and those only " who are of God, hear," 
believe, and obey his word. 

This influence is sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, riches to the poor, 
healtli to the sick, and life to the dead. It is not incompatible with moral agency, 
for the holy disposition is as free in its operation, as the former sinful inclinations 
h^d been in theirs. Tlie necessity of it to salvation, is no excuse for the impejii 


^ure and extent of human liberty ; but inasmuch as this is not 
to be assigned as that which renders the gospel-call effectual, 
let it be farther considered, 

III. That this is brouglit about by the almighty power of 
God, as it is obstn-ved in this answer, that it is a work of God's 
almighty power and grace : this is that which enhances the ex- 
cellency and glory of it, above all the works of common provi- 
dence : however, when we say that it is a divine work, this is 
hardly sufficient to distinguish it from what the Pelagians often 
call it, by which they intend nothing more, than the powerful 
Avork of God, as the God of nature and providence ; therefore 
we must farther consider it as a work of divine power, exert- 
ing itself in a supernatural way and not only excluding the 
agency of creatures, as bearing a part therein, but as opposed 
to those works which are brought about by the moral influ- 
ence of persuasive arguments, without any change wrought in 
the will of man ; in this sense we understand effectual calling 
to be a work of God's almighty power. 

And that this may appear, let it be premised, that it is not 
inconsistent with God's dealing with men as intelligent crea- 
tui-es, endowed with liberty of will, for him to exert this power, 
since special providence, or efficacious grace, does no more de- 
stroy man's natural powers, by its internal influence, enabling 
and exciting them to do what is supernaturally good, than com- 
mon providence's being conversant about the free actions of 
men, makes them cease to be free ; only the former exerts it- 
self in a different and superior way, producing effects much 
more glorious and excellent. 

This being supposed, we shall, without pretending fully to 
-explain the manner of the divine agency, which is principally 
known by its effects, endeavour to shew, 

1. That effectual calling is, in a way of eminency, the work 
of divine power as distinguished from other works, which are, 
in their kind, the effects of power in a natural way. 

2. We shall also observe what effects-are produced thereby, 
and in what order. 

3. Consider it, as it is, in a peculiar manner, attributed to 
the Spirit of God ; and also shew, that it is a wonderful in- 
.stance of his grace. 

rent ; grace is not necessary to tlie vindication of Divine justice : the preponde- 
rancy of inclinations to evil is tlie essence of, not an apolojiy for s;ii. It is very 
strange if, because a man is so intent upon sinning that nolhing can change him 
but the almighty power of the Divine Spirit, he is on this very account innocent 
— It does not render tiie preaciiing of the word unnecessary, for besides that it is 
'-ommanded, and important to call men to repentance and faitli, when the grace 
iias been given, God also usually accompanies his ordinances with his Spirit's in^ 
fluences, and seems in most cases, to direct in his providence the blessings «! 
/.'i^ rrtstT'jc'.'ii^T'i to tbo«r whotn It" r»»f<?cf> the ^'ib^f^^ts of h':? oTirf- 


4. We shall consider this divine power as irresistible, and 
consequently such as cannot but be effectual to produce what 
is designed to be brought about thereby. And, 

5. Speak something concerning the season in which this i^ 
done, which is called God's accepted time. 

1. Effectual calling is eminently a work of divine power; for 
the proof hereof, we have not only many express texts of scrip- 
ture that sufficiently establish it, but we may appeal to the ex- 
perience of those who are made partakers of this grace. If they 
compare their former and present state together, they m,ay easi- 
ly perceive in themselves, that there is such a change wrought 
in them, as is contrary to the inclinations of corrupt nature ; 
whereby the stubbornness and obstinacy of their wills have been 
subdued, and such effects produced in them, as they never ex- 
perienced before ; and the manner of their production, as well 
as the consequences thereof, give them a proof of the agency 
of God herein, and the glory of his power exerted, so that they 
who deny it must be unacquainted with themselves, or not duly 
observe that which carries its own evidence with it. (a) 

(a) " I have seen it objected, that to suppose a change effected in the heart of 
man, otherwise than by the power of moral means, is palpably absurd ; as imply- 
ing an evident impossibility in the nature of things. It has been said, by a divine 
of advanced age, and good sense ; " The moral change of the mind in regenera- 
tion, is of an essentially different kind from the mechanical change of the body, 
when that is raised from the dead ; a^id must be efftjcted by the exertion of a dif- 
ferent kind of power. Each effect requires a power suited to its nature : and the 
power proper for one can never produce the other. To argue from one to the 
other of these effects, as the apostle has been misunderstood to do, in Eph. i. 20, 
is therefore idle and impertinent.' — The Spirit of God is possessed of these two 
kinds of power, and exerts the one or the otber, accordingly as he wills to pro- 
duce a change of the moral or physical kind, in moral beings or inanimate mat- 

But to this philosophical objection, however plausible and unanswerable it 
may appear, I think the reply of our Saviour to the difficulty started by the Sad- 
ducees, respecting the resurrection and a future state, is neither idl^ nor imper- 
tinent : " Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God." The 
Almighty is not limited, as men are, to these two modes of operation, by moral 
and mechanical means. The Spirit of God is possessed of a power of working in 
a manner different from either of these ; that is, supernaturally. The means by 
which effects are brought to pass in a natural way, must indeed be different ; ac- 
cording to the nature of those effi^cts, and of the subjects on which the opera- 
tions are performed : but when once we admit the idea of a work properly super- 
natural — an effeot produced not by the power of any means at all, we instantly 
lose sight of all distinctions in the kind of power, or manner of working, adapted 
to things of different natures. When God, by his omnipotent word aloce, called 
all nature mto being at first, are we to suppose that he exerted different powers, 
accsrding to the natures of the things designed to be created ; and that the po iv- 
er proper to create inanimate matter, could never create a thinking miiid i Are 
we to conceive that angels and the souls of men were persuaded mto being, by 
arguments and motives; and that the material world wa.s tbrccJ out of nothingj 
by the power of attraction ! So, in regard to quickening the dead, are we to ini;;- 
gine that God can give new life to a soul dead in sin, only by moral suasion ; and 
that, if h'i 'TJU reantmate bod:p; which, bare sl-^-pt thou:and.s of yeal-:^ in \.\ic dust 

OF crrrxTUAL calling. 4i 

But Ave sluill principally take our proofs from scripture, in 
vvhich we have an account of the beginning of this work, which 
is styled the new birth ; wherein we are said to be made /;«;/«- 
kcrs of the divine nature., 2 Pet. i. 4. that is, a nature that is 
produced by divine power: and we are said to be born., not of 
bloody fior of the uiill of the fleshy nor of the xvUl of man ^ but of 
God^ John i. 13. And the gospel, which is the instrument that 
he makes use of in calling effectually, is styled. The rod of hin 
itrcn^th., Psal. ex. 2. tiie effect thereof, ascribed to the revcla- 
t'ton of his arni^ Isa. liii. 1. the season in which this is done, \\ 
callccl, The daij of his poiver^ Psal. ex. 3. and it is, by a me- 
tony my, called. His power ^ 1 Cor. i. 18. Rom. i. 16. The cros^ 
of Christ is also, when preached, and made effectual for the 
answering this valuable end, styled. The poiver of God^ 1 Cor, 
i. 24. Moreover, the progress of this v.ork is ascribed to tho 
power of God^ 1 Thess. i. 5. it is this that keeps those who an- 
effectually called through faith unto salvation^ 1 Pet. i. 5. And 
that this power mav appear to be extraordinary, the apostle 
uses an uncommon emphasis of expression, when he calls it. 
The exeeedin(( greatness of his poxver^ and, the xvorking of hi^ 
mightij poxuer., Eph. 1. 19,20. which words* can hardly bo 
translated without losing something of their force and beaut} ; 
and, indeed, there is not an expression used in scripture, t,^ 
signify the cffjcacy of divine power, that exceeds, or, I ina\- 
say, that equals them. And that it may appear more strong, 
the apostle, in the following words, represents it as being no 
less than that poxver xvhich xvrought in Christ., xvhcn Gad raised 
him from the dead. 

And to all this let me add, that something to the same pwr 
pose may be inferred from those metaphorical expressions, by 
which it is set forth, as it is called a creation : thus, when we 
are made partakers of this privilege, we are said to be created 
in righteousness and true holiness., Eph, iv. 24. And the apos 
tie seems to compare this with the creation of man at iirst, al- 
ter the image of God, wliich consisted principally in righteous- 

of the carlli, he has no other way to do it tlian hy a p]iysic;il operation ! 'I'hc 
*}0(ly of Christ was raised to lUV, 1 shouUl stippose, not by any mcrlianical jinwrr, 
')iit sitpcniaturally. In this manner (iod always works, when lie quickeneth \V.n 
dead, and cailetJi tliiiijs tl);!t arc not, as tliouj,''h they were. And what abstirdiu 
•~an there be in siipposint; ILin able to pivc a ncx p:-incj]5ic of action, as Wfll ii-; 
'o ['•ive existence to any tliinij else, in tliis immediate manner? 

home somul and sensible divine>, it r.insl be granted, in order to {juard asfiiir.it 
• he notion of rcjjeiieration's being efFccted ijy moral suasion, have called it a 
physical work, and a i)hysi<-al change; but very needlessly, I apprehend, an', 
with very evident Impioprlety. The chang'^ is moral ; th^ work produclr.f^- \ .\ 
iieitlier mural nor pliy^ical ; Init supernatuva!.'* 

Tin. f>>f A.'i.r.r 

Vol. iir. F 


ness and true holiness, and accordingly considers this image as 
restored, when a principle of grace is implanted, whereby we 
are again disposed to the exercise of righteousness and holi- 
ness : and elsewhere he says, We are his workmanships created 
in Christ Jesus unto good works, that we should walk in them^ 
chap. ii. 16. where he supposes, that this creating power must 
be exerted before we can put forth good works ; and therefore 
it can be nothing less than the power of God; and it would 
not have been styled a creation, if it had not been a superna- 
tural work, and therefore it is, in that respect, more glorious 
than many other eifects of the divine power. 

It is also styled, a resurrection from the dead: thus the apos- 
tle says, Tou hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses 
and sins, chap. ii. 1, 5. in this respect it certainly exceeds the 
power of men. A physician, by his skill, may mend a crazy 
constitution, or recover it from the confines of death ; but, to 
raise the dead, exceeds the limits of finite power. This mode 
of speakmg our Saviour makes use of to signify the conversion 
or effectual call of sinners, when he says. The hour is coming; 
and noxv is, xvhen the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of 
God; and they that hear shall live, John v. 25. He had, in the 
foregoing verse been speaking of their having eternal life, and 
not coming into co?idemnation, ajid being passed fro7n death to 
life, who hear his words and believe ; and then it follows, that 
the hour is coining, that is, the time is near at hand, to wit, 
when the Spirit shall be poured forth, and the gospel-dispep- 
sation be begvm, and it noxv is, in some degree, namely, in those 
who were converted by his ministry, xvhen the dead shall hear 
his voice a?id live, or pass from a state of spiritual death to life, 
as a n. . ^ns for their attaining eternal life. This is much more 
agreeable to the context, than to conclude, as some do, to evade 
the force of this argument ; that our Saviour speaks concern- 
ing some who were then, or should hereafter be raised from 
the dead, in a miraculous manner; which, they suppose, con- 
tains the sense of the words, now is, and that the hour is com- 
ing, refers to the general resurrection ; but this seems not to 
be the sense of the text ; because our Saviour supposes them, 
in a following verse, to be astonished at this doctrine ; as 
though it was too great an instance of power for him to implant 
a principle of spiritual life in dead sinners ; and therefore he 
proves his assertion from his raising the dead at the last day : 
Marvel not, for the hour is conning, that is, at the end of the 
world, xvhen all that are in their graves shall hear his voice, 
John V. 28. This cannot well agree with the sense before given, 
of Christ's raising the dead, as referring to the general resur- 
rection ; for that would be to answer their objection, or put 
a stop to their wonder at what he had said concerning it, by 


asserting the same thing in other words; whereas, if you sup- 
pose the dead's fiearmg his votce^ to imply a spiritual resur- 
rection ; and the dead raised out of their graves^ to be an ar- 
gument to convince them that his power was sufficient to bring- 
about this great effect ; there is much more beauty in the ex- 
pression, and strength in the z-easoning, than to take it other- 

This is so plain a proof of the argument, we are endeavour- 
ing to defend, that nothing farther need be added : howevej-, I 
cannot but mention another scripture, in which our Saviour 
says, that no one can come to him^ except the Father draw him^ 
chap. vi. 44. where Christ, by coming to him, does not mean 
attending on his ministry, which did not require any power to 
induce them to it ', but believing on him, so as to have everlast- 
ing life, in which sense, coming to hi?n, is often taken in the 
gospels, ver. 47. and this is the immediate consequence cf ef- 
fectual calling. Now when our Saviour says, that none can 
thus come to him, without being drawn by the Father, we may 
understand what he means here, by what is said in a following 
verse, namely, their being taught of God, and having heard and 
learned of the Father, ver. 45. such, says he, Come unto me. 
Now this teaching certainly implies more than giving a rule of 
faith contained in divine revelation, for Christ is not here pro- 
ving the necessity of divine revelation, as elsewhere ; but is 
speaking concerning the saving efficacy thereof; and none can 
deny that many have been objectively taught, and instructed 
by the word, who have not come to Christ, or believed in him 
to everlasting life : the words are a quotation from the prophets, 
to which he refers ; who intimate, that they should be all taught 
of God ; -wYnch. certainly implies more than an objective teach- 
ing and instructing; for in this sense, they, having divine reve- 
lation, were always taught of God : and it is a special privilege, 
which the prophet Isr.iah mentions, when he foretels this mat- 
ter, as appears by his connecting it with that great peace which 
they should have, or the confluence of saving blessings, which 
should attend i% Isa. liv. 13. And the prophet Jeremiah, who 
speaks to the same purpose, says. They shall teach no more 
every man his neighbour, and every ma7i his brother, sayings 
knoxu the Lord ; for they shall all knorv me from the least of 
them, even to the greatest, Jer. xxxi. 2,3, 34. that is, they shall 
not only have an objective revelation, or that which some call 
moral suasion • but this shall be made effectual to their salva- 
vation ; and in order thereunto, God promises that he would 
put his hnv in the inward part, and write it iii the heart ; and 
elsewhere, to give them a nnu heart, and to put a nexu spirit 
within them, and hereby to cause them to Tvalk in his statutes^ 
Fz/^k. xxxvi. 26. So that it is not barelv a rcctifving some 


mistakes which they Avere liable to ; but producing in therii 
r^omething, which they had not before ; not building upon the 
old foundation, but laying a new one, and so working a change 
in the powers and faculties of the soul ;"and as they were be- 
lore, obdurate and hardened in &in, he promises to take axvay 
the heart of stone ^ and give them an heart ofjicsh ; and by his 
■xvord^ which is compared to an hammer^ to break the rock in 
pieces^ Jer. xxiii. 29. This is certainly a work of power ; but 
that it is so, will farther appear from what follows, in consider- 
ing the work itself; which leads us to shew, 

2, What effects are produced by the power of Godj when 
\\^(t are thus called. 

(l.) The first step that he is pleased to take in this work, is 
in his implanting a principle of spiritual life and grace, which 
is absolutely necessary for our attaining to, or receiving advan- 
tage by the er^tetnal call of the gospel ; this is generally styled 
legeneration, or the new birth; or, as in the scripture but now 
referred to, a nexv heart. 

If it be enquired. What we are to understand by this princi- 
ple ? We answer, that since principles are only known by the 
< ffects which they produce ; springs of acting, by the actions 
themselves, we must be content with this description; that it 
IS something wrought in the heart of man, whereby he is ha- 
bitually and prevailingly biassed and inclined to what is good : 
so that by virtue hereof, he freely, readily, and willingly chooses 
those things which tend to the glory of God ; and refuses, ab- 
hors, and flees from what is contrary thereunto ; and, as this 
more immediately affects the understanding, whereby it is ena- 
bled to discern the things which God reveals in the gospel in 
a spiritual way, it is styled, his shining in the hearty 2 Cor. iv. 
6. to give us the light o^ the knoxuledge of his glorify or, his 
giving an eye to secy and an ear to hear^ Deut. xxix. 4» As it 
respects the will, it contairis in k a power, whereby it is dis- 
posed and enabled to yield the obedience of faith, to whatever 
viod is pleased to reveal to us as a rule of dutVy so that we are 
laade willing in the day of his power ; and, as it respects the 
affections^ tliey are all inclined to run in a right channel, to de- 
iilre, delight and rejoice in every thing that is pleasing to God, 
and flee from every thing that is provoking to him. This is that 
whereby a dead sinner is made alive, and so enabled to put 
iorth living actions. 

Concerning tliis principle of gface let it be observed, that it 
•>r) infused and not acquired. The first principle or spring of 
gooil ;Ktic-vis, mav, with equal reason, be supposed to be infu- 
icd into Ufr, as ChristianSy as it is undoubtedly tyue, that the 
Ijtinciplc of reasoning is infused into us as iiien i none ever 
»«Trpojcd that the Hiilurivl power of reasoning nftay be acquired, 

Of ill-FECTL'AL CALtlNG. 45 

fchough a greater facility or degree thereof is gradually attain- 
ed ; so that power, whereby Ave are enabled to put forth super- 
natural acts of grace, must be supposed to be implanted in us ; 
which, were it acquired, we could not, properly speaking, be 
said to be born of God. 

l-'rom hence I am obliged to infer, that the regenerating act, 
or implanting this principle (fi) of grace, which is, at least, in 
order of nature, antecedent to any act of grace, put forth by 
us, is the immediate effect of the power of God, which none 
who speak of regeneration as a divine work, pretend to deny : 

(u) The change in regeneration has been often called the communication of 
a pfinciple of spiritual life. It is described as life, in the scriptures. Sensible ob- 
jects make no impressions on dead bodies, because insensible ; and those, who 
receive no impressions from divine truths, but remain unaffected by the charms 
of holiness, are figuratively denominated dead. Life being the opposite of death, 
such as arc sensible of tiie Divine excellencies, and receive the impressions which 
i«ligious truths are calculated to make, may, in the same manner, be termed 
living. Such also are called spiritual, because this holy activity is communicated 
by the Spirit of God. " You^Klth he quickened ;" and, because it has for its ob- 
ject the things which have been revealed by the Hoiy Spirit. 

These terms are derived from tl>e scriptures, but the word principle is desti- 
tute of saicii support. It is found in the Epistle to the Hebrews : there tt is used 
for those liiiidamcntal doctrines, which are the beginnings of the doctrine of the 
gospel ; but this is not the meaning of the term in the above description. This 
thaiige is the immediate work of God, and not the communication of some ope- 
rative axiom of truth. There are natural principles of action ; as habit, affection, 
uad passion : and tliere are moral ; as sense of duty, fear of God, and love of ho- 
liness. Tiicse are all termed principles, because they excite to action, and so are 
the beginnings, or causes of it. But it is scarcely in this sense, that the term 
principle is used in the deserlption of regeneration ; for it is said to be commu- 
nicated, ai\d so must mean something distinct from, and the effect of the work 
of the Spirit. Accordingly it has been called " a hxed impression of some spi • 
ritual truth upon the heart." Bat there is no truth, or otlier motive, sufficient to 
prevail against the obdufucy of the unrenewed heart ; or to become a principle 
iif action to a soul dead in sin. \V iKitever that is in fallen man, which repels such 
motives, and prevents their infliKince until some more worthy motive is tlirown 
into the .scule, it is tlie work of the Spirit to remove it, and to give the soul aii 
:tctivity towards holy thi7>gs. No intervention 6f mediate causes seems necessa- 
ry ; the Spirit of God is the agent; the soul of tlie man is the subject of influ- 
(.ncc ; and He is said to open tfie hearty to give a neia heart, to create auev), to en- 
lighten the mind in the knoivledge of the truth, to work in us to will and to do, or to 
give sight to (he blind, and hearing to the deaf. From such scriptvu-al expressions 
it may be gathered that sight, knowledge, new dispositions, and a change of in- 
fclinutions, are the effects of regeiK-ration, and not tlje thing itself. ^ 

'Jhis cliange is more Important than all the gifts of providence, if man there- 
fore be tlie authoP of it, he is his own greatest benefactor, and must have the 
highest glory. If the Holy Spirit acts no otherwise on the human soul, than Ly 
addressing mollTcs, angelic natures d& also this ; ajid no more power is ascribed 
lo the Searcher of hearts, than to them. Then also it will follow, that all pro- 
fessing christians are of the same kind ; and that it was improperly said, tliat they 
'* were not of us,"^ v.'ho afterwards have " departed from us." Then also tJie ad- 
vice to tiiose will) are in the visible church " to examine," and " prove them-' 
selves," whetlior Christ be " in them," is without meaning, or utility ; because 
the thing to be intjuired fur is notorious, tliat is, their visible profession. And to 
*• lie born again," is but " to see the" visible " kingdom** of Christ : and SO tb« 
prypyj^it'yan spoken to Nicodcmus was menely identical. 


and therefore, I cannot but conclude, that it is wrought in u^ 
without the instrumentality of the word, or any of the ordina- 
ry means of grace : my reason for it is this ; because it is ne- 
cessary, from the nature of the thing, to our receiving, impro- 
ving, or reaping any saving advantage by the word, that the 
Spirit should produce the principle of faith ; and to say, that 
this is done by the word, is in effect, to assert that the word 
produces the principle, and the principle gives efficacy to the 
word ; which seems to me little less than arguing in a circle. 
The word cannot profit, unless it be mixed with faith ; and 
faith cannot be put forth, unless it proceeds from a principle of 
grace implanted ; therefore this principle of grace is not pro- 
duced by it : we may as well suppose, that the presenting a 
beautiful picture before a man that is blind, can enable him to 
see ; or the violent motion of a withered hand, produce strength 
for action, as we can suppose that the presenting the word in 
an objective way, is the instrument whereby God produces that 
internal principle, by which we are enabled to embrace it. Nei- 
ther would this so well agree with the idea of its being a new 
creature, or our being created unto good works ; for then it 
ought rather to be said, we are created by faith, which is a 
good work : this is, in effect, to say, that the principle of grace 
is produced by the instrumentality of that which supposes its 
being implanted, and is the result and consequence thereof. 

I am sorry that I am obliged, in this assertion, to appear, at 
least, to oppose what has been maintained by many divines of 
great worth; who have, in all other respects, explained the 
doctrine of regeneration, agreeably to the mind and will of God, 
and the analogy of faith.* It may be, the principal difference 
between this explication and theirs is, that they speak of re- 
generation in a large sense, as including in it, not barely the 
implanting the principle, but the exciting it, and do not suffi- 
ciently distinguish between the principle, as implanted and de- 
duced into act ; for, I readily own, that the latter is by the in- 
strumentality of the word, though I cannot think the former 
so; or, it may be, they consider the principle as exerted; 
whereas I consider it as created, or wrought in us ; and there- 
foi-e can no more conclude, that the new creation is wrought 
by an instrument, than I can, that the first creation of all things 

And I am ready to conjecture, that that which leads many 
divines into this way of thinking, is the sense in which they 
understand the words of the apostle; Being born again, not of 
corruptible seed, but of incorruptible ^ by the word of God, which 
liveth and abideth for ever, 1 Pet. i. 23. and elsewhere, Of his 
eivn will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should br 
* See Charnoch, Vol. ILpa^e 220, 221, i^c. and Cole on Regeneration. 


n k'md of f rst-fni'its of his creatures^ James i. 16. Whereas 
this does not so much respect the implanting the principle of 
grace, as it does our being enabled to act from that principle ; 
and it is as though he should say, he hath made us believers, 
or induced us to love and obey him by the word of truth, which 
supposes a principle of grace to have been implanted : other- 
wise the word of truth would never have produced these effects. 
Regeneration may be taken, not only for our being made alive 
to God, or created unto good works, but for our putting forth 
living actions, proceeding from that principle which is implant- 
ed in the soul. I am far from denying, that faith, and all other 
graces, are wrought in us by the instrumentality of the word ; 
and it is in this sense that some, who treat on this subject, ex- 
plain their sentiments, when they speak of being born again by 
the word : therefore I persuade myself, that I differ from them 
only in the acceptation of words, and not in the main substance 
of the doctrine they maintain.* 

(2.) The principle of grace being implanted, the acts of grace 
in those who are adult, immediately ensue ; which implies a 
change of our behaviour, a renovation of our lives and actions ; 
which may properly be called conversion. 

Having explained what we mean by regeneration, imder our 
last head, it is necessary, in this, to consider how it differs from 
conversion ; in which 1 shall take leave to transcribe a few pas- 
sages from that excellent divine, but now mentioned. " Re- 
" generation is a spiritual change ; conversion is a spiritual 
" motion ; in regeneration there is a power conferred ; con- 
*' version is the exercise of this power ; in regeneration there 
" is given us a principle to turn; conversion is our actual 
" turning : in the covenant, the new heart, and God's put- 
" ting the Spirit into them, is distinguished from their walk- 
*' ing in his statutes, from the first step we take, in the way 
" of God, and is set down as the cause of our motion : in 
" renewing us, God, gives us a pbwer ,* in converting us, he 
" excites that power. Men are naturally dead, and have a 
" stone upon them ; regeneration is a rolling away the stone 
" from the heart, and a raising to newness of life ; and then 
" conversion is as natural to a regenerate man, as motion 
" is to a lively body, a principle of activity v/ill produce ac- 
" tion. The first reviving us is wholly the act of God, without 
" any concurrence of the creature ; but, after we are revived, ' 
" we do actively and voluntarily live in his sight. Regenera- 

* See Charnnck, Vol II. parre '!?■% who upeakiv^ concerning its bei/i^ an instru- 
ment, appointed bit God, for this pnrpoxe, sayg^ That God hath made a combination 
iettceen hearing' and believinr ; so thai btiieving- comes not -unthovt hearincr, and 
lohereas he infers from hence, that the pnncipit of grace is implnnted, by hearing and 
believing the -word, he must be supposed to U),d,:rstand it, co/uerning the principle de- 
diieedintt act, and not his unpluntir.g ihe principle itsef 


" tion is the motion of God in the creature ; conversion is the 
" motion of the creature to God, by virtue of that first princi- 
" pie ; from this principle all the acts of believing, repenting, 
" mortifying, quickening, do spring. In all these a man is ac- 
" tive ; in the other, he is merely passive,"* This is what we 
may call the second step, which God takes in effectual calling ; 
and it is brought about by the instrumentality of the word. 
The word before this, was preached to little or no purpose ; or, 
it may be, was despised, rejected, and disregarded ; but nov/ 
a man is enabled to see a beauty, and a glory in it, all the pow- 
ers and faculties of the soul, being under the influence of that 
spiritual life implanted in regeneration, and inclined to yield a 
ready and cheerful obedience to it ; and this work is gradual 
and progressive ; and as such, it is called the work of sancti- 
fication ; of which more under a following answer,! and is at- 
tended with repentance unto life, and all other graces that ac- 
company salvation ; and in this respect we are drawn to Christ 
by his word and Spirit, or by his Spirit making use of his word, 
our minds savingly enlightened, our wills renewed, and deter- 
mined to what is good, so that hereby we are made willing and 
able freely to answer the call of God, and to accept of, and em- 
brace the grace offered and conveyed therein j as it is expressed 
in the answer we arc explaining. 

The first thing in which that change, which is wrought in ef- 
fectual calling, manifests itself is, in our understandings' being 
enlightened to receive the truths revealed to us in the word of 
God ; and accordingly we see things with a new and different 
light ; behold a greater beauty, excellency and glory in divine 
things, than ever we did before : we are also led into ourselves, 
and convinced of sin and misery, concluding oiu'selves, by 
nature, to be in a lost and undone condition ; and then the soul 
sees the glory of Christ, the greatness of his love, who came to 
seek and save those that were lost, who is now precious to him, 
as he is said to be to them that believe ; and pursuant here- 
unto the will, being determined, or enabled so to do, by the 
Spirit of God exciting the principle of grace, which he had im- 
planted, accepts of him on his own terms ; the affections all 
centre in, and desire to derive all spiritual blessings from him^ 
Thus the work of grace is begun in effectual calling, which is 
afterwards carried on in sanctification. 

And inasmuch as we are considering the beginning of the 
work of grace in effectual calling, I cannot but take notice of 
a question, which frequently occurs vmder this head, namely. 
Whether man, in the first moment thereof, viz. in regenera- 
tion, be merely passive, though active in every thing that foU 
lows after it ? This we cannot but affirm, not only against the 

♦ S';e C'iar?iock on Rp^eneration, Vol. II- pap e 70, T\. t '-'^ Q.ucst. \xx\ 


Pelagians, but others, whose method of treating the doctrine of 
divine grace, seems to agree with theirs. And here, that we 
may obviate a popuhir objection, usually brought against our 
assertion, as though hereby we argued, that God dealt with 
men as though they were macliines, and not endowed with 
understanding or will let it be observed ; that we consider the 
subjects of this grace no otherwise than as intelligent creatures, 
capable of being externally excited and disposed to what is 
good ; or else God would never work this principle in them. 
Nor do we suppose, however men are said to be passive in the 
iirst moment in which this principle is implanted, that they are 
so afterwards, but are enabled to act under the divine influ- 
ence ; even as when the soul of Adam was created at first, it 
could not be said to be active in its own creation, and in the 
implanting those powers which were concreate with it ; yet it 
was active, or those powers exerted themselves immediately 
after it was created. This is the state of the question we are 
now debating ; and therefore we cannot but maintain, that men 
do not concur to the implanting the principle of grace; for 
then they would be active in being created unto good works ; 
■Nvhich are the result, and not the cause of that power which is 
infused into them, in order thereunto. 

This is sufficiently evident, not only from the impotency of 
corrupt nature, as to what is good, but its utter averseness 
thereunto, and from the work's being truly and properly di- 
vine ; or (as has been before observed) the effect of almighty 
power. This is not a controversy of late date ; but has been 
cither defended or opposed, ever since Augustine's and Pela- 
gius's time. Many volumes have been written concerning the 
aids and assistances of divine grace in the work of conversion. 
The School-men were divided in their sentiments about it, as 
they adhered to, or receded from Augustine's doctrine : both 
aides seem to allow that the grace of God affords some assis- 
tance hereunto ; but the main thing in debate, is, Whether the 
grace of God only bears one part in this work, and the will of 
man the other ; like two persons lifting at the same burden, and 
carrying it between them. Some have allowed the divine con- 
course as necessary hereunto, who yet have not been willing to 
own that man bears no part in this work ; or, that it is God that 
luorks in us^ both to tvill and to do of his own good pleasure^ 
Phil. ii. 13. which, the apostle asserts in so plain terms, that 
the most known sense thereof, cannot well be evaded ; and, in- 
deed, were it otherwise, it could hardly be said, that roe are 
iiot suffcicnt of ourselves^ to think any thing as of ourselves ; 
which, though it be immediately applied to ministers, is cer- 
tainly, by a parity of reason, applicable to all Christians, 2 Cor. 
iii. 5. nor would it be, in all respects, true, that we are torn cf 

Vol. Iir. G 


God; oi% that we, who before were dead in sin, arc raised to a 
spiritual life, or made, with respect to the principle of spiritual 
actions, new creatures ; all which is done in regeneration, (a) 

We might also take occasion, under this head, to observe, 
what we often meet with in practical discourses and sermons, 
concerning preparatory works, or previous dispositions, which 
faciliate and lead to the work of conversion. Some assert, that 
we must do what we can, and by using our reasoning powers 
and faculties, endeavour to convert, or turn ourselves, and then 
God will do the rest, or finish the work which we have begun : 
and here many things are often considered as the steps which 
jnen may take in the reformation of their lives, the abstaining 
from gross enormities, which they may have been guilty of, 

(a) When It is said " no man can come vnto me, except the Father ivho hath sent 
me, draio /urn," the negation must be understood as expressive oi' 77ioral impoten- 
cv, and as if it had been said " ye luiU not come unto me that ye might have life!'" 
but nevertheless as direct proof of the absolute necessity of divine grace to the 
salvation of every person who is saved. That the aid is not merely necessary to 
the understanding is evident from the guilt of unregeneracy, and from the suppo- 
sition of the Saviour whose reproof implies that it was the carnality of the hear'. 
which created tiie impotency to come unto or believe on him. 

The propriety of exhortations to turn, repent, believe, and work out our own 
salvation, is obvious ; because such impotency is chiefly an aversion of lieart. When 
such motives are ineffectual, they prove the inveteracy of the opposition to God, 
and argue the greater guilt. They are no evidence that grace is unnecessary, be- 
cause they have an important effect in the change of the man's views, and pur- 
suits, when the Spirit of God has " opened the heart" to receive the necessary im- 
pressions ; and because these motives are rendered effectual by the Divine Spirit. 
He grants us repentance, turns us, helps our unbelief, strengthens our faith, 
and works in us both to will and to do of his own good pleasui-e. 

Because it is charged upon the evil that they " resist" the grace of God, and 
therefore his Spirit will not always " strive" with men, it by no means follows, 
that the success of grace depends merely upon our yielding; as often as men 
yield to the strivings of the Spirit, a victory is obtained; for the carnal heart in- 
clines to evil imtil subdued by him : we are " made willing in a day of his pow- 
er." Were ic otherwise the glory of man's salvation would belong to himself, at 
least in part ; but the language of the believer is " not unto us, O Lord, not unto 
us, but unto thy name, be the glory given." Nor is there any need to suppose man's 
salvation thus imputable to himself in order that the evil may be charged witli 
the blame of his destruction ; for nothing excludes him but his own evil heart, 
and this is his sin. 

It does not result that the man, who is thus " made willing," is in such man- 
ner constrained as that his holiness, being the effect of compulsion, possesses no 
moral beauty ; because he acts as freely as the evil man does ; and even more so, 
for the latter is a slave to his preponderating evil inclinations. The believer 
chooses holiness, and though he has nothing to boast of before God, his good 
works may well justify him before men. 

If it be yet objected, that this is a discouraging representation of the way of 
obtaining happiness ; it may be answered, that it can discourage only those, who 
wish for happiness, at the same time that they more strongly incline to sensuali- 
ty ; and such ought to be discouraged in their vain expectations : but it is highly 
consolatory to such as prefer holiness and heaven ; for it not only discovers to 
them, that God has wrought in them to will and to do, but that he is engaged 
for them, and will accomplish their salvation. 


thinking on their ways, and observing the tendency of their 
present course of life, and setting before themselves those pro- 
})er arguments that may induce them to repent and believe ; 
and then they may be said to have prepared themselves for the 
grace of God, so that it will ensue hereupon. And if there be 
any thing remaining, which is out of their power, God has en- 
gaged to succeed their endeavours, so that he will bring them 
into a state of regeneration and conversion. 

This method of accounting for the work of grace, is liable 
to many exceptions, particularly as it supposes man to be the 
first mover in his own conversion, and the divine energy to be 
dependent upon our conduct ; the contrary to which, is not on- 
ly agreeable to scripture, but the divine perfections ; as well as 
to the doctrine we have been maintaining, concerning effectual 
calling's, being a divine work in the most proper sense thereof. 
But that we may impartially consider this matter, and set, what 
some call a preparatory work, in a just light, let it be observed, 

1. That these preparatory works must either be considered 
as good in all those circumstances that are necessary to denomi- 
nate them good, and particularly they must proceed from a 
good principle, that is to say, a principle of regeneration ; or 
else they are only such works as are materially good, such 
many perform who are never brought into a state of conver- 
sion ; or if, on the other hand, they are supposed to proceed 
from such a principle, then they are not, from the nature of 
the thing, works preparatory to the first grace, but rather con* 
sequent upon it. 

2. It is one thing for us to assert, that it is our duty to per- 
form all those works .which some call preparatory, for conver- 
sion ; such as meditation, attendance on the ordinances, duly 
weighing those arguments, or motives, that should lead us to 
repentance, and the exercise of all other graces ; and another 
thing to say, that every one who performs these duties, shall 
certainly have regenerating grace ; or, it is one thing to apply 
ourselves to the performance of those duties, as far as it is in 
our own power, and, at the same time, to wait, pray, and hope 
for success to attend them ; and another thing to assert, that it 
shall always attend them, as though God had laid himself un- 
der an obligation to give special grace to those, who, in this 
respect, improve that which is common, the contrary where- 
unto may be observed in many instances. And \vhen we have 
done all, we must conclude, that the grace of God, if he is 
pleased to give success to our endeavours, is free and sovereign. 

3. They who say. That if we do all we can, God will do the 
rest, advance very little to support their argument, since there 
is no one who can pretend that he has done what he could : 
and may we not farther suppose, that God, in a judicial v.ay. 


as punishing us for the many sins we commit, may deny this 
success : therefore, how can it be said, that it will necessarily 

4. When we perform any of those duties, which some call 
preparatory to conversion, these are to be considered as the. 
Spirit's preparing his own way thereby, rather than corrupt na- 
ture's preparing itself for grace. We are far from denying 
that there is a beautiful order in the divine dispensations ; the 
Spirit of God first convinces of sin, and then shews the con- 
vinced sinner where his help is to be had ; and enables him to 
close with Christ by faith. He first shews the soul its own cor- 
ruption and nothingness, and then leads him to see Christ's 
fulness ; or that all his salvatioh is reposed in his hands, and 
enables him to believe in him to the saving the soul ; one of 
these works, indeed, prepares the way for the other : neverthe- 
less, none of them can be said to prepare the way for regene- 
ration, which is the work of the Spirit of God ; and without it, 
no other can be said to be a saving work. 

Object. It is objected, that there are several scriptures which 
seem to speak of common grace, as being preparatory for spe- 
cial. Thus the scribe, mentioned in the gospel, who expressed 
himself discreetly^ in asserting, that to love God zuitk all the 
hearty and rvith all the tmderstandhig^ soid^ and strength ; and 
to love our neighbour as ourselves^ is better than all xvhole bu nt- 
offerings and sacrijices y is said nottoht, far from the kingdom 
ofGody Mark xii. 34. And elsewhere, we are exhorted to ask^ 
and a promise is annexed thereunto, that it shall be given us^ 
to seek and we shall find ^ Matt. vii. 7. And in another place, 
to turn at God^s reproof and he ruill pour out his Spirit unto 
us, a7id jnake known his xiwrds unto us, Prov. i. 25. And seve- 
ral other scriptures, in which super-added grace is connected 
with duty enjoined, which duty is supposed to be in our own 
power, and to be preparatory for it. 

Ansxv, (1.) As to the first of these scriptures, in which our 
Saviour tells the scribe, that he was not far from the kingdom 
of God; he intends nothing else hereby, but that the profession 
he made, which he calls, his atiswering discreetly, v/as not very 
remote from that which was made by them, who were the sub- 
jects of his kingdom : it was the doctrine he mentions, that 
Christ commends ; and therefore it must not be inferred from 
hence, that he had regard to his state, as though his inward 
temper of mind, or moral conduct of life, was such as more 
immediately disposed him for a state of grace, so that he was, 
at the same time, hovering between a state of unregencracy 
r^nd conversion. 

(2.) As for that instance, in which persons are supposed to 
prepare themselves for that grace v,^hich God gives in answer 


to prayer, by performing that duty, as though he had obliged 
himself to give whatever they ask for, rehiting to their own 
salvation ; this cannot be the sense of the scripture but now 
mentioned, or any other, to the like purpose ; unless it be un- 
derstood of the praver of faith, under tlie influence of the Holy 
Spirit ; but this supposes regenerating grace ; and therefore it 
is foreign to the argument, in which man is considered as pre- 
paring himself for the grace of God, and not as expecting far- 
ther degrees of grace, upon his being inclined, by the Spirit 
of God, to seek them. 

(3.) As for the other instance in the objection, relating to 
God's engaging to g-ivc the Spirit^ and to make known his words 
to those that turn at his reproof; this, I conceive, contains in 
it nothing else but a promise of the Spirit, to carry on the work 
of grace, in all those in whom it is begun. Though turmng\ in 
scripture, be sometimes taken for external reformation, which 
is in our own power, as it is our indispensable duty .; yet, when- 
ever a promise of saving blessings is annexed to it, as in this 
scripture, it is to be understood as denoting the grace of re- 
pentance. And if it be said, that this is God's gift, and there- 
fore cannot be the subject of an exhortation, it may be replied 
hereunto ; that saving grace is often represented, in scripture, 
as our act, or dut}', in order to the performance whereof we 
ought to say, as the church is presented speaking. Turn thou. 
7}ie, and I shall be turned^ Jer. xxxi. 18. that is, I shall return 
unto thee ivith my xvhole hearty and not feignedhj^ chap. iii. 10. 

The same reply might be given to their sense ot several other 
scriptures brought to maintain the doctrine of preparatory 
works, performed by us, as necessarily inferring our obtaining 
the special grace of God. But I shall close tliis head with a 
few hints taken from that excellent divine before mentioned. 
" Man cannot prepare himself for the new birth : he hath, in- 
*' deed, a subjective capacity for grace, above any other crea- 
" ture in the inferior world ; and this is a kind of natural pre- 
" paration, which other creatures have not; a capacity, in rc- 
" gard of the powers of the soul, though not in respect of the 
" present disposition of them. He hath an understanding to 
*' know, and when it is enlightened, to know God's law; a will 
^' to move and run, and when enlarged by grace, to run the 
*•• wavs of God's commandments ; so that he stands in an im- 
*' mediate capacity to receive the life of grace, upon tlie breath 
*' and touch of God, which a stone doth not ; for in this it is 
" necessary, that rational faculties should be put as a founda- 
" tion of spiritual motions. Though the soul be thus capable. 
^' as a subject, to receive the grace of t.Tod, yet it is notthere- 
*' fore capable, nri an agent, to prepare itself for it, orprodncr- 


*' it. It is capable to receive the truths of God ; but, as the 
** heart is stony, it is incapable to receive the impressions of 
" those truths. Though some things, which man mjiy do by 
*' common grace, may be said to be preparations, yet they are 
*' not formally so; as that there is an absolute, causal connexion 
*' between such preparations, and regeneration ; they are not 
*' disposing causes of grace : grace is all in a way of reception 
" by the soul, not of action from the soul : the highest morali- 
*' ty in the world is not necessary to the first infusion of the 
*' divine nature : if there were any thing in the subject that 
*' was the cause of it, the tcnderest, and softest dispositions 
*' would be wrought upon ; and the most intelligent men would 
" soonest receive the gospel. Though we see them sometimes 
*' renewed, yet many times the roughest tempers are seized 
*' upon by grace. Though morality seems to set men at a 
" greater nearness to the kingdom of God, yet, with all its own 
*' strength it cannot bring it into the heart, unless the Spirit 
" open the lock : yea, sometimes it sets a man farther from the 
*' kingdom of God, as being a great enemy to the righteous- 
*' ness of the gospel, both imputed and inherent; and other 
*' operations upon the soul, which seem to be nearer prepara- 
*' tions ; such as convictions, &c. do not infer grace ; for the 
*' heart, as a field, may be ploughed by terrors, and yet not 
** planted with any good seed ; planting and watering are pre- 
*' parations, but not the cause of fruit ; the increase depends 
" upon God :"* thus this learned author. And he also farther 
proves, that there is no obligation on God, by any thing that 
may look like a preparation in men ; and adds, that if any pre- 
parations were our own, and were pure, which they are not : 
yet they cannot oblige God to give supernatural grace : which 
leads us, 

3. To consider that this work is, in a peculiar manner, at- 
tributed to the Spirit of God ; the only moving cause whereof, 
is his grace. That the Spirit is the author of this work, is not 
to be proved by experience, as the expressions ot divine power 
therein are, but by scripture ; and the scripture is very express 
as to this matter. Thus, when God promises to g-ive a neio 
heart; to take away the heart of stone ^ and to give an heart of 
fleshy and to cause his people to xvalk in his statutes^ Ezek. 
xxxvi. 26, 27. he would put his Spirit -within them; and else- 
where they are said to have purified their soids in obeying the 
truths through the Spirit, 1 Pet. i. 22. And our Saviour as- 
serts the necessity of our being born of the Spirit^ John iii. 5. 
in order to our entering into the kingdom of God : so that from 
these, and several other scriptures, that might be referred to, 

* See Charnock en Regeneration, Vol. IT. pni^s 14?', 148, ^c. 


It appears, that effectual calling is the internal powerful work 
of the Holy Ghost.* 

ObJ. 1. It is objected, by some, that this doctrine savours 
of enthusiasm ; since it supposes that there is no difFerence^e- 
tween the Spirit's internal influences, and inspiration ; and to 
pretend to this, now the miraculous dispensation, which was in 
the apostle's days, is ceased, is vain and enthusiastic. 

Answ. To this it may be replied, That the charge of enthu- 
siasm is very unjustly deduced from this doctrine ; for we must 
distinguish between the extraordinary, and the ordinary influ- 
ence of the Holy Ghost ; the former is allowed by all, to be 
now ceased ; and therefore they who pretend to it, are liable 
to this charge ; but it is a very great dishonour cast upon the 
Holy Ghost to deny his powerful influence or agency in the 
work of grace ; and it renders the condition of the church, at 
present, in a very material circumstance, so much inferior to 
what it was of old, that it is incapable of attaining salvation ; 
unless it could be proved that salvation might be attained with- 
out the divine energy. 

But, that we may farther reply to this objection, let it be con- 
sidered; that the Spirit's influence, as subservient to the work 
of grace, is evidently distinguished from imputation : the lat- 
ter of these was a peculiar honour which was conferred upon 
some persons, who were either to transmit to the church a rule 
of faith, by the immediate dictates of the Holy Ghost ; or else 
they were favoured with it to answer some extraordinary ends, 
which could not be attained without it, namely, their being 
famished with wisdom, as well as courage and boldness, to 
maintain the cause, which they were not otherwise furnished to 
defend, against the opposition that it met with from their per- 
secuting and malicious enemies, that so it might not suffer 
through their weakness ; as when our Saviour bids his disciples 
7iot to take thought what they should say^ when brought be- 
fore rulers, ^c. but promises, tliat the Spirit should speak in 
them^ Matt. x. 18 — 20. And in some other particular instan- 
ces we read, especially in the church at Corinth, that when 
ministers had not those advantages to qualify themselves to 
preach the gospel, which they afterwards were favoured with, 
some had this extraordinary gift, so that they spake by the 
Spirit ; but this was only conferred occasionally, and for some 
special reasons : and therefore, those scriptures that speak of 

• When ~.oe speak ofeffecUtnl callinff^s beirg the -.rorh of the Spii'it, the agencif 
of llw Father mid Son I'.v 7iot excluded, since the divine power, by i»hich all effects arf. 
produced, belongs to the divine essence, -.vhich is eqvaUy predicated of all the persons 
in the God/ieud; but when any work is peculiarly attributed to the Spirit, this im- 
plies Ida personal glury's being demo7istruted thereby, agreeably to what is elseinhere 
called the oeconomy of {.'.:' divine ffertons ; vhich see farther ex1>!ti:ned in Vol. I. 
pnri', yj^^ 29"?, 5:-.j. 


the influences of the Spirit, which were more common, and 
immediately subservient to the work of grace in the souls of 
those who were the subjects thereof, were, at that time, the 
same with them that we are pleading for, which were design- 
ed to continue in the church, in all the ages thereof: thus 
when persons are said, through the Spirit to jnortify the deeds 
of the body., Rom. viii. 13. this does not respect any extraor- 
dinary dispensation, which they were then under, since it is 
the duty of all inen, in all ages, without the extraordinary in- 
fluences of the Spirit, to mortify the deeds of the body ; and 
therefore we may expect this powerful energy as well as they, 
or else our condition would be very deplorable. 

And besides, we never find that extraordinary gifts were 
immediately subservient to the subduing corruption, or, at least, 
that every one that had them, did mortify sin, and so appear 
to be internally sanctified : whereas, this is a character of those 
who are so ; and not to have these influences, determines a per- 
son to be in an unregenerate state, or to live after the fleshy 
which is opposed to it, and so to be liable to death, ver. 12. 
1^0 one can suppose, the apostle intends, in the foregoing verse, 
when he says, Jf ye live after the fleshy ye shall die ; that if ye 
are not under inspiration, ye shall die, as living after the flesh : 
but the method of reasoning is strong and conclusive, if we 
understand the divine influence as what is distinct from inspi- 
ration, and consequently a privilege necessary for the begin- 
ning and carrj'ing on the work of grace, and so belongs to be- 
lievers in all ages. 

Again, when the Spirit is said to help our iiifrmities^ ver. 
26. in prayer : is not prayer as much a duty now as it was 
when they had extraordinary gifts ? therefore, ought we not 
to hope for the assistance of the Spirit, in all ages ? and conse- 
quently the Spirit's help, in this respect is not confined to that 
age, when there was a miraculous dispensation, or extraordi-^ 
nary inspiration. 

And when it is elsewhere said, As many as are led by the 
^Spirit of God^ they are the so7is of God, ver. 14. can we sup- 
pose, that none were the sons of God but such as had extraor- 
dinary gifts ? Does not this privilege belong to us, as well as 
unto them ? If therefore we are the sons of God, as well as 
they, we have this evidence hereof, according to this scripture ; 
nanielv, our being led by the Spirit of God ; though we pretend 
not to be led by him, as a Spirit of inspiration. 

.And to this we may add, that the apostle elsewhere speaks 
of some who "were scaled xvith that Holy Spirit of promise ,- 
which is the earnest of Gur inheritance : and these are descri- 
bed as trusting in Christ after thetf had heard the word of sal- 
vadcn^ and believing in hivu Eph. i. 13,^ 14. But this belongs 


to the church in all ages ; therefore sealmg is not a privilege 
confined to those who had the extraordinary giits of the Holy 
Ghost ; but to believers as such. 

Moreover, it is said, The Spirit beareth witness with our 
spirits^ that zue arc the children ofGod^ Rom. viii. 16. There- 
fore, some persons may know themselves to be the children of 
God, in a way of self-examination, by the witness of the Spirit, 
which is common to all believers ; without pretending to be 
inspired therein; which would be to know this matter without 
the concurring testimony of our own spirits. Many things, of 
the like nature, might be observed, concerning the other scrip- 
tures, that are generally brought to prove, that believers, in our 
day, are made partakers of the powerful influences of the Holy 
Ghost ; though they pretend not to the Spirit of inspiration ; 
which is a sufficient answer to this objection. 
• Object, 2. If it be farther objected, that if the Spirit does 
work internally in the souls of men, we are not to suppose, that 
he works a change in their wills, but only presents objects to 
them, which they by their own power, improve, and make use 
of, for their good ; even as a finite Spirit may suggest good or 
bad thoughts, without flisposing us to comply with them ; or, 
as the devil is said to work in men, who is called. The Spirit 
that noxv xvorketh in the children of disobedience^ Eph. ii. 2. 

Ansxv. To this it may be replied, that an objective influence, 
properly speaking, is no influence at all; much less is it becom- 
ing the dignity of the Holy Ghost, to say. That he hath no 
more an hand in the work of conversion, than that which a 
mere creature might have. I will not deny that the Greek 
word,* which signifies energ}-, or internal working, is some- 
times taken for such a kind of influence as is not properly the 
effect of power, as in the instance contained in the objection ; 
}et, let it be considered, that the same word is often used, in 
varietis other instances, in senses very different, when applied 
to God and the creature ; where the word, in itself, is indeter- 
minate ; but the application of it sufficiently determines the 
matter ; so as to leave no doubt, as to the sense of it. Thus to 
make, form, or produce, when applied to God, and the thing 
made, formed, or produced, is represented as an instance of 
his almighty power, which exceeds the limits of finite power, 
this determines the sense to be very different from making, 
forming, or producing, when applied to men, acting in their 
own sphere : so the apostle speaks of building, in a very dif- 
ferent sense, as applied to God and the creature, which no one 
is at a loss to understand, who reads the words ; Every house 
is builded bij some 7nan; but he that built all things is God, Heb. 
iii. 4. Now, to apply this to our present purpose, wc do not 

Vol. III. H 


deny, that a finite spirit has an energy, in an objective way j 
but when the same word is appHed to God's manner of acting; 
and is represented as has been before observed, as an instance 
of his almighty power, producing a change in the soul ; and 
not only persuading, but enabling him to perform good works, 
from a principle of spiritual life, implanted, this may easily be 
understood as having a very different sense from the same 
word, when applied to the internal agency of a finite spirit ; 
and therefore this objection does not overthrow the argument 
we are maintaining. 

Object. 3. It is farther objected against what has been said 
concerning this powerful work of the Spirit, as being illustra- 
ted by the similitude of a person's being raised from the dead; 
that this contains in it nothing supernatural, or out of the power 
of man j since the apostle says. Awake thou that sleepest^ and 
arise from the dead, and Christ shall give the light y Eph. v. 14. 
If arising from the dead be the effect of almighty power, when 
applied to the work of grace, it seems preposterous for this to 
be recommended as our duty : and if it be not a work of al- 
mighty power, then those scriptures that illustrate effectual 
calling by the resurrection of the dead, are nothing to the ar- 
gument for which they have been brought. 

Ansxv. Some suppose, diat its being assigned as a matter of 
duty for sinners to rise from the dead, does not infer, that it is 
in their own power ; but, that it only signifies, that none can 
expect eternal life but those v/ho rise from the death of sin j 
and accordingly, as the promise, here mentioned, relating to 
our having light, is said to be Christ^s gift, so the power to 
perform that duty, which is inseparably connected with it, to 
wit, rising from the dead, is to be sought for at his hand. But 
if this answer be not rcckontd sufficient, I see no absurdity in 
supposing, that these two expressions, Axuake, thou that sleepest, 
and arise from the dead, import the same thing. Sleep is, as it 
were, the image of death ; and therefore, by a metaphorical 
way of speaking, it may be here called death ; and if so, the 
apostle commands believers to awake out of their carnal secu- 
rity, or shake off their stupid frames, as they expect the light 
of eternal life : however, if it be taken in this sense here ; yet 
when we meet with the v,^ords (Quickened, or raised from the 
dead, elsewhere, they may be understood in a different sense, 
as denoting the implanting a principle of grace in regeneration, 
as will appear by the context : thus when God is said to quicken 
those ivho xvere dead in trespasses and sins ; -who walked accord- 
ing to the course of this world, fid filling the desires of the fleshy 
and of the mind; and were, by 7iature, the children of wrath; 
and to do this with a design to shew the exceeding riches of 
'.*.? grace, and kindness toivards them ; and as the conseqtience 


thereof, to work that faith which accompanies salvation, which 
is not of themselves, but his gift : I say, if these things are 
mentioned when we are said to be quickened, or raised from 
the dead, certainly it argues more than a stupid believer's awa- 
king from that carnal security, which he is under, who is sup- 
posed to have a principle of spiritual life, whereby he may be 
enabled so to do. 

Object. 4. It is also objected to what has been said, concern- 
ing effectual calling's being a work of divine power, that those 
scriptures, which speak of it as such, denote nothing else but 
the power of working miracles ; whereby they to whom the 
gospel was preached, were induced to believe ; as when the 
apostle says, His- preaching xvas in demonstration of the Spirit^ 
and of power, 1 Cor. ii. 4. that is, the doctrines he preached^ 
"were confirmed, and the truth thereof demonstrated by the 
power of the Holy Ghost, enabling them to work miracles : and 
the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power, chap. iv. 20. 
that is, the gospel is not only preached, but confirmed by mi- 
racles : Our gospel came to you in power, and in the Hohj 
Ghost, 1 Thes. i. 5. that is, as some understand it, the gospel 
which we preach, was confirmed by the power and miraculous 
works of the Holy Ghost ; which has no reference to the in- 
ternal efficacious influences of the Spirit put forth in effectual 

Answ. Though we often read that the gospel was confirmed 
by miracles : nevertheless, I cannot see that this is the princi- 
ple, much less the only sense of these scriptures, and some 
others that might have been produced to the same purpose. 

As to the first of them in which the apostle speaks of hi^ 
preaching, being in the detnonstration of the Spirit, and of 
poiver ; it may be observed, that in the preceding chapter he 
had been speaking concerning Christ preached, and his glory 
set forth among them, as the power of God ; that is to say, 
the power of God rendered the preaching thereof effectual to 
the conversion of them that believed ; which he concludes to 
contain in it no less a conviction of the truth of the Christian 
religion, than if he had wrought signs or miracles, which the 
Jews demanded, and which he had no design to work among 
them : therefore, why should we suppose, that when he speaks 
of his preaching being in the demonstration of the Spirit, and 
of pozver, that he intends the confirming his doctrine by mira- 
cles, and not in the same sense as he had before signified Christ 
to be the power of God. 

And as for the other scripture, in which it is said, The king- 
dom of God is not in word, but in power ; that is to be under- 
stood by comparing it with what immediately goes before, in 
which he says, that Ixvill come to yon shcrthj, if the Lorditnll 

GO or ErrECTUAL calling. 

<iiulh}gw not the speech of them rvho are puffed up, hut the 
power. If we suppose, that by them who are puffed up, he means 
some of their teachers, who swelled either with pride or envy^ 
and probably were sowing some seeds of error among them ; it 
does not seem to be a just sense of the text, to explain the words 
when he says, Izvill knozv not the speech of them who are puffed 
11 p^ but the poxver^ q. d. I will not so much regard the doctrmes 
they deliver, as I will enquire and be convinced, that they have 
confirmed them by miracles. For he would rather regard their 
doctrinethan their pretence to miracles; or have said, I will not 
enquire vrhether ever they have wrought any miracles or no, but 
what efficacy their doctrine has had : and therefore the apos- 
tle, by knoxving the power, does not mean that of working mira- 
cles, but he intimates that he would know, not only what doc- 
trines these persons taught, but what success attended their 
preaching; and then he adds, that the kingdom of God, that is, 
the gospel-state is advanced and promoted, not barely by the 
church's enjoying the means of grace, such as the preaching of 
the word ; but by the poxver of God, which makes the word 
preached effectual to salvation, whereby sinners are converted, 
and many added to the church, such as shall be saved. 

As to the last scripture mentioned, in which the apostle says, 
Our gospel came to you, not in xvord only, but in poxver, I can- 
not think that he ha% any reference in that place, to the con- 
firming- the gospel by miracles; because this is assigtied as a 
mark of their election, hioxving, brethren, your election of God; 
for our gospel came unto you, not only in word, but in power^ 
&c. Now, whether we take election for God's eternal design 
to save them, or for the execution thereof, in his applying the 
graces of the Spirit to them ; or if we take it in the lowest 
sense, which they, on the other side of the question, generally 
give into, for their being a choice, religious unblameable so- 
ciety of Christians, excelling many others in piety : this could 
not be evinced by the gospel's being confirmed by miracles ; 
and therefore this sense seems not agreeable to the apostle's 
design ; and consequently the objection taken from those scrip- 
tures, that speak of the power of God in conversion, as imply- 
ing nothing else but his power, exerted in working miracles, 
will-not, in the least, be sufficient to weaken the force of the 
argument we are maintaining. Thus concerning effectual call- 
ing's being a work of power, attributed, in particular, to the 
Holy Spirit. 

There is one thing more observed, in the answer we are ex- 
plaining, which must be briefly considered ; namel)', that it is a 
work of grace, which was the internal moving cause thereof ; 
or, the reason of God's exerting his divine power therein. Ef- 
fectual calling must be a work of grace, without any motive 


taken from them, who are the subjects thereof; inasmuch as 
they had before this, nothing in them, that could render them 
the objects of divine love, being described as dead in tres- 
passes and sins^ alienated from the life of God, and enmity itseli 
against him : so that their condition, antecedent hereunto, can- 
not be supposed to be the moving cause hereof; for that which 
is in itself, altogether unlovely, cannot afford a motive for \o\o 
to any one that weighs the circumstances of persons and things, 
and acts in pursuance thereof. 

Object. But whereas it is objected, that though the present 
condition of unregenerate persons cannot afford any motive in- 
ducing God thereunto, yet the foresight of their future con- 
duct might. 

Anszv. To this we answer, That all the good which shall be 
found in believers, is God's gift ; he is the finisher as well as 
the author of faith ; and therefore it cannot be said, that any 
thing out of himself, was the moving cause hereof. And to 
this we may add, That God foresaw the vile and unworthy 
behaviour of believers, proceeding from the remainders of cor- 
rupt nature in them, as well as those graces which he would 
enable them to act : so that there is as much in them that might 
induce him to hate them, as there is to move him to love them; 
and therefore we must conclude, that his love proceeds from 
another cause; or that it is by the grace of God alone, that we 
are what we are : which leads us to consider, 

4. That the power and grace of God, displayed in effectual 
calling, is irresistible, and consequently such as cannot but be 
effectual to produce that which is designed to be brought about 
thereby. To deny this, would be to infer, that the creature has 
an equal, if not a superior, force to God : for, as, in nature, 
every thing that impedes or stops a thing that is in motion, 
must have an equal force to resist with that which is affected 
by it ; so, in the work of grace, if the will of man can render 
the pov/er of God of none effect, or stop the progress of divine 
grace, contrary to his design or purpose, this must argue the 
creature's power of resisting, equal to that which is pat fortli 
by God, in order to the bringing this work to perfection. This 
consequence is so derogatoiy to the divine glory, that no one 
who sees it to be just, will maintain the premises from whence 
it is deduced. 

If it be said, that God may suffer himself to be resisted ; 
and his grace, that would otherwise have been effectual, to be 
defeated ; tiiis will not much mend the matter ; but only, in or- 
der to the avoiding one absurd consequence, bring in another ; 
tor if every one would have, what he purposes to be done 
brought to pass, and would not be disappointed, if he could 
help it, the B'xmt nu'.st hr. sabd cf the grciit God. Now if God 


could have prevented his purpose from being defeated, but 
would not, this argues a defect of wisdom ; if his own glory 
was designed, by purposing to do that which the creature ren- 
ders in effectual, then he misses of that end, which cannot but be 
the most valuable, and consequently most desirable : therefore, 
for God to suffer a purpose of this nature, to be defeated, sup- 
posing he could prevent it, is to suffer himself to be a loser of 
that glory which is due to his name. Moreover, this is direct- 
ly contrary to what the apostle says, Who hath resisted his xvill^ 
Rom. ix. i 9. or who hath rendered the grace, which he design- 
ed should take effect, ineffectual, or, which is the same thing, 
who can do it ? 

The ground on which many have asserted, that the grace of 
God may be resisted, is taken from some scriptures, that speak 
of man's being in open hostility against him. Thus we read of 
a bold daring sinner, as stretching out his hand against Gody 
a7id strengthening hiiuself against the Almighti/^ rumiing upon 
him^ even on his neck^ upon the thick bosses of his bucklers^ Job 
XV. 25, 26. And Stephen reproves the Jews as having ahvays 
resisted the Holy Ghost, both theij and their fathers^ Acts vii. 
51, 52. and the Pharisees are said to have rejected, Luke vii. 
30. or, as the word * might have been rendered, disannulled 
the counsel of God against thernselves. And elsewhere, the pro- 
phet speaks of God's stretching out his hand all the day unto 
a disobedieyit aiid gainsaying people, Rom. x. 21. These, and 
such like scriptures give occasion to some to suppose, that the 
power and grace, as well as the purpose of God, may be re- 

But that we may understand the sense of these scriptures, 
and, at the same time not relinquish the doctrine we are main- 
taining, and thereby infer the consequence above-mentioned ; 
we must distinguish betAveen our opposition to God's revealed 
will, contained in his word, which is the rule of duty to us ; 
and resisting his secret will, which determines the event. Or, 
as it may be otherwise expressed, it is one thing to set our- 
selves j»gainst the objective grace of God, that is, the gospel, 
and another thing to defeat his subjective grace, that when he 
is about to work effectually in us, we should put a stop to his 
proceedings. The former no one denies ; the latter we can, by 
no means, allov/ of. Persons may express a great deal of re ■ 
luctancy and perverseness at that time, when God is about to 
>subdue their stubborn and obstinate wills ; but the power of 
God will break through all this opposition ; and the will of man 
shall not be able to make his work void, or without effect. The 
Jews, as above-mentioned, might resist the Holy Ghost, that 
35, oppose the doctrines contained in scripture, which were gi- 
ven bv the Spirit^s inspiration ; and they might make this re- 


velatlon of no effect, with respect to themselves ; but had God 
designed that it should take eft'ect, then he would have pre- 
vented their resisting it. Israel might be a gainsaying' pcopk\ 
that is, they might oppose what God communicated to them 
by the prophets, which it was their duty and interest to have 
complied with ; and so the offers of grace in God's revealed 
will, might be in vain with respect to them ; but it never was 
so with respect to those whom he designed to save : and if the 
hardened sinner, stretching out his hand against God^ may be 
said hereby to express his averseness to holiness, and his de- 
sire to be exempted from the divine government ; he may be 
found in open rebellion against him, as hating and opposing his 
law ; but he cannot offer any real injury to his divine perfec- 
tions, so as to detract from his glory, to render his purpose of 
no effect. Moses speaking concerning God's works of provi- 
dence, says. They are perfect ; for all his ways arc judgmenty 
Deut. xxxii. 4. And elsewhere, God, by the prophet Isaiah, 
says, I ivill xoork^ and ivho shall let it, Isa. xliii. 13. From 
whence he argues, his eternal Deity, and uncontroulable power, 
when he says, before the day xvas, I am he,, and there is fione 
that can deliver out of my hand; so that if a stop might be put 
to his works of providence, he would cease to be a God of in- 
finite perfection ; and may we not from hence infer, that his 
works of grace are not subject to any controul ; so that when 
he designs to call any effectually, nothing shall prevent this 
end's being answered, which is what we intend, w^hen we 
speak of the power and grace of God as irresistible ; which 
leads us to consider, 

5. The season or time in which persons are effectually call- 
ed J which in this answer, is said to be God's accepted time. 
Jf the work be free and sovereign, Avithout any motive in us, 
the time in which he does it, must be that which he thinks most 
proper. Here we may observe, 

(1.) That some are regenerate in their infancy, when the 
word can have no instrumentality, in producing the least acts 
of grace ; these have therefore the seeds thereof, which spring 
tip, and discover themselves, when they are able to make use 
of the word. That persons are capable of regeneration from the 
womb, is no less evident, than that they are capable of having 
the seeds or principle of reason from thence, which they cer- 
tainly have ; and if it be allowed, that regeneration is connec- 
ted with salvation, and that infants are capable of the latter^ 
as our Saviour says, that of such is the kingdom of God ; then 
they must be certainly capable of the former ; and not to sup- 
pose some infants regenerate from the womb, would be to ex- 
v-lude a very great part of mankind from salvation, without 
3criptiire- warrant. 


(2.) Others are effectually called in their childhood, or riper 
3^ears, and some few in old age ; that so no age of life may be 
an inducement to despair, or persons be thereby discouraged 
from attending on the means of grace. Thus it is said con- 
cerning Josiah, That in the eighth year of his reign^ while he 
rvas yet yoiing-^ he began to seek after the God of David^ his 
father^ 2 Chron. xxxiv. 1. and David was converted when he 
Avas a youth^ a stripling of a ruddy and beaut fid countenance^ 
1 Sam. xvi. 12. compared with chap. xvii. 56, 58. Ami Moses 
seems to have been effectually called, when he left Pharaoh's 
court; and it came into his heart to visit his brethren the chil- 
dren of Israel; at which time he was forty years old. Acts vii. 
23. And Abraham seems to have been made partaker of this 
grace, when he was called to leave his country, when he was 
seventy-five years old ; before which, it is probable, that he, 
together with the rest of his father's family, served other gods. 
Josh. xxiv. 2. compared with Gen. xii. 4. And we read, in 
one single instance, of a person converted in the very agonies 
of death, viz. the thief upon the cross, Luke xxiii. 43. 

(3.) Sometimes, when persons seem most disposed hereunto, 
and are under the greatest convictions, and more inclined to 
reform their lives, than at other times, the work appears, by 
the issue thereof, to be no more than that of common grace, 
which miscarries and leaves them worse than they were before ; 
and, it may be, after this, when they seem less inclined here- 
vmto, that is, God's accepted time, when he begins the work 
•with power, which he afterwards carries on and completes. 
Some are suffered to run great lengths in sin, before they are 
effectually called ; as the apostle Paul, i?i whom God was pleased 
to shew forth all long suffering, as a pattern to them which 
should hereafter believe, 1 Tim. i. 16. So that the time and 
means being entirely in his hand, as we ought not to presume, 
but wait for the day of salvation in all his ordinances ; so, what- 
ever our age and circumstances are, we are still encouraged to 
hope for the mercy of God, unto eternal lifej or, that he will 
save and call us, with an holy calling. 

Quest. LXIX. What is the communion in grace, which the 
7nembcrs of the invisible church have with Christ ? 

Answ. The communion in grace, which the members of tlie 
invisible church have with Christ, is, their partaking of the 
virtue of his mediation, in their justification, adoption, sanc- 
tification, and whatever else, in this life, manifests their 
union with him. 


HAVING considered. the vital union which the members 
of the invisible church have with Christ in their effectual 
calling, we are now led to speak concerning that communion 
in grace, which they have with him. 

Communion with Christ doth not, in the least, import our 
being made partakers of any of the glories or privileges which 
belong to him as Mediator; but it consists, in our participation, 
of those benefits which he hath purchased for us ; and it im- 
plies, on his part, infinite condescension, that he will be pleased 
to communicate such blessings on us, and on our's, unspeaka- 
ble honours and privileges, which we enjoy from him : it is 
sometimes caMtdJellozuship, 1 John i. 3. which is the result of 
friendship, and proceeds from his love : thus our Saviour speaks 
of his loving t/ioji, and inayiifesting himself unto them^ John 
xiv. 21. It also proceeds from union with him, and is the im- 
mediate effect and consequence of effectual calling : therefore 
God is said to have called us unto the fellowships of his Son Je- 
siis Christy 1 Cor. i. 9. 

And it is farther said in this answer, to be a manifestation 
of our union with him. He has received those blessings for us, 
which he purchased by his blood ; and, accordingly is the trea- 
sury, as well as the fountain of all grace; and we are there- 
fore said to receive of his fulness^ grace for grace, John i. 16. 
And the blessings which we are said to receive, by virtue of 
his mediation, are justification, adoption, and sanctification, 
with all other benefits that either accompany or flow from them ; 
which are particularly explained in the following answei'S. 

Quest. LXX. What is J ustif cation P 

Answ. Justification is an act of God's free grace unto sinners, 
in which he pardoneth all their sins, accepteth and account- 
cth their persons righteous in his sight ; not for any thing 
wrought in them, or done by them, but only for the perfect 
obedience and full satisfaction of Christ, by God imputed to 
them, and received by faith alone. 

Quest. LXXI. Hoxv is justification an act of God^s free 
grace ? 

Ans w. Although Christ, by his obedience and death, did make 
a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God's justice, in the 
behalf of them that are justified ; yet, inasmuch as God ac- 
cepteth the satisfaction from a surtt}-, which he might have 
demanded of them, did provide this surety, his own only 
Vol. III. I 


Son, imputing his righteousness to them, and requiring no- 
thing oi them for their justification, but faith j which also is 
his gift; their justification is, to them, of free grace. 

HITHERTO we have been led to consider that change of 
heart and life which is begun in effectual calling ; where- 
by a dead sinner is made alive, and one that was wholly in- 
disposed for, and averse to the performance of good works, is 
enabled to perform them by the power of divine grace : and 
nov/ we are to speak concerning that change of state which ac- 
companies it ; whereby one, who being guilty before God, was 
liable to the condemning sentence of the law, and expected no 
other than an eternal banishment from his presence, is pardon- 
ed, received into favour, and has a right to all the blessings 
v/hich Christ has, by his obedience and sufferings, purchased 
for iiini. This is v>/hat we call justification; and it is placed 
immediately after the head of effectual calling, as being agree- 
able to the method in which it is insisted on in that golden 
chain of salvation, as the apostle says, Whom he called.^ them he 
also jiistifed^ Rom. viii. 30. 

This is certainly a doctrine of the highest importance, inas- 
much as it contains in it the way of peace, the foundation ot 
all our hope, of the acceptance both of our persons and ser- 
vices, and beholding the face of God, at last, with joy. Some 
have styled it the very basis of Christianity ; and our fore- 
fathers thought it so necessary to be insisted on and main- 
tained, according to the scripture-account thereof, that they 
reckoned it one of the principal doctrines of the reformation. 
And, indeed, the apostle Paul speaks of it as so necessary to 
be believed, that he concluded that the denying or perverting 
of it was the ground and reason of the Jews being rejected ; 
xvho being ignorant of God''s righteotisness^ and going about to 
establish a righteousness of their oxv?i^ hoKJC not submitted them- 
selves to the righteousness of God: and when they shall be call- 
ed, if their call be intended, in that account which we have, of 
the marriage of the Lamb, and his zvife having made herself 
readij. Rev. xix. 7. as many suppose, it is worth observing, 
that she is described as arrayed in fine linen^ xvhich is the righ- 
tcous7iess of saints^ or Christ's righteousness, by which they 
are justified : this is that in which they glory ; and therefore 
are represented as being convinced of the importance of that 
doctrine which, befoi-e, they were ignorant of. This we have 
an account of in these two answers, which we are now to ex- 
plain, and shall endeavour to do it in the following method. 

I. We shall consider what we are to understand by the word 

II. What are the privileges contained therein, as reduced to 


nvo heads, to wit, pardon of sin ; and God's accounting them 
who are justified, righteous in his sight ? And, 

III. What is the ioundation of our justification ? namely, a 
righteousness wrought out for us. 

IV. The utter inability of fallen man to perform any righ- 
teousness, that can be the matter of his justification in the 
sight of God. 

V. That our Lord Jesus Christ has wrought out this righ- 
teousness for us, as our surety, by performing active and pas- 
sive obedience; which is imputed to us for our justification. 

VI. We shall consider it as an act of God's free grace. And, 

VII. Shew the use of faith in justification, or in what re- 
spects faith is said to justify. 

I. We shall consider in what sense we are to understand the 
word justify. As there are many disputes about the method 
of explaining the doctrines of justification ', so there is a con- 
test between us and the Papists, about the sense of the word ; 
they generally supposing, that to justify^ is to make inherently 
righteous and holy ; because righteousness and holiness some- 
times import the same thing ; and both of them denote an in- 
ternal change in the person who is so denominated ; and ac- 
cordingly they argue, that as to magnify signifies to make 
great; to fortify^ to make strong; so to justify is to make just 
or holy : and they suppose, that whatever we do to make our- 
selves so, or whatever good works are the ingredients of our 
sanctification, these must be considered as the matter of our 
justification. And some Protestant divines have supposed, that 
the difference between them and us, is principally about the 
sense of a word ; which favourable and charitable construction 
of their doctrine, would have been less exceptionable, if the 
Papists had asserted no more than that justification might have 
been taken in this sense, when considered, not as giving us a 
right to eternal life, or being the foundation of that sentence of 
absolution, which Ciod passes upon us : but since this is the 
sense they give of it, when thej' say that we are justified by 
our inherent holiness, we are bound to conclude, that it is very 
remote from the scripture sense of the word. 

We do not deny that justification is sometimes taken in a 
sense diflferent from that which is intended by it, when used to 
signify the doctrine we are explaining. Sometimes nothing more 
is intended hereby, than our vindicating the divine perfections 
from any charge which is pretended to be brought against them. 
Thus the Psalmist says. That thou mightest be justified rvhen 
thou speakest^ and be clear xvhen thou judgest^ Psal. li. 4. And 
our Saviour is said to be justified, that is, his person or cha- 
racter vindicated or defended from the reproaches that were 
cast on him; as it is said, Wisdom is justified of her children^ 

68 OF juariprcATioN. 

Matt. xi. 19. Luke vii. 35. Also we frequently read of the 
justification of the actions or conduct of persons, in scripture; 
in which sense their own works may be said to justify or vin- 
dicate them from the charge of hypocrisy or unregeneracy. 
Again, to justify is sometimes taken, in scripture, for using en- 
deavours to turn many to righteousness : and therefore our 
translators have rendered the words, in the prophecy of Daniel, 
which signify, they xvho justify many^ they who turn many to 
righteous7iess^ shall shine as the stars^ Dan. xii. 3.* 

There are various other senses which are given of this word, 
which we pass over as not applicable to the doctrine we are 
maintaining, and therefore shall proceed to consider the sense 
in which it is used, when importing a sinner's justification in 
the sight of God > wherein it is to be taken only in a forensick 
sense, and accordingly signifies a person's being acquitted or 
discharged from guilt, or a liableness to condemnation, in such 
a way as is done in courts of judicature : thus we read in the 
judicial law, that if there be a controversy between men^ and 
they come unto judgment^ that the judges may judge thcjn, then 
they shall justify the righteous^ and condemn the xvicked^ Deut. 
XXV. 1. where to justify the righteous^ is to be understood for 
acquitting or discharging one that appears to be righteous, or 
not guilty, from condemnation ; whereas the wicked^ that is, 
they who appear to be guilty, are to be condemned : and in this 
sense the word is used, when applied to the doctrine of justi- 
fication, in the New Testament, and particularly in Paul's epis- 
tles ; who largely insists on this subject. 

Now that we may understand how a sinner may expect to 
be discharged at God's tribunal, let us consider the methods of 
proceeding used in human courts of judicature : herein, it is 
supposed, that there is a law that forbids some actions which 
are deemed criminal ; and also, that a punishment is annexed 
to this law, which remlers the person that violated it, guilty ; 
and then persons are supposed to be charged with the viola- 
tion thereof; which charge, if it be not made good, they are 
said to be justified, that is, cleared from presumptive, not real 
guilt : but if the charge be made good, and he that fell under 
it, liable to punishment ; if he suffer the punishment he is jus- 
tified, as in cranes that are not of a capital nature ; or if he be 
any otherwise cleared from the charge, so that his guilt be re- 
moved, then he is deemed a justified person : and so the lav/ 
has nothing to lay to his charge, with respect to that which he 
"was before accused of. Thus when a sinner, who had been 
charged with the violation of thp divine law, found guilty be- 
fore God, and exposed to a sentence of condemnation, is freed 


from it, then he is said to be justified; which leads us to con- 

II. The privileges contained in justification; which arc for- 
giveness of sin and a right and title to eternal life. These are 
sufficiently distinguished, though never separated ; so thai when 
we find but one of them mentioned in a particular scripture, 
which treats on this subject, the other is not excluded. For- 
giveness of sin is sometimes expressed in scripture, by a not 
imputing sin; and a right to life, includes in it our being nude 
partakers of the adoption of childi'en, and a right to the inheri- 
tance prepared for them. The apostle mentions both these to- 
gether, when he speaks of our having redemption through the 
blocd of Christy even the forgiveness of sins ; and being mode 
meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light^ 
Col. i. 12. 14. And elsewhere he speaks of Christ's redeeming 
them that xvere under the hnv ; which includes the former branch 
of justification, and of their receiving the adoption of children^ 
which includes the latter. And again he considers a justified 
person as having peace xviih God^ which more especially re- 
spects pardon of sin, and of their having access to the grace 
7vherein they stand, and their rcjoicirig in hope of the glory of 
God^ Rom. V. 1, 2. which is what we are to understand by, or 
includes in it, their right to life. 

That justification consists of both these branches, we main- 
tain against the Papists, who suppose that it includes nothing 
else but forgiveness of sin, which is founded on the blood of 
Christ; whereas, according to them, our right to life depends 
on our internal qualifications, or sincere obedience. And be- 
sides these, there are some Protestant divines, who suppose 
that it consists only in pardon of sin ; and this is asserted, by 
them, with different views ; some do it as most consistent with 
the doctrine of justification by works, which they plead for; 
whereas, others do it as being most agreeable to another no- 
tion which they advance, namely, that we are justified only by- 
Christ's passive obedience ; which will be considered under a 
following head. Again, there are others, whose sentiments ol 
the doctrine of justification are agreeable to scripture, who 
maintain, that it includes both forgiveness of sins, and a right 
to life ; but yet they add, that the former is founded on Christ's 
passive obedience, and the latter on his active : whereas, we can- 
not but think, that the whole of Christ's obedience, both ac- 
tive and passive, is the foundation of each of these ; which will 
also be considered, when we come to speak concerning the pro- 
curing cause of our justification. 

All that wc shall observe at present, is, that these two pri- 
vileges are inseparably connected ; therefore, as no one can 
have a right to life, but he who^e sins are pardoned; so no 


one can obtain forgiveness of sin, but he must, as tPie conse.> 
quence hereof, have a right to Hfe. As by the fall, man first 
became guilty, and then lost that right to life which was pro- 
mised in case he had stood ; so it is agreeable to the divine 
perfections, provided the guilt be removed, that he should be 
put in the same state as though it had not been contracted, 
and consequently, that he should not only have forgiveness of 
sins, but a right to life. Forgiveness of sin, without a right to 
eternal life, would render our justification incomplete; there- 
fore, when any one is pardoned by an act of grace, he is put in 
possession of that which, by his rebellion, he had forfeited, he 
is considered, not only as released out of prison, but as one who 
has the privileges of a subject, such as those which he had be- 
fore he committed the crin>e. Without this he would be like 
Absalom, when, upon Joab's intercession with David, the guilt 
of murder, which he had contracted, was remitted so far, as 
that he had liberty to return from Geshur, whither he was fled : 
nevertheless, he reckons himself not fully discharged from the 
guilt he had contracted, and concludes his return to Jerusalem, 
as it were, an insignificant privilege ; unless, by being admitted 
to see the king's face, and enjoy the privileges which he was 
possessed of before, he might be dealt with as one who was 
taken into favour, as v/ell as forgiven, 2 Sam. xiv. 2. which 
was accordingly granted. This leads us to consider these two 
branches of justification in particular. And, 

1. Forgiveness of sin. Sin is sometimes represented as con- 
taining in it moral impurity, as opposed to holiness of heart and 
life; and accordingly is said, to defile a man., Matt. xv. 19, 
20. and is set forth by several metaphorical expressions in 
scripture, which tend to beget an abhorrence of it as of things 
impvu"e; in which sense it is removed in sanctification rather 
than in justification ; not but that divines sometimes speak of 
Christ's redeeming us from the filth and dominion of sin, and 
our deliverance from it in justification : but these are to be 
understood as rendering us guilty; inasmuch as all moral pol- 
lutions are criminal, as contrary to the law of God; otherwise 
our deliverance from them would not be a branch of justifica- 
tion ; and therefore, in speaking to this head, we shall consi- 
der sin as that which renders men guilty before God, and so 
shew what we are to understand by guih. 

This supposes a person to be under a law, and to have viola- 
ted it; accordingly sin is described as the traiisgrefisioJi of the 
latt\ 1 John iii. 4. The law of God, in common with all other 
laws, is primarily designed to be the rule of obedience ; and 
in order thereunto, it is a declaration of the divine v/ill, which, 
as creatures and subjects, we are under a natural obligation to 
comply with ; and God, us a God oi' infinite holiness and so- 


vcreignly, cannot but signify his displeasure in case of disobe- 
dience ; and therefore he has annexed a threatening to his law, 
or past a condemning sentence, as that which is due for every 
transgression : this divines sometimes call the sanction of the 
law, or a fence, with which it is guarded, that so, through the 
corruption of our nature, we may not conclude, that we may 
rebel against him v/ith impunity : this the scripture styles. The 
curse of the lazv, Gal. iii. 10. So that guilt is a liableness to 
the curse or condemning sentence of the law, for our violation 
of it : this is sometimes called a debt of punishment, which we 
owe to the justice of God, for not paying that debt of obedience 
which was due from us to his law. I'hus, when our Saviour 
advises us to pray, that our sins may be forgiven ; he expresses 
it hv forg-iving us our debts ^ Luke xi. 4. Matt. vi. 12. so that 
forgiveness, as it is a freeing us from guilt, discharges us iront 
the guilt of punishment which we were liable to. 

There is a twofold debt which man owes to God; one he 
owes to him as a creature under a law ; this is that debt of 
obedience, which he cannot be discharged from ; and there- 
fore, a justified person is, in this sense, as much a debtor as 
any other. There is also a debt which man contracts as a cri- 
minal, whereby he is liable to suffer punishment; this alone is 
removed in justification. 

Moreover, we must carefully distinguish between the de- 
merit of sin, or its desert of punishment; and the sinner's ob- 
ligation to suffer punishment for it. The former of these is in- 
separable from sin, and not removed, or, in the least lessened, 
by pardoning mercy ; for sin is no less the object of the divine 
detestation ; nor is its intrinsic evil, or demerit, abated by its 
being forgiven ; and therefore, a justified person, remaining still 
a sinner, as transgressing the law of God, has as much reason 
to condemn himself, in this respect, as though he had not been 
forgiven. The Psalmist speaking concerning a person that is 
actually forgiven or justified, says, notwithstanding, that if thou 
Lord^ shouldat mark iniquities^ Lord^ xvho shall stand'? PsaL 
cxxx. 3. He was, at the same time, in a justified state ; but 
yet he concludes, that there is a demerit of punishment in eve- 
ry sin that he committed ; though, when it is pardoned, the 
obligation to suffer punishment is taken away : * and therefore, 
the apostle speaking of such, says, There is no condemnation 
to thcm^ Rom. viii. 1. Vv'e must farther distinguish between 
our having matter of condemnation in us; this a justified per- 
son has ; and there being no condemnation to us ; that is, the 
immediate result of being pardoned. 

• Thefoi'mer of these divines call rcatus potentialis, the latter^ reatus actualis; 
ifiefaiinrr- is rV •>'tmff(iut^ covseqrerice nf r.in, !h' (rttfT is tahf^i «-".t(' bn vcstiji- 

72 OF JUSTinCATION. ' w 

There are several expressions in scripture, whereby forgive- 
ness is set forth, namely, God's cov^ering sin : thus the Psalm- 
ist says, Blessed is he xvhosc transgression is forgiven, whose 
sin is covered, Psal. xxxii. 1. or, his hiding his face from it, 
and blotting it out; or, xuhen it is sought for, Psal. li. 9. its 
7iot being found, Jer. 1. 20. and, casting our sins into the depths 
of the sea, Micah vii. 19. And elsewhere it is said, That when 
God had pardoned the sins of his people, he did not behold ini- 
quity in Jacob, nor see perverseness in Israel, Numb, xxiii. 21, 
which amounts to the same thing as the foregoing expressions 
of its being covered, hid, blotted out, ^c. 

I am sensible there have been many contests about the sense 
of this scripture ; which might, without much difficulty, have 
been compremised, had the contending parties been desirous to 
know each others sense, without prejudice or partiality. It is 
not to be thought, that when God forgives sin, he does not 
know, or suppose that the person forgiven, had, before this, 
contracted guilt by sins committed ; for without this, he could 
not be the object of forgiveness. When God is said not to look 
upon, or hide his face from their sins, it is not to be suppo- 
sed, that he knows not what they have done, or what iniquities 
they daily commit against him ; for that v/ould be subversive 
of his omniscience : and when he is said not to mark our ini- 
quities, we are not to understand it, as though he did not look 
upon the sins we commit, though in a justified state, with ab- 
horrence ; for the sinner ma}' be pardoned, and yet the crime 
forgiven be detested. But God's not seeing sin in his people, 
is to be taken in a forensic sense ; and accordingly, when an 
atonement is made for sin, and the guilt thereof taken av/ay, 
the criminal, in the eye of the law, is as though he had not 
sinned ; he is as fully discharged from the indictment, that 
was brought in against him, as though he had been innocent, not 
liable to any charge founded upon it; and therefore the apos- 
tle says. Who shall lay any thing to the charge ofGod^s elect ? 
It is God that justifieth, Rom. viii. 2tZ. and it is the same, as 
for God not to enter into judgment, as the Psalmist elsewhere 
expresses it ; or to punish us less than our iniquities havs de- 
served, Psal. cxliii. 2. In this sense the indictment that was 
brought against him, is cancelled, the sentence reversed, and 
prosecution stopped ; so that whatever evils are endured as the 
consequence of sin, or with a design to humble him for it, as 
bringing sin to his remembrance, with all its aggravating cir- 
cumstances, he is, nevertheless, encouraged to hope, that these 
are not inflicted in a judicial way, by the vindictive justice of 
God demanding satisfaction ; but to display and set forth the 
holiness of his nature, as infinitely opposite to all sin, an') th^r 


dispensations of his providence agreeably thereunto 5 and that 
with a design to bring him to repentance for it. 

And, that this privilege may appear to be most conducive to 
our happiness and comfort, let it be considered ; that wherever 
God forgives sin, he forgives all sin, cancels every debt that 
rendered him liable to punishment, otherwise our condition 
would be very miserable, and our salvation impossible ; our 
condition would be like that of a person who has several in- 
dictments brought in against him, every one of v/hich contain 
an intimation that his life is forfeited ; it would avail him very 
little for one indictment to be superseded, and the sentence 
due to him for the others, executed : thus the apostle speaks 
oi tht free g-ifty bt'mg of many, that is, of the multitude of our 
vjfences unto justification^ Kom« v. 16. And elsewhere he 
speaks of God's forgiving his people all trespasses^ Col. ii. 13- 
And as he forgives all past sins, so he gives them ground to 
conclude, that iniquity shall not be their ruin j and therefore, 
the same grace that now abounds towards them herein, toge- 
ther with the virtue of the atonement made for sin, shall pre- 
vent future crimes being charged upon them to their condem- 
nation. Thus concerning forgiveness of sin. 

2. The other privilege, which they who are justified are 
made partakers of, is the acceptation of their persons, as righte- 
ous in the sight of God : thus they are said to be tnade accept- 
ed in the Bclovedy Eph. i. 6. and as their persons are accepted, 
so are their performances, notwithstanding the many defects 
that adhere to them. Thus God is said to have had respect 
unto Abely and to his offerings Gen. iv. 4. And, together with 
this, they have a right and title to eternal life ,* which is that 
inheritance which Christ has purchased for, and God, in hi? 
covenant of grace, has promised to them. This is a very com- 
prehensive blessing ; for it contains in it a right to all those 
great and precious promises, which God has made, respecting 
their happiness both here and hereafter. But since we shall 
have occasion to insist on this in a following answer, under the 
head of adoption, which some divines, not without good rea- 
son, conclude to be a branch of justification, or, at least, to 
contain in it those positive privileges, which they, who are jus- 
tified, partake of, either here of- hereafter, wc shall proceed to 

HI. What is the foundation of our justification; and that 
must be either some righteousness wrought out by us ; or for 
us. Since justification is a person's being made righteous^ as 
the apostle styles it, Rom. v. 29. we must consider what we 
are to understand hereby 1 and accordingly a person is said to 
be righteous who never violated the law of God, nor exposed 
himself to the condemning sentence thereof: in this respect 
Vol. hi. K 


man, vhile in a state of innocency, was righteous ; his perfect 
obedience was the righteousness which, according to the tenor 
of the co\'enant he was under, gave hira a right to eternal life i 
especially it would have done so, had it been persisted in, till 
he was possessed of that life ; but such a righteousness as this, 
cannot be the foundation of our justification, as the apostle 
says, Bi/ the xvorks of the latv shall no Jlesh be justified^ Gal. ii. 
16. Therefore, the righteousness we are now speaking of, 
must be something wrought out for us, by one who stood in 
our room and stead, and was able to pay that debt of obedience^ 
and endure those sufferings that were due for sin, which the 
law of God might have exacted of us, and insisted on the pay- 
ment of, in our own persons, which, when paid by Christ for 
lis, is that, (as will be considered under a following head,) 
which Ave generally call Christ's righteousness, or what he did 
and suffered in our stead, in conformity to the law of God ; 
•whereby its honour was secured and vindicated, and justice 
satisfied ; (so that God hereby appears to be, as the apostle 
says, Jiist^ and the justifier of him -which believeth in jesusj 
Rom. iii. 26. (t?) 

— • ■ ■ ...... 7 :^ 

(a) Highteonsness is taken ordinarily to signify a conformity to laws, or rules 
of right conduct. Actions, and persons mny respectively be denominated righte- 
ous. The moral law, which is both distinguishable by the moral sense, and ex- 
pressly revealed, requires perfect and perpetual rectitude in disposition, pur- 
pose, and action. Because none are ab.-,olutely confirmed to this law, none can 
fairly claim to be in themselves, simply, and absolutely righteous. Men are 
said therefore to be righteous comparatively, or because the defects of many of 
their actions are few, or not discernible by their fellow men. To be made, (or 
constituted) ri^hteotis, or, to be pistified, in the sight of God, in scriptural lan- 
guage cannot mean, to be made biherently righteoiis. It is God who justifies, he 
cannot call evil good, and cannot be ignorant of every man's real demerit. This 
righxeousness of the saint has not consisted, under any dispensation, in his own 
'conformity to the fiivine law; " /?; the Lord have Jiighteousness;" " That I tnnxj 
•win Christ and befoimd in him, not knvijtg my oivn righteousness." If it did, there 
would be no necessity for the aid of God's Spirit to sanctify the nature of tlie 
justified person. To be justified or constituted righteous, is therefoi'e to be 
treated and accepted as righteous. If God justices the ungodly, his truth and jus- 
tice must be clear. He cannot be induced to depart from perfect rectitude, and 
strict propriety. When the ungodly are justified, or treated as if i-ighteous, it 
is not on their 'own account, for tiieir righteousness is defective ; but by the obe- 
dience of one, (that is Christ,) many are made righteous" The t&rm obedience 
excludes the essential righteousness of Christ as God. And his righteousness 
which he rendered in our nature can neither be transfused into, nor transferred 
imto his people, so as to be thciry inherently. Nor can an infinitely wise God 
consider the righteousness of One man to be the personal righteousness of ano- 
Iher. But one person may receive advantages from the righteousnes.s of ano- 
tlier. Sodom would have been spared if there could have been found ten holy 
men in it. Millions may be treated kindly, because of favour or respect had for 
one of their number espousing the cause of the whole. One man may become 
the surety of, and perform conditions for many, or pay a, ransom for them, and 
purchase them from slavery. If it be said that one may not lay down his life, 
■especially if it be important, for the preservation of another's; yet Christ 
\v iV> the i<or^i(/.'i/<? and possessed what no rri'?re creature can, the right to l2iy 


IV. We are now to consider the utter inability of fallen 
man to perform any righteousness that can be the matter of his 
justification in the sight of God ; whereby it will appear, as it 
is observed in this answer, that we are not accounted righte- 
ous in his sight, for any thing wrought in us, or done by us. 
That we cannot be justified by suffering the punishment that 
was due for sin, appears from the infinite evil thereof; and the 
eternal duration of the punishment that it deserves ; as our Sa- 
viour observes in the parable concerning the debtor, who did 
not agree ivith his adversary xvhile in the "way,, but was deliver- 
ed to the officer^ and cast into prison ; from whence he was not 
to come out till he had paid the uttermost farthings Matt. v. 
25, 26. that is to say, he shall never be discharged. A crimi- 
nal who is sentenced to endure some punishments short of 
death, or which are to continue but for a term of years, when 
he has suffered them, is, upon the account hereof, discharged, 
or justified : but it is far otherwise with man, when fallen into 
the hands of the vindictive justice of God; therefore the Psalm- 
iist says, enter not into judgment -with thy servant^ or do not 
punish me according to the demerit of sin; for in thy sight 
shall no Jlesh livhig be justified. 

Neither can anv one be justified by performing active obe- 
dience to the law of God ; for nothing is sufficient to answer 
that end, but what is perfect in all respects ; it must be sinless 
obedience, and that not only as to what concerns the time to 
come, but as respecting the time past ; and that is impossible, 
from the nature of the thing, to be said of a sinner ; for it 
implies a contradiction in terms. This farther appears from 
the holiness of God, which cannot but detest the least defect ; 
and therefore will not deal with a sinful creature, as though 
he had been innocent : and as for sins that are past, they ren- 
der us equally liable to a debt of punishment, with those which 
are committed at present, or shall be hereafter, in the sight of 
God. Moreover, the honour of the law cannot be secured, 
unless it be perfectly fulfilled ; which cannot be done if there 
be any defect of obedience. 

As for those works which are done by us, without the as- 
sistance of the Spirit of God, these proceed from a wrong prin- 
ciple, and have many other blemishes attending them, upon 
the account whereof, they have only a partial goodness ; and 
for that reason Augustine gives them no better a character 

down his life, and power to take it up agfain. The importance of the satisfaction 
shoukl be adequate to the honour of ti»e law. But tliat every objection to such ■ 
fiubstitution ml^ht be removed, it is slicwnthat, this was the very condition upon 
which the restoration of tlie saints was suspended in the purposes of God before 
man was created ; and was promised us in (Jkri.tt Jesus before the vorld began. 
Justice thcreiure can naither object to tbt substitution, nor v»ithhold the rewards. 


than shining sins * : but whatever terms we give them, they are 
certainly very far from coming up to a conformity to the di- 
vine law. And as for those good works which are said to be 
wrought in us, and are the eifect of the power and grace of 
God, and the consequence of our being regenerated and con- 
verted, these fall far short of perfection ; there is a great deal 
of sin attending them, which, if God should mark, none could 
stand. This is expressed by Job, in a very humble manner ; 
Noxu should man be just with God? if he will contend with him., 
he cannot ansrver him one of a thousands And, if I wash my- 
self with snow rvater^ and make mij hands never so clean.^ yet 
shalt thou plunge me in the ditch^ and mijie own clothes shall 
abhor me : for he is not a man as I atn, that I should answer 
him, and we should come together in judgment. Job ix. 2, 3, 
30 — 32. when God is said to work in us that whicJi is well 
pleasing in his sight, Heb. xiii. 21. we are not to understand, 
that the grace which he works in us, renders us accepted in 
his sight, in a forensic sense, or, that it justifies us; for in this 
respect we are only made accepted in the Beloved, that is, in 
Christ, Eph. i. 3. 

Morecyv'er, as what is wrought in us, has rsiany defects at- 
tending it; so it is not from ourselves, and therefore cannot be 
accepted as a payment of that debt of obedience which we owe 
to the justice of God ; and consequently we cannot be justified 
thereby. Some, indeed, make the terms of acceptance, or jus- 
tification in the sight of God, so very low, as though nothing 
were demanded of us but our sincere endeavours to yield obe- 
dience, whatever imperfections it be chargeable v/ith. And 
others pretend, that our confessing our sins will be conducive 
hereunto ; and assert, that our tears are sufficient to wash away 
the guilt of sin. The Papists add, that some penances, or acts 
of self-denial, will satisfy his justice, and procure a pardon for 
lis; rea, they go farther than this, and maintain, that persons 
may perform works of supererogation, or pay more than the 
debt that is ovv^ing from them, or than what the law of God re- 
quires, and thereby not only satisfy his justice, but render him 
a debtor to them ; and putting them into a capacity of trans- 
ferring these arrears of debt, to those that stand in need af 
them, and thereby lay an obligation on them, in gratitude, to 
pay them honours next to divine. Such absurdities do men 
run into, who plead for human satisfactions, and the merit of 
good works, as the matter of our justification : and, indeed, 
there is nothing can tend more to depreciate Christ's satisfac- 
tion, on the one hand, and stupify the conscience on the other; 
and therefore, it is so far from being an expedient for justifi- 
cation, that it is destructive to the souls of men. 

' ShlenJldaperrp.^n. 


As for our sincere endeavours, or imperfect obedience, thesi 
cannot be placed by the justice of God, in the room of perfect; 
for that is contrary to the nature of justice : We cannot sup- 
pose, that he who pays a pepper-corn, or a few mites, instead 
of a large sum, really pays the debt that was due from him ; 
justice cannot account this to be a payment ; therefore, a dis- 
charge from condemnation, upon these terms, cannot be styled 
a justification. And if it be said that it is esteemed so by an 
act of grace : this is to advance the glory of one divine perfec- 
tion, and, at the same time, detract from that of another ; no- 
thing therefore can be our righteousness, but that which the 
justice of God may, in honour, accept of for our justification: 
and our own righteousness is so small and inconsiderable a 
thing, that it is a dishonour for him to accept of it in this re- 
spect ; and therefore we cannot be justified by works done by 
us, or wrought in us. 

This will farther appear, if we consider the properties of 
this righteousness ; and in particular, that it must not only be 
perfect, and therefore, such as a sinful creature cannot per- 
form ; but it must also be of infinite value, otherwise it could 
not give satisfaction to the infinite justice of God; and conse- 
quently cannot be performed by any other than a divine per- 
son. And it must also bear some resemblance to that debt 
which was due from us, inasmuch as it v/as designed to satis- 
fy for the debt which he had contracted ; and therefore must 
be performed by one who is really man. But this having been 
insisted on elsewhere, under the head of Christ's Priestly of- 
fice *, we shall not farther enlarge on it ; but proceed to con- 

V. That our Lord Jesus Christ has wrought out this righte- 
ousness for us, as our Surety, by performing active and pas- 
sive obedience ; which is imputed to us for our justification. 
We have before considered that it is impossible that such a 
righteousness, as is sufficient to be the matter of our justifica- 
tion, should be wrought out by us in our own persons; it there- 
fore follows ; that it must be wrought out for us, by one who 
bears the character of a surety, and performs every thing that 
is necessary to our justification; such an one is our Lord Je- 
sus Christ. In considering this head, we must, 

1. Shew what we are to understand by a surety j since it is 
the righteousness of Christ, under this relation to us, which is 
the matter of our justification. A surety is one who submits 
to be charged with, and undertakes to pay a debt contracted br 
another, to the end that the debtor may hereby be discharged: 
thus the apostle Paul engages to be surety to Philemon, for 
OnesimuSj who had fled from him, whom he had wronged or 
* S.'c Vol U Pa!rt 27J. 


injured, ftn J was hereby indebted to him ; concerning whom, 
he says, If he hath wronged thee^or oxveth thee oiight^put that 
on mine account; /, Paul^ have -written it zvith mine oiun hand^ 
I will repay it, Philem. ver. 18. And elsewhere, we read of 
Judah's overture to be surety for his brother Benjamin, that he 
should return to his father, as a motive to induce him to give 
his consent that he should go with him into Egypt: Irvill be 
surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I bring 
him 7iot unto thee^ and set him before thee^ then let me bear the 
blame for ever^ Gen. xliii. 9. This is so commonly known in 
civil transactions of the like nature, between man and man, that 
it needs no farther explication ; however, it may be observed, 

(1.) That a person's becoming surety iFor another, must be 
a free and voluntary act : for to force any one to bind himself 
to pay a debt, which he has not contracted, is as much an act 
of injustice, as it is in any other instance to exact a debt where 
it is not due. 

(2.) He that engages to be surety for another must be in a 
capacity to pay the debt, otherwise he is unjust to the creditor, 
as well as brings ruin upon himself: therefore it is said. Be 
not thou one of them that strike hands^ or of them that are sure- 
ties for" debts ^ if thou hast nothing to pay ; xvhy should he tak'^ 
away the bed from under thee f Prov. xxiii. 26, 27. 

(3.) He who engages to be surety for another, is supposed 
not to have contracted the debt himself j and therefore the 
creditor must have no demands upon him, as being involved 
together with the debtor, and so becoming engaged antecedent 
to his being surety : nevertheles:?, he is deemed, in the eye of 
the law, consequent thereunto, to stand in the debtor's room, 
and to be charged with his debt, and equally obliged to the 
payment thereof, as though he had contracted it, especially if 
the creditor be resolved to exact the payment of him, rather 
than of the original debtor *. 

(4.) As debts are of different kinds, so the obligation of a sure- 
ty agreeably thereunto admits of different circumstances : thus 
there are pecuniary debts resulting from those dealings or con- 
tracts which pass between man and man in civil affairs; and there 
are debts of service or obedience ; as also debts of punishment, 
as has been before observed, for crimes committed; in all 
which cases, as the nature of the debt differs, so there are some 
things peculiar in the nature of suretyship for it. In pecuniary 
debts the creditor is obliged to accept of payment at the hand 

* The distinction often used in the civil latv betiueen fide-jussor and expromissor, 
er a person's beino- bound together -with the original debtor, and tite creditor's bdng 
left to his liberty to exact the debtofivhich of the tivo lie pleases, lohich is called Ude- 
jussor ; and the stirety's taking the dent upon himself, so as that he ivho contracted 
* it is hereby discharged, luhich is luhat we understand bv expromissor, has been c(»i- 
siJer-J elsnvh(re. S-i Vol IT. Pn^e\7-l 1H6 


«f any one, wheat the request of the debtor is willing to dis- 
charge the debt which he has contracted, especially, if what he 
pays be his own; but in debts of service or punishment, when 
the surety offers himself to perform or suffer what was due 
from another, the creditor is at his liberty to accept of, or re- 
fuse satisfaction from him, but might insist on the payment of 
the debt by him in his own person, from whom it was due. 

2. Christ was such a surety for us, or substituted in our 
room, with a design to pay the debt which was due to the jus- 
tice of God from us. Plere, that wc may assume the ideas of 
a surety but now-mentioned, and apply them to Christ, as our 
surety, let it be considered ; 

(1.) That what he did and suffered for us was free and vol- 
untar}- ; this appears from his readiness to engage therein, ex- 
pressed by his saying, ic, J come to do thy ivill, Heb. x. 9. 
And therefore whatever he suffered for us did not infertile least 
injustice in God that inflicted it *. 

(2.) He was able to pay the debt, so that there was not the 
least injury offered to the justice of God by his imdertaking. 
This is evident, from his being God incarnate ; and therefore 
in one nature he was able to do and suffer whatever was de- 
manded of us, and in the other nature to add an infinite value 
to what he performed therein. 

(3.) He was not rendered incapable of paying our debt, or 
answering for the guilt which we had contracted by any debt 
of his own, which involved him in the same guilt, and render- 
ed him liable to the same punishment with us, as is evident 
from what the prophet says concerning him, who speaks of 
him, as charged with our guilt, though he had done no violence^ 
neither 7vas amj deceit found in his mouthy Isa. liii. 9. That 
which the prophet calls doing no violence., the apostle Peter re- 
ferring to, and explaining it, styles doings or committing no sin 
of an}' kind. He was not involved in the guilt of Adam's sin, 
which would have rendered him incapable of being a surety 
to pay that debt for us ; neither had he the least degree of the 
corruption of nature, being conceived in an extraordinary way, 
and sanctified from the womb f. Nor did he ever commit ac- 
tual sin, for he was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from 

(4.) Another thing observed in the character of a surety, 
which is very agreeable to Christ, is ; that what he engaged to 
pay was his own, or at his own disposal, he did not offer any 
injury to justice, by paying a debt that was before due to it, 
or by performing any service which he had no warrant to do. 
It is true, he gave his life a ransom, but consider him as a di • 

• Volenti non fit injuria. 
t See Yui II. rare 2^1. 


vine Person, and he had an undoubted right to dispose or of, 
lay down that hfe which he had as man. Did ht consent, in 
the eternal transaction between the Father and him, to be in- 
.carnate, and in our nature to perform the work of a Surety? 
this was an act of his sovereign v/ili ; and therefore whatever 
he paid as a ransom for us, was, in the highest sense, his own. 
The case was not the same as though one man should offer to 
Jay down his life for another, who has no power to dispose of 
his life at pleasure. We are not lords of our own lives ; as 
we do not come into- the world by our own wills, we are not 
to go out of it when we please ; but Christ was as God, if I 
may so express myself, lord of himself, of all that he did and 
suffered as man ; by which I understand that he had a right as 
God to consent or determine to do, and suffer whatever he did 
and suffered as man ; therefore the debt which he paid in the 
human nature was his own. 

(5.) As it has been before observed, that in some cases he 
that is willing to substitute himself as a surety in the room of 
the debtor, must be accepted, and approved by him to whom 
it was due; and in this respect our Saviour's substitution as 
our surety in our room, had a sanction from God the Father; 
who gave many undeniable evidences that what he did and suf- 
fered for us, was accepted by him as really as though it had 
been done by us in our own persons, which, as was before ob- 
served, might have been refused by him, it being the payment 
of a debt of obedience and sufferings. Now that God the Fa- 
ther testified his acceptance of Christ as our surety, appears, 

1. From his well-pleasedness with him, both before and af- 
ter his incarnation ; before he came into the world, God seems 
to speak with pleasure in the fore-thought of what he would be, 
and do, as Mediator, when he says. Behold my servant whom 
I uphold^ mine electa in whom my soul delighteth^ Isa. xlii. 1. 
And he is also said to be -well pleased for his righteousness sake, 
ver. 21. or in his determining before hand that he should, as 
Mediator, bring in that righteousness which would tend to 
magnify the law, and make it honourable. 

Moreover, his having anointed him by a previous designa- 
tion to this work, as the prophet intimates, speaking of him be- 
fore his incarnation, Isa. Ixi. 1. 2. is certainly an evidence of 
his being approved to be our surety. And when he was in- 
carnate, God approved of him, when engaged in the work 
which he came into the world about: thus, when he was solemn- 
ly set apart, by baptism to the discharge of his public minis- 
try, we read of a voice from heaven, saying, This is my be- 
loved Son^ in XV horn I am well pleased^ Pv^Iatt. iii. 17. And to 
this we may add, that there was the most undeniable proof of 
God's well pleasedness with him, as hax/ing accomplished this 


tvork, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his 
own right hand, in heavenly places. 

2. This may be farther argued from his justifying and sav- 
ing those for whom he undertook to be a surety, before the debt 
was actually paid; and his applying the same blessings to his 
people, since the work of redemption was finished. The ap- 
plication of what Christ undertook to purchase, is an evidence 
of the acceptableness of the price. And this may be consider- 
ed, either as respecting those that were saved before his in- 
carnation and death; or those who are, from that time, in all 
succeeding ages, made partakers of the saving benefits procur- 
ed thereby. Before the actual accomplishment of what he un- 
dertook to do and suflTer, as our surety, God the Father trust- 
ed him, and, by virtue of his promising to pay the debt, dis- 
charged the Old Testament saints from condemnation, as ef- 
fectually as though it had been actually paid. There are some 
cases in which a sui-ety's undertaking to pay a debt, is reckon- 
ed equivalent to the actual payment of it; namely, when it is 
impossible that he should make a failure in the payment there- 
of, either though mutability, or a fickelness of temper, indu- 
cing him to change his purpose ; or from unfaithfulness, which 
might render him regai-dless of his engagement to pay it : or 
from some change in his circumstances whereby, though he 
once was able to pav it, he afterwards becomes unable : I say, 
if none of these things can take place, and especially, if the 
creditor, by not demanding present payment, receives some 
advantage, which is an argument that he does not stand in need 
thereof : in these cases the promise to pay a debt is equivalent 
to the payment of it. 

Now these things may well be applied to Christ's underta- 
king to pay our "debt: it was impossible that he should fail in 
the accomplishment of what he had undertaken; or change his 
purpose, and so, though he designed to do it, enter into other 
measures; or, though he had promised to do it, be unfaithlul 
in the accomplishment thereof, these things being all inconsis- 
tent with the character of his person who undertook it; and, 
though he suiTered for us in the human nature, it was his di- 
vine nature that undertook to do it therein, which is infinitely 
free from the least imputation of weakness, mutability, or un- 
faithfulness : and, whereas the present payment was not im- 
mediately demanded, nor designed to be made till the fulness 
of time was come, his forbearance hereof was compensated by 
that revenue of glory which accrued to the divine name, and 
that honour that redounded to tlie Mediator, by the salvation 
of the elect, before his incarnation; and this was certainly ^^n 
'indeniable evidence of God's approving his undercaking. 

Vor,. III. L 

82 or JUSTinCATION. 

And since the woi-k of redemption has been completed, all 
those who are, or shall be brought to glory, have, in them- 
selves, a convincing proof of God's being well pleased with 
Christ, as substituted in their room and stead, to pay the debt, 
that was due from them to his justice, as the foundation of 
their justification. From hence it plainly appears, that Christ 
was substituted as a surety in our room and stead, to do that 
for us which was necessary for our justification ; and we have 
sufficient ground to conclude, that he was so from scripture, 
from whence alone it can be proved, it being a matter of pure 
revelation. Thus he is said, in express terms, to have been 
made a surety of a better testament^ Heb. vii. 22. and that as 
our surety, he has paid that debt of sufferings which was due 
from us, is evident, in that he is said to offer himself a sacr'i- 
jicefor our sins^ ver. 2/. and to have beeii 077ce offered to bear 
the sins of many ^ chap. ix. 28. and from his being holy, harm- 
less, undefiled, and separate from sinners, the apostle argues, 
that he had no occasion to offer a sacrifice for himself, or that 
he had no sin of his own to be charged with, therefore, herein 
he bore or answered for our sins : thus the apostle Peter says. 
He bare our sins in his own body., on the trce^ by whose stripes 
tvc are healed, 1 Pet. ii. 24. And elsewhere, we read of his 
being- made sin for us, xvho knew no sin, that xue might be made 
the righteousness of God in him, 2 Cor. v. 21. that is, he, who 
had no guilt of his own to answer for, submitted to be charged 
•with our guilt, to stand in our room and stead, and according- 
ly to be made a sacrifice for sin ; all this implies as much as 
his being made a surety for us. But this having been particu- 
larly insisted on elsewhere in speaking concerning Christ's 
satisfaction, which could not be explained without taking oc- 
casion to mention his being substituted in the room and stead 
of those for whom he paid a price of redemption ; and having 
also considered the meaning of those scriptures that speak of 
his bearing our sins, we shall proceed to consider *. 

3. What Christ did, pursuant to this character, namely, as 
our surety, as he paid all that debt which the justice of God 
demanded from us, which consisted in active and passive obe- 
dience. There was a debt of active obedience demanded from 
man as a creature ; and upon his failure of paying it, when he 
sinned, it became an out-standing debt, due from us ', but such 
as could never be paid by us. God determines not to justify 
any, unless this out-standing debt be paid ; Christ, as our sure- 
ty, engages to take the payment of it on himself: and, whereas 
this defect of obedience, together with all actual transgressions, 
xyhich proceeded from the corruption of our nature, render us 
^viilty or liable to the stroke of vindictive justice, Christ, as 
* See Vol. 11. pa£e 288. 


our surety, undertakes to bear that also : this we generally call 
the imputation of our sin to Christ, the placing our debt to his 
account, and the transferring the debt of punishment, which 
was due from us to him, upon which account he is said to yield 
obedience, and suffer in our room and stead, or to perform 
active and passive obedience for us ; which two ideas the 
apostle joins in one expression, when he says, that he became 
dbcdient unto dcath^ Phil. ii. 8. But this having been been in- 
sisted on elsewhere, under the head of Christ's satisfaction *, 
where we shewed, not only that Christ performed active as 
well as passive obedience for us, but endeavoured to answer 
the objections that are generally brought against Christ's active 
obedience, being part of that debt which he engaged to pay for 
us : we shall pass it by at present. 

But that which may farther be added, to prove that our sin 
and guilt were imputed to him, may be argued from his being 
said to be 7nacle a cunefor us, in order to his redeeming us 
from the curse of the law. Gal. iii. 13. and also from his bein^ 
made sin for its, that we jjiight be made the righteousness of 
God in him, 2 Cor. v. 21. And also from other scriptures, 
that speak of him as suffering, though innocent ; punished for 
sin, though he was at the same time the Lamb of God, with« 
out spot or blemish; dealt with as guilty, though he had never 
contracted any guilt, and being made a sacrifice for sin, though 
sinless, which could not have been done consistently with the 
justice of God, had not our sins been placed to his account, or 
imputed to him. 

It is indeed a very difficult thing to convince some persons, 
how Christ could be charged with sin, or have sin imputed to 
him, in consistency with the sinless purity of his nature, which 
some think to be no better than a contradiction, though it ba 
agreeable to the scripture mode of speaking, viz. lie zuas made 
sin for us, and yet hierv no sin, 2 Cor, v. 21. HoM*ever, when, 
we speak of sin's being imputed to him, wc are far from in« 
i.inuating, that he committed any acts of sin ; or, that his hu- 
man nature was, in the least, inclined to, or defiled thereby ; 
we choose therefore to use the scripture phrase, in which he is 
said to have borne our sins, rather than to say, that he Was a 
sinner; much less would I give countenance to that expres- 
sion which some make use of, that he was the gi-eatest sinner 
in the world; -..ince I do not desire to apply a word to him, 
which is often taken in a sense not in the least applicable to the 
holy Jesus, We cannot be too cautious in our expressions, 
lest the most common sense in which we understand tlie great- 
t;st sinner, when applied to men, should give any one a M'rong 
idea of him, as though he had committed, or were defiled with 
♦ Sec Vul. II. page ,780— ::91 


sin. All that we assert is, that he was charged with our sins, 
when he suffered for them, not with having committed them; 
but with the guilt of them, which, by his own consent, was im- 
puted to him ; otherwise his sufferings could not have been a 
punishment for sin ; and if they had not been so, our sin could 
not have been expiated, nor would his sufferings have been the 
ground of our justification. This leads us to consider, 

4. The reference that Christ's suretyship-righteousness has 
to our justification. This is generally styled its being imputed; 
which is a word very much used by those who plead for the 
scripture-sense of the doctrine of justification, and as much op- 
posed by them that deny it ; and we are obliged to defend the 
yse of it; otherwise Christ's righteousness, how glorious so- 
ever It be in itself, would not avail for our justification. Here 
it is necessarv for us to explain what we mean by the imputa- 
tion of Chi-ist's righteousness. 

There are seme who oppose this doctrine, by calling it a pu- 
tative righteousness, the shadow or appearance of that which 
has in it no reality, or our being accounted what we are not, 
whereby a wrong judgment is passed on persons and things. 
However, we are not to deny it because it is thus misi^epre- 
stnted, and thereby unfairly opposed : it is certain, that there 
are such words used in scripture, and often applied to this 
doctrine, which, without any ambiguity or strain on the sense 
thereof, may be translated, to reckon, to account, or to place 
a thing done by another to our account; or, as we express 
it, to impute.* And that, either respects what is done by 
us ; or something done by another for us. The former of these 
senses our adversaries do not oppose ; as when it is said, that 
Phinehas executed judgment, and it xuas counted unto him for 
Righteousness^ Psal. cvi. 31. that is, it was approved by God as 
a righteous action ; which expression seems to obviate an ob= 
jection that some might make against it; supposing, that Phi- 
nehas herein did that which more properly belonged to the ci- 
vil magistrate ; or, tliat this judicial act in him, was done with- 
out a formal trial, and, it may be, too hastily; but God owns 
the action, and, in a way of approbation, places it to his account 
for righteousness, that it should be reckoned a righteous action 
throughout all generations. 

Again, sometimes that which is done by a person, is impu- 
ted to him, or charged upon him, so that he must answer for 
it, or suffer the punishment due to it : thus Shimei says to Da- 
vid, Let not nnj Lord impute iniqu'Jy tmto me, 2 Sam. xix. 19. 
that is, do not charge that sin, which I committed, upon me, 
fio as to put me to death for it, which thou mightest justly do. 
j^nd Stephen prays, Lord, laij not this sin to their charge. Acts 


vii. 60. impute it not to them, or inflict not the punishment on 
theai that it deserves. No one can deny that what is done by 
a person himself, may be placed to his own account ; so that 
he may be rewarded or punished tor it; or it may be approved 
or disapproved : but this is not the sense in which we under- 
stand it when speaking concerning the imputation of Christ's 
righteousness to us ; for this supposes that which is done by ano- 
ther, to be placed to our account. This is the main thing which 
is denied by those who have other sentiments of the doctrine 
we are maintaining ; and, they pretend, that for God to account 
Christ's righteousness ours, is to take a wrong estimate of 
things, to reckon that done by us which was not ; which is con- 
trary to the wisdom of God, who can, by no means, entertain 
any false ideas of things ; and if the action be reckoned ours, 
then the character of the person performing it, must also be 
applied to us ; which is to make us sharers in Christ's Media- 
torial office and gloiy* 

But this is the most perverse sense which can be put on 
words, or a setting this doctrine in such a light as no one takes 
it in, who pleads for it : we do not suppose, that God looks 
upon man with his all-seeing eye, as having done that which 
Christ did, or to sustain the character which belongs to him in 
doing it ; we are always reckoned, by him, as offenders, or con- 
tracting guilt, and unable to do any thing that can make an 
atonement for it. Therefore, what interest soever we have in 
what Christ did, it is not reputed our action ; but God's im- 
puting Christ's righteousness to us, is to be taken in a forensic 
sense, which is agreeable to the idea of a debt being paid by a 
surety : it is not supposed that the debtor paid the debt which 
the surety paid ; but yet it is placed to his account, or imputed 
to iiim as really as though he had paid it himself. Thus what 
Christ did and suffered in our room and stead, is as much pla- 
ced to our account, as though we had done and suffered it oui**- 
^elves ; so that by virtue hereof we are discharged from con- 
demnation, (r/) 

(a) " I am not witliout painful apprehension, said Peter to John, that the views 
of our friend James on some of the doctrines of the gospel, are unliuppih divert- 
ed from the truth. I suspect he does not believe in the proper imputation of sin 
to Christ, or of Christ's righteousness to us ; nor in his being our substitute, or 

John. Those are serious things ; but what are the grounds, brother Peter, on 
which your suspicions rest ? 

Peter. Partly \\ hat he has piiblished, which T rannot reconcile with those doc- 
trines ; and partly what he has said in my hearing, which I consider as an avowal 
of what I have stated. 

John. What say you to this, brother James ? 

Jamts. I cannot tell whether wiiat 1 have written or spoken accords with bro- 
ther Peter's ideas on these subjects : indeed I suspect it docs not : biit I never 
thought of culling either cx^.th': docti'ines in question. Were I to relinquish the 


This Is tlie sense in which we understand the imputation oi 
Christ's righteousness to us ; and it is agreeable to the account 
we have thereof in scripture : thus we are said to be made the 

one or the other, I should be at a loss for ground on M'hich to rest my salvation. 
What he si^ys of my avowing my disbelief of tliem in his hearing- must be a mis- 
understanding. I did say, 1 suspected that his vie-ws of imputation and substitu- 
tion were unscriptural ; but had no intention of diso'.vning the doctrines them- 

Peter. Brother James, I have no desire to assume any dominion over your 
faith ; but should be glad to know what are your ideas on these important sub- 
jects. Do Tou hold that sin was properly imputed to Christ, or tliat Christ's 
righteousne'ss is properly imputed to us, or not P 

James. You are quite at liberty, brother Peter, to ask me any questions on 
these subjects ; and if you will hear me patiently, I will answer you as explicitly 
Svs I aai able. 

John. Do so, brother James ; and we shall hear you not only patiently, but, I 
trust, uith pleasure. 

James. To impute,* signifies in general, to charje, recknv, ov place to accovnfi 
according to the different objects to which it is applied. Tliis word, hke many 
others, lias a. proper, and an imUroper or figur.itive me;uiing. 

First: It is applied to tlie charging; recko?mi°-, ov placivg to the account of per- 
sons and things, that which PRorEiii.Y BELoxas to thf.m. This I consider as its 
proper m< aning. In this sense the word is used in the following passages. " Eli 
thought sfee, (liann-nh,) had been drunken — Ifanan and Mattaniuh, the treasurers 
were cor/vi/fifnaichful — Let a man so account of us as the ministers of Christ, and 
stewards (.f the mj'stcries of God — Let such an one ^'2277,1- this, that such as we 
are in woixl by letters when v,e are absent, such will we be also indeed wlien we 
are presenl — I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to 
be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us."f Reckoning or ac- 
counting, in the above instances, is no other th.an ju.dging of persons and things 
according to what thcjj are, or appear to be. To impute sin in t'nis sense is to charge 
guilt upon the giiilty in a judicial way, or with a view to punishment. Thus Shi- 
mei besought David that his iniquity might not be imputed to him ; thus the man 
is pronounced blessed to whom the Lord imputelh not iniquitv : and thus Paul 
prayed that the .sin of those who deserted him might not be laid to their clicirge.% 

In this sense the term is ordinarily used in common life. To impute treason 
or Siny other crime to a man, is the same thing as charging him with having com- 
mitted it, and with a view to his being punished. 

Secondly : It is applied to the charging, rec/co7mig, or placing to the account of 
persons .ind ihings, that "which does not pnorEiiLT belo^jg to them, as thoitgh 
IT DID. This I consider as its improper or figurative meaning. In this sense the 
word is used in the following passages — " And this your heave-offering shall be 
reckoned wniri you as thougJi it vjere the corn of the threshing-Roor and as the ful- 
ness of tiie wine -press — Wherefore luLlest thou thy face, and holdcst me for thine 
enemy — If the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his 
uncircumcision be counted i'or circumcision — If he hath wronged thee, or oweth 
thee aught, /ij/< that on mine accovnt.'"^ 

It is in this latter sense that I understand the term v.'hcn applied to justiiica- 
tion. " Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for rigliteousness — 
To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his 
f:uth is counted for righteousness." The counting, or reckoning, in these instan- 
ces, is not a judging of things as they are ; but cs they are nnt, as though they 
•a-erc. 1 do not think that faith here means the righteousness of the Messiah : lor 
h is expressly called " believing." It means believing, however, not us a virtn* 

+ 1 Sam. i. 13. Neh. xiii. 13. 1 Cor. iv. 1. 2 Cor. x. 11. Rom. viii-t?. 

i 2 Sam. xi". 19. P-;. xxxii. 2. 2 Tim. iv. 16. 

4 Nuin. xvi'.i sr— 10, .febxiii-34, Rom. H. 2S. Fhilcin, IS, 

OP jusTincATio:^. &/ 

righteousness of God in livn^ 2 Cor. v. 21. the abstract being 
put for the concrete ; that is, we are denotninated and dealt 
with as righteous persons, acquitted and discharged IVom con- 

ous exercise of the mind which God consented to accept instead of perfect obe- 
dience, but as having respect lu the promised J\Tessiah, and so to his rii^hteousness 
as the ground of acceptance * Justification is ascribed to faith, as hcahng' fre- 
quently is in the New Testament; not as thai from which the virtue proceeds,, 
but as tiiat which receives from the Saviour's fulness. 

Ihit if it were allowed that faitli in these passages really means the object be- 
lieved in, still this was not Abraham's o-wn rij^hteousness, and could not be jn-o- 
perly counted by him who judgi.'s of things as they are, as being so. It was rec- 
koned unto i\im US if it -.vere iiis ; and the effects, or benefits of it were actually 
imparted to him : but this was all. Abraham did not become mcritorio\is, or 
cease to be vmworlhy. 

" What is it to place our righteousness in the obedience of Christ, (says Cal- 
vin,) but to affirm tliut hereby only we are fjcroun/er/ righteous ; because the obe- 
dience of Christ is imputed to us as if jt wjere ouu owx."[- 

It is thus also that 1 unfleretand the imputation of sin to Christ. He was ac- 
counted in the divine administration us if f^e -were, or had been the sinner, that 
those who believe in l»im might be accounted us if they were, or had been righ- 

Brethren, I have done. Whether my statement be just or not, I hope it will be 
allowed to be e.xplicit. 

John. I'hat it certainly is ; and we thank you. Have you any other questions, 
brother Peter, to ask upon the subject ? 

reter. How do you understand the apostle in 2 Cor. v. 21. He hath made him 
Utie sin for us, tvho knexu no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God 
in him ? 

James. Till lately I cannot say that I have thought closely upon it. I have un- 
derstood that several of ouf best writers consider the word u/A'xpru. (sin) as fre- 
quently meaning a sin-ojfering. Dr. Owen so interprets it in his answer to Bid- 
dle,t though it seems he afterwards changed his mind. Considering the opposi- 
tion between the sin which Christ was made, and the righteousness which we 
are made, together with the same v.-or(l lieing used for that which he was made, and 
that which he knew not, I am inclined to be of the doctor's lust opinion ; n.uuelv, 
that the sin which Christ was made, means sin it.self ; and the righteousness 
which we are made, means riqhteousness itself. I doubt not but that the allusion 
is to the sin-ottering under the law; but not to its being made a sacrifice. Let me 
be a little more particular. There were two things belonging to thesin-oflering. 
First : The imputation of the sins of the people, signified by the priest'.s lavliig- 
Iiis hands upjon the bend of the animal, and confessing over it their transgres- 
sions ; and v/hich is called " putting them upon it."§ That is, it was counted in 
the divine administration as if the a?iimnl hud been the sinner, and the only sin- 
ner of the nation. Secondly : Offering it in sacrifice, or " killing it before the Lord 
for an atonement."!) Now th^ phrase, made sin, in 2 Cor. v. 21. appears to refer 
to Xhefrnt step in this process in order to the last. It is expressive of what wivij 
preparatory to Christ's suffering death rather than of the thing itself, just as 
our being 7nade righteousness expresses what was preparatory to God's bestow- 
L-»g upon U:, elern:il lite. But the term made is not to be taken literally ; for that 
Woultl convey the idea of Christ's being really the subject of moral evil. It is ex 
pressive of adivnie constitution, by which our Redeemer wltii his own con.sent^ 
stood in the sinner's place, as thf.ugh he had bivn himself the transgressor ; just 
as the sin-oflrrltig under the law was, in mercy to Israel, reckoned or accounted 
to have the sir.s of the ])eople " put upon its head," with this diflerence; thai 
Was only a shadow, but this went really to take away sin. 

* Fxpositorv niscourses on Gen. xv. 1—6. .\ho Calvin's Inst, bk, iil. cli. xj 4 r. t InsJ, 
t*. in. ch. xl. j 2, 1 p. 410. ( Ucv. xri, a, H Ley. i. 4, ?, 

88 OF justification; 

demnation in the virtue of what was done by him, who is else- 
where styled, The Lord our righteousness ; and the apostle- 
speaks of his having Christ*s righteousness^ Phil. iii. 9. that is, 

Peter. Do you consider Christ as having been punished, really and properly 


James. I should think I do not. But what do you mean by punishment ? 

Peter. An innocent person may suffer, but, properly speaking, he cannot be 
ptinished. Punishment necessarily supposes criminality. 

James. Just so ; and therefore as 1 do not believe that Jesus was in any sense 
criminal, 1 cannot say he was really and properly punished. 

Peter. Punishment is the infliction of natural evil for the commission of moral 
evil. It is not necessary, however, that the latter should have been committed 
by the party — Criminality is supposed : but it may be either personal or imputed. 

James. This 1 cannot admit. Real and proper punishment, if I understand the 
terms, is not only the infliction of natural evil for the commission of moral evil; 
but the infliction of the one 7ipon the person who committed the other, and in dis- 
pleasure against him. It not only supposes criminality, but that the party punish- 
ed was literally the criminal. Criminality committed by one party, and imputed 
to another, is not a ground for real and proper punishment. If Paul had sustain- 
ed the punishment due to Onesimus for having wronged his ma.ster,yet it would 
not have been real and proper punishment to him, but suffering only, as not being 
inflicted in displeasure against him. I am aware of what has been said on this 
subject, that there was a more intimate miion between Christ and those for whom 
he died, thati could ever exist between creatures. But be it so, it is enough for 
me tl'.at the union was not such as that the actioxs of the one bf.came those of 
THE oTHKn. Christ, even in the act of offering himselfa sacrifice, when, to speak 
in the language of the Jewish law, the sins of the people were put or laid upoa 
him, gave himself nevertheless the just for the uxjtjst. 

Peter. And thus it is that you understand the words of Isaiah, The Lord hath 
laid on him the iniquity of us all? 

James. Yes, he bore the punishment due to our sins, or that which, consider- 
ing the dignity of his person, was equivalent to it. The phrase " He shall bear 
his inic^uity," which so frequently occurs in the Old Testament, means, he shall 
bear the punishment due to his iniquity. 

Peter. And yet you deny that Christ's sufferings were properly penal. 

James. You would not deny eternal life which is promised to believers to be 
properly a reward; but you would deny its being a real and proper reward to 


Peter. And wliat then ? 

James. If eternal life, though it be a reward, and we partake of it, }-et is really 
and properly the reward of Christ's obedience, and not our's ; then the suflerings 
of Christ, though they were a punishment, and he sustained it, yet were really 
and properly the punishment of our sins, and not his. What he bore was punish- 
ment : that is, it was the expression of divine displeasure against transgressors. 
So what we enjoy is reward : that is, it is the expression of God's well-pleased- 
ness in the obedience and death of his Son. But neither is the one a punishment 
to him, nor the other, properly speaking, a reward to us. 

'I'here appears to me great accuracy in the scriptural language on this sub- 
ject. What our Saviour underwent is almost always expressed by the term suf- 
fering. Once it is called a chastisemeJit : yet there he is not said to have been 
chastised; but " the chastisement of our peace was upon him." This is the same 
as saying he bore our punishment. He was made a curse for us : that is, having 
been reckoned, or accounted the sinner, as though he had actually been so, he 
was treated accordingly, as one that had deserved to be an outcast from heaven 
and earth. I believe the wrath of God that was due to us was poured upon him .- 
but I do not believe that God for one moment was angry or displeased with hin:^ 
or that he smote him from any such displeasure. 

There is a passage in Calvi)i's Institutes, which so fully expresses my mino'. 


having it imputed to him, oif having an interest in it, or being 
dealt with according to the tenor thereof; in this respect he op- 
poses it to that righteousness which was in him, as the result 

that r hope you will excuse nie if I read it. You will find it in Bk. ii. chap. xvi. 
§ 10, 11. " it behoved hini that he should, as it were, hand to hand, wrestle with 
" the armies of hell, and tiie horror of eternal death. The chastisement of our 
" peace was laid upon him. He was smitten of his Father for our crimes, and 
*' bruised for our iniquities : whereby is meant that he was put in the stead of the 
" wicked, as surety and pledge, yea, and as the very guilty person, himself, to 
" sustain and bear away all the puniyhments that should ha\e been laid upon 
" them, save only that he could not be holden of death. Yet do we not mean that 
" God was at any time either his enemy, or angry with him. For how could he 
" be angry with his beloved Son, upon whom his mind rested } Or how could 
" Christ by his intercession appease his Father's wrath towards others, if, fall of 
" hatred, he had been incensed against himself.'' But this is our meaning — that 
*' he sustained the weight of the divine displeasure ; inasm.uch as he, being 
" stricken and tormented by the hand of God, did feel ali, thh tokens or ooo 


Peter. The words of scripture are very express — He hath made Mm to be sixt 
for Mi— He was made a curse for us. — You may, by dilutmg and qualifying inter- 
pretations, soften what you consider as intolerable harshness. In other words, 
you may choose to correct the language and sCRtiments of inspiration, and teach 
the apostle to speak of his Lord with more decorum, lest his personal purity 
ahould be Impo.iched, and lest the odium of the cross, annexed by divine law, 
remain attaclied to his death : but if you abide by the obvious meaning of the 
passages, you must hold with a commutation of persons, the imputation ef sin and 
of righteousness, and a vicarious punishment, equally pregnant with execration 
as wiili d:;atli. 

Joh7i. 1 wisli brother Peter would forbear the use of language which tends not 
to convince, but to IrriLate. 

James. If there be any thing convincing in it, T confess I do not perceive it. f 
admit with xVIr. Chamoch, " That Christ was " made sin" as if he had sinned all 
the sins of men; and we are " made righteousness," as z/ we A<.i J not sinned at 
all." What more is necessary to abide by the obvious meaning of the words ^ To 
go further must be to maintain that Christ's being made sin means that he was 
literally rendered wicked, and that his being made a curse is the same thing as 
Ills being punished for it according to his deserts. Brother Peter, I am sure, does 
not believe this shocking position : but he seems to think there Is a medium be- 
tween his being treated as if he were a sinner, and his being one. If such a medi- 
Um there be, I should be glad to discover it s at pi-esent it appears to me to have 
no existence. i 

Brother Peter will not stispect me, I hope, of wishing to depreciate his judg- 
ment, when I say, that Ijc appears to me to be attached to certain terms without 
having sufficiently weighed their import. In most cases I should think it a pri- 
vilege to learn of him : but in some things I cannot agree with him. Jn order to 
maintain the real and proper punishment of Christ, he talks of his being " guilty 
by Imputation." The term guilly, I am awaie, Is often used by theological wri- 
ters for an obligation to punishment, and so ap]Dlics to that voluntar}' obligation 
which Christ came under to sustain the punishment of our sins : but strictly speak- 
ing, guilt is the desert of punishment ; and this can never apply but to the offen- 
der. It is the opposite of innocence. A vo'mntiu y obligation to endure the punisli- 
ment of another is not ^ilt, any more than a consequent exemption from obli- 
gation in the ofi'endcr. Is innocence. Both guilt and Innocence are transferable 
in their effects, but in themselves tliey are unlvansferable. To say that Christ 
was reckoned M counted in the divine administration as if he xvere the sinner, and 
came under an obligation to endure the curse or punishment due to oi;r sins, i.s 
one thing : but to say he deserved that curse, is another. Guilt, strictly speak- 
ing-, is the inseparable attendant gf Uansgi-ession, and could never therefsre for 

\ 01. III. M 

9'q or jusTincATio:-;. 

of his own performances ; and elsewhere Christ is said to be 
made of God unto us righteousness ; that is, his fulfilling the 
law is placed to our account; and the apostle speaks of Christ'^ 

one moment occupy the conscience of Christ. If Christ by imputation became 
«Vsfrvm^ of punishment, we by non-lmputation cease to deserve it ; and if our 
demerits be literally ti-atisferred to him, liis merits must of course be the same 
to 'tis : and then, instead of approachins^ God as guilty and mnvort/i^, we raiglit 
take consequeice to ourselves before him, as not only guiltless, but meritorious 

Peter. Some who profess to hold that believers are justified by the righteous- 
riess of Christ, deny, nevertheless, that his obedience itself is imputed to them : 
for they maintain that the scripture represents believers as receiving only the 
benejiti, or eflects of Christ's righteousness in justification, or their being par- 
doned and accepted for Christ's righteousness sake. — Hut it is not merely for the 
sake of Christ, or of what he has done, that believers are accepted of God, and 
treated as completely righteous ; but it is in him as their Head, Representative, 
and Substitute; and by the in>putation of that very obedience which as such he 
performed to the divine law, that tlicy are justified. 

James. I have no dunbt but that the imputation of Christ's righteousness pre- 
supposes a unmi witii him ; since there is no perceivable fitness in bestowing bene- 
fits on one for another s sake where there is no union or relation subsisting be» 
tween them. It is not such a imion, however, as that tuk actions of kithek be- 
come THOSE OF THE OTHER. That " the scriptures represent believers as receiving 
only the benefits or the effects of Christ's righteousness in justification," is a re- 
mark of which I am not able to perceive the fallacy : nor does it follow that his 
obedience itself is not imputed to them. Obedience itself may be and is imputed, 
while its eflects only are imlmrted, and consequently received- I never met with 
a person wlio held the absurd notion of imputed benefits, or imputed punish- 
ments; and am inclined to think tliere never was such a person. lie that how- 
ever as it may, siii on the one hand and righteousness on the other, are tlie pro- 
per objects of imputation ; but that imputation consi.sts in charging or reckon- 
ing them to the account of the party in such a way as to impart to him their evil 
or beneficial effects. 

Petei: The doctrine for which I contend as taught by the apostle Paul, is nei- 
ther novel, nor more strongly expressed than it has tornjerly been by authors of 

Jame.^. It may be so. We have been told of an old protestant writer who says, 
that " In Clirl.^t, and by him, every true Christian may be called afulfiUer of the 
lati) -" but I .see not why he might not as well have added, Every true Christian 
may be said to iiave been slain, and, if not to have redeemed himself by bis own 
blood, yet to he wortliy of all that blessing, and honour, and glory, that shall be 
conferred upon him in the world to come. — What do you think of Dr. Cnisp's 
Sermons } Has lie not carried your principles to :\n extreme,'' 

Peter. I cordially agree with Witsius, as to the nnjiropriety of calling Clirist 
a sinner, trti'y u sinner, tlie greatest of sinners, &.C. yet 1 aniiifar from disappro- 
ving of what Ur. Ciasr, and some others, meimt by those exceptionable exprcs- 

James. If a Christian may be called afulfiUer of the la-iU, on account of Christ's 
obedience being imputed to him, I see not why Christ may not be called « trans- 
gressor of the laio, on account of our disobedience bi:ing imputed to him. Per- 
.sons and things shuidd be calif d tuhat they are. As to the meai\ing of Dr. Crisp, 
I am very willing to think he had no ill design r but my concern is with the mean- 
ing which his words convey to his readers. He con.iiders God in charging our 
sins on CIn-ist, and arcountiiig his righteousness, to us, as reckoning of things a-: 
they are. (p. 2b0.) He contends that Christ was realij the sinner, or guilt could 
not have been laid upon him. (p. 272.) Imputation of sin and righteousness, wit}>. 
hi'm, is literall} and actualiy a tiiaxskjih of c!.h.«a; rr.n; and it is llie object of 
las reasonivif;; la pertu-ade iiit. l:reUcving heta-cis tl:;it h\>x\x henceforward Christ-is 


fiein^g" the end of the laxv for rii:^hteousJicss to rvcry one that be- 
lieveth^ Kom. x. 4. which is the snme Mith what he asserts in 
other words elsewhere concerning the righteousness of the hiiv's 

the sinner, and not they. " Husl tiioa been an idolater, sjivs he ; a bl:i.spiieii:cr, a 
" despisor of (iotl's woJ'd, a profaner ot liis name and ordinances, a th^ef, a liar, 
" a drunkard — If thou J)Hst pai't in Christ, all thcue tranmrregsiovx of tldne become 
" actuallij the trang^rem-ions of Clirist, and eo cease to lie ihiite ; ojid thou ceasett to 
" be a transgressor from the time they were laid upon Christ, tu the last hour of thy 
" life- so tliat now thou art not an idohiier, a persecutor, a thief, a liar, &c. — 
" thou art not a sinful person. Iteckon whatever sin you commit, wlien as you 
" have part in (>hrist, you are all that Christ was, and Clirist is all that vou 
♦' wci-e." 

If the »»fomV/^of this passac^e be true and good, I see nothing" exceptionable 'u\ 
the eipressions. All that can be said is, that tiie writer explicivly states his prin- 
ciple and avows its legitimnte consequences. 1 believe the principle to be false. — 
(1.) Because neither sin nor rightefiusiiess are i/j themselx<es transferable. The 
act and deed of one person may affect another in many ways, but cannot j)ossibly 
become his act and deed. — (2.) Because the scriptures uniformly declare Christ 
to be sinless, and believers to be sinful creatures. — (3.) Because believers them- 
selves have in ail ages confessed their sins, and applied to the mercy-seat for /or - 
^iveness. Tliey never plead such an union as shall render their sins not theirs, 
hut Christ's ; but merely such a one as allurds ground to apply for pardon in his 
narae, or for his sake ; not as worthy claimants, but as imvi orthy supplicants. 

Whatever reasonings we may give into, there are certain times in which con- 
*c/>7»ce.will bear witness, that notwithstanding tlie imputation of our sins to 
Christ, 7ue are actually the sinners ; and 1 should have thought no good man 
»:ould have gravely gone about to overturn its testimony. Yet this is what Dr. 
Crisp has done. " Helievers think, says lie, that they find their transgressions iu 
" their own consciences, and they imagine tiiat there is a sting of this poison stili 
'• behind, wounding them : but, beloved, if this principle be received for a truth, 
*' that God hath laid thy iniquities oii (Jlirist, how can thy transgressions, bc- 
" longing to Christ, be found in thy heart and conscience ? — Is thv conscience 
•^Christ'?" p. 269. 

Perhaps no man lias gone further tlian Dr. Crisp in his attempts at consisten- 
cy; and admitting his principle, that imputation consists in a transfer of charac- 
ter, I do not see who can dispute his conclusions. To have been perfectly con- 
t-istent, however, he should have proved that all the confessions and lamentations 
of believers, recorded in scripture, aro.se from their being under the mistake 
which he labours to rectify ; tliat is, thinking sin did not cease to be theirs, even 
when under the fullest persuasion tli;it the l^ord would not imjiute it to them, 
but would graciously cover it by the righteousness of his Son. 

Jolin. I think, brother I'etei", you expressed at the beginning of our conver- 
.sation, a strong suspicion that brother James denied the substitution of Christ, as 
well as the proper imputation of sin and righteousness. AVhat has passed or. the 
latter subject would probably tend either to confirm or remove your suspicions 
respecting the fiirmer. 

Petev. I confess I was mistaken in some of my suspicions. I consider our friend 
IS a good man ; but am far from being satisfied with what I still understand to 
be iiis views on this important subject. 

John. It gives me great pleasure to hear the honest concessions of brethren, 
\ihen they feel tiiemselves in any measure to have gone too far, 

Peter. I shall be glad to hear brother James's statement on substitution, and 
'o know whether he considers our Lord in his undertaking as having sustained 
tJie character of a Head, or Representative ; and if so, whether the persons for 
whom he was a substitute were the elect only, or mankiml in general. 

James. I must acknowledge that on this subject I feel considei'ably at a loss, 
I bay? no consciousness of having ever c;dled the doctrine of substitution in 
c'.iestion. Oti the contrary, my hope of salvation rests upon .<1 ; and the suia of 


being fulfilled in vs. chap. viii. 5, 4. who could not be juslified 
by our own obedience to it, in that it was weak through the 
fiesh^ or by reason of our fallen state ; therefore Christ did this 

'■■"--- ' - ■ — = :^ 

my deliglii^, as a minister of the gospel, consists in it. li' I know any thing of my 
own heart, I can say of my Saviour as laying down his life for, or instead of sin- 
ners, as was said of Jerusalem b3the captives — If I forget thee, let mii right hand 
forget : Jf I do not remember thee, let mj tovgue cleave to the roof of iry mouth I 

I have" always considered the denial of this doctrine as being of the essence of 
Socinianism. I could not have imagined that any person whose hope of accep- 
tance'with God rests not on any goodness in himself^ but entirely on the righ- 
teousness of Christ, imputed to him as if it -were his oton, would have been ac- 
counted to disown liis substitution. But perhaps, my dear brother, (for such I 
feel him to be, notwithstanding our differences,) may include in his ideas of this 
subject, that Christ was so our head and representative, as that what he did and 
suffered, we did and suffered in him. — If no more were meant by this, resumed 
James> than that what he did and suffered is graciously accepted on our behalf 
as if it were ours, I ireel}', as I have said before, acquiesce in it. But I do not be- 
lieve, and can hardly persuade myself that brother Peter believes, the obedience 
and sufferings of Christ to be so ours, as that we can properly be said to have 
obeyed and suffered. 

Christ was and is our head, and we are his members : the union between him 
and us, however, is not in all respects the same as that which is between the 
bead and the members of the natural body : for that would go to explain away 
all distinct consciousness and accountableness on our part. 

As to the term representative, if no more be meant by it than that Christ so 
personated us as to die in our stead, that we, believing in him, should not die, I 
have nothing to object to it. But I do not believe that Christ was so our repre- 
sentative, as that what he did and suffered, we did and suffered ; and so became 
meritorious, or deserving- of the divine favour. — But I feel myself in a wide field, 
and must entreat your indulgence while I take up so much of the conversation. 

Peter and John. Go on, and state your sentiments witliout apology. 

James. I apprehend then that many important mistake? have arisen from con- 
sidering the interposition of Christ under the notion oi paying a debt. The blood 
of Christ is indeed X\\t price of our redemption, or that for the sake of which we 
are delivered from the curse of the law : but this metaphorical language, as well 
as that oi'head and members, may be carried too far, and may lead us into many 
errors. In cases of debt and credit among men, where a surety undertakes to 
represent the debtor, from the moment his undertaking is accepted, the debtor 
is free, and may claim his liberty, not as a matter of favour, at least on the part 
of the creditor, but of strict justice. Or should the undertaking be unknown to 
him for a time, yet as soon as he knows it, he may demand his discharge, and, 
it may be, think himself hardly treated by being kept in bondage so long after 
his debt had been actually paid. But who in their sober senses will imagine this 
to be analagous to the redemption of sinners by Jesus Christ ? Sin is a debt only 
in a metaphorical sense : properly speaking, it is a crime, and satisfaction for it 
requires to be made, not on pecuniary, Ijut on moral principles. If Philemon had 
accepted of that part of Paul's offer which respected property, and liad placed 
so much to his account as he considered Onesimus to have " owed" him, he 
could not have been said to have remitted his debt ; nor would Onesimus have 
Jiad to thank him for remitting it. But it is supposed of Onesimus tliat he might 
not only be in debt to his master, but have " wronged" him. Perhaps he had 
embezzled his goods, corrupted his cliildrcn, or injured his chaj-acter. Now for 
Philemon to accept of thnt part of the offer, were very different from the other. 
In the one case he would have accepted of a pecuniary representative; hi the 
other of a moral one ; tli.-it is, of a mediator. The satisfaction in the one case 
would annihdate the idea of remission; but not in the other. Whatever satisfac- 
t;cn Paul might ghe to Pliilcnion respecting' the wound infiicted upon bis cha- 


for US ; and according!}' God deals with us as though we had 
fulfilled the law in our own persons, inasmuch as it was ful- 
filled by him as our surety. 

racier and honour as the head of a family, it would not supersede the necessity 
of pardon being sought by the offender, and freely bestowed by the offended. 

The reason of this difterence is easily perceived. Debts are transferable; but 
crimes are not. A third person may cancel the one ; but he can only obliterate 
the e/fefcis of the other ; the t/e.scri of the criminal remains. The debtor is ac- 
i.ountable to his creditor aa a p'-ivate individual, who has power to accept of a 
surety, or if he please, to remit the whole, without any satisfaction. In the one 
case he woidd be just ; in tl^e other merciful : but no place is aFforded by either 
of them for the combination of justice and mercy in the same, proceeding'. The 
criminal, on the other hand, is amenable to the magistrate, or to the head of a 
family, as a public person, and who, especially if the offence be capital, cannot 
remit the punishment without invading law and justice, nor in the ordinary dis- 
charge of his office, admit of a third per.son to stand in liis place. In extraordi- 
nary cases, hcAvever, extraordinary expedients are resorted to. A satisfaction 
may be made to law and justice, as to the spirit of them, while the letter is dis- 
pensed with. The well known story of Zaleucus, the (irecian law-giver, who 
consented to lose one of his eyes to spare one of his son's eyes, who by trans- 
gressing the law had subjected himself to the loss of both, is an example. Here, 
as far as it wcni, justice and mercy -tvere combined in the same act: and had the 
satisfaction been much fuller than it was, so full that the authority of the law, 
instead of being weakened, should have been abundantly magn,ified and honoiiJ'- 
ed, still it had been perfectly consistent with free forgiveness. 

Finally : In the case of iJie debtor, satisfaction being once accepted, justice 
requires his complete discharge : but in that of the criminal, where satisfaction 
is made to the wounded honour of the law, arid the authority of the lawgiver, 
justice, though it adnuts of his discharge, yet no otlierwise requires it than as it 
may have been matter ofpromi.se to the substitute. 

I do not mean to say that cases of tliis sort afford a competent representation, 
of redemption by Christ. Tliat is a work which not only ranks with extraondi- 
narj- interpositions, but which has no parallel : it is a work of God, which leaves 
all the petty concerns of mortals infinitely behind it. All that compari.sons can 
do, is to give us some idea oi Xht principle on which it proceeds. 

If the following passage in our admired .Wii/^o?! were considered as the lan- 
guage of the law of innocence, it would be inaccurate — 

Rfan disobeying. 

He with his whole posterity must die ■ 
Die he, or justice must; unless for him 
Some other able, and as willing, pay 
The rigid satisfaction, death for death." 

Abstractedly considered, this is true ; but it is not expressive of what was the 
revealed law of innocence. The law made no such condition, or provision; nor 
was it indifferent to the law-giver who should suffer, the sinner, or another on 
his behalf The language of the law to the transgressor was not thou shall die, 
'jr tome one on thy behalf; but simply thou shalt die ■■ and had it literally taken its 
course, every ciiild of man must have perished. The sufferings of Christ in our 
stead, thercibre, :'.re not a punishment inflicted in the ordinary course of distri- 
butive justice ; but an extraordinary interposition of infinite wisdom and love : 
not contrary to, but rather above the law, deviating from the letter, but moi-e 
than presening the spirit of it. Such, brethren, as well as I am able to explain 
ihem, are my views of the substitution of Christ 

Peter. The objection of our so stating the substitution of Christ, as to leave 
nil room for t.h'.' fi>.p pardon of sin, has been often made by those who avowedly 


This may farther be illustrated, by what we generally un- 
derstand by Adam's sin being imputed to us, as one contrary 
may illustrate another ; therefore, as sin and death entered in- 
to the world by the offence of one ^ to wit, the first Adam, in 
■whom all have sinned ; so by the righteousness of one the free 
gift^ Rom. V. 18. that is, eternal life cayne upon all 7ne?i, to wit^ 
those who shall be saved imto justifcatioii of life ; and fortius 
reason the apostle speaks of Adam as the figure of him that 
Tvas to come^ ver. 14. Now as Adam's sin was imputed to us, 
as our public head and representative, so that we are involved 
in the guilt thereof, or fall in him; so Christ's righteousness 
is imputed to us, as he was our public head and surety : and 
accordingly, in the eye of the law, that which was done by 
him, was the same as though it had been done by us ; and 
therefore, as the effect and consequence hereof, we are justi- 
fied thereby. This is what we call Christ's righteousness being 
imputed to us, or placed to our account ; and it is ver}^ agree- 
able to the common acceptation of the word, in dealings be- 
tween man and man. When one has contracted a debt, and de- 
sires that it may be placed to the account of his surety, who 
undertakes for the payment of it, it is said to be imputed to 
him ; and his discharge hereupon is as valid as though the 
debtor has paid it in his own person. This leads us, 

VI. To consider justification as it is an act of God's free 
grace, which is particularly insisted on in one of the answers 
we are explaining; for the understanding of which, let it be 
observed, that we are not to suppose, that when we are justi- 
fied by an act of grace, this is opposed to our being justified 
upon the account of a full satisfaction made by our surety to 
the justice of God : in which respect we consider our discharge 
from condemnation, as an act of justice. The debtor is, indeed, 
beholden to the grace of God for this privilege, but the surety 
that paid the debt, had not the least abatement thereof made, 
but was obliged to glorify the justice of God to the utmost, 
which accordingly he did. However, there are several things 
in which the grace of God is eminently displayed, more par- 

1. In that God should be willing to accept of satisfaction 
from the hands of our surety, which he might have demanded 
of us. This appears from what has been before observed, name- 
"^ — ■ ,,.... . I . — 

reject his satlsfiictioa; but for any who really consider his death as an atone- 
ment for sin, and as essential to the ground of a sinner's hope, to employ the ob- 
jection against us, is very extraordinaiy, and must, I presume, proceed from in- 

James. If it be so, I do not perceive it. The grounds of the objection have 
been stated as clearly and as fully as I am able to state them." 



Iv, that the debt which we had contracted was not of the same 
nature with pecuniary debts, in which case the creditor is obH- 
ged to accept of payment, though the overture hereof be made 
by another, and not by him that contracted the debt : whereas 
the case is different in debts of obedience to be performed, or 
punishment to be enduixd ; in which instances, he, to whom 
satisfaction is to be given, must accept of one to be substituted 
in the room of him from whom the obedience or sufferings 
wei-e originally due ; otherwise, the overture made, or what is 
done and suffered by him, pursuant thereunto, is not regarded, 
or available to procure a discharge for him, in whose room he 
substituted himself. God might have exacted the debt of us, in 
our own persons, and then our condition had been equally mise- 
rable with that of fallen angels, for whom no mediator was ac- 
cepted, no more than provided. 

2. The grace of God farther appears, in that he provided a. 
surety for us, which we could not have done for ourselves ; nor 
have engaged him to perform this work for us, who was the 
only person that could bring about the great work of redemp- 

The only creatures who are capable of performing perfect 
obedience, are the holy angels ; but these could not do it, for, 
as has been before observed, whoever performs it must be in- 
carnate, that they may be capable of paying the debt, in some 
respects, in kind, wiiich was due from us ; therefore they must 
suffer death, and consequently have a nature which is capable 
©f dying ; but this the angels had not, nor could have, but by 
the divine will. 

Besides, if God should have dispensed with that part of sa- 
tisfaction, which consists in a subjection to death, and have de- 
clared, that active obedience should be sufficient to procure our 
justification ; the angels, though capable of performing active 
ttbedience, would, notwithstanding, have been defective there- 
in ; so that justice could not, in honour, have accepted of it, any 
more than it could have dispensed with the obligation to per- 
form obedience in general ; because it would not have been of 
infinite value ; and it is the value of things that justice regards, 
and not barely the matter of perfection thereof in other re- 
spects : so that it must be an obedience that had in it some- 
thing infinitely valuable, or else it could not have been accepted 
by God, as a price of redemption, in order to the procuring' 
our justification : and this could be performed by none but our 
Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious author and procurer of this 

It was impossible for man to have found out this IVIediator 
or Surety ; so that it had its first rise from God, and not from 
•IS ; it is he that fpund a ransom, and laid help upon one that 

96 PI- jysTiric.AiiO:s., 

is miglity ; this was the result of his will : therefore oar Sa- 
viour is represented as saying, Lo I come to do thy willy Heb. 
i. 7. as the apostle expresses it. That we could not, by any 
means, have found out this surety, or engaged him to have done 
that for us which was necessary for our justification, will evi- 
dently appear, if we consider, 

(1.) That when man fell, the Son of God was not incarnate j 
and provided we allow that fallen man had some idea of a 
Trinity of persons, in the unity of the divine Essence, (which 
is not unreasonable to suppose ; since it was necessary that that 
should be revealed to him before he fell, in order to his per- 
forming acceptable worship ; yet, can any one suppose that man; 
could have asked such a favour of a divine person, as to take 
his nature, and put himself in his room and stead, and expose 
himself to the curse of that law which he had violated; this 
could never hare entered into his heart ; yea, the very thought^ 
if it had taken its rise first from him, would have savoured of 
more presumption than had he entreated that God would par- 
don his sin without a satisfaction. But, 

(2.) If he had supposed it impossible for the Son of God to 
be incarnate, or had conjectured that there had been the least 
probability of his being willing* to express this instance of con- 
descending goodness, how could he have known that God 
would have accepted the payment of our debt, at the hands of 
another, or have commended his love to us, who were such 
enemies to him, in not sparing him, but delivering him up for 
us ? if God's accepting of a satisfaction be necessary, in ordet 
to its taking eflfect, as well as the perfection or infinite value 
of it ; it is certain, man could not have known that he would 
have done it; for that was a matter of pm-e revelation. More^ 

(3.) Should we suppose even this possible, or that man might 
have expected that God would have been moved to have done 
it by intreaty ; yet such was the corruption, perverseness, and 
rebellion of his nature, as fallen ; and so great was his inability 
to perform any act of worship, that he could not have addressed 
himself to God, in a right manner, that he would admit of a 
surety ; and God cannot hear any prayer but that which is put 
up to him by faith, which supposes a Mediator, whose pur- 
chase and gift it is ; and therefore, since the sinful creature 
could not plead with God by faith, that he would send his Son 
to be a Pvlediator, how could he hope to obtain this^blessing ? 
it therefore evidently follows, that as a man could not give sa- 
tisfaction for himself J so he could not find out any one that 
could or would give it for him. And therefore, the grace ot 
God, in the provision that he has made of such a surety as his 
own Son, unasked for, unthought of. as well as undeserved, is 
verv illustrioup. 


3. It was a very great instance of grace in our Saviour, that 
he was, pleased to consent to perform this work for us, without 
whiCii ihe justice of God could not have exacted the debt of 
him ; aud he being perfectly inaocinit, could not be obliged to 
suffer, punishment, which it would have been unjust in God to 
have uiflicted, had he not been willing to be charged with our 
guilt, and to stand in our room and stead. And his grace here- 
in more eminently appears, in that diough he knew before-hand 
all the difficulties, sorrows, and temptations, which he was to 
meet with in the discharge of this work ; yet this did not dis- 
courage him from undertaking it ; neither was he unapprised 
of the character of those for whom he undertook it : he knew 
the rebellion, and guilt contracted thereby, that rendered this 
necessary, in order to their salvation; and he knew before-hand, 
that they would, notwithstanding all the engagements he might 
lay on them to the contrary, discover the greatest ingratitude 
towards him ; and, instead of improving so great an instance 
of condescending goodness, that they would neglect this great 
salvation, when purchased by him, and thereby appear to be his 
greatest enemies, notwithstanding this act of friendship to them, 
unless he not only engaged to purchase redemption for, but 
apply it to them, and \\ork those graces in them whereby they 
might be enabled to give him the glory which is due to hini 
for this great undertaking. And this leads us, 

VII. To consider the use of faith in justification, and how, 
notwithstanding what has been said concerning our being jus- 
tified bv Christ's righteousness, we may, in other respects, be 
said to be justified by faith; and also shew what this faith is, 
whereby we are justified : which being particularly insisted on 
in the two following answers, we shall proceed to consider 

Quest. LXXII. JFhat is justifying- Faith ? 

Answ. Justifying faith is a saving grace, wrought in the heart 
of a sinner, by the Spirit and word of God ; whereby he, 
being convinced of his sin and miser}', and of the disability 
in himself, and all other creatures, to recover him out of his 
lost condition, not only assenteth to the truth of the promise 
of the gospel, but receivcth and resteth upon Christ and his 
righteousness therein held forth, for pardon of sin, and for 
the accepting and accounting of his person, righteous in the 
sight of God for salvation. 

Quest. LXXIII. Hozv doth faith justifu a sinner in the sight 
of God P 
Vol. III. N 


^^Nsw. Faith justifies a sinner in the sight of God ; not because 
of those graces which do always accompany it, or of those 
good works that are the fruits of it ; nor as if the grace of 
faith, or any act thereof, were imputed to him for justifica- 
tion ; but only as it is an instrument, by which he receiveth 
and applieth Christ and his righteousness. 

"E choose first to speak to the latter of these two answers, 
in which faith is considered as that whereby a sinner 
js justified, before the former of them, inasmuch as it seems 
better connected with what has been before insisted on, in ex- 
plaining the doctrine of justification. And in considering the 
account we have of justifying faith, there are two things, which 
may be taken notice of, in this answer. 

I. It is observed, that though there are other graces which 
always accompany faith and good works, that flow from it ; 
yet none of these are said to justify a sinner in the sight of 

II. How faith justifies, or v/hat it is to be justified by 
faith, (a) 

. . .J- 

(fl) That faith is a holy duty is evident, because it never obtains, except where 
the bent, or bias of the mind has been changed by the Holy Spirit ; yet it is hke 
jvll the other works ot" man, imperfect, and miglit be stronger. That it is ne- 
cessary in every action is clear, for whatsoever is not of faith is sin; both because 
it is the work of an enemy, and because it cannot be accepted, having no refer- 
ence to Christ. Faith is always accompanied by other holy traits of character, 
as repentance, love, patience, humility, and the like. The reason of which is evi- 
dent; for faith is an act of the renewed man, and all the ©ther graces must ac- 
company. But it is even less holy than love; " now abideth faith, hope, charity, 
(love) — the greatest of these is charity." It is incapable of procuring by its 
righteousness our j ustification, because Imperfect. If it v/ere the holiness of the 
duty of faith, which jutitifies the man before God, we should read of a justifica- 
tion by love, patience, humility, or holiness in general. No such declaration oc- 
curs in the scriptures, but the reverse; " for by the deeds of the law shall no flesh 
be justified," which is manifestly spoken not merely of the corporal energy, but 
of the action taken with the intention. 

If the righteousness of the duty of faith justifies, there could be no propriety 
in saying that we are "justified by Clirist," or his righteousness; there would 
iiave been no need of a Savloui-, and all the sacrifices of former days were useless. 

If we are to depend upon the righteousness of our believing for our justifica- 
tion, the believing in Clirist will be of no importance, because Christ is then not 
our Saviour ; in proportion as our hopes are founded upon our own holiness, they 
are withdrawn irom Christ. — This will also destroy the righteousness of faith, 
for if it be useless there can be no holiness in believing. 

If the holiness consist not in the act of believing, but in the disposition of the 
believer, and if it is for this, that he is justified ; salvation is then a debt, not 
grace ; we have whereof to boast ; we are justified by the deeds of the law ; the 
offence of the cross has ceased ; and Arians, Socinians, Unitarians, and Deists aie 
seeking justification also in the same way. 

That repentance, and holiness are necessary to salvaimi is true, because every 
man who is justified is also s.inctined ; and that faith, considered as a holy du'iv, 
35 necessary in the jane raanaer, is ecj^ualiy true ; but f;uih is sJao usefcU ia our 


1. That though there are other graces which ahvays accom- 
pany faith, and good works that flow from it ; yet none of thefee 
are said to justify a sinner in the sight of God. There is an 
inseparable connexion between faith, and all other graces ; 
which, though it be distinguished, is never separate from them. 
They are all considered as fruits of the Spirit^ Gal. v. 22, 23. 
thus the apostle reckons up several other graces that are con- 
nected with faith, and proceed from the same Spirit, such as 
Jove, peace, joi/^ loTig-suffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, 
temperance : and the same apostle commends the church at 
Thessalonica for their work of faith ; and considers this as con- 
nected with a labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord 
Jesus Christ, 1 Thess. i. 3. And the apostle Peter exhorts 
the church, to v/hich he writes, to add to their faith virtue, and 
to virtue knowledge, to knowledge temperance, to temperance 
patience, to patience godliness, to godliness brotherly ki7idness^ 
and to brothcrhj kindness charity, 2 Pet. i. 5, 6, 7. which sup- 
poses that all these graces ought to be connected together. And 
the apostle James calls it a dead faith, James ii. 17. which has 
not other works or graces joined with it ; and, indeed, these 
graces are not only connected with it, but flow from it, or are 
the fruits thereof: thus -we rend oi the hearths being purified by 
faith. Acts XV. 9. that is, this grace, when acted in a right 
manner, will have a tendency, in some degree, to purge the 
soul from that moral impurity, which proceeds out of the heart 
of man, and is inconsistent with saving faith: and elsewhere 
we read oi' faith as working by love. Gal. v. 6. that is, excit- 
ing those acts of love, both to God and man, which contain a 
summary of practical religion. It is also said to overcome the 
Tuorld, 1 John v. 4. and it enables Christians to do or suff'er 
great things for Christ's sake, of which the apostle gives vari- 
ous instances in the Old Testament saints, Hcb. xi. But, not- 
withstanding the connexion of other graces with faith, and 
those works which flow from it, we are never said, in scrip- 
ture, to be justified thereby; not by love to God; nor by any 
act of obedience to him, which can be called no other than 
works: whereas, when the apostle speaks of our justification 
by faith, he puts it in opposition to works, when he says, that 

JusU/ication, and in a manner, in which, it does not appear, that repentance and 
holiness can be. 

To say thai they are conditions of salvation is to speak p.mbl;;nously; that >ve 
cannot be saved without them, is as certain as that we cannot be justified, with- 
out beinij also sanctified ; but to say, that by performing them a title to happi- 
ness is vested in us, is to rob Christ of his g-lory, and to pvit the crown on man's 
head. Besides, the condition of holiness is not accomplished till death, and as the 
rnndition of our justification is not performed till then, we are never justified in 
]iR', whrh is Dlninlv contrarv to th^? scriotures 


a man is justijied by faith., without the deeds of the law, Rom* 
ii. 28. / 

Object. To this it is objected, that the apostle here speaks 
concerning the ceremonial law, which he excludes from being 
the matter of our justification, and not the moral law, or any 
evangelical duty, such as love and sincere obedience, which, 
together with faith is the matter of our justification. 

Answ, To this it may be replied, That when the apostle 
speaks of our justification by faith, without the deeds of the 
law, he does not hereby intend the ceremonial law ', for those 
whom he describes as justified persons, are said to be, in a fol- 
lowing verse, not only Jews, but Gentiles, that were converted 
to the Christian faith ; the former, indeed, were under a tempta- 
tion to seek to be justified by the ceremonial Taw, and so to 
conclude that thej'^ had a right to eternal life> because of their 
being distinguished from the world, by the external privileges 
of the covenant which they were under, many of which were 
contained in, or signified by that law: but the Gentiles had no- 
thing to do with it, and therefore never expected to be justifi- 
ed by the ceremonial law ; accordinglv, when the apostle speaks 
of justification by faith without the deeds of the law, he can- 
not hereby be supposed to intend the ceremonial law. And if 
we look a little farther into the context, we shall find, by his 
method of reasoning, that he excludes all works in general, and 
oppos';s faith to them; for he argues, that we are justified in 
such a way, as tends to exclude boasting; but he that insists 
on any works performed by himself, as the matter of his jus- 
tification, cannot do this any otherwise than in a boasting way, 
valuing himself, and founding his right to eternal life, upon 
them. We are not therefore justified by them, but by faith ; 
that is, we are justified in such a way as that, while we lay 
claim to the greatest privileges from Christ, we are disposed 
to give him all the glory, or to renounce our own righteousness 
at the same time rhat we have recourse to his righteousness for 
justification, by faith. 

But that it may farther appear, that our justification by faith, 
is opposed to justification by works, either those that accom- 
pany or flow from it, we may apply what has been before sug- 
gested^ in considering the matter of our justification to this 
argument. If w^i consider the demands of justice, or what it 
may in honour reckon a sufiicient compensation for the dis- 
honour that has been brought to the divine name by sin, or 
what may be deemed a satisfactory payment of the outstanding 
debt of perfect obedience, which was due from us, or punish- 
ment, which we were liable to, according to the sanction of the 
divine law ; we may easily infer, that no obedience, perform- 
ed by us, though including iii it the utmost perfection, that a 


fallen creature Is capable of attaining, is a sufficient satisfac- 
tion; and if there can be no justification without satisfaction, 
then we cannot be justified thereby. Therefore it is a vaiii 
thing for persons to distinguish in this case, between works 
done before and after fuith, as though the former only were 
excluded from being the matter of our justification; or to say, 
as some do, that we are not indeed justified by obedience to 
the moral law, but by our obeying the precepts which our Sa- 
viour has laid down in the gospel, such as faith, and repent- 
ance, Wc, which they call obedience to the gospel as a new 
law : but let it be considered, that these evangelical duties are 
supposed to be performed as the result of a divine command, 
which has the formal nature of a law, whether they be con- 
tained in the moral law or no ; therefore, when we are justifi- 
ed by faith in opposition to the works of the law, this must be 
opposed to obedience of any kind performed by us. 

And this also appears from the nature of faith, to which jus- 
tification, by the works of the law, is opposed ; for faith is a 
soul-humbling grace, and includes in it a renouncing of all 
merit, or inducement taken from ourselves, as a reason why- 
God should bestow on us the blessings we stand in need of 5 
it trusts in Christ for righteousness, and in him alone, and 
therefore turns itself from any thing that may have the least 
tendency to eclipse his glory, as the only foundation of our jus- 
tification: therefore, when we are said to be justified by faith, 
and not by the works of the law, the meaning is, we are jus- 
tified in such a way as tends to set the crown upon Christ's 
head, acknowledging him to be the only fountain from whence 
this privilege is derived. 

It follows from hence that our justification cannot be found- 
ed on our repentance ; though this is often maintained by those 
who are on the other side of the question, who suppose, that 
justification contains in it nothing else but forgiveness of sin j 
and if oflTences are to be forgiven by men, upon their repen- 
tance, or confessing their fault, then forgiveness may be ex- 
pected from God, on our repentance : and some use a very un- 
savoury way of speaking, when they say, that our tears have a 
virtue to wash away our sins ; and that they may give farther 
countenance to this opinion, they refer to that scripture, in 
■which it is said. Repent^ that ijour sins may be blotted out^ Acts 
iti. 19. and others of the like nature; by which we are not to 
suppose, that the apostle means, that forgiveness of sin is found- 
ed on our repentance, as the matter of our justification in the 
sight of God ; but that there is an inseparable connexion be- 
tween our claim to forgiveness of sin, (together with all the 
fruits and effects of the death of Christ, whereby this blessing 
■K*as procured) and repentance ; so that one is not to be ex- 


pected without the other ; and though men are to forgive in- 
juries in case the offender acknowledges his fault, and makes 
sufficient restitution ; this they may do, inasmuch as the of- 
fence is only committed against* a creature; and especially if 
the offence be of a private nature. But supposing this should 
be applied to juridical and forensick cases, will any One say^ 
that the prince is obliged to forgive the criminal who is under 
a sentence of condemnation, because he is sorry for what he 
has done, or confesses his fault ? Would this secure his honour 
as a law-giver ? And if hereupon the offender were to be dis- 
charged from his guilt, would not this be a defect in the ad- 
ministration of the legislature ? How then can this be applied 
to forgiveness, expected at the hand of God ; in which justice, 
as well as mercy, is to have the glory that is due to it; and 
we are not only to be acquitted, but justified, or pronounced 
guiltless, since our acknowledgment of our offence cannot be 
reckoned a sufficient satisfaction to the justice of God ? 

Object. It is objected, by those on the other side of the ques- 
tion, that though repentance be not in itself a sufficient com- 
pensation to the justice of God for the crimes which we have 
committed; yet God may, by an act of grace, accept of it, 
as though it had been sufficient *. This they illustrate by a 
similitude taken from a person's selling an estate of a consider- 
able value, to one who has no money to buy it, provided he 
will pay a pepper-corn of acknowledgment. Thus, how insig- 
nificant soever, repentance, or any other grace, which is deem- 
ed the matter of our justification, be in itself, it is by an act of 
favour, deemed a sufficient price. 

Anszv. In answer to this I would observe, that the objec- 
tion, which was before brought against the doctrine we have 
been maintaining, concerning the imputation of Christ's righ- 
teousness, namely, that it was a putative righteousness, a not 
judging of things according to truth, and the like, seems to be 
of no weight when it affects their own cause ; otherwise we 
might turn their argument against themselves, and ask them ; 
whether this be for God to judge according to truth, when that 
is accepted as a sufficient payment, by his justice, which is in 
itself of no value ? But passing this by, we may farther ob- 
perve, that this is wholly to set aside the necessity of satisfac- 
tion, as the Socinians do ; and therefore it is no wonder that 
they make use of this method of reasoning. As for others who 
do not altogether deny this doctrine, yet think that a small price 
may be deemed satisfactory for sin committed. That which 

• This is -what is generally styled, by a diminutive ~vord, Acceptilatio gratiosa, 
•which is an accepting a sjtiallpart of a debt, instead of tlie whole,- a sort of compo- 
sition, in which, though the payment be inconsiderable, yet the debtor's discharge is 
founded thereon^ by an act of favour in the creditor, as thovgh the whole s~jm hud 
been paid. 


may be replied to it, is, that if justification, as tending to ad- 
vance the glory of divine justice, in taking away the guilt ot 
sin, depends upon a price paid that is equivalent to the debt 
contracted,; and nothing short of a price of infinite value can 
be reckoned an equivalent thereunto, then certainly that which 
is performed by men, cannot be deemed a sufficient payment, 
or accepted of as such. 

It is a vain thing for persons to pretend that there is a dif- 
ference between satisfying God, and satisfying his justice; or, 
that to satisfy God is to pay a price, be it never so small, that 
he demands; whereas, satisfying justice is paying a price equal 
to the thing purchased ; since we must conclude, that God can- 
not deem any thing satisfactory to himself, that is not so to his 
justice. Therefore, this distinction will not avail, to free their 
argument from the absurdity that attends it. 

We might here observe, that as some speak of pardon of 
sin's being founded on our repentance ; others speak of our 
justification as being by the act of faith, or by faith considered 
as a work, and in defending justification by works, as though 
it were not opposed to justification by faith (the contrary to 
•which has been before proved) they argue, that we are often 
said, in scripture, to be justified by faith; but this faith is a 
work; therefore it canuot be denied but that we are justified 
by works. To which it may be replied, that it is one thing 
to say, that we are justified by faith, that is, a work, and ano- 
ther thing to say, that we are justified by it as a work ; or, it 
is one thing to say, that we are justified for our faith, and ano- 
ther thing to say, that we are justified by it; which will more 
evidently appear under the following head, which we proceed 
to consider; namely, 

II. What it is for us to be justified by faith, or how faith 
justifies. None can, with the least shadow of reason, deny, 
that justification by faith, is a scripture-mode of speaking, 
though some have questioned, whether the apostle's words, 
being' justified by fait h^ rvc have peace with God through our 
Lord Jesus Christy gives countenance to the doctrine of justi- 
fication by faith ; for they observe, that by putting a stop im- 
mediately after the word justified^ the sense would be, that they 
who are justified by Christ's righteousness, have peace with 
God by faith, through the Lord Jesus Christ : but though this 
will a little alter the reading of the text; yet it will not over- 
throw the doctrine of justification by faith, as contained there- 
in. For if we understand our having peace zvith God., as im- 
porting, that peace which they have a right to, who are interest- 
ed in Christ's righteousness, and not barely peace of conscience: 
then it will follow, that to have this peace by faith, is, in ef- 
fect, the same as to be justified by faith ; and this farther ap- 


pears, from tiic following words, by -whom also xvc have access 
If y faith into this grace^ wherein we stand. T^he g-race where- 
in we stand, is that grace which is the foundation of our jus- 
tification, and not barely peace of conscience : when we are 
therefore said to have access by faith unto this grace, it is the 
same as for us to be justified by faith. 

IVIoreover, this is not the only place in which we are said to 
be justified by faith; for the apostle says elsewhere, We are 
justijied by the faith of fesiis Christ, Gal. ii. 16. or by faith in 
Jesus Christ, and ag^'m, the Just shall live by faith, Rom. i. IT. 
which, agreeably to the context, must be understood of their 
being justified by faith; in which sense the apostle particularly 
explains it elsewhere. Gal. iii. 11. and in another place he 
speaks of the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus 
Christ, Rom. iii. 22. and also of a believer's waiting for the 
hope of righteousness by faith, Gal. v. 5. We must not there- 
fore denj' that justification is by f^ith ; but rather explain the 
sense of those scriptures that establish this doctrine, agreeably 
to the mind of the Holy Ghost therein. 

There are various methods taken to explain the doctrine of 
justification by faith ; particularly one that we think subver- 
sive of justification by Christ's righteousness : the other, that 
which is contained in the answer which we are explaining. 

1. As to the former of these, namely, that which is incon- 
sistent with the doctrine of justification by Christ's righteous- 
ness. This is maintained by those who plead for justification' 
b)^ works; and consequent!}^, they say, that we are justified by 
faith, and all other graces ; which they call the conditions of 
our justification in the sight of God ; and indeed to be justifi- 
ed by faith, according to them, is little other than to be justi- 
fied for faith : whether they reckon it a meritorious condition 
or no, they must own it to be a pleadable condition ; other- 
wise it would have no reference to justification; and if it be 
taken in this sense, oiu" justification depends as much upon it, 
as though it had been meritorious. This is the account which 
some give of justification ; and to prepare the way for this 
opinion, they suppose, that the terms of salvation, in the gos- 
pel, which are substituted in the room of those which were re- 
quired under the first covena>.t made with Adam, are faith, 
repentance and sincere obedience, instead of perfect; and that 
God in justifying a penitent, believing sinner, pursuant to the 
performance of these condiiions, declares his willingness, that 
there should be a relaxation of that law which man was at first 
obliged to obey; and accordingly, that sincerity is demanded 
by him instead of perfection, or substituted in the room of it; 
this they call the new law, or others style it a remedial law : 
so thut instead of being justified by Christ's yielding perfect 


dbcdlencc, or paying the out-standing debt, which we weifc 
-obliged, by reason of the viohition of the first covenant, to pay- 
we are to be justified by our own imperfect obedience. 

But that which may be objected to this method of reason, 
ing, is, that it is inconsistent with the holiness of the divine 
nature;, and the glory of the justice of God, detracts from the 
honour of his law, and is, in effect, to maintain that we are jus- 
tified without satisfaction given. For though these terms of 
our justification^ and acceptance in the sight of God, may be 
falsely styled a valuable consideration ; yet none will pretend 
to assert, that they are an infinite price ; and nothing short of 
that (which is no other than Christ's righteousness) is sufficient 
to answer this end. I am sensible, that they who lay down 
this plan of justification, allege in defence thereof j that though 
these terms of acceptance are of small value in themselves ; 
Vet God, by an act of grace, reckons the payment of a small 
debt equivalent to that of a greater, as has been before observ- 
ed. And they speak of faith and repentance as having a value 
set upon theni by their reference to the blood of Christ *, who 
merited this privilege for us, that w^e should be justified in such 
a way, or upon these conditions performed : they call them in- 
deed easier terms, or conditions^ and include them all in the 
general word sincerity, instead of perfection. But they are 
nevertheless somewhat divided in their method of explaining 
themselves, inasmuch as some suppose these Conditions to be 
wholly in our own power, without the aids of divine grace, as 
much as perfect obedience was in the power of our first pa- 
rents ; whereas others ascribe a little more to the grace of God, 
according as they explain the doctrine of effectual calling; 
though they do not suppose, that these conditions are altoge- 
ther out of our own power; and they so far lay a foundationT 
for the sinner's glorying herein, as that, they suppose, our right 
to justification and eternal life is founded on them. 

I cannot but think this method of explaining the doctrine of 
justification to be subversive of the gospel, and that it is high- 
ly derogatory to the glory of God to assert that he can dispense 
with the demand of perfect obedience, and justify a person on 
easier terms ; which is little better than what the apostle call*. 
maie void the law: this, says he, we are far from doing fji/ 
fakh^ or by our asserting the doctrine of justification by faith 
in Christ's righteousness; but we rather establish it hareby : 
and to say that God sets such a value on our performing thes'e 
conditions of the new covenant, as that they are deemed equi* 
valent to Christ's performing perfect obedience for us, this re- 
flects on his glory, as set forth, to be a propitiation for sin, to 
declare God's righteousness in the remission thereof; and dt- 
• T/iesc works they apeak- of la Tincta suneuiac Clirlitl. 

Vol. III. O 

106 OF j'USTIPYING I AlTir, 

tracts from the obligation which we are laid under to him, lor 
what he did and suffered in our behalf, for our justification. 

Moreover, to assert that God sets this value on our perfor- 
niances, pursuant to Christ's merit ; or that they are highly es- 
teemed by him, because they are tinctured with his blood ; 
this is contrary to the design of his death, which was, not that 
such an estimate might be set on what is done by us ; but ra- 
ther, that the iniquities that attend our best performances may 
be forgj-ven ; and that (though, when we have done all, we are 
unprofitable servants,) we may be made accepted in the Be- 
loved ; and having no justifying righteousness of our own, 
may be justified, and glory in that which he hath wrought out 
for us. 

And as for the supposition, that faith, repentance, and new 
obedience, are not only conditions of justification, but easy to 
be performed : this plainly discovers, that they who maintain 
it, either think too lightly of man's impotency and averseness 
to what is good, and his alienation from the life of God, or are 
strangers to their own hearts, and are not duly sensible that it 
is God that works in his people both to will and to do, of his 
own good pleasure. 

The only thing that I shall add, in opposition to the doc- 
trine of justification by works, is, that whatever is the matter 
or ground of our justification in the sight of God, must be 
pleadable at his bar; for we cannot be justified without a plea, 
and if any plea, taken from our own works, be thought suffi- 
cient, how much soever the proud and deluded heart of man 
may set too great a value upon them ; yet God will not reckon 
the plea valid, so as to discharge us from guilt, and give us a 
right and title to eternal life on the account thereof; wdiich 
leads us to consider, 

2. The method taken to explain this doctrine in the answer 
before us, which we think agreeable to the divine perfections, 
• and contains a true state of the doctrine of justification by faith. 
We before considered justification as a forensic act, that we 
might understand what is meant by our sins being imputed to 
Christ our Head and Surety, and his righteousness imputed to 
lis, or placed to our account. And we are now to speak ot 
this righteousness as pleaded by, or applied to us, as the foun- 
dation of our claim to all the blessings that were purchased by 
it. Here we must consider a sinner as bringing in his plea, in 
order to his discharge ; and this is twofold. 

(1.) If he be charged by men, or by Satan, with crimes not 
committed, he pleads his own innocency ; if charged with hy- 
pocrisy, he pleads his own sincerity. Thus we are to under- 
stand several expressions in scripture to this purpose; as for 
instance, when a charge of the like nature was brought in againr 


|ob, Satan having suggested that he did not serve God for 
nought ; and that if God would touch his bone and his flesh, 
he would curse him to his face : and his friends having often 
applied the chai'acter they give of the hypocrite to him, and so 
concluding him to be a wicked person, he says, God forbid that 
I should justify you; that is, that I should acknowledge your 
charge to be just; till I die^ I zvill not remove mine integrity 
from me: my righteousness Iholdfast^ and xvill tiot let it go: 
niij heart shall not reproach me so long as I live, Job xxvii. 5, 
6. that is, I never will own what you insinuate, that my heart 
is not right with God. And David, when complaining of the 
ill-treatment which he met with from his enemies and persecu- 
tors, who desired not only to tread down his life upon the earth, 
but to lay his honour ill the dust; to murder his name as well 
as his person, he prays, Judge me, Lord, according to mtj 
righteousness, and according to rnine integrity that is in me, 
Psal. vii. 8. What could he plead against maliciousness and 
false insinuations, but his righteousness or his integrity ? And 
elsewhere, when he says, The Lord rexvarded me according to 
ony righteousness a according to the clcayiness of my hands hath 
he recompensed 7ne : For I have kept the ways of the Lord; his 
Judgments were before me. Ixvas also upright before him, and 
have kept myself from mine iniquity, 2 Sam. xxii. 21, ^c. seq^ 
it is nothing else but an intimation, that how much soever he 
might be charged with the contrary vices, he was, in this re- 
spect, innocent: and though God did not justify him at his 
tribunal, for this righteousness ; yet, in the course of his provi- 
dence, he seemed to approve of his plea, so far as that what- 
ever the world thought of him, he plainly dealt with him as 
one who was highly favoured by him ; or whom, by his deal- 
ings with him, he evidently distinguished from those whose 
hearts were not right with him. It is true, some who plead 
for jus,tification by our own righteousness, allege these scrip- 
tures as a proof of it, without distinguishing between the jus- 
tification of our persons in the sight of God, and the justifica- 
tion of our righteous cause; or our being justified when ac- 
cused at God's tribunal, and our being justified, or vindicated 
from those charges that are brought against us at man's. 

(2.) When a person stands at God's tribunal, as we must 
suppose the sinner to do, when bringing in his plea for justifi- 
cation in his sight ; then he has nothing else to plead but Christ's 
righteousness ; and faith is that grace that pleads it : and in 
that respect we are said to be justified by faith, or in a way of 
believing. Faith doth not justify by presenting or pleading it- 
self, or any other grace that accompanies or flows from it, as 
the cause whv God should forgive sin, or give us a right to 
eternal life ; for thev have not sufficient worth or excellency in 


them to procure these blessings. Therefore, when we are said 
to be justified by faith, it is by faith, as apprehending, plead- 
ing, or laying hold on Christ's righteousness ; and this gives 
occasion to divines to call it the instrument of our justification. 
Christ's righteousness is the thing claimed or apprehended; 
and faith is that by which it is claimed or apprehended ; and, 
agreeably to the idea of an instrument, we are said not to be 
justified for faith, but by it. Christ's righteousness is that 
which procures a discharge from condemnation for all for whom 
it was wrought out ; faith is the hand that receives it ; where- 
by a person has a right to conclude, that it was wrought out 
for him. Christ's righteousness is that which has a tendency 
to enrich and adorn the soul ; and faith is the hand that re- 
ceives it, whereby it becomes ours, in a way of fiducial ap- 
plication : and as the righteousness of Christ is compared, ia 
scripture, to a glorious robe, which renders the soul beauti- 
ful, or is its highest and chief ornament ; it is by faith that it 
is put on ; and, in this respect, as the prophet speaks, its beau- 
ty is rendered perfect tlirough hl^ comeliness^ xvhich is put upon 
him^ Ezek. xvi. 14, so that Christ's righteousness justifies, as 
it is the cause of our discharge; faith justifies as the instru- 
ment that applies this discharge to us : thus when it is said, the 
just shall live bij faith ^ faith is considered as that which seeks^ 
to, and finds this life in him j the effect is, by a metonymy^ 
applied to the instrument ; as when the husbandman is said to 
live or to be maintained by his plough, and the artist to live by 
his hands, or the beggar by his empty hand that receives the 
donative. If a person was in a dungeon, like the prophet Je- 
remiah, and a rope is let down to draw him out of it, his lay- 
ing hold on it is the instrument, but the hand that drav/s him 
out, is the principal cause of his release from thence ; or, that 
we may make use of a similitude that more directly illustrates 
the doctrine we are maintaining, suppose a condemned male- 
factor had a pardon procured for him, which gives him a right 
to liberty, or a discharge from the place of his confinement, 
this must be pleaded, and his claim be rendered visible ; and 
?jftev that he is no longer deemed a guilty person, but discharg- 
ed, in open court, from the sentence that he was under. Thus 
Christ procures forgiveness by his blood ; the gor.pel holds it 
iorth, and describes those who have a right to claim it as be- 
longing to him in particular : and hence arises a visible dis- 
charge from condemnation, and a right to claim the benefits 
that attend it. if we understand justification by faith, in this 
sense, we do not attribute too much to faith on the one hand, 
nor too little to Christ's righteousness on the other. 

And we rather choQse to call f:^ith an instrument, than a 
condition of our justification, being sensible, that the word cent 


dilion Is generally used to signify that for the sake whiercof, a 
benefit is conferred, rather than the instrument by which it is 
applied ; not but that it may be explained in such a way, as is 
consistent with the doctrine of justification by faith, as before 
considered. We do not deny that faith is the condition of our 
claim to Christ's righteousness ; or that it is Ciod'b ordinance, 
without which we have no ground to conclude our interest in 
it. We must therefore distinguish between its being a condi- 
tion of forgiveness, and its being a condition of our visible and 
r.pparent ri^^ht hereunto. This cannot be said to belong to us, 
vmless we receive it ; neither can we conclude that we have an 
interest in Christ's redemption, any more than they for whom 
he did not lay down his life, but by this medium. We must 
first consider Christ's righteousness as wrought out for all them 
that were given him by the Father ; and fiuth is that which 
gives us ground to conclude, that this privilege, in particular, 
belongs to us. 

This account of the use of faith in justification, we cannot 
but think sufficient to obviate the most material objections that 
are brought against our way of maintaining the doctrine of jus- 
tification, viz. by Christ's righteousness, in one respect, and 
by faith in another. It is an injurious suggestion to suppose 
that we deny the necessity of faith in any sense, or conclude, 
that we may lay claim to this privilege without it ; since we 
strenuously assert the necessity, on the one hand, of Christ's 
righteousness being wrought out for us, and forgiveness pro- 
cured thereby; and, on the other hand, the necessity of our re- 
ceiving it, each of which is true in its respective place. Christ 
must have the glory that is due to him, and faith the work, or 
office that belongs to it. 

Thus we have considered Christ's righteousness as applied 
by faith ; and it may be also observed, that there is one scrip- 
ture, in which it is said to be imputed by faith ^ as the apostle 
Paul, when speaking concerning Abraham's justification by 
ftiith, in this righteousness, says. It was imputed to him for 
rig-hteousness ; and adds, that it was not rvrittenfcr his sake 
■ alone, that it ivas imputed to him, but for us also, to zvhom it 
shall be imptUed, if we believe, Rom. iv. 22, 23, 24. in which 
scripture, I conceive, that imputation is taken for application; 
and accordingly the meaning is, the righteousness of Christ is 
so imputed, as that we have ground to place it to our own ac- 
count, if we believe ; which is the same with applying it by 
faith, (a) 

(o) " Abraham believed God and it was imputed or counted to him for riph- 
fHjusneis/' Tliis passajre of Scripture is found with little variation also in the 
IvplitU- to the Galatians"(iii G ) and in the Epistle of James (ii. ?3 ) and in each 

IItO' of justifying faith. 

And whereas the apostle speaks elsewhere o^ faith's being 
counted for righteousness^ ver. t. it must be allowed, that there 
is a great deal of difficulty iti the mode of expression. If wc 

of the places it seems to have been introduced in support of its context from the 
first book of Moses, (sv. 6.) 

Moses is giving at that place a visionary (as we suppose) correspondence be- 
tA\'een Jehovah and Abraham ; in which the Lord promises to the patriarch to 
be his " shield and exceeding' great reward," and upon Abraham's complaining 
that he was childless, his attention is direct- d to the stars, and he is told that 
it will be equally impracticable to number his posterity, and then follow the 
words " Abraham believed in * the Lord, and he counted it to him for righte- 

[lere it Is given as an old-testament proof of tliat which has been a little be- 
fore asserted " that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law," 
but because this doctrine would seem to make void the law, the apostle states 
this objection, then denies it with abhorrence, and introduces for his support 
Abraham's justification before God, '* if Abraham were justified by works he 
*' hath whereof to glory, but not before God; for what saith the scriptures Abra- 
*• ham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness." 

In the letter to the christians of Galatia he aims to bring them back from de- 
pending on their obedience to the moral and ceremonial laws, to a reliance upon 
Christ for salvation, he declares that " by the works of the law no flesh shall be 
"justified" in the sight of God; and that christians are " dead to the law," " seek 
« to be justified by Christ," and " live by the faith of the Son of God." He as- 
serts " if righteousness come by the law then Christ is dead in vain." He char- 
ges the Gaiutians with folly. After having heard, seen, and experienced the doc- 
trines of the Gospel, its extraordinary and ordinary spiritual powers, to go back 
to dead works would ai-gue something like fascination. And then to show that 
the Gospel mode of justification by faith was not peculiar to the Gospel he quotes 
from the book of Genesis these words ; " Abraham believed God, and it was ac- 
" counted to him for righteousness." 

The apostle James reprehends such as profess to be believers and yet are not 
careful to mainta'm good works ; such professions of faith are less credible than 
the fruits of holiness ; " show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show 
** thee my faith by my works." Faith without works he pronounces to be dead, 
not merely inoperative, but destitute of a living principle. He then introduces 
Abraham's example of offering up Isaac as a proof of his fiiith; this work being a 
manifest effect of his faith in God, justifies, in the sight of all men, his character 
as a believer, " and the scripture" he says " wxis fulfilled \\\\]c\\ saith Abraham 
*' believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness." The offering 
up of Isaac, having taken place several years after it had been said that " Abra- 
" ham believed God," was an undeniable evidence of the truth, and a fulfilment, 
of that scripture. 

Abraham's faith here mentioned has been understood as implying both the act 
of believing God's promises and his yielding to the call of God by emigrating, 
&.C. f whicii faith, and its fruits, though an imperfect righteousness, was, it is 
alleged, by the favour of God accepted as a justifying righteousness. 

But the apostle here contrasts faith with works, and denies a justification be- 
fore God to be attainable by our obedience, consequentjy his introduction of A - 
braham's justification by his good deeds would have destroyed his own argu- 

Others t understand Abraham to have been justified on the account of the 
mere act of believing: and this has been confined to his faith in tlie one promise 
of a numerous posterity. 

That the Lord § " in judging Abraham will place on one side of the account 
" his duties, and on the' other his performances, and on the side of liis perioiin- 

• ThcqnoUtions of Pml and James follow tlie !>x. in omitting the in, 
t Hammond. } Whitby.' r.^ckni^lit. ^J Muckriijjht. 


assci't that the act of believing is imputed for righteousness, as 
they who establish the doctrine of justification by works, or by 
faith as a work, we overthrow that which we have been main- 

«' ances he will place his faith, and by mere favour value it equal to a complete 
" performance ot'liis duty, and reward lum as it he were a perfectly righteous 
" person." 

Faith is the mind's assent to external evidence ; faith thus strictly considered 
as an act, is man's act, as much so as any can be, and as the understanding at 
least in its application to the evidence nmst be accompanied by the consent ol" 
the will, here is every thing that .s necessary to constitute a work, and accon.1- 
ingly it IS commandeil as a duty, tlie neglect of which is criminal. If it be thus 
that faith justifies the believer in tlie sight of God, then there is no propriety in 
Baying we are not justified by works, and if it were possible still less in addu- 
cing the example of Abraham's justification by that which was no more than a 
dut} to prove tliat we cannot be justified by works, " Christ being the end of 
" the lav/ for righteousness to every one who believeth." If man can be so jus- 
tified boasting is not excluded he has v\ hereof to glory. 

But the design of the apostle was to show that Abraham himself one of the 
holiest of men w^ith all his good deeds, and implicit obedience to divine com- 
mands was not justified for his o\\ n holiness or godliness, for that is the opi- 
nion he is combating, but by what lie calls faith. When the things which we ai^s 
req lived to believe are of a .spiritual nature, the " carnal mind" requires to be 
freed from its prejudices hetiire it will " receive them," and because .sujiernain- 
ral aid is necessary to such mincis and all naturally pos.sess tliem, such " faitii" 
must unquestionably be " the gift of God" in a sense higher than that of every 
other species of faith exereised under the support of Divine Providence. If faitli 
is a gift of God it merits nothing for us, can never create an oliligation on Divine 
ju.'>tice for remuneration, and so can never be n.justifmiisr righteousness. 

In his epistle to the Galatians t!i\t which he terms a being "justified by faith"' 
he also denominates a being "justified by faith in Christ" so that his justilyin?^ 
faith is not merely a belief of the truth of what God has spoken, but is connectetl 
in some manner with Christ, and that it is not the mere-act of believing in Christ 
which is the ground of such justification is plain from this, that he expresses the 
rame thing by the words, " being justified by Christ." If it is true that we are 
justified by faith, and also justified by Christ, it must be meant in diflTereut senses, 
;ind to give effect to these words thus differently connected, it seems necessaiy 
to suppose the righteousness of Christ as the meritorious cause or ground of jus- 
tification, and faitli the instrumental. "To as many as received him to them g.ivn 
" he power to become the .sons of God, even to as many as believed on his name," 
fir at least as the concomitant of it, where all other requisites exist as well as 
grace for its production. 

It is not the holi7iess of his faith that is accounted for righteousness to him ; 
faith is a holy duty but not more so than some otiiers, and not so much so as love, 
" now abide faith, hope, love, and the greatest of these is love;" nor are chris- 
tians ever said to be justified by love, joy, peace, patience, or by any other grace, 
except by faith. From whence it follows that it is not the holiness of faith for 
w hich the believer is justified, and yet that there is some property not common 
to any other grace or duty, which must be concerned in our justification; ami 
no tloubt it is because faith lays hold on him for whose sake alone we can be jiis- 

Or faith may be put for its object, as the words fear, hope, joy, and love arp ; 
God is our fear, our liope, 8ic. " Thy faith hath saved tiice," it was not her faith, 
but its object, Christ's power, that healed her. 

The seed which was promised embraced Clsrist, whose day Abraham saw afar 
off; so this faith had the Redeemer for its ol;jcct. In the epistle to the Galatians 
there follow the quotiilion these words, " as many as are of faith are the chilchni 
" of Abraham," these are called his spiritual seed, and believe in Christ, now if 
all who bf lievc in Christ are thereby the children of Abraham, and Abr-ham ihe^ 


taining : and if, on the other hand, we understand faith, (olf 
the object of faith, ^zz. what v/as wrought out by Christ, which 
faith is conversant about, and conclude, (as I conceive we ought 
to do,) that this, is imputed for righteousness, this is suppo- 
sed, by some, to deviate too much from the common sense of 
words, to be allowed of: but if there be such a figurative way 
of speaking used in other scriptures, why may we not suppose 
that it is used in this text under our present consideration i If 
other graces are sometimes taken for the object thereof, why 
may not faith be taken, by a meton3'my, for its object ? Thus 
the apostle calls those whom he writes to, his joy^ that is, the 
object, or matter thereof, Phil. iv. 1. And in the book of Can- 
ticles, the church calls Christ her love^ Cant. iv. 8. that is, the 
object thereof. And elsewhere, hope is plainly taken for the 
object of it, when the apostle says, Hope that is seen^ is not 
hope : for rvhat a man seeth^ -why doth he yet hope for ? Rom. 
viii. 24. By which he plainly intends, that whatever is the 
object of hope, cannot be in our present possession : and Christ 
is farther styled, The blessed hope^ Tit. ii. 13. that is, the|-)er- 
son whose appearance we hope for. And Jacob speaks of God 
as the fear of his father Isaac^ Gen. xxxi. SZ. that is, the per- 
son whom he worshipped with reverential fear; in all which 
cases the phraseology is equally difficult with that of the text, 
under our present consideration. Thus concerning Christ's 
righteousnesss, as wrought out for us, and applied by faith ; 
which is the foundation of all our peace and comfort, both in 
life and death ; and therefore cannot but be reckoned a doctrine 
of the highest importance : we shall now consider some things 
that may be inferred from it. And, 

[1.] From what has been said concerning justification, as 
founded in Christ's suretyship-righteousness, wrought out tor 
us, by what was done and suffered by him, in his human na= 
ture ; and the infinite value thereof, as depending on the glory 
of the divine nature, to which it is united, we cannot but in- 
fer the absurdity of two contrary opinions, namely, that of those 
who have asserted, that we are justified by the essential righte- 
ousness of Christ as God *; and that of others, who pretend^ 
that because all mediatorial acts are performed by Christ only 
as man: therefore the infinite dignity of the divine nature, has 
no reference to their being satisfactory to divine justice. This 
is what they mean when they say, that we are justified by 

• This opini 071 -was propagated soon after the refoi~matlon, by Andr. Osiander, 
ivho lived a little before the iniddle of the sixteenth ce/ituri/. 

father or pattern of faith, his faith must have been of the same kind. There 
could have been little propriety in giving a faith of any otlier kind as a pattern tc 
•hose v,1iO are lo be!;e-. e in Chrhi that th^-y miy ht. "justified by bis -^iuod." 


Christ's righteousness as man, in opposition to our being jus- 
tified by his essential righteousness as God*: whereas, I thinkj 
the truth lies in a tncdium between both these extremes i on the 
one hand we must suppose, that Christ's engagement to be- 
come a surety for us, and so stand in our room and stead, and 
thereby to pay the debt which we had contracted to the justice 
of God, could not be done in any other than the human na- 
ture ; for the divine nature is not capable of being under a law, 
*or fulfilling it, or, in any instance, of obeying, or suffering ; 
and therefore, we cannot be justified by Christ's essential righ- 
teousness, as Ciod ; and, on the other hand, what Christ did 
and suttercd as man, would not have been sufficient for our 
justification, had it not had an infinite value put upon it, ari- 
sing from the union of the nature that suffered with the divine 
nature, which is agreeable to the apostle's expression, -when 
he says, God purchai^ed the church xv'ith his ozun bloody Acts, 
XX. 28. 

[2.] From what has been said^ concerning the fruits and ef- 
fects of justification, as by virtue hereof our sins are pardoned, 
and we made accepted in the beloved, we infer; that it is not 
only an unscriptural way of speaking, but has a tendency to 
overthrow the doctrine we have been maintaining, to assert, as 
some do, that God is only rendered rtconcileable by what was 
done and suffered by Christ. This seems to be maintained by 
those who treat on this subject, with a different view. Some 
speak of God's being rendered reconcileable by Christ's righte- 
ousness that the)^ might make way for what they have farther 
to advance, namely, that God's being reconciled to a sinner^ 
is the result of his own repentance, or the amendment of his 
life, whereby he makes his peace with him ; w^hich is to make 
repentance or reformation the matter of our justification, and 
substitute it in the room of Christ's righteousness : therefcrCj 
they who speak of God's being made reconcileable in this sense, 
by his blood, are so far from giving a true account of the doc- 
trine of justification, that, in reality, they overthrow it. 

But there are others, who speak of God's being reconcilea- 
ble as the consequence of Christ's satisfaction, that they might 
rot be thought to assert that God is actually reconciled by the 
blood of Christ, to those who are in an unconverted state, which 
is inconsistent therewith ; therefore they use this mode of ex- 
pression, lest they should be thought to give countenance to the 
doctrine of actual justification before failh; but certainly we 
are under no necessity of advancing one absurdity to avoid an- 

• This opinion ims propagated soon aftt'v hy Slmicarua, in oppositii>". to Oiian^ 
dcv, luhom Du Pin reckons amongst the S'^ciiiiuiii, or, at least, (ha! <.:J'ier he had 
advanced this notion, he denied the doctrine of the Triniti/. '■ Hee l>i^ Firine^ci' 
/^iti. uxteeatli century, Oooh iv. chup, C] 

Vo>,. TIL ? 


Other: therefore, let it be here considered, that the scripture 
speaks expressly of God's being reconciled by the death o£ 
Christ ; and accordingly he is said to have brought him again 
from the dead^ as a God of peace ^ Heb. xiii. 20. And elsewhere, 
he speaks of God^s having reconciled us to himsef by Jesus 
Christy 2 Cor. v. 18. and not becoming reconcilable to us. 
Again, When ive xvere enemies rue were reconciled to God by the 
death of his So?i^ much more being reconciled^ zve shall besaved^ 
Rom. V. 10. that is, shall obtain the saving effects of this re- 
conciliation by his life. And again. Having made peace through 
the blood of his cross, by hi?n to reconcile all things to himself: 
and ijou that xvere sometimes alienated, and enemies in your 
7nind by wicked xvorks, yet now hath he reconciled, in the body 
of his flesh through death, to present ijou holy and unhlameabley 
and unreprovable i?i his sight. Col. i. 21, 22. Where he des- 
cribes those who were reconciled as once enemies, and speaks 
of this privilege as being procured by the death of Christ, and 
of holiness here, and salvation hereafter, as the consequence of 
it; tiiercfore it is such a reconciliation as is contained in our 

But though this appears very agreeable to the mind of the 
Holy Ghost, in scripture, yet it must be understood in con- 
sistency Avith those other scriptures, that represent persons in 
an unconverted state, as children of xvrath, Eph. ii. 3. and be- 
ing hateful, Tit. iii, 3. that is, not only deserving to be hated 
by God, but actually hated, as appears by the many threat- 
nings that are denounced against them, and their being in a 
condemr.ed state, that we may not give countenance to the doc- 
trine c: some, who, not distinguishing between God's secret 
and revealed will, maintain that we are not only virtually, but 
actually justified before we believe; as though we had a right 
to claim Christ's righteousness before we have any ground to 
conclude, that it was wrought out for us : but what has been 
already suggested concerning justification by faith, will, I think, 
sufficiently remove this difficulty. 

The only thing that remains to be explained is ; how God 
may be said to be reconciled by the blood of Christ, to a per- 
son who is in an unconverted state, and as such, represented as 
a child of wrath ? for the understanding of which, let us con- 
sider, that so long as a person is an unbeliever, he has no 
ground to conclude, according to the tenor of God's revealed 
will, that he is reconciled to him, or that he is any other than 
a child of wrath. Nevertheless, when we speak of God's be- 
ing reconciled to his elect, according to the tenor of his secret 
will, before they believe, that is in effect to say, that justifica- 
tion, as it is an immanent act in God, is antecedent to faith, 
which is a certain truth, inasmuch as faith h a fruit and con- 


sequence thereof: whereas, God does not declare that he is 
reconciled to us, or give us ground to conclude it ; whereby we 
appear no longer to be children of wrath, till we believe. If 
this be duly considered, we have no reason to assert, that God 
is reconcileable, rather than reconciled by the death of Christ, 
lest we should be thought to maintain the doctrine of justifica- 
tion, or deliverance from wrath, as a declared act, before we 
believe. And to this we may add, that God was reconcileable 
to his elect, that is, willing to be reconciled to them before 
Christ died for them ; otherwise he would never have sent him 
into the world to make reconciliation for the sins of his peo- 
ple : he was reconcileable, and therefore designed to turn from 
the fierceness of his wrath ; and in order thereunto, he ap- 
pointed Christ to make satisfaction for sin, and procure peace 
for them. 

[3.J There is not the least inconsistency between those scrip- 
tures which speak of justification as being an act of God's free 
grace, and others, which speak of it as being, by faith, found- 
ed on Christ's righteousness ; or between God's pardoning sin 
freely, without regard to any thing done by us to procure it ; 
and yet insisting on, and receiving a full satisfaction, as the 
meritorious and procuring cause of it. This is sometimes ob- 
jected against what we have advanced in explaining the doc- 
trine of justification, as being, in some respects, an act of jus- 
tice, and in others, of grace ; as though it were inconsistent 
with itself, and our method of explaining it were liable to an 
absurdity, which is contrary to reason ; as though two contra- 
dictory propositions could be both true.; namely, that justifi- 
cation should be an act of the strictest justice, without any a- 
batement of the debt demanded, and yet of free grace, with- 
out insisting on the payment of the debt : but this seeming con- 
tradiction may be easily reconciled, if we consider that the debt 
was not paid by us in our own persons ; which had it been 
done, it would have been inconsistent with forgiveness's being 
an act of grace ; but by our surety, and in that respect there 
was no abatement of the debt, nor did he receive a discharge 
by an act of grace, but was justified as our head or surety, by 
his own righteousness, or works performed by him ; whereas, 
we are justified by his suretyship-righteousness, without works 
performed by us ; and this surety was provided for us ; as has 
been before observed; and therefore, when we speak of justi- 
fication, as being an act of grace, we distinguish between the 
justification of our surety, after he had given full satisfaction 
for the debt wliich we had contracted ; and this payment's be- 
ing placed to our account by God's gracious imputation there- 
of to us, and our obtaining forgiveness as the result thereof^ 
which. can be no olh'>;r than an act of the highest grace. 


[4.] From what has been said concernhig justliication by- 
faith, we infer, the method, order and time, in which God jus- 
tifies his people. There are some who not only speak of justi- 
fication before faith, but from eternity j and consider it as an 
immanent act in God in the same sense as election is said to 
be. I will not deny eternal justification, provided it be con- 
sidered as contained in God's secret will, and not made the 
rule by which we are to determine ourselves to be in a justifi- 
ed state, and as such to have a right and title to eternal life, 
before it is revealed or apprehended by faith : if we take it in 
this- sense, it is beyond dispute, that justification is not by faith; 
but inasmuch as the most known, yea, the only sense in which 
justification is spoken of, as applied to particular persons, is, 
that it is by faith : therefore, we must suppose. 

Is?, That it is a declared act. That which is hid in God, 
Sind not declared, cannot be said to lie applied ; and that which 
is not applied, cannot be the rule by which particular persons 
may judge of their state. Thus, if we speak of eternal elec-^ 
tion, and say, That God has peremptorily determined the state 
of those that shall be saved, that they shall not perish ; this is 
nothing to particular persons, unless they have ground to con- 
clude themselves elected. So if we say that God has, from all 
pternity, given his elect into Christ's hands ; that he has un- 
dertaken before the foundation of the M'^orld, to redeem them ; 
and that, pursuant hereunto, God promised that he would give 
eternal life unto them; or, if we consider Christ as having iul- 
filled what he undertook from all eternitj', finished transgres- 
sion, brought in everlasting righteousness, and fully paid the 
debt which he undertook; consider him as bting discharged, 
and receiving an acquittance, when raised from the --^dead ; 
and all this as done in the name of the elect, as their head and 
representative ; and if you farther consider them, as it is often 
•expressed, as virtually justified in him; all this is nothing to 
them, with respect to their peace and comfort; they have no 
inore a right to claim an interest in this privilege or relation, 
than if he had not paid a price for them. Therefore, we sup- 
fiose that justification, as it is the foundation of our claim to 
eternal life, is a declared act. 

^d. If justification be a declared act, there must be some 
method which God uSes, whereby he declares, or makes it 
known. Now it is certain, that he, no where in scripture, tells 
an unbeliever that he has an interest in Christ's righteousness, 
pr that his sins are pardoned, or gives him any warrant to take 
comfort from any such conclusion ; but, on the other hand, 
such an one has no ground to conclude any other, concerning 
himself, but that he is a child of wrath ; for he is to judge of 
fliir.gs according to the tenor of God's revealed wil^. C^rif';t'^3 


righteousness is nothing to him in point of application ; he is 
guilty of bold presumption if he lays claim to it, or takes com- 
ibrt from ii, as much as he would be were he to say, some are 
elected, therefore I am. Nevertheless, 

3dy When a person believes, he has a right to conclude, that 
he is justified, or to claim all the privileges that result from it; 
and this is what we call justification by faith, which therefore 
cannot be before faith ; for that which gives a person a right 
to claim a privilege, must be antecedent to this claim ; or, that 
which is the foundation of a person's concluding himself to be 
justified, must be antecedent to his making this conclusion ; 
and in this respect, all who duly consider what they affirm, 
must conclude that justification is not before faith. 

[5.] From what has been said concerning the office or use 
of faith in justification, as it is an instrument that applies 
Christ's righteousness to ourselves, we infer; that it is more 
than an evidence of our justification : we do not indeed deny 
it to be an evidence that we were virtually justified in Christ 
as our head and representative, when he was raised from the 
dead, in the same sense as it is an evidence of our eternal elec- 
tion : but this is equally applicable to all other graces, and there- 
fore cannot be a true description of justifying faith. If we are 
justified by faith, only as it is an evidence of our^right to 
Christ's righteousness, we are as much justified by love, pa- 
tience, and submission to the divine will, or any other grace 
that accompanies salvation ; but they who speak of faith as on- 
ly an evidence, will not say that we are justified by all other 
graces, in the same sense as we are justified by faith ; and in- 
deed, the scripture gives us no warrant so to do. 

[6.] From what has been said concerning faith as giving us 
a right to claim Christ's righteousness, we infer; that a per- 
son is justified before he has what we call, the faith of assu- 
rance ; of which more hereafter : therefore we consider the 
grace of faith, as justifying or giving us a right to claim Christ's 
righteousness, whether we have an actual claim or no. This 
must be allowed, otherwise the loss of this assurance would in- 
fer the suspension or loss of our justification, and consequently 
would render our state as uncertain as our frames, or our peace 
with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, as liable to be lost 
as that peace and joy which we sometimes have in believing, 
and at other times are destitute of. 

[7.] From what has been said concerning justifying faith's 
being accompanied with all other graces, we infer; that that 
faidi which is justifying, is also a saving grace, or a grace which 
accompanier, salvation ; but yet there is this difference between 
saving faith, as we generally call it, and justifying, in that the 
former respects Christ in all his offices, the latter considers hipi 


only in his Priestly office, or as set foi»th to be a propitiation 
for sin. And this leads us to consider the grace of faith in its 
larger extent, both with respect to its acts and objects, as con- 
tained in the former of the answers we are explaining : and 

We arc now to consider the nature of faith in general, or of 
that faith, which, as before explained, we call justifying. There 
are some things in this grace which are common to it with 
other graces ; pai-ticularly, it is styled a saving grace, not as 
being the cause of our salvation, but as it accompanies, or is 
connected with it. Again, it is said to be wrought in the heart 
of a sinner, to distinguish it from other habits of a lower na- 
ture, which are acquired by us ; and it is said to be wrought 
by the Spirit and Word of God ; by his Spirit, as the principal 
efficient, who, in order thereunto, exerts his divine power ; an^l 
by the word, as the instrument which he makes use of. The 
Word presents to us the object of faith; and it is God's ordi' 
nance, in attending to which, he works and excites it. 

Moreover, there are several things supposed or contained in 
this gi-ace of faith, which are common to it, with other graces. 
As when a believer is said to be first convinced of sin and mi- 
sery, and of his being unable to recover himself out of the lost 
condition in which he is, by nature ; and the impossibility of 
his being recovered out of it by any other creature ; in all these 
respects, faith contains in it several things in common with 
other gi'acco ; particularly with conversion, effectual calling, and 
repentance unto life. These things, therefore, we shall pass over 
as being considered elsewhere, and confine ourselves to what is 
peculiar to this grace mentioned in this answer; only some few 
things may be obsei-ved concerning it, as it is styled a sav'ing 
grace, and wrought in the heart of man, by the Spirit and Word 
of God ; and we shall add some other things, of which we have 
no particular account in tlijs answer; which may contain a more 
full explication of this grace : in speaking to which, we shall 
observe the following method; 

I. We shall consider the meaning of the word faith, in the 
more general idea of it. 

II. We shall speak particularly concerning the various kinds 
oi faith. And, 

III. The various objects and acts of saving faith ; especially 
as it assents to the truth of the promise of the gospel, and re-- 
ceives, and rests upon, Christ and his righteousness, held forth 

IV. We shall consider it as a grace that accompanies sal- 
vation, and vv^rought in the heart by the power of the Spirit, 
and instrumentality of the word. 


V. We shall consider it as strong or weak, increasing or 
declining, with the various marks and evidences thereof. 

VI. SV'e shall speak of the use of faith in the whole conduct 
of our lives ; as every thing we do in an acceptable manner, is. 
said to be done by it. 

VII. We shall shew how it is to be attained or increased, 
and what are the means conducive thereunto. 

I. Concerning the meaning of. the word faith^ in the more 
general idea thereof. It is either ar» assent to a truth, founded 
on sufficient evidence ; or a confiding or relying on the word 
or power of one, who is able and willing to afford us sufficient 
help or relief.* 

1. As to the former of these, as it contains an assent to a 
truth proposed and supported by sufficient evidence. This is 
more especially an act of the understanding ; and it is neces- 
cessary, in oixler hereunto, that something be discovered to us, 
as the matter of our belief, which demands or calls for our as- 
sent ; and that is considered either only as true, or else, as true 
and good : if it be considercd only as true, the faith, or assent 
that is required thereunto is speculative ; but if we consider it 
not only as true, but good, or, as containing something redound- 
ing to our advantage ; then the fuith resulting from it is prac- 
tical, and seated partly in the understanding, and partly in the 
will ; or, at least, the will is influenced and inclined to embrace 
what the understanding not only assents to as true, but propo- 
ses to us as that which if enjoyed would tend very much to 
our advantage. 

As to this general description of faith, as an assent to what 
is reported, founded upon sufficient evidence, we may farther 
consider ; f that it is not in our power to believe a thing, un- 
less the judgment be convinced, and we have ground to con- 
clude it to be true, and accordingly there must be something 
which has a tendency to give this conviction ; and that it is 
what we call evidence : every thing that is reported is not to 
be credited ; since it has very often no appearance of truth in 
it : and it is reasonable for the understanding, to demand a proof 
before it } ields an assent ; and if it be a matter of report, then 
we are to consider the nature of t\\c evidence, whether it be 

* Tliis is vnmmonhj called fiducia, a7id as such, distivgnishecl from fides, by lu/ucfi 
the ffjiiner is generally ccprcssed. 

■j- In this respect fuith is contra distinguished frotn science ; accordingly -cc are 
said to k-no-.u a thing that is cuntainedin (in axiom, that ?io one, vho has the exercise 
of his understanding, can doubt o/", viz. that the tuhole is greiUar than the part; or, 
that a thing cannot be, and not ie at the same time, i/c. .ind every thing that is 
fminded on a mathematical denionttrudou, is included in the ivord science ; to iviuch 
-.lie may add occular demonstration. J\'o-.j these things are not properly the uhjecl of 
faith, or the asserit ve give to the truth herc'f, is 7iot founded barely ujion cviilenit\ 
jn which respect faith is distinguiihedfrbVi it ; fi/r r-'luch retison -xe call it an a''-fe:i' 
to a truth, founded on evidaKe. 


sufficient, or insufficient to persuade us to believe whnt is re- 
ported ; and according to the strength or credibility thereof, 
we believe, hesitate about it, or utterly reject it. If, according 
to our present view of things, it may be true or false, we hardly 
call it the object of faith ; we can only say concerning it, that 
it is probable ; if it be, on the other hand, attested by such evi- 
dence, as cannot, without scepticism be denied ; hence arises 
what we call certainty, or an assurance of faith, supported by 
the strongest evidence. 

Moreover, according to the nature of the evidence, or testi- 
mony, on which it is founded, it is distinguished into human 
and divine ; both of these are contained in the apostle's words, 
Jfxve receive the -witness of 7nen^ the witness of God is greater^ 
1 John V. 9. As for human testimony, though it may not be 
termed false, yet it can hardly be deemed any other than falli- 
ble, since it cannot be said concerning sinful man, that it is im- 
possible for him to lie or deceive, or be deceived himself; 
but when we believe a thing on the divine testimony, our faith 
is infallible : it is as impossible for us to be deceived as it is for 
God to impart that to us, which is contrary to his infinite ho- 
liness and veracity. It is in this latter sense that we consider 
the word faith, when we speak of it as an act of religious wor- 
ship, or included or supposed in our idea of saving faith ; and 
so we style it a firm assent to every thing that God has reveal- 
ed as founded on th% divine veracity. 

Let us now consider faith as it contains an assent to a thing, 
not only as true, but as good ,* upon which account we call it 
a practical assent, first seated in the understanding ; and then 
the will embraces what the understanding discovers to be con- ' 
ducive to our happiness ; we first believe the truth of it, and 
then regulate our conduct agreeably thereunto. As when a cri- 
minal hears a report of an act of grace being issued forth by 
the king, he does not rest in a bare assent to the truth thereof, 
but puts in his claim to it. Or, as when a merchant is credibly 
informed, that there are great advantages to be obtained by tra- 
ding into foreign countries ,* he receives the report with a de- 
sign to use all proper methods to partake of the advantage ; as 
our Saviour illustrates it, when he compares the kingdom of 
heave?! unto a merchant man seeking goodly pearls ; xvho, wlien 
he had found one pearl of great price^ went and sold all that he 
had, and bought, Matt. xiii. 45. We have sufficient evidence 
to support our faith, that there is forgiveness of sin, through 
the blood of Christ; and that all spiiitual blessings are trea- 
sured up in him, for the heirs of salvation : in this respect faith 
does not contain a bare speculative assent to the truth of this 
proposition ,; but it excites in us an endeavour to obtuifi tbe^e 


blessings In that way which is prescribed by him, who is the 
giver thereof. 

2. Faith may be farther considered, as denoting an act of 
trust or dependence on him, who is the object thereof. This is 
verj' distinct from the former sense of the word : for though it 
supposes indeed an assent of the understanding to some truth 
proposed ; yet this truth is of such a nature, as that it produces 
in us a resting or reliance on one who is able, and has expressed 
a willingness to do us good ; and whose promise relating here- 
unto, is such, as we bave ground to depend on. This supposes 
in him, who is the subject thereof, a sense of his own weak- 
ness or indigence, and in him that is the object of it, a fitness 
to be the object of trust, for his attaining relief: tlius the sick 
man depends upon the skill and faithfulness of the physician, 
and determines to look no fartlier for lielp^ but relies on his 
prescriptions, and uses the means that he appoints for the re- 
storing of his healtii ; or, as when a person is assaulted by one 
who threatens to ruin him, and is able to do it, as being an 
over-match for him, he has recourse to, and depends on the 
assistance of one that is able to secure and defend him, and 
thereby prevent the danger that he feared. Thus Jehosbaphat, 
when his country was invaded by a great multitude of foreign 
troops, being apprehensive that he was not able to withstand 
them ; he exercises this faith of reliance on the divine power, 
when he says, JFe have no might against this great company^ 
that come against lis ; neither know xve ruhat to do^ but our eyes 
are upon thee^ 2 Chron. xx. 19. And God is very often, in 
scripture, represented as tlic object of trust : so the church says, 
I will trusty and not be afraid ; for the Lord Jehovah is my 
strength; and elsewhere, he that walketh in darkness and hath 
no light^ Isa. xij. 2. that is, knows not which way to turn, is 
helpless and destitute of all conafort, is encouraged to trust in 
the name of the Lord^ and stay upon his God^ chap. 1. 10. This 
is truly and properly a divine faith, and accordingly an act of 
religious worship ; and is opposed to a trusting in man, atid 
vxaking ficsh his arm, Jer. xvii, 5. and it supposes a firm per- 
suasion, that God is able to do all that for us which we stand 
in need of; and that he bas promised that he will do us good, 
and that he Avill never fail nor forp.ke them that repose their 
trust or confidence in him : with this view the soul relies on 
his perfections, seeks to him for comfort, and lays tiie whole 
stress of his hope of salvation on him, not doubting concerning 
the event hereof, but concluding hims'jlf safe, if lie can say, that 
the eternal God is his refuge, and underneath are the everlast- 
ing arms, Dcut. xxxili. 27. This leads us, 

II. To consider the various kinds of faith, as mentioned in 
scripture. Thus we read of a faith that v.-as adapted la that 

Vol. Ill Q 


extraordinary dispensation of providence, in which God was 
pleased to confirm some great and important truths by mira- 
cles ; which is therefore styled a faith of miracies. There is 
also a faith that has no reference to a supernatural event, or 
confined to any particular age or state of the church, in whicK 
miracles are expected, but is founded on the gospel-revelation, 
which, how much soever it may resemble saving faith, yet falls 
short of it ; and there is a faith which is inseparably connected 
with salvation. 

1. Concerning the faith of miracles. This is what our Sa- 
viour intends, when he tells his disciples, That if they had faith- 

• as a grain of mustard-seed^ they should saij unto this mountain^ 
■Remove hence to yonder plac.e^ and it should remove ; and no- 
thing shoxdd be impossible unto them^ Matt. xvii. 20. This is 
such a faith that many had, who were not in a state of salva- 
tion ; as is plain from what our Saviour says, that many xvili 
say to him in that day^ Lord^ Lord^ have xve not prophesied in 
thy name ? and in thij 7iame have' cast out devils ? and in thif 
name have done many •wonderful zvorks ? to -whom he xvill pro- 
fess I never knew you; and his commanding them to deport 
from him as haying wrought iniquity, chap. vii. 22, 23. And 

the apostle Paul supposes, that a person might have all faith^ 
that is, this kind of faith ; so that he might remove mountains^ 
1 Cor. xiii. 2. which is a proverbial expression, denoting, that 
extraordinary and miraculous events might attend it; and yet, 
at the same time, be destitute of charity^ or love to God, and 

• consequently without saving grace; and so appear, in the end, 
to be nothing. 

Some have questioned whether this faith of miracles was 
peculiar to the gospel-dispensation, in the time of our Saviour 
and the apostles, and so was not reqviirecl in those who wrought 
miracles under the Old Testament dispensation ; thougli others 
suppose, that, from the nature of the thing, it was alv/avs ne- 
cessary that faith should be exercised, when a miracle was 
wrought ; though it is true, we have little or no account of 
this faith, as exercised by those that wrought miracles before 
our Saviour's time ; and therefore, we cannot so peremptorily 
determine this matter ; but according to the account we have 
thereof in the New Testament, there were several things ne- 
cessary to, or included in this faith of miracles. 

(1.) Some important article of revealed religion must be 
proposed to be believed ; and in order thereunto, an explicit 
appeal made to God, in expectation of his immediate interpo- 
sure in working a miracle for that end : every thing that was 
the object of faith, was not, indeed, to be proved true by a 
miracle, but only those things which could not be sufficiently 
evinced without it, so as to beget a divine faith in those who 


were the subjects of conviction. We never read that miracles 
were wrought to convince the world that there was a God, or 
a providence ; or, to persuade men concerning the truth of 
those things that might be sufficiently proved by rational argu- 
ments : but when there could not be such a proof given with- 
out the finger of God being rendered visible by a miracle 
wrought, then they depended on such an instance of divine con- 
descension; and the people who were to receive conviction, 
were to expect such an extraordinary event. 

(2.) It was necessary that there should be a firm persuasion 
of the truth of the doctrine, to be confirmed by a miracle ia 
him that wrought it, together with an explicit appeal to it for 
the conviction of those whose faith was to be confirmed there- 
by : and sometimes we read, that when miracles were to be 
wrought in favour of them, who before had a sufficient proof 
that our Saviour was the Messiah, it was necessary that they 
should have a strong persuasion concerning this matter, and 
that he was able to vrork a miracle ; otherwise they had no 
ground to expect that the miracle should be wrought : in the 
former instance we read of Christ's disciples working mira- 
cles for the conviction of the Jews, and exercising, at the same 
time, this faith of miracles ; and in the latter a general faith 
was demanded, that our Saviour was the Messiah, before the 
miracle was wrought ; in which sense we are to understand his 
reply to the man who desired that he would cast the Devil out 
of his son; If thou canst believe^ all things are possible to him 
that believeth, Mark ix. 23. ^. d. Thou hast had sufficient con- 
viction that I am the Messiah, by other miracles, and conse- 
quently hast no reason to doubt but that I can cast the Devil 
out of thy son ; therefore, if thou hast a strong persuasion of 
the truth hereof, the thing that thou desirest shall be granted : 
and elsewhere it is said, Ife did not manif migiity works be- 
cause of their unbelief Matt. xiii. 58. 

(3.) How much soever a person might exercise this strong 
persuasion, that a miracle should be wrought, which we gene- 
rally call a faith of miracles ; yet I cannot think that this event 
always ensued without exception. For sometimes God might 
refuse to work a miracle, that he might hereby cast contempt 
on some vile persons, who pretended to this faith of miracles ; 
who, though they professed their faith in Christ as the Mes- 
biah, yet their conversation contradicted their profession, and 
therefore God would not put that honour upon them so as to 
work a miracle at their desire; much less are we to suppose, 
iTiat he Avould work a miracle at any one's pleasure, if they 
were persuaded that he would do so. Again, sometimes God 
might refuse to exert his divine power, in working a miracle, 
in judgment, when persons had had sufficient means for their. 


conviction by other miracles, but believed not. And finally, 
when the truth of the Christian religion had been sufficiently 
confirmed by miracles, they were less common; and then we 
read nothing more of that faith which took its denomination 
from thence. 

2. There is another kind of faith, which has some things in 
common \vith saving faith, and is sometimes mistaken for it, 
but is vastly difterent from it. This, in some, is called an 
historical faith ; and in others, by reason of the short conti- 
nuance thereof, a temporary faith. An historical faith is that 
whereby persons are convinced of the truth of v'hat is reveal- 
ed in the gospel, though this has very little infi'Jlcnce on their 
conversation : such have right notions of divine things, but do 
•not entertain a suitable regard to them; religion with them is 
little more than a matter of speculation ; they do not doubt con- 
cerning any of the important doctrines of the gospel, but are 
able and ready to defend them by proper arguments : never-^ 
iheless, though, in words, they profess their faith in Christ, iu 
works they deny him : such as these the apostle intends when 
he says; Tlioit believest that there is one God^ thou dost well: 
the devils also believe and tremble^ James ii. 19. And he char- 
ges them with a vain presumption, in that they expected to be 
justified hereby ; whereas their faith was without works, or 
those fruits which were necessary to justify, or evince irs sin- 
ceritv ; or to prove that it was such a grace as accompanies 
salvation ; and therefore he gives it no better a character than 
that of a dead faith. 

As for that v/hich is called a temporary faith, this differs 
little from the former, unless we consider it, as having a ten- 
dency, in some measure, to excite the affections; and so far 
to regulate the conversation, as that which is attended with a 
form of godliness, which continues as long as this comports 
with, or is subservient to their secular interest : but it is not 
such a faith as will enable them to pass through fiery trials, or 
part with all things for Christ's sake, or to rejoice in him, as 
their portion, when they meet with little but tribulation and 
persecution, in the v/orld, for the sake of the gospel. This 
will evidently discover the insincerity thereof; for it will wi- 
ther like a plant that is without a root: our Saviour speaks of 
it in the parable, of the seed that fell upon stony places^ -where 
they had not much earthy and forlhzvith they sprang vp^ be- 
cause they had no deepness of earth ; and when the sun was up, 
they xvere scorched ; and because they hod no root they wither-' 
ed away ; v/hich he explains of him, ivho heareth the word^ 
and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself y 
but endureth for a ivhile ; for when tribidation or persecution 
<i,risethj because of thy xvord^ by and by he is offended, Matt^ 


siii. 5, 6. compared with ver. 20, 21. This parable had a par- 
ticular relation to the Jews, who heard John the Baptist glad- 
ly, rejoicing in his light for a season; and seemed to be con- 
vinced, by his doctrine, concerning the Messiah, who was 
shortly to appear; but when they apprehended that his king- 
dom, instead of advancing them to great honours in the world, 
was like to expose them to tribulations and persecutions they 
were offended in him ; and this is also applicable to all those 
who think themselves something, and are thought so by others, 
as to the profession they make of Christ and his gospel ; but 
afterwards appear to be nothing, deceiving their own souls. 
This leads us, 

3. To consider faith as a grace that is inseparably connected 
with salvation, which is called justifying faith, and also a sav- 
ing grace, in this answer, in which the nature thereof is ex- 
plained ; and what may be farther said concerning it will be 
considered under the following heads, which we proposed to 
insist on in the general method before laid down; and therefore 
we shall proceed, 

III. To speak concerning the various objects and acts of 
saving faith. 

1. Concerning its objects. Every thing that is the object 
thereof, must take its rise from God ; for we are now speaking 
concerning a divine faith; and inasmuch as saving faith sup- 
poses and includes in it an assent to the truth of divine reve- 
lation, we are bound to believe whatever God has revealed in 
his word ; so that as all scripture is the rule of faith, the mat- 
ter thereof is the object of faith : and as scripture contains an 
historical relation of things, these are the objects of faith, and 
we are to yield an assent to what God reveals, as being of in- 
fallible verity. As it is a rule of duty and obedience, v/e are 
bound to believe so as to adore the sovereignty of God, com- 
manding to submit to his authority therein, as having a right 
to give laws to our consciences, and acknowledge ourselves 
his subjects and servants, under an indispensable obligation to 
yield the obedience of faith to him : as it contains many 
great and precious promises, these are the objects of faith, as 
we are to desire, hope for, and depend on the faithfulness of 
God for the accomj^lishment of them ; and more particularly 
considering them as they are all, yea and amen, in Christ to 
the glory of God. As for the threatnings which relate to the 
wrath oi God, due to sin, and warnings to fence the soul against 
it, and induce us to abhor and hate it; these are objects of 
faith, so far as that we must believe and tremble, and see the 
need we stand in of grace, which we receive by faith to ena- 
ble us to improve them, that through the virtue of Christ's 
qghteousness we mav hope to escape his wrath ; and by his 


Strength be fortified against the prevalency of corruption, that 
has proved destructive to multitudes. 

But the principal object of faith is God in Christ, our great 
Mediator ; (<?) thus our Saviour says, Te believe in God^ believe 
also in me, John xiv. 1. This is sometimes styled coming to 
the Father by him ; as it is elsewhere said. No man cometh un- 
to the Father but by me: or else, coming to him as Mediator 
immediately, that in him we may obtain whatever he has pur- 
chased for us, and thereby may have access to God, as to our 
reconciled God and Father ; and in so doing, obtain eternal 
life, as he expresses it ; He that cometh to me shall 7iever liwi' 
ger ; and he that believeth on me shall never thirsty chap. vi. 35. 
Which leads us to consider, 

2. Those particular acts of saving faith, in which we have to 
do with Christ as Mediator, whereby we have access to God; 
through him : there are several expressions in scripture, by 

^a) Truth m the abstract is not the object of faith, but that which is true. 
Tlie word of God when represented as the object of faith is not to be understood 
of words and letters, nor even of axioms and propositions, nor is the Divine ve- 
racity, though certainly cnnHded in, the object of laith, or that which is assent- 
ed unto. The promisf'"; v>hich the old testament -believers had, and reposed in, 
were not the objects of faith, but the things which they saw afar off, and which 
were the ground of their rejoicing. When we are required to believe on Jesus 
Christ, it is not his human, not his Divine nature, not his person, nor even his 
mediatorial character which is the object of our faith ; for any of these alone 
could be no ground of confidence of salvation, or hope, much less produce joy 
in the believer. Every thing essential to our salvation must be considered, as 
the object of our faith; the mercy of God, the love of Christ, the purpose and 
the act of offering, and accepting the sacrifice to Justice of our sins, and the war- 
rant tons to fi-N; our hope and trust in this atonement; the firm con\iction of the 
truth of these things may be denominated faith. 

Yet this conviction, or free assent of the understanding is not the faith, which 
accompanies salvation; if we can suppose it possible, that there should not be a 
rorresponding impression made upon the will and affections. With the heart 
rnxm believeth unto salvatio7i. In this expression the heart is not put for the in- 
tellectual, but moral powers, and must not be understood as if the will assumed 
the office, peculiar to the understanding, of judging of evidence; but only that 
the assent of the understanding must be of such a kind, and to such a degree, as 
to produce a decisive co-operation of all the powers of tlie man, both of soul 
aiid bod)-, to be s.aved in the way, and by the means discovered. 

Such an effort for srdvation supposes the bent, or bias of the mind to be in- 
clined towards God, and his glory. And certain it is, that the wok, or act of 
believing, depends so much upon the moral state of the man, that although he 
may assent to every article of faith, and desire an interest in the advantages of 
religion, he never believes with the heart in the sense above mentioned, until this 
charge has been wrought in him. On this account faith may well be denomina- 
ted the work or gift of God, for he only, according to the scriptures can effect 
tiiis change. 

Yet it Ts not because tliere is any defect in the evidence of these important 
truths; nor because of any natural, that is physical, defect of the intellectual 
poM-ers of man, that he does not believe the Divine revelation ; but because his 
affections are preoccupied, and his inclinations directed into another channel, 
whereby he is unwilling to ajjply himself unto these truths, and is prejudiced 
against the holiness, which is requked, and the self denial tttat is necessary to 
attain the blessiugs of salvation. 


which these acts of saving faith are set forth, some of which 
are metaphorical; more particularly it is called a looking to 
him ; thus he is represented, by the prophet, as saying. Look 
unto me^ and be ye saved all the ends of the earthy Isa. xlv. 22. 
Sometimes by coming to him, pursuant to the invitation he 
gives, Come unto me all ye that labour^ and are heavy laden^ 
and I xvill give you rest^ Mat. xi. 25. which coming is else- 
where explained, as in the scripture before-mentioned, by be- 
lieving' in him, John vi. 35. And as we hope for refreshment 
and comfort in so doing, it is set forth by that, metaphorical 
expression, of comirig to the waters and buying wine and ??iilk 
xvithout money and without price^ Isa.lv. 1. that is, receiving 
from him those blessings which tend to satisfy and exhilirate 
the soul, which are given to such as have nothing to offer for 
them ; and sometimes it is represented by flying to him ; or, 
as the apostle expresses it, fiyi^^g for refuge to laij hold upon 
the hope set before us y Heb. vi. 18. as alluding to that eminent 
type thereof, contained 'va.\ the man-slayer's flying to the city 
of refuge, from the avenger of blood, and therein finding pro- 
tection and safety : this is a description more especially of faith 
as justifying ; in which respect it is elsewhere described, as a 
putting on the Lord Jesus Christ, Rom. xiii. 14. or the glori- 
ous robe of his righteousness, on which account we are said to 
be clothed with the garments of salvation, and covered ivith tkf 
robe of righteousness, Isa. Ixi. 10. And when we are enabled 
to apprehend our interest in him by faith, together with the 
blessings that are the result hereof, we are said to rejoice ia 
Christ Jesus. There are many other expressions by which 
this grace is set forth in scripture ; but those acts thereof, 
which we shall more especially consider, are our receiving 
Christ, giving up ourselves to him, and trusting in, or relying 
on him. 

(1.) Faith is that grace whereby we receive Christ. Thus 
it is said, as many as received him, to them gave he power to 
become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his naine^ 
John i. 12. This contains in it the application of an overture 
made by him ; not barely of something that he has to bestow, 
which might contribute to our happiness, but of himself. Christ 
has many things to bestow upon his people ; but he first gives 
himself; that is, he expresses a willingness to be their Prince 
and Saviour, their Prophet, Priest, and King; that being thus 
related, and adhering to him, they may be made partakere of 
his benefits, which are the result thereof; and accordingly the 
soul, by faith applies itself to him, and embraces the overture. 
Hereupon he is said to be ours; and, as the consequence there- 
of, we lay claim to those benefits which he has purchased for 
us, as our Redeemer. Clirist ir. considered as the first pro- 

128 OF JUSTlrYIXG rAlTIf. 

mised blessing in the covenant of grace ; and xvith him God 
freehj g'ives his people all things that they stand in need of, 
v/hich respect their everlasting salvation, Rom. viii. 32. 

This supposes the person receiving him to be indigent and 
destitute of every thing that may tend to make him happ}', 
brought into the greatest straits and difficulties, and standing 
in need of one who is able to afford relief to him. He has 
heard in the gospel, that Christ is able to supply his wants ; 
and that he is willing to come and take up his abode with him ', 
accordingly the heart is open to embrace him, esteeming him 
to be altogether lovely and desirable, beholding that excellen- 
cy and glory in his person, that renders him the object of his 
delight, as he is said to be precious to them that believe^ 1 Pet, 
ii. 7. looking upon him as God-man Mediator, he concludes, 
that he is able to save, to the uttermost, all that come unto 
God by him ; and that all the treasures of grace and glory are 
purchased by him, and given into his hand to apply to those 
who have an interest in him : he expects to find them all in 
Christ, as the result of his being made partaker of him ; and 
accordingly he adheres to him by this which is called an ap- 
propriating act of faith; whereby he that was before represent- 
ed in the gospel, as the Saviour and Redeemer of his people, 
the fountain of all they enjoy or hope for, and by whom they 
have access to God, as their reconciled God and Father, is ap- 
plied by the soul, to itself, as the spring of all its present and 
future comfort and happiness. («) 

(a) Faith, according to the beloved disciple John, and the great St. Paul, is the 
helief of the truth; the believing that Jesus is the Christ ; or a giving credit to the 
record that God gave of /as Son. These definitions are all ot" tlie same import, 
and are all divine. Being dictated by tlie Spirit of Cod, they cannot be contra- 
dicted by any, although some have glossed upon them, till they liave brought in 
a sense diverse from the inspired writers. Tliis faith, when it is real, as dis- 
tinguished from that uninfluential assent to the gospel, which crowds, who hear 
it, profess to have, is an eilect of the divine inf.uence in us; hence it is said to be (^ 
the operation of God; and that it is -with the heart man believeth unto righteous- 
ness. As the righteousness by wliich the sinner is justified, is the sole work of 
Christ /or him, so this is the work of the Holy Gliost in him, and no less neces- 
sary in its proper place; it being that, without which a sinner cannot apprehend, 
receive, and rest upon Christ for eternal life. By faith, as before observed, be 
becomes acquainted with tlie glories of the chafactcr of Jesus, the fulress of 
grace in him, and the suitableness and perfection of his rigliteousness ; in con- 
sequence of this faith, he admires the Saviour'.s personal excellencies, flies to 
him, ventures all upon him, and rejoices in bini. Tiicse, to speak plainly, are 
all so many effects of fltith. The sinner must have a view of the Saviour's ex- 
cellency, before he will admire it. He must be persuaded, that Cln-ist is the 
only safe refuge, btfore he wWl JJy to him. He must know that there is in Christ 
sufficient matter of consolation, before he will rejoice in him. Of all these he is 
entirely satisfied by faith m the testimony of God : .subsequent to which is his 
coming, or fying to him, trusting in, or venturing all upon him, rejoicing m 
him, &c. e.g. Joseph's brethren heard that there was corn enough inEgyiDt; 
they believed the report : tliis was faith ; upon this they went down tor a sup- 
ply. Doabtles? t!;'? was nx\ efcct of thej? faitli ; for had they not believed the 


(2.) Another act of faith is giving up ourselves to Christ. 
As, in the covenant of grace, God says, I will be to them a 
God^ ami they shall be to iv.e a people^ faith builds on this foun- 
dation; it first apprehends that he is able and willing to do 
them good, and make them happy in the enjoyment of him- 
self; and with this encouragement the soul receives him, as 
has been but now observed; and pursuant hereunto devotes it- 
self to him, as desiring to be amongst the number of his faith- 
" — *■• ■ - ■■ . • ■ 

ti'l'ing's, Uiev would never have pone. So a sinner must believe that Christ is a 
full and complete Saviour, bejlrehe will itm or Jly to him. Sense ofniisei'y, and 
faith in his sufficiency, are the main stimulus. Or, I am sick, I hear of an able 
physician, 1 believe him to be so, upon which I apply to him : my application 
to him, and my <5^i'i<f/'of' his character, are as distinct as any two things can be: 
my trusting my life ni his hands, is an effect of my believing him to be an able 
physician. This distinction is obvious in the sacred writing's, as well as in the 
nature of things. He that comcth to God, must believe that he is. Here is a mani- 
fest distinction between coming- and believing. 

1 apprehend that tlie same distinction should be observed, between believii-'g 
in Christ, a.nd. receiving him. If so, it will follow, that " to receive Christ in 
all his offices, as a prophet, a priest, and a king," is not properly /a/;A, but an 
e^ec^ofit, and inseparably connected with it. It is certain that a man must 
believe that Jesus is the Christ, and that he sustains these offices, before he can 
or will receive him in this light. Christ came unto his o-mn (meaning the Jews) 
but his own received him not. This refusing to receive him was not unbelief, but 
an effect of it. Hence shotdd you be asked, why they did not receive him .'' The 
answer is ready, because they did not believe him to be the Christ. Nothing is 
more plain than that unbelief was the grand cause why they rejected him. On 
tlie other hand, nothing is more evident, than that receiving Christ, is an effect 
oi' believing in him. And should j-ou ask the man who defines faith, '• a receive- 
ing Christ in all his offices," why he thus receives him.' he himself will be obli- 
ged to observe this distinction ; for the only just answer he can give you is, " fe- 
cause I believe he sustains them." 

Thus we see that faith is entirely distinct from the righteousness which jus- 
tifies ; at the same time it is indispensably necessary, answering great and good 
purposes. Under its influence the sinner J/ies to Jesus, the hope set before him, 
and ti'usts his immortal interest in his hands, being perfectly satisfied with hi.s 
adorable character. Faith is also the medium of peace and consolation. You 
may with equal propriety attempt t© separate light aiKl heat from the sim, as 
peace of conscience, and joy in the Holy Ghost, from the faith of God's efect. 
The degiee of Christian consolation may be greater or less, according to the 
strcngth and influence of faith. At one time the believer may have an inward 
peace and tranquility, which is exceedingly agreeable. At another time he may 
be favoured with what St. I'aul culls Jo^ unnpeakuble and full of glory . At ano- 
ther, guilt may rob him of his comfort, and separate between him and his God. 
Sucli are his exercises in the present state of things. But he is far from making 
a righteousness of his frames, feeliiigs, or experiences. The distinction between 
these he well undersUmds. '\'\\ti nghtenusneis hy which he expects to be jus- 
tified, is the work of Christ alone ; X\\t faith by which he is enabled to receive it, 
is of the operation of God; the consolations that he enjoys are from this glorious 
Clirist, in believing, or through faith : all as different as A, B, and C. His de- 
pendence for acceptance with God is neither on his faith nor experiences, but 
on Clirist aloiie. At tlie same time he cannot conceive it possible, for a poor, 
wretched, undone siinier to be e«iabled to believe in Christ for ctenial life, and 
nt rejoice. A view of tlie g'lories of his person, and the fulness and fieeness of 
l.is grace, cannot fall of introducing strong consolation. 

Vol. IIL R 


ful Servants and followers. God sanctifies or separates therr? 
to himself as the objects of his discriminating grace and love ; 
and they desire, as the consequence hereof, to give up them-* 
selves to him. Two things are supposed in this act of self-de- 

1st, A firm persuasion and acknowledgment of his right to 
us ; not only as the possessor of all things, which he has an un- 
doubted right to as God, as the potter has a right to his clay, 
the Creator to the work of his hands ; but that he has a right 
to us by purchase, as Mediator, in which respect faith, and in 
particular, that which we call saving, of which we are now 
speaking, has more Especially an eye to him ; Te are not your 
own, says the apostle, ybr ye are bought with a price, 1 Cot. vi. 
20. and therefore this act of faith is an ascribing to him that 
glory which he lays claim to by right of redemption : and as 
God has constituted him heir of all things, more especially of 
those who are called his peculiar treasure : so the believer gives 
up himself to him. Before this, the matter in dispute was, who 
is Lord over us ? Whether we ought to be at our own dispo- 
sal or his ? Whether it be expedient to sen'e divers lusts and 
J>leasures, or be subject to him as our supreme Lord and Law- 
giver ? But the soul is thoroughly convinced, by the internal 
efficacious work of the Spirit, that our great Mediator is made 
of God, both Lord and Christ ; and that no one has a right to 
stand in competition with him ; and that we owe not only what 
we can do, but even ourselves unto him ; and as the result 
hereof, devotes itself to him by faith. 

2d, This also supposes that we are sensible of the many 
blessings that he has in store for his people ; and therefore we 
give up ourselves to him in hope of his doing all that for us, 
and working all that grace in us which is necessary to our sal- 
vation ; but more of this will be insisted on, when we consider 
him as the object of trust. All that I shall add at present, un- 
der this head, is, that having this view of the person of Christy 
as one who demands obedience, love and gratitude from us^ 
we give up ourselves entirely, and without reserve, to him : 
thus the apostle says, They Jirst gave their oxvn selves to the 
Lord, 2 Cor. viii. 5. and exhorts the church to yield themselves 
unto God^ as those that zvere alive from the dead, Rom. vi. 13. 
and, to present their bodies, that is, themselves, and not barely 
the lower or meaner part of themselves, a living sacrifice, holy 
and acceptable to God, which is their reasonable service, chap, 
xii. 1. and as the result hereof, we say by faith. Lord, truly I 
am thy servant, and desire to be so for ever ; work in me what 
thou reqai rest, and then command what thou pleasest: I am 
^uvively vtt thy disposal, do with me as seemeth good iu thy 


Sight ; only let all the dispensations of thy providence be in- 
stances of thy love, and made subservient to my salvation. 

This is represented as our solemn act and deed ; whereby, 
with the most mature deliberation, we make a surrender of 
ourselves to him : the prophet speaks of it as though it were 
done by an instrument or deed of conveyance ; and our con- 
sent to be his, is represented by a giving up our nam^s to him j 
One shall sai/, lam the Lord^s., and another shall call himself by 
the name of Jacob ; and another shall subscribe with his hand 
unto the Lord^ and sir name himself by the na^ne of Israel^ Isa. 
xliv. 5. This is done with the highest veneration, as an act of 
religious worship, and with the greatest humility, as being sen- 
sible that we give him nothing more than his own ; that he is 
not profited hereby, but the advantage redounds entirely to us. 
We do It with judgment; as faith always supposes a convic- 
tion of the judgment, it considers those relations which Christ 
stands in to his people, and endeavours to behave itself in con* 
formity thereunto : we are desirous hereby to give up ourselves 
to him as a Prophet, to be led and guided by him in the way 
of salvation; as a Priest, to give us a right to eternal* life, as 
the purchase of his blood ; as an Advocate to plead our cause ; 
and as a King to give laws to us, and defend us from the in- 
sults of our spiritual enemies, and advance us to those honours 
which he has laid up for his faithful subjects. We give up our- 
selves to him to worship him in all his oi-dinances, in hope of 
his presence and blessing to attend them, in order to our spi- 
ritual and eternal advantage ; and we do all this without the 
least reserve or desire to have any will separate from, or con-! 
trary to his. 

(3.) Another act of faith consists in a fixed, unshaken trust 
and reliance upon him. This, as was before observed, is a very 
common and known acceptation of the wcxrd faiths As we de- 
pend on his promise, as a God that cannot lie, and. give up our- 
selves to him, as one that has a right to us ; so we trust him, as 
one whom we can safely confide in, and lay the whole stress of 
our salvation upon. This act of faith is more frequently insisted 
on in scripture than any other, it being a main ingredient in all 
other graces that accompany salvation ; and there is nothing by 
which God is more glorified : it is not one single perfection of 
the divine nature tliat is the object thereof; but every thing 
which he has made known concerning himself, as conducive to 
our blessedness ; we trust him with all we have, and for all that 
we want or hope for. This implies in it a sense of our own in- 
sufficiency and nothingness, and of his all-sufficient fulness. The 
former of these is what is sometimes styled a soul emptying 
act of faith ; it is that whereby we see ourselves to be nothing, 
cot only as we eanoot be profitable to God, or lay him under any 


obligations to us, as those who pretend to merit any good at his 
hand, but as unable to perform any good action without his as- 
sistance ; in this respect it says, suyely, in the Lord have I righ- 
teousness and strength, Isa. xlv. 24. and there is nothing tends 
more to humble and abase the soul before him than this. 

And hereby we are led to another act, which more immedi- 
ately contains the formal nature of faith ; in which it depends 
on the all-sufficiency of God, and his faithfulness to supply our 
wants, and bestow the blessings which he has promised : God 
the Father is the object of this trust or dependence, as the di- 
vine All-sufficiency is glorified, grace imparted, and the pro- 
mises thereof fulfilled by him, through a Mediator ; and Christ 
is the object thereof, as the soul apprehends him to be full of 
grace and truth; sees the infinite value of his merit, and his 
ability to make good all the promises of the covenant of grace, 
and thereby to render him completely blessed. When we trust 
Christ with all we have, or hope for, this supposes that there 
is something valuable M'hich we either enjoy or expect ; and 
that we are in danger of losing it, unless it be maintained by 
him, who has undertaken to icep his people by his power 
through faith unto salvation^ 1 Pet. i. 5. and to perfect what 
concerns them. We have souls more valuable than the whole 
world, and we commit the keeping- of our souls to him in well- 
doing as unto a faithful Creator^ chap. iv. 19. and merciful Re- 
deemer ; being assured that 7i07ie shall be able to phick them out 
of his hajid, John x, 28-, and v.'^e also commit all the graces which 
he has wrought m us to him, to maintain and carry on to per- 
fection. And since we are assured, that all the promises are in 
his hand, and that he has engaged to make them good to us, we 
are encouraged to trust him for all that we expect, namely, that 
he will conduct us safely and comfortably through this world, 
and at last receive us to glory ; and in so doing, we have the 
highest satisfaction ; or, as the apostle expresses it, We know 
whom rvs have believed, or tiusted, and are persuaded that he 
is able to keep xvhat we have committed unto him against that 
day, 2 Tim. i. 12. or the day of his second coming, when grace 
shall be consummate in glor)'. 

These acts of faith are generally styled, by divines, direct; 
in which we have more immediately to do with Christ, as our 
great Mediator, or God the Father in him ; and being, proper- 
ly speaking, acts of religious worship, the object thereof must 
be a divine person. But there is another sense of the word 
faith ; which, as it does not contain in it any act of trust or de- 
pendence, as the former does, so it has not God for its imme- 
diate object, as that has ; and this is what we call the reflex act 
of faith, or the soul's being persuaded that it believes ; that 
tjiose ?tcts of faith which have God or Christ fox their object, 


are true and genuine. This ever}' one cannot conclude at all 
times, who is really enabled to put forth those direct acts oi 
faith, that we have been speaking of; and it is the result of 
self-examination, accompanied with the testimony of the Holy 
Spirit to his own work. 

Some indeed have questioned the propriety of the expres- 
sion, when this is styled an act of faith ; as supposing that no- 
thing can be so called, but what hath a divine person for its 
object : but we have before considered that faith, in a sense 
different from that in which we have now explained it, may be 
conversant about divine things ; therefore, as we may be said, 
by a direct act of faith, to trust in Christ ; we may be persua- 
ded, by this reflex act, that Ave do so : and this is more imme- 
diately necessary to assurance, together with that joy and peace 
which we are said to have in believing. But this we shall have 
occasion to insist on under a following answer.* 

IV. We are now to consider this grace of faith as that which 
accompanies salvation, upon which account it is called a saving 
grace ; and also, that it is wrought in the heart by the power 
of the Spirit, and by the instrumentality of the word. We do 
not suppose that every act of faith denominates a person to be 
in a state of salvation ; for there is a bare assent to the truth of 
divine revelation, that may, in a proper sense, be sty\td faith ; 
and there may be an external dedication to God, a professed 
subjection to him, which falls short of that faith which has been 
before described, as it does not proceed from a renewed nature, 
or a principle of spiritual life implanted in the soul. There may 
be a willingness and a desire to be saved, when the heart is not 
purified by faith ; a hearing the word with gladness, rejoicing 
in the light that is imparted thereby, for a season, and doing 
many things pursuant thereunto, in some, who shall not be sa- 
ved : but faith is often-times described as referring to and end- 
ing in salvation ; thus we are said to believe to the saviyig of the 
sout^ Heb. X. 39. and, to receive the end of our faith^ even the 
salvation of our souls^ 1 Pet. i. 9. This consists, more espe- 
cially, in those acts of faith, that contain in them an entire sub- 
jection of all the powers and faculties of the soul to Christ, 
arising from the views which it has of his glory, and its ex- 
perience of his almighty power, which is not only the way to, 
but die fast fruits of everlasting salvation. This is such a re- 
ceiving and resting on Christ for salvation, as has been before 

And this grace is farther said to be wrought in the heart of 

a sinner, by the Spirit. We have before considered effectual 

calling, as a work of divine power, and proved, that the Spirit 

is the author of it;t and tiiut they, who are effectually called, 

• SefQuerr.lxxx. t See pa^e 3% ante. 


are enabled to accept of, and embrace the grace offered in <l)e 
gospel; from whence it is evident, that faith is the fruit and 
consequence of our effectual calling ; and therefore it must be 
a work of the almighty power and grace of the Holy Spirit. 
And, this it farther appears to be, from that account which we 
have thereof in several scriptures : thus the apostle Peter, de- 
scribing those he writes to, as having obtained like precious faith ^ 
through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 
and also as having all things that pertain unto godliness^ in 
which faith is certainly included, he ascribes this to the divine 
power ^ 2 Pet. i. 1. compared with the 3rd verse. And else- 
where we read of the exceeding greatness of the power of God 
exerted in them that believe^ Eph. i. 19. And when the work 
of faith is carried on, or fulfilled in the souls of those in whom 
it was begun, it is considered as an effect of the same power, 
2 Thess. i. 11. And, as all that grace, which is the effect of di- 
vine power, is ascribed to the Holy (ihost, when he is said 
hereby, as acting in subserviency to the Father and Son, to de- 
monstrate his Personal glory : so the work of faith, in this re- 
spect, is represented as his work ; upon which account he is 
called the Spirit of faith, 2 Cor. iv. 13. 

But that which we shall more particularly consider is, that 
this grace of faith is wrought by the instrumentality of the 
V'ord. We have before observed, that the principle of grace, 
implanted in regeneration, is the immediate effect of the divine 
power, without the instrumentality of the v/ord ', but when the 
Spirit works faith, and all other graces, which proceed from 
that principle, then he makes use of the word : thus the apos- 
tle says. Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of 
God, Rom. X. 17. As it is necessary, in order to our seeing any 
object, that the eye be rightly disposed and fitted for sight, and 
the object presented to it : so there are two things necessary to 
faith, namely, the soul's being changed, renewed, quickened, 
and so prepared to act this grace ; and the objects being pre- 
sented to it, about which it is to be conversant ; which latter is 
done by the word of God : so that the soul is first internally 
disposed to receive what God is pleased to reveal relating to the 
v/ay of salvation by Jesus Christ before it believes ; and this re- 
velation is contained in the gospel, which is adapted to the va- 
rious acts of faith, as before described. 

1. As faith implies a coming to Christ, or receiving him ; the 
word of God reveals him to us as giving an invitation to sin- 
ners, encouraging them thereunto ; thus our Saviour says, If 
any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink, John vii. 37. 
And, as a farther inducement to this, it sets forth the advan- 
tages that will attend it, to wit, that he will not reject them, 
how unvforthv soever they be ; as, he says, Him that cometh to 


♦»ff, Irviii in no wise cast out,, John vi. 37. And there are many 
other privileges which he Avill bestow on them, namely, the 
blessings of both worlds, grace here, and glory hereafter, all 
which contain the very sum and substance of the gospel. 

2. If we consider faith as including in it a giving up ourselves 
to Christ, to be intirely his ; the word of God represents him as 
having an undoubted right to all who do so, inasmuch as they 
are bought with the price of his blood, given to him as his own, 
by the Father. And as they devote themselves to him, to be 
his servants, it sets before them the privileges which attend his 
service, as they are delivered from the dominion of sin, and a 
servile fear and dread of his wrath ; lets them know the ease, 
pleasure, and delight that there is in bearing his yoke, and the 
blessed consequences thereof, in that as they have their fruit 
unto holiness^ the end thereof shall be life everlasting^ Kom. 
vi. 22. 

3. As faith looks to Christ for forgiveness of sin, in which 
respect it is called justifying faith ; so the word of God repre- 
sents him to us, as having made atonement for sin ; as set forth 
to be a propitiation to secure us from the guilt which we were 
liable to, and the condemning sentence of the law ; as bearing 
the curse, and, as the consequence thereof, giving us a right tc< 
all the privileges of his children. It also represents this for- 
giveness as full, free, and irreversible j and the soul, by faith 
rejoices in its freedom from condemnation, and that right and 
title to eternal life, which is inseparably connected with it. 

4. As faith includes in it a trusting or reiving on Christ, the 
gospel represents him as an all-sufficient Saviour, able to save 
to the iittcnnost all that come unto God by hhn, Heb. vii. 25. 
and as faith trusts him for the accomplishment of all the pro- 
mises, it considers him as having engaged to make them good, 
inasmuch as they are yea and a?nen in him, unto the g'lory of 
Cod, 2 Cor. i. 20. And therefore, he runs no risque, or is at 
no uncertainty as to this matter ; for Christ's Mediatorial glory 
lies at stake. If there be the least failure in the accomplish- 
ment of any promise ; or any blessing made over to his people 
in the covenant of grace, which shall not be conferred upon 
them, he is content to bear the blame for ever : but this is al- 
together impossible, since he that has undertaken to apply the 
blessings promised, is faithful and true, as well as the Father 
that gave them ; and this aftbrds them stro?t^ consolation, who 
are fed for refuge, to lay hold on the hope set before them, in 
the gospel, Hel). vi. 18. Thus Christ is set forth ; and agree- 
ably to this discovery made of him, faith takes up its rest in 
him, and therein finds safety and peace. 

V. We shall now consider faith as strong or weak, increas- 
ing or declining, with the vaiioiis marks and signs tiiereof. A 


habits of sin are stronger or weaker, the same may be said con- 
cerning habits of grace. It is one thing for them to be entirely 
lost ; and another thing to be in a decHning state : their strength 
and vigour may be much abated, and their energ)^- frequently 
interrupted ; nevertheless God will maintain the principle of 
grace, as we shall endeavour to prove under a following an- 
swer.* Grace is not always equally strong and lively ; the pro- 
phet supposes it to be a declining, when he says, /Revive thy 
ivork^ Lord, in the midst of the years, Heb. iii. 2. and our 
Saviour's advice to the church at Sardis, implies as much, when 
he exhorts them to strengthen the things "which remaifiy thai 
are ready to die, Rev. iii. 2. and when he bids the church at 
Ephesus to remember from whence they were fallen, and repent 
and do their first wo?-ks, chap. ii. 5. Some are said, as Abra- 
ham, to be strong in faith^ giving glory to God, Rom. iv. 20. 
and others are reproved, as our Saviour does his disciples, at 
some times, when he says, ye of little faith, Matt. vi. 30. As 
our natural constitution is not always equally healthy and vigo- 
rous, nor our condition in the world equally prosperous, the 
same may be said concerning the habits of grace ; sometimes 
they are strong, and then, as the apostle says concerning his 
beloved Gaius, 3 John ver. 2. the soul prospereth, and \fz go 
from strength to strength, Psal. Ixxxiv. 7. from one degree of 
grace to another; but, at other times, we are ready to faint in 
the day of adversity, and our strength is small, Pro v. xxiv. 10. 
U'his cannot but be observed by all who are not strangers to 
themselves, or who take notice of the various frame of spirit, 
which are visible in those whom they converse with. 

But if it be enquired ; by what marks or evidences we may 
discern the strength or weakness of faith ? though this will 
more evidently appear from what will be said under a follow- 
ing answer,! when we are led to speak concerning the reason 
of the imperfection of sanctification in believers ; yet we shall 
not wholly pass it over in this place; and therefore, it may be 
observed, that the strength or weakness of faith, is to be judg- 
ed of by that degree of esteem and- value which the soul has 
for Christ, and the steadiness, or abatement of its dependence 
on him. The greater diffidence or distrust we have of self, and 
the more we see of our own emptiness and nothingness, the 
stronger is our faith ; on the other hand, self-confidence, or 
relying on our own strength is a certain sign of the weakness 

Again, strong faith is that which carries the soul through 
difficult duties; as the apostle says, I can do all things through- 
Christ which strengtheneth me, Phil. iv. 13. Whereas weak 
faith is ready to sink under the discouragements that it meets 
* See Quest. Isxix. f See Qjtest. Ixxviii. 


ivkh ; the former is sledfast^ immoveable^ always abounding in 
the jvork of the Lordy 1 Cor. v. J8. the latter is like a reed sha- 
ken with the wind. Strong faith, as it is said of Job, Job i. 21. 
blesses God \vh<jn he strips him of all earthly enjoyments, and 
rejoices that the soul is counted worthy to suffer sharae for his 
name^ Acts v. 41. and this carries him above those fears which 
have a tendency to deject and dishearten him : He shall not be 
afraid of evil tidings^ his heart is Jixedy trusting in the Lord^ 
Psal. cxii. 7. Whereas, weak faith is borne down, with dis- 
couragements ; he finds it hard to hold on in the performance 
of his duty, and sees momitains of difficulties in his way ; 
whereby the soul is ready to conclude, that he shall not be able 
to get safely to his journey's end. He does not rightly improve 
the consideration of the almighty power of God, and his faith- 
fulness to his promise, in which he has engaged, that the righ- 
teous shall held on his way ; and he that hath clean hands shall 
wax stronger and stronger. Job xvii. 9. And when we sustain 
losses and disappointments in the world, or things go contrary 
to our expectation, then we are ready to say with the Psalmist, 
Hath God forgotten to be gracious ? hath he, in anger, shut up 
his tender mercies P Psal. Ixxvii. 9. and sometimes conclude, 
that we have no interest in the love of God, because the dis- 
pensations of his providence are afflictive, and fill us with great 
uneasiness. In this case fear looks upon every adverse provi- 
dence, as it were, through a magnifying glass, and apprehends 
this to be but the beginning of sorrows ; for it cannot say with 
the prophet, I will trust and not be afraid, chap. xii. 2. for in. 
the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength, chap, xxvii. 4. 

Moreover, the strength or weakness of faith may farther be 
discerned by our enjoying, or being destitute of communion 
with God ; our conversing with him in ordinances, or being 
deprived of this privilege. We may conclude our faith to be 
strong, when we can say as the apostle does. Our conversation 
is in heaven, or we live above : but when, on the other hand, 
■we have too great an anxiety or solicitude about earthly things, 
and an immoderate love to this present world, this argues the 
weakness thereof. The difference between these two may also 
be discerned, by the frame of our spirit in prayer. When faith 
is strong, the soul has a great degree of boldness or liberty of 
access to the throne of grace ; a greater measure of importuni- 
ty and fervency, accompanied with an expectation of the blcss- 
•ings prayed for, by a secret and powerful intimation from the 
Spirit, as a Spirit of grace and supplication ; from whence it 
infers, that he that excites this grace will encourage it, as he 
eays not to the seed of Jacob, seek ye tne in vain, chap. xlv. 19. 
We might also add, in the last place, that strong faith may 
likewise be discerned, when it is accompanied with an asstt- 



ranee of an interest in Christ's righteousnessy and our right and 
title to eternal life founded thereon, or that God will guide us 
by his counsel, and afterwards receive us to glory, and a per- 
suasion wrought in the soul by the Spirit, that nothing shall se- 
parate us from his love : whereas weak faith is attended with 
many doubts concerning our interest in Christ j sometimes 
fearing that our former hope was no other than a delusion, our 
present experiences not real, the ground we stand on sinks un- 
der us ; and we are ready to conclude, that we shall one day 
iall by the hands of our spiritual enemies. When I speak of 
these doubts and fears, as an instance of weak faith, I do not 
say that they are ingredients in faith ; for they are rather to be 
considered as a burden and incumbrance that attends it, so that 
though there be some good thing in us towards the Lord our 
God, or a small degree of faith, like a grain of mustard seed, 
these doubts proceed from the weakness thereof, as opposed to 
that which is strong, and w ould denote the soul to be in a hap- 
py and flourishing condition ; which leads us, 

VI. To speak concerning the use of faith in the whole con- 
duct of our lives ; as every thing that we do in an acceptable 
manner, is said to be done by it. It is one thing occasionally 
to put forth some acts of faith, and another thing to live by 
faith ; which, as it is the most noble and excellent life, so no- 
thing short of it can, properly speaking, be called a good life, 
how much soever many are styled good livers, who are wholly 
strangers to this grace. The apostle Paul speaks of this way 
of living, and considers it as exemplified in himself, when he 
says. The life which I now live in the Jlesh^ 1 live by the faith 
of the Son of God^ Gal. ii. 20. He speaks of it as his constant 
work, or that which ran through the whole business of life. 
Whether we are engaged in civil or religious duties, they arc 
all to be performed by faith. Here we shall consider the life 
of faith ; 

1. As it discovers itself in all the common actions of life ; 
in these we act as men : but that faith, which is the principal 
ingredient in them, and their chief ornament, denotes us to 
walk as Christians ; and this we are said to do, 

(1.) When we receive every outward mercy, as the pur- 
chase of the blood of Christ, as well as the gift of his grace % 
and consider it as a blessing bestowed by a covenant-God, 
who, together widi outward things, is pleased to give himself 
to VIS ; which infinitely enhances the value of the blessing, and 
induces us to receive it with a proportionable degree of thank- 

(2.) When we set loose from all the enjoyments of this world, 
•not taking up our rest in them, as though they were our por- 
tion or chief good; and therefore, the esteem and value wz 


have for them Is very much below that which we have for 
things divine and heavenly. When we use them to the glory 
of God ; and account the best outward enjoyments nothing, if 
compared with Christ; as the apostle says, / count all thing's 
i>ut loss for the excellenctj of the knoivledge of Christy and do 
count them but dungy that I may xv'in Christy Phil. iii. 8. This 
act of faith will quiet our spirits under afflictions, and induce 
us to submit to the disposing providence of God ; when our 
best outward enjoyments are removed, or we called to suffer 
the loss of all things for Christ's sake, or by his sovereign will. 

(3.) When all the success which we hope for in our secular 
employments, is considered as an instance of that care which 
Christ takes of his people, in which he over-rules and orders 
all things for his own glory, and their welfare ; and therefore, 
we are persuaded that he Vt'ill cause whatever we take in hand, 
to prosper, provided he sees that it is best for us ; and if not, 
"we are disposed to acquiesce in his will. This is such an in- 
stance of faith as will put us upon doing every thing in the 
name and to the glory of Christ, and fortify us against any 
disappointment that may attend our expectation, in every em- 
ployment wherein we are engaged. 

(4.) When outward blessings, instead of proving a snare and 
temptation, to draw off our hearts from Christ, are a means to 
bring us nearer to him, so that if our circumstances are easy 
und comfortable in the world, and we have more frequent op- 
portunities offered to us, to engage in religious duties than 
others, we are accordingly inclined to embrace them ; and 
Avhen every thing we enjoy, as an instance of distinguishing 
favour from God, above what many in the world do, excites 
in us a due sense of gratitude, and an earnest desire and en- 
deavour to use the vrovld to his glory. 

(5.) When adverse providences, which sometimes have a 
tendency to drive the soul from Christ, and occasion repining 
thoughts, as though the divine distributions were not equal, 
are made of use to bring us nearer to him, so that whatever 
we lose in the creature, we look for, and endeavour to find in 
him. And when, with a submissive spirit, we can say, that he 
does all things well for us, as we hope and trust that he will 
make even those things that run counter to our secular interests, 
subservient to our eternal welfare ; and as the result hereof, en- 
deavour to keep up a becoming franie of spirit, in such a con- 
dition of life, as has in itself a tendency to cast down the soul 
and fill it with great disquietude, 

(G.) When we devote and consecrate all we have in the 
world to God, considering, that as we are not our own but 
his ; so all we have is his ; and v/licn hereupon we are endow- 
ed with a puijlic spirit, desirous to approve ourselves blessings 


to mankind in general, to the utmost of our po%ver; and wiieii 
we have done all, not only say with David, Of thine oxvn we 
have given thee, 1 Chron. xxix. 14. but as our Saviour taught 
his disciples to say, We are unprofitable servants, 

(7.) The life of faith discovers itself in the government of 
our affections, namely, as they are kept within due bounds, 
set upon right objects, and rendered subservient to promote 
Christ's glory and interest. Hereby are we prevented from 
setting our affections immoderately on things of this world, 
when faith shews us that there are far better things to draw 
them forth, which deserve our highest love : it also prevents 
our being worldly and carnal, as though we were swallowed 
up with the things of sense, and had nothing else to mind, and 
religion were only to be occasionali) engaged in ; or, as though 
an holy, humble, self-denying frame of spirit w^ere inconsistent 
with worldly business. Faith suggests the contrary ; puts us 
upon making religion our great business, and engaging in se- 
cular affairs, rather as a necessary avocation from it, than that 
which is the chief end of living. It also puts us upon glorify- 
ing Christ in our secular concerns, as we manage them in such 
a way as he ordains ; and hereby the soul is kept in a spiritual 
frame, while abiding with God in the calling whereunto he is 
called. This we attribute more especially to the grace of faith, 
not only as it is connected with, and (as will be observed un- 
der our next head) excites other graces ; but as it has its eye 
constantly fixed on Christ as its object, and by this steers its 
course, and takes an estimate of the valuableness and impor- 
tance of all the affairs of this life, by their subserviency to our 
salvation, and the advancement of his glory therein. 

2. Faith discovers itself in the performance of all religious 
duties, and the exercise of all other graces therein. Thus we 
read of the prayer of faith, whereby a soul hath access to God 
as a father, in the name of Christ ; firmly relies on the promi- 
ses which are established in him, and has a liberty to plead with 
him, and hope of acceptance in his sight. Moreover, when we 
wait on God to hear what he has to impart to us in his word, 
faith having txperienced some degree of communion with him 
already, and had some displays of his love, puts the soul upon 
desiring more, as the Psalmist s:\\s, Mij soul thirsteth for thee ; 
uny flesh longeth for thee, to see thij poiver and thij glory, so as 
I have seen thee in the sanctuary, Psal. Ixiii. 1, 2. And what- 
ever other ordinances of divine appointment, we are engaged 
2U, we are hereby encouraged to hope for his presence, and 
draw nigh unto him herein, with a reverential fear and delight, 
in him : and it puts us upon the exercise of those graces which 
are necessary for the right performance of gospel worship in 


These are not only joined with it, but may be said to be 
excited thereby ; so that faith is, as it were, the principal of 
ail other graces. Thus when the heart is drawn forth in love 
to Chri'it, it may be said, that fnith worktth bij love^ Gal. v. 
6. and when this love is accompanied withjoi/ unspeakable and 
full cf glorij ; this we have in a v/ay of believing, and that 
which tends to excite the grace of love, is the view that faith 
takes of Christ's mediatorial glory and excellencies, and the 
pbiigations v.'e are under to love him, from his grace of love 
to us ; and this is a strong motive, inducing us to express our 
love to him, by universal obedience, which is called, the obc~ 
d'lence offoith^ Rom. xvi. 26. 

When we exercise the grace of repentance, and thereby hate 
and turn from all sin, and are, in a peculiar manner, sensible, 
as we ought to be, of the sin of unbelief j it is faith that gives 
us this sense thereof, as it is best able to see its own defects. 
When we confess sin, or humble ourselves before God for if, 
faith viev/s it not only as a violation of the divine law, but as 
an instance of the highest ingratitude ; and when we desire, in 
the exercise of repentance, to forsake sin, faith makes us sen- 
sible of our own weakness, and puts us upon a firm and sted- 
fast dependence on Christ, to enable us thereunto ; and when, 
in the exercise of this grace, our consciences are burdened 
with a sense of guilt and unbelief is ready to suggest, that our 
sins are so heniously aggravated, that there is no room to hope 
for pardoning mercy, faith relieves us against these despairing 
thoughts, and encourages us to wait for the mercy of God, who 
•will abundcmtlij pardon^ Isa. Iv. 7". and with whom there is 
forgiveness^ that he may be feared^ Psal. cxxx. 4. 

And when we use endeavours to mortify sin, this is to be 
done by a fiducial view of Christ crucified; and when we en- 
courage ourselves to hope that the indictment brought against 
us for it, was nailed to the cross of Christ; and that there is 
no condemnation to iis^ as being in him, Rom. viii. 1. and that, 
as the apostle says. Our old 7nan is crucified with him^ tkftt the 
body of sin mig-ht be destroyed: that henceforth we should no 
longer serve sin^ chap. vi. 6. all this is to be done by faith. 

We might also observe, that the grace of patience is con- 
nected with, and we excited, thereunto by faith. The apos- 
tle, Heb. vi. 12. joins both these together, as supposing that 
faith affords a motive to patience; and elsewhere we read, not 
onlv of what faith enables us to do, but bear, in the account 
which we have, of the great things which the Old Testament 
saints did, and suffered by this grace : and therefore, what- 
ever graces are exercised under the afflictions of this present 
life; faith excites in us a resignation to the will of God, and 
consider them a:> the chastisements of a merciful Father, and 


as bringing forth the peaceful fruit of righteousness vnto them 
that are exercised thereby^ chap. xii. 11. and we are encourag- 
ed to bear them with such a composed frame of spirit that they 
seem light, and not worthy to be compared with the glory that 
shall be revealed. Thie^^, faith has constantly in view, setting 
one against the other ; whereby that which would otherwise be 
an hindrance to us in our way, is improved, by us, to our 
spiritual advantage ; and we enal>led, not only to go on safely, 
but comfortably, till we arrive at the full fruition of what we 
now behold at a distance, and rejoice in the fiducial expecta- 
tion thereof: which leads us to the last thing proposed to be 
considered, concerning faith, namely, 

VII. How it is to be attained or increased, and what arc 
the means conducive thereunto. Though faith, in common 
with all other graces, be wrought in us by the power of God, 
yet we are far f)-om asserting, that there is no duty incumbent 
on us, in the performing whereof, we are to hope and wait 
for the divine blessing, upon which all the success thereof de- 
pends. To deny this would gi\'e just occasion to charge the 
doctrine of eflicacious grace, as though it led to security, or 
licentiousness; which many do without ground. Though grace 
and duty are very distinct, yet they are not inconsistent with 
each other ; the former is God's work, the latter our act. 

As lor those duties which are required of us, considered as 
expecting the divine grace and blessing to attend them ; these 
are, a diligent waiting on God in all his ordinances; looking 
into the state of our souls, by impartial self-examination ; call- 
ing to mind our past miscarriages, and what matter of humi- 
liation we have for them in the sight of God, as also, our 
natural aversion and inability to do what is good ; our need of 
Christ's righteousness, to take away the guilt we have con- 
tracted, and of his strength, to subdue our corruptions, and 
enable us to plead earnestly with him for these privileges. 

As for the unregenerate, they must pray and wait on him, 
for the first grace, and say, with P'.phraim, Turn thou me^ and 
I shall be turned^ Jer. xxxi. 18. They must be earnest with 
him, that he would bestow upon them the grace of faith ; which 
is styled, his gift ; that he would remove every thing that is, 
at present, an obstacle, or hindrance to this grace, all the pre- 
judices which corrupt nature has entertained against Christ, 
and the way of salvation by him ; and that he would shine in- 
to their souls, to give them the knowledge of his glory in the 
face of Christ; reveal his arm, and incline them, by the inter- 
nal working of his power, to receive the grace which is held 
forth in the gospel. These are duties incumbent on persons 
who are not called effectually, being destitute of regenerating 

OF AD0?T10N. 143 

But, on the other hand, they who have ground to condude 
that they have experienced this grace, though, at preseiit, ihcty 
apprehend that their faith is weak, and on the decline ; they 
must be found waiting on God, in his own way ; and be ira- 
ponunate with him in prayer for the revival of his work, that 
so they may recover their former experiences ; they must bless 
him for the privileges they once enjoyed, and be bumbled for 
their past backslidings, whereby they have provoktd him to 
v/iihdraw from them, and say with the church, / xvill go and 
return to mij first husband; for then was it better with me than 
noiUy Hos. li. 7. and, as it says elsewhere. Take awcy all ini- 
quttij^ and receive us graciously ; so will we render the calves 
cf our lipSy chap. xiv. 2. They must lament the dishonour 
that they have brought to God ; and consider how, by diis 
means, they have grieved the Holy Spirit, wounded ttieir own 
consciences, and made v/ork for a bitter repentance and humi- 
liation before God. They must be sensible, that it is the same 
hand which wrought grace in them at first, that must now re- 
cover them from their fallen state, and, by exciting the princi- 
ple of grace implanted, bring them into a lively frame ; and 
when he has done this, they must still depend upon him to 
maintain this frame of spirit, as considering that as the begin- 
ning so the progress of grace, is owing to him who is the au- 
thor and finisher of faith; who worketh in us that which is 
pleasing in his sight, and carries on his own work unto per- 

Quest. LXXIV. What is adoption f 

Answ. Adoption is an act of the free grace of God, in and for 
his only Son Jesus Christ; whereby all those that are justi- 
fied, are received into the number of his children, have his 
name put upon them, the Spirit of his Son given to them, 
are under his fatherly care and dispensations, admitted to 
all the liberties and privileges of the sons of God, made heirs 
of all the promises, and fellow-heirs with Christ in glory. 

IN speaking to this answer we shall consider, 
I. The various senses in which persons are the sons of 
God; and particularly, how they are so called bv adoption. 

II. The difference between adoption as need by men, and as 
it is apj^lied in this ans^^er to God's taking perscno into this re- 
lation, as his children; from whence it will appear to be an act 
of his ivt^t grace. 

III. We shaM consider the reference the sonship of belkn'e:-^ 
has to tho superior and more glorious Sonship of Jesus C,\:.'.J..-, 
and how it is said to be for his sake. 

144< ©F ADOPT icy. 

IV. The privileges conferred on, or reserved for them, who 
are the sons oi God by adoption. 

I. We shall consider the various senses in which persons are 
called the sons of God. 

1. Some are called the sons of God, as they are invested 
with many honours or prerogatives from God, as a branch of 
his image : thus magistrates are called the children of the Most 
High^ Psal. Ixxxii. 6. 

2. Others are called God's children, by an external federal 
relation, as members of the visible church ; in which sense we 
are to understand that scripture ; wherein it is said. The sons 
of God saw the daughters of men^ &c. Gen. vi. 2. And when 
Moses went into Pharaoh, to demand liberty for the Israelites, 
he was ordered to say, Israel is my soriy even my first-born^ 
Exod. iv. 22. This privilege, though it be high and honoura- 
ble, by which the church is distinguished from the world ; yet 
it is not inseparably connected with salvation ; for God says, 
concerning Israel, when revolting, and backsliding from him, 
I have nourished a7id brought up children; and they have re- 
helled agaiiist »?£", Isa. i. 2. and many of those who are called 
the children of the kingdom shall be cast into utter darkness, 
■where shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth^ Matt. viii. 12. 

3. The word is sometimes taken in a more large sense, as 
applicable to all mankind : thus the prophet says. Have we not 
all one father^ hath not God created us ? Mai. ii. 10. And the 
apostle Paul, when disputing with the Athenians, speaks in 
.their own language, and quotes a saying taken from one of 
their poets, which he applies to the great God, as giving to all 
life and breathy and all things ; upon which account men are 
called his off-springs Acts xvii. 25. compared with 28. 

4. They are called the sons of God, who are endowed with 
his supernatural image, and admitted to the highest honours 
and privileges conferred upon creatures : thus the angels are 
called the sons ofGod^ Job xxxviii. 7. 

5. Our Lord Jesus Christ is called the Son of God, in a 
sense not applicable to any other ; as his Sonship includes in it 
his deity, and his having, in his human nature, received a com- 
mission from -che Father, to engage in the great work of our 
redemption, as becoming surety for us ; which is the founda- 
tion of all those saving blessings which we enjoy or hope for. 

6. Believers are called the sons of God, by a special adop- 
tion ; which is farther to be considered, as being the subject- 
matter of this answer. Adoption is a word taken from the 
civil law ; and it was much in use among the Romans, in the 
apostles time, in which it was a custom for persons, who had 
110 children of their own, and were possessed of an estate, to 
prevent its being divided or descending to strangers, to make 

qi adoption; .\4S 

rrnoiee of suoii who were agreeable to them, and beloved by 
theni, whom they took into this political relation of children | 
obliging them to take their name upon them, and to pay respect 
to them, as though they were their natural parents ; and en^ 
gaging to deal with them as thougli they had been so; and ac- 
cordingly to give them a right to their estates, as an inheri- 
tance. This new relation, founded in a mutual consent, is a 
bond of affection; and the privilege arising from thence is, that 
he who is, in this sense, a father, takes care of, and provides 
for the person whom he adojjts, as though he were his son by 
nature ; and therefore Civilians calls it an act of legitimation, 
imitating nature, or supplying the place of it : and this leads us 
to consider, 

II. The difference between adoption, as used by men, and 
as it is applied in this answer, to God's taking persons into 
this relation, as his children. 

1. When men adopt, or take persons into the relation of 
children, they do it because they are destitute of children of 
their own to possess their estates; and therefore they fix their 
love on strangers : but God was under no obligation to do this^ 
for if he designed to manifest his glory to any treatures, the 
holy angels were subjects capable of receiving the displays 
thereof; and his own Son, who had all the perfections of the 
divine nature, was infinitely the object of his delight, and, in 
all respects, fitted to be as he is Kt)led, Heir of' ail things^ 
Heh. i. e. 

2. When men adopt, they are generally inclined to do it by 
Bceing some excellency or amiableness in the persons whom, 
they fix their love upon. Thus Pharaoh's daughter took up 
Moses, and nourished him for her own son, because he wa» 
ex'ceedingfair^ Acts vii. 20, 21. or, it may be, she was moved 
hereunto, by a natural compassion she had for him, besides 
the motive of his beauty; as it is said, The babe wept^ and she 
had compassion on him^ Exod. ii. 6. And Mordecai adopted 
Esther, or took her for his own daughter} for she xuas his wn- 
tle^s daughter^ and was fair and beautifui^ and an orphan, hav- 
ing neither father nor mother, Esther ii. 7. But when God takes 
any into this relation of children, they have no beauty or come- 
liness, and might justly have been for ever the objects of his 
abhorrance. Thus he says concerning the church of Israel^ 
when he first took them into this relation to liim. None eye 
pitied thee, but thou xvast cast out in the open field, to the loath- 
ing of thy person: and xohen I passed hij thee and saw thee pol- 
luted in thine own blood, I said unto thee xuhen thou wast in thy 
blood. Live, &c. Ezek. xvi. 5. It might indeed be said con- 
cerning man, when admitted to this favour and privilege, that 
he was miserable ," but mi'=;ery, how much soever i? may r^tn^ 

VoL. HI. T 

149^ Of ADOJTIOV* 

der the soul an object of pity, it could not, prope^l}^ speaking", 
be said to be a motive or inaucemcnt from whence the divine 
compassion took its first rise, as appears Irom the account we 
have of the mercy of God, as founded only on his sovereign 
V'ill or pleasure; as he says, I xvill have mercy on xvhont J xvill 
have mercy ; and I will have compassion on whom I will have 
compassion^ Rom. ix. 15. and also, from the consideration of 
man's bemg exposed to misery by sin, which rendered him 
rather an object of vindictive justice than mercy. This there- 
fore cannot be the ground of God's giving him a right to an 
inheritance ; and consequently adoption is truly said, in this an- 
swer, to be an act of the free grace of God. 

3. When men adopt, their taking persons into the relation 
of children, is not necessarily attended with any change of dis- 
position or temper in the persons adopted. A person may be 
admiited to this privilege, and yet remain the same, in that re* 
spect, as he was before : but when God takes his people into 
the relation of children, he gives them, not only those other 
privikges which arise from thence, but also that temper and 
disposition that becomes those who are thus related to him. 
This leads us to consider, 

III. The reference which the sonship of believers has to the 
superior and more glorious Sonship of Jesus Christ ; and how 
it is said to be for his sake. Here we must suppose that there 
is a sense in which Christ is said to be the Son of God, as the 
result of the divine decree, which contains in it an idea very 
distinct from his being a divine person ; for that was not the 
result of the will of the Father; whereas it is said concerning 
him. I will declare the decree ; the Lord hath said unto me, Thou 
art my Son, this day have I begotteti thee, Psal. ii. 7. And else- 
where, he hath, bij inheritance, obtained a more excellent name 
than the angels ; and this is the consequence of God's saying 
to him, thou art my Son^ this day have I begotten thee: and, / 
tvill be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son, Heb. i. 4, 5» 
which plainly refers to Christ as Mediator. Now when we con- 
sider this mediatorial Sonship of Christ, if I may so express it, 
we are far from asserting, that Christ's Sonship, and that of be- 
lievers, is of the same kind ; for, as much as he exceeds thenx 
as Mediator, as to the glory of his person and office, so much 
is his Sonship superior to theirs. This being premised, we may 
better undrrstand the reference which the sonship of believers 
has to Christ's being the Son of God as Mediator; and there- 
fore let it be farther considered,* 

1. That it is a prerogative and glory of Christ, as the Son of 
God, that he has all things which relate to the salvation of his 
elect, put into his hand ; and therefore, whatever the saints en- 
joy or hope for, which is sometimes called in scripture theSr 
* Vide Vol I. page 279* in note. 


inheritance, agreeably to their character, as the children of 
God by adoption ; this is considered as first purchased by 
Christ, and then put into his hand ; in which respect it is sty- 
led his inheritance, he being constituted, pursuant to his hav- 
ing accomplished the work of redemption, heir of all things ; 
and as such, has not only a right to his people, but is put in 
possession of all those spiritual blessings in heavenly places, 
wherewith they are blessed in /mn, Eph. i. 3. 

2. From hence it follows, that the sonship of believers, and 
their right to that inheritance, which God has reserved for 
them, depends upon the sonship of Christ, which is infinitely 
more glorious and excellent. As God's adopted sons, they have 
the honour conferred upon them, of being made king's and 
priests to him. Rev. i. 6. These honours are conferred by 
Christ; and, in order thereunto, they are first given to him to 
bestow upon them : thus he says, / appoint unto you a king- 
dom^ as 7mj Father hath appointed unto 7ne, Luke xxii. 29. 
Christ is first appointed heir of all things, as Mediator ; and 
then his people, or his children, are considered as heirs ofGody 
as the apostle expresses it ; and joint heirs with Christy Rom. 
viii. 17. Not that they have any share in his personal or me- 
diatorial glory; but when they are styled joint-heirs with him, 
we must consider them as having a right to that inheritance, 
which he is possessed of in their name as Mediator : and in 
this sense we are to understand those scriptures that speak of 
Cod's being first the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ ; and 
then, to wit, in him our Father; accordingly he says, I ascend 
unto my Father^ and your Father^ and to my God^ and your 
Gody John XX. 17. And elsewhere, God is styled the Father 
of our Lord Jesus Christy and then the Father of mercies^ or, 
our merciful Father, 2 Cor. i. 3. And elsewhere the apostle 
says, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord fesus Christ ; 
who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings^ in heavenly pla- 
ces, in Christ ; having predestinated us unto the adoption of 
children, by Jesus Christ, to himself Eph. i. 3. compared with 5. 
and inasmuch as he designed to bring ?nany sons to glory, as 
being inade meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints 
in light ; he first made the captain of their salvation perfect 
through sufferings, Heb. ii. 10. compared with Col. i. 12. In 
this respect our right to the inheritance of children, is founded 
in the eternal purpose of God, relating hereunto, and the pur- 
chase of Christ, as having obtained this inheritance for us. 

IV. We are now to consider the privileges conferred on, or 
reserved for them who are the sons of God by adoption. These 
are summed up in a very comprehensive expression, which 
contains an amazing display of divine grace ; as it is said, He 
that Qvercomcth, shall inherit all things ; and I xvill be his Godj 


and ke shall he my son, Rtv. xxi. 7. It is a very large grant 
that God is pleased to make to tiiem ; they shiiil inherit iill 
things. God is not fshamed to be called their God ; and in 
having him, they are said to possess all things, v. hich are emi- 
Tiendy and transcendently in him ; they have a right to all th? 
blessings which he had designed tor, and which have a ten-? 
dency to make them completely happy : in diis sense we are 
to understand our Saviour's words in the parable ; Son, ihoH 
ert ever xuith tne, and all that J have is thine, Luke xv. 31. 
Nothing greater than this can be desired or enjoyed by crea- 
tures, whom the Lord delights to honour. But, that we may 
be a little more particular in considering the privileges which 
God confers on, or has reserved for his children, it may be 
farther observed, 

1. That they are all emancipated, or freed from the slavery 
which they were before under, either to sin or Satan ; they who 
were once the servants of sin, are hereby made free from sin^ 
ixnd become the servants of righteousness, or become servants to 
God, Rom. vi. 17, 18, 22. have their fniit unto holiness, an4 
the end everlasting life ; the Son makes them free ; and there- 
fore they are free indeed, John viii. 36. Before this they arc 
described as serving divers lusts and pleasures. Tit. iii. 3. and 
are said to be of their father the devil, and to do his works, or 
follow his suggestions, John viii. 44. ensnared, and taken cap- 
tive hij him at his tvill, 2 Tim. ii. 26. and, as the consequence 
hereof, are in perpetual bondage, arising from a dread oi th6 
v/rath of God, and that y^r/r of death impressed on their spirits, 
by him, who is said to have the power »f death, Heb. ii. 14- 
this they are delivered from, which cannot but be reckoned a 
glorious privilege. 

2. They have God*s napie put upon them, and accordingly 
sre described as his people called by his name, 2 Chron. vii. 14. 
This is an high and honourable character, denoting their rela- 
tion to him as a peculiar people ; and it is what belongs to 
them alone. Thus the church says, JVe are thine ; thou never 
bedrest rule over them, Isa^ Ixiii. 19. namely, thine adversaries; 
they were not called by thtj name. They have also Christ's name 
put on them, ofxvhom the ivhole family in heaven and earth is 
named, Eph. iii. 15. which not only signifies that propriety 
v/hich he has in them as Mediator, but their relation to him as 
the ransomed of the Lord, his sheep, v/hora he leads and feeds 
like a shepherd ; and they are also styled his children. Behold 
I and the children which God hath given me, Heb. ii. 13. and in- 
deed, when he is called a surety, or an advocate, or said to exe- 
cute certain offices as a Saviour or Redeemer ; these are all rela- 
iive terms ; and whatever he does therein, is in their name, and 
fcr their £;dvantage ; as it is said, of him, are ye in Christ jft\ 


jw, tvho of God is made unto us xvisdom, righteousness^ sanctif- 
cation^ and rcdi'mpiio?2^ 1 Cor. i. 31. 

3. They arc taken into God's iaaiily, and dealt with as mem- 
bers thereof; and accordingly arc st} led fellow cUizens with 
the saints^ and of the household of God, Eph. ii. 19. And as the 
consequence hereof, they have protection, provision, and com- 
munion with him. 

(1.) They have safe protection; as the master of a family 
thinks himsl:lf obliged to secure and defend from danger, all 
that are under his roof, whose house is, as it were, their cas- 
tle ; so Christ is his people's defence, concerning whom it is 
said, A man shall be as an hiding place from the ruind^ and a 
i:overt from the tempest^ as rivers of -water in a drij place, and as 
the shadoxv of a great rock in a iveari; land, Isa. xxxii. 2. and, as 
the consequence hereof, it is added, Mij peopl-: shall dwell in a 
•peaceable habitation, mid in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting 
places, ver. 18. Theij dwell on high ; their place of defence is the 
munition of rocks, chap, xxxii. 16. He v/ho has subdued their 
enemies, and n\ ill in his own time, bruise them under their feet, 
v/ill take care that they shall not meet with that disturbance 
from them, which may hinder their repose or rest in him, or 
render their state unsafe, so as to endanger their perishing or 
falling from it. 

(2.) They enjoy the plentiful provisions of God's house, and 
therefore Christ is called their shepherd, Psal. xxiii. 1. not ovAy 
as leading and defending them, but as providing for them; He 
shall feed his f.ock like a shepherd, Isa. xl. 11. As all grace is 
trcat^ured up in him, and there is a fulness thereof, which he 
has to impart to the heirs of salvation, that is sufficient to sup- 
ply all their wants ; so they shall never have a reason to com- 
plain that they are straitened in him ; the blessings of his house 
are not only exhilirating, but satisfying, and such as have a ten- 
dency to make them completely happy, 

(3.) They are admitted to the greatest intimacy, and have 
yweet communion with Christ ; the secret of the Lord is with 
them that fear him, Psal. xxv. 14. he deals with them as with 
friends, and in this instance in particular, (as he tells his dis- 
ciples,) that all that he has heard of the Father, John xv. 15. that 
is, whatever he had a commission to impart for their direction 
and comfort, he makes known unto them, which must needs be 
reckoned a very great privilege. As the qu.;en of Sheba, when 
beholding the advantages that they who were in Solomon's pre- 
sence enjoyed, could not but with an extasy of admiration, say, 
Happy are thij men ; happy are thy servants, ri'hich stand con- 
tiniuillif before thee, that hear thy rvisdom, 1 Kings x. 8. much 
more may they be happy who are admitted into his presence, 
in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and. knowledge, 
i,:oi, ii. ^. 


(4.) Another privilege which they enjo}% is access to Go(J, 
as a recoiiciicd F'ather, through Christ; they have a liberty to 
come boldly to the throne of g-race^ that they obtain ynercy\ and 
Jind grace to help in time of need., Heb. iv. 18. Whatever their 
straits and difficulties are, God holds forth his golden sceptre, 
invites them to come to him, asks, What is thy petition ? and 
gives them ground to hope that it shall be granted, so far as it 
may redound to his glory and their good. And, inasmuch as 
they are often straitened in their spirits, and unprepared to 
draw nigh to him ; they have the promise of the Spirit to assist 
them herein ; upon which account he is called the Spirit of 
adoption^ -whereby they cry Abba Father., Rom. viii. 15. This 
privilege is said to be a consequence of their being sons ; Bc' 
cause ye are sons.^ God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son in- 
to your hearts., drying^ Abba Father., Gal. iv. 6. By this means 
they have becoming conceptions of the Divine Majesty, a re- 
verential fear of, and a love to him, earnest desires of commu- 
nion with him, and of being made partakers of what he has 
to impart. They have a right to plead the promises ; and in 
so doing, are encouraged to hope for the blessings contained 

(5.) As God's children are prone to backslide from him, 
and so have need of restoring grace, he will recover and hum- 
ble them, and thereby prevent their total apostacy : this he 
sometimes does by afflictions, which the apostle calls fatherly 
chastisements, and reckons them not only consistent with, but 
evidences of his love : Whom the Lord loveth., he chasteneth ; 
and if i/e be ivithoiit chastiscme7it, whereof all are partakers^ 
then are ye bastards., and not sons., Heb. xii. 6, 8, 1 1. The apos- 
tle does not here speak of afflictions as considered absolutely in 
themselves, but as proceeding from the love of God, the design 
■whereof is to do them good ; and as they are adapted to this 
present state, in which they arc training up for the glorious in- 
heritance reserved for them in heaven, and need some trying 
dispensations, which may put them in mind of that state of per- 
fect blessedness which is laid up for them : and they are ren- 
dered subservient to their present and future advantage, as the 
afflictions of this present time bring forth the peaceable fruits 
cf righteonsjiess to them ; and when they are, in the end, per- 
K;ctly freed from them, will tend to enhance their joy and 
praise ; which leads us to consider another privilege, which is 
so great that it crowns all those that they are nov/ possessed 
of, namelv, 

(6.) They shall, at last, be brought into God's immediate 
presence, and satisfied with his likeness. The apostle calls the 
perfect blessedness of the saints, when raised from the dead, 
and so delivered from the bondage of corruption, and made 


partakers of the glorious liberty of the Sons of God, by way of 
cmincncy, the adoption^ to ivitj the redemption of their bodies ;- 
which signifies not only the full manifestation of their adop- 
tion, but their takuig possession ot their inheritance, which they 
are now waitnig imd hoping for, which is too great for the heart 
of man to conceive of in this present state ; for the apostle says, 
Noxv are xve the sons of God; and it doth not appear xvhat xve 
shall be: but xve knoxv^ that xvhen he shall appear we shall be 
like him ; for xve shall see htm as he isy 1 John iii. 2. So that all 
the blessings which wc have, either in hand or hope, the bless- 
ings of both worlds, which are conferred upon us from our first 
conversion to our glorification : these are privileges which God 
bestows on those who are his adopted children. 

From what has been said concerning adoption, we may take 
occasion to observe, how, in some respects it agrees with, or 
may indeed, be reckoned a branch of justification, and in other 
respects it includes in it something that is an ingredient in sanc- 
tification. We have before observed, in treating on the former 
of these, viz. justification, that when God forgives sin, he con- 
fers on his people a right to life, or to all the blessings of the 
covenant of grace, in which are contained the promises that be- 
long to the life that now is, and that which is to come. These 
are the privileges which God's adopted children are made par- 
takers of; and in this respect some divines suppose, that adop- 
tion is included in our justification.* 

Arid if justification be explained, as has been before obser- 
ved, as denoting an immanent act in God, whereby the elect 
are considered, in the covenant between the Father and the 
Son, as in Christ, their federal head ; so they are considered as 
the adopted children of God, in Christ, and accordingly as they 
are described as chosen in Christ, unto eternal life, they are 
said to be predestinated unto the adoption of children^ Eph. i. 
6, which is a privilege to be obtained by Jesus Christ : in this 
respect all the elect are called Christ's seed^ that shall serve 
him^ Psal. xxii. 30. whom he had a special regard to, when he 
made his soul an offering for sin, and concerning whom he had 
this promise made to him in the covenant, that passed between 
the Father and him, that he should see them^ and the pleasure of 
the Lord^ with respect to their everlasting salvation, should 
prosper in his hand, Isa. liii. 10. Now when Christ is consi- 
dered as the head of the elect, who are in this sense called his 
sons, whom he has engaged to bring to glory, faith is the fruit 
and consequence of adoption ; accordingly the apostle savs. 
Because ye are soJis, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Sen 
into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father, Gal. iv. 6. 

But as justification is a declared act, and is said to be by 
• Vid. Turreit. Thud. EUrict. Tom. 2- Loc. 16. ^ 7. 

1j2 of sakctification.. 

faith, so adoption agreeing with it, is of tVte bainc nature 5 and 
accordingly we are said to be the children of God by faith., chap* 
iii. 26. that is, it is by faith that we have a right to claim this 
relation, together with the privileges v;hich are the result there- 

Moreover, as adoption includes in it a person's being made 
meet for the inheritance, which God has reserved for him, and 
so is endowed with the temper and disposition of his children, 
consisting in humility, heavenly-mindedness, love to him, de- 
pendence upon him, and a zeal for his giory, a likeness to 
Christ; as the same mind is said to be in us, in some measure 
as was in him ; in this respect adoption agrees with sanctifica- 
tion, which is v/hat we are next to consider. 

Quest. LXXV. What is sanctijicationf 

Answ. Sanctification is a work of God's grace, whereby they 
■whom God hath, before the foundation of the world, cho- 
sen to be holy, are in time, through the powerful operation 
cf his Spirit, applying the death and resurrection of Christ 
unto them, renewed in their whole man, after the image of 
God, having the seeds of repentance unto life, and of all 
other saving graces put into their hearts ; and those graces 
so stirred up, increased and strengthened, as that they more 
and more die unto sin, and rise unto newness of life. 

I. ^VTE shall shew what we are to understand hy the word 
T T sanctfy. This is sometimes considered as what has 
God for its object : thus he is said to sanctifif himsef when 
he appears in the glorv of bis holin"ss, and gives occasion to 
the world to adore that perfection, which he is sometimes re- 
presented as doing, when he punishes sin in a visible and ex* 
emplary manner. Thus when God threatens to call for a 
sword, and plead ag-ahist a rebellious people, Tuith pestilence 
and xvith blood, he is said, by this means, to magnify and 
sanctfy himself so as to be knowHy to wit, as an holy God, in 
the eyes of many nations. And when he fulfils his promises, 
and thereby advances his holiness, as whe?j he brought his peo- 
ple out of captivity, and gathered them out of the countries, 
wherein they had been scattered, he is said to be sanctified in 
them, Ezek. xxxviii. 21 — 23. And he is sanctified by his peo-- 
ple, when they give him the glory that is due to his perfection, 
as thus displayed and magnified by him : thus God's people are 
said to sanctify the Lord of hosts, when they make him th*; ob- 
ject oiihQirfcarandofthe'rrdrecd^ Isa. viis. M- 


However, this Is not the sense in which we are here to un- 
derstand it, but as applied to men ; in which respect it is ta- 
ken in various senses, namely, for their consecration, or sepa- 
ration unto God; thus our Saviour says, when devoting and 
applying himself to the work, for which he came into the world; 
for their sakcs I scinctify myself John xvii. 19. But this is not 
tlie sense in which it is to be understood in this answer. 

Moreover, it is often taken, in scripture, for persons being 
devoted to God, to minister in holy things : thus Aaron and 
his sons were sanctified^ that they might minister vnto him irk 
the priest's office^ Exod. xxviii. 41. And it is sometimes taken 
for an external fed(5ral dedication to God, to walk before him 
as a peculiar people in observance of his holy institutions. Thur. 
when Israel consented to be God's people they are styled, holi- 
ness unto the Lord, Jer. ii. 3. the holy seed, Ezra ix. 2. andff/? 
holy ?iation, 1 Pet. ii. 9. And the church, under the gospel- 
dispensation, as consecrated, and professing subjection, to. 
Christ, or separated to his service, and waiting for his presence, 
while engaged in all those ordinances, which he has appointed 
in the gospel, is described as called to be saints, Rom. i. 7. and 
they are hereby related to him, in an external and visible way. 
Neither is this the sense in which the word is taken in this an- 
swer; in whicli we are to understand sanctification as a spe- 
cial discriminating grace, whereby persons are not barely ex- 
ternally, but really devoted to Christ by faith : it is the inter- 
nal beauty of the soul, whereby all the faculties being reneT^- 
fcd, and a powerful, effectual change Vt^ought therein; they 
are enabled to turn from sin unto God, and exercise all those 
graces, whereby they rvalJi in holiness and i-ightcoiisness before 
him^ all the days of their lives, Luke i. 75. till this work, whic^ 
is gradually carried on here, shall be brought to perfection 

2. It may farther be observed, that sanctification as descri- 
bed in this answer, may be considered as including in it several 
other graces, some of which have been already insisted on, 
namely, regeneration, effectual calling, and faith ; and there is 
another grace connected with it, which will be particularly in- 
sisted on under the next ansvvcr, namely, repentance unto life ; 
all which graces are said to be wrought l)y the powerful opera- 
tion of the Spirit, in those who were, before the foundation of 
the world, chosen to be holy. Regeneration is styled, by some, 
initial sanctification, as all graces take their first rise from the 
principle which is therein implanted. ILiTectual calling, or con- 
version, is that vrhcreby we are brought into the way of holi- 
ness, and internally disposed to walk therein. Faith is thai^ 
grace whereby this work is promoted, as all holy actions pro- 
ceed from it, as deriving strength from Christ, to perform their,. 

Vol. III. U 


And repentance is that whereby the work of sanctification dis- 
covers itself, in the seal's abhorring^ and flying from, every 
thing that tends to defile it ; approves itself to God as one, 
who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity without the great- 
est detestation. But inasmuch as these graces either have been, 
or will be particularly insisted on, in their proper place, we 
shall more especially consider sanctification as a progressive 
work, whereby it is distinguished from them, by which we 
daily consecrate, or devote ourselves to God ; and our actions 
|iave all a tendency to advance his glory ; and, by the Spirit, we 
are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and to live unto 
righteousness j so that it is not barely one single act of grace, 
but it contains in it the whole progress of the work of grace, as 
gradually carried on till perfected in glory : this is what we are 
to speak particularly to. And, 

I. It includes in it a continual devotedness to God. As the 
first act of faiith consists in a making a surrender of ourselves 
to Christ, depending on his assistance in beginning the work 
of obedience in the exercise of all Christian graces ; so sancti- 
fication is the continuance thereof. When we are first con- 
verted, we receive Christ Jesus the Lord; and in sanctifica- 
tion we walk in him, and exercise a daily dependence on him 
in the execution of all his offices ; make his word our rule, and 
delight in it after the inward man. How difficult soever the 
duties are that he commands, we take pleasure in the perform- 
ance of them, make religion our great business, and in order 
thereunto conclude, that every thing we receive from him i^^ 
to be improved to his glory. And as every duty is to be per- 
formed by faith ; so what has been before observed concern- 
ing the life of faith, is to be considered as an expedient to pro- 
mote the work of sanctification. 

Ilr In the carrying on of this work we are to endeavour, to 
pur utmost, to fence against the prevailing power of sin, by all 
those inethods which are prescribed in the gospel, that so it 
tnay not have dominion over us ; this is generally styled the 
work of mortification. The apostle speaks of our old 7na7i be- 
ing cruc'ijied xvith Christ, end the hod^ of sin destroi/ed^ that 
henceforth we should not serve sin., Rom. vi. 6. and of our cru- 
cifying the iiesh with the affections and lusts, and of our vwr- 
i'fying the deeds of the body through the Spirit, Gal. v. 24. that 
IS, by his assistance and grace, which is necessary in order 
thereunto, Rom. viii. 13. 

This is a very difficult v/ork, especially considering the pre- 
valency of corruption, and the multitude of temptations that 
we are exposed to ; the subtilty and watchfulness of Satan, 
who walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may de- 
i/oi^r; the trearhcry of our own hearts, that are so prone t^. 


depart from God; the fickleness and instability of our resolur 
tions ; the irregularity of our aftcctions, and the constant efforts 
made by corrupt nature, to gain the ascendant over them, and 
turn them aside from God : this it does sometimes by present- 
ing things in u false view, calling evil good, and good evil; 
representing some things as harmless and not displeasing to 
Cod, that are most pernicious and offensive, endeavouring to 
lead us into mistakes, as to the matter of sin or duty, and to 
persuade us, that those things will issue well which are like to 
prove bitterness in the end ; and attempting to impose upon us^ 
as though we were in a right and safe way, when, at the same 
time, we are walking contrary to God, and corrupt nature i^ 
gaining strength thereby. But this will be farther considered^ 
when we speak concerning the imperfection of sanctification in 
believers *. Now this renders it necessary for us to make use 
of those methods which God has prescribed for the mortifica- 
tion of sin ; and in order thereunto, 

1. We must endeavour to maintain a constant sense of the 
heinous nature of sin, as it is contrary to the holiness of God^ 
a stain that cannot be washed away, but by the blood of Jesus, 
the highest instance of ingratitude for all the benefits which we 
have received, a bitter and an only evil, the abominable thing 
that God hates ; it is not only to be considered as condemning^ 
but defiling, that hereby we may maintain a constant abhor- 
rence of it ; and that not only of those sins that expose us to 
scorn and reproach in the eye of the world, but every thing 
that is in itself sinful, as contrary to the law of God* 

2. We must be watchful against the breakings forth of cor- 
rupt nature, observe the frame and disposition of our spirits, 
and the deceitfulness of sin, which has a tendency to hardea 
us, and avoid all occasions of, or incentives to it, hating- even 
the garment spotted by the fiesh^ Jude, ver. 23. ahstaimng from, 
all appearance of evil^ 2 Thess. v. 22. And to this we may 
add, that wc are frequently to examine ourselves with respect 
to our behaviour in every state of life ; whether sin be gaining 
or losing ground in us ; whether we make conscience of per- 
forming every duty, both personal and relative ? what guilt we 
contract by sins of omission, or the want of that fervency of 
spirit which has a tendency to beget a formal, dead, and stupid 
frame and temper of mind, and thereby hinder the progress of 
the work of sanctification ? but that which is the principal, if 
not the only expedient that will prove effectual for the mortify- 
ing of sin is, our seeking help against it from him who is able 
to give us the victory over it. Therefore, 

3. Whatever attempts we use against the prevailing power 
of sin, in order to the mortifying of it, these must be perform* 

• See Quest. Ixxviu. 

156 -i)? SANCTIFICATlOy. 

ed by faith ; seeking and deriving that help from Christ, which 
is necessary in order thereunto. And therefore, 

(1.) As the dominion of sin consists in its rendering us 
guilty in the sight of God, whereby the conscience is burden- 
ed, by reason of the dread that it has of that punishment v/hich 
is due to us, and the condemning sentence of the law, which 
■we are liable to; and as its mortification, in this respect, con- 
sists in our deliverance from that which makes us so uneasy, 
no expedient can be used to mortify it, but our looking by faitii 
to Christ, as a propitiation for sin, whereby we are enabled to 
behold the debt Avhich we had contracted, cancelled, the indict- 
ment superseded, and the condemning sentence repealed; from 
whence the soul concludes, that iniquity shall not be its ruin. 
This is the only method we are to take when oppressed with a 
sense of the guilt of sin, which is daily committed Jjy us. It 
was shadowed forth by the Israelites looking to the brazen ser- 
pent, a type of Christ crucified, when stung with fiery serpents, 
which occasioned exquisite pain, and would, without this ex- 
pedient, have brought immediate death : thus the deadly wound, 
of sin is healed by the sovereign balm of Christ's blood, appli- 
ed by faith ; and we, by his having fulfilled the law, may be 
said to be dead to it, as freed from the curse thereof, and all 
the sad consequences that would ensue thereupon. 

(2.) As sin is said to have dominion over us, in that all the 
powers and faculties of our souls are enslaved by it, whereby, 
as the apostle expresses it, xve are carnal, sold under sin^ Rorf) . 
vii. 14. when we are weak and unable to perform what is good, 
and the corruption of nature is so predominant, that we are, as 
it were, carried down the stream, which we strive against, but 
in vain : in this respect sin is to be mortified, by a fiducial ap- 
plication to Christ, for help against it ; and herein we are to 
consider him as having undertaken, not only to deliver from 
the condemning, but the prevailing power of sin ; which is a 
part of the work that he is now engaged in, wherein he ap- 
plies the redemption he purchased, by the powerful influences 
of the Holy Spirit, and the soul seeks to him for them. As it 
is natural for us, when we are in imminent danger of present 
ruin, or are assaulted by an enemy, whose superior force we 
are not able to withstand, to cry out to some kind friend, for 
help; or when we are in danger of death, by some disease 
which nature is ready to sink under, to apply ourselves to the 
physician for relief: thus the soul is to apply itself to Christ 
lor strength against the prevailing power of indwelling sin, and 
grace to make him more than a conqueror over it; and Christ, 
by his Spirit, in this respect, enables us (to use the apostle's 
words,). /£> mortifij the deeds ojbodu^ Rom. viii. 13. 


And, in order hereunto, we take encouragement, from the 
promises of God ; and the connexion that there is between 
Christ's having made satisfaction for sin, and his delivering 
those v/ho are redeemed, from the power of it, as the apostle 
says, Sin shall not have dominion over ijoii; for ye are not tin- 
der the laxi\ that is, under the condemning sentence of it, but 
imder grace ^ chap. vi. 14". as having an interest in that grace 
which has engaged to deliver from sin : in both these respects 
we consider Christ not only as able, but as having undertaken 
to deliver his people from all their spiritual enemies, to relieve 
them in all their straits and exigences, and to bring them off 
^afe and victorious. This is the method which we are to take 
to mortify sin; and it is a never-failing remedy. What was 
before observed, under the foregoing heads, concerning our 
endeavouring to see the evil of sin, and exercising that watch- 
fulness against the occasions thereof, are necessary duties, 
without which sin will gain strength : nevertheless the victory 
over it is principally owing to our deriving righteousness and 
strength, by faith, from Christ; whereby he has the glory of 
•X conqueror over it, and we have the advantage of receiving 
this privilege as applying ourselves to, and relying on him for 

Having considered the way in which sin is to be mortified, 
agreeably to the gospel-rule ; v^e shall, before we close this 
head, take notice of some other methods which many rest in, 
thinking thereby to free themselves from the dominion of sin, 
"which will not answer that end. Some have no other notion 
of sin, but as it discovers itself in those gross enormities which 
are matter of public scandal or reproach in the eye of the 
world, who do not duly consider the spirituality of the law of 
God; such-like sentiments of moral evil, the apostle Paul had, 
before his conversion, as he says, Ixvas alive xvithoiit the law 
once^ chnp. vii. 9. compared with 7. and / had not knoxvn lusty 
except the knv had said ^ thou shalt not covet. Sin did not ap' 
pear to be sin^ ver. 13. that is, nothing was thought sin by him, 
but that which was openly scandalous, and deemed so by uni- 
versal consent ; and therefore he says elsewhere, that touching- 
the righteousness Xi'kich is in the laxL\ he was blameless^ Phil. iii. 
6. or, as Ephraim is represented, saying. In alhrii/ labour they 
shall find none iniquity in vie that xvere sin, Hos. xii. 8. These 
persons think they shall come off well, if they can say, that 
they are not guilty of some enormous crimes ; so that none can 
charge them with those open debaucheries, or other sins, that 
are not to be mentioned among Christians ; or if, through any 
change in their condition of life, or being delivered from those 
temptations that gave occasion to them ; or if there natural 
temper be less inclined to them than before, and, as the result 


hereof, they abstain from them, this they call a mortifying of 
sin ; though the most that can be said of it is, that sin is' only 
curbed, confined, and their natural inclinations to it abated, 
ivhile it is far from being dead. 

Others, who will allow that sin is of a far larger extent, and 
includes in it that which prevails in the heart, as well as ren- 
ders itself visible in the life, or contains in it the omission of 
duties, as well as the actual commission of known sins ; these 
often take a preposterous method to mortify it: if they are 
sensible of the guilt that is contracted hereby, they use no other 
method to be discharged from it, but by pretending to make 
atonement, either by confessing their sins, using endeavours to 
abstain from them, or by the performance of some duties of 
religion, by which they think to make God amends for the in- 
juries they have offered to him thereby : but this is so far from 
mortifying sin, that it increases the guilt thereof, and causes it 
to take deeper root, and afterwards to break forth in a greater • 
degree ; or else tends to stupify the conscience, after which 
they go on in a way of sin, with carnal security, and Avithout 

Others think, that to mortify sin, is nothing else but to sub- 
due and keep under their passions, at least, to such a degree 
that they may not, through the irregularity and impetuous vior 
lence thereof, commit those sins which they cannot but reflect 
upon with shame, when brought into a more calm and consi- 
derate temper of mind ; and, in order thereunto, they subject 
themselves to certain rules, which the light of nature will sug- 
gest, and the wiser Heathen have laid down to induce persons 
to lead a virtuous life ; and they argue thus with themselves, 
that it is below the dignity of the human nature, for men to 
suffer their passions to lead their reason captive, or to do that 
which betrays a want of wisdom as well as temper; and if by 
this means the exorbitancy of their passions is abated, and many 
sins, which are occasioned thereby, prevented, they conclude 
their lives to be unblemished, and sin subdued ; whereas this 
is nothing else but restraining the fury of their temper, or giv- 
ing a check to some sins, while sin in general remains unmor- , 

As to the methods prescribed by some Popish casuists, of 
emaciating, or keeping under the body by physic, or a sparing 
diet, and submitting to hard penances, not only to atone for past 
sins, but prevent them for the future, these have not a tenden- 
cy to strike at the root of sin, and therefore are unjustly called 
a mortifying of it. For though an abstemious regular way of 
living be conducive to answer some valuable ends, and without 
it men are led to the commission of many sins ; yet this is no 
expedient to take away the guilt thereof; neither is th'; en':lr<;"- ^ 


VKig, captivating, and prevailing power of indwelling sin, that 
discovers itself in various shapes, and attends every condition 
and circumstance of life, sufficiently subdued hereby. 

And those common mettiods that many others take, which 
nre of a different nature, namely, when they resolve, though in 
their own strength, to break off their sins by repentance ; or, 
:f their resolutions to lead a virtuous life are weak, and not 
much regarded by them, endeavour to strengthen them, this 
will not answer their end, sin will be too strong for all their 
resolutions, and the engagements with which they bind them- 
selves, will be like the cords with which Sampson was bound, 
which were broken by him like threads. If we rely on our 
own strength, how much soever we may be resolved to ab- 
stain from sin at present, God will make us sensible of our 
weakness, by leaving us to ourselves ; and then, how much 
soever we resolve to abstain from sin, it will appear that it 
is far from being mortified, or subdued by us. Therefore 
we conclude, that this cannot be performed, but by going 
forth in the name and strength of Christ, who is able to 
keep us from falling ; or, when fallen, to recover us : and this 
will be found, in the end, to be the best expedient for the pro- 
moting this branch of our sanctification ; which leads us to 

III. That, in the farther carrying on of this work of sanc- 
tification, we are enabled to walk with God, or before him, in 
holiness and righteousness. We are first made alive in regene- 
ration, and then put forth living actions, which some call vivi- 
fication, as distinguished from that part of sanctification, which 
has been already considered, namely, mortification of sin. 

This is what we may call leading an holy life, whereby we 
are to understand much more than many do, who suppose, that 
it consists only in the performance of some moral duties, that 
contain the external part of religion, without which there would 
not be the least shadow of holiness ; and in performing those 
duties which we ov/e to men in the various relations which we 
stand in to them ; or, at least, in keeping ourselves clear from 
those pollutions -which are in the ivorld through lust, 2 Pet. i. 4. 
The Pharisee, in the gospel, thought himself an extraordinary 
holy person, because he was no extortioner, nor unjust, nor 
adulterer ; but fasted, paid tithes, and performed several works 
ot charity ; and many are great pretenders to it, who have no 
other than a form of godliness, without the power of it, or who 
are more than ordinarily diligent in their attendance on the or- 
dinances of God's appointment ; though they are far from do- 
ing this in a right way, like those whom the prophet speaks 
of, v/ho are said to seek God daily, ami to delight to know his 
"ways^ as a r.atzor. that did rightecusness, and forsook not the 


ordinance of their God; though at the same time, they are 
said X.C fast for strife and debate^ and to smite with the fist of 
■wickedness^ Asa. Iviii. 2. But, that we may consider several 
other things, which are contained in a person's leading an holy 
life, let it be observed, 

1. That our natures must be changed, and therefore sancti- 
fication always supposes and flows from regeneration : thei"e 
must be grace in the heart, or else it can never discover itself 
in the life ; the root must be good, or else the tree cannot bring 
forth good fruit; the spring of action must be cleansed, other- 
wise the actions themselves will be impure. Some persons, 
who are generally strangers to the internal work of grace, are 
very apt to insist much on the goodness of their hearts, and 
this is sometimes pleaded in excuse for the badness of their 
lives J whereas they never had a due sense of the plague and 
perverseness of their ov/n hearts. Good actions must proceed 
from a good principle, otherwise persons are in an unsanctified 
state ; and, as they must be conformable to the rule laid down 
in the word of God, and performed in a right manner, and to 
the glory of God as to the end designed thereby ; so they m.ust 
be performed by faith, whereby we depend on Christ for assis- 
tance and acceptance, as being sensible of our constant work 
and business, whereby we are said to walk with God, as well 
as live to him. 

2. In order to our leading an holy life, we mu3t make use 
of those motives and inducements thereunto, that are contain- 
ed in the gospel ; and to encourage us herein, 

(1.) We are to have in our view that perfect pattern of ho- 
liness which Christ has given us ; he has left iis an example 
that Tve should follow his steps, 1 Pet. ii. 21. Whatever we find 
in the life of Christ, prescribed for our imitation, should be 
improved to promote the work of sanctification ; his humility, 
meekness, patience, submission to the divine will, his zeal for 
the glory of God, and the good of mankind, and his unfainting 
perseverance in pursuing the end for which he came into the 
world, are all mentioned, in scripture, not barely that we should 
yield an assent to the account we have thereof in the gospel 
history ; but that the sa?ue mind should be in lis, which was also 
in. him, Phil. ii. 5. or, as the apostle says. He that saith he ahi- 
deth in him, ought himself also to walk even as he zvalked, 1 John 
ii. 6. And to this we may add, that we ought to set before us 
the example of others, and be followers of them, so far as they 
followed him : their example, indeed, is as much inferior to 
Christ's as imperfect holiness is to tliat which is perfect; but 
yet it is an encouragement to us, that in following the footsteps 
of the flock, we have many bright examples of those, who 
through faith and pr.tience, inherit the promises. 


(2.) Another motive to holiness is the love fcf Christ, ex* 
prcsstid in the great work of our redemption, and in that care 
and compassion which he has extended towards us in the ap- 
})lication thereof, in all the methods he has used in the begin- 
ning and carrying on the work of grace, in which we may say, 
hitherto he hath helped us : this ought to be improved so as 
to constrain us, 2 Cor. v. 14. as he has hereby laid us under 
the highest obligation to live to him. And as love to Christ is 
the main ingi'edient in sanctification ; so when by faith we be- 
hold him as the most engaging and desirable object, this will 
afford a constant inducement to holiness. 

(3.) Another motive hereunto is our relation to God, as hia 
cliildren, and our professed subjection to him ; as we gave up 
ourselves to him, when first we believed, avouched him to be 
our God, and, since then, have experienced many instances of 
his condescending goodness and faithfulness ; as he has been 
pleased to grant us some degrees of communion with him^ 
through Christ ; and as he has given us many great and pre- 
eious promises, and in various instances, made them good to 
us ; and has reserved an inheritance for all that are sanctified 
in that better world, to which they shall be brought at last : this 
should induce us to lead a life of holiness, as the apostle says, 
Having- these promises^ let us cleanse ourselves from all jilthi- 
ness ofthejlcsh and spirit^ perfecting holiness in the fear of God ^ 
chap. vii. 1. 

From what has been said in explaining the doctrine of sanc- 
tification, we may infer, 

[l.J The difference that there is between moral virtue, so far 
as it may be attained by the light of nature, and the improve- 
ment of human reason ; and that holiness of heart and life, 
xvhich contains in it all Christian virtues, and is inseparably 
connected with salvation. All who are conversant in the wri- 
tings of some of the Heathen moralists will find a great many 
things that tend to regulate the conduct of life ; and those pre- 
cepts laid down, wliich, if followed, carry in them a great re- 
semblance of the grace of sanctification ; and herein some, who 
have been destitute of the light of the gospel, have very much 
excelled many who bear the Christian name : when we find a 
lively representation of the universal corruption and degenera- 
cy of human nature, the disorder and irregularity of the affec- 
tions, and man's natural propensity to vice, rules laid down for 
the attaining of virtue, by which means men are directed how 
to free themselves from that slavery which they are under 
to their lusts, and advice given to press after a resemblance 
and conformity to God ; this carried in it a great shew of 

Vol. hi. X 


A late writer* has collected together several passages out 
of their writings, with a design to prove, that though they were 
destitute of gospel- light, yet they might attain salvation; inas- 
much as they use many expressions that very much resemble 
the grace of sanctification : as for instance, when one of them 
speaking concerning contentment in the station of life in which 
providence had fixed him, says, " A servant of God should not 
" be solicitous for the morrow. Can any good man fear that 
" he should want food ? Doth God so neglect his servants, and 
*' his witnesses, as that they should be destitute of his care and 
" providence ? And he adds, Did I ever, Lord, accuse thee, 
*' or complain of thy government i Was I not always willing 
"' to be sick when it was thy pleasure that I should be so ? Did 
*' I ever, desire to be what thou wouldest not have me to be ? 
" Am I not always ready to do what thou commandest ? Wilt 
*' thou have me to continue here, I will freely do as thou will- 
" est ? Or, wouldest thou have me depart hence, I will freely 
" do it at thy command? I have always had my will subject 
*' to that of God ; deal with me according to thy pleasure ; I 
*' am always of the same mind with thee ; I refuse nothing 
*' which thou art pleased to lay upon me ; lead me whither 
" thou wilt; clothe me as thou pleasest ; I will be a magistrate 
*' or private person ; continue me in my country, or in exile, I 
" will not only submit to, but defend thy proceedings in all 
" things." We might also. produce quotations out of other wri- 
tings whereby it appears that some of the heathen excelled 
many Christians in the consistency of their sentiments about 
religious matters, with the divine perfections ; as when they 
say. Whatever endowment of the mind has a tendency to make 
a man truly great and excellent ; this is owing to an internal 
divine influence. f Others, speaking of the natural propensity 
•which there is in man to vice, have maintained, that to fence 
against it, there is a necessity of their having assistance from 
•God, in order to their leading a virtuous life ; and that virtue 
is not attained by instruction, that is, not only by that means, 
but that it is from God ; and that this is to be sought for at 
his hands, by faith and prayer : much to this purpose may be 
seen in the writings of Plato, Maximus Tyrius, Hierocles, and 
several others.:|: 

The principal use that I would make hereof is, to observe 
that this should humble many Christians, who are far from 
coming up to the Heathen in the practice of moral virtue. And, 

* See W/dtbi/s Disc. i</C. page 541, in which he quotes Arrian, as giving the 
sense of Epictetus, Lib. 1. cap. 9. Lib. 3 cap. 5, 24, 26, 36, &c. 

f Vid. Cic. lie natura Deonim, Lib. 2. Nullus unquam vir magnus fuit, sine 
aliquo afflatu divino. 

t See Gale's court of the Gentiles. Booh ". chap. 1. and chap. 10. and Wits, is 
Occon. Ficd. 461—463. 


UvS for the sentiments of those who deny the necessity of our 
havning the divine influence in order to our performing the du- 
tics which God i-equircs of us, in a right manner ; these fall 
very short of what the light of nature has suggested to those 
who have duly attended to it, though destitute ol divine revela- 
tion. When I meet with such expressions, and many other divine 
things, in the writings oi Piato ; and what he says of the con- 
versation of his niaster Socrates, both in his life and death : 
I cannot but applv in this case, what our Saviour says to the 
scribe in the gospel, who answered him discreetly, Thou art 
not far from the kingdom of God^ Mark xii. 34. These things, 
it is true, very much resemble the grace of sanctification; yet 
in many respects, they fall short of it; inasmuch as they had 
no acts of faith, in a Mediator, whom they were altogether 
strangers to, as being destitute of divine revelation. 

It is not my design, at present, to enquire, whether they had 
any hope of salvation I this having been considered under a 
foregoing answer *. All that I shall here observe is, that 
some of the best of them were charged with notorious crimes, 
which a Christian would hardly reckon consistent with the 
truth of grace ; as Plato, with flattering of tyrants, and too 
much indulging pride and luxury f ; Socrates, with pleading 
for fornication and incest, and practising sodomy, if what some 
have reported concerning them be true \. But, without lay- 
ing any stress on the character of particular persons, who, in 
other respects, have said and done many excellent things ; it 
is evident, that whatever appearance of holiness there may be 
in the writings or conversation of those that are strangers to 
Christ and his gospel, this falls short of the grace of sanctifi- 
cation. (rt) 

* See Vol. IT. pa^e 489. & seq. f Vid G. J Voss. de Hist. Grcec. pa^e 22. 

t See Gale's court of the Gentiles, Purl III. book 1, chap. 1, 2. -which learned 
■M'iter having, in some other parts of that ivorh, mentioned several things that luere 
praise viorthy, in some of the philoauphers, here takes occasion to speak of some ot/ter 
things, -which ivere great blemishes in them: and, in other parts of this elaborate 
■work, proves that those -who lived in the first ages of the cimrch, amltjere attacked 
to their philosophy, ivere by this means, as ha supposes, led aside from many great 
and important truths of the gospel ; of this number Origen, Justin jMartyr, and 
eeveral others Jind he farther supposes, that lohat many of them advanced con- 
cerning the liberty of man's luill, as to ivhut respects .ipiritual things, gave occa- 
sion to the Pelagians to propagate those doctrines that -were subversive of the grace 
of God; and that the , Irian and Samosatenan heresies took their rise from hence. ^ 
See Part III. Book 1. chap. 1. 

(a) -The nuturul kiiowledi^e of God and liis gooilness, jrives some eiicourajfe- 
ment to guilty creatures to repent ol" their sins, und to return to God by a gene- 
ral hope of acceptance, thougli they had no promise of pardoning grace. And 
this was the very principle upon which some of the better sort of the Gentiles 
set themselves to practise virtue, to worship God, and endc.wour tgt become lik« 


There is a vast diiference betv/een recommending or practi- 
sing moral virtues, as agreeable to the nature of man, and the 
dictates of reason ; and a person's being led in that way of ho- 
liness, which our Saviour has prescribed in the gospel. This 
takes its rise from a change of nature, wrought in regeneration, 
is excited by gospel-motives, encouraged by the promises there- 
of, and proceeds from the grace of faith, without which, all 
pretensions to holiness are vain and defective. What advances 
soever these may have made in endeavouring to free them- 
selves from the slavery of sin, they have been very deficient, 
as to the mortification thereof; for being ignorant of that great 
atonement which is made by Christ, as the only expedient to 
take away the guilt of sin, they could not, by any method, ar- 
rive to a conscience void of offence, or any degree of hope 
concerning the forgiveness thereof, and the way of acceptance 
in the sight of God : and their u^ing endeavours to stop the 
current of vice, and to subdue their inordinate affections, could 

I do not say, that nn.tural religion can give sinful men a full and aatisfving as- 
surance of pardon upon llieir repentmce; for the deepest degrees of penitence 
cannot oblige a prince to forgive the criminal: but still the overflowing good- 
ness of God, his patience and long-sunlring, notwithstanding their sins, may 
evidently and justly excite in tlieir he;irts some hope of foogving grace: and I 
think the words of my text cannot intend less than this, that God has not left 
them without witness, when lie gave them rain from heaven, when he satisfied 
•their appetites with food, and filled their hearts with gladness. What was it 
that these benefits of their Creator bore witness to ? Was it not that there was 
j^oodness and mercy to be found with him, if they wou'd return to their duty, 
and abandon their own ways of idolatry and \'ice. Surel_\', it can never be s\ip- 
Tjosed, that the apostle here means no more than to say, that the daily instances 
of divine bounty in the common comforts of life, assured them, that God had 
some goodness in him, and blessings to bestow on their bodies ; but gave them 
i'lO hope of his acceptance of their souls, if they should return and repent never 
CO sincerely. The Ninevites themselves, when threatened with destruction, 
repented in sackcloth and ashes ; for, said they. Who can tell but God will turn 
and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? Nor were 
they mistaken in their hope, for God .saw their works, that they turned from 
theu" evil way, and he repented of tiie evil that he had threatened, Jonah iii. 5 — 
10. And there is yet a more express text to this purpose, Rom. ii. 4. Despisest 
tliou the riches of his goodness, and forbearance, and long-suflering, not know- 
ing that the goodness of God leadetli thee to repentance .'' And if God leads us 
to repentance, by a sense of- his goodness, surely he gives hope that our repent- 
ance shall not be in vain: and though, perhaps, I could not affirm it with bold- 
ness, and certainty by the mere light of reason, yet I may ventuie to declare, 
upon the encouragement of these scriptui-es, tiiat if there should be found any 
sinner in tlie heathen v/orld, who should he thus far wrought upon by a sense of 
the goodness of (lod, as to be led sincerely to repent of sin, and seek after mer- 
cy, God would find a way to make a discovery oi' so much of the gospel, as was 
jiecessai-y fcr him to know, rather than such a penitent sinner should be left un- 
>^er condemnation, or th:it a guilty creature should go on to eternal death in 
the way of repentance. CorneUns the Genturioii, who feared God, who prayed 
to him daily, and wiought righteousness, according to the light of his con; 
science, had both an angel and an apostle sent to him, that he might receive 
.more complete ir.>t;'ac',:oa ir* t.!ie matter.? cu^lis salvation. Acts x. 1—5. and froiQ 

o!>— 35/' - B». WATTS. , 


not be eficctual to answer that end, inasmuch as they v/ere 
destitute otthe Spirit ol God, who affords his divine assistance, 
in order thereunto, in no other way than what is prescribed in 
the gospel ; so that as xvithout holiness no one shall see the Lord^ 
this grace is to be expected in that way which God has pre- 
scribed; and every one that is holy is made so by the Spirit, 
who glorifies himself in rendering men fruitful in every good 
work, being raised by him, fi'om the death of sin, to the life of 
faith in Christ; which is a blessing peculiar to the gospel. 

[2.] Since holiness is required of all persons, as what is ab- 
solutely necessary to salvation, and is also recommended as that 
which God works, in those in whom the gospel is made effec- 
tual thereunto ; we may infer, that no gospel-doctrine has the 
least tendency to lead to licentiousness. The grace of God 
may indeed be abused ; and men, who are strangers to it, take 
occasion from the abounding thereof, to continue in sin, as 
some did in the apostle's days, Rom. vi. 1. but this is not the 
genuine tendency of the gospel, which is to lead men to holi- 
ness. Whatever duties it engages to, they are all designed to 
answer this end ; and whatever privileges are contained there- 
in, they are all of them inducements thereunto : are we deliver' 
ed out of the hands of our spiritual enemies ? it is, that we 
should serve him in holiness and risfhteousness before him^ all 
the days of our lives, Luke i. 74, 75, As for the promises, 
they are an inducement to us, as the apostle expresses it, to 
cleanse ourselves from all flthiness of the fesh and spirity per- 
fecting holiness in the ftar of God^ 2 Cor. vii. 1, and every or- 
dinance and providence should be improved by us, to promote 
the work of sanctificaticn. 

[3.] Let us examine ourselves, whether this work be begun, 
and the grace of God wrought in us, in truth ? and if so, whe- 
ther it be increasing or declining in our souls? 

1st, As to the truth of grace, let us take heed that we do not 
think that we are something when we arc nothing, deceiving 
our own souls, or rest in a form of godliness, while denying 
the power thereof, or a name to live, while v/e are dead ; let 
us think that it is not enough to abstain from grosser cnormi- 
Vies, or engage in some external duties of religion, v/ith wrong 
ends. And if, upon enquiry into ourselves, we find that we 
are destitute of a principle of spiritual life and grace, let us 
not think, that because we have escaped some of the pollutions 
that are in the world, or do not run with others in all excess 
of riot, that therefore we lead holy lives ; but rather let us en- 
quire, Whether the life we live in the flesh, be by the faith of 
the Son of God, under the influence of his Spirit, with great 
diffidence of our own righteousness and strength, and firm de- 
^cndenc^ upon Christ ^ and as the result hereof, whether we 


are found in the practice of universal holiness, and hate and 
avoid all appearance of evil, using all those endeavours that 
are prescribed in the gospel, to glorify him in our spirits, souls, 
and bodies, which are his ? 

2(/, If we have ground to hope that the work of sanctifica- 
tion is begun, let us enquire, whether it be advancing or de- 
clining ? Whether we go from strength to strength, or make 
improvements in proportion to the privileges we enjoy ? Many 
have reason to complain that it is not with them as in months 
past; that grace is languishing, the frame of their spirits in holy 
duties stupid, and they destitute of that communion with God," 
which they have once enjoyed ; such ought to remember from 
whence they are fallen, and repent, and do their first works ; 
and beg of God, from whom alone our fruit is derived, that 
he would revive the work, and cause their souls to flourish in 
the courts of his house, and to bring forth much fruit unto ho- 
liness, to the glory of his own name, and their spiritual peace 
and comfort. 

As for those who are frequently complaining of, and be- 
wailing their declensions in grace, who seem, to others, to be 
making a very considerable progress therein ; let them not 
give way to unbelief so far as to deny or set aside the expe- 
riences which they have had of God's presence with them ; for 
sometimes grace grows, though without our own observation. 
If they are destitute of the comforts thei'eof, or the fruits of 
righteousness, which are peace, assurance and joy in the Holy 
Gnost, let them consider, that the work of sanctilication, in 
this present state, is, at best, but growing up towards that per- 
fection which is not yet arrived to. If it does not spring up 
and flourish, as to those fruits and effects thereof, which they 
are pressing after, but have not attained ; let them bless GocI, 
if grace is taking root downward, and is attended with an 
humble sense- of their own weakness and imperfection, and an 
earnest desire of those spiritual blessings which they are labour- 
ing after. This ought to afford matter of thankfulness, ra- 
ther than have a tendency to weaken their hands, or induce 
them to conclude that they are in an unsanctificd state ; because 
of the many hindrances and discouragements which attend their 
progress in holiness. 

Quest. LXX VI. JV/iat is repentance unto life P 

Answ. Repentance unto life, is a saving grace, wrought in 
the heart of a sinner, by the Spirit and word of God ; where- 
by, out of the sight and sense, not only of the danger, but 
also of the filth and odiousness of his sins, and upon the ap-; 


prehension of God's mercy in Christ, to such as are peni- 
tent, lie so grieves for, and hates his sins, as that he turns 
from them all to God, purposing and endeavouring, con- 
stantly to walk with him in all the ways of new obedience. 

IN speaking to this answer we shall consider the subject of 
repentance, viz. a sinful fallen creature ; and that, though 
this be his condition, yet he is naturally averse to the exercise 
thereof, till God is pleased to bring him to it; which will lead 
us to consider, how the Spirit of God does this; and what are 
the various acts and effects thereof, (a) 

1. Concerning the subjects of repentance. No one can be 
said to repent but a sinner ; and therefore, whatever other 
graces might be exercised by man in a state of innocency, or 
shall be exercised by him, when brought to a state of perfec- 

(a) It has been, perhaps correctly, asserted that repentance is neither a duty 
discoverable by tlie law of nature, nor the written law of God ; because it is un- 
fit, that a law, appointinj^ death for the violation of its precept, should also dis- 
cover to the culprit a way of escape from its own penalty incurred. 

But there existed purposes of mercy before the law was made ; these have 
been revealed by a gracious Sovereign; the condition of men, as prisoners of 
hope possessing competent evidence of the compassion of the Lawgiver, points 
to repentance. Sacrifices in former ages discover not only a consciousness of 
guilt, but a glimmering hope at least, of pardon. It is possible that these were 
the olTspring of tradition among the Gentiles, rather than the deductions of the 
light of nature. But in either way, sorrow for sin is a duty founded on the will 
of God. 

It IS therefore a duty, perfectly reasonable, and expressly revealed on the sa- 
cred page. The strength to perform it is from the King of Providence and Grace. 

There is necessary in its production a discovery of guilt, liability to miser)', 
and entire helplessness. The general belief, or profession of these truths, does 
not prove in event to be a cause adequate to produce a total change in a man's 
views, J. tt'suits, desires, aversions, labours, joys, and sorrows. There is neces -■ 
sary some deep sense, or strong conviction of guilt. This, with respect to it.* 
proximate cause, may originate in various ways ; by reflecting on the Divine 
Sovereignty and Majesty ; by a solemn contemplation of the excellency and love- 
liness of the moral perfection of Deity ; by an affecting sight of his goodness and 
mercy to the individual in particular; by attending to the awful subject of Di- 
vine Justice, seen in the sufferings of Christ, or anticipated in the future judg- 
ment, and final sufferings of the damned. Such convictions are produced in 
great mercy to the individual, how dearly soever they cost him, whether the 
prostrated idols, on which the sensual affections were fastened, were compa- 
nliins, friends, relations, lionour or wealth. Disease, approaching death, or any 
thing whicli shall dissolve the unhallowed attachment to earth, may by the Di- 
vine blessing produce this change, the glory of which will always really belong 
to Divine grace, wiiich works unseen. 

The bitterness of such sorrows is sometimes extreme, when he who wounded- 
alone can cure. The effects of it are subsequently salutary, both to deter fron< 
sin and to strengthen the party's faith. 

The degrees of penitential sorrow are extremely various in diflferent converts 
lie \s ho has been convinced of gospel truths step by step, and has been in the 
same manner l)i-<)Ught to the love and fear of God, and to a universal conscienti- 
ousness, may have grounds of peace and comfort equally safe, as he whose con-- 
victions liave been the niost senaiblc; for not their heighth but their fruits prove 
them to be genuinf 


tion; yet there eannot, properly speaking, be any room for re- 
pentance : some, indeed, have queried whether there shall be 
repentance in heaven ; but it may easily be determined, that 
though that hatred of sin in general, and opposition to it, which 
is contained in true repentance, be not inconsistent with a state 
of perfect blessedness, as it is inseparably connected with per- 
fection of holiness ; yet a sense of sin, which is afflictive, and 
is attended with grief and sorrow of heart, for the guilt and 
consequences thereof, is altogether inconsistent with a state of 
perfection ; and these are some ingredients in that repentance 
which comes under our present consideration. Therefore we 
must conclude, that the subject of repentance is a sinner: but, 
II. Though all sinners contract guilty expose themselves to 
misery, and will sooner or later be filled with distress and sor- 
row for what they have done against God ; yet many have no 
sense thereof at present, nor repentance, or remorse for it. 
These are described as /^a-s^y^^/i^z^, Eph. iv. 19. and hardened 
ihroiigh the deceitfulness of ahi^ Heb. iii. 13. as obstinate, and 
having their neck as an iron sinew., and their broxu as brass^ Isa. 
xlviii. 4. And there are several methods which they take to 
ward off the force of convictions. Sometimes they are stupid, 
and hardly give themselves the liberty to consider the differ- 
ence that there is betv/een moral good and evil, or the natural 
obligation we are under to pursue the one, and avoid the other. 
They consider not the all-seeing eye of God, that observes all 
their actions, nor the power of his anger, who will take ven- 
geance on impenitent sinners ; regard not the various aggrava- 
tions of sin, nor consider that God will, for those things, bring 
them to judgment. So that impenitency is generally attended 
with presumption ; whereby the person concludes, though with- 
out ground, that it shall go well with him in the end ; such an 
one is represented, as blessing himself in his heart, saying, / 
shall have peace., though Iivalk in the imagination; or, as it is in 
the margin, in the stubbornness of mine hearty to add drunken- 
ness to thirst., Deut. xxix. 19. Or if, on the other hand, he 
cannot but conclude, that with God is terrible majesty, that he 
is a consuming fire, and that none ever hardened themselves 
against him, and prospered, and if he does not fall down be- 
fore him with humble confession of sin, and repentance for it, 
he will certainly be broken with his rod of iron, and dashed in, 
pieces, like the potter's vessel, broken with a tempest, and ut- 
terly destroyed, when his wrath is kindled; then he resolves, 
that some time or other he will repent, but still delays and puts 
it off for a more convenient season, and though God gives him 
space to do it, repenteth not. Rev. ii. 21. Thus he goes on in 
the greatness of his way, till God prevents him with the bles- 
sings of his goodness, and brings him to repentance. And 
this leads us to consider^ 


III. That repentance is God's work ; or, as it is observed in 
this answer, wrought by the Spirit of God : whether we con- 
sider it as a common or saving grace, it is the Spirit that con* 
vinces or reproves the world of sin. If it be of the same kind • 
with that which Pharaoh, Ahab, or Judas had ; it is a dread 
of God's judgments, and his wrath breaking iti upon conscience, 
when he reproves for sin, and sets it in order before their eyes, 
that excites it. If they are touched with a sense of guilt, and 
hereby, for the present, stopped, or obliged to make a retreat, 
and desist from pursuing their former methods, it is God, irx 
the course of his providence, that gives a check to them. But 
this comes short of that repentance which is said to be unto 
life ; or which is styled a saving grace, which is wrought by* 
the Spirit of God, as the beginning of that saving work, which 
is a branch of sanctification, and shall end incompleat salvation. 

This is expressly styled in scripture, repentance unto life^ 
Acts xi. 18. inasmuch as every one, who is favoured with it> 
sRall obtain eternal life ; and it is connected with conversioa 
and remission of sins, which will certainly end in eternal sal^ 
vation. Thus it is said. Repent and be converted^ that your sins 
may be blotted out^ when the times of refreshing shall come froiv- 
the presence of the Lord^ chap. iii. 9. and for this reason it ii 
called a saving grace, or a grace that accompanies salvation, 
whereby it is distinguished from that repentance which some 
have, who yet remain in a state of unregeneracy. And it is 
called, Repentance to salvation^ not to be repented of y 2 Cor. vii. 
10. that is, it shall issue well ; and he shall, in the end, have 
reason to bless God, and rejoice in his grace, that has made 
him partaker of it, who thus repents. 

IV. We shall now consider the instrument or means where- 
by the Spirit works this grace. ♦ Thus it is said to be wrought 
in the heart of a sinner, by the word of God, as all other- 
graces are, except regeneration, as has been before observed : 
we must first suppose the principle of grace implanted, and the 
word presenting motives, and arguments leading to repen- 
tance; and then the understanding is enlightened and disposed 
to receive what is therein imparted. The word calls sinners to 
repentance^ Matt. ix. 13. and therefore, when this grace is 
wrought, we are not only turned by the power of God, but iri' 
"itructed^ Jer. xxxi. 19* by the Spirit's setting home what is 
contained therein whereby we are led into the knowledge of 
those things which are necessary to repentance. As, 

1. We have in the word a display of the holiness of the di- 
vine nature and law, and our obligation in conformity there- 
lu^to, to the exercise of holiness in heart and life, as God says, 

• Grace here ii put for repentance, and not the jmniedlate influence on tfte 

Vol. Hi. Y 


£e ye hol'j, for I am holy^ Lev. xi. 44. And to this we msy 
add, that it contains a display of the holiness of God in hia 
threatenings, Avhich he has denounced against every transgres- 
sion and disobedience, which shall receive a just recompence 
of reward; and in ail the instances of his punishing sin in 
those who have exposed themstlves thereunto, that hereby he 
might deter men from it,, and lead them to repentance : thus 
the apostle speaks of the laiv of God as holy,, and the command- 
ment holy ^ just J and goody Rom. vii. 12, 13. and of its leading 
him into the knowledge of sin, by which means it appeared to- 
1)6 sin, that is, opposite to an holy God, and, as he expresses 
it, became exceeding sinJuL 

2. Hereby persons are led into themselves : and by compa- 
ling their heai^ts and lives with the word of God, are enabled 
to see their own vileness and want of conformity to the rule 
which he has given them, the deceitfulness and desperate 
wickedness thereof, and what occasion there is to abhor them- 
bclves, and repent in dust and ashes ; thus the apostle, in the 
place but now mentioned, speaks of himself as once alive with- 
out the law ; hut when the commandment came^ sin revived and 
he died, and concludes himself to be carnal, sold under sin, Rom. 
vii. 9, 14. This is a necessary means leading to repentance. 

And we may farther add^ that God not only makes use of 
the word, but of his providences to answer this end ; therefore 
he speaks of a sinning people, whe7i carried away captive into 
the lajid of the enemy y^^ bethinking themselves, and afterwards 
repenting and making supplication to him therein, 1 Kings viii. 
46, 4-7* And we read of sickness and bodily diseases as or- 
dained by God, to bring persons to repentance ; thus Elihi?. 
speaks of a person's being chastened with pain upon his bed\ 
and the multitude of his bones with strong pain ; his soul draw-' 
ing nigh to the grave, and his life to the destroyers. Job xxxiii. 
19, 27. and then represents the person thus chastened, and af- 
lerAvards recovered from his sickness^ as acknowledging him- 
self to have sinned, a?id perverted that which is right,, a7id \.\\-dt 
it profited him not. And the apostle speaks of the goodness cf 
God in the various dispensations of his providence, as leadmg to 
repentance, Rom. ii. 4. B-ut these dispensations are always to 
be considered in conjunctioit with the word, and as impressed 
on the conscience of men by the Spirit, in order to their attain- 
ing this desirable epd. 

But that we may insist on this matter more particularly, we 
must take an estimate of repentance, either as it is a common 
■or special grace } in both these respects it is from the Spirit, 
and wrought by the instrumentality of the word, applied to the 
consciences of men ,• but there is a vast diiference between the 
one and the other in the application of the word, Uj \w11 a& ia 
i\x efkcts ii,tid con^eq^ucucct) ♦hereof* 


(1.) Ill tliem who are brought under convictions, but not' 
r.i^de partakers of the saving grace of repentance ; the Holy- 
Spirit awakens, and fills them with the terrors of God, and the 
dread of his vengeance, by the laxu^ by which is the knoxolcd^c 
gJ sin^ and all the world becomes guilty before God^ Rom. iii. 
£0. compared with 19. Tljese are what we call legal convic- 
tions ; whereby the wound is opened, but no healing medicine* 
applied : the sinner apprehends himself tmder a sentence of 
condemnation, but at the same time cannot apply any promise 
which may afford hope and relief to him^ groans under \\\% 
burden, and knows not where to find ease or comfort, anci 
dreads the consequence thereof, as that which would sink him 
into hell; God appears to him as a constiming fire, his arrow;i 
stick fast in his soul, the poison whereof drinketh up his spi- 
rits ; if he endeavours to shake off his fears, and to relieve 
himself against his despairing thoughts, he is notwithstanding, 
<lescribed, as being like the troitbled sea, when it caimot resr^ 
which casts forth mire and dirt, Isa. Ivii. 20. This is a most af- 
flictive case ; concerning which it is said, that though the spirit 
cf a 7nan zvill sustain his infrniity ; yet a xuoiindcd spirit xvho 
can bear ? Pro v. xviii. 14. 

Thus it is with some when convinced of sin by the law : but 
there are others who endeavour to quiet their consciences by 
using indirect methods, thinking to make atonement for it, and 
by some instances of external reformation, to make God 
Jlmends, and thereby procure his favour, but to n(% purpose ; 
for sin taking- occasion, by the commandment, ivorks in them all 
manner of concupiscent'c, Rom. vil. 8. And if they grow stu- 
pid, which is oftentimes the consequence hereof, their sense of 
sin is entirely lost, and their repentance ends in presumption, 
and a great degree of boldness in the commission of all man- 
lier of wickedness. 

(2.) We shall now consider how the Spirit works repent- 
ance unto life, which is principally insisted on in this answer. 
This is said to be done by the word of God ; not by the la-\v 
without the gospel, but by them both, in which one is made 
subseniect to the other. The law sliews the soul its sin, and 
the gospel directs him where he may find a remedy ; one 
wounds mid the otlier heals ; the law enters, as the apostle ex- 
presses it, that the offence might abound, Rom. v. 20. but the 
gospel shews him \io\i grace does much more abound, and where 
he may obtain forgiveness, by which means he is kept froni 
sinking under that weig-ht of guilt that lies on his conscience. 
And it leads him to hate and abstain from sin, from those mo- 
tives that are truly excellent ; for which reason it is called 
vangelical repentance. 

Now ^hat we may better understand the nature thereof, we 


fihall consider ; how it differs from that which we before de? 
scribed, which arises only from that conviction of sin, which 
is by the law, which a person may have, who is destitute of 
this grace of repentance, which we are speaking of. Repent-^ 
ance, of v/ hat kind soever it be, contains in it a sense of sin : 
but if it be such a sense of sin, that the unregenerate person 
may liave, this includes little more in it than a sense of the 
danger and misery which he has exposed himself to by sins 
committed. The principal motivesi leading hereunto, are the 
threatenings which the law of God denounces against those that 
violate it. Destruction from God is a terror to him ; if this 
were not the consequence of sin, he would be so far from re- 
penting of it, that it would be the object of his chief delight, 
And that guilt, which he charges himself with, is principally 
such, as arises from the commission of the most notorious 
crimes, which expose him to the greatest degree of punish- 
ment : whereas, repentance unto life brings a soul under a sense 
of the guilt of sin, as it is contrary to the holy nature and law 
of God, which the least, as well as the greatest sins, are oppo- 
sed to, and contain a violation of. And therefore he charges 
Iiimself, not only with open sins, which are detestable in the 
eye? of men ; but secret sins, which others have little or no 
sense of | sins of omission, as well as sins of commission ; and 
he is particularly affected with the sin of unbelief, inasmuch as 
it contains a contempt of Christ, and the grace of the gospel. 
And he i^ not only sensible of those sins which break forth in 
Jiis life ; but that propensity of nature, whereby he is inclined 
to rebel against God ; so that this sense of guilt, in some re- 
spects, differs from that which they are brought under, who 
are destitute of saving repentance. 

But that in which they more especially <X^ffer is, in that sa- 
ving repentance contains in it. a sense of the filth, and odious 
nature of sin, and so considers it as defiling, or contrary to the 
holiness of God, and rendering the soul worthy to be abhorred 
by him i so that as the sense of guilt excites fear, and a dread 
of the v/rath of God, this fills him with shame, confusion of 
face, and self-abhorrence, which is inseparably connected with 
the grace of repentance ; accordingly these are joined together, 
as Job says, I abhor mijselfy and repent in dust and ashes ^ Job 
xlii. 6. or, as when God promises that he would bestow this 
grace on his people, he says, The7i shall ye remember your own 
evil xvays^ and your doingSn, that were not good^ and shall loathe 
yourselves in your own sight^for your iniquities, and for your 
abominations^ Ezek. xxxvi. 31. As before this they set too 
high a value upon themselves, and were ready to palliate and 
•xcuse their crimes, or insist on their innocence, though their 
niquity was written in legible chiyacters, as with a pen of ircUj 


and the poiut of a diamond, and to say with Ephraim, In all 
my labour they shall Jind none iniquity in me that were sin^ 
Ilos. xii. 8. or, as the prophet Jeremiah says, concerning a re- 
bellious people, that though in their skirts were found the blood 
of the souls of the poor innocents ; yet they had the front to say. 
Because I am innocent^ surely his anger shall turn from 77ze, Jer. 
ii. 34, 35. Notwithstanding, when God brings them to repent- 
ance, and heals their backslidings ; they express themselves in 
a very different way ; We lie down in our shame^ and our con- 
fusion covers us ; for we have sin?ied against the Lord our God^ 
chap. iii. 25. Now this is such an ingredient in true repent- 
ance, which is not to be found in that which falls short of it : 
the sinner is afraid of punishment indeed, or, it may be, he may 
be filled with shame, because of the reproach which attends his 
vile and notorious crimes in the eyes of the world j yet he is 
not ashamed, or confounded, as considering how vile he has 
rendered himself hereby, in the eye of an holy God. 

There is another thing which is farther observed in this an- 
swer, which is an ingredient in repentance unto life, in which 
respect it is connected with faith, inasmuch as he apprehends 
the mercy of God in Christ to such as are penitent ; and this 
effectually secures him from that despair which sometimes at- 
tends a legal repentance, as was before observed, as well as 
affords him relief against the sense of guilt with which this 
grace is attended. The difference between legal and evangelical 
repentance, does not so much consist in that one represents sin, 
as more aggravated ; nor does it induce him that thus repents, 
to think himself a greater sinner than the other ; for the true 
penitent is ready to confess himself the chief of sinners. He 
is far from extenuating his sin, being ready, on all occasions, 
to charge himself with more guilt than others are generally 
sensible of: but that which he depends upon as his only com- 
fort and support is the mercy of God in Christ, or the consi- 
deration that there is forgiveness with him, that he may be 
feared ; this is that which afibrds the principal motive and en- 
couragement to repentance, and has a tendency to excite the 
various acts thei'eof ; which leads us to consider, 

V. What are the various acts of tiiis repentance unto life ; 
or what are the fruits and effects produced thereby. 

1, The soul is filled with hatred of sin. When he looks back 
on his past life, he bewails what cannot now be avoided •, 
charges himself with folly and madness, and wishes (though 
this be to no purpose) that he had done many things which he 
has omitted, and avoided those sins, together with the occa- 
sions thereof, which he has committed, the guilt whereof lies 
with great weight upon him. How glad would he be if lost 
^•:asonB and opportwnitir.s gf gi*ace might bo recallrd, and tUf 


talentsv'tlint were once put into his hand, though misimprove J, 
regained ! But all these wishes are in vain. However, these 
are the after-thoughts which will arise in the minds of those 
wlio are brought under a sense of sin. Sin wounds the soul ; 
the Spirit of God, when convincing thereof, opens the wound, 
and causes a person to feel the smart of it, and gives him to 
know, that it is an evii t'iif\q-^ and bitter, that he has forsaken the 
Lord his God, Jer. ii. 19. 'I'his sometimes depresses the spirits, 
and causes him to v/alk softly, to set alone and keep silence^ 
Jl.am, iii. 28. being filled with that uneasiness which is very 
afflictive to him. At other times it gives vent to itself in tears, 
as the Psalmist expresses it, lam xveary xvith mij groaning, 
all the night make I my bed to sxvim ; 1 water my vouch xvitli 
my tears, Psal. vi. 6. In this case the only thing that gives 
him relief or comfort is, that the guilt of sin is removed by 
the blood of Christ, which tends to quiet his spirit, which would 
otherwise be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. 

And to this we may add, that sin is alwa3's the object of his 
detestation, even when there is an abatement of that grief, 
which, by the divine supports and comforts he is fenced a- 
gainst : he hates sin, not barelj' because of the sad consequen- 
ces thereof, but as it is in itself the object of abhorrence ; and 
therefore his heart is set against all sin, as the Psalmist says, 
I hate every false -zvay, Psal. cxix. 104. This hatred discovers 
itself by putting him upon flying from it, together with all the 
occasions thereof, or incentives to it. He not only abstains from 
those sins which they who have little more than the remains of 
moral virtue are ashamed of, and afraid to commit, but hates 
every thing that has in it the appearance of sin, and this hatred 
is irreconcileable. As forgiveness does not make sin less odious 
in its own nature, so the experience that he has of the grace of 
-God herein, or whatever measures of peace he enjoys, whereby 
his gi'ief and sorrow is as&uaged, yet still his hatred of it not 
only remains, but increases : and, as the consequence hdreof, 

2. He turns from sin unto God ; he first hates sin, and then 
Hies from it, as seeing it to be the spring of all. his grief and 
fears, that which separates between him and his God. Thus 
Ephraim, v/hen brought to repentance, is represented as say- 
ing. What have I to do amy more xvith idols, Hos. xiv. 8. re^ 
fleeting on his past conduct, when addicted to them, with u 
kind of indignation ; so the true penitent, who has hitherto 
been walking in those paths that lead to death and destruction, 
now enquires after the way of holiness, and the paths of peace ; 
as he has hitherto walked contrary to God, now he desires to 
walk with him ; and having wearied himself in the greatness of 
his way, and seeing no fruit in those things whereof he is now 
s^^bamed ; and being brought into the utmost straits, he deter- 


mines to return to his God and Father. And In doing this he 
purposes and endeavours to walk with him in all the uays ot 
new obedience, as the apostle exhorts those who had received 
good by his ministry, that xvith purpose of heart thcij xuould 
cleave unto the Lord^ Acts xi. 23. This ])urpose is not like those 
hasty resolutions whitch tuiconverted sinners make when God 
is hedging up their way with thorns, and they arc under the 
most distressing apprehensions of his wrath. I'hen they say as 
the people did to Joshua, We rvill serve the Lord^ Josh, xxiv, 
22. though they are not sensible how difTicult it is to fulfil the 
engagements which they lay themselves under, nor of the de- 
ceitfulness of their own hearts, and the need they stand in ol 
grace fi-om God, to enable them so to do. This purpose to 
\v'alk with God, does not so much respect what a person will 
do hereafter; but it contains a resolution which is immediate- 
ly put in execution, and so is opposed to his former obstinacy^ 
when determining to go on in the way of his own heart. Thus 
the prodigal son, in the parable, no sooner resolved that he 
would arise and go to his Father^ Luke xv. 18, compared with 
20. but he arose and went. True repentance is always atten- 
ded with endcavouis after new obedience, so that a person lays 
aside that sloth and indolence which was inconsistent with hi^ 
setting a due value on, or improving the means of grace; and, 
as the result hereof, he now exerts himself, with all his might, 
in pursuing after those things, %vhereby he may approve him- 
self God's faithful servant; and hereby he discovers the sin- 
ceritv of his repentance ; which he does, or rather is enabled to 
do, by that grace, which at first began, and then- carries on this 
work in the soul, whereby he has his fruit unto holine&s^ and 
the end thereof everlastmg life^ Rom. vi. 22. 

From wdiat has been said concerning repentance, we may 

(1.) That since it is a grace that accompanies salvation, and 
consequently ij absolutely necessary theremito, it is an instance 
of unwarrantable and bold prcsumption,^ for impenitent sinners 
to expect, that ihcy shall be iifcde partakers of the benefit* 
which Ciirist has purchased, while they continue in a state of 
enmity, opposition, and rebellion against him ; or that they shall 
be saved by him in their sins, without being saved from themf 
lor he that covereth his sins shall not prosper ; but ivhosa con- 
fesseth and f»rsakelh thern^ shall have viercif^ Prov. xxviii. 13v 

(2.) Since repentance is the work of the Spirit, and his gift, 
.we infer, that wiiatever endeavours we are obliged to use, or 
whatever motives or inducements are given to lead us hereunto,, 
we must not conclude, that it is in our own power to repent 
when we please ; and therefore it should be the matter of our 
^urnest aad couoUiut prj)cji* to God, th;it he would turn our 


hearts, give us a true sight and sense of sin, accompanied with 
faith in Christ, as Ephraim is represented, saying, Turn thou 
rne^ aiid I shall be turnedy Jer. xxxi. 18. 

(3.) Let not those that have a distressing sense of their for- 
mer sins, liow great soever they have been, give way to despair- 
ing thoughts ; but lay hold on the mercy of God in Christ, ex- 
tended to the chief of sinners, and improve it to encourage them 
to hate sin, and forsake it from evangelical motives, which will 
have a tendency to remove their fears while they look on God, 
not as a sin-revenging Judge, but a reconciled Father, ready 
and willing to receive those who return to him with unfeigned 

(4.) Since we daily commit sin, it follows from hence, that 
we stand in need of daily repentance : and this being a branch 
of sanctification, as sanctification is a progressive work, so is re- 
pentance. We are not to expect that sin should be wholly ex- 
tirpated, while we are in this imperfect state ; and therefore it 
is constantly to be bewailed, and, by the grace of God working 
eflfectually in us, avoided ; that, as the result hereof, we may 
have a comfortable hope that that promise shall be fulfilled, 
They that sow in tears shall reap in Joy y Psal. cxxvi. 5. 

Quest. LXXVII. Wherein do justif cation and sanctijlcatioii 
coffer f 

Answ. Although sanctification be inseparably joined with jus- 
tification ; yet they differ, in that God in justification, impu- 
teth the righteousness of Christ, in sanctification his Spirit 
infuseth grace, and enableth to the exercise thereof; in the 
former sin is pardoned, in the other it is subdued ; the one 
doth equally free all believers from the rev^enging wrath of 
God, and that perfectly in this life, that they never fall into 
condemnation, the other is neither equal in all, nor in this 
life perfect in any, but growing up to perfection. 

THIS answer being principally a recapitulation of what is 
contained in those that have been already insisted on, 
wherein the doctrine of justification and sanctification are par- 
ticularly explained, we shall not much enlarge on it ; but since 
there are some who suppose that one of these graces may be at- 
tained without the other ; and others confound them, as though 
to be justified and to be sanctified implied the same thing ; we 
shall briefly consider, 

I. That which is supposed in this answer^ namely, that sanc- 
tification and justification are inseparably joined together; and 
accordlngK', no one has a warrant to claim one without the 


"Other : This appears in that the)' are graces that accompany sal- 
vation. When the apostle connects justificatioii and eflcctual 
calling together, in the golden ciiuin of our salvation, Kora. 
viii. 30. he includes sanctiiic.ition in this calling. And else- 
where, when Christ is said to be made ri^hteoiisiicss and redemp- 
tion to us for our justification, he is, at the same time, said to 
be made wisdojn and aanei'ificalioJi^ 1 Cor. i. 31. and we are 
said to be saved bi/ the ivaaliing ofreg'cnerat'ion and rcncxvms; 
of the IIolij Ghost^ Tit. iii. 5. winch is the beginning of the 
work of sanctification ; that being' jnatijicd bij his grace^ 7ve 
■should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal //fe ; and 
speaking of some who were once great sinners, and afterwards 
made true believers, he says, concerning them, that they were 
washed, sanctijied, and justified in the name of the Lord fesuSy 
and by the Spirit of our Gody 1 Cor. vi. 11. And when God 
promises to pardon Awdpass brj the transgression of the remnant 
of his heritage, Micah vii. 18, 19. he also gives them ground 
to expect that he would subdue their iniquities ; the former is 
done in justification, the latter in sanctification. 

From the connexion that there is between justification and 
sanctification, we infer ; that no one has ground to conclude 
that his sins are pardoned, and that he shall be saved while he 
is in an unsanctified state ; for as this tends to turn the grace of 
God into wantonness, so it separates what he has joined to- 
gether, and it is a certain evidence that they who thus divide 
them, are neither justified nor sanctified. Let us therefore give- 
diligence to evince the truth of our justification, by our sancti- 
fication, or that we have a right and title to Christ's righteous- 
ness, by the life of faith, and the excrciscof all those other gra- 
ces that accompany or flow from it» 

II. We have, in this answer, an account of some things in 
which justification and sanctification differ, as, 

1. In justification God imputes the righteousness of Christ; 
to us ; whereas, in sanctification the Spirit infuseth grace, and 
enableth to the exercise thereof. What it is for God to impute 
Christ's righteousness hath been before considered ; tljc only 
thing that we shall now observe is, that the righteousnerr, where- 
by we are justified, is, without us, wrought out bv Christ, for 
us ; so that it is b/j his obedience, as the apostle expresses it, 
that ttv arc jnade righteous, Rom. v. 19. and that winch Christ 
did as our Surety, is placed to our account, and accepted by 
the justice of (iod, as though it had been done by us, as has 
been before observed : Whereas, iu sanctification, the g:-accs 
of the Spirit are wrought and excited in us, wc are denomina- 
ted holy, and our right to eternal life is evinced, though not 

2. In justification sin i" pardoned, in f^anctification it i=^ 3ub- 
Vor. IU, 7 


dued ; the former takes away the guilt thereof, the latter it? 
reigning poAver. Where sin is pardoned, it shall not be cur 
ruin ; but yet it gives us daily disturbance and uneasiness, makes 
work for repentance, and is to be opposed by our dying to it, 
raid living to righteousness. This is therefore sufficiently dis- 
ti'nguished from justification, which is also to be considered as 
a motive or inducement leading to it. 

3. They differ, in that justification equally frees all believers 
from the avenging wrath of God, in which respect it is perfect- 
in this life, so that a justified person shall never fall into con- 
demnation ; whereas, the work of sanctification is not equal 
in all, nor perfect in this life, but growing up to perfection. 
For the understanding of which, let us consider, that when we 
speak of justification as perfect in this life, or say, that all are 
equally justified, we mean, that where God forgives one sin, 
he forgives all ; so that there is no condemnation to them xvhicli- 
are in Christ Jesus ^ as the apostle sa}'s, chap. viii. 1. and he 
adds. Who shall lay any thing- to the charge of GocVs elect P it 
is God that justifieth ; who is he that condcmneth? it is Christ 
that died^ ver. 3'3^ 34. Were it not so, a person might be said 
to be justified, and not have a right to eternal life, which implies 
a contradiction ; for though he might be acquitted, as to the 
guilt charged upon him by one indictment, he would be con- 
demned by that which is contained in another. 

We may from hence infer, that all justified persons have an 
equal right to conclude themselves discharged from guilt, and 
the condemning sentence of the law of God ; though all cannot 
see their right to claim this privilege by reason of the weakness 
of their faith. As for sanctification, that, on the other hand, 
is far from being equal in all ; since the best of believers have 
reason to complain of the weakness of their faith, and the imper- 
fection of all other graces which are wrought in them by the 
Spirit. If it be enquired from whence this imperfection of 
sanctification arises, that is the subject of the following answer- 

Quest. LXXVIII. V/hence ariscth the imperfection ofsancti- 
f cation in believers ? 

Answ. The imperfection of sanctification in believers, ariseth 
from the remains of sin abiding in every part of them, and 
the perpetual lustings of the flesh against the spirit, where- 
by they are often foiled with temptations, and fall into ma- 
ny sins, are hindered in all tiicir spiritual services, and their 
best works are imperfect and defiled in the sight of God. 

IN this answer we may consider, 
L That there is something supposed, namely, that the 


work of sanctification is imperfect in this life, or that there arc 
the remnants of sin still abiding in the best of men. 

II. In what the imperfection of sanctification more espe- 
cialiy discovers itself; and in particular, what we are to uu 
derstand by the lusting of the flesh against the Spirit. And, 

III. The consequences hereof, to wit, their feeing foiled 
with temptations, falling into many sins, and being hindered in 
their spiritual services. 

I. As to the thing supposed in this answer, that the work 
of sanctification is imperfect in this life : This must be allow- 
ed by all who are not strangers to themselves, as it is said, 
There is not a just man upon the earth that doth good arid sin- 
Tieth 7iotf Eccl. vii. 20. fine gold is not without a mixture of 
some baser metal, or alloy ; even so our best frames of spirit, 
when we think ourselves nearest heaven, or when v/e have most 
communion with God, are not without a tincture of indwelling 
sin, that is easy to be discerned in us. Whatever grace we ex- 
ercise, there are some defects attending it, either with respect 
to the manner of itr> exerting itself, or the degree thereof; 
therefore perfection, how desirable soever it be, is a blessing 
which we cannot, at present, attain to : And if it be thus with 
us, when at the best, we shall find, that at other times, corrupt 
nature not only discovers itself, but gives us great interruption 
and disturbance, so that the work of sanctification seems to be. 
as it were, at a stand, and we are hereby induced to question 
the truth and sincerity of our graces ; and if, notwithstanding 
this, we have sufficient ground to conclude, that our hearts art^ 
right with God; yet we are obliged to say with the apostle, that 
M^e Are carnal^ soldundcr sin; and that, zvhemve jvould do good^ 
evil is present ruith us^ Rom. vii. 14. compared with 21. which 
is an undeniable argument of the imperfection of the work of 

The contrary opinion to this is maintained by many who pre- 
tend that perfection is attainable in this life ; and to give coun- 
tenance hereunto, they refer to some scriptures, in which per- 
sons are characterized as perfc-ct men ; and others wherein per- 
lection is represented as a duty incumbent on us ; as our Sa- 
viour says, Be ye perfect^ even as your Father xvhich is in hea- 
ven is perfecty Matt. v. 48. and the apostle, in his valedictory 
exhortation to the church, advises them to be perfect^ as well 
as of one mind ; as they expected that the God of love and 
peace should be v/ith them, 2 Cor. xiii. 11. 

But to this it may be replied, that these scriptures do not 
speak ot a sinless perfection, but of such a perfection as is op- 
posed to hypocrisy ; as Hezckiah says concerning himself, that 
he had walked b^; for c the Lord in truths andxuith a perfect hearty 
Isa. xxxvili. .;!. Arcordingly, the perfection of those who arr 


thus described in scripture, is explained as denoting their up- 
rightness. Thus Job is described, as a perfect mid upright 
fnan, one that feared God and eschewed evil, Job i. 1. compared 
■with 8. though he elsewhere disclaims any pretensions to a 
iiinless perfection ,* as he expresses himself, If I say I am per- 
fectj vnne oxun viouth shall prove me perverse, chap. ix. 20, 
And when Noah is said to be perfect in his generation, this is 
explained as denoting that he was a just or an holy lyian, and 
one that xvalked xvith God, Gen. vi. 9. 

As for other scriptures, which speal: of perfection as a duty 
incumbent on us, they are to be understood concerning the per- 
fection of grace, as to those essential parts thereof, without 
which it could not be denominated true and genuine, and not 
as respecting a perfection of degrees. True grace is perfect 
indeed, as it contains in it those necessary ingredients, where- 
by an action is denominated good in all its circumstances, in 
oppooitiou to that which is so, only in some respects ; and 
therefore it must proceed from a good principle, an heart re- 
nev/ed by regenerating grace ; it must be agreeable to the rule 
'ivTiich God has prescribed in the gospel, and be performed in 
a right manner, and for right ends ; Thus a person may be 
said to be a perfect man, in like manner as a new-born infant 
is denominated a man, as having all the essential perfections 
of the human nature; though not arrived to that perfection, in- 
other respects, which it shall afterwards attain to : According- 
ly grace, vv^hen described, in scripture, as perfect, is sometim^es 
explained as alhiding to a metaphor, taken from a state of per- 
fect manhood, in opposition to that of children : Thus the apos- 
tle speaks of sonie, whom he represents, as being of full age ; 
where the same word is used *, which is elsewhere rendered 
perfect ; and these are opposed to others whom he had before 
been speaking of, as weak believers, or babes in Christ, Heb., 
V. 13, 14. And elsewhere he speaks of the church, which he 
styles the body of Christ, as arrived to a state of manhood, and 
so calls it a pet feet rnan ; having attained the 7neasure of the 
stature of the fulness of Christ ; still alluding to that stature 
which persons arrive to when they are adult ; and these he op- 
poses in the following words, to children, who, through the 
weakness of their faith, were liable to be tossed to and fro, and 
carried about xvith every xvind of doctrine, Eph. iv. 13, 14. 
And in other places, where Christians are described as perfect, 
there is a v/ord used, which signifies their having that internal 
furniture whereby the^ are prepared or disposed to do what is 
good: Thus the apostle speaks of ?//<? 7nan of God being perfect j, 
that \s,' throughly furnished unto all good xvorks, 2 Tim. iii. 17. 
Atid elsewhere he prays, for thqsc to whom he v/rites, that 


God would moke them perfect in^ or for evert/ good worky to 
the end that they inau do his ivill*^ which is such a perfection 
as is necessary to our putting forth any act of grace ; and there- 
fore it does not in the least infer that perfection which they 
plead for, whom we are now opposing. 

And, indeed, it is not barely the sense they give of those 
scriptures that speak of persons being perfect, which they can- 
not but suppose may be othei-wise understood, that gives them 
occasion to defend this doctrine ; but the main thing on which 
it is founded, is, that God does not require sinless perfection 
of fallen man, inasmuch as that is impossible ; and therefore 
he calls that perfection, which includes in it our using those 
endeavours to lead a good life, which are in our own power. 
This is agreeable to the Pelagian scheme, and to that which 
the Papistti maintain, who make farther advances on the Pela- 
gian hypothesis ; and assert, not onl}' that men may attain per- 
fection in this life, but that they may arrive to such a degree 
thereof, as exceeds the demands of the law, and perform works 
of supererogation ; which doctrine is calculated to establish 
that of justification by v/orks. 

But that v/hich may be alleged in opposition hereunto, is, 
that it is disagreeable to the divine perfections, and a notori- 
ous making void the law of God, to assert that our obligation 
to yield perfect obedience, ceases, because we have lost our 
power to perform it; as though a person's being insolvent, 
were a sufficient excuse for his not paying a just debt. We 
must distinguish between God's demanding perfect obedience, 
as an out-standing debt, which is consistent with the glory of 
his holiness and sovereignty, as a law-giver; and his deter- 
mining that we shall not be saved, unless we perform it in our 
own persons : and we also distinguish between his connecting 
a right to eternal life with our performing perfect obedience, as 
Tivhat he miglit justly insist on according to the tenor of the 
first covenant, as our Saviour tells the young man in the gos- 
pel. If thoxi 7vilt enter into life keep the commandments^ Matt, 
xix. IG. and his resolving that we shall not be saved, unless 
we are able to perform it. Tiie gospel purposes another ex- 
pedient, namely, that they who were obliged to yield perfect 
obedience, and ought to be humbled for their inabilit}- to per- 
form it, nhould depend on Christ's righteousness, which is the 
foundation of their right to eternal life, in which respect they 
are said to be perfect, or compleat inhiyn^ Col. ii. 10. which is 
the only just notion of perfection, as attainable in this life : and, 
to conclude this head, it is very unreasonable for a person to 
suppose that God will abate some part of the debt of perfect 

" The 7uorJ is KxliflKTiLi j iMch tiq'nijies to give them an internal disposition or 
*itv.c:!< fw t'iC prrformance of the dutia vhich theii lorre to fnyaj^e in. Utb xlu, 7\ 


obedience, and so to call our performing those works, v.'hich 
have many imperfections adhering to them, a state of perfec- 
tion, which is to make it an easier matter to be a Christian 
than God has made it. Thus concerning the thing supposed 
in this answer, viz. that the work of sanctification is imperfect 
in this life. 

But before we dismiss this head, we shall enquire, why God 
does not bring this work to perfection at once, which he could 
easily have dons, and, as it is certain, will do, when he brings 
the soul to heaven. In answer to which, v/e shall consider in 
general, that it is not meet for us to say unto God, Why dost 
thou thus ? especiallv considering that this, as well as many of 
Ms other v/orks, is designed to display the glory of his sove- 
reignty/, which very eminently appears in the beginning, carry- 
ing on, and perfecting the work of grace : we may as well ask 
tiie reason, why he did not begin the work of sanctification 
sooner ? or, why he makes use of thi^j or that instrument, or 
naeans, to effect it rather than another? which things are to be 
resolved into bis own pleasure : but since it is evident that he 
does not bring this work to perfection in this world, we may 
adore his wisdom herein, as well as his sovereignty. For, 

1. Hereby he gives his people occasion to exercise repen- 
tance and godly sorrov/ for their former sins committed before 
they vrere converted. Perfect holiness v/ould admit of no oc- 
casion to bring past sins to remembrance ; whereas, when we 
sin daily, and have daily need of the exercise of repentance 
and godly sorrow, this gives us a more sensible view of past 
sins. When corrupt nature discovers itself in those that are 
converted, they take occasion hereby to consider hov/ they have 
been transgressors from the womb ; as David, when he repent- 
ed of his sin in the matter of Uriah, at the same tim.e that he 
aggravated the guilt of his crime, as it justly deserved, he calls 
to mind his former sins, from his very infancy, and charges 
that guilt upon himself which he brought into the world ; Be- 
hold I was shapen in iniquity^ and in sin did }?ii/ mother conceive 
7nCj Psal. li. 5. And when Job considers God's afflictive pro- 
vidences towards him, as designed to bring sin to remem- 
brance, and desires that he would tnaJie him to know his trails- 
gression and his sin ; he adds, Thou ivritest bitter thing's a- 
gainst mcy and makest me to possess the iniquities of my youth ^ 
Job. xiii. 23, 26. sins committed after conversion were brought 
to mind, and ordered as a,. means to humble him for those that 
were committed before it. As for sins committed beiore con- 
version, they could not, at that time, be said truly to be re- 
pented of, since that would be to suppose the grace of repen- 
lance antecedent to conversion ; therefore if the work of sanc- 
tifitation were to be immediately brought to perfection, thb 


perfect holiness would be as much attended with perfect hap- 
piness, as it is in heaven, and consequently godly sorrow would 
be no more exercistd on earth, than it is there; whereas God, 
in ordering the gradual progress of the work of sanctification, 
attended with the remainders of sin, gives occasion to many 
humbling reflections, tending to excite unfeigned repentance, 
not only for those sins committed after they had experienced 
the grace of God ; but for those great lengths they ran in sin 
before they had tasted that the Lord "tVas gracious ; and there- 
fore he does not bring the work of sanctification to perfection 
in this present world. 

2. Another reason of this dispensation of providence, is, that 
believers, from their own experience of the breakings forth of 
corruption, together with the guilt they contract thereby, and 
the advantage they receive in gaining any victory over it, may 
be furnished to administer suitable advice, and give warning 
to those who are in a state of unregeneracy, that they may be 
persuaded to see the evil of sin, which, at present, thev do not, 

3. God farther orders this, that he may give occasion to his 
people to exercise a daily conflict with indwelling sin. He 
suflers it to give them great disturbance and uneasiness, that 
hereby they may be induced to endeavour to mortify it, and be 
found in the exercise of those graces which are adapted to an 
imperfect state, such as cannot be exercised in heaven ; nor 
could they be exercised here on earth, were they to be brought 
into and remain while here in a sinless state ; particularly 
there could not be any acts of faith, in managing that conflict^ 
whereby they endeavour to stand their ground while exposed 
to those difficulties that arise from the perpetual lustings of the 
flesh against the spirit ; which leads us to consider, 

II. In what the iinperfection of sanctification more especial- 
ly discovers itself. This it does, not only in the weakness of 
every grace, which we are at any time enabled to act ; and the 
many failures we are chargeable with in the performance of 
every duty incumbent upon us ; so that if an exact scrutiny 
were made inlo our best actions, and they weighed in the ba- 
lance, they would be found very defective ; as appears from 
what has been said under the foregoing head, concerning per- 
fection, as not attainable in this life. 

Hut this more particularly appears, as it is observed in this 
answer, from the perpetual lustings of the flesh against the 
spirit. Thus the apostle speaks of, t/ie flesh lusting against 
the spirit^ and the spirit against the fleshy Gal. v. 19. and so of 
the contrariety of the one to the other ; so that xue cannot do 
the things that xve xvouhl^ and points out himself as an in- 
stance hereof, when he says, I knoxv that in vie, that fj, inmif 
/eshj dtvcllcth no good thing ; for to xvill is present ivith me^ but 


how to perform thatxvhich is g'ood, IJindnot; the good that t 
ivould I do not^ but the evil which Ixvould not^ that I do^ Rom. 
vii. 1 8 — 23. and this reluctancy and opposition to what is good, 
he lays to the charge of sin that dwelt in him, which he con- 
siders as having, as it were, the force of a law ; and in par- 
ticular he styles it the law of his members warring against the 
laxv of his mind^ which is the same thing with the lusting of 
the flesh, against the spirit : so that from hence it appears, that 
when God implants a principle of grace in regeneration, and 
carries on the work of sanctification in believers, he does not 
•wholly destroy, or root out those habits of sin which were iu 
the soul before this, but enables us to militate against, and 
overcome them by his implanting and exciting a principle of 
grace ; and from hence arises this conflict that we are to con- 

Indwelling sin is constantly opposing; but it does not always 
prevail against the principle of grace. The event or success 
of this combat is various, at different times* When corrupt 
nature prevails, the principle of grace, though not wholly ex- 
tinguished, remains unactive, or does not exert itself, as at o- 
ther times; all grace becomes languid, and there appears but 
little difference between him and an unbeliever; he falls into 
very great sins, whereby he wounds his own conscience, 
grieves the holy Spirit, and makes sad work for a bitter repen- 
tance, w^iich will afterwards ensue : but inasmuch as the prin- 
ciple of spiritual life and grace is not wholly lost, it will some 
time or other be excited, and then will oppose, and maintain 
its ground against, the flesh, or the corruption of nature; and, 
as the consequence hereof, those acts of grace will be again put 
forth, which were before suspended. 

Having thus given an account of the conflict between in- 
dwelling sin and grace, we shall now more particularly shew,- 
how the habits of sin exert themselves in those who are unre- 
generate, where there is no principle of grace to oppose them. 
And then, how they exert themselves iu believers; and what 
opposition is made thereunto by the4)rinciple of grace in them; 
and how it comes to pass that sometimes one prevails, at othei* 
times the other. 

1. We shall consider those violent efforts that are made by 
corrupt nature, in those who are unregenerate, in whom, though 
there be no principle of grace to enable them to withstand 
them; yet they have a conflict in their own spirits. There is 
something in nature, that, for a time, keeps them from com- 
plying with temptations to the greatest sins ; though the flesh, 
or that propensity that is in them to sin, unll prevail at last, and 
lead them from one degree of impiety to another, unless pre- 
vented by the grace of God. In this case the conflict is be- 


rvveen corrupt nature and an enlightened conscience ; and that 
more especially in those who have had the advantage of a re- 
ligious education, and the good example of some whom they 
have conversed with, whereby they have contracted some hab- 
its of moral virtue, which are not immediately extinguished : 
it is not an easy matter to persuade them to commit those gross, 
and scandalous iins, which others, whose minds are blinded, 
and their hearts hardened to a greater degree by the deceitful- 
ness of sin, commit with greediness and without remorse. The 
principles of education are not immediately broke through ; 
for in this case men meet with a great struggle in their own 
breasts, before they entirely lose them ; and they proceed, by 
various steps, from one degree of wickedness unto another *. 
A breach is first made in the fence, and afterwards widened by 
a continuance in the same sins, or committing new ones, espe- 
cially such as have in them a greater degree of presumption* 
And this disposes the soul to comply with temptations to great- 
er sins ; whereas, it would be to no purpose to tempt him at 
first, to be openly profane, blaspheme the name of God, or 
cast off all external acts of religion, and abandon himself to 
those immoralities which the most notoriously wicked, and 
profligate sinners commit^ without shame, till he has paved the 
way to them by the commission of other sins that lead there- 

That which at first prevents or restrains him from the com- 
mission of them, is Something short of a principle of grace 
which we call the dictates of a natural conscience, which often 
check and reproves him : his natural temper or disposition is 
not so far vitiated, at present as to allow of, or incline him to 
pursue and thing that is openly vile and scandalous ; he abhors, 
and, as it were, trembles at the thoughts of it. Thus when 
the prophet Elisha told Hazael of all the evil that he would 
do unto the children of Israel, that he would set their strong' 
holds on fire^ slay their young men ivith a sxvord^ dash their 
Children^ and rip tip their ivcynen ivith child; when he heard 
this, he entertained the thought with a kind of abhorrence, and 
said. But xvhat^ is thy servant a dog, that he should do this 
great thing, 2 Kings viii. 12, 13. Yet afterwards, when king 
of Syria, we find him of another mind ; for he was a greater 
scourge to the people of God than any of the neighbouring 
princes, and smote them in nil the coasts of Israel, chap- x. 32, 

Now that wliich prevents these greater sins, is generally fear 
or shame ; their consciences terrify them with the thoughts of 
the wrath of God, which they would hereby expose themsehcs 
to; or they are apprehensive that such a course of life would 

• II 23 a true olijevvatioti tchich tom£ hure laid cle-rm in this k-nown aphorisrrif 
Nemo repcnte fil turpissinms. 

Vol. III. A a 


blast their reputation amongst men, and be altogether incon- 
sistent with that form of godhness which they have had a liking 
to from their childhood. But since these restraints do not 
proceed Irom the internal and powerful influence of regenera- 
ting grace, being excited by lower motives than those which 
the Spirit of God suggests, in them who are converted ; since 
natural conscience is the main thing that restrains them, cor- 
rupt nature first endeavours to counteract the dictates thereof, 
and, by degrees, gets the mastery over them. When con- 
:3cience reproves them, they first offer a bribe to it, by perform- 
ing some moral duties, to silence its accusations for presump- 
tuous sins, and pretend that their crimes fall short of those 
committed by many others ; at other times they complain of 
its being too strict in its demands of duty, or severe in its re- 
proofs for sin. And if all this will not prevail against it, but 
it will, notwithstanding, perform the office of a faithful reprov- 
er, then the sinner resolves to stop his ears against it, but it 
will, notwithstanding, perform the office of a faithful reprover, 
then the sinner resolves to stop his ears against convictions ; 
and if this will not altogether prevent his being made uneasy 
thereby, he betakes himself to those diversions that may give 
another turn to his thoughts, and will not allow himself time 
for serious reflection ; and associates himself with those whose 
conversation will effectually tend to extinguish all his former 
impressions of moral virtue ; and by this means, at last he stu- 
pifies his conscience, and it becomes, as the apostle expresses it, 
scared with a hot iroJi^ 1 Tim. iv. 2. and so he gets, as I may 
express it, a fatal victory over himself; and from that time 
meets with no reluctancy or opposition in his own breast, while 
being pant feelings he gives himself over unto lasciviousness^ to 
xvork undeanness^ and all manner of iniquity xvith greediness, 
Eph. iv. 19. which leads us to consider, 

2. That conflict w^hich is between the flesh and spirit, in 
those in whom the w^ork of sanctification is begun. Here we 
shall first observe, the lustings of the flesh ; and then the op- 
position that it meets with from that principle of grace which 
is implanted and excited ia them, which is called the lusting 
of the spirit against it. 

(1.) How corrupt nature exerts itself in believers, to prevent 
the actings of grace. Here it may be observed, 

[1.] That that which gives occasion to this, is the Spirit\s 
withdrawing his pov^rerful influences, which, when the soul is 
favoured wath, have a tendency to prevent those pernicious 
consequences which will otherwise ensue. And God withdraws 
these powerful influences sometimes in a way of sovereignty, 
to shew him tliat it is not in his own power to avoid sin when 
he will ; or that he cannot, without the aids of his grace, with- 
stand those temptations which are offered to him to commit \u 


Or cLe, he docs this with a design to let him know whnt is in 
his heart; and that he might take occasion to humble him lor 
past sins, or present miscarriages, and make him more watch- 
ful for the future. 

[i>.] Besides this, there arc some things which present thera- 
,qclves in an objective way, which are as so many snares laid to 
entangle him. ' And corrupt nature makes a bad improvement 
thereof, so that his natural constitution is more and more vi- 
tiated by giving way to sin, and defiled by the remainders of 
sin that dwelleth in him. The temptation is generally adapted 
to the corrupt inclination of his nature, and Satan has a hand 
therein. Thus if his natural temper inclines him to be proud 
or ambitious, then immediately the honours and applause of 
the world are presented to him ; and he never wants examples 
of those, who, in an unlawful way, have gained a great mea- 
sure of esteem in the world, and made themselves considera- 
ble in the stations in which they have been placed : if he is na- 
turally addicted to pleasures, of what kind soever they be, then 
something is offered that is agreeable to corrupt nature, which 
seems delightful to it : though it be in itself, sinful : if he be 
more than ordinarily addicted to covctousness, then the profits 
and advantages of the world are presented as a bait to corrupt 
nature, and groundless fears raised in him, of being reduced 
to poverty, which, by an immoderate pursuit after the world, 
he is tempted to fence against. Moreover, if his natural con- 
stitution inclines him to resent injuries, then Satan has always 
his instruments ready at hand to stir up his corruption, and 
provoke him to wrath, by offering either real or supposed in- 
juries; magnifying the former beyond their due bounds, or 
'inferring the latter without duly considering the design of those 
whose innocent behaviour sometimes gives occasion hereunto, 
and, at the same time, overcharging his thoughts with them^ 
as though no expedient can be found to atone for them. Again, 
if his natural constitution inclines him to sloth and inactivity, 
then the difficulties of religion are set before him, to discourage 
him from the exercise of that diligence which is necessary to 
•iurmount them. And if, on the other hand, his natural temper 
leads him to be courageous and resolute, then corrupt nature 
endeavours to make him self-confident, and thereby to weaken 
his trust in God. Or if he be naturally inclined to fear, then 
something is offered to him, that may tend to his discourage- 
ment, and to sink him into despair. These are the methods 
used bv the flesh, when lusting against the spirit; v.'hich leads 
us to consider, 

(2.) The opposition of the spirit to the flesh ; or how the 
principle of grace in believers inclines them to make a stand 
against indwelling sin, which is called the lusting of the spirit 
against the fie '•-h. The grace of Cod, when wrought in the heart: 


in regeneration, is not an unactive principle ; for it soon exerts 
itself, as being excited by the power of the Spirit, who implantr. 
ed it ; and from that time there is, or ought to be, a constant 
opposition made by it to corrupt nature ; and that, not only as 
the soul, with unfeigned repentance, mourns for it, and exer-? 
cises that self-abhorrence which the too great prevalence there- 
of calls for J but as it leads him to implore help from God, 
against it^ by whose assistance he endeavours to subdue the 
corrupt motions of the flesh ; or, as the apostle expresses it, to 
morUjij the deeds of the hodij^ Rom. viii. 13, that by this means, 
they may not be entertained, or prove injurious and destruc- 
tive to him. 

And inasmuch as there is something objective, as well as 
Bubjective, in this work ; since the power of God never excites 
the principle of grace without presenting objects for it to be 
conversant about, there are several things suggested to the soul, 
which, if duly w'eighed and improved, are a means conducive 
to its being preserved from a compliance with the corrupt mo- 
tions of indwelling sin : these are of a superior nature to those 
made use of by an enlightened conscience, in unregenerate per^ 
sons, to prevent their committing the vilest abominations, as 
v/as before considered ; and indeed, they are such as, from the 
nature of the thing, can be used (especially some of them) by 
none but those in whom the work of grace is begun. Accord- 

[1.] A believer considers not only the glorious excellencies, 
and perfections of Christ, which he is now duly sensible of, as 
he is said to be precious to them that believe ; but he is also 
affected with the manifold engagements, which he has been 
laid under to love him, and to hate and oppose every thing that 
is contrary to his glory and interest. The love of Christ con- 
straineth him ', and therefore he abhors the thoughts of being so 
ungrateful and disingenuous as he would appear to be, should 
he fulfil the lusts of the flesli : the sense of redeeming love and 
grace is deeply impressed on his soul; he calls to mind how he 
has been quickened, effectually called, and brought into the 
way of peace and holiness, and therefore cannot entertain any 
thoughts of relapsing or returning again to folly. 

Here he considers the great advantage which he has receiv- 
ed, which he v/ould not lose on any terms. The delight and 
pleasure which he has had in the ways of God and godliness, 
has been so great, tliat corrupt nature cannot produce any thing 
that may be an equivalent for the loss of it. He is very sen- 
sible that the more closely he has walked with God, the more 
comfortably he has walked. And besides this, he looks for- 
ward, and, by faith, takes a view of the blessed issue of the 
;ife of graccj or those reserves of glory laid up for him in s^no- 


ther world, which inclines him to cast the utmost contempt on 
cveiy thing that has the least tendency to induce him to relin- 
quish or abandon his interest therein. 

[2.] He considers and improves those bright examples which 
are set before him, to encourage him to go on in the way of 
holiness ; takes Christ himself for a pattern, endeavouring, so 
far as he is able, to follow him ; walks as they have done, who 
have not only stood their ground, but come off victorious 
in the conflict, and are reaping the blessed fruits and effects 

[3.] He also considers, as an inducement to him to oppose 
the corrupt motions of the flesh ; that he has by faith, as his 
own act and deed, in the most solemn manner, given up him- 
self to Christ entirely, and without reserve, and professed his 
obligation to obey him in all things, and to avoid whatever has 
a tendency to displease him. And therefore he reckons that he 
is not his own, or, at his own disposal, but Christ's, whose he 
is, by a double right, not only as purchased by, but as devoted 
and consecrated to him ; and therefore he says with the apos- 
tle, Hoiv shall xve that are dead to siji^ live any longer therein ? 
Rom. vi. 2. He says to this purpose, I have given up my name 
to Christ ; and I have not, since that time, seen the least rea- 
son to repent of what I did ; I have not found the least ini- 
quity in him, neither has he been an hard master ; but, on the 
other hand, has expressed the greatest tenderness and compas- 
sion to me, to whose grace alone it is owing, that I am what E 
am. Shall I therefore abandon his interest, or prove a deserter 
at last, and turn aside into the enemies' camp ? Is there any 
thing that can be proposed as a sufficient motive hereunto i 
Such like thoughts as these, through the prevailing influence 
of the principle of grace implanted and excited by the Spirit, 
are an effectual means to keep him fipm a sinful compliance 
with the motions of the flesh, and to excite him to make the 
greatest resistance against them. 

Thus we have considered the opposition that there is be- 
tween the flesh and spirit, and how each of these prevail by 
turns ; we might now observe the consequence of the victoiy 
obtained on either side. When grace prevails, all things tend 
to promote qur spiritual peace and joy ; v/e are hereby fortified 
against temptations, and enabled, not only to stand our ground, 
but made more than conquerors, through him that loved us- 
However it is not always so with a believer ; he sometimes 
finds, that corrupt nature prevails, and then many sad conse- 
quences will ensue hereupon, which not only occasion the loss 
of that peace and joy v.hich he had before ; but expose him to 
many troubles, which render his life very uncQiDfottablc : and 
this Ifads us to consider, 


III. What are the consequences of the prevailing power of 
indwelling sin. When the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and 
God is pleased to withhold his grace, the soul is subjected to 
many evils, which are mentioned in the remaining part of this 
answer, as, 

1. A believer is foiled with temptation. Satan gains ground 
against him by this means, and pursues the victory which the 
flesh has obtained against the spirit ; hereupon his conflicts are 
doubled, arising not only from flesh and blood; but the rulers 
cf the darkness of this world, Eph. vi. 12. as the apostle ex- 
presses it : now his difficulties encrease upon him, his enemies 
are more insulting, and he less able to stand his ground against 
them, his faith weakened, and his fears encreasing, so that he 
is perpetually subject to bondage ; sometimes inclined to think 
that he shall one day fall, and whatever he formerly thought 
he had gained, he lost by the assaults of his spiritual enemies ; 
and at other times, to question whether ever he had the truth 
of grace or no ; in which case his spirit must needs be filled 
with the greatest perplexity, and almost overwhelmed within 
him. And he is destitute of that boldness or liberty of access 
to the throne of grace, and that comfortable sense which once 
he had of his interest in Christ, and finds it very difficult to 
recover those lively frames which he has lost, or to stand his 
ground against the great opposition made by corrupt nature, 
which still increases as faith grows weaker. 

2. Another consequence hereof, is his falling into many sins. 
By which we are not to suppose that he shall be so far left as 
to fall into a state of unregeneracy, or lose the principle of grace 
that was implanted in regeneration : nevertheless, when this 
principle does not exert itself, and corrupt nature on the other 
hand, is prevalent, it is hard to say how far he will run into the 
commission of known and wilful sins. As for sins of infirmity, 
they cannot be avoided, when we are in the best frame : but in 
this case we shall find a person committing presumptuous sins, 
so that if wc were to judge of his state by his present frames, 
without considering the former experiences which he has had 
of the grace of God, we should be ready to question, whether 
his heart were right with God. 

And as for sins of omission, these generally ensue hereupon ; 
he cannot draw nigh to God, with that frame of spirit, which 
he once had, and therefore is ready to say, IVhat profit should 
I have if I pray unto him? Job xxi. 15. and sometimes con- 
cludes, that he contracts guilt by attempting to engage in holy 
duties. And to this we may add, that he is liindered in all his 
spiritual services, as it is farther observed in this answer: thus 
the apostle says, TVhen I jvould do good, evil is present with 
Ttie, Rom. vii. "^1. He finds his heart disposed to wander from 


God, and his thoughts taken up with vanity ; upon which ac- 
count it may be truly said, that his best works are not only im- 
perfect, but defiled in the sight of God, who searcheth the heart, 
and observes the various steps by which it treacherously de- 
parts from him, and can find no wa)- to recover itself till he is 
pleased to revive his work, take away the guilt which he has 
contracted, recover him out of the snare into which he has 
fallen, and so cause the work of grace again to flourish in the 
soul, as it has once done. 

We shall conclude with some inferences from what has been 
said concerning the imperfection of sanctification in believers, 
together with the reasons and consequences thereof. 

1. Since sinless perfection is not attainable in this life, wc 
should from hence take occasion to give a check to our censo- 
rious thoughts concerning persons or things, so as not to deter- 
mine persons to be in an unconverted state, because they are 
chargeable with many sinful infirmities, which are not incon- 
sistent with the truth of grace : some abatements are to be made 
for their being sanctified but in part, and having the remnants 
of sin in them ; and indeed, the greatest degiee of grace which 
can be attained here, comes far short of that which the saintu 
are arrived to in heaven ; accordingly the difference between a 
believer and an unregenerate sinner is not in that one is per- 
fect, and the other imperfect ; for when we consider the bright- 
est characters given of any in scripture, their blemishes as well 
as their graces are recorded ; so that none but our Saviour 
could challenge the world to convict or reprove them of sin. 
The apostle speaks of Elias, as a maji subject to like passions as 
rve are, James v. 17. and he might have instanced in many 
others. Therefore, when we are sensible of our own imperfec- 
tions, we ought to enquire, whether the spots we find in our- 
selves, are like the spots of God's children ? or, whether these 
infirmities may be reckoned inconsistent with the truth of grace ? 
vhich, if they be, though it affords matter for humiliation, that 
we arc liable to any sinful failures, or defects ; yet it will be 
some encouragement to us, and matter of thanksgiving to God, 
that notwithstanding this, our hearts are right with him. Thai 
we may be, in some measure, satisfied as to this matter, let it 
be considered, 

[l.] That we must distinguish between a person's being 
tempted to the greatest sins, which are inconsistent with the 
truth of grace ; and his complying with the temptation. A 
temptation of this kind may offer itself, and at the same time 
grace may exert itself in an eminent degree, by the opposition 
that it makes to it, whether it ai'ises from indwelling sin, or 

[2,] When v.'c read of some sins that are inconsistent with 


the truth of grace, such as those which the apostle speaks of, 
%vhen he says, that neither fornicators nor idolaters^ nor adul- 
terers^ nor effeminate^ nor abusers of themselves xutth rna7ikind, 
nor thieveSy nor covetous^ nor drunkards^ nor revilers^ nor ex' 
fortionerSy shall inherit the kingdom of God^ 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10. 
and elsewhere, the fearful arid unbelieving^ as well as those 
who are guilty of other notorious crimes, are said to have their 
part in the lake which burneth with fre and brimstone^ Rev. 
xxi. 8. We must distinguish between those who are guilty 
of these sins in a less degree than what is intended, when they 
are said to exclude from the kingdom of heaven ; and others 
being guilty thereof, in a notorious degree, with greater ag- 
gravations : Thus unbelieving fears in those who are called to 
suffer for Christ's sake, if they do not issue in a denial of him, 
are not altogether inconsistent with the truth of grace, though 
they render a person guilty before God. And the least degree 
of covetousness, though it is not to be excused, yet it does not 
exclude from the kingdom of heaven ; but the prevailing love 
of the world, or the immoderate pursuit of it in those who use 
unlawful means to attain it, or have a rooted habitual desire 
after it, more than Christ, or put it in his room, this is to be 
reckoned a mark of unregeneracy. 

[3.] We must distinguish between sinful infirmities and al- 
lowed infirmities, or such who sin through surprize, as being 
assaulted by an unforseen temptation, when not being on their 
guard ; and the same sin committed with deliberation ; the lat- 
ter gives greater ground to fear that a person is in a state of 
unregeneracy than the former. 

We must also distinguish between sins committed and re^ 
pented of, with that degree of godly sorrow which is propor- 
tioned to their respective aggravations ; and the same sins com- 
mitted and continued in with impenitency ; the latter gives 
ground to conclude, that a person is in an unconverted state, 
though not the formcn And the difference arises not barely 
from the nature of the crimes, for we suppose the sins in them- 
selves to be the same ; but from other evidences which a per- 
son has or has not of his being in a state of grace. 

2. From what has been said concerning the opposition that 
there is between natural conscience and corrupt nature in the 
unregenerate, we may infer ; that it is a great blessing to have 
a religious education, as it has a tendency to prevent many 
enormities, which others, v/ho are destitute of it, run into: Ac- 
cordingly they who have had this privilege ought to bless God 
for, and make a right improvement of it. But since those prin- 
ciples which take their rise from thence, are liable, without the 
grace of God prevent it, to be overcome and lost ; let us press 
after something more than thisj and be importunate with God, 


whose providence has favoured us thus far, that he would give 
us a better preservative against sin, or that the prevailing pow- 
er thereof may be prevented by converting grace. 

3. From the opposition that corrupt nature makes in belie- 
vers to the work of grace, we may infer ; that the standing of 
the best of men, or their not being chargeable with the great- 
est sins, is not so much owing to themselves as to the grace of 
God, by which we are what we are, and therefore the glory 
thereof belongs intirely to him ; and that we have reason, when 
•we are praying against our spiritual enemies, to beg that God 
would deliver us from the greatest of them, namely, ourselves ; 
and that he, who has a sovereignty over the hearts of all men, 
and can govern and sanctify their natural tempers and disposi- 
tions, would keep us from being drawn aside thereby. This 
should also induce us to walk watchfully, and to be always ou 
our guard, depending on the grace of God for help, that in- 
dwelling sin may not so far prevail as to turn aside and alienate 
our affections from him. 

4. From what has been said concerning the flesh and spirit 
prevailing by turns, we infer the uncertainty of the frame ol'our 
spirits, and v.hat changes we are liable to, with respect to the 
actings of grace, or the comforts that result from it. This 
somewhat resembles the state of man as subject to various chan- 
ges, with respect to the dispensations of providence j sometimes 
lifted up, at other times cast down, and not abiding long in the 
same condition : Thus we are enabled, at some times, to gain 
advantage over indwelling sin, and enjoy the comforts which 
arise from thence ; at other times, when the flesh prevails, the 
acts of grace are interrupted, and its comforts, almost, if not 
entirely lost. What reason have we therefore to bless God, 
that though our graces are far from being brought to perfec- 
tion, and our frames so various ; yet he has given us ground to 
conclude, that grace shall not wholly be lost, and we are as- 
sured, that our state, as we are justified, is not liable to the 
same uncertainty, so that that which interrupts the progress of 
sanctification, does not bring us into an unjustified state, or 
render us liable to condemnation ? 

5. From the inconveniences we sustain by the flesh prevailing 
against the spirit, as we are foiled by temptation, fall into sins 
and are hindered in spiritual services, we infer the great hurt 
that sin does to those who are in a justified and sanctified state, 
as well as to others, who arc under the dominion of it. And 
therefore it is a vile and unwarrantable Way of speaking which 
some use, who say, that because nothing shall separate them 
from the love of Christ, or bring them who are justified, back 
again into an unjustified state, that therefore sin can do them 
no hurt ; as though all the consequences of the prevalencv cl 

Vol. III. B b 


corrupt nature, and the dishonour we bring to Godj and the 
guilt we contract hereby, could hardly be reckoned prejudicial } 
but this is such a way of speaking as confutes itself in the opin^ 
ion of all judicious and sober Christians. 

Again, wc might also infer, from the consequences of the 
prevalency of corruption, as we are liable hereby to be discour- 
aged from, or hindered in th^ performance of duty ; that we 
ought, if we find it thus with us, to take occasion from hence 
to enquire, whether some secret sin be not indulged and en- 
tertained by us, which gives occasion to the prevalency of coi- 
rupt nature, which we ought to be humbled for. Or if we have 
lived in the omission of those duties which are incumbent on 
us, or have provoked God to leave us to ourselves, and so have 
had an hand in our present evils ; this affords matter of great 
humiliation. And we ought to be very importunate widi God 
for restoring grace, not only that our faith may not fail ; but 
tliat we may be recovered out of the snare in which we are en- 
tangled, and may be brought off victorious over all our spirit- 
ual enemies. 

Quest. LXXIX. Maij not true believers^ bij reason of their 
wiper fections^ and the many temptations and sins they are over'- 
taken with, fall away from the state of grace ? 

Answ. True believers, by reason of the unchangeable love of 
God, and his decree and covenant to give them perseve- 
rance, their inseparable union with Christ, his continual in- 
tercession for them, and the Spirit and seed of God abiding 

. in them, can neither totally nor finally fall from the state oi 
grace, but are kept by the power of God, through faith un- 
lo salvation. 

JT is natural for persons, when they enjoy any blessing, to 
be soliciious about their retaining it j otherwise the plea- 
::ure that arises from it ; if it is like to be short and transitory, 
'3 rather an amusement than a solid and substantial happiness* 
The same may be said oi those graces and privileges which 
I'elievero are made partakers of, as the fruits and effects of the 
death of Christ : These arc undoubtedly the most valuable 
■..'lessings ; therefore it liighly concerns us to enquire ; whether 
v,c may assuredly conclude, that we shall not lose them, and 
f o fail of that future blessedness which we have had so delight- 
iul a prospect of ? 

The saintL.' perseverance has not only been denied by many 
{nice the reformation, and, in particular, by Papists, Socinians, 
ar>d Rca}Cii^tr?.r«ts •. Bu> by the Pelagicins of old j ^n<X all thost; 

OF saints' perseverance in grace. f9.>' 

vhose sentiments bear some affinity to, or are derived from 
their scheme. And, indeed, wlien we fmd persons endeavoui 
ing to establish the doctrine of conditional election, universal 
redemption, &c. or when they explain the nature of human 
liberty, as they do, who make the grace of God to be depen- 
dent on it for its etficacy in the beginning and carrying on tht* 
work of conversion and sanctification ; and accordingly assert, 
that the will has an equal power to determine itself ta good or 
evil ; or, that the grace of God aftords no other assistance to 
promote the one or fence against the other, than what is objec- 
tive, or, at least, by supporting our natural faculties ; ajul if 
there be any divine concourse, that it consists only in what re- 
spects the external dispensations of providence, as a remote 
means conducive thereunto, the event hereof depending on 
our own conduct or disposition to improve these means : I 
say, if persons maintain these and such-like doctrines, it is not 
to be wondered, when we find them pleading for the possibili- 
ty of a belieyer's falling totally and finally from the grace of 
God. For they who have brought themselves into a state of 
grace, may apostatize, or fall from it. If the free-will of man 
first inclined itself to exercise those graces which we call spe- 
cial, such as faith, repentance, love to God, he. then it wiVl 
follow, tiiat he may lose them and relapse to the contrary vices ; 
and by this means men may plunge themselves into the same 
depths of sin and misery from whence they had before escaped ; 
and, according to this scheme, there may be, in the course ol 
our lives, a great many instances of defection from the gracr? 
of God, and recovery to it, and finally, a drawing back unto 
perdition : Or if a person be so happy as to recover himself 
out of his last apostacy before he leaves the v/otM, then he is 
saved ; otherwise he finally perishes. This is a doctrine which 
some defend, the contr?ir\' whereunto we shall endeavour to 
maintain, as being the sitbj^ct insisted on in this answer. 

But before we proceed to the defence thereof, it may not 
be amiss to premise something, which may have, at least, a 
remote tendencv to dispose us to receive conviction from the 
arguments which may be brought to prove it. Thus we may 
consider that the contrary side of the question is in itself less 
desirable, if it could be defended. It is certain, that the doc- 
trine of the possibility of the saints falling from grace, tends 
very much to abate that delight and comfort which the belie- 
ver has in the fore-views of the issue and event of his present 
state. It is a very melancholy thought to consider, that Yki 
who is ROW advanced to the very borders of heaven, may be 
cast down into hell ; or that, though he has at present an in- 
terest in the special and discriminating love of God, he ma) 
afterwards bccoinc the object of his batrcd, so as never to be 


hold his face with joy in a future world ; or that, though hJa 
feet are set upon a rock, yet his goings are not established ; 
though he is walking in a plain and safe path, yet he may be 
ensnared, entangled, and fall, so as never to rise again ; that 
though God be his friend, yet he may suffer him to fall into 
the hands of his enemies, and be ruined and undone thereby, 
as though his own glory were not concerned in his coming oft* 
victorious over them, or connected with the salvation of his 
people : So that as this doctrine renders the state of believers 
very precarious and uncertain, it tends effectually to damp 
their joys, and blast their expectations, and subject them to 
perpetual bondage ; and it is a great hindrance to their offer- 
ing praise and thanksgiving to God, whose grace is not so much 
magnified towards them, as it would be, had they ground to 
conclude that the work which is now begun, should certainly 
be brought to perfection. 

And on the other hand, the doctrine Vv^hich we are to main- 
tain, is in itself so very comfortable, that if we were, at pre- 
sent, in suspense concerning the truth thereof, we cannot but 
desire that it may appear to be agreeable to the mind of God : 
It is certainly a very delightful thing for us to be assured, that 
what is at present well, shall end well ; that they who are 
brought to believe in Christ, shall for ever abide with him j 
and that the work of grace, which, at present, affords so fair 
i.nd pleasing a prospect of its being at last perfected in glory, 
r-.hall not miscarry. This will have a tendency to enhance our 
joy in proportion to the ground we have to conclude that the 
work is true and genuine j and it will excite our thankfulness 
to God, when we consider, that he who is the author, will also 
be the finisher of faith : So that it is certain this doctrine de- 
serves confirmation ; and accordingly we shall endeavour to 
establish cur faith therein in the following method ; 

I. We shall consider what we are to understand by persevere 
sng j« grace, or falling from it. 

IL We shall prove, that the best believers would certainly 
fall from grace, were they left to themselves : So that their 
perseverance therein, is principally to be ascribed to the power 
of God, which keeps them, through faith, unto salvation. 

III. We shall consider, what ground we have to conclude 
that tile saints shall persevere in grace ; and so explain and il-» 
lustrate the several arguments insisted on in this answer ', to 
which v/e shall add some others taken from several scriptures 
by which this doctrine may be defended. 

iV. We shall endeavour to answer some objections that are 
generally brought against it. 

I. We shall consider what v/e are to understand by per- 
fSY^nng in grace, or falling from it. 


1 . When we speak of a person as persevering in grace,this 
supposes that he has the truth ot grace. We do not hereby 
intend that a person may not fall away from a profession of 
faith ; or that no one can lose that which we generally call 
common grace, which, in many things, bears a resemblance to 
that which is saving. We have before considered, that there 
is a temporary faith, whereby persons appear religious, while 
it comports with their secular interest ; bat when they are call- 
ed by reason of persecution or tribulation, which may arise for 
the sake of the gospel, to forego their worldly interests, or quit 
their pretensions to religion, they fall away, or lose that grace 
which they seemed to have^ as the Evangelist expresses it, 
Luke viii. 18. We read of some whose hope of salvation is 
like the spider's web, or the giving up of the ghost ; but these 
are described not as true believers, but hypocrites. It is be- 
yond dispute that such may apostatize, and not only lay aside 
the external practice of some religious duties, but deny and 
oppose the doctrines of the gospel, which they once assented 
to the truth of. 

2. It is certain that true believers may fall into very great 
sins ; but yet they shall be recovered and brought again to re- 
pentance : therefore we must distinguish between their dis- 
honouring Christ, disobeying his commands, and thereby pro- 
voking him to be angry with him ; and their falling away to- 
tally from him. We have before considered, when we proved 
that perfection is not attainable in this life, that the best men 
are sometimes chargeable with great failings and defects. And 
indeed, sometimes their sins are very heinously aggravated, 
their conversation in the mean while discovering that they are 
destitute of the actings of grace, and that to such a degree that 
they can hardly be distinguished from those who are in an un- 
rcgenerate state : accordingly it is one thing for a believer not 
to be able to put forth those acts of grace which he once did ; 
and another thing for him to lose the principle of grace : it 
would be a very preposterous thing to say, that when David 
sinned in the matter of Uriah, the principle of grace exerted 
itself; yet it was not wholly lost. It is not the same in this 
case, as in the more common instances of the saints' infirmi- 
ties, which they are daily chargeable with, in which, the con- 
flict that there is between the flesh and spirit appears ; for 
when corrupt nature exerts itself in such a degree that it leads 
persons to the commission of deliberate and presumptuous sins, 
they hardly appear to be believers at that time : nevertheless if 
we compare what they were before they fell, with what they 
shall be when brought to repentance, we may conclude, that 
;hey did not, by their fall, bring them'-elVes altogether into a 
rute of unregeneracy. 


3. It is beyond dispute, that as a believer may be destitute 
of the acts of grace ; so he may lose the comforts thereof, and 
sink into the depths of despair. Of this we have several in- 
stances recorded in scripture, which are agreeable to the ex- 
periences of many in our day : thus the Psalmist, at one time, 
speaks of himself, as cast doxun^ and his soul disquieted within 
him^ Psal. xliii. 5. and cxvi. 3. And at another time he says, 
■The sorro7vs of death compassed me, and the pains cf hell gat 
hold upon 7ne. And elsewhere he complains, Will the Lord cast 
off for ever? will he be favourable no more? is his mercy clean 
gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore ? hath God 
forgotten to be gracious ? hath he in anger shut up his toider 

mercies^ Psal. Ixxvii. 7 — 9. And again, a believer is repre- 
sented as being altogether destitute of a comfortable sense of 
the divine lov'e, when complaining, Thou hast laid me in the 
loxvcst pit, in darkness, in the deeps. Thy wrath lieth hard up- 
on vie, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves. Wilt thou 
shew -wonders to the dead? Shall the dead arise and praise thee? 
Shall thy loving kindness be declared in the grave, or thyfaith- 
fidness in destruction? Thy fierce wrath goeth over me, thy 
terrors have cut me off", Psal. Ixxxviii. 6. ^c. And it is cer- 
tain, that when at any time he falls into very great sins, which 
seem inconsistent with a state of grace, he has no present evi- 
dence that he is a believer ; and is never favoured with a com.- 
fortable sense of his interest in Christ, nor is the joy of God's 
salvation restored to him, till he is brought unfeignedly to re- 
pent of his sin. Former experiences will not evince the truth 
of grace, wliile he remains impenitent. It is a bad sign when 
any one, who formerly appeared to have the truth of grace, 
but is now fallen into great sins, concludes himself to be in a 
state of grace, without the exercise of true rej>entance ; for 
this can be deemed little better than presumption : however, 
God, whose mercy is infinitely above our deserts, will, in the 
end, recover him ; though, at present, he does not look like 
one of his children. 

4. There are some who suppose that a believer may fall to- 
tally, though not finally from grace. And their reason for it 
is this ; because they conclude, as they have sufficient warrant 
to do, from scripture, that they shall not fall finally, inasmuch 
as the purpose of God concerning election, must stand; if they 
had not been chosen to salvation they would never have been 
brought into a state of grace : they are supposed, before they 
>fell, to have been sanctified ; whereas sanctification is insepa- 
rably connected with salvation ; and therefore, though they 
consider them, at this time, as having lost the grace of sancti- 
iication, and so to have fallen totallv ; yet they shall be re- 
; overedjand th-^refore not fall frn^lly, Sanctification is Christ's 

OF saints' perseverance in grace, 199 

l^urchase ; and where grace is purchased for any one, a price 
of redemption is paid ior his deliverance from condemnation; 
and consequently he shall be recovered and saved at hist, 
though, at present, he is, according to their oninion, totally 

These suppose, not only that the acts of grace may be lost, 
but the Very principle, and the reason hereof is, because they 
cannot see, how great and notorious sins, such as those com- 
mitted by David, Peter, Solomon, and some others, can con- 
sist with a principle of grace : this indeed cuts the knot of some 
difficulties that seem to attend the doctrine of the saints perse- 
verance, though falling into great sins : nevertheless, I think 
it may easily be proved, which we shall endeavour to do, that 
they shall be preserved from a total, as well as a final aposta- 
cy : or, that when they fall into great sins, they do not lose the 
principle of grace, though it be, at present, innactivc ; whicli 
■we shall take occasion to insist on, more particularly under a 
following head, when we consider that argument mentioned iu 
this answer for the proof of this doctrine taken ffom the Spirit 
and seed of God abiding in a believer, as that which preserves 
him from a total as well as a final apostacy. 

II. Wc shall now consider, that the best believers would 
certainly fall from grace, were they left to themselves : so that 
their perseverance therein is principally to be ascribed to the 
power of God, that keeps them through faith unto salvation. 
This is particularly observed in this answer, in which several 
arguments are laid clown to prove the doctrine of the saints* 
perseverance in grace, and it is supposed to be founded on his 
power, and will, to maintain it. God is styled the preserver 
of mcn^ Job vii. 20. inasmuch as he upholds all things by the 
word of his power, so that independency on him is inconsistent 
with the idea of our being creatures ; and we have no less 
ground to conclude, that iiis power maintains the new creature, 
or that grace, which took its fast rise from him. Should he 
fail or forsake us, v.x could not put forth the least act of grace» 
much less persevere therein. When man at first came out ot 
the hands of God, he was endowed with a greater ability to 
stand than any one, excepting our Saviour, has been favoured 
with, since sin entered into the world ; yet he apostatized, not 
from any necessity of nature, but by adhering to that tempta- 
tion which he might have withstood. Then how unable is he 
to stand in his present state, who is become weak, and, though 
brought into a state of grace, renewed and sanctified but in 
part; having still the remainders of corruption, which main- 
tain a constant opposition to the prir.ciple of grace ? Our per- 
severance in grace cannot therefore be owing to ourselves ; ac- 
rordingly the apostle ascribes this to a divine handj when he 


fays, that tveare kept brj the power of God through faith iinii^ 
r:alvation^ 1 Pet. i. 5. 

A late celebrated writer, on the other side of the question,* 
attempts to evade the force of this argument to prove the doc- 
trine of perseverance, though I think, without much strength 
of reasoning, when he says; that all who are preserved to 
isalvation, are kept by the power of God, but not that all be- 
lievers are so kept. 

I'o which it may be replied, that all believers, whose cha- 
racter answers that of the church, to which the apostle writes'^ 
shall be saved ; namely, all who are begotten again unto a livc" 
iy hopCy by tke resurrection of Jesus Christy to an inheritance 
incorruptible and undefiledy and thatfadetk not away^ reserved 
in heaven for them; yvhosefaith^ after it has been tried, shall 
be found unto praise^ and honour^ and glory ^ at the appearing 
of Jesus Christy 1 Pet. i. 3, 4, 7. I say, these shall certainly 
be saved : therefore, if all who are thus preserved to salvation, 
are kept by the power of God, this is all we need contend for» 
And whereas he adds, that when they are said to be kept 
through faith, the meaning is, they are kept, if they continue 
in the faith. To this it may be replied, That their continu- 
ance in the faith was put out of all dispute, by what is said 
concerning tViera in the words going before and following, as 
now referred to. And as to his argument, it amounts to no 
more than this ; that they shall be kept by the power of God, 
if they keep themselves ; or they shall persevere if they perse- 
vere, to which I need make no reply. 

But since our main design in this head is not to prove that 
believers shall persevere, which we reserve to our next ', but 
to shew that whatever we assert concerning their perseverance, 
take its rise from God ; we shall consider this as plainly con- 
tained in scripture. Accordingly the apostle speaks of the 
Lord's delivering himfrpm every evil wori, and preserving him, 
to his heavenly kingdom^ 2 Tim. iv. 18. Jude, ver. 1. and the 
apostle Jude speaks of believers as sanctified by God the Father^ 
and preserved in Jesus Christy and calledy or as being first 
called, and then preserved by God the Father, through the in- 
tervention of Christ, our great Mediator, till they are brought 
to glory. And our Saviour, in his affectionate prayer for his 
church, a little before he left the world, says. Holy Father y 
keep,, through thine own ncme, those zuhom thou hast given 
me,, John xvii. 11. which not only proves that the perseverance 
of the saints is owing to God, but that the glory of his own 
name is concerned herein ; therefore it is not from ourselves, 
but him : and there is another scripture, in which our Saviour, 
speaks of the perseverance of his sheep in gracC; nrd c.f Y-X?. 
* S" Wll'bn''t, fjiacoirr.', L-^c-pnre AG"'-. 


giving them eternnl life, and adds, that tkaj shall never perish, 
neither shall any pluck them out of his hand^ chap. x. 28. there- 
fore it is owing to his care, as the great Shepherd of the sheep, 
and to his power, that is superior to that of all those who at- 
tempt to destroy them, that they shall persevere in grace. And 
this leads us to consider, 

III. What ground we have to conclude that the saints shall 
persevere in grace, and so explain and illustrate the arguments 
insisted on in this answer, together with some others that may 
be taken from the sense of several scriptures, by which this 
doctrine may be defended. 

1. The saints' perseverance in grace may be proved from the 
finchangeable love of God, and his decree and purpose, rela- 
ting to their salvation, in which it is discovered and executed. 
That God loved them with a love of good-will, before they 
were inclined to express any love to him, is evident j because 
their love to him is assigned as the effect and consequence of 
his love to them, as the apostle says, We love him because he 
Jirst loved us ^ 1 John iv. 19. Therefore this love of God to 
his people, must be considered as an immanent act; froni 
whence it follows, that it was from eternity^ since all God's 
immanent acts are eternal : and this is particularly expresscl 
by the prophet, when he says, The Lord hath appeared of old 
zmto me, sai/ing-^ I'ea^ I have loved thee rvith an everlasting 
love, Jer. xxxi. 3. If this be meant of a love that shall never 
have an end, it plainly proves the doctrine we are defending ; 
but inasmuch as the v/ords that immediately follow. Therefore^ 
with lo'ding kindness have I drawn thee, seem to intimate that 
this everlasting love is that which was from everlasting ; as his 
drawing them or bringing them into a converted state is the 
result hereof: therefore this everlasting love is the same as his 
eternal purpose, or design to save them. If there be such an 
eternal purpose relating to their salvation, this necessarily in- 
fers their perseverance ; and that there vras such a design in 
God has been already proved under a foregoing answer *. And 
they who are the objects of this eternal purpose of grace arc 
frequently described, in scripture, as believers, inasmuch as 
faith and salvation are inseparably connected together ; there- 
fore, the execution of God's purpose in giving faith, necessari- 
ly infers the execution thereof, in saving them that believe. 

That this purpose of gi-ace is unchangeable, has been before 
proved f; and may be farther argued from what the apostle 
speaks concerning the immutahiUty cfhis counsel, shewn to the 
heirs cf promise, as the ground of that stro?ig- co?isolution which 
they have who ars flying for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set 
hifore them, Heb. vi. 17, 18. Therefore, if God cannot change 

• See Vol I. Pa-r? 459. t Ssc Vol. I. pa^e 481, and Ici^o IZ5—IZ9. 

Vol.. III. " Cc 


his purpose, relating to the salvation of believers, it necessari-' 
ly follows, tliat they shall certainly attain this salvation, and 
consequently, that they shall persevere in grace. 

Obj. To this it will be objected, that though God may be 
said to love his people, while they retain their integrity, yet 
they may provoke him by their sins to cast them off; there- 
fore the present exercise of divine love to them is no certain 
argument that it shall be extended to the end, so as that, by 
virtue hereof, he will enable them to persevere, and then bring 
them to glory. 

Ansiv. To this it may be replied ; that we do not deny that 
believers, by their sins, may provoke God so far, as that, if he 
should mark their iniquities, or deal with them according to 
the demerit thereof, he Would cast them off for ever ; but this 
he will not do, because it is inconsistent with his purpose to 
recover them from their backslidings, and forgive their ini- 
quities. Moreover, it cannot be denied, that, notwithstanding 
God's eternal love to them, there are many instances of his ha- 
tred and displeasure expressed in the external dispensations of 
his providence, which are as often changed, as their conduct 
towards him is changed ; but this does not infer a change in 
God's purpose : he may testify his displeasure against them, 
or as the Psalmist expresses it. Visit their transgressions with 
the rod^ and their iniquities -with stripes^ Psal. Ixxxix. 32. 
Nevertheless he cannot change his resolution to save them ; 
and therefore, by some methods of grace, he will recover them 
iroin their backslidings, and enable them to persevere in grace, 
since his counsel shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure. 
2. Another argument to prove the saints' perseverance, may 
be taken from the covenant of grace, and the many promises 
respecting their salvation, which are contained therein. That 
this may appear, let it be considered, 

(1.) That Christ was appointed to be the head of this cove- 
nant, as was observed in a foregoing answer * ; and accord- 
ingly there was an eternal traiisaction between the Father and 
him ; in which, all things were stipulated in the behalf of his 
elect, whom he therein represented, which relate to their ever- 
lasting salvation. In this covenant God the Father, not only 
promised that he should have a seed to serve him^ Psal. xxii. 
30. but that he should see his seed; and that the pleasure of the 
Lord, with relation to them, should prosper in his hand; that 
he should see of the travel of his soul, and be satisfied, Isa. liii. 
10, 11. which implies, that he should see the fruits and effects 
oi all that he had done and suffered for them, in order to their 
salvation; and this is not spoken of some of them, but of all; 
and it could not have had its accomplishment, were it possi- 
ble for them not to persevere in grace. 

* S:e Yo. U. page 170, 171. 


(2.) In tills covenant, Christ has undertaken to keep them, 
as the result of his^ becoming a Surety for them, in which he 
not onlv engaged to pay the debt of obedience and sufferings 
that was due from them, which he has already done ;) but that 
he would work all that grace in them which he purchased by 
his blood ; and he has already begun this work in them which 
is not yet accomplished : can we therefore suppose that he will 
not bring it to perfection, nor enable them to endure to the end, 
that they may be saved, which would argue the greatest un- 
faithfulness in him, who is styled Faithful and True ? 

Moreover, as there are engagements on Christ's part, rela- 
ting hereunto, and in pursuance thereof, they are said to be in 
his hand ; so the Father has given them an additional security, 
that they shall be preserved from apostasy ; and therefore they 
are also said to be in his hand ; from whence ?iC7ie can pluck 
them out ; and from thence it is argued, that they shall never 
perishy John x. 28. 29. And we may observe, that the life 
which Christ is said to give them respects not only the begin- 
ning thereof, in the first grace which they are made partakers 
of in conversion ; but it is called eternal life^ which certainly 
denotes the completing of this work in their everlasting salva- 

(3.) The subject-matter of the promises contained in the co- 
venant of grace, relates not only to their sanctification here, but 
salvation hereafter; in which respect it is called an everlasting 
covenant^ and the mercies thereof, the sure mercies of David^ 
Isa. Iv. 3, 4. that is, either those mercies which David, who 
had an interest in this covenant, was given to expect ; or mer- 
cies which Christ had engaged to purchase and bestow, who is 
here called David, as elsewhere, Hos, iii. 5. inasmuch as Da- 
vid was an eminent type of him, as well as because he was his 
seed according to the flesh ; and that tills is the more proba- 
ble sense of the two, appears froni the following words, in 
which he is said to be given for a witness to the people, a leader 
and commander to the people .\ and if these mercies are in 
Christ's hand to apply, it is no wonder that they are styled 
sure mercies. 

We might here consider the covenant of grace as contain- 
ing in it all the promises that respect the beginning, carrying 
on, or completing the salvation of his people ; and these relate 
not only to what God will do for them ; but what he will ena- 
ble them to be, and do, in those things that concern their faith- 
fulness to him, whereby they have the highest security that 
they shall behave themselves as becomes a covenant-people. 
Thus he assures them, that he will be to them a God, that is, 
that he will glorify his divine perfections in bestowing on them 
the special and distinguishing blessings of the covenant; and 


that they shall be to him a people, that is, shall behave thcm^ 
selves so as that they shall not, by apostacy from him, oblige 
him to disown his relation to them, or exclude them from his 
covenant. He has not only encouraged them to expect those 
great things that he would do for them, provided they yielded 
obedience to his law : but that he would put his law itito their 
inward parts, and write it in their hearts, whereby they might 
be disposed to obey him : and when he says, that they shall 
teach no viore every man his neighbour, and every man his bro' 
ther, saying. Know the Lord, he gives them to understand that 
they should not only teach or instruct one other in the know- 
ledge of God, which respects their being favoured with the 
external means of grace ; but that they should all know hiniy 
from the least of them unto the greatest^ This not only denotes 
that they should have a speculative knowledge of divine truth, 
but a saving knowledge thereof; which is inseparably con- 
nected with life eternal, John xvii. 3. as appears from its be- 
ing accompanied with, or flowing from forgiveness of sin, as it 
immediately follows; for I will forgive their iniquity ; and 
this is expressed with a peculiar emphasis, which is certainly 
inconsistent with their falling from a justified state, when it is 
said, I zvill re7nember their sin no more, Jer. xxxi. 33, 34. And 
elsewhere, when God speaks of his jnakiiig an everlasting co- 
venant with his people, chap, xxxii. 40. he promises that he 
Tvill not turn away from them- to do them good; and, inasmuch 
as they are prone, b) reason of the deceitfulness of their hearts, 
to turn aside from him, he adds, I xvill put mij fear in their 
hearts, that they shall not depart from me ; it is not only said 
that he will net turn from them, if they fear him ; but he gives 
them security in this covenant, that they shall fear him : can 
we therefore conclude that they, in %vhom this covenant is so 
far made good, tlvu God has put his fear in their hearts, which 
is supposed in their beinp^ believers, shall not attain the other 
blessing promised, to wit, that of their not departing from him ? 

Moreover, the stability of this covenant, as a foundation of 
the saints' perseverance, is set forth bj^ a metaphor, taken from 
the most hxed and stable parts of nature ; and it is said to ex-^ 
reed them herein ; The monntains shall depart and the hills be 
removed, hut my kindness shall not depart from thee; neither 
ihall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord, that 
hath rnerci; on tkee, Isa. liv. 10. 

Object. The principal objection that is brought to enervate 
the force of this argument taken from those promises of the 
covenant, which respect the saints' perseverance, is, that they 
are to be considered either as conditional, and the conditions, 
thereof not fulfilled, in which case they are not obliging, and 
therefore Cod is not bound to give salvation to those to whora 

OF saints' perseverance in grace. 205 

fie has promised It, upon these conditions ; or else they are to 
be considered as made to a political body, viz. the Jewish na- 
tion, in which case it is not to be supposed that they respect 
their eternal salvation, but only some temporal deliverance 
which they were to be made partakers of, that belonged to that 
church in general ; for everlasting salvation is never considered 
as a blessing that shall be applied to whole nations, how much 
soever an whole nation may partake of the common gifts of 
divine bounty which are bestowed in this world. 

Ansxv* In answer to this objection, in both its branches, I 
need only refer to what has been said elsewhere. As to the 
former branch thereof, we have endeavoured to shew how those 
scriptures are to be understood which are laid down in a con- 
ditional form, without supposing that they militate against the 
absoluteness of God's purpose, or its unchangeableness, and 
independency on the conduct of men.* And as to the latter 
branch thereof; what has been said in answer to an objection 
of the like nature, brought against the doctrine of election by 
Dr. Whitby, and others, who suppose that the blessings, which 
the elect are said to be made partakers of in scripture, respect 
the nation of the Jews, or the church in general, and not a par- 
ticular number chosen out of them to salvation; and that the 
promises which are directed to them, are only such as they 
were given to expect, as a church or political body of men, 
may well be applied to our present purpose, and serve as an 
answer to this objection ;f therefore all that I shall add by way 
of reply to it, in this place, is, 

[l.] If any thing be annexed to these promises of the cove- 
nant, that gives occasion for some to conclude, that it is con- 
ditional, we must take heed that we do not understand such 
expressions as denoting the dependance of God's determina- 
tions on the arbitrary will of man ; as though his purpose re- 
lating to the salvation of his people were indeterminate, and it 
were a matter of doubt with him, as well as with us, whether 
he, should fulfil it or no ; because it is uncertain whether the 
conditions thereof shall be performed ; for this supposition is 
inconsistent with the divine perfections : but, if, on the other 
hand, we suppose that the grace or duty annexed to the pro- 
mise, must have some idea of a condition contained in it ; this 
may be understood according to the tenor of God's revealed 
■will, as denoting nothing else but a condition of _pur expecta- 
tion, or of our claim to the blessing promised ; and then no- 
thing can be inferred from hence, but that some who lay claim 
to, or expect salvation, without performing the condition there- 
of, may apostatize, and so miss of it ; which does not in the 
least militate against the doctrine we arc defending. 

• Sfc Vul. J page ^77, £; albi paosira. t '5'ec F"^. I-pop^e 437. 

206 or saints' perseverance in grace. 

And to this we may farther add, that when such a condi- 
tion is annexed to a promise (for I will not decline to call it so, 
in the sense but now laid down) and there is another promise 
added, in which God engages that he will enable them to per- 
form this condition, that is equivalent to an absolute promise ; 
and of this kind are those conditions that are mentioned in the 
scriptures before referred to, as has been already observed. 
When God promises that he will be a God to them, that he 
will forgive their iniquities, and never reverse the sentence of 
forgiveness, or remember their sins no more, and that he will 
never turn away from them to do them good ; he, at the same 
time promises, that he will put his law in their inward parts, 
and write it in their hearts, and put his fear in their hearts, and 
so enable them to behave themselves as his people, or to be 
to him a people ; and when God sets forth the stability of his 
covenant, and intimates that it should not be removed, he adds, 
that his kindness shall not depart from them, which kindness 
does not barely respect some temporal blessings which he 
would bestow upon them, but his extending that grace to them 
that should keep them faithful to him ; and therefore he says, 
that in righteousness theij should he established ; which con- 
tains a prontiise to maintain grace in them, without which they 
could hardlv be said to be established in righteousness, as well 
as that he would perform the other things promised to them in 
this covenant. 

[2«] As to the other branch of the objection, in which the 
promises are considered as given to the church in general, or 
to the Jews, as a political body of men ; and that this cannot be 
supposed to respect their everlasting salvation, but only some 
temporal blessings which they should enjoy, it may be replied. 
That this is to be determined by the express words contained 
in the promise : if God tells them that he will do that for them 
which includes more in it than the blessings which they are 
supposed to enjoy, that are of a temporal nature, we are not to 
conclude that there is nothing of salvation contained in them, 
when the words seem to imply that there is. And though these 
promises are said to be given to the Jews, as a political body 
of men, and there are some circumstances therein, which have 
an immediate and particular relation to them : yet the promi- 
ses of special grace and salvation were to be applied only by 
those who believed amongst them ; and the same promises are 
to be applied by believers in all ages ; or else we must under- 
stand those scriptures only as an historical relation of things 
that do not belong to us ; which would tend very much to 
detract from the spirituality and usefulness of many parts of 

To make this appear, we might consider some promises 


which, when first made, had a particular relation to God'a 
dealings with his people in those circumstances in which they 
were at that time ; which, notwithstanding, are applied in a 
more extensive manner, to New Testament believers in all 
ages. Thus when God tells his people, in the scripture before 
referred to, that all thij children shall be taught of the Lord^ 
Isa. liv. 13. whatever respect this may have to the church of the 
Jews, our Saviour applies it in a more extensive way, as belong- 
ing to believers in all ages, when he says, Every man therefore 
that hath heard and learned of the Father^ cometh unto me^ John 
vi. 45. And when God promises Joshua that he would not fail 
nor forsake him^ and encourages him thereby, not to fear nor 
6c dismayed^ Josh. i. 5, 9. when he was to pass over Jordan, 
into the land of Canaan ; and after that, to engage in a work 
which was attended with many difficulties : this promise is ap- 
plied, by the apostle, as an inducement to believers, in his day, 
to be content zvith such thing's as they have; accordingly he 
adds, that what God told Joshua of old, the same was written 
for their encouragement, viz. that he woidd never leave them^ 
nor forsake them, Heb. xiii. 5. We cannot therefore but con- 
clude from hence, that this objection is of no force in either of 
its branches, to overthrow the doctrine of the saints' perseve- 
rance, as founded on the stability of the promises of the cove- 
nant of grace. 

3. The saints' perseverance in grace may be farther proved 
from their inseparable union with Christ : this union is not only 
federal, as he is the head of the covenant of grace, and they 
his members, whose salvation he has engaged to bring about, as 
was observed under the last head ; but he may be considered 
also as their vital head, from whom they receive spiritual life 
and influence ; so that as long as they abide in him, their spi- 
ritual life is maintained as derived from him : if we consider 
the church, or the whole election of grace as united to him, it 
is called. His body, Col. i. 24. the fulness of him that filleth ail 
in all, Eph. i. 23. and every believer being a member of this 
body, or a part, if I may so express it, of this fulness, if it 
should perish and be separated from him, his body would be 
defective, and he would sustain a loss of that which is an in- 
gredient in his fulness. 

Moreover, as this union includes in it that relation between 
Christ and his people, which is, by a metaphorical v.'ay of speak- 
ing, stvled conjugal;* and accordingly is mutual, as the result 
of his becoming theirs by an act of grace, and they his by an ace 
of self-dedication ; this is the foundation of mutual love, which 
is abiding, it is certainly so on his part ; because it is unchange- 
able, as founded on a covenant-engagement, v.hich he cannot 

SOS or sAiiNia' feusevjerakce in GfeACEi 

%'iolate ; and though their love to him be in itself subject t© 
change, through the prevalcncy of corrupt nature, which tod 
much inclines them to be unstedfast in this marriage-covenant; 
yet he will recover and bring them back to him, and will not 
deal with them as persons do with strangers, whom they ex* 
elude from their presence or favour, if they render themselves 
unworthy of it ; but they who stand in a nearer relation to him, 
and accordingly are the objects of his special love, shall not be 
cast off for ever, how much soever he may resent their unwor- 
thy behaviour to him. Not to be separate from Christ, is, ac- 
cording to the apostle's expression, not to be separated from 
his love ; and this, he says, he was persuaded that he should 
not be, or that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor princi- 
palities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor 
height, nor depth, 7ior any other creature shall be able to do it, 
Rom. vili. 35, 38, 39. Accordingly it is saidj that havi7ig loved 
his own, zvhich were in the xvorld, he loved them unto the end^ 
John xiii. 1. 

Here I cannot but take notice of a very jejune and empty 
sense which some give of this text, to evade the force of the 
argument taken from it, to prove the doctrine we are main- 
taining. How plausible soever it may seem to be to those who 
conclude that this must be the true sense, because it favours 
their own cause : by his own they mean no other than Christ's 
disciples, whom he was at that time conversant With *, and in- 
deed, they apply v;hatever Christ says, in some following chap* 
ters, to them, exclusive of all others; as when he says, Te are 
not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, chap* 
XV. 19. and because I live, ye shall live also, chap. xiv. 19. 
This, they suppose, respects them in particular ; and so in the 
text before us, having loved his own which xvere in the world; 
that is, his own disciples ; as though he had a propriety in none 
but them ; he loved the?n to the end; that is, not to the end of 
theif lives ; for that would prove the doctrine we are main- 
taining, but to the end of his life, which was now at hand ,* and 
his love to them, they suppose to be expressed in this, that he 
condescended to v/ash their feet. But if this were the sense of 
the words, his love to them would not be so extraordinary a 
privilege as it really is ; for it would be only an instance of 
human and not divine love. And indeed, our happiness con- 
sists, not only in Christ's loving us to the end of his life i but 
in his continuing to express his love in his going into heaven 
to prepare a place, and there making continual intercession for 
us ; and in the end, in his coming again to receive us to him- 
self, that where he is, we may be also ; which leads us to con-» 

4. That the saints' perseverance farther appears from Christ's 


cotitlnual intercession for them. Tliis hns been particularly ex- 
pUiined in a foregoing answer;* and the apostle speaking cf 
his €i>€r living;- to make intercession for his people, infers th:r: 
Ac is able to nave them to the uttermost that tome unto God by 
him^ Heb. vii. 25. This he could not be s lid to do, should he 
leave the work M'hich he has begun in them, imperfect, and 
Siufler them, who come to liim by faith, to apostatize from liim. 
We have before considered Christ's intercession, as including 
in it his appearing in the presence of God, in the beiialf of 
those for whom he offered himself a sacrifice while here on 
earth ; and also, that what he intercedes for shall certainly be 
granted him, not only because he is the Son of God, in whom 
he is well pleased, but because he pleads hi;, own merits ; and 
to deny to grant what he merited, would be^ in effect, to deny 
tlie sufficiency thereof, as though the purchase had not been 
fully satisfactory ; tlierefore we must conclude, as he himself 
said oil earth, that the Father heareth him ahvays* It is also 
t'vident, that he prays for the perseverance. of his people, as he 
says to Peter, I have prayed Jhr thee, that thy Jaith fail not, 
Luke xxii. 32. And there are many tilings in that aflectionatu 
prayer, mentioned in John xvii. which he put up to God, im- 
mediately before his last sufferings, which respect their perse- 
verance in grace; as when he says, Holy Father, keep through 
thine oxvn name those xvhom thou hast given me, that they may 
^e oyie, as rve are, John xvii. II. and, / pray not that thou 
shouldst take them cut of the xvorld, but that thou shouldst keep 
them from ike evil, ver. 15. that is, either the evil that often 
attends the condition in which tliey are, in the world, that so 
the work of grace may not suffer, at least, not miscarry there- 
by ; or else, that he would keep them from the evil one, that 
so they may not be brought again under his dominion ; he also 
prays, that they may be made perfect in one, ver. 23. that is, 
not only that they may be perfectly joined together in the same 
design, but that this unanimity m*y continue till they are 
brought to a state of perfection ; and that the xuorld 7nay knoxo 
that God has loved them, even as he has loved Christ. And he 
declares his iu)iU; which shews that his intercession is founded 
on justice, and accordingly contains in it the nature of a de- 
mand, rather than a supplication for what might be given or 
denied, namely. That they rvhoin the Father had given him 
7night be tilth him xihere he is, that they may behold his glory, 
Ver. 24. all which expressions are very inconsistent witli the 
supposition, that it is possible that they, whom he thus inter- 
cedes for, mav apostatize, or fall short oi salvation. 

Object. It is objected by some, that tliis praytr respects 

• See Vol. IT. pa^c 473—479. Quest. Iv 

Vol. TIT. D d 

210 OF saints' persevePvAnxe in grace. 

none but his disciples, who were bis immediate friends and fol- 
lowers, and not believers in all ages and places in the world. 

Afiszv. But to this it may be rephed. That the contrary here- 
unto is evident, from several things which are mentioned in 
this prayer, as for instance, he says. That the Father had given 
him power over all jiesh ; that he should give eternal life to as 
Ttiany as he had given him^ ver. 2. the sense of which words 
will sink too low, if we suppose that he intends thereby, thou 
hast given me power to dispose of all persons and things in 
this world, that I may give eternal li^e to that small number 
which thou hast given me, namely, my disciples : whereas he 
speaks of that universal dominion which he has over all per- 
sons and things, which were committed to him with this view, 
that all those who were put into his hand to redeem and save» 
should attain eternal life : and again, he says, I have manifested 
thy name unto the ?ne?i which thou gavest 7ne out of the world; 
thine theij rvere^ and thou gavest them tne, and they have kept 
thy xvord^ ver. 6. Did Christ manifest the divine name and 
glory to none but those who were his disciples ; and were there 
none but them that had kept his word ? And when he says, 
that they whom he prayed for, are the Father's; and adds, 
that all mine are thine, and thine are mine ; and I am glorified 
in them, ver. 9, 10. Is the number of those, whom Christ has 
a right to, and the Father has set apart for himself, in whom 
he would shew forth his glory, as the objects of his love, and 
in whom Christ, as Mediator, was to be glorified, so small, as 
that it contained only the eleven disciples ? Or does it not ra- 
ther respect all that have, or shall believe, from the beginning 
to the end of time ? and when he speaks of the world's hating 
the7n, because they are not of the world, John xvii. 14, 15. and 
of their being exposed to the evils that are in the world, or the 
assaults of Satan, who is their avowed enemy ; is this only ap- 
plicable to the disciples ? And when he says. Neither pray I 
for these alone, that is, for those who nov/ believe, but for them 
also -which shall believe, ver. 20. does it not plainly intimate that 
he had others in view besides his disciples I These, and seve- 
ral other passages in this prayer, are a sufficient evidence that 
there is no weight in the objection, to overthrow the argument 
we are maintaining. 

5. Believers' perseverance in grace may be proved from the 
Spirit and seed of God abiding in them. When at first they 
were regenerated, it was by the power of the Holy Ghost, as 
condescending to come and take up his abode in them : thu^s 
we read of their being acted by, and under the influence of, 
the Holy Ghost, who is said to dwell where he is pleased to 
display his divine power and glory ; and if these displays here- 
of be internal, then he dwells in the heart. Our Saviour speaks 


of him, as another Comforter given, that he tnay abide witri his 
people yor ever^ chap. xiv. 19. And tliis indvvtliing of the Spi- 
rit is very distinct tioin that extraordinary dispensation wiiich 
the church had, when they were favoured with inspiration; for 
the apostle speaks of it as a privilege peculiar to believers as 
such, when he says, 2'e are not in the Jtesh^ but in the Spirit ; 
if so be that the Spirit of God dxvell in you: No-w if any man 
•have not the Spirit of Christy he is 7ione of his ^ Rom. viii. 9. the 
meaning of which cannot be, that they have no interest in 
Christ, who have not the extraordinary afflatus of the Spirit, 
such as the prophets had ; therefore we must suppose, that this 
is a privilege which believers have in all ages. Now if the Spi- 
rit is pleased to condescend thus to take up his abjode in the 
soul, and that for ever, he will certainly preserve it from 

And to this we may add, that there are several fruits and 
effects of the Spirit's dwelling in the soul, v.'hich affords an ad- 
ditional proof of this doctrine : thus believers are said to have 
ike first fruits of the Spirit.^ ver. 23. that is, they have those 
graces wrought in them which are the beginning of salvation; 
and as the first fruits ai'e a part of the harvest that will follow, 
these are the fore-tastes of the heavenly blessedness which God 
would never have bestowed upon them had he not designed 
to preserve them from apostasy. jNIoreover, believers are said 
to be sealed with that Holy Spirit of proniiae^ xvhich is the ear- 
nest of their inheritance^ Eph. i. 13, 14. The earnest, as given 
by men, is generally deemed a part of payment, upon which 
they who are made partakers thereof, arc satisfied that they 
shall, at last, receive the full reward ; and shall believers miss 
of the heavenly blessedness, who have such a glorious pledge 
and earnest of it ? Again, if we consider the Spirit as bearing 
ivitness with their spirits^ that they are the children of God ; and 
if children^ then heirs ^ heirs of God, and joint heirs xvtth Christ ; 
and that they shall be glorified together with him, Kom. viii. 
16, 17. is this testimony invalid, or not to be depended on» 
which it could not be were it possible for them to fall from a 
state of grace ? 

This testimony is what we depend very much upon, in order 
to our attaining assurance that we are in a state of grace, and 
shall persevere therein, as will be observed under the next an- 
swer ; therefore we shall at present, take it for granted, that 
there is such a thing as assurance, or that this blessing is at- 
tainable ; and the use which I would make of this supposition 
to maintain our present argument, is, that if the Spirit has an 
hand in working or encouraging this hope that we ha\e of the 
truth of grace, and consequently shall persevere therein to sal- 
vation, this argues that it is warrantable, and nbt delusive ; for 


he that is the author or giver of it cannot deceive car expec' 
tation, or put us upon looking for that which is not a reality. 
From whence it follows, that it is impossible that they should 
apostatize, to whom God has given this good hope through 
grace, so that they should fail of that everlasting consolation^ 
which is connected with it, 2 Thess. ii. IG. This consequence 
vill hardly be denied by those who are on the other side of 
the question ; and we may observe, that they who oppose the 
doctrine of perse\'erance, olways deny that of assurance, espe- 
cially as proceeding from the testimony of the Spirit: never- 
theless, that we may not be misunderstood, we do not say, that 
every one who has a strong persuasion that he shall be saved, 
shall be saved ; which is no other than enthusiasm ; but our 
argument is, in short, this, that if there be a witness of the Spi-* 
rit to this truth, that cannot be cliarged therewith, then the doc- 
trine ve are maintaining, is undeniably true, which will more 
evidently appear from what v;ill be said in defence of the doc- 
trine of assurance under our next answer. 

And therefore we proceed to the other brancli of the argu-- 
inent before-mentioned, to prove this doctrine, namely, that 
believers have the seed of God abiding in them ; which i% 
founded on what the apostle says in 1 John iii. 9. Whosoever 
2» born of God doth not commit sin ; for his seed obidcth in him^ 
and he cannot sin because he is born of God; for the under'- 
standing of which let us consider, 

(1.) That by the words, he ca?inot commit sin, the apostle 
does not intend that such an one is not a sinner, or that there 
is such a thing as sinlc^is perfection attainable in this life ; for 
that is contrary, not only to the whole tenor of scripture, and 
daily experience of mankind ; but to what he had expressly 
said. If xve say zve have no sin, xve deceive ourselves^ and the 
iriith is not in us, 1 John i. 8. Therefore, in this text, upon 
which our present argument is founded, he is, doubtless, speak- 
ing of persons committing sins, inconsistent with the truth of 
grace, as he says in a foregoing verse. Whosoever sinneth hath 
not seen him^ neither known him^ chap. iii. 6. it is such a sin 
therefore as argues a person to be in a state of unregeneracy ; 
and then, He that committeth tin is of the devil, ver. 8. there- 
fore he certainly speaks of such a commission of sin, as argues 
\is to be under the reigning power of the devil : and that this 
may plainly appear to be his sense, we may obserye, that he 
clsev/here distinguishes between a sin that is vnto death., and a 
sin that is not unto death, chap. v. 16, 17. by v/hich he does not 
mean, as the Papists suppose, that some sins deserve eternal 
dfeath, and others not ; the former of which they call mortal 
sins, the latter venial ; but he is speaking of a sin that is incon* 
aistent with the prir.ciple ^f grace, and that whigh is consistent 

or saints' perseverance in grace. S?1o 

therewith; the former is somrtimes called the pollution that is 
in the rvorhi, through lust^ 2 Pet. i. 4. the latter the spot ofGod''s 
children^ Dcut. xxxii. 5. The least sin deserves deaths though 
they w ho commit it shall not perish, but be brought to repent- 
ance ; but the sin unto dt^ath is wilful sin, committed and con- 
tinued in with impenitency; and with this limitation we arc 
to understand the apostle's words, Hexvho is born of God doth 
net commit sin. 

(2.) We shall now consider the reason assigned, whv the 
person he speaks of, cannot, in this sense, commit sin ; name- 
ly, because he is born of God^ and the seed of God abidcth in, 
him. To be born of God, is what is elsewhere styled regene- 
ration, or being born of the Spirit, in which there is a principle 
of grace implanted, which is here called the seed of God. And, 
indied, this metaphorical way of speaking is very expressive 
of the thing designed hereby ; for as in nature the seed produ- 
ces fruit, and in things moral, the principle of action produces 
action, as the principle of reason produces acts of reason : so in 
things spiritual, the principle of grace produces acts of grace ; 
and this principle being from God, which has been largely 
proved under a foregoing answer,* it is called here, the seed 
cf God. 

(3.) This seed of God, or this principle is not barely said 
to be in the believer, as that which, for the present, is the 
groimd of spiritual actions ; but it is said to remain in him. 
As elsewhere Christ speaks of the Spirit as abiding with his 
people for ever^ John xiv. 16. so here the apostle speaks of 
that principle of grace wrought by the Spirit, as abiding, that 
is, continuing for everj and from thence he infers, that a be- 
liever cannot sin ; for if he had been only speaking of its being 
impUmtcd, but not abiding; all that could be inferred from 
thence would be, that he does not sin ; but whereas, he argues 
from it, that he cannot sin, that is, apostatize ; it being under- 
stood, that this principle abides in him continually; which plain- 
ly contains the sense of the argument we arc maintaining, 
namely, that because the seed of God abides in a believer, 
therefore he cannot apostatize, or fall short of salvation. 

They who are on the other side of the question, seem to fmd 
it very difficult to evade the force of this argument : some sup- 
pose that the apostle intends no more but that he that is bom of 
God, should not commit sin ; but that is not only remote from 
the sense of the words cannot sin;\ but it does not sufficiently 
distinguish one that is born of God, from another that is not so ; 
for it is as much a truth, tliat an unregenerate person ought not 
to sin, as when we speak of one that is regenerate. 

Others, by not sinning, suppose that the apostle means, they 
• Vff Pu^e CO r.-r» j- T'k ii-jn-f: arc g tutlxt «^a:?*r:;r. 


sin with difficulty, or they are hardly brought to commit sin; 
but as this also does not answer to the sense of the word can' 
not sin, so it is inconsistent with that beautiful gradation, which 
we may observe in the words. To say that he does not sin ; 
and then if he commits sin, it is with some difficulty, is not so 
agreeable to that climax, which the apostle makes use of, when 
he says, he does not commit sin, yea, he cannot. 

Others suppose tliat the apostle's meaning is, that he that is 
born of God, cannot sin unto death, or apostatize, so as to fall 
hhort of salvation, so long as he makes a right use of this prin- 
ciple of grace, Avhich is implanted in him ; but by opposing and 
afterwards extinguishing it, he may become an apostate. But 
we may observe ; in answer to this, that the apostle does not 
attribute his perseverance in grace, to his making use of the 
principle, but his having it, or its abiding in him ; and he suf- 
ficiently fences against the supposition of its being possible that 
the principle of grace may be wholly lost ; for then this seed 
could not be said to abide in him, nor would the inference de- 
duced from its a,biding in him, namely, that he cannot sin, be 

Thus, concerning this latter branch of the argument to prove 
the saints' perseverance in grace, taken from the seed of God, 
abiding in believers : But there is one thing must be observed 
before I dismiss this head, viz. That the principle of grace, 
"which is signified by this metaphor, though it be, and abide in 
a believer; yet it does not ahvays exert itself so as to produce 
those acts of grace which would otherwise proceed from it. 
This cannot be better illustrated than by a similitude taken from 
the soul, which is the principle of reason in man ; though it be 
as much so in an infant in the womb as it is in any, yet it is al- 
together unactive ; for most allow that such have not the exer- 
cise of thought or acts of reason ; and when a person is newly 
born, it hardly appears that this principle is deduced into act ; 
and in those in whom it has been deduced into act, it may be 
rendered stupid, and almost unactive, or at least, so disordered, 
that the actions which proceed from it cannot be styled ration- 
al, through the influence of some bodily disease, with which 
it is affected, yet still it remains a principle of reason. The 
same may be said concerning the principle of grace ; it is cer- 
tainly an unactive principle in those who are regenerate from 
the womb ; and it may cease to exert itself, and be with equal 
reason, styled an unactive principle in believers, v/hen they fall 
into very great sins, to which it offers no resistance : This we 
shall take occasion to apply under a following head, when we 
shall consider some objections that are brought against this 
doctrine, by those who suppose that believers, when sinning 
presumptuously, as David, Peter, and others, are said to have 

or saints' perseverance in grace. 215 

done, fall totally, though not finally. There was indeed a to- 
tal suspension oi the activity of this principle, but yet the prin- 
ciple itself was not wholly lost; but more of this in its proper 
place. We are therefore bound to conclude, that because thi« 
principle abides in thein, they can neither totally nor finally 
apostatize, and therefore, that they can neither fi»!i from a state 
of grace, nor fail, at last, of salvation. 

Thus we have endeavoured to explain and shew the force 
of those arguments which are contained in this answer to prove 
the doctrine of the saints' perseverance. There arc several 
odiers that might have been insisted on ; and particularly it 
may be proved, from the end and design of Christ's death, 
which was not only that he might purchase to himself a pecu- 
liar people, but that he might purchase eternal life for them ; 
and we cannot think that this invaluable price would have beea 
given for the procuring of that which should not be applied, in 
which respect Christ would be said to die in vain. When a 
person gives a price for any thing, it is with this design, that 
he or they, for whom he purchased it, should be put into the 
possession of it ; which, if it be not done, the price that was 
given is reckoned lost, and the person that gave it disappoint- 
ed hereby. 

And this argument mav be considered as having still more 
weight in it, if we observe, that the salvation of those whom 
Christ has redeemed, not only redounds to their happiness, but 
to the glory of God the Father, and of Christ, our great Re- 
deemer. God the Father, in giving Christ to be a propitiation 
for sin, designed to bring more glory to his name than by all 
his other works : Thus our Saviour appeals to him in the close 
of his life, I have glorified thee on the earthy 1 have Jinished the 
work which thou gavest me to do, John xvii. 14. The work 
was his, and there was a revenue of glory which he exi>ected 
thereby ; and this glory did not only consist in his receiving a 
full satisfaction for sin, that so he might take occasion to ad- 
vance his grace in forgiving it ; but he is said to be glorified, 
■when his people are enabled to bear vnich fruity chap. xv. 8. 
Therefore the glory of God the Father is advanced by the ap- 
plication of redemption, and consequently by bringing his re- 
deemed ones to perfection. 

The Son is also glorified, not barely by his having those 
honours, which his human nature is advanced to, as the con- 
sequence of his finishing the work of redemption, but by the 
application thereof to his people ; accordingly he is said to be 
glorified in tJiem, chap, xvill. 10. that is, his mediatorial giory 
is rendered illustrious by all the grace that is conferred upon 
them ; and therefore, certainly hi; will be eminently glorified, 
when they are brought to be with him, wh':re he is, to behold 


his glory. Now can we suppose, that since the Father and ths 
Son designed to have so great a glory redound to them by the 
work of our redemption, that they will sustain any loss thereol'^ 
for want of the application of it to them, for whom it was pur- 
chased. If God designed, as the consequence thereof, that the 
saints shouid^sing tiiat new song, Thou art xvortky^ for thou, 
tvast slaviy and hast redeemed us to God by thy bloody out of every 
kindred^ and tongue^ and people^ and nation : And if God the 
Father, and the Son, are both joined together, and their glory 
celebrated therein, by their ascribing blessings S^orij^ and pow- 
er, unto him that sitteth upon the throne^ and wito the Lambyfor 
ever aiid ever^ Rev. v. 19. compared with 13. Then certainly 
they will not lose this glory ; and therefore, the saints shall be 
brought into that state where they shall have occasion thus to 
praise and adore them for it. 

If it be objected to thig, that God, the. Father and the Son, 
will be glorified, though many of his saints should apostatize, 
and the death of Christ be, to no purpose, with respect to them, 
because all shall not apostatize. The answer to this is plain 
and easy ', that though he could not be said to lose the glory 
he designed, by the salvation of those who persevere, yet some 
branches of his glory would be lost, by reason of the apostacy 
of others, who fall short of salvation ; and it is a dishonour to 
him to suppose that he will lose the least branch thereof, or that 
any of those, for whom Christ died, should be for ever lost. 

We might also add, that for the same reason that we sup- 
pose one whom Christ has redeemed, should be lost, all miglit 
be lost, and so he would lose all the glory he designed to have 
in the M-crk of redemption. This appears, in that all arc liable 
to those temptations, which, if complied with, have a tendency 
to ruin them. All are supposed to be renewed and sanctified 
but in part, and consequently the work of grace meets with 
those obstructions from corrupt nature ; which would certainly 
prove too hard for all our strength, and baffle our utmost en- 
deavours to persevere, did not God appear in our behalf, and 
keep us by his power. Now, if all need strength from him to 
stand, and must say, that without him they can do nothing, 
tlien we must either suppose, that that grace is given to all 
saints which shall enable them to persevere, or else that it is 
given to none ; if it be given to none, but all are left to them- 
selves, then that which overthrows the faiiir of one, would over- 
throw the faith of all ; and consequently v/e might conclude, 
that whatever God the Father, or the Son have done, in order 
to the redemption and salvation of the elect might be of none 

I might produce many other arguments in defence of the 
saints' perseverance, but shall conclude thi;> head with two or 


three scriptures, Avheteby the truth hereof will farther appear: 
Thus our Saviour says to the womim of Samaria, Whosoever 
dtinketfi of the luater thai I shall give him^ shall tievcr thirst; 
but the xiater that I shall give hitr.^ shall be in him a xvell of 
"water springing up into co'jrlasting life^ Joh)i iv. 14. Where, 
by the water that Christ gives, is doubtless understood the gifts 
and graces of the Spirit ; these are not like the waters of u 
brook, that often deceive the expectation of the traveller ; but 
they are a well of water, intimating that a believer shall have 
a constant supply of grace and peace till he is brought to the 
rivers of pleasure, which are at God's right-hand, and is made 
piirtaker of eternal life. Again, our Saviour says, He that 
heareth my xvord and believcth on him that sent tne^ hath ever' 
lasting life^ chap. v. 24. i. e. it is as surely his as though he 
was in the actual possession of it ; and he farther intimates, 
that such are not only justified for the present j but they shall 
not come into condemnation ; certainly this implies that their 
salvationr is so secure as that it is impossible for them to pe- 
rish eternally. 

Another scripture that plainly proves this doctrine, is in 2 
Tim. ii. 19. Nevertheless the foundation ofGodstandeth sure^ 
having this seal^ the Lord knoweth them that are his ; and let'- 
every one that naineth the name of Christ depart from ini(juity ; 
in which words the apostle encourages the church to hope for 
perseverance in grace, after they had had a sad instance of two 
persons of note, viz. Hymeneus and Philetus, who had not 
oi-i[y erred from the truth, hut overthrozvn the faith of some ; 
and he cautions every one, who makes a profession ol religion, 
as they would be kept from apostatizing, to depart from iniqui- 
ty, q* d. since many of you are ready to fear that your faith 
shall be overduown, as well as that of others, by the sophistry 
or cunning arts of those apostates Vvho lie in wait to deceive, 
you may be assured that their state is safe, who are built upon 
that foundation which God has laid, that chief corner stone f 
electa precious, viz. Christ, en zuha'm he that believcth, shall not 
he confounded, 1 Pet. ii. 6. or else, that the instability of hu- 
man conduct shall not render it a matter of uncertainty, whether 
they, who are ordained to eternal life, shall be saved or no ; 
for that depends on God's purpose, relating hereunto, which is 
a sure foundation, and has this seal annexed to it, whereby our" 
faith herein may be confirmed, that they whom God has set 
apart for himself, and lays a special claim to, as his chosen and 
redeemed ones, whom he has foreknown and loved with an ev- 
erlasiing love, shall not perish eternally, because the purpose 
of God cannot be frustrated. But ina'^much as there is no spe- 
cial revelation given to particular persons, that they are the ob- 
jects of this purpose zi grr^ce ; th^ircTore everv one that nr.mea 

Vox,, in. E t 


or professes the name of Christ ought to use the utmost caii" 
tion, that they be not ensnared j let them depart from all ini- 
quity, and not converse with those who endeavour to overthrow 
thtir faith. And, indeed, all that are faithful shall be kept 
from iniquity by God, as they are here given to understand 
that it is their duty to endeavour to depart from it, and conse- 
quently they shall be kept from apostacy. This seems to be 
the sense of these words ; and it is agreeable to the analogy of 
faith, as well as a plain proof of the doctrine which we are 

A late writer*, by the foundation of God^ -which standetk 
sure^ supposes the doctrine of the resurrection is intended* 
which Hymeneus and Philetus denied, saying, that it zvas past 
already ; this doctrine, says he, which is a fundamental article 
of faith, standeth sure, having" this seal the Lord knoweth them 
that are his ; that is, he ioveth and approveth of them. But 
though it be true the resurrection is spoken of in the foregoing 
versc, and we do not deny that it is a fundamental article of 
faith ; yet that does not seem to be the meaning of the v^ordfoun- 
dationy in this text. For if by the resurrection we understand 
the doctrine of the general resurrection of the dead, I cannot 
see where the force of the apostle's argument lies, viz. that 
there shall be a general resurrection, because the Lord know- 
eth who are his, since the whole woi'ld are to be raised from 
the dead. But if by the resurrection we are to imderstand a 
resurrection to eternal life, so that they M'^ho are known or be- 
loved of God, shall have their part in it, and the apostle's me- 
thod of reasoning be this, that they who believe shall be rais- 
ed to eternal life ; that is, so far from militating against the ar- 
gument we are maintaining, that it is agreeable to the sense we 
have given of the text, and makes for, rather than against us. 

As to what is farther advanced by the author but now men- 
tioned, viz. that the Lord knoweth who are his, is to be taken for 
that regard which God had to his apostles and ministers. This 
seems too great a strain on the sense of the words, and so 
much different from the scope of the apostle therein, as well as 
disagreeable to the caution given, that every one xvho names the 
Tiame of Christ should depart from iniquity, that no one who 
reads the scriptures without prejudice, can easily give into this 
sense of the text. 

I shall mention but one scripture more for the proof of this 
doctrine, and that is in 1 John ii, 19. They went out from us^ 
but they were not of us ; for if they had been of us, they would, 
no doubt, have continued -with us ; but they rvent out, that they 
might be tnade manifest that theij were not all of us ; for the ua- 

• See fVMtby's Discourse^ Uc. Pc^^— 67, 68, 463. 

OF saints' perseverance IN GRACE. %1^ 

(flerstawding of which, let it be considered, that the apostle is 
speaking of some who were formerly members of the church, 
who afterwards tm-ned apostates and open enemies to Christ, 
and his gospel : It is plain that the words they rvent out from us^ 
and they xvere not ofiis^ must be taken in different respects, 
otherwise it would imply a contradiction, to say that a person 
departed from the faith and communion of the church, when he 
never embraced it, or had communion with it ; but if they un- 
derstand it thus, they left the faith and communion of the 
church because they were Christians only in pretence, and did 
not heartily embrace the faith on which the church was built ; 
nor were they really made partakers of that grace, which the 
apostles, and other faithful members of the church, had recei- 
ved from God, as being effectually called thereb)', the sense is 
very plain and easy, viz. That there were some false professors, 
who made a great shew of religion, and were admitted into 
communion with the church, and, it may be, some of them 
preached the gospel, and were more esteemed than others ; 
but they apostatized ; for tbey had not the truth of grace, but 
were like the seed that sprang up without having root in itself, 
which afterwards withered; whereas, if they had had this grace 
it would have been abiding, and so they would, xvithout doubt^ 
says the apostle, have contmued unth us ; but by their apostacy 
it appears, that they were not, in this sense, of our number, 
that is believers. 

They who understand this scripture, not of persons who were 
members of the church, but ministers, that first joined them- 
selves with the apostles, and afterwards deserted them, and 
their doctrine, advance nothing that tends to overthrow the ar- 
gument we are maintaining ; for we may then understand 
the words thus, they pretended to be the true ministers of 
Jesus Christ, and doubtless, to be, as the aposdes were, men 
of piefy and religion, for, in other respects, they were of them 
visibly, whilst they preached the same doctrines ; but after- 
wards, by departing fi'om the faith, it appeared, that though 
they were ministers they were not sincere Christians, for if 
they had, they would not have apostatized. 

iV. We shall now proceed to consider the objections that 
are usually brought against the doctrine of the saints' perseve- 
rance in grace. 

Object. 1. It is objected, that there are several persons men- 
tioned in scripture, who appear to have been true believers, 
and yet apostatized, some totally, as D.ivid and Peter; others 
not only totally, but finally, in which number Solomon is in- 
cluded ; and others are described as rpostates, such as Hyme- 
neus nnd Alexander, who are said concerning faith^ to have 
made shipwreck^ and therefore it is supposed that they had tJie 

4i^ Ci' SAIi-.T-S Pi:i;.iEVi;RANC2 IN GRACK'. 

grace of faith ; and Judas is ako, hy them, reckoned to have 
been a true believer, whom all allow afterwards to have proved 
an apostate. 

Answ. I. As to the case of David and Peter, it is true, their 
fall was very notorious, and the former seenrvs to have continu- 
ed some months in a state of impenitency ; ai\d when they fell, 
there appeared no marks of grace in either of them, Peter's 
.sin, indeed, was committed through surprize and fear ; but yet 
it had such aggravating circuinstances attending it, that it 
others, whose character is h"ss established than nis was, had 
committed the same sin, we should be ready to conclude, that 
they were in a state of unrcgeneracy ; and David's sin v/as com- 
mitted with that deliberation, and was so complicated a crime, 
that if any belieyer ever lost the principle of grace, we should 
have been inclined to suppose this to have been his case. Ne- 
vertheless, that which gives us ground to conclude that this 
principle was not vvholiy extinguished, either in Peter or him, 
at the same time that they fell ; and therefore, that they were 
not total apostates, Is what we before observed, that the prin- 
ciple of grace may be altogetlier unactive, and yet abide in the 
soul, agreeably to the sense v/e gave ot that scripture, his seed 
abidcth in him ; and if what has been already said concerning; 
the possibility of the principle of grace remaining, though it 
makes no resistance agaiiisi the eoijirary habits of sin, be of any 
force,* then these and other instances of the like nature, on 
which one branch of the objection is founded, will not be suf- 
ficient to prove the possibility of the total apostacy of any true 

2. As to the case of Salomon ; that he once was a true be^ 
liever is alio\ved on both sides ; for it is said concerning him, 
soon after he was born, that the Lord loved him, 2 Sam. xii. 
24, 25. upon which occasion he gave him that significant name, 
Jedidiah, the beloved of the Lord ; and it is certain, tha in the 
beginning of his reign, his piety was no less remarkable than 
his wisdom, as appears from his great zeal, expressed in build- 
ing the temple of God, and estabiisliing the v/orship thereof; 
und alio from that extraordinary instance of devotion with 
which he dedicated or consecrated the house to God, 1 Kings 
viii. 1. & sgf,, and the prayer put up to him on that occasion, 
and also from God's appearing to him twice : in his first ap- 
pearance he cbndescende<l to, ask him, what he would give 
Tiim ? and upon Solomon's choosing, an understanding- hearty 
lo judge his people, he wos pleased with him, and gave him 
several other tlungs that he asked not for ; so that there were 
not any among the kings like unto him, chap. iii. 5, 9, 10, 12, 
,41' (tmxsi all t};is it is taken for granted, that he once v.'as a be- 
* (S.-f/c^Ti* 213, ill, anfs. 

OF saints' perseverance in GRAC£. S2t 

Ilevcr : but, on the other hand, we must, if we duly weigh the 
force of the objection, set the latter part of his life against the 
former, in wliith we find him guilty of very great sins; not 
only in multiplying wives and concubines, beyond what any of 
his predecessors had done, but in that his heart was turned 
away after other g'ods^ and^ as it is expressly said, xuas not per- 
fect xvith the Lord his God, as zvas the heart of Davidy his fa- 
ther, chap. xi. 4. And it is also said, that the Lord -was angry 
with Solomon, because his heart zvas tur?ied from the Lord God 
of Israel, 'which had appeared to him twice, ver. 9. and on this 
occasion he determined to rend part of the kingdom from his 
son, ver. 13. which came to pass accordingly; and all this is 
said to have been done when hcivas old, ver. 4. And after this 
we read of several that were stirred up as adversaries to him, 
ver. 14, 23, 26. And in the remaining part of his history we 
read of little but trouble and uneasiness that he met with; and 
this seemed to continue till his death, of which we have an 
account in 1 Kings xi. chapter throughout, which contains the 
history of his sin, and troubles ; and we read not the least word 
of his repentance therein; for v.hich reason he is supposed, in 
the objection, to have apostaxlzed totally and finally. 

The main strength of this objection lies in the supposition, 
that Solomon did not repent of his idolatry which he committed 
in his old age, or, as it is supposed, in the latter part of his life, 
and also from the silence of scripture as to the matter ; espe- 
cially in that part of it which gives an account of his fall and 
death. But this is not sufiicient to support the weight of the 
objection, and to oblige us to conclude him to be an apostate; 
for there is nothing that appears from the account we have of 
him in scripture, but that he might have sufficient time for re- 
pentance between his fall and death. It is said indeed, that in 
his old age his wives turned him aside, but this thev might do, 
and yet he not die an apostate ; for sometimes that part of life 
which is called old age, comprises in it several years ; there- 
fore, when he began to be in his declining age, he might sin, 
and after that be brought to repentance. And as for the scrip- 
ture's speaking first of his fall, and then of his death ; it does 
not follow from thence that one was immediately after the 
other; since the history of the blemishes and troubles of his 
life is but short. 

On the other hand, there are several things which may give 
us ground to conclude, that he repented after his fail ; parti- 

(1.) We have an intimation hereof in God's promise rela- 
ting thereunto, in which it is supposed, that God would suf- 
fer him to fall, and a provisionary encouragement is given to 
i^xpect that he should be recovered : thus he says, I ivill chcfs- 


tise him with the rod of men^ and -with the stripen of the chil- 
dren of men; but n^y mercy shall not depart away from, him^ 
as I took it from Savl^ whom I put away before thee, 1 Sam. 
vii. 14, 15. and the saine thing is repeated, in which his fall 
3s supposed, and his recovery from it particularly mentioned, 
«n Psa|. Ixxxix. 30 — 34. as though God had designed that this 
«hould be a supplement to his history, and remove the doubts 
which might arise from it, with relation to his salvation. 

(2.) There are some things in other parts of scripture, which 
give sutficient ground to conclude, that he was a true penitent, 
which plainly refer to that part of his life which was between 
his fall and his death. Thus, if we duly weigh several passa- 
ges in Plcclesiastes, which none can deny that he was the in- 
spired writer of, inasmuch as it is said, in the title or preface 
set before it, that thej-' are the words of the preacher, the son of 
David, king" of yerusalem^ we shall find many things in which 
he expresses the great sense of the vanity of his past life, when 
he says, I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to knoxv mad' 
ness and folly, Eccl. i. 17. where, by madness and folly, he 
doubtless intends that which was so in a moral sense, when he 
indulged his sinful passions, which respects the worst part of 
his life. And this he farther insists on ; Whatsoever mine eyes 
desired, I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any 
joij, for my heart rejoiced in all my labour, Eccl. ii. 10. or in 
all things, which afterwards were matter oT grief and uneasi- 
ness to me j in which he observes how he did, as it were, take 
pains to bring on himself a long train of miseries that troubled 
him afterwards ; and then he plainly expresses his repentance, 
>vhen he sa^^s. All was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there 
was no profit under the snn, ver. 11. as though he should say, 
I turned Irom God to the creature, to see what happiness I 
could find therein, but met with nothing but disappointment ; 
he had no profit in those things, whereof he was now ashamed. 
It is probable, God shewed him the vanity thereof, by his chas- 
tening him, or visiting his transgressions with the rod, and his 
iniquities with stripes, as he had promised to do; and this ended 
in vexation of spirit, which is a plain intimation of that godly 
sorrow that proceeded from a sense of sin, which made him, 
beyond measure, uneasy ; and this vexation or uneasiness was 
so great, that he says, / hated life, that is, I hated my past 
wicked life, and abhorred myself for it, because the -work that 
is xvroiight under the sun, is grievous unto me ; that is, the work 
that I have wrought, was such as gave me grief of heart; for 
all is vanity and vexation of spirit, ver. 1 7. that is, this is all 
the consequence thereof: it cannot be supposed that he was 
weary of his life for the same reasons that many others are, 
who are deprived of the blessings of common providence, aud 

OT saints' perseverance IN CRACff*- S^ 

reduced to that condition that makes them miserable, as to theif 
outward circumstances in the world ; but it was the uneasiness 
he found in his own spirit, the secret wounds of conscience and 
bitterness of soul, v/hich arose from a sense of sin, that made 
him thus complain. 

And elsewhere, he seems to be sensible of his sin, in heaping 
up vast treasures, which he calls Icvirig- silver ; and adds, that 
such an one, which seems very applicable to his own case, shall 
not be satisfied xvitli silvery nor he that loveth abundance^ ivith 
increase ; this is also vanity ^ chap. v. 10. that is, this had been 
an instance of his former vanity : and he adds, The sleep of a 
labouring man is srueet^ whether he eat little or much ; but the 
abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleeps ver. 12. If 
by this we understand that the mcrease of riches sometimes 
gives disturbance to, and stirs up the corruptions of tlwse that 
possess them, and this be applied to himself, it is an acknow- 
ledgment of his sin. Or, if we understand by it that the abun- 
dance of a rich man will not give him rest at night, when his 
mind is made uneasy with a sense of the guilt of sin, and this 
be applied to his own case, when fallen by it ; then it intimates 
that his repentance gave him not only uneasiness by day, but 
took away his rest by night ; and it seems not improbable, that 
what gave him farther occasion to see the vanity of his past 
life, was the sense of mortality impressed on him ; for he says. 
It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house 
of feasting ; for that is the end of all meUy and the living will 
lay it to his hearty chap. vii. 3. that is, he will, or ought to im- 
prove the sense of his own frailty, which we may conclude he 
had done ; and therefore adds, Sorroiv is better than laughter ; 
for by the sadness of the cotmteJiance, the heart is made better, 
ver. 3. 

But if it be objected, that all these expressions are not ap- 
plicable to himself, and many others of the like nature, which 
might have been referred to, which are expressive of his great 
repentance ; though I cannot but think that the contrary to this 
seems very probable ; yet there is something farther added, 
that he expressly applies to himself, which refers to his unlaw- 
ful love of women : I fnd more bitter than death the xvojiian. 
whose heart is snares^ and nets^ and her hands as bands. Whoso 
pleascth God shall escape from her^ but the sinner shall be taken 
by her : behold^ this have I founds saith the preacher, ver. 26, 
27. If these things be not expressive of repentance, it is hard 
to say what are. 

And to this we may add, that as he expresses a grief of heart 
for past sins ; so he warns others that they may not be guilty of 
that which he himself found more bitter than death ; and ac- 
cordingly, having described the arts used by the v/icked wo- 

man, to betray the unthinking passenger, he cautions cvtry onft 
to take heed of declining to her ways ; inasmuch as the con- 
sequence thereof will be, that a dart will strike through his 
Jiver, and he is as a bird that hasteth to the snare^ and knoweth 
not that it is for his lije, Prov. vii. 23. compared with the fore- 
going verses. He also adds, That she hath cast down mamj 
•wounded ; yea^ many strong men have been slain by her. Her 
house is the zvay to hell^ S''^^"^ doxvn to the chambers of deaths 
ver. 26, 27. So that we find in Solomon, t^yo of the greatest 
evidences that we can have of sincere repentance ; namely, a 
great degree of sorrow for sin, and an earnest desire that others 
would avoid it, by giving those cautions that arc necessary to 
prevent their falling into the snare in which he had been en= 

(3.) There is something spoken in Solomon's commenda- 
tion, after his death, which may be gathered from what is said, 
that during the three first years of Kehoboam's reign, v.^hich 
God approved of he -walked in the zuay of David and Solomon^ 
2 Chron, xi. IT. where we may observe, that Solomon is joined 
iv'ith his father David : so that as there were abatements to be 
made for the blemishes in David's reign; the reign of Solo- 
mon had in it great blemishes : but as one repented, so did the 
other, and therefore ought not to be reckoned an apostate. 

And to all this we may add, that he was a penman of scrip- 
ture ; and it does not appear that God conferred this honour 
upon any that apostatized from him ; but on the other hand, 
they have this general character given of them by the apostle 
Peter, that they were all holy men of God^ 2 Pet. i. 21. which 
v/e must conclude Solomon to have been, till we have greater 
evidence to the contrary than they can produce who deny it. 

3. There are others mentioned in the objection, to wit, liy- 
meneus and Alexander, whose apostacy we have no ground to 
doubt of; but we cannot allow that they fell from, or lost the 
saving grace of faith. It is one thing to fall from the profession 
of faith, and another thing to lose the grace of faith ; there- 
fore, the only thing to be proved in answer to this branch o£ 
the objection, is, that these persons, who are described as apos- 
tates, never had the truth of grace ; or that they only fell fi-om 
that visible profession which they made thereof; whereby they 
"Were reckoned to be, what in reality they were not, namely, 
true believers. Now that this may appear, let it be considered. 

That the apostle speaks of them as having departed from 
the faith^ viz. the doctrines of the gospel ; and that was at- 
tended with blasphemy, for which they were delivered unto 
Satan^ which is a phrase used by the apostle here and else- 
where, for persons being cut off from the communion of the 
church ; upon which occasion he advises Timothy to hold faith 


and a good conscience^ ivhich some having- put away, concern- 
ing faith, have made ahipxvrcck, as these have done. 

Now the main force of the objection seems to lie in this, 
that they who have made shipwreck of faith, were once true 
believers ; therefore, such may apostatize, and so fall short of 

To which it may be replied, that hy faith here, is meant the 
doctrines of the gospel, which are often styledyai?^.- thus it 
is said, that the apostle preached the faith -which once he des- 
troyed. Gal. i. 23. and elsewhere, before faith came; that is, 
before the gospel-dispensation began, and those doctrines were 
preached that were to be published therein to the world, xve 
•were kept under the law^ chap. iii. 23. And again, Received 
ye the Spirit by the ivorks of the laxv, or by the hearing offaith^ 
ver. 2. that is, by hearing those doctrines that are contained in 
the gospel. Therefore, that which he chargeth these apostates 
with, is making shipwreck of faith, considered objectively.; 
they once, indeed, held the truth, but it was in unrighteous- 
ness ; they had right notions of the gospel, which they after- 
wards lost : now the apostle advises Timothy not only to hold 
faith, that is, to retain the doctrines of the gospel, as one who 
had right sentiments of divine truths, but to hold it with a good 
conscie7ice ; for I take that expression, hold faith and a good 
conscience, to contain an hendyadis; and so it is the same as 
though he should say. Be not content with an assent to the 
truths of the gospel, but labour after a conscience void of of- 
fence towards God, that thou mayst have the testimony there- 
of, that thy knowledge of divine truth is practical and experi- 
mental, and then thou aft out of danger of making shipwreck 
of faith, as these have done, who held it \Vithout a good con- 
science. It is not said they made shiptvreck of a good~ con- 
science ; for that they never have had ; but conceriiing faith^ 
which they once professed, they mode shipwreck. 

The same thing ma}' be said concerning Judas ; he aposta ' 
tized from the faith, which he once made a very great profes-^ 
sion of, being not only one of Christ's disciples, but sent forth 
with the rest of them, to preach the gospel, and work mira- 
cles ; yet it is evident, that he had not the saving grace of 
faith. For our Saviour, who knew the hearts of all men, was 
not deceived in him (though others were) inasmuch as it i^ 
said, He knexv from the beginning xvho they were that believed 
not, and who should betray him, John vi. 64. However, the 
principal force of the objection lies in this, that Judas must 
needs have been a believer, because he was given to Christ; 
and our Saviour sa}'s, that those zvho were given him were kept 
by him, and none of them xvas lost but the son of perdition, chap, 
xvii. 12. His being styled the son of perdition, argues him an 
Vol. in. F i 


"apostate ; and his being g-ive7i to Christ denotes tliat he was 
once a true believer; therefore he fell totally and finally. In 
'ianswer to which, 

(1.) Some conclude, that they who are said to be given to 
Christy are such as were appointed, by the providence of God, 
to be his servants in the work of the ministr}-. Now it is said 
concerning them, that they were given to Christ, to be employ- 
ed by him in this service ; and that all of them were kept faith- 
ful, except the son of perdition. If this be the sense of their 
bemg given to him, it does not necessarily infer their being 
made partakers of special grace : it is one thing to be given to 
. Christ, to be employed in some peculiar acts of service, in 
which his glory is concerned; and another thing to be given to 
him, as being chosen and called by him, to partake of special 
communion with him : if Judas had been given to him in this 
latter sense, he would not have been a son of perdition, but 
would have been kept by him, as the other disciples were ; but 
inasmuch as he was only given to Christ, that he might serve 
the design of his providence, in the work of the ministry, he 
migl".: be lost, or appear to be a son of perdition, and yet not 
fall from the truth of grace. 

(2.) If, by being given to Christy we understand a being 
given to him, as objects of his special love, we must suppose, 
that all who v/ere thus given to him, were kept by him ; in 
which sense JudaS, v/ho is called the son of perdition^ and was 
not kept by him, was not given to him : accordingly the par- 
ticle but is not exceptive, but adversative ; and it is as though 
he should say. All that thou gavest me I have kept^ and none of 
them is lost; hut the son of perdition is lost^ I have not preserv- 
ed him ; for he was not the object of my special care and love; 
he was not given me to save, therefore he is lost. Now it is 
'<:ertain, that the particle but is used in this sense in many other 
scriptures, particularly that wherein it is said. There shall in 
no xvise enter into it^ that is, the heavenh' Jerusalem, any thing 
that defleth, neither ivhatsoever worketh abomination^ or viaketk 
a lie^ but they tvhich are xvritten iri the Lamb^s book of life. 
Rev. xxi. 27. ^. d. ungodly men shall not enter in ; but they 
that are written in the lamb's book of life shall *. Thus much 
concerning this objection, taken from particular persons, who 
are supposed to have fallen from grace. 

Obj. 2. The next objection is taken from what the apostle 
Paul says concerning the church of the Jews, "whom he des- 
cribes as apostatized from God; and it is evident, that they 
are, to this day, given up to judicial blindness, and not in the 
least disposed to repent of that crime for which they were cast 

* See several other scriptures, in -which ti y.» is taken adversative'y, Matt, xxiv. 
35. Gal. i, 7. Rev. ix. 4. 

OF saints' perseverance in GRACEl. 22/ 

offbyhiin; concerning these he says, that they once were 
holy ; If the first f rait he holij^ the lump is also holij ; and if the 
root be holij^ so ore the branches^ Rom. xi. 16. and afterwards 
)\Q. s^^t^k^oi their cantiii!^ away ^ and 60?nt? of the branches be- 
ing broken off^ because of unbelief ver. 15, 17, 19, 20. Now 
if the whole church apostatized, we must conclude at least, 
that some of thern were true believers, and therefore true be- 
lievers may fall from the grace of God. 

Ansiu. That the church of the Jews apostatized, and were 
cut off for their unbelief, is sufficiently evident : but we must 
distinguish between the apostacy of a professing people, such 
as the church of the Jews were, who first rejected God, and 
then were cast off by him, and the apostacy of those who were 
truly religious among them ; the apostle himself gives us ground 
for this distinction, when he says, they are not all Israel which 
ere of Israel i neither because they are the seed of Abraham are 
they all children^ chap. ix. 6, 7. And elsewhere he distin- 
guishes between one who is a Jew^ as being partaker of the 
external privileges of the covenant, which that church was un- 
der, and a person's being a fexv^ as partaking of the saving 
blessings thereof; as he says. He is not a Jew which is one 
outwardly^ neither is that circumcision^ xvhich is outward in 
the flesh ; but he is a few which is one inwardly: and circu7n- 
cision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and fiot in the letter ; 
zvhose praise is not of ?7ien, but of God, Rom. ii. 28, 29. A 
church ma}' lose its external privileges, and cease to have the 
honourable character given it ; the greatest part of them may 
he blinded, when, at the same time the election, that is, all 
among them who v/ere chosen to eternal lile, obtained it, as 
the apostle observes, chap. xi. 7. and thereby intimates, that 
some who were members of that church were faithful ; those 
were preserved from the common apostacy, being converted to 
the Christian faith. Their privileges, as members of a church, 
were lost, but they still retained their spiritual and insepara- 
ble union with Christ, which they had as believers, and not as 
the result of their being the natural seed of Abraham, they 
were made partakers of the blessings diat accompany salva- 
tion ; and therefore were not separated from the love of God 
in Christ, whilst formal professors and hypocrites, who were 
Abraham's natural seed, but not his spiritual, were cast off by 

Obj. 3. It is farther objected, that there are some who have 
the character of righteous persons, concerning whom it is sup- 
posed, diat they may fall away or perish ; particularly those 
mentioned in Ezek. xviii. 24. When the righteous ynan turnetk 
away from his righteousness, and committcth iniquity, and doth 
according to all the abomiiiatiQiis that the wicked man doth, shall 

@j28 OF saints' perseVE'RAnce in grace. 

he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not he 
mentioned^ in the trespass that he hath trespassed^ and in hia 
sin that he hath sinned^ in them shall he die: And in Heb. x. 
38. it is said, The just shall live by faith ; but if any man ^ or, 
as the word should be rendered, if he draw back^ my soul shall 
have no pleasure in him. Therefore, since the righteous man. 
may turn from his righteousness, and draw back to perdition., 
the doctrine of the saints' perseverance cannot be defended. 

Answ. 1. As to the former of these scriptures, -ve must con^^ 
sider the sense thereof agreeably to the context, and the scope 
and design of the prophet therein ; he had often reproved them 
for those vile abominations which they were guilty of, and had 
denounced the threatnings of God, which should have their 
accomplishment in their utter ruin ; particularly, he fortels the 
judgments that should sweep away many of them before, and 
others that should befal them in the captivity : this is the sub- 
ject principally insisted on by the prophets Jeremiah and Eze- 
Iciel; whereupon sometimes they were represented as disliking 
the doctrine, desiring that smooth things might be prophesied 
unto them, and the holy 07ie of Israel might cease from before 
them. At other times they are represented as complaining of 
the hardship of this dispensation, intimating that it was unjust 
and severe, and, at the same time, justifying themselves, as 
though they had done nothing that deserved it ; but all this 
was to befal them for the sins of their fathers, and accordingly 
<^ there was a proverbial expression often made use of by them, 
mentioned verse 2d of this chapter, The fathers have eaten sour 
^rapes^ and the children's teeth are set on edge ; by which they 
did not understand that v/e expect to perish eternally for our 
fathers* sins, in which sense it must be taken, if this objection 
has any force in it : now God, by the prophet, tells them that 
they had no reason to use this proverb, and so puts them upon 
looking into their past conduct, and enquiring, whether they 
had not been guilty of the same sins that their fathers were 
charged v/ith? which, if they could exculpate themselves from, 
they should be delivered, and not die, that is, not fall by those 
judgments which either should go before, or follow the cap- 
tivity ; for that seems to be the sense of dyings according to 
the prophetic way of speaking, as we have observed elsewhere.* 
'Sox the understanding of this scripture we must consider, that 
the prophet addresses himself to the house of Israel-, who are 
Tepresented, ver. 25. as complaining, that the xvay of the Lord 
"Was not equal; or, that God's threatnings or judgments, which 
were the forerunners of the captivity, were such as they had 
not deserved; and therefore he tells them that he would deal 
with them according to their deserts, ver. 24. When the right 
* !&ec Vol. II. page ooZ — Z,iS.^ 

OF saints' perseverance in CBACEi 229 

teotis^ that is, one whose conversation before this seemed to be 
unblemished, and he not guilty of those enormous crimes which 
were committed by others (which may be supposed, and yet 
the person not be in a state of grace) I say, when such an one 
tvriictli awaij from his righteounness^ and doth occording to all 
the abominations that the -wicked ?nan doth^ that is, becomes 
openly vile and profligate ; shall he live ? can he expect any 
thing else but that God should follow him with exemplary 
judgments, or that he should be involved in the common de- 
struction? In his sin that he hath sinned shall he die. And on 
the other hand, ver. 27. When, the -wicked man turneth axoay 
from his xvickedness ; that is, they who have been guilty of these 
abominations shall reform their lives, or turn from their idola- 
try, murders, adulteries, oppressions, and other vile crimes, 
that the people in general were charged v/ith, by the prophet, 
which are assigned as the reason of God's sending this dread- 
ful judgment of the captivity ; I say, if there be such an in- 
stance of reformation, he shall save his soul alive; that is, ei- 
ther he shall be delivered from the captivitv, or shall be pre- 
served from those temporal judgments that either went before 
or followed after it. This reformation, and deliverance from 
these judgments, includes in it something less than saving 
grace, and a right to eternal life, vv^hich is inseparablv con- 
nected with it, so that if nothing else be intended by the righte- 
ous and wicked man ; and if the judgments threatened, or their 
deliverance from them, in case of reformation, includes no 
more than this, it is evident, that it does not in the least sup- 
pose, that any true believer shall apostatize or fall from a state 
of grace. As we may distinguish between eternal death and 
temporal judgments; so we must distinguish between a per- 
son's abstaining from the vilest abominations, as a means to 
escape these judgments; and his exercising those graces that 
accompany salvation. There may be an external reformation 
in those who have no special grace, if nothing farther be re- 
garded than a person's moral character, or inoffensive beha- 
viour in the eye of the world. If we only consider him as ab- 
staining from those sins which are universally reckoned dis.- 
reputable among those who make any pretensions to religion, 
and in this respect he be denominated a righteous man, such 
an one may turn away from his righteousness and become im- 
moral and profligate, and so be reckoned among the number of 
apostates : nevertheless he cannot be said to apostatize or fall 
from the grace of God, since moral virtue or the exercise of 
righteousness in our dealings with men is as much inferior to 
saving grace, as a form of godliness is to the power thereof. 

2. As to the other scripture, mentioned in the objection, it is 
generally urged against us a^ an unaniWfrablc argument, taken 


from the express words thereof, to prove the possibility of the 
saints' apostacy j and our translation is charged with a wilful 
mistake, to serve a tarn, and make the text speak what it 
never intended, since all who understand the original must al- 
low that it ought to be rendered, If he draxo back^ which sup- 
poses that the just man may apostatize, or draw buck unto 
perdition. To which it may be replied, 

(1.) That though the v^ords, according to the form in which 
they are laid down, contain a supposition, it does not infer the 
being or reality of the thing supposed * ; but only this, that if 
such a thing should happen, it v/ould.be attended with what is 
laid down as a consequence thereof. This is very agreeable 
to our common mode of speaking, as when we say ; if a vir- 
tuous person should commit a capital crime, he v/ill fall under 
tlie lash of the law as much as though he had made no preten- 
sions to virtue ; nevertheless, it does not follow from hence, 
that such an one shall do it, or expose himself to this punish- 
ment; or, on the other hand, if a king should say to a crimi- 
nal, as Solomon did to Adonijah, ' If he will shew himself a 

* worthy man, there shall not an hair of him fall to the earth,' 
it cannot be concluded from hence, that he will behave him- 
self so as that his life shall be secured to him. The proposi- 
tion is true, as there is a just connexion between the suppo- 
sition and the consequence ; yet this does not argue that the 
thing supposed shall come to pass. Now to apply this to the 
scripture, under our present consideration ; the proposition is 
doubtless true, that it the just man should draw back, so as 
to become a wicked man, if he shoiald lose the prin.ciple of 
grace which was implanted in regeneration, and abandon him- 
self to the greatest impieties, he would as certainly perish as 
though he had never experienced the grace of God ; but it 
must not be inferred from hence, that God v/ill suffer such an 
one, who is the object both of his love and care, thus to fall 
and perish, so that his soul should hav€ no pleasure in him. 

(2.) If we suppose the person here spoken of, whom we con- 
sider as a true believer, to draw back, we may distinguish be- 
tween backsliding or turning aside from God, by the commis- 
sion of very great sins ; and apostacy. Or between drawing 
back, by being guilty of great crimes, so as to expose himself 
to sore judgments ; and his drawing back to perdition. The 
just man in this text, is said, indeed, to draw back, but he is 
distinguished from one that draws back to perdition ; as it is 
said in the following verse, ' We are not of them who draw 

* back to perdition, but of them that believe, to the saving of 

* the souL' Such a drawing back as this, though it shall not 
end in perdition, inasmuch as the person shall be recovered and 

* It is (I known maxim in lo^ic, Suppositio nihil ponit in esse. 


brought to repentance ; yet it shall be attended vlth ver}' great 
marks of God's displeasure against believers, for those sins 
which they have committed, as well as others ; accordingly, 
his soul having no plcar.ure in them, denotes that he would, in 
various instances, reveal his wrath against relapsing believers, 
as a display of his holiness, who shall nevertheless be recover- 
ed and saved at last. If these things be duly considered, the 
objection seems to ha\ e no weight in it, though it should be 
allowed, that the Avords upon which it is principally founded, 
are not rightly translated. 

However, I cannot see sufficient reason to set aside our trans- 
lation, it being equally just to render the words, if any man 
draw back * ; since the supplying the words any man^ or any 
one^ is allowed of in many other instances, both in the Old and 
New Testament. Therefore there is not the least incongruity 
in its being supplied in the text under our present considera- 
tion f ; and, if it be, the sense that we give of it, will appear 
very agreeable to the context ; accordingly the meaning is, 
' The just shall live by faith,' or they who ' know in themselves 
•* that they have in heaven a better and an enduring substance,' 
as in one of the foregoing verses : These shall live by faith, 
but as for others who do not live by faith, having only a form 
or shew of religion, * whose manner is to forsake the assem- 
* bling of themselves together,' as in v'erse 25. these are incli- 
ned to draw back; therefore, let them know that if any one^ or 
tvliosoever draxvs back^ it will be at their peril ; for it will be 
to their own perdition ; yet saith the apostle, that true belie- 
vers may not be discouraged by the apostacy of others, let 
them take notice of what is said in the following words, ' We 
' are not of them who draw back unto perdition, but of them 

•j- It is certdin, that the particles TK,'^^i^^ and others of the like imjwrt, are of- 
ten left out, and the defect thereof is to be supplied in our translation : Thus it i» 
in Job xxxiii. 27- inhere the llebre-.v ivord, vhieh might hare been rendered and he 
sliall say, is better rendered and if any say, &c. and in Gen. xlviii. 2. instead of hz 
toklJacob, it is better rendered one told Jacob, or somebody told him ; and it 
Mark ii. 1. tk, luhicli is left out in the Greek text, is supplied in the {van>,lcition, in 
■Kliich we do not read it after days, but after some days. See A'old.'. Concord. I'ur- 
tic. I'o^e 4:1, 42. iri which several texts of sci'iptwe are produced to tlie same purpose, 
and amonif tlie 7-est, this in lleb. x. 38. ivhich -we are at present consittering as rahat 
ought to be rendered if anj- one draw back. In this and inich like instances ii>e mav 
observe, t/iat the verb personal has an impersonal signifctUion, or that wiich is pro- 
perly actiz;e is rendered passively ; soFjCc].i\. 15. n:3 Ni'd is not rendered and 
he found in it, &.c. but now there was found in it ; viwtj other instances of the like 
nature are to be observed i7i the liebrno text in the Old Test anient ; and sometimes 
this mode of speaking is imitated by the Creek text in t/.e J\'e-w. I might also ob- 
serve, ivith respect to the scripture under ovr present consideration, that the learned 
. Grotius observen that Tie ougtit to he supplied, and eonse(jLentl:/ the te.vt ought to In 
rendered as it is in our translation, if any niari dr.iW bark, vfltich he observes as what 
is agreeable to the grammatical construction thereof, vnthout any regard to the doe- 
trine r^: are Tnainiiiining, vit'i respect to -uhich. le a oihervi'e mivded. 


' thnt believe, to the saving of the soul.' These things bein^ 
duly Cv nsidered, it will be sufficiendy evident that this text does 
nbi militate against the doctrine of the saints' perseverance. 

Ol>j. 4. There is another objection brought against the doc- 
trine we have been endeavouring to maintain, taken from what 
the apostle says in Heb. vi. 4, 5, 6. ' It is impossible for those 

* who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly 
' gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have 
•" tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to 

* come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repent- 
*• ance, seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, 
•■ and put him to an open shame.' The force of this objection 
lies in two things, viz. that they are described as total and fi- 
nal apostates ; and also, that according to the account we have 
of their former conversation, they appear then to have been 
true believers. 

Ansxu. This is thought, by some, who defend the doctrine 
of the sahits' perseverance, to be one of the most difficult ob- 
jections that we generally meet with against it ; especially they 
who cannot see how it is possible for a person to make such 
advances towards true godliness, and yet be no other than an 
hypocrite or formal professor, are obliged to take a method to 
set aside the force of the objection, which I cannot give into, 
namely, that when the apostle says. It is impossible that such 
should be renexved again to repentance ; the word impossible 
denotes nothing else, but that the thing is exceeding difficult, 
not that they shall eventually perish ; because they are sup- 
posed to be true believers ; but their recovery after such a no- 
torious instance of backsliding, shall be attended with difficul- 
ties so great that nothing can surmount, but the extraordinary 
pov/er of God ; and though he will recover them, yet they shall 
feel the smart thereof as long as they live ; they shall be saved, 
yet so as by fire *'. 

* To give countenance to this sense of the luord Impossible, the-j refer to some 
scriptures, in -which it does not deriote an absolute impossibility of the thing, but only 
that if it Coynes to pass it ivill be xuilh much difficultij. Thus it is said, Acts xs. 16. 
that the Apostle Paul hasted, if it were possible for him to be at Jerusalem the day 
of Pentecost ; -where his making haste argues that the thing was not in itself impos- 
iiible, but difficult. And Rom. xii. 18. we arc exhorted, if it be possible, as much 
as in us lieth, to live peaceably with all men ; ivhich she^vs that it is hard indeed 
60 to do ; 7ievertheless, we are to use our utmost endeavours to do it, ■zohich does not 
argue that the thing is in itself cdtogether impossible. And there is another scripture 
they bring to justify tins sense of the 7vords in Matt. xix. 23, — 26. in n-hich our SC' 
'!Mur''s design is to sherj the difficidty of a rich maiCs entering into the kingdom of 
hzaven, ivhich he compares to a camel's going through the eye of a needle ; by xi'hich 
'^ery feiu suppose, that the beast, so called, is intended, Imt a cable-rope, rjhich fs 
'jomclimes culled a camel ; this the Syriach* and Arabick versions translate the r.-ordf 

* The ancient Syriac is j^'^oil'? ^'^^ modern is the same word, which is literacy 
ntf^nKov a camel, not ii^/xixov a cab!^. This Eastern proverb is now wellestablishcd^ 
Vide Curnpbel), Clarke. S;c. 


15ut notwithstanding the word impossible may be sometimes 
taken for that which is \cry difTicuU, I cannot but concUidc 
that the apostle is here speaking of that which is impossible, 
with respect to the event, and therefore, that he is giving the 
character of apostates who shall never be recovered. This ap- 
pears, not only from the heinousness of the crime, as they arc 
said to crudfij to themselves the Son of God afresh^ and put him 
to an open shatne ; but from what is mentioned in the follow- 
ing verses, in which they are compared to the earth that bring' 
eth forth thorns andbriars^ xvhicli is rejected^ and nigh unto cur- 
sings ivhose end is to be burned ; and from their being distin- 
guished from those who shall be saved, concerning whom the 
apostle was persuaded better things^ and things that accompany 
salvation ; therefore he is speaking here concerning a total and 
fmal apostasy. 

But that this may not appear to militate against the doctrine, 
we are maintaining, I shall endeavour to shew, that notwith- 
standing the character the apostle gives of the persons he here 
speaks of they were destitute of the truth of grace, and there-; 
fore nothing is said concerning them, but what a formal pro- 
fessor may attain to : That this may appear let it be consid- 

1. That they are described as Once enlightened ; but this a 
person may be, and yet be destitute of saving faith. If by be 
ing enlightened we understand their having been baptized, as 
some critics take the wovd, which was afterwards, in some fol- 
lowing ages, used in that sense, it might easily be alleged, 
that a person might be baptized arid yet not be a true believer : 
But since I question whether baptism was expressed by illu-' 
mination in the apostles age *, I would rather understand hy^ 
it, their having been convinced of the truth of the gospel, or 

And a learned rvriter observes, that the Jeios, in a proverbial -aai/, express the diffi- 
'•uhij of a thill E[ by that of a cabLe-ropii' s passing through the ei/e of a needle, iiee 
Buxt. Lex. Talmud. Pane 1719. and JSochart Hiero. Part. X. Lib. 2. Cap. 3. Jlnd 
bi/ needle is vot meant tliat which is used in vorkin^, but a?i iron, through -ihich d 
small rnpe may be easily drai^n ; thoui;h it luas v.-ry difftcidt to force a camel or ca- 
hie-rops through it ; therefore they siippos' our Sarioitr is not speaking of a thing 
which is absolutely impossible, but exceeding difficult ; ajidtliisviay be ivfiredfrori' 
his reply to ijhat the disciples objected, who then can be saved, -u'hen he says, witli 
men ill IS is impossible, but with God all thin js are possible. And to.upphj thin 
to the scripture under our present consideration, they svppose that the cpostle, ivhen 
he speaks of the renewing of those persons to Tcpentunce, does not intend that whicb. 
is ahsolut''iy imposdble, but that it cannot be brought about but by the extraordinary 
poiuer of God, xuith vhom all things are possible. 

• fFe do uotfiiid the -word used in that sense till the second century, by Justin Mar^ 
tyr [Vid. ejusd. Dial. 2.] and Clemens Alexandrinut [in Pxdag. Lib. 1. cap. 6.] and 
tlierefre tve are notaltogetlier to take our measures in explaining the sense afvordi, 
■used in scripture, from thrrn, ■:vho sometimes mistake the sense of the doctrine contain 
ed therein. Jlomever, if-jie take the ii-srd in ibis senne, it does not militate againsi 
c'Wr argument, since apzr.^o'i mi" be baptized, rjho if not in a f.'iJ.'c ofg^.'ir; i.nd tJil- 

Vol. Iir. • O £ 

234 or saints' pejiskverance in grace. 

yielded an assent to the doctrines contained therein. Now this 
a person may do, and yet be destitute of saving faith, which is 
seated not barely in the understanding, but in the will, and there- 
fore supposes him not only to be rightly informed, with respect 
to those things which are the object or faith, but to be inter- 
nally and effectually called, from whence saving faith proceeds, 
as has been before observed. 

2. They are said to have tasted the good-word of God ; which 
agrees with the character before given of those who had a tem- 
porary faith *, who seemed, for a while, pleased with the word, 
and their affections were raised in hearing it ; as Herod is said 
to have heard John the Baptist gladly, and to have done mantf 
things J like those whom our Saviour compares to the seed 
sown in stony ground, which soon sprang up, but afterwards 
withered away. This a person may do, and yet not have sa- 
ving faith ; for it is one thing to approve of, and be affected 
with the word, and another thing to mix it with that faith 
which accompanies salvation. A person may entertain those 
doctrines contained in the word which relate to a future state 
of blessedness with pleasure; as all men desire to be happy, and 
at the same time be far from practising the duties of self-deni- 
al, taking up the cross, and following Christ, mortifying in- 
dwelling sin, and exercising an intire dependance upon, and re- 
signation to him in all things : This contains much more than 
what is expressed by tasting the good word of God. 

3. They are farther described as having tasted the heavenly 
gft^ and being made partakers of the Holy Ghost^ and of the 
powers of the xvorld to come ; all which expressions, I humbly 
conceive, carry in them no more than this, that they had been 
enabled to work miracles, or that they had a faith of miracles, 
which has been before described f, and proved to fall very 
short of saving faith \. Therefore these characters given of 
them do not argue that they were true believers, and conse- 
quently the objection, which depends on the supposition that 
they were, is of no force to prove that saints may totally or 
finally fall from grace. 

Obj, 5. The next objection against the doctrine we have 
been maintaining, is taken from Heb. x. 29. Of hoxv much sor- 
er punishment suppose ye shall he be thought worthy^ who hath 
trodden wider foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of 
the covenant^ wherewith he was sanctifed, an unholy thing, and 

• See Pag. 124, 125 ante. 

t See Pag. 122, 123 ante. 

^ ^''l^r*'' ^^^^^^ *° 6« anheiidyadis in the apostle'' s mode of spealcivg. By the hea- 
%<eiilygtjt we are to understand extraordinary gifts, -which are called the Holy Ghost 
elsetuhere. Acts xix. .;. because they -were from the Holy Ghost as ejects of his pow- 
er, and -wrought to coiifrm the gospel dispensation, -which is called the luovldto comCf 
Heb.ii. 6. and therefore they are styled (he J>o-n-ers of the -morld to come. 

OF saints' perseverance in grace. 235 

hath done despite unto the spirit of grace. The crime here spo- 
ken of is of the heinous nature, and the greatest punishment is 
said to be inflicted for it : Now, inasmuch as these are descri- 
bed as having been sanctijied by the blood of the covenant^ it 
follows, that they were true believers, and consequently true be- 
lievers may apostatize, and fall short of salvation. 

Ansxv. The force of the objection lies principally in those 
words, the blood of the covenant xvherewith he mas sanctified ; 
which expression is taken, by divines, in two different senses. 

1. Some take the word he in the same sense as it is taken in 
the objection, as referring to the apostate ; and then the diffi- 
culty which occurs, is how such an one could be said to be 
sanctified by the blood of the covenant, and yet not regenerate, 
effectually called, or a true believer : To solve this, they sup- 
pose, that by sanctif cation Ave are only to understand a rela- 
tive holiness, which such have who are made partakers of the 
common grace of the gospel : Thus it is said, Israel was holi- 
ness unto the Lord, Jer. ii. 3. or, as the apostle Peter expresses 
it, a7i holy nation, 1 Pet. ii. 9. as they were God's people by 
an external covenant relation, and by an explicit consent to be 
governed by those laws which he gave them when they first 
became a church, Exod. xxiv. 3. and publicly avouched him 
to be their God, and he avouched them to be his peculiar peo- 
ple, which was done upon some solemn occasions, Deut. xxvi. 
17, 18. Nevertheless, many of them were destitute of the spe- 
cial grace of sanctification, as it contains in it a thorough and 
universal change of heart and life. Moreover, they suppose 
that this privilege of being God's people, by an external cove- 
nant-relation, together with all these common gifts and graces 
that attend it, was purchased by, and founded on the blood of 
Christ, which is called the blood of the covenant^ inasmuch as 
he was given for a covenant of the people, Isa. xlii. 6. and pur- 
suant hereunto, he shed his blood to procure for them the ex- 
ternal as well as the saving blessings of the covenant of grace ; 
the former of these, the persons here described as apostates, are 
supposed to have been made partakers of, as the apostle says. 
To than pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the cove- 
nants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the 
promises, Rom. ix. 4. they worshipped him in ail his ordinan- 
ces, as those whom the prophet speaks of, ivho seek him daily^ 
and delight to know his ways, as a nation that did righteousness^ 
mid forsook not the ordinance of their God ; they ask of him the 
crdinanca of justice, and take delight in approaching to God ; 
and yet these things were not done by faith, Isa. Iviii. 2. In 
this respect persons may be sanctified, and yet afterwards for- 
feit, neglect, despise and forsake these ordinances, and lose the 
external privileges of thecovenp.ntof jjiface, which they oncf* bad. 


and so become apostates. This is the most common method 
used to solve the difliculty contained in the objection. But I 
•would rather acquiesce in another way, which may be taken to 
account for the sense of those words, the blood of the coveimnt 
'luhernvith he was sanctified. Therefore, let it be considered, 

2. That the word he may be understood, not as referring to 
the apostate, but our Saviour, who is spoken of immediately 
before : thus the apostate is said to ' ti-ample under foot the Son 
of God, and count the blood of the covenant wherewith He, 
that is, Christ, ' was sanctified, an unholy thing.' That this 
'sense may appear just, it may be observed, that Christ was 
sanctified or set apart by the Father, to perform all the branches 
of his Mediatorial office, in two respects. 

(1.) As he was fore-ordained or appointed, by him, to come 
into the M'orld to shed his blood for the redemption of his 
people : thus his undertaking to redeem them is called his 
"sanctifying, or devoting himself to perform this work, as he 
says, ' For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might 
be sanctified through the truth,' John xvii. 19. this he did in 
pursuance of the eternal transaction between the Father and 
him, relating hereunto. But it will be said, that this was an- 
tecedent to his dying for them ; and therefore, properly speak- 
ing, he could not be said, in this respect, to be sanctified bu 
the blood of the coveJiant ; therefore, to this we may add, 

(2.) That he was also sanctified, or set apart by the Father, 
to apply the v/ork of redemption after he had purchased it; 
which sanctifi cation was, in the most proper sense, the result 
of his shedding his blood, which was the blood of the cove- 
p.ant ; so that as he was ' brought again from the dead,' as the 
apostle speaks, * through the blood of the everlasting cove- 
nant,' Heb« xiii. 20* all the blessings which he applies to his 
people as the consequence hereof, are the result of his being 
sanctified, or set apart to carry on and perfect the work of our 
salvation, the foundation whereof was laid in his blood. 

Moreover, that they who are here described as apostates, 
had not before this, the grace of faith, is evident from the 
context, inasmuch as they are distinguished from true believ- 
ers. The apostle seems to speak of two sorts of persons, to wit, 
some who had cast off the ordinances of GcTd's worship, ' for- 
saking the assembling of themselves together,' who are distin- 
guished from those M-hom he dehorts from this sin, who had 
the grace of faifhy whereby they were enabled to *• draw near 
' to God in nill assurance thereof, having their hearts sprinkled 
' from an evil conscience, and their bodies washed with pure 
■^ water ;' concerning these he says, ' We are not of them who 
' draw back to perdition, but of them who believe to the saving 
* of the soul,' chap. x. 59. Therefore we mu'-t conclude thut 


Others are intended in the text under o\Tr present consideration, 
who were not true believers, and eonsequently it does not from 
hence appear that such may totally, or finally, fall from a statr^ 
of grace. 

The apostates spoken of in this .'\nd the fore;_joing objection, 
were probably some among the Jews, to whom tlie gospel was 
preached, who embraced the Christian faith, being convinced 
l)y those miracles which were wrought for that purpose, but; 
aiterward^> re\-olted froni it, and were more inveteratcly set 
against Christ and the gospel than they had been before they 
made this profession ; and accordihgly as they had formerly 
approved of the crimes of those who crucified Christ, in which 
respect they arc said to have crucified him ; now they do, in 
the same sense, crucify him afresh. And as they had beeu 
made partakers of the extraordinary gifts of the Holy CThost; 
afterwards they openly blasphemed him, and this was don« 
with spite and malice. These texts therefore not only contain 
a sad instance of the apostasy of some, but prove that they 
were in-ecover.ib!y lost ; and this comes as near the account we 
have in the gospels of the inipardonable sin, as any thing men- 
tioned in scripture : nevertheless, what has been said to prove 
that the)' never vv'cre true believers, is a sufficient answer to 
this and the foregoing objection. 

Ohjec* 6. Another objection against the doctrine of the saints' 
perseverance, is taken from 2 Pet. ii. 20 — 22. For if offer thcif 
have escaped the pollutions of the worlds through the hiotvledg-i' 
of the Lord and Saviour jesiis Christy they are again entangled 
therein^ and overcome ; the latter end is xversc xvith the?n than 
the beginning ; and they are said in the following verse, to tiir??. 
from the holy commandment dtlivcred unto them ; which is com- 
pared to the dog turtiing to his axon vomit again, and the son^ 
that xvas xvashed^ to her xucJloxving in the mire. 

Ansxv. To this it may be replied. That though every one 
must conclude, that the persons, whom the apostle here speaks 
of, plainly appear to be apostates ; yet there is nothing in their 
character which argues that they apostatized, or fell from the 
truth of grace ; and it is only such whom we are at present, 
speaking of. It may be observed, that the apostle is so far from 
including these apostates in the number of those to whom he 
writes this, with the foregoing epistle, whom he describes as- 
elect, according to the fore-hioxvlcdge of God the Father, through. 
sanctifcatioTi of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the 
blood of jesus Christ, and as having been begotten again imto 
a lively hope, hy the rcsurrectiori of fcsus Christ, to an inheri- 
tance reserved for them. 221 heaven, and as such, who should he 
kept by the poxi'er of God, through faith, unto salvation, 1 Pet. 
:. "^ — 5. that he plainly distinguislic", them from them. For in 


%crse 1, of this chapter, from whence it is taken^ it is said, 
' There shall be false teachers among }ou, and many shall fol- 
low their pernicious ways ;' he does not say many, who arc 
now of your number, but many who shall be joined to the 
church, when these false teachers arise. These persons, indeed, 
are represented as making a great shew of religion, by which 
they gained reputation among some professors, whom they se- 
duced which otherwise they could not have done ; and there- 
fore it is said, ' They had escaped the pollutions of the world, 
through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,' 
and that they had ' known the way of righteousness.' Such 
might indeed be joined to the church afterv/ards ; but thev did 
not now belong to it ; and what is said concerning them, 
amounts to no more than an external visible reformation, to- 
gether with their having attairxcd the knowledge of Christ and 
divine things; so that they were enlightened in the doctrines 
of the gospel j though they made it appear, by the methods they 
used to deceive others, that they had not experienced the grace 
of the gospel themselves, and therefore they fell away from 
their profession, and turned aside from the faith, which once 
they preached. It is one thing for a formal professor, who 
makes a great si'ov/ of religion, to turn aside from his profes- 
sion, to ail excess of riot ; and another thing to suppose a true 
believer can do so, and that to such a degree as to continue 
therein ; this the grace of God will keep him from. 

Objec. 7". Another objection against the doctrine of the saints' 
perseverance, is taken from the parable of the debtor and cre- 
ditor, in Matt, xviii. 26, 'is'c, in which it is said, ' The ser- 
' vant fell down and worshipped him, saying. Lord, have pa- 

• tience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the Lord of that 

• servant Vv'as nioved with compassion, and loosed him, and 
'^ forgave him the debt j' but afterwards, upon his treating one 
of his fellow-servants, who owed him a very inconsiderable 
sum, with great severity, his lord exacted the debt of him, 
which he had before forgiven him, and so delivered him to the 
tormentors^ till he should pay all that v/as due to him : ' So 
likewise,' it is said, ' shall my heavenly Father do tmto vou, ii 
' ye, from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their 
' trespasses ;' from whence it is inferred, that a person may 
iail from a justified state, or that God may forgive sin at one 
time, and yet be provoked to alter his resolution, and inflict the 
punishment that is due to it, at another ; which is altogether 
inconsistent with the doctrine of the saints' perseverance in 

Anszv, In answer to this v>'e must observe, that our Saviour':? 
design in his parables, is not that every word or circumstance 
contained in them, should be applied to signify what it seems 


to import, but there is some tnitii in general intended to be il- 
lustrated thereby, M'hich is principally to be regarded therein : 
Tlius in the parable of ihc jiid^t', in Luke xviii, 2, &c. ' which 
feared not God, neither regarded man,' who was moved, by a 
widow's importunity, to * avenge her of her adversary ;' which 
after a while, he resolved to do, because the widow troubled 
him. This is applied to ^ God's avenging his elect, v«ho cry day 
and night unto him ;' where v/e must observe, that it is only 
in this circumstance that the parable is to be applied to them 
vvrithout any regard had to the injustice of the judge, or his be- 
ing uneasy, by reason of the importunity which the widow tx- 
prest in pleading her cause with him. 

Again, in the parable of the stexvard, in Luke xvi. 1, Sec. 
who being accused for having xoaated his lord''s goods ; and 
apprehending that he should be soon turned out of the steward-' 
ship, he takes an unjust method to gain the favour of his XorCC:^ 
debtors, by remitting a pai't of what they owed him, that by 
this means they might be induced to shew kindness to him when 
he was turned out of his service. It is said indeed, verse 8. 
that ' the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had 
acted wisely ; whereas, our Saviour does not design, in the ac- 
count he gives of his injustice, to give the least countenance 
to it, as though it were to be imitated bv us ; nor by his lord's 
commending him as acting wisely for himself, does he intend 
that it is lawful or commendable for wicked men to pursue the 
like measures to promote their future interest. But the onlv 
thing in which this parable is applied, is, that we might learn 
from hence, that ' the children of this world are, in their gene- 
ration wiser than the children of light;' and that men ought to 
endeavour, without the least appearance of injustice, to gain the 
friendship of others, by using what thev have in the world, in 
such a way, as that they may be induced, out of gratitude for 
those favours, which they conferred upon them, to shew re- 
spect to them ; but principally, that in performing what was 
really their duty, they might have ground to hope that they 
shall be approved of God, and received into everlasting habi- 

Now to apply this rule to the parable from whence the ob- 
jection is taken, we must consider, that the design hereof is not 
to signify that God changes his mind, as men do, by forgiving 
persons at one time, and afterwards condemning them, as 
though he did not know, when he extended this kindness to 
them, how they would behave towards others, or whether they 
would improve or forfeit this privilege ; since to suppose this 
would be contrary to the divine perfections. Therefore the 
only design of the parable is to shew, that they who now con- 
clude that God has forgiven them, ought to forgive others, or 


else they will find themselves mistaken at last: and tliougli ac- 
cording to the tenor of the divine dispensations, or the reveal- 
ed will of God, which is our only rule of judging concerning 
this matter, they think that they are in a justified state, it will 
appear, that the debt which they owed v/as not cancelled, but 
shall be exacted of them to the utmost, in their own persons i 
so that all that can be proved from hence is, that a man may 
fall from, or lose those seeming grounds, v/hich we had to con- 
clude that his sins were forgiven : but we are not to suppose 
that our Saviour intends hereby that God's secret purpose, re- 
lating to the forgiveness of sin, can be changed ; or that he, 
who is really freed from condemnation, at one time, may fail 
vmder it at another : therefore, what is said in this parable, 
does not in the least give countenance to this objection, or 
overthrow the doctrine we are maintaining. 

Ohjec. 8. There is another objection, taken from what the 
apostle Paul says concerning himself, in 1 Cor. ix. 27. J keep, 
under v\y body^ and bring it into subjection^ lest that by amy 
meatis, -when I have preached to others^ J myself should be a 
cast-away. Now it is certain that the apostle was a true be- 
liever; yet he concludes, that if he did not behave himself so 
as to subdue or keep under his corrupt passions, but should 
commit those open scandalous crimes, which they would prompt 
him to, he should, in the end, become a cast-away, that is, apos- 
tatize from God, and be rejected by him. 

Answ. To this it may be replied. That though the apostle 
had as good ground to conclude that he had experienced the 
grace of God in truth, as any man, and was oftentimes favour- 
ed with a full assurance hereof; yet he did not attain this as- 
surance by immediate revelation, so. as he received those doc- 
trines which he vvas to impait to the church as a rule of faith ; 
for then it would have been impossible for him to have been 
mistaken as to this matter : and if this be supposed, then I 
would imderstand what he sa)s concerning his being a cast' 
Otvnyy as denoting what would be the consequence of his not 
keeping under his body ; but not implying hereby that corrupt 
nature should so far prevail, as that he should fall from a sanc- 
tified state. Now if he did not attain t)\is assurance by imme- 
diate revelation, then he had it 'n\ the same v/ay as others have, 
by m.aking use of those marks and characters which are given 
of the truth of grace ; and accordingly he argues, that though, 
at present, lie thought himself to be in s^ sanctified state, from 
ihe same evidences that others conclude themselves to be so; 
yet if corrupt nature should prevail over him, which it would 
do, ii he did not keep his body in subjection, or if he were 
guilty of those vile abominations which unregenerate persons 
are chargeable with, then it would appear, that tbas p.ssu.raace 


was ill grounded, his hope of salvation delusive, and he no 
other thun an hypocrite ; and so, notwithstanding his having 
preached to others, he would be found, in the end, among them 
who were false professors, and accordingly rejected of God : 
therefore we may observe, that it is one thing for a person to 
exercise that caution, and use those means to prevent sin, which^^ 
if he should commit, would prove him an hypocrite ; and ano- 
ther thing for one that is a true believer, to be suffered to com- 
mit those sins whereby he would apostatize from God, and so 
miss of salvation. 

And this will serve to answer another objection that is usu- 
ally brought against the doctrine we are maintaining, as though 
it were inconsistent with that holy fear which believers ought 
to have of falling, as an inducement to care and watchfulness 
in the discharge of their duty; as it is said in Prov. xxviii. 14. 
Happxj is the man that fear eth ahvays ; inasmuch as we must 
distinguish between that fear of caution, which is a preserva- 
tive against sin, and includes a watchfulness over our actions, 
that we may not dishonour God thereby ; and an unbelieving 
fear, that though we are in a state of grace, and are enabled 
to exercise that diligence and circumspection that becomes 
christians, yet we have no foundation whereon to set our foot, 
or ground to hope for salvation. Or, it is one thing to fear, 
lest we should, by giving way to sin, dishonour God, grieve 
his Spirit, and wound our own consciences, and do that which 
is a disgrace to the gospel, through the prevalency of corrupt 
nature, whereby we shall have ground to conclude that we 
thought ourselves something when we were nothing, deceiving 
our own souls ; and another thing to fear that we shall perish 
and fall, though our hearts are right with God, and we have 
reason to expect that we shall be kept by his power, through 
faith, unto salvation. 

We shall conclude this answer with some few inferences 
from what has been said, to prove the doctrine of the saints* 
perseverance as contained therein. And, 

1. Since we do not pretend to assert that all who make a 
profession of religion are assured that they shall never aposta- 
tize, but only true believers, let unbelievers take no encourage- 
ment from hence to conclude, that it shall be well with them 
in the end. Many are externally called who are not really 
sanctified ; and presume that they shall be saved, though, with- 
out ground, inasmuch as they continue in impenitency and un- 
belief ; such have no warrant to take comfort from the doc- 
trine we have been maintaining. 

2. We may, from what has been said, observe the difference 
between the security of a believer's state, as his hope is fixed 
on the stability of the covenant, and the promises thereof, re- 

Vol. III. H h 

24^ or saints' ferseveranxe ik grace. 

lating to his salvation, together Avith the Spirit's witness, with 
ours, concerning our own sincerity ; and that which we gene- 
jrally call carnal security, whereby a person thinks himselt safe, 
or that all things shall go well with hirn, though he make pro- 
vision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof : This is an un- 
"warrantable security in a state of unregeneraey, or licentious- 
ness, which this doctrine does n»t in the least give counte- 
nance to. 

3. From what has been said concerning the apostasy of 
some from that faith which they once made a profession of, 
we may infer ; that it is only the grace of God experienced in 
truth, that will preserve us from turning aside from the faith 
of the gospel. The apostle speaks of some who, by embracing 
those doctrines that were subversive of the gospel, ^rt fallen 
Jrom grace ^ Gal. v. 4. that is, from the doctrines of grace ; con- 
cerning whom he says, that Christ profited them Jiothing^ or 
was become of no effect to them^ chap. v. 2, 4. that is, the gos- 
pel, which contains a display of the glory of Christ, was of no 
saving advantage to them. All the sad instances we have of 
many, who are tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine, 
and are made a prey to those that lie in wait to deceive, pro- 
ceed from their being destitute of the grace of God, which 
would have a tendency to preserve them from turning aside 
from the faith of the gospel. 

4. Let us be exhorted to be as diligent and watchful against 
the .breakings forth of corruption, and endeavour to avoid all 
occasions of sin, as much as though perseverance in grace were 
to be ascribed to our own endeavours, or as though God had 
given us no ground to conclude that he would enable us to per- 
severe ; and yet, at the same time, depend on his assistance, 
without Vv'hich this blessing cannot be attained, and hope in his 
mercy and faithfulness, and lay hold on the promises which he 
has given us, that it shall go well with us in the end, or that 
we shall have all joy and peace in believing. 

5. Let us not only endeavour to persevere, but grow in grace ,- 
which two blessings are joined together ; as it is said, The righ- 
teous also shall hold en his xvay ; and he that hath clean hands 
shall he stronger and stronger^ Job xvii. 9. 

6. This doctrine has a great tendency to support and fortify 
believers, under the most adverse dispensations of providence, 
which, at any time, they are liable to ; and to comfort them un- 
der all the assaults of their spiritual enemies ; since though 
they may be suffered to discourage or give them interruption 
in the exercise of those graces which they have experienced, 
yet grace shall not be wholly extinguished. And sometimes, 
py the over-ruling providence of God, those things which ia 
themselves have si tsndeucy to weaJicn their faith, shall be or- 


dt^red as a means to increase it ,* so that when they can do no- 
thing in their own strength, they may be enabled, by depend- 
ing on Christ, ami receiving strength from him, to prevail a- 
gainst all the opposition they meet with, and come ofF move than 
conquerors^ at last, through him that loved them^ Rom. viii. 37. 

Quest. LXXX. Can true believers be infalliblif assured that 
they arc in the estate oj" grace., and that they shall persevere 
therein unto salvation ^ 

Answ. Such as truly believe in Christ, and endeavour to walk 
in all good conscience before him, may, without extraordi- 
nary revelation, by faith grounded upon the truth of God's 
promises, and by the Spirit, enabling them to discern in them- 
selves those graces to which the promises of life are made, 
and bearing witness with their spirits, that they are the chil- 
dren of God, be infallibly assured that they are in a state of 
grace, and shall persevere therein unto salvation. 

HAVING before considered a believer as made partaker 
of those graces of the Holy Spirit that accompany salva- 
tion, whereby his state is rendered safe, and also that he shall 
not draw back unto perdition, but shall attain the end of his 
faith, even the salvation of his soul ; it is necessary for the 
establishing of his comfort and joy, that he should know him- 
self to be interested in this privilege. It is a great blessing to 
be redeemed by Christ, and sanctified by the Spirit ; but it is 
a superadded privilege to know that we are so, or be assured 
that we are in a state of grace, which is the subject insisted on 
in this answer : In which v/e are led, 

I. To speak something concerning the nature of assurance, 
and how far persons may be said to be infallibly assured of 
their salvation. 

II. We shall endeavour to prove that this blessing is attain- 
able in this life. 

III. We shall consider the character of those to whom it 
belongs. And, 

IV. The means whereby it may be attained. 

I. Concerning the nature of assurance, and how far persons 
niay be said to be infallibly assured of their salvation. Assu- 
rance is opposed to doubting; v/hich is inconsistent therewith ; 
so that he who has attained this privilege, is carried above all 
those doubts and fears respecting the truth of grace, and his 
interest in the love of God, which others are exposed to, where- 
by their lives arc rendered very uncomfortable : It may also 
be considered us containing in it something more than our bs- 

2-14! OF Assurance of sALVATiciCi 

ing enabled to hope that we are in a state of grace i for though 
that affords rehef against despair, yet it falls short of assurance, 
which is sometimes called a full assurance ofhope^ Heb. vi. 11. 
and it certainly contains a great deal more than a probability, 
or a conjectural persuasion relating to this matter ; which is 
the only thing that some will allow to be attainable by belie- 
vers, especially they who deny the doctrine of the saints' per- 
severance, and lay the greatest stress of man's salvation on his 
own free-will, rather than the efficacious grace of God. All 
that they will own as to this matter is, that persons may be in 
a hopeful way to salvation, and that it is probable they may at- 
tain it at last. But they cannot be fully assured that they shall, 
unless they were assured concerning their perseverance^ which, 
they suppose, no one can be ; because the carrying on of the 
work of grace depends on the free-will of man, as well as the 
first beginning of it ; and according to their notion of liberty^ 
as has been before observed under another answer *, viz^ that 
he who acts freely may act the contrary | and consequently, 
since every thing that is done in the carrying on of the Work 
of grace, is done freely ; no one can be assured that this work 
shall not miscarry ; therefore none can attain assurance j this 
is what some assert, but we deny. And it is observed in this 
answer, that believers may not only attain assurance that they 
are in a state of grace, and shall persevere therein unto salva* 
tion, but that they may be infallibly assured hereof, which is 
the highest degree of assurance. Ho%v far this is attainable by 
believers!, may be the subject of our farther inquiry. 

It is a matter of dispute among some, whether assurance ad- 
mits of any degrees, or whether a person can be said to be 
more or less assured of a thing ? or whether that which does 
not amount to the highest degree of certainty, may be called 
assurance ? This is denied, by some, for this reason ; because 
assurance is the highest and strongest assent that can be given 
to the truth of any proposition ', accordingly the least defect 
of evidence on which it is supposed to be founded, leaves the 
mind in a proportionable degree of doubt, as to the truth of it I 
in which case there may be a probability, but not an assurance. 
If this method of explaining the meaning of the word be true, 
then it is beyond dispute, that they who have attained assurance 
of their being in a state of gi-ace, may be said to be infallibly 
assured thereof : Whether this be the sense of that expression 
in this answer, I will not pretend to determine ; neither shall I 
enter any farther into this dispute, which amounts to little more 
than what concerns the propriety or impropriety of the sense 
of the word assurance. All that I shall add concerning it, is, 
that according to our common mode of speaking it is reckon - 
* Ses Qitesl. Ixvii: Pa^. 13 ante. 


cd no absurdity for a person to say he is sure of a tiling, though 
it be possible for him to huve greati^r evidence of the triuh 
thereof, and consiqucutly a greater degree of assurancct Thu'i 
the assurance that arises from the possession of a thing cannot 
but be greater than that which attends the bare expectation of 
it : Therefore whatever be the sense of that infLiillbie assurance, 
which is here spoken of ; vve cannot suppoae tliut there is any 
degree of as.mraiice attainable in this life, concerning the hap- 
piness of the saints in htavtn, equal to that which tliey have 
who are actually possessed of that blessedness ; to suppose this 
would be to confound earth and heaven together, or expecta- 
tion with actual fruition. 

As to what relates to our assurance thereof, there is another 
matter of dispute among some, vvhich I am tiot desirous to en- 
ter into ; naniely, whether it is possible for a believer to be as 
sure that he shall be saved, as he is that he exists, or that he 
is a sinner, and so stands in need of salvation ? or whether it 
is possible for a person to be as sure that he shall be saved, as 
he is sure of that truth which is matter of pure revelation, viz. 
that he, that believes shall be saved? or v/hcthi.r it is possible 
for a person to be as sure tliat he has the truth of grace, as he 
may be that he perforins any actions, whether natural or rcli* 
gious ; such as speaking, praying, reading, hearing, &c. or 
whether we may be as sure that we have a principle of grace, 
as we are that we put forth such actions, as seem to proceed 
from that principle, when engaged in the performance of some 
religious duties ? If any are disposed to defend the possibility 
of our attaining assurance in so great a degree as thi^, as what 
they think to be the meaning of what some divines have assert- 
ed, agreeably to whnt i > contained in this answer, that a belie- 
ver may be infallibly assured of his salvation, I will not enter 
the list with thera ; though I very much question v/hether it 
will not be a matter of too great difficulty for them to support 
their argument, without the least appearance of exception to it. 

Nevertheless, (that I may not extenuate or deny the privile- 
ges which some saints have been favoured with, who have been, 
as it were, in the suburbs of heaven, and not only had a preli- 
bation, but a kind of sensation, of the enjoyments thereof, and 
expressed as full an assurance as thougli they h:-.d been actual- 
ly in heaven) ; it cannot be denied that this, in various instan- 
ces, has amounted, as near as possible, '. ) an assurance of in- 
fallibility ; and tliat such a degree of assurance has been attain- 
ed, by some bdievers, both in former and later ages, will be 
proved Under a following head, which, I am apt to think, i*; 
"what is intended in this answer, by the possil/illty of a belie- 
ver's being infallibly assured of salvation. But let it be con- 
«^idered, that thece are uncommon instances, in which the Spi- 


rlt of God, by his immediate testimony, has favoured tliera 
with, as to this matter, which are not to be reckoned as a stand- 
ard, %vhereby we may judge of that assurance which God's 
children de&irCj and sometimes enjoy, which falls short of it : 
Therefore, when God is pleased to give a believer such a de- 
gree of assurance, as carries him above all his doubts and fears, 
with respect to his being in a state of grace, and fills him with 
those joys which arise from hence, that are unspeakable, and 
full ot glory ; this is that assurance which we are now to con- 
sider, which, in this answer is called an infallible assurance ; 
whether It be more or less properly so called, we have nothing 
farther to add ; but shall proceed, 

. II. To prove that this privilege is attainable in this present 
life ; and tnat it may appear to br; so, let it be considered, 

1. That if the knovv-iedge of other things which are of less 
importance, be attainable, then certainly it is possible for us to 
.attain that which is of the greatest importance. This argument 
is lounded on the goodness of God ; if he has given us suffi- 
cient means to lead us into the knowledge of other things, 
which respect our comfort and happiness in this world ; has he 
left us altogether destitute of those means whereby we may 
conclude, that it shall go v/ell with us in a better ? God has 
sometimes been pleased to favour his people with some inti- 
mations concerning the blessings of common providence, which 
they might expect for their encouragement, under the trials 
and difficulties which they were to meet with in the world ; and 
our Saviour encourages his disciples to expect, that notwith- 
standing their present destitute circumstances, as to outwaYf! 
things; yet their Father^ wlio knorvs that thcij had needofthem^ 
would supply their wants ; and therefore they had no reason 
to be over-solicitous in taking thought xvhat they should eat and 
dr'mk^ and wherevohhal they shoidd be clothed^ Matt. vi. 31, 32. 
and if God, that he may encourage the faith of his people, gives 
them assurance that no temptation shall befal them^ but what is 
common to men ; or, that they shall not be pressed down, so as 
to sink and despair of help from hirii, under the burdens and 
difiicukies that, in the course of his providence, he lays on 
them ; I say, if God is pleased to give sucli intimations to his 
people, with respect to their condition in this world, that they 
may be assured that it shall go well with them, as to many 
things that concern their outward circumstances therein ; may* 
we not conclude from hence, that tlie assurance of those things 
that concern their everlasting salvation may be attained ? or, 
if the promises that respect the one may be depended on so as 
to afford relief against all doubts and fears that may arise from 
our present circumstances in the world ; may we not, with as 
good reason, suppose, thut the promises which respect the other, 


TO wit, the carrying on and peiftcting the work of grace, atford 
equal matter of cncouragcineiit ; aud consequently, that the 
one is as much to be depended on, as the other; so that as the 
apostle says, they v/ho have fled for refuge, to lay hold on the 
hope set before them, may have strong consolation arising from 
thence, Heb. vi. la. 

Objcc. It will be objected to this, that the promises that re- 
spect outward blessings are not alv/ays fulfilled, aud therefore 
we cannot be assured concerning our future condiiicn, as to 
outward circumstances in the world; though godlinti^s, as the 
apostle says, hath the promise of the world that ncv/ is, as -.veil 
as that which is to come. This appears from the uncomn:ion 
instances of affliction, that the best men often meet with, which 
others are exempted from. Therefore the promises which re- 
spect the carrying on and completing the work of grace, will 
not afford that assurance of salvation which we suppose a be- 
liever may attain to, as founded thereon. 

Anszv. In answer to this it may be replied, that the promi- 
ses of outward blessings ai-e always fulfiilcd, either in kind or 
value. Sometimes the destitute state of believers, as to the 
good things of this life, is abundantly compensated with those 
spiritual blessings, Mhich are, at present, bestowed on, or re- 
served for them hereafter ; and therefore, if their condition in 
the world be attended with little else but affliction, they have 
no reason to say that they are disappointed ; for while they are 
denied the lesser, they have the greater blessings instead there- 
of, so that their assurance of the accomplishment of the pro- 
jnises of outward blessings, must be understood with this limi- 
tation : but as to spiritual blessings, which God has promised 
to his people, there is no foundation for any distinction of their 
being made good in kind or in value ; if the promise of eternal 
life; be not made good according to the letter of it, it cannot be, 
in any sense, said to be accomplished : therefore, since God 
gives his people these promises as a foundation of hope, we may- 
conclude from thence, that the assurance of behevers, relating 
to their salvation, is as much to be depended on as the assu- 
rance they have, founded on the promises of God, concernini- 
any blessings which may tend to support them in their present 
condition in the world. 

2. That assurance of justification, sanctification and salva- 
tion, may be attained in this life, is farther evident from the 
obligations which persons are under to pray for these privile- 
ges, and to bless God for the experience which they have of 
the one, and the ground which they have to expect the other. 
That it is our duty to pray for them is no less certain than that 
we stand in need of them ; this therefore being taken for grant- 
ed, it may be inferred from hence, that there is some way by 


which we may know that our prayers are answered, the con- 
trary to Avhich would be a very discouraging consideration ; 
neither could the experience hereof be alleged as a motiv-e to 
the performance of the duty of prayer, as the Psalmist says, 

thou that htarest prmjcr^ unto th^e shall allfesh come^ PsaU 
Ixv. 2. Nor could any btliever have the least reason to say as 
he does elsewhere, Verily God hath heard ?7?e, he hath attended 
to the voice of my prayer, Psal. ixvi, 19. And the apostle says, 
that if we ask any thiji^ according to his rvill, he heareth usy 

1 John V. 14, 15. and this is said in the following words, to be 
known by us, v/e know that we have the petitions that we de- 
sired of him ; therefore it follows, that we may know from the 
exercise of faith in prayer, for the forgiveness of sin, that our 
iniquities are forgiven ; the same may be said concerning the 
subject-matter of our prayer for all other blessings that accom- 
pany salvation; and consequently it is possible for us to know 
whether God has granted us thfse blessings or no. 

But if it be replied to this, that it is not absolutely necessary 
that an humble suppliant should have any intimations given 
him, that his petition shall be granted ; or that it would be a 
very unbecoming thing lor such an one to sajr, that he will not 
ask for a favour, if he be not sure before-hand that it will he 

To this it may be answered, That we are not only to pray 
lor saving blessings, but to praise God for our experience there- 
of; as it is said, Whoso offer eth praise glorifeth 7ne^ Psal. 1. 23. 
and praise is comely for the upright, Psal. xxxiii. 1. Now this 
Kupposes that we know that God has bestowed the blessings 
we prayed for upon us. If the Psalmist calls upon his soul to 
hles& the Lord for forgiving him all his iniquities, Psal. ciii. 2, 
3. we must suppose that there was some method by which he 
attained the assurance of the blessing which he praises God 
for ; which leads us to consider, 

3. That some have attained this privilege, therefore it is not 
hvipossible for others to. attain it. That some have been assu- 
red of their salvation, is evident from the account we have 
thereof in several scriptures, Thus the apostle tells the church 
lie writes to, God hath 7iot appointed us to xvrath, but to obtain 
salvation, 1 Thes. v. 7. and he says concerning himself, J kno-u> 
■zvho7n I have believed, and lam persuaded that he is able to keep 
that which I have committed unto him^ against that day^ 2 Tim.. 
3. 12. 

Ohjec. To this it is objected, that though it is true, some per- 
sons of old, have experienced this privilege, yet it does not 
follow from hence that we have any ground to expect it °, since 
they attained it by extraordinary revelation, in that age in which 
they were favoured with the spirit of inspiration, whereby they 


arrived to the knowledge of things future, even such as It was 
impossible for them otherwise to have known, at least, they 
could not without these extraordinary intimations, have arri- 
ved to any more than a probable conjecture concerning thi'-. 
matter ; and this is not denied by those who oppose the doc- 
trine of assurance : whereas, to pretend to more than this, is 
to suppose that we have it by extraordinary inspiration, which, 
at present, can be reckoned no other than enthusiasm. 

Ans7V. To this it may be replied, That though God does not 
give the church, at present, the least ground to expect extraor- 
dinary intimations concerning their interest in spiritual and sa- 
ving blessings, as he formerly did ; yet we must not conclude 
that there is no method whereby they may attain the assurance 
hereof in a common and ordinary way, by the internal testimo- 
ny of the Spirit ; which, as will farther appear under a follow- 
ing head, differs very much from enthusiasm ; since it is at- 
tended with, and founded on those evidences which God has 
given hereof in scripture, which they, in a way of self-exami- 
nation, are enabled to apprehend in themselves. That this may 
appear, let it be considered, 

(1.) That there never was any privilege conferred upon the 
church by extraordinary revelation, while that dispensation was 
continued therein, but the same, or some other which is equiva- 
lent thereunto, is still conferred in an ordinary way, provided 
it be absolutely necessary for the advancing the glory of God, 
and their edification and consolation in Christ. If this were 
not true, the church could hardly subsist, much less would the 
present dispensation of the covenant of grace excel the other 
which the church was under in former ages, as to those spiritual 
privileges which they have ground to expect. It is, I think, al- 
lowed by all, that the gospel-dispensation, not only in the be- 
ginning thereof, when extraordinary gifts were confen-ed, but 
in its continuance, now they are ceased, excels that which went 
before it, with respect to the spiritual privileges which are con- 
ferred therein. Now if God was pleased formerly to converse 
with men in an extraordinary way, and thereby give them an 
intimation of things relating to their salvation, but, at present, 
withholds not only the way and manner of revealing this to 
them, but the blessings conveyed thereby ; then it will follow, 
that the church is in a worse state than it v/as before ; or else 
it must be supposed that these privileges are not absolutely ne- 
cessary to enable them to glorify God, which they do by offer- 
ing praise to him, and to their attaining that peace and joy 
which they are given to expect in a way of believing; but if 
the church were destitute of this privilege, it would be in a very 
unhappy state, and retain nothing that could compensate the 
loris of those extraordinarv gifts that are now ceased. 
Vol.. III. I ' 


They who insist on this objection, and charge the doctrlnf* 
of assurance as what savours of enthusiasm, are obliged, bv 
their own method of reasoning, to apply the same objection t'o» 
the doctrine of internal, special, efhcacious grace, which we 
have, under a foregoing answer,* proved to be the work of the 
Spirit; and if these internal works are confined to the extraor- 
dinary dispensation of the Spirit, then the church is at present, 
as much destitute of sanctification as it is of assurance. There- 
fore we must conclude, that one no more savours of enthusiasm 
than the other; or that we have ground to hope for assurance 
of salvation, though not in an extraordinary way, as much as 
the saints did in former ages. 

(2.) Our Saviour has promised his people the Spirit to per- 
form what is necessary for the carrying on the work of grace 
in all ages, even when extraordinary gifts should cease : accord- 
ingly he says. The Comforter^ which is the Holy Ghost^ whom, 
the Father zvill send in my 7ia??ie^ he shall teach you all thing's^ 
and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever J have 
said unto you, John xiv. 26. And elsewhere it is said, Te have 
an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things, 1 John 
ii. 20. And to this privilege of assurance, it is said, JVe have 
received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of 
God, that we might kiioxv the things that are freelij given to us 
of God, 1 Cor. ii, 12. And there are many other promises of 
the Spirit, which though they had their accomplishment, as to 
what respects the conferring extraordinary gifts, in the first age 
of the church ; yet they have a farther accomplishment in what 
the Spirit was to bestov/ on the church in the following ages 
thereof, though in an ordinary way. This seems very evident 
from scripture ; inasmuch as the fruits of the Spirit are said to 
appear in the exercise of those graces which believers have in 
all ages, who never had extraordinary gifts : thus it is said. 
The fruit of the Spirit, is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gen- 
tleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Gal. v. 22, 23. 
Now if these graces be produced by the Spirit, as they are call- 
ed his fruits, and the exercise thereof be not confined to any 
particular age of the church, then we must suppose that the 
Spirit's energy extends itself to all ages. 

Again, believers are said, to be led by the Spirit, Rom. viii. 
14. and this is assigned as an evidence of their being the soils 
of God ; and, on the other hand, it is said. If any man have not 
the spirit of Christ, he is 7ione of his, ver. 9. from whence we 
may conclude, that there was, in the apostles' days, an effusion 
of the Spirit, common to all believers, besides that which was 
conferred in an extraordinary way, on those who were favoured 
with the gift of inspiration ; otherwise, the having the Spirit 
• Se-^ page S^-, S5> ar.tp. 


would not have been considered as a privilege belonging only 
to believers, and being destitute of it, an argument of a per* 
tson's not belonging to Christ. As for the extraordinary dis- 
pensation of the Holy Ghost, it was not inseparably connected 
^vith salvation ; for many had it who were Christians only in 
name, and had nothing more than a form of godliness ; and on 
the other hand, many true believers brought forth those fruits 
which proceeded from the Spirit, in an ordinary way, who had 
not these extraordinary gifts conferred on them. Moreover the 
apostle speaks of believers through the Spirit mcrtifijing the 
deeds of the body^ Rom. vili. 13. Now if the work of mortifi- 
cation be incumbent on believers in all ages, then the influen- 
ces of the Spirit, enabling hereunto, may be expected in all 
ages. Now to apply this to our present argument ; the Spirit's 
bearing witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God, 
which is the foundation of that assurance which we are plead- 
ing for, is, together with the other fruits and effects of the Spi- 
rit but now mentioned, a privilege which believers, as such, are 
given to desire and hope for, and stand in as much need of as 
those who had this or other privileges conferred on them in au 
extraordinary way, in the first age of the gospel-church. 

And to all this we might add, that the extraordinary gifts of 
the Spirit at that time, were conferred on particular persons, 
and not on whole churches ; but assurance is considered, by 
the apostle, as a privilege conferred on the church to which he 
writes, that is, the greatest part of them, from whence the de- 
nomination is taken ; upon which account, the apostle speaking 
to the believing Corinthians, says, We hioxv that if our earthy 
house of this tabernacle rvf^re dissolved^ xve have a building' of 
God^ an house not made xvith hand.'iy eternal in the heavens^ 2 Core 
V. 1. by which he does not only intend himself and other mini- 
sters, but the generality of believers, at that time, who are de- 
scribed as walking by faith : and there are many other things 
said concerning them in the foregoing and following verses ; 
which makes it sufficiently evident, that the apostle intends 
more than himself and other ministers, when he speaks of their 
having assurance, since many had it who were not made par- 
takers of extraordinary gifts. I'herefore we must not conclude 
that the church has, at present, no ground to expect this pri- 
vilege, so that they are liable to the charge of enthusiasm if 
they do. But that this objection may farther appear not to be 
sufficient to overthrow the argument we are maintaining, we 
may appeal to the experience of many believers in this present 
age, who pretend not to extraordinary revelation ; and there- 
fore let it be considered, 

(3.) That many, in later ages, since extraordinary revelation 
has ceased, have attained this privilege, and consequently it is 

252 or AG3UKANt£ Of oALVAlIOl7. 

now attainable. To deny this would be to offend against the 
generation of God's people, of whom many have given their 
testimony to this truth, who have declared what a comfortable 
sense they have had of their interest in Christ, and the sensi- 
ble impressions they have enjoyed of his love shed abroad in 
their hearts, whereby they have had, as it were, a prelibation 
of the heavenly blessedness ; and this has been attended with 
the most powerful influence of the Spirit of God enabling them 
to exercise those graces which have been agreeable to these 
comfortable experiences, whereby they have been carried 
through, and enabled to surmount the greatest difRculties 
which have attended them in this life. And many have been 
supported and comforted therewith, at the approach of death, 
in which respect the sting thereof has been taken away, and 
they have expressed themselves v/ith a kind of triumph over 
it, in the apostle's words, dcath^ where is thy stin^ ? gravcy 
•where is thy victory ? 1 Cor. xv. 55. 

That some have been favoured with this invaluable privi- 
lege is undeniable ; the account we have in the history of the 
lives and deaths of many, who have been burning and shining 
lights in their generation, puts it out of all doubt. And if this 
\vere not sufficient, we might appeal to the experience of many 
now living, since there is scarce any age or place in v/hich the 
gospel comes with power, but we have some instances of the 
Spirit's testimony to his own work, whereby it comes, with 
much assurance, a comfortable sense of God's love, peace of 
conscience, and joy in the Holy Ghost, which is the first-fruits 
and earnest of eternal life. But since this will be particularly 
insisted on under a following answer *, and farther proofs giv- 
en hereof; we may, at present, take it for granted, that many 
have been assured of their being in a state of grace, vrho have 
not made the least pretension, to inspiration ; and to charge 
them with enthusiasm, or a vain ungrounded delusion, is to 
cast a reflection on the best of men, as v/ell as on one of the 
highest privileges which we can enjoy in this world. 

I am sensible that it will be objected to this, that though 
some have indeed expressed such a degree of assurance, yet 
this will only afford conviction to those that have it, who are 
best judges of their own experience, and the evidence whereon 
it is founded ; but this is not a sufficient proof to us, with re- 
spect to whom it is only matter of report : And it may be said, 
on the other hand, that it is possible they might be mistaken 
who have been so sure of their ovv^n salvation. 

But to this it may be replied, that it is very unreasonable to 
siuppose that all have been mistaken or deluded, who have de- 
dared that they have been favoured with this blessing ; chari- 
* S?e (luest, Ixxxiii. 

OF Assurance or salvation. 253 

ty will hardly admit of such a supposition ; and if there be no 
possibility of attaining this assurance, they must all have been 
deceived, who have concluded that they hud it. Moreover, 
this privilege has been attained, not only by a few persons, and 
these the more credulous part of mankind, or by such who have 
not been able to assign any marks or evidences tending to sup- 
port it ; but many believers have experienced it, M'ho, at the 
same time, have been far from discovering any weakness of 
judgment, or disposition to unwarrantable credulity ; yea, they 
have enjoyed it at such a time when they have been most sen- 
sible of tlic deceitfulness of their own hearts, and could not 
but own that there was a peculiar hand of God herein ; and the 
same persons, when destitute of the Spirit's testimony, have ac- 
knowledged themselves to have used their utmost endeavours 
to attain it, but in vain. 

As to the conviction which this will afford to us who arc 
destitute hereof ; that though we suppose it true to a demon- 
stration, to those who have it, as being matter of sensation to 
them, it is only matter of report to us ; which we are no far- 
ther bound to believe than we can depend on the credibility of 
their evidence, who have declared that they have experienced 
it. To this it may be replied, that if there be such a thing as 
certainty founded on report, which to deny, would be the great- 
est degree of scepticism ; and if this has been transmitted to 
us, by a great number of those who cannot be charged with 
any thing that looks like a disposition to deceive either them- 
selves or others; then we are bound to believe, from their own 
testimony, that there is such an assurance to be attained by 
those who pretend not to receive it by extraordinary inspira- 
tion from the Spirit of God. This leads us, 

III. To consider the character of the persons to whom this 
privilege belongs. Accordingly they are described in this an- 
swer, as such who truly believe in Christ, and endeavour to 
walk in all good conscience before him : these only have 
ground to expect this privilege. It is an assurance of our hav- 
ing the truth of grace that we are considering ; M'hich supposes 
a person truly to believe in Christ ; and accordingly it is dis- 
tinguished from that unwarrantable presumption whereby ma- 
ny persuade themselves that they shall be saved, though they 
be not sanctified. It is not t/w hope of the hypocrite we are 
speaking of, which, as it is said, shall perish, and be cut off ; 
7vhose trust shall be as the spider* s web^ which shall be swept 
away with the besom of destruction, and be like the giving up 
of the ghost, which shall end in everlasting despair. Job viii. 
13, 14. and chap. xi. 20. but it is a well-grounded hope, such 
as is accompanied with, and supported by the life of faith ; so 
that we are first enabled to act grace, and then to discern the 


truth thereof in our own souls, and accordingly reap the com- 
fortable fruits and effects that attend this assurance ; as the a- 
postle prays in the behalf of the believing Romans, that the 
God of hope xvoiildJi.lt them with allj&y and peace in believing^ 
!Rom. XV. 13. So that an unbeliever has no right to this privi- 
lege, and, indeed, from the nature of the thing, it is preposter- 
ous for a person to be assured of that, which in itself has no 
reality, as the apostle says. If a man think himself to be some- 
thing xvhcn he is nothings he deceiveth hvnself Gal. vi. 3. And 
if faith be necessary to assurance, then it follows, as it is far- 
ther observed in this answer, that they who have attained this 
privilege, walk in all good conscience before God ; whereby 
the sincerity of their faith is evinced : Thus the apostle says, 
Our rejoicing is this^ the testimo7iy of our conscience^ that i?2 
simplicitu and godly sincerity, not zvith fleshly wisdom, but bzf 
the grace of God^ xvc ha'oe had aiir conversation hi the ivorld^ 2 
Cor. i. 12. 

IV. We are now to consider the means by which assurance 
is to be attained, viz^ not by extraordinary revelation, but by 
faith, founded on the promises of God. As to the former of 
these, we have already considered, that assurance may be at- 
tained without extraordinary revelation, as has been experien- 
ced by some in this present dispensation of the gospel, in which 
extraordinary revelation is ceased. And, indeed, it may be 
observed, in the account the scripture gives of this privilege, 
that it does not appear, that when extraordinary revelation was 
granted to many, in the first age of the gospel, that the design 
thereof was to lead men into the knowledge of their own state, 
so as that they should attain assurance of their interest in Christ, 
and right to eternal life that way. The mai;n design of inspi- 
ration was to qualify ministers in an extraordinary way to 
pi-each the gospel, as the necessity of affairs seemed then to re- 
quire it; it was also necessary for the imparting some doctrines 
which could not otherwise be known : And, inasmuch as it 
was an extraordinary dispensation of divine providence, it was 
an expedient to give conviction to the world, concerning the 
truth of the christian religion, since God hereby was pleased 
to converse in an immediate way with men, and testified by 
this, the great regard he had to his church, and answered the 
great ends of inspiration, in propagating that religion which 
was then to be set up in the world. But v/e do not find that 
the work of grace was ordinai'ily wrought, or carried on this 
way ; nor Avas it God's instituted means, without which they 
could not attain assurance, which the saints' arrived to, in that 
age of extraordinary inspiration, the same way as we are to ex- 
pect to attain it. It is true, God has occasionally intimated, 
by immediate revelation, that he would save seme particular 


persons, and that their iiames xvci-e rvrittcn in the hook of lift\ 
Phil. iv. 3. but this was a special and extraordinary inbtance 
of divine condescension, that some should be described by 
name, in scripture, who had obtained this privilege ; though 
it is not designed hereby that othei's should expect to attain it 
this way ; and therefore it will be hard to prove that the apos- 
tle Paul, and others whom he speaks of, who were assured of 
their salvation, though they received the knowledge of other 
things by inspiration, were led into the knowledgeof their own 
state in such a way, much less may we expect to attain assu- 
rance by extraordinary revelation. And this leads us to con- 
sider the ordinary means whereby we may attain it, which is, 
in this answer, said to be, by faith, grounded on the truth of 
God's promises, and the Spirit's testimony, whereby we are 
enabled to discern in ourselves those graces which accompany 
salvation ; accordingly we must consider, 

1. That in order to our arriving to a comfortable persuasion 
that we shall be saved, there must be promises of life and sal- 
vation revealed, which are contained in the gospel ; these are 
remotely necessary thereunto ; for without a promise of salva- 
tion we can have no hope of it j but notwithstanding these pro- 
mises are contained therein, yet many are destitute of it. 

2. It is also necessary, in order to our attaining assurance, 
that there should be some marks and evidences revealed in the 
word of God, as a rule for persons to try themselves by, in or- 
der to their knowing that they are in a state of grace. Now 
we may say concerning this, as well as the former, to wit, the 
promises of £i,lvation recorded, that though it be necessary to 
assurance ; yet it is only an objective means for our attaining 
it, inasmuch as we are hereby led to see what graces experien- 
ced, or duties performed by us, have the promise of salvation 
annexed to them ; and therefore let me add, 

3. That it is necessary that we should discern in ourselves 
those marks and evidences of grace to which the promise of 
salvation is annexed ; otherv^ise we have no right to lay claim 
to it ; accordingly it is our duty to look into ourselves, and ob- 
serve what marks of grace we have, from whence we may, by 
the Spirit's testimony vn'<\\ ours, discern ourselves to be in a 
state of i^race ; whicli leads us to consider, 

(l.) I'hat in order to our attaining assurance, we must ex- 
ercise the duty of self-examination. 

(2.) What we may truly call a mark or evidence of grace, 
whereby we may discern that we are in a state of salvation. 

(3.) Notwithstanding this we a^-o to depend on, hope, and 
pray for, the testimony of the Spirit with our spirits, that we 
are the children of God, and thnt these ^'vidences are found 
in us. 


(1.) In order to our attaining assurance, it is necessary that. 
we exercise the duty of self-examination, which is God^s or- 
dinance for this end. And in order hereunto, let it be consi- 

[1.] That it is certainly a duty and privilege for us to ktiow 
ourselves, not only what we do, but what we are ; for without 
this, whatever knowledge we may have of other things, we are 
chargeable with great ignorance in a matter of the highest im- 
portance ; neither can we be sufficiently humble for those sins 
we commit, or thankful for the mercies we receive. If we reck- 
on it an advantage to know what is done in the world, and are 
very inquisitive into the affairs of others, it is much more ne- 
cessary and reasonable for us to endeavour to know what more 
immediately relates to ourselves ; or if we are very desirous to 
know those things that concern our natural or civil affairs in the 
world J whether we are in prosperous or adverse circumstan- 
ces therein, ought we not much more to enquire, how matters 
stand with us, as to v/hat concerns a better world ? 

[2.] We cannot know the state of our souls, without impar- 
tial self-examination. This is evident from the nature of the 
thing. As enquiry is the means for our attaining knowledge ; 
so looking into ourselves is a means of attaining self-acquaint- 

[3.] Self-examination is a duty founded on a divine command, 
and an ordinance appointed for our attaining the knowledge of 
our state. Thus the apostle says, Exmnine yourselves y whether 
ye be in the faith ; prove your oxvnselves^ 2 Cor. xiii. 5. and 
whatever duty God has commanded us to engage in, as expect- 
ing any spiritual privilege to attend it, that is properly an or- 
dinance for the attaining that privilege ; and if so, then it is an 
argument to enforce the performance of that duty. Having 
therefore proved self-examination to be a christian's duty, we 
fihall now consider how it ought to be performed. And here 
let it be observed, that as it is God's ordinance, we are to have 
a due regard to his presence, and consider him as an heart 
searching God, and depend on his assistance, without which it 
cannot be performed to any great advantage ; but more par- 

Ist^ We are to engage in this duty deliberately. It cannot 
well be performed v/hile v/e are in an hurry of business. As 
every thing is beautiful in its seasons, so time ought to be re- 
deemed, and we to retire from the world, to apply ourselves 
to this as well as other secret duties, and the rather, because a 
rash and hasty judgment concerning any thing, is generally 
faulty, and must be reckoned an argument of weakness in him 
that passes it, and it will be much more so when the thing to 
be determined in of snch vast importance. 


3<//?/, It ought to be done frequently ; not like those things 
which are to be performed but once in our lives, or only upon 
some extraordinary occasions, but often, at least, so often, that 
no piesumptuous sin may be committed, nor any extraordina- 
ry judgment inflicted on us, or mercy vouchsafed to us, with- 
out a due observation thereof, in order to our improving them 
aright to the glory of God, and our own edification : Never- 
theless, we cannot exactly determine what relates to the fre- 
quency of this duty, any more than we can prescribe to those 
who are in a way of trade and business in the world, how of- 
ten they are to cast up their accounts, and set their books in 
order, that they may judge whether they go forward or back-* 
ward in the world : Notwithstanding, as the neglect hereof ha'j 
been detrimental to many, as to their worldly affairs ; so the 
neglect of self-examination has been often found an hindrance 
to our comfortable procedure in our christian course : How- 
ever, so far as we may advise concerning the frequency of thi«^ 
duty, it would redound much to the glory of God and our own 
advantage, if, at the close of every day, we would call to mind 
the experiences we have had, and observe the frame of spirit 
with which we have engaged in all the business thereof. This 
the Psalmist advises when he says, Commune zvith your cxu?i 
heart upon your hed, and be stilly Psal. Iv. 4. 

Moreover, it is adviseable for us to perform this duty when- 
ever we engage in other solemn stated religious duties, whe- 
ther public or private, that we may know what matter we have 
for prayer, or praise, v/liat help we want from God, against the 
prevalency of corruption or temptation, or what answers of 
prayer we have received from him, or what success we have 
had under any ordinance, in which we have engaged, as well 
as what the present frame of our spirit is, when drawing nigh 
to God in any holy duty. 

odlij^ It ought to be performed with great diligence, inas- 
much as it is no easy matter to arrive to such a knowledge oi 
ourselves, and the secret working of our hearts and affections, 
in what respects things divine and heavenly, or to discern tht- 
truth of grace, so as not to mistake that for a saving work, 
which has only the external shew of godliness, v/ithoutthe pow- 
er of it ; this requires great diligence and industry to know : 
Accordingly the Psalmist, in speaking concerning the perform- 
ance of this duty, says, I commune zuith mine 07un hearty and 
■my spirit made diligent search^ Psal. Ixxvii. G. The thing to 
be enquired into is not barely, whether we are sinners in gen- 
eral, or exposed to many miseries in this life, as the conse- 
quence thereof ? for this is sufficiently evident by daily expe- 
rience. But we are to endeavour after a more particular know- 
ledge of ourselves, and acrordinglv are to enqvir-:' : v.-heiher 

Voj. II r. K 1: 


Sin hath dominion over us to such a degree, so that all the 
powers and faculties of our souls are enslaved thereby, and we 
commit sin in such a way, as denominates us, as our Saviour 
expresses it, servants of sin ? John viii. 34. or, whether sin be 
loathed and abhorred, avoided and repented of ? and as to our 
state, we are to enquire ; whether we have ground to conclude 
that we are justified, and thereby delivered from the guilt of 
sin, and the condemning sentence of the law I or, whether we 
remain in a state of condemnation, and the wrath of God abi- 
deth on us ? We must enquire, whether the work of grace be 
really begun, so that we are effectually called, and enabled to 
put forth spiritual actions from a renewed nature ? and whether 
this work is going forward or declining ? what is the strength 
or weakness of our faith ? Also we are to enquire, what is the 
general tenor of our actions ? Avhether the ends we design in 
all religious duties are right and warrantable ? whether our im- 
provement in grace bears any proportion to the means we are 
favoured with \ 

Moreover, we are to examine ourselves ; whether we per- 
form all those relative duties that are incumbent on us, so as 
to glorify God in our conversation with men, whereby we en- 
deavour to do good to, alnd receive good from them, and ac- 
cordingly improve our talents to the glory of God, from whom 
we received them ? These and such like things are to be en- 
quired into, which will be more immediately subservient to the 
attaining this privilege of assurance. 

Afthhj^ Self-examination ought to be performed with the 
greatest impartiality. Conscience, which is to act the part of a 
judge and a witness, must be faithful in its dictates and deter- 
minations, it being a matter of the greatest importance ; and 
therefore, in passing a judgment on our state, we must pro* 
(ceed according to the rules of strict justice, not denying, on 
the one hand, vv^hat we have received from God, or resolutely 
concluding against ourselves, that there is no hope, when there 
are many things that afford matter of peace and comfort to us ; 
nor, on the other hand, are we to think ourselves something 
when we are nothing. 

Therefore some are obliged to conclude, as the result of this 
enquiry, into their state, that they are unregenerate and desti- 
tute of the saving grace of God. This sentence persons are 
obliged to pass on themselves, who are grossly ignorant, not 
sensible of the plague of their own hearts, and altogether un* 
acquainted with the way of salvation by Jesus Christ, or the 
method pi-escribed in the gospel, for the sinner's justification 
or freedom from the guilt of sin, in a fiducial application of 
Christ's righteousness, which is the only means conducive 
thereunto ; and who knov; not what is included in evangelical 


repentance; how sin is to be mortified, and what it is to de- 
pend on Christ in the execution of his oflices of propliet, priest, 
and king, at least, if they have not such a degree of the know- 
ledge oi these things, though they cannot fully and clearly de- 
scribe them, as may influence their practice, and excite those 
graces, \f hich all true converts are enabled to exercise, they 
have ground to conclude that they are iii a state of unregene- 
racy. And to this we may add, that a person must conclude 
against himself, that he is destitute of the grace of God, if he 
allows himself in the omission of known duties, or the com- 
mission of known sins, and is content with a form of godli- 
ness, without the power thereof, or values and esteems the 
praise of men more than of God ; such must conclude that 
their hearts are not right with him. 

Sthly^ We must examine ourselves concerning our state, 
with a resolution, by the grace of God, to make a right im- 
provement of that judgment which we are bound to pass on 
ourselves. And therefore, if we apprehend that we are in a state 
of unregencracy, we are not to sink into despair ; but to wait 
on God in all his appointed means and ordinances, 'n\ order to 
our obtaining the first grace, that, by the powerl\il influences 
of the Spirit, there may be such a true change wrought in us, 
that we may have ground to hope better things concerning our- 
selves, even things which accompany salvation. And if we find 
that we have experienced the grace of God in truth, we may 
be disposed to give him all the glory ; to exercise a continued 
dependence on him, for what is still lacking to complete the 
work, and as we have received Christ Jesus the Lord to walk 
in him. 

6t/ili/y This duty must be performed with judgment ; and 
accordingly we are to compare our hearts and actions with thf 
rule which is prescribed in the word of God, whereby v/e may 
know whether wc have thosje marks and evidences of grace, 
from whence we may conclude, tha.t we have a good founda- 
tion to l)uild on, and that our hope is such as shall never make- 
ashamed ; which Icad.o U3 to consider, 

(2.) What we may truly call a mark or evidence of grace, 
whereby we may discern that we are in a state of salvation. 
In order to our understanding this, we must consider, 

1. That every thing, whjch is a mark or evidence of a thing, 
must be more known than that which is designed to be eviiv- 
ced thereby. Tfte sign must always be more known than the 
thing signified by it; inasnmch as it is a means of our know- 
ing that which we are at present in doubt about. As when the 
finger is placed in a cross-road, to direct the traveller v/hicJ 
way he is to take. 

2. A mnrk or evidence of a thing roust contain some csscn 


tial property of that which it is designed to evince : thus the 
inferring consequences from premises is an es3ential property 
belonging to every intelligent creature, and to none else ; there- 
fore it is a mark or evidence thereof; so to design the best 
end, and use those means that are conducive thereunto, is an 
essential property of a wise man, and consequently a mark or 
evidence of wisdom. And, on the other hand, there are some 
things, which are not essential properties, but accidental, as an 
healthful constitution is to man, or a particular action, that has 
some appearance of wisdom and goodness, but not all the ne- 
cessary mgredients thereof, to a wise or good man. 

Now to apply these rules to our present purpose, in deter- 
mining what we may call marks or evidences of grace. With 
respect to the former of them, viz. that a mark must be more 
inown than the thing that is evinced thereby ; we may con- 
clude, that eternal election, or the Spirit's implanting a prin- 
ciple of grace in regeneration, cannot be said to be marks or 
evidences of sanctification, since these are less known than the 
thing designed to be evinced thereby. 

And as to the other rule, viz. that a mark must contain an 
essential property of that which it evinces : it follows from 
hence, that our engaging in holy duties, without the exercise 
of grace therein ; or our extending charity to the poor, when 
it does not proceed from faith or love to God, he. is no cer- 
tain evidence of the truth of grace, since a person may perform 
these duties and yet be destitute hereof; whereas, that which 
is essential to a thing, is inseparable from it. Thus concerning 
marks of grace in general ; which I could not but think neces- 
sary to premise, inasmuch as some have entertained prejudices 
against all marks of grace, and seem to assert, that a believer 
is not to judge of his state thereby ; than which, nothing seems 
3Tiore absurd. If they who are thus prejudiced against them, 
have nothing to say in defence thereof, but that some assign 
those things to be marks of grace which are not so, and there- 
by lead themselves and others, into mistakes about them ; what 
has been premised concerning the nature of a mark, or evi- 
dence, may, in some measure, fence against this prejudice, as 
well as prepare our way for what may be said concerning them. 
Therefore we shall, First, consider those things which can 
hardly be reckoned marks of grace ; and, Secondly^ what marks 
we may judge of ourselves by. 

Tirst^ As to the former of these, what are not to be reckoned 
marks of grace. 

1, We are not to conclude that a person is in a state of grace» 
barely because he has a strong impression on his own spirit that 
lie is so ; since that is accidental, and not essential to grace, 
and many are mistaken v;itli respect to this matter. It is not 


to be doubted, but they whom '~ur Saviour represents as say- 
ing, hord^ Loril^ have xve not prophesied in thtj narne^ and in 
thy name have cast out devils, and in thy navie do7ie 7na?iy won- 
derful iroris. Matt. vii. 2. had a strong persuasion founded 
on this evidence, that they were in a state of grace, till they 
found themselves mistaken, wlien he commanded them to de- 
part from him P Nothing is more obvious than that many pre- 
isume they arc something when they are nothing; and, indeed, 
a persuasion that a person is in a state of grace, barely because 
he cannot think otherwise of himself, the thing being impressed 
on his spirit, without any other evidence, lays such an one too 
open to the charge of enthusiasm. 

2. An external profession of religion, discovered in the per- 
formance of several holy duties, is no certain sign of the truth 
of grace ; for this many make who are not effectually called. 
Of such as these Christ speaks, when he says, 3Ia7iy arc called^ 
but fexo are chosen, INIatt. xx. 16. And to this we may add^ 
rhat persons may have some degree of raised affections, when 
attending on the ordinances, some sudden flashes of joy, when 
ihey hear of the privileges of believers, both in this and a bet- 
ter world ; though their conversation be not agreeable to their 
•confident and presumptuous expectation thereof. And, on the 
other hand, some have their fears very much awakened under 
the ordinances, as the subject of their meditations has a ten- 
dency thereunto ; others have such a degree of sorrow, that it 
gives vent to itself in a flood of tears ; as Esau is said to have 
sought the blessing ivith tears, Heb. xii. 17. but yet there is 
something else wanting to evince the truth of grace. I do not 
deny but that it is a great blessing to have raised affections in 
holy duties ; but Avhen this is only in particular instances, and 
they are principally excited by some external motives or cir- 
cumstances attending the ordinance they are engaged in ; and 
when the impressions made on them, wear off as soon as the 
ordinance is over, in this case we can hardly determine a per- 
son to be in a state of grace hereby. The affections, indeed, 
;ire warmed in holy duties ; but this is like an iron heated in 
the fire, which, when taken out, soon grows cold again ; and 
not like that natural heat that remains in the body of man» 
which is an abiding sign of life. 

But since this subject is to be treated on with the utmost 
caution, inasmuch as many are apt to conclude, that they have 
no grace, because they have no raised affections, in holy duties, as 
well as othei's presume they have grace merel}' because they are 
affected therein, let it be farther considered ; that when we speak 
of raised aflections, not being a certain mark of grace, we con- 
sider them as being destitute of those other evidences, which 
contain some essential properties of grace : the affections art 


often raised by insignificant sounds, oi* by the tone of the vuiv.e, 
when there is nothing in the matter dehvered, that is adapted 
to excite any grace, the judgment is not informed thereby, nor 
the will persuaded to embrace Christ, as offered in the gospcL 
There may be transports of joy in hearing the word, when, at 
the same time, corrupt nature retains its opposition to the spi- 
rituality thereof. A person may conceive the greatest pleasure 
in an ungrounded hope of lieaven, as a state of freedom from 
the miseries of this life, when he has no savour or relish of that 
holiness which is its glory, in which respect his conversation is 
not in heaven ; and he may be very much terrified with the 
wrath of God, and the punishment of sin in hell ; when, at the 
same time, there is not a due sense of the vile and odious na- 
ture of sin, or an abhorrence of it : such instances of raised 
affections we intend when we speak of them as no marks or 
evidences of the truth of grace. But, on the other hand, when^ 
together with raised affections, there is the exercise of suitable 
graces, and the impression thereof i-emains, when their fervency 
is abated or lost, this is a good sign of grace ; whereas, when 
they are not accompanied with the exercise of any grace, they 
iifford no mark or evidence of the truth thereof. 

Now that we may not be mistaken as to this matter, let us 
enquire, not only what it is that has a tendency to raise the 
affections ; but whether our understandinga are rightly infor- 
med in the doctrines of the gospel, and oar wills choose and 
embrace what is revealed therein. And if we find it a difficult 
matter for our affections to be raised in holy duties, let us far- 
ther enquire, whether this may not proceed from our natural 
constitution ? and if the passions are not easily moved with any 
other things in the common aifairs of life ; we have then n,o rea- 
son to conclude that our being destitute hereof in the exercise 
of holy duties, is a sign that Ave have not the truth of grace, es- 
pecially if Christ and divine things are the objects of our set- 
tled choice, and our hearts are fixed trusting in him. 

3, The performance of those moral duties, which are mate- 
rially good, is no, certain sign of the truth of grace j I do not 
say that this is not necessary; for when we speak of a mark 
of grace, as containing in it what is essential thereunto, we dis- 
tinguish between that which is a necessary pre-requisite, with- 
out which, none can have grace ; and that which is an essen- 
tial ingredient in it. Where there is no morality, there is cer- 
tainly no grace ; but if there be nothing more than this, there 
is an essential ingredient wanting, by which this matter mus£ 
be determined. A person may abstain from gross enormities, 
such as murder, adultery, theft, reviling, extortion, covetous- 
ness. Sec. and, in many respects, perform the contrary duties, 
and yet be destitute of faith in Christ. The Pharisee^ whom 


our Saviour mentions in the gospel, had as much to say on this 
subject as any one j yet his heart was not right with God ; nor 
was his boasting hereof approved ot by Christ. There are mul- 
titudes who perform many religious duties, when it comports 
with their secular interests ; they adhere to Christ in a time of 
prosperity i but in a time of adversity they fall Irom him ; and 
then, that which seemed to be most excellent in them is lost, 
and then they appear to be, what they always were, destitute 
of the truth of grace. We now proceed to consider, 

SecondJi/^ What are those marks by which persons may safe- 
ly conclude themselves to be in a state of grace. In order to 
our determining this matter, we must consider what are the 
true and genuine effects of faith, which we find mentioned in 
scripture, namely, those oSier graces that accompany or flow 
from it ; as when it is said to xuorA by hve^ Gal. v. 6. or as wc 
are hereby enabled to overcome the rvorld^ 1 John v^ 4. or to 
despise the honours, riches, and pleasures thereof; especially 
when standing in competition with Christ ; or our hearts are 
thereby drawn aside from him : this effect it produced in Mo- 
ses, when he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh'' s daughter^ 
choosing rather to suffer affi'ictwn iv'ith the people of God., than 
to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season., estee?mng the re- 
proach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt^ 
Heb. xi. 24 — 26. and in others, who confessed that hey zvere 
strangers and pilgrims on the earth., ver. 13, 16. \i\\o desired a 
better country., that is, an heaiienly ; whose conversation was in 
heaven.^ Phil. iii. 10. Moreover, we are to enquire whether it 
has a tendency to purify the heart., Acts xv. 9. and so puts U3 
upon abhorring, flying from, watching, and striving against 
every thing that tends to corrupt and defile the soul ! and 
whether it tends to excite us to universal obedience, which is 
called the obedience of faith., Rom. xvi. 26. and a carefulness to 
maintain good xvorks.. Tit. iii. 6. which proceed from, and are 
evidences of the truth of it ? as the apostle says, Sheru me thy 
faith without thy luorks., and I ruill shcrv thee my faith by tnu 
xvorks., James ii. 18. or, as our Saviour says. The tree is known 
by his fruit. But that v/e may more particularly judge of the 
truth of grace by the marks and evidences thereof, we must 
consider its beginning and progress, or Avith what frame of spi- 
rit we first embraced and closed with Christ; and what our 
conversation has been since that time. 

1. As to the former of these, to wit, our judging of the truth 
of grace by the first beginning thereof". Here we are to en- 
quire, what were the motives and inducements that inclined us 
to accept of Christ ? Did we first see ourselves lost and undone, 
as sinful, fallen creatures ; and were we determined hereupon 
to have recourse to him fcr salvation, PS the only refuge- vrs 


could betake ourselves to ? Did we first consider ourselves as 
guilty ; and did this guilt set very uneasy upon us ; and in or- 
der to the removal of it, did we betake ourselves to Christ for 
forgiveness ? and did we consider ourselves as weak and un- 
able to do what is good, and so apply ourselves to him for 
strength against indwelling sin, and victory over the tempta- 
tions which prevailed against us ? 

Moreover, let us enquire, whether it was only a slavish fear 
and dread of the wrath of God, and the punishment of sin in 
hell, that gave the first turn to our thoughts and affections, so 
as to put us on altering our course of life ? or, whether, be- 
sides this, we saw the evil of sin arising from its intrinsic na- 
ture, and its opposition to the holiness of God ; and was this 
attended with shame and self-abhorrence ? and, nt the same 
time, did we see the excellency and loveliness of Christ ? was 
he precious to us as he is to them that believe P 1 Pet. ii. 7. 

Again, let us farther enquire, what were the workings of our 
spirits when we first closed with Christ ? did we do this with 
judgment, duly weighing what he demands of us in a way of 
duty, as well as what we are encouraged to expect from him ? 
were we made willing to accept of him in all his offices, and to 
have respect to all his commandments ? were we earnestly de- 
sirous to have communion with him here, as well as to be glo- 
rified with him hereafter ? were we content to submit to the 
cross of Christ, to bear his reproach, and to count this prefer- 
able to all the glories of the world ? were we willing to be con- 
formed to an humbled suffering Jesus, and to take our lot with 
his servants, though they may be reckoned the refuse and off- 
scouring of all things ? And let us farther enquire ; whether 
we did this with reliance on his assistance, as being sensible 
of the treachery and deceitfulness of our own hearts, and our 
utter inability to do what is good, without the aids of his grace i 
did we accordingly give up ourselves to him in hope of obtain- 
ing help from him, in order to the right discharge of every du- 
ty i did we reckon ourselves nothing, and Christ to be all in all, 
that all our springs are in him ? This was a good beginning of 
the work of gi-ace, which will prepare the way for this grace 
of assurance, which we are now considering, 

Obj. Some will object against what has been said concerning 
our enquiring into, or being able to discern the first acts of 
faith, or that frame of spirit wherewith we then closed with 
Christ, that they know not the time of their conversion, if ever 
they wei-e converted ; they cannot remember or determine 
what was the particular ordinance or providence, that gave 
them the first conviction of sin, and of their need of Christ, 
and induced them to close with him ; much less can they tell 
what were the workings of their hearts at such a time : It i'' 


impossible for them to trace the footsteps of providence, so as 
to point out the way and manner in which this work was at 
iirst begun in their souls. This therefore is not to be laid down 
as a mark or evidence of grace, which so few can make use of 

Answ. I am not insensible that this is the case of the great- 
est number of believers. There are very few, who, like the a- 
postle Paul, can tell the time and place of their conversion, and 
every circumstance leading to it ; or like those converts, who, 
when the gospel was first preached by Peter, ivere pricked in 
their heart., and said unto Peter., and to the rest of tlie apostles., 
Men and brethren., what shall zue do ? Acts ii* 37. or like the 
jailor, who broke forth into an affectionate enquiry, not much 
unlike to it ; SirSy what tnust I do to be saved P chap. xvi. 30, 
though the ordinance leading to it was of a different nature. 
Sometimes, the way of the Spirit of God in the soul at first, is 
so discernable, that h cannot but be observed by them who ai-(^ 
brought into a state of grace ; but others know nothing of this, 
especially they v-^ho have not run into all excess of riot, and been 
stopped in their course on a sudden, by the grace of God ; in 
whom the change made in conversion, was real, though it could 
not, from the nature of the thing be so plainly discerned in all 
its circumstances. Some have been regenerate from the womb; 
others have had a great degree of restraining grace, and been 
trained up in the knowledge of the doctrines of the gospel from 
their very childhood, and retain the impressions of a religious 
education ; these cannot so easily discern the first beginning? 
of the work of grace in their souls ; yet they may, and ought 
to enquire, whether ever they found, in the course of their lives, 
such a frame of spirit as has been before described, which be- 
lievers have when the work of grace is first begun, and it is 
not very material for them to be able to discern whether these 
were the first actings of grace or no ? The main thing to be 
determined is ; whether they have ground to conclude, that 
ever they experienced the grace of God in truth ? In this case, 
the most that some can say concerning themselves, is as the 
blind man savs in the gospel, when the Pharisees were inquisi- 
tive about the restoring his sight, and the way and manner in 
which this was done ; this is all that I know concerning my- 
self, that ivhcreas I was blind, now J see., John ix. 25. so the 
true convert says ; whereas I was once dead in trespasses and 
sins, I am now alive, and enabled to put forth living and spi 
ritual actions, to the glory of God. This evidence will give 
as much ground to conclude that they are in a state of grace, 
as though they were able to determine when they were fn-st 
brought into it. 

2. We may judge of tlie truth of grace by the method in 
which it has been cairicd on, whether we are ■:>h\f to d^tpvmin'" 

Vol. III. I. 1 


the way and manner in which It Avas first begun, or no, aj a 
farther evidence of the truth thereof. Sanctification is a pro- 
gressive work ; therefore it is not enough for us to set our fa- 
ces heaven-ward; but we must make advances towards it, and 
be found in the daily exercise of grace, in order to our con- 
cluding that we are in a state of grace. A believer must not 
only set out in the right way, but he must hold on therein ; he 
must live by faith if he would conclude that the work of faith 
is begun in truth. It is not sufficient to call upon God, or im- 
plore help from him, when under some distressing providen-* 
ces, and afterwards to grow remiss in^ or lay aside this duty ; 
but it must be our constant work. A true christian is distin- 
guished from an hypocrite, in that it is said, concerning the 
latter, Will he delight himself in the Almighty ? will he ahuays 
call upon God P Job xxvii. 20. denoting that a true believer 
will do so. He is either habitually or actually inclined to it ; 
and that in such a way as is attended with the daily exercise 
of those graces, which are the fruits and effects of faith, where 
by he may conclude that he is in a state of grace. Thus far 
we have considered those marks or evidences of grace, which, 
in order to our attaining assurance, we must be able to discern 
in ourselves. But inasmuch as a believer may imderstand what 
are the marks of grace contained in scripture, and, at the same 
time, enquire into the state of his soul, to know whether he can 
apprehend in himself any evidences of the truth of grace ; and 
not be able to arrive to a satisfaction as to this matter, so as 
to have his doubts and fears removed ; let it be considered, 

3. That he must depend on, hope, and pray for the testimo- 
ny of the Spirit, with his spirit, that he is a child of God. It 
will be a difficult matter for us to conclude that v/e have the 
truth of grace, till the Spirit h' pleased to shine on his own 
work ; which, when he does, all things will appear clear and 
bright to us, though before this we might walk in darkness, 
and have no light. In speaking concerning the inward testi- 
mony of the Spirit (which is necessary to enable a believer to 
discern in himself the marks of grace, on which his assurance 
of salvation is founded) let it be premised ; that as it is a branch 
of the Spirit's divine glory, by his internal influence, to deal 
with the hearts of his people ; so he does this various ways, 
according to the various faculties of the soul, which are the 
subjects thereof ; particularly, when by his power, he renews 
the will, and causes it to act those graces which are the effects 
of his divine power ; then he is said to sanctify a believer. 
But when he deals with the understanding and conscience, en- 
abling us to discern the truth of the work of grace, that we 
may take the comfort of it, then he is described, in scripture, 
iis a v.'itaess hereunto, or as witnessing with our spirits, that 


we nre In a state of grace, the consequence of which is, that 
the eijcs of onr undfrstanding bei/iq' enlis^httmed, we lyjoy know 
Tvhnt is the hope of his ca//in!f, Eph. i. IB. accordingly he gives 
us to discern that he has called us by his grace ; and, as the 
result thereof, granted us a hope of eternal life. 

This is a privilege plainly mentioned in scripture ; and we 
must not suppose that none had it but those who had extraor- 
dinary revelation, since it is so necessary to a btliever's attain- 
ing that peace and joy which the church, in this present dis- 
pensation, is certainly not less possessed of, than it was in for- 
mer ages. And that the Spirit gives his testimony to the 
work of grace in the souls of bclievei's, though extraordinary 
revelation be ceased, is evident from what is matter of daily 
experience ; since there are many instances of those who have 
used their utmost endeavours in examining themselves, to know 
whether they had any marks of grace, who have not b.een able 
to discern anv, though they have been thought to be sincere 
believers by others, till, on a sudden, light has broke forth out 
of darkness, and their evidences fox eternal life cleared up, so 
that all their doubts have been removed ; and this they could 
not but attribute to a divine hand, inasmuch as before this they 
could meditate nothing but terror to themselves ; and, in this 
case, what the apostle prays for, with respect to the church, 
lyiat the God cf hope xuoiddfll them zvith all joy and peace in be- 
lieving'^ that they might abound in ho^e^ through the potver cf 
the Ilolif Ghosty Rom. xv. 13. is experienced by them : And 
on this account thcy^ are said to be sealed with that Ilolif Spi- 
rit of promise, Kph. i, 13. whereby their hope is established, 
and that is now confumed to them by this means, which the}- 
were before in perplexity about ; so that we have as mucii 
ground to conclude that the Spirit is the author of assurance 
in believers, as we have that he is the author of sanctification. 

But that this doctrine may not appe.^r liable to the charge 
of enthusiasm, let it be farther considered, that the Spirit never 
gives his testimonv to the truth of grace in any, in whom he 
has not first wrought it ; for that would be, as it were, a set- 
ting his seal to a blank. And to this we may add, that he, at 
the same time, excites the lively exercise of grace, vrhereby 
they are enabled to discern that it is true and genuine; so that 
their assurance, though it be not without some internal, im- 
pressive infmences, which they are favoured with ; yet it is 
not wholly dependent on them : Therefore, if you demand a 
reason of the hope that is in them, though they ascribe the glo- 
ry hereof to the Holy Spirit, as enabling them to discern th' 
truth of grace ; yet they are able to prove their ownselves, af- 
ter having examined themselvt.s, whether they are in the faith, 


by discovering their evidences of the fahh of God's elect; 
•which argues that their assurance is no delusion. 

Quest. LXXXI. Are all true believers^ at all times, assured 
of their present being' in the estate of grace ; and that thcij 
shall be saved 7 

Answ. Assurance of grace and salvation not being of the es- 
sence of faith, true believers may wait long before they ob- 
tain it \ and after the enjoyment thereof, may have it weak- 
ened and intermitted through manifold distempers, sins^ 
temptations, and desertions ; yet are they never left without 
such a presence and support of the Spirit of God, as keeps 
them from siiiking into utter despair. 

HAVING considered some believers as favoured with as- 
surance of their being in a state of grace, we are, in this 
answex', led to speak of others who are destitute of it. And 
the general method in which it may be considered, is, 

I. That there is something supposed, namely, that assurance 
of grace and salvation is not of the essence of saving faith. 

II Some things are inferred from this supposition, name- 

1. That true believers may wait long before they obtain as- 
surance. And, 

2. That after the enjoyment thereof it may he v*'eakened and 
intermitted ; the reasons whereof are assigned, viz. bodily dis- 
tempers, sins, temptatio:is, and divine desertions ; yet it is far- 
ther added, that they are never left without the support of the 
Spirit of God j whereby they are kept from sinking into utter 

I. As to the thing supposed in this answer, viz. that assu- 
rance of grace and salvation is not of the essence of faith. 
There are many who, in other respects, explain the nature of 
faith, in such a way as is unexceptionable, who, notwithstand- 
ing, assert that assurance is of the essence thereof ; in which 
we cannot but think they express themselves very unwarily, at 
least, they ought to have mo]-e clearly discovered what they 
raean by faith, and v/hat by assurance, being of the essence of 
faith ; if they mean that no one has saving faith but he who 
has an assurance of his own salvation ; they not only assert 
what is contrary to the experience of many believers, but lay a 
stumbling-block in the way of weak Christians, who will be 
induced from hence to conclude, that because they cannot tell 
whether they are true believers or no, therefore they are des- 
titute of saving faith ; upon v/hich account it is necessary for 


•us to enquire how fni* this supposition is to be allowed of, and 
in what respect denied. 

It is certain, that there are many excellent divines, in our 
own and foreign nations, who have defined faith by assurance; 
which they have supposed so essential to it, that without it no 
one can be reckoned a believer. It may be they might be in- 
clined thus to express themselves by the sense in which they 
understood several texts of scripture, in which assurance seems 
to be considered as a necessary ingredient in faith; as it is said, 
Let lis draw near ivith a true hearty in full assurance of faith ^ 
Heb. X. 22. and when the apostle speaks of assurance, as a 
privilege that belonged to the church to which he wrote, We 
knoxu that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved^ 
we ha\)e a building' of God^ an house not made xvith hands^ eter- 
nal in the heavens^ 2 Cor. v. 1. and elsewhere, he so far blames 
their not knowing themselves, or being destitute of this assu- 
rance, that he will hardly allow them to have any faith, who 
were without it ; Know ije not your ownselves^ hozv that ycsus 
Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates, chap. xiii. 5. From 
ruch like expressions as these, they who plead for assurance 
being of the essence of faith, are ready to conclude, that they 
V. ho are destitute of it, can hardl}' be called believers. 

But, that this matter may be set in a true light, we must dis- 
tinguish between assurance of the object, viz. the great and 
important doctrines of the gospel, being of the essence of faith; 
and assurance of our interest in Christ being so. The former 
of these we will not deny ; for no one can come to Christ, who 
is not assured that he will receive him, nor trust in him till 
he is fully assured that he is able to save him : but the latter 
we must take leave to deny ; for if no one is a believer but he 
that knows himself to be so, then he that doubts of his salva- 
tion, must be concluded to be no believer ; which is certainly 
n very discouraging doctrine to weak Christians. And also, 
when we lose the comfortable persuasion we once had, of our 
interest in Christ, we are bound to question all our former ex- 
periences, and to determine ourselves to be in a state of unrc- 
generacy, which is, in effect to deny to give God the glory of 
ihat powerful work which was formerly wrought in us, which 
we then thought to be a work of grace. 

If they, indeed, mean by assurance, being of the essence of 
faith, that an assurance of our interest in Christ is essential to 
the highest or most comfortable acts of faith, designing there- 
by to put us upon pressing after it, if we have not attained to 
it; and that hereby God is very much glorified, and a founda- 
tion laid for our offering praise to him, for the experience we 
have had of his grace, which a doubting Christian cannot be 
.aid to do; we have nothing to say against it. Or, if they should 


assert, that doubting is no ingredient in faith, nor a commen> 
dable excellency in a Christian ; this we do not deny. All that 
we are contending for is, that there may be a direct act of faith, 
or a faith of reliance, in those who are destitute of assurance 
that they are in a state of grace ; which is the thing supposed 
in this answer, when it is said, that assurance is not of the es- 
sence of faith. That this may be better understood, and we be 
led into the sense of those scriptures that describe believers as 
having assurance, such as those but now mentioned, and others 
to the like purpose, let it be considered, that there are many 
scriptures, in which believers are said to have such an assu- 
rance, as only respects the objects of faith, viz, the person, of- 
fices, and glory of Christ, the truth of the gospel, and the pro- 
mises thereof; which we do not deny to be of the essence of 
faith. Thus, when the apostle prays for the eliurch. That their 
hearts might be comforted^ being- knit together in love^ and unto 
all riches of the full assurance of understandings to the acknoxv- 
ledgment of the mystertj ofGod^ and of the Father^ and of Christy 
Col. ii. 3. and when else^vhere he says, Giir gospel came to yovt. 
in much assurance^ 1 lhes3. i, 5. and when he exhorts persons 
to draw^ near to God, ivifh a true hearty in full assura?ice of 
faith^ Heb. x. 22. it is probable, that he means in these, and 
several other scriptures of the like import, no more than an 
assurance of the object of faith. And as for tiiat scripture but 
now mentioned, in 2 Cor. xiii. 5. where he seems to assert, that 
all wIk) are destitute of this privilege are reprobates ; some un- 
derstand the word, which we translate reprobates^ as only sig- 
nifying injudicious Christians ; and if so, this is not inconsis- 
tent with the character of believers : but others, with an equal 
degree of probability, render it disapproved ;'^ and so the mean- 

* TJie -uord a^-^Kifji-A, tkaugh it br. sometimes used to signify siich as are rejected 
as objects of God's hatred, as in Heb. vi. 3. and conseqnentlij is inconsistent with 
the character of believers ; yet, in other places it may be taken according' to tfie 
grammatical cojistrnction thereof, as opposed to Jcm/^oi; which signifies persons ap- 
proved, 2 Tim. ii. 15. cud to it signifies a person -vhose co?iduct is blame-worthy, or 
Tvhfise actions are not to be approved of; and this may be applied to some who are not 
altogether destitute of faith, thongh tliey are not able to vindicate themselves in all 
respects as blameless. That the apostle uses the wordin this sense here, seems pro- 
bable from the application he tnahes rfit to himself; it is said, ver.3. Ye seek a proof 
ot'Cliriit speaking in me, cTow/xxv ^nlwri^ and verse 6. he says, 1 trust that ye shall 
know tiiat we are not reprobates ; so we render the words iXTrtta ii vrt yyasSi oTi 
>i,«£jc ax. iTfxiv aJoKi/Mt; but it would be more agreeable to what is said in verse 4. if 
we should render them, I trust that ye shall know that we are not disapproved, or that 
ye shall find a proof af Christ speaking i?i vs : and in verse 7. lie farther says, 1 pray 
to God, not that we should appear approved, x^ iv* yifxw ^miuji (nctvaiJiv, ttuit is<, 
Jam not so much concerned about your finding a proof nf Christ .'tpeaking in us ; but 
that ye should do that which is honest, 7. d. I am more concerned for you, than 
myself, though we be as reprobates, vy-W ^i ^: aiiziy-oi auiv ; that is, whether you thi7ik 
we have a proof of Christ's speaking in us or no, or his appro'dng us in th^ course of 
our ministry, my great concern is, that you may be approved; so that ii is plain, tlie 
cpostlc uses the ~uord (f.o!:tty.u, as s'gnfying disapproved / J,^(i theyfare as i: is ap- 


log is, that if you know not your ownselvcs, to wit, that Christ 
is in you, you are greatly to be blamed, or disapproved ; espe- 
cially because tliis proceeds Irom your neglect of the duty of 
self-examination; by which meuns vou have no proof of Christ's 
being in you, who aic no ready to demand a proof of his speak- 
uig in liis ministers, a ) in verse 3. Tlierefore it does not appear 
from this text, that every one who endeavours to know that he 
is in a state of grace, by diligent self-examination, but cannot 
conclude that he is so, must be determined to be destitute of 
faith; which would necessarily follow from our asserting that 
assurance of our interest in Christ, is of the essence of saving 

There are other scriptures which speak of assurance as a dis- 
tinguishing character of Christians in general; which are usual- 
ly brought to prove, that assurance is of the essence of faith, 
viz» 2 Con V. 1. IVe know that if' our ea7-thlij house of this taber- 
?iacle zuere dissolved, rve have a building- of God, an house not 
made xvith hands, eternal in the heavens ; and, 1 John v. 19. ive 
know that xve are of God : and in several places in the New 
Testament, in which the apostle addresses his discourse to 
whole churches, as having assurance, as well as the grace of 
faith : thus the apostle Peter, 1 Pet. i. 8, 9. speaks of them as 
loving- Christ, believing in him, rejoicing with joy unspeakable 
and full of glory, and receiving the end of their faith, even the 
salvation of their soul; which could hardly be said of them, if 
they were destitute of assurance of their own salvation. AH 
that I would infer from these and such-like scriptures Is, that 
it seems probable that assurance was a privilege more com- 
monly experienced in that age of the church than it is in our 
day ; and there may be two reasons assigned for this, 

(1.) Because the change that passed upon them, when they 
were converted, was so apparent, that it was hardly possible for 
it not to be discerned. They turned from dead idols, and the 
practice of the vilest abominations, to serve the living God ; 
which two extremes are so opposite, that their being brought 
from one to the other could not but be remarked by, and con- 
sequently more visible to themselves, than if it had been other- 
wise ; but, 

(2.) That which may be assigned as the principal reason of 
this is, because the church was called, at this time, to bear a 

plied to those he speaks '•/ in rcrse 5. t/.e meaning is thi'^ ; you seek to knnv ■n'het/wr 
ive nre approrcd of Hnd as ministers ; therefore J -.vouid advise wu to examine your- 
Kflves, -zche'-htr you he in the faith, und to pi oie your o-.u/meives : and if you hno-.o 
7>ot yourselves, you are in this respect diiimL-n-orthi/, or to be disapproxed ; espcciuHi/ 
because you seem to ha-ce been ne^liqent as to the duty of -lelf-exumination. Whether 
he who is diligent in the exercise of thii duly, and yet cannot apprehend that lie j? 
in a state of grace, be, in this respect to be disapprned or no, it is ceitairif tkct A? 
■li-ho is a stranger to himself, brcauss of the nfjV; t her-of is disapproved. 


public testimony to the gospel, by enduring persecutions of 
various kinds; and some of them were to resist unto blood. 
Therefore, that God might prepare them for these sufferings^ 
and that he might encourage others to embrace the faith of the 
gospel, which was then in its infant state, he was pleased to fa- 
vour them with this great privilege. And it may be hereafter, 
if God should call the church to endure like trials, he may in 
mercy grant them a greater degree of assurance than is ordi- 
narily experienced. 

Nevertheless, it may be questioned; whether those scrip- 
tures which speak of assurance, as though it were a privilege 
common to the whole church, are not to be understood as ap- 
plicable to the greater part of them, rather than to every indi- 
vidual believer among them. For though the apostle^ in one of 
the scriptures before-mentioned, considers the church at Co- 
rinth, as enjoying this privilege, and concluding that it should 
go well with them in another world, when this earthly taberna- 
cle was dissolved; yet he speaks of some of them, in the same 
epistle, as not knowing their ownselves, hov/ that Jesus Christ 
was in them. And the apostle John, notwithstanding what he 
says to the church, JVe kiicxv that we are of God., in 1 John v. 
19. which argues that many of them had assurance, plainly in- 
timates that all had it not, from what he says, ver. 13. These 
things have Ixvritten unto you., that believe on the name of the 
Son of Gody that ye may knotv that ye have eternal life : and 
though in another scripture, but now mentioned, the apostle 
Peter speaks to the church to which he v/rites, as having Joy 
unspeakable and full of glory consequent upon their faith, 
which argues that they had assurance ; yet he exhorts others 
of them to give diligence to make their calling mid election sure^ 
2 Pet. i. 10. these therefore are supposed, at that time, not to 
have it : from all which it may be concluded, that assurance of 
grace and salvation, is not of the essence of saving faith ; which 
is the thing supposed in this answer, (a) 

II. We proceed to consider those things that are inferred 
from this supposition, viz, 

1. That a believer may wait long before he attains it: this 
appears from what is matter of daily experience and observa- 
tion. The sovereignty of God discovers itself herein, as much 
as it does when he makes the ordinances effectual to salvation, 
in giving converting grace unto those who attend upon them. 
Some are called early to be made partakers of that salvation 
that is in Christ, others late. The same may be said with re- 
spect to God's giving assurance. Some are favoured with this 
privilege soon after, or when first they believe ; others are like 
those whom the apostle speaks of, xvho., through fear of death., 
are all their life-ti?)ie subject to bondage., Heb. ii. 15. IVIany have 
(«) Vide Beilamy's Works, 3 Vol. p. 81--8J. 


ofteti enquired into the state of their souls, that cannot discern 
any marks or evidences of grace in themselves; whose con- 
versation is such, that others cannot hut conclude them to be 
true believers ; their spirits are deprest, doubts and fears pre- 
vail, and tend to make their lives very uncomfortable ; they 
wait and pray for the evidence and sense of God's love to them, 
but cannot immediately find it : this the Psalmist speaks of^ 
either in his own person, or thereby represents tlie case of many 
who had the truth of grace, but not the assurance thereof, whea 
he says, Lord God of mij salvation^ I have cried day and nig-ht 
before thee ; I am a£i'icted and ready to die from my youth up i 
•while I suffer thy terrors I am distracted^ Psal. Ixxxviii. com- 
pared with the XV. God suffers it to be thus with them for wise 
ends. Hereby he lets them know, that assurance of his love is 
a special gift and work of the Spirit ; without which they re- 
main destitute of it, and cannot take comfort, either from their 
former or present experiences. 

2. They who once enjoyed asr-urance, may have it weakened 
and intermitted ; whether it may be entirely lost will be consi- 
dered under a following headj when we speak concerning the 
supports that believers have, and hov/ far they are kept hereby 
from sinking into utter despair : it is one thing to fall from the 
truth of grace, another thing to lose the comfortable sense there- 
of. I'hc joy of faith may be suspended, when the acts and ha- 
bits of faith remain firm and unshaken. The brightest morn- 
ing may afterwards be follov/ed v/ith clouds and tempests; even 
iio our clearest discoveries of our interest in the love of God 
may be followed with the withdrawment of the light of his 
countenance, and we be left under many discouraging cir- 
cumstances concerning our state, having lost the assurance we 
once had. 

If it be inquired, what reason may be assigned for" this ? I 
answer, that it must, in a great measure, be resolved into the 
sovereignty of God, who will bring his people vv'hich way he 
pleases, to heaven ; and may take those comforts w hich had 
their first rise from himself; and, at the same time, none must 
say, why dost thou thus ? Howevei-, we may observe some par- 
ticular reasons, which the providence of God points out to us, 
to which we may in other respects, ascribe our want of assu- 
rance ; and these may be reduced to four heads, particularly 
mentioned in this answer. 

(l.) It is sometimes occasioned by manifold distempers, or 
bodily diseases : the soul and body are so closely joined to, 
and dependant on each other, that the one can hardly suffer 
without the other. Hence it is that bodily distempers affect 
the mind, excite and give disturbance to the passions ; which 
is a great addition to the uneasiness that endues hereupon. 

Vol. in, M m 


When the spirits are deprest, and we are under the prevalency 
of a melancholy disposition, we are oftentimes inclined to think 
that we are not in a state of grace ; and though we were before 
this disposed to comfort others in like cases, we are at this time 
\inable to take the least encouragement ourselves^ All things 
look black and dismal ; our former hope is reckoned no other 
than delusive, and we brought to the very brink of despair. 
And it may be observed, that these sad and melancholy appre- 
hensions concerning our state, increase or abate, as the distem- 
per that gives occasion thereunto more or less prevails. 
, Now that we may be able to determine whether our want 
of assurance proceeds from some natural cause or bodily dis- 
temper, we must enquire ; whether, before this, we have en- 
deavoured to walk in all good conscience in the sight of God i" 
to hate every false way, and make religion the great business 
of life, so that we cannot assign any reigning sin as the causs 
of our present desponding frame ? And also, whether we have 
been diligent in performing the duty of self-examination, and 
have been sensible that we stood in need of the Spirit's witnesr. 
with ours, in order to our arriving to a comfortable persuasiori 
that we are in a state of grace ? And if, as the result of these 
enquiries, >ve cannot see any cause leading to this dejection of 
spirit, but the unavoidable infirmities, which we are daily liable 
to, then we may probably conclude, that it arises from a dis^ 
temper of body. And, in order to our determining this matter, 
we must farther inquire ; whether some afflictive providence 
has not had an influence upon us, to bring us into a melancholy 
temper ? and whether this does not appear in what relates to 
our secular, as well as our spiritual concerns ? and if this be 
the case, though it be very afflictive, it is not attended with 
that guilt as it would be, had it been occasioned by some pre- 
sumptuous sin ; and there are other medicines to be used when 
it arises from this cause, besides those which are of a spiritual 
nature, that are contained in the gospel ; but what they are, it 
is not our business, in this place, to determine. 

(2.) Thete are many sins which are the occasion of a per- 
son's being destitute of assurance. As all the troubles of life 
are brought upon us by sin ; so are all our doubts and fears, 
arising from the want of a comfortable sense of, or interest in, 
the love of God. It pleases God, in the method of his provi- 
dence, thus to deal with his people, that he may humble them 
foi presumptuous sins ; more especially those that are commit- 
ted against light and conviction of conscience, that he may 
bring to remembrance their sins of omission, or neglect to exer- 
cise those graces in which the life of faith consists, that hereby 
they may feel the effect of their stupidity, indifferency, and car- 
nal security, or their engaging in religious duties, in their own 


strength, without dependence on the Spirit and grace of God, 
or a due sense of their inability to perform any duty in a right 
way. Or, sometimes, as has been before observed, they want: 
assurance, because they do not examine themselves^, which it, 
God's ordinance for the attaining this privilege ; or, if they do, 
they neglect to give that glory to the Holy Spirit which is due 
to him, by depending on his enlightening influence, whereby 
they may arrive to a comfortable persuasion of their interest: 
in Christ. 

(3.) Assurance is oftentimes weakened and intermitted 
through manifold temptations. Satan is very active in this 
matter, and shews his enmity against the interest of Christ in 
the souls of his people, as much as lies in his power, with this 
intent, that though it is impossible for him to ruin the soul, by 
rooting out that grace that is implanted in it ; yet he may dis- 
turb its peace, and weaken its assurance, and, if not prevented, 
hurry it into despair. In this case the general design of his 
teipptations is to represent God as a sin-revenging Judge, a 
consuming fire, and to present to our view, the threatenings 
whereby his wrath is revealed against sinners; and to endea- 
vour to set aside the promises of the gospel, from which alonie 
relief may be had. 

Moreover, he puts us upon considering sin, not only as 
heinously aggravated, (which may, for the most part be done 
with justice) but also as altogether unpardonable; and, at the 
same time pretends to insinuate ta us tliat we are not elected, 
or that Christ did not die for us. ; and therefore^ what he has 
done and suffered will not redound to our advantage. Now 
there is apparently the hand of Satan in this matter ; inasmuch 
as he attempts, by false methods of reasoning, to persuade us 
that we are not in a state of grace, or that God is an enemy 
to us ; and therefore our condition is desperate ; in which he 
uses the arts of the old serpent, that he may deceive us by draw- 
ing conclusions against ourselves from false premises, e. ^. be- 
cause we daily experience the internal workings of corrupt na- 
ture, which inclines us to many sins, both of omission and com- 
mission ; therefore there is no room for us to expect mercy and 
forgiveness from God. And from our barrenness and unpro- 
fitableness under the means of grace, our improvements not 
being proportioned to the obligations we have been laid under. 
Or because we have had great reason to charge ourselves with 
many declensions and backslidings, which afford matter for 
deep humiliation, and should put us upon sincere repentance, 
}ie endeavours to persuade us that we are altogether destitute 
of special grace. And whenever we are unprepared or indis- 
posed for the right performance of holy duties, and our aft'ec- 
iions are nut suitably raised, but grow stupid, remiss, and care-. 


less therein ; he puts us upon concluding that it is a vain thing 
for us to draw nigh to God, and that he has utt;;rly rejected, 
both our persons and services. Or^ if v/e are not favoured with 
immediate returns of prayer, and sensible communion with 
God therein ; he tempts us to infer, that we shall never obtain 
the blessing we are pressing after ; and therefore we may as 
well lay aside this duty, and say, why should I wait on the 
Lord any longer ? And if by this method he cannot discourage 
us from engaging in holy duties, he sometimes injects bias- 

5hemous thoughts cr unbecoming conceptions of the divine 
>lajesty, which fills the soul with the greatest grief and uneasi- 
ness, that hereby he might give us occasion to conclude that 
we sin in persisting therein ; and by all these temptations he 
endeavours to plunge us into the depths of despair. 

As to what concerns the purpose of God relating to the event 
of things : when we are led to determine that we are not elec- 
ted, this is alleged without sufficient ground, and therein he 
deceives us, by pursuing the same false methods of reasoning, 
and puts us upon presuming to enter into those secret things 
which do not belong to \is, because we deserve to be cast off 
by him for our sins, instead of giving diligence to make our 
calling and election sure. It is one thing not to be able to con- 
clude that we are elected j and another thing to say that we are 
not so : the former of these is the consequence of our present 
doubts and despondipg apprehensions concerning our state ; the 
latter is plainly a temptation of Satan : this we are often sub- 
ject to, when we have lost that assurance of our interest in 
Christ that we once enjoyedt 

(-J-.) A believer's want of assurance is, for the most part, at- 
tended with, and arises from divine desertion ; not that we are 
to suppose that God will cast off his people, whom he has fore- 
known, effectually called and preserved hitherto, so as to for- 
sake them utterly ; for that is inconsistent v/ith his everlasting 
love, and the promises of the covenant of grace, which re;;pect 
their salvation. But that which we understand by divine deser- 
tions, is God's withdrawing his comforting presence, and with- 
holding the witness of his Spirit to the work of grace in the 
soul, from whence arises those doubts and fears which attend 
the want thereof ; as God says to his people. For a small mo- 
ment have /forsaken thee; but with great viercies xvill J gather 
thee, Isa. liv. 7. In this respect they are destitute of God's 
comforting presence ; though at the same time they may be fa- 
voured with his supporting presence, and those powerful in- 
fluences which are necessary to mahitain the work of grace ; 
which, at present, appears to be very weak and languishing. 

And this kads us to consider the last thing mentioned in this 
answer, viz. That though th?7 are thus described, they arc not 


left without such a presence and support of the Spirit of God, 
as keeps them from sinking into utter despair. This observa- 
tion ought to be explained and considered, with certain limita- 
tions, lest while on tlie one hand, we assert that which affords 
matter of encouragement to believers, Avhen they have some de- 
gree of hope, we should, on the other hand, throw discourage- 
ments in the way of others, who will be apt to imagine, when 
they are ready to !;ink into despair, that this is wholly incon- 
sistent with any direct act of faith. I dare not say that no be- 
liever was ever so far deserted as to be left to despair of his 
interest in Christ : inasmuch as scripture and daily experience 
give us instances of some, whose conversation in many respects 
discovers them to have had the truth of grace ; whom God 
has been pleased for wise ends, to leave to the terror of their 
own thoughts, and they have remained for some time, in the 
depths of despair ; and others have gone out of the world un- 
der a cloud, concerning whom there has been ground to hope 
their state was safe. Therefore it is somewhat difficult to de- 
termine what is meant in this ansv/cr, by a believer's being kept 
from sinking into utter despair : if the meaning is, that they 
have the supports of the Spirit of God, so as to be kept from 
relapsing into a state of unregeneracy, in their despairing con* 
dition, that may be easily accounted for ; or, if we are to un- 
derstand by it, that believers are not generally given up to the 
greatest degree of despair; especially such as is inconsistent 
with the exercise of any grace, that is not to be denied. But 
I would rather say, that though a believer may have despair- 
ing apprehensions concerning his state, and the guilt of sin lie 
upon him like a great weight, so as to depress his spirits, yet 
he shall not sink into endless miserj' ; for though darkness may 
continue for a night, light and joy shall come in the morning ; 
and accordingly we may consider, 

[1.] That though there are many who are far from having 
.assurance, yet they are at some times, favoured with a small 
glimmering of hope, which keeps them from utter despair. 

[2.] If they are in deep despair, yet they are not so far left 
as not to desire grace, though they conclude themselves to be 
destitute of it, or not to lament the loss of those comforts, and 
their being unable to exercise those graces which once they 
thought themselves possessed of. 

[3.] A believer, when in a despairing way, is notwithstand- 
ing enabled, by a direct act of faith, to give up himself to Christy 
though he cannot see his interest in him, and so, long for those 
experiences and comforts which he once enjoyed ; and when 
he is at the worst, he can say with Job, Thotigh he slay me, 
yet ivill I trust in him^ Job xiii. 15. 

[4.] In this case a person has generally such a degree of thf 


presence of God, as that he is enabled to justify him in all his 
dealings with him, and lay the blame of all the troubles that he 
is under, on himself; and this is attended with shame and con- 
fusion of face, self-abhorrence, and godly sorrow. 

[5.j Despairing believers have, notwithstanding, such a pre- 
sence of God with them, as keeps them from abandoning his 
interest, or running, with sinners, into all excess of riot, which 
would give occasion to others to conclude that they never had 
the truth of grace. 

From what has been said concerning true believers being 
destitute of assurance, and yet having some degree of the pre- 
sence of God with them at the same time, we may infer, 

Ist^ That this is not inconsistent with what has been said 
concerning a believer's perseverance in grace ; yet it must be 
considered with this limitation, that though the truth of grace 
shall not be lost, yet the comforts and evidences thereof may, 
and often are, 

^dlij, This should put us upon circumspect walking and 
■watchfulness against presumptuous sins, which, as has been 
before observed, are often the occasion of the loss of assurance ; 
and also on the exercise of a faith of reliance on Christ, for the 
maintaining the acts of grace, as well as restoring the comforts 

3d/i/^ This should instruct believers what to do v.'licn desti- 
tute of this privilege of assurance. We have observed that this 
is attended with divine desertion, which is generally occasioned 
by sins committed. Therefore let us say with Job, Shezu me 
•wherefore thou contendest with wc, chap. x. 2. let me know 
what are those secret sins by which I have provoked thee to 
leave me destitute of thy comforting presence ; enable me to be 
affected with, humbled for, and unfeignedly repent of them ; 
and exercise that faith in Christ which may be a means of my 
recovering that hope or assurance which I am, at present, des- 
titute of. 

4thli/y What has been said concerning a. believer's being des- 
titute of assurance, should put us upon sympathizing with those 
who are in a despairing way, and using endeavours to adminis- 
ter comfort to them, rather than censure them, or conclude 
them to be in an unregenerate state ; as Job's friends did him, 
because the hand of God had touched him, and he was desti- 
tute of his comforting presence. 

Sthly^ From what has been said concerning that degree of 
the presence of God which believers enjoy, v/hich has a ten- 
dency to keep them from utter despair, at least, from sinking 
into perdition, how disconsolate soever their case may be at 
present ; we may be induced to admire the goodness and faith.- 
fulness cf God in his dealings with h.is people, who will not 


lay more on them than he will enable them to bear; though 
they are comfortless and hopeless, yet they shall not be de- 
stroyed ; and, in the end, they shall be satisfied with God's lov- 
ing kindne:;o ; and when the clouds are all dispersed, they shall 
iiave a bright and glorious day in his immediate presence, 
where there ix fulness of joy ^ and at his rhght hand where there 
are pleasures for evermore, Psal. xvi. 11. 

Quest. LXXXII. what is the comnmnion in glory, xvhich the 
Tnt-mbcrs of the invisible church have with Christ? 

Answ. The communion in glory, which the members of the 
invisible church have with Christ, is, in this life, immediate- 
ly after death ; and at last perfected at the resurrection and 
day of judgment. 

AFTER having considered believers, or the members of the 
invisible churchy as enjoying this privilege of union with 
Christ, and, as the immediate consequence hereof, communion 
V. ith him. It has been farther observed, that this communion 
with him, is either in grace, or glory. Their communion v^ith 
liim in grace consists in their partaking of the virtue of his 
mediation, in their justification, adoption, and sanctification ; 
which have been particularly considered, together with other 
graces and comforts that accompany or flow from them. We 
are now led to speak concerning the communion which they 
have with him in glorj' ; which contains the highest privilege 
they are capable of receiving ; consisting in his giving them 
some right discoveries of the glory which they behold and en- 
joy by faith, in this life, and also of that which shall be imme- 
diate, and, in some respects, complete, after death ; and, at the 
resurrection and day of judgment, be brought, in all respects, 
to the utmost degree of perfection ; when their joy, as well as 
their happiness, shall be full, and continued throughout ail the 
ages of eternity. These are the subjects insisted on in several 
following answers, which remain to be considered in this iirs; 
part of the Catechism. 

Quest. LXXXIII. IVhat is the communion in glonj, ivith 
Christ, which the members eft he invisible church enjoy in this 
life f 

Answ. The members of the invisible church have communi- 
cated to them in this life, the fiist-fruits of glory with Christ, 
as they are members of him their head, and £0, in him, ar'-; 


interested in that glory which he is fully possessed of ; and 
as an earnest thereof, enjoy the sense of God's love, peacft 
of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, and hope of glory ; as, 
on the contrary, the sense of God's revenging wrath, horror 
of conscience, and a fearful expectation of judgment, are, to 
the wicked, the beginning of their torments which tliey shall 
- endure after death. 

THERE are two sorts of persons mentioned in this answer, 
namely, the righteous and the wicked, and the different 
condition of each of them considered, 

I. With respect to the righteous, who are here styled the 
members of the invisible church. There are several invalu- 
able privileges which they are made partakers of in this life, 
in which they are said to have a degree of communion in glo- 
ry with Christ ; particularly as they enjoy the first-fruits or 
earnest of that glory which they shall have with him hereafter : 
And that, 

1. As they are members of him, their head ; and accord- 
ingly may be said, in some respects, to be interested in that 
glory which he is fully possessed of. 

2. As they have a comfortable sense of his love to them, at- 
tended with peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, and 
an hope of glory. 

II. We have an account, on the other hand, of the dreadful 
condition of impenitent sinners, when God sets their iniquities 
in order before them ; which is represented in a very moving 
way. Thus they are said to be filled with a sense of God'.i 
revenging wrath, horror of conscience, and a fearful expecta- 
tion of judgment; which is considered as the beginning of those 
torments which they shall endure after death. 

I. There are several invaluable privileges which the rigl;- 
teous enjoy in this life, that are styled the first-fruits or earn- 
est of glory. Though Christ has reserved the fulness of glory 
for his people hereafter, when he brings them to heaven ; yet 
there are some small degrees thereof, which they enjoy in their 
"way to it. The crown of righteousness^ as the apostle speaks, 
is laid up for them^ xvhicli the righteous Judge shall give them 
at that day J 2 Tim. iv. 8. to wit, when we shall come to judg- 
ment ; then their joy shall be full ; they shall be satisfied in 
his likeness, and made compleatly blessed : Nevertheless there 
are some prelibations, or foretastes, which they have hereof, for 
their support and encouragement, while they are in this imper*- 
feet state. For the understanding of this it may be premised, 

1. That we are not to suppose that the present enjoyments 
which believers experience in the highest degree, do fully come 
up to those that are reserved for them. There is a great dif- 


ferencc as to the degree thereof. As a child that is newly borri 
has sometiiing in common with what he shall have when arrived 
at a state of manhood ; but there are several degrees, and other 
circumstances, in which he falls short of it : or, as a few drops 
are of the same nature with the whole collection of water in 
the ocean ; yet there is a very small proportion between one 
and the other : so the brightest discovery of the glory of God, 
which we are capable of enjoying in this v/orld ; or the com- 
fortable foretastes that believtirs have of heaven, fall very 
much short of that which they shall be possessed of, when 
they are received into it. And there are very great allays, 
and many things that tend to interrupt and abate their happi- 
ness, agreeably to the imperfection of this present state. What- 
ever grace they are enabled to act, though in an uncommon 
degree, is attended with a mixture of corruption ; and as their 
graces are imperfect, so are the comforts that arise from thence, 
which are interwoven with many things very afflictive ; so that 
they are not what they shall be, but are travelling through this 
wilderness to a better country, and exposed to many evils in 
their way thither. 

2. All believers do not enjoy these delights and pleasures 
that some are favoured with in their way to heaven ; the com- 
forts, as well as the graces, of the Holy Spirit, are bestowed 
in a way of sovereignty, to some more, and to others less • 
Some have reiison to say with the apostle, Thanks be unto Gody 
zuhich ahvaijs caiiscth us to triumph in Christ, 2 Cor. ii. 14. 
others are filled with doubts concerning their interest in him, 
and go mourning after him all the day ; and if they have, at 
some times a small glimpse of his glory, by which they con- 
clude themselves to be, as it were, in the suburbs of heaven, 
they soon lose it, and find themselves to be in the valley of the 
shadow of death, as the disciples, when they were with Christ 
at his transfiguration, which was an emblem of the heavenly 
blessedness, when his Jacc did shine as the sun, and his raiment 
was rvhite as the light; which occasioned them to say, it is good 
for us to be here ; before they had done speaking, or had time 
to reflect on their present enjoyment they were deprived of it 
when the cloud overshadozved them. Matt. xvii. 2, — 5. so the 
believer is not to expect uninterrupted communion with God, 
or perfect fruition with him here. However, tliat which we 
are at present to consider, is that degree thereof which some 
enjoy ; which is here called the first-fruits and earnest of glo- 
ry. The scripture sets it forth under both these expressions. 

(l.) They are said to receive the first-fruits thereof; or a«? 
the apostle styles it, The first-fruits of the Spirit, Rom. viii. 
23. that is, the graces and comforts of the Holy Ghost, which 
are the first-fruits of that blessedness, that they are said to wait 

Vol.. Ill, N n 


for ; "which is called the adoptzcn^ viz. those privileges which 
God's children shall be made partakers of ; or, the glorious 
liberty which they shall hereafter enjoy* This is styled, the 
first-fruits^ as alluding to the cluster of grapes, which they who 
were sent to spy out the land of Canaan, were ordered to bring 
to the Israelites in the wilderness, that hereby they might be 
encouraged in their expectation of the great plenty that was to 
be enjoyed when they were brought to it. Or, it has reference 
to the feast of ingathering, before the harvest, when they were 
to bring the sheaf which was first to be cut down, and xvave it 
before the Lord^ Lev. xxiii. 10, 11. compared with Deut. xxvi. 
10, 11. with thankfulness and joy, in expectation of the full 
harvest, which would be the reward of the industry and labour . 
of the husbandman. Thus believers are given not only to ex- 
pect, but to rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 

(2.) This is also called an earnest of glor}'. Thus believers 
are said to be sealed with that holy Spirit of promise which is 
the earnest of their Inheritance^ Eph. i. 13, 14. and elsewhere 
it is said, God hath given us the earnest of his Spirit^ 2 Cor. i. 
5. An earnest is a small sum, given in part of payment ; 
whereby they who receive it, are encouraged hereafter to ex- 
pect the whole : So a believer may conclude, that as sure as he 
now enjoys those spiritual privileges that accompany salvation, 
he shall not fail of that glory which they are an earnest of. la 
this respect God is pleased to give his people a wonderful in- 
stance of his condescending love, that they may hereby be led 
to know what the happiness of the heavenly state is, in a great- 
er degree than can be learned from all the descriptions that 
are given of it, by those who are destitute of this privilege. 
Heaven is the port to which every believer is bound, the re- 
ward of all those labours and difficulties which he sustains in 
his way to it ; and to quicken him to the greater diligence in 
pursuing after it, it is necessary that he should have his thoughts, 
meditation, and conversation there. The reason why God is 
pleased to give his people some foretastes thereof, is, that they 
may love and long for Christ's appearing, when they shall reap 
the full harvest of glory. Now this earnest, prelibation, or 
first-fruits of the heavenly blessedness which believers enjoy 
in this life, is considered in this answer. 

[1.] As it is included in that glory v/hich Christ is possess- 
ed of as their head and Mediator. 

[2.] As they have those graces wrought in them, and com- 
forts flowing from thence, which bear some small resemblance 
to what they shall hereafter be made partakers of. 

[1.] Christ's being possessed of the heavenly blessedness, as 
the head of his people, is an earnest of their salvation. For 
the understanding of which, let it be considered, that our Lord 


Jesus sustained this character, not only in what he suffered for 
them, that he might redeem tliem from the curse of the law ; 
but in the glory which he was afterwards advanced to ; Thus 
it is said, that he is risen from the dead^ and become thcjirst-fruit^ 
of them that slept^ 1 Cor. xv. 20. and accordingly they are said 
to be risen ivithhim^ Col. iii. 1. as respecting that communion 
which they have with him herein ; and when, after this, he as- 
cended into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of the Ma- 
jesty on high, his people are said to sit together in heavenly 
places in him, Eph. ii. 6. not that we are to suppose that they 
are made partakers of any branch of his mediatorial glory, or 
joined with him in the work which he there performs, as their 
exalted head : But his being considered as their representative, 
appearing in the presence oi God for them, is a foundation of 
their hope that they shall be brought hither at last ; and there- 
fore, when he is about to depart out of this world, he gave an 
intimation to his people, whom he left behind him in it, that he 
7i>ent to prepare a place for them, John xiv. 3. and assures them, 
that becaitse he lives they shall live also, ver. 19. 

[2.] The graces and comforts of the Holy Spirit, which be- 
lievers are made partakers of, may also be said to be a pledge 
and eaiTjest of eternal life. Heaven is a state in which grace 
is brought to perfection, which, at present, is only begun in the 
soul : nevertheless, the begi»'ning thereof affords ground of 
hope that it shall be compleated. As a curious artist^ when 
he draws the first lines of a picture, does not design to leave 
it unfinished ; or he that lays the foundation of a building, de- 
termines to carry it on gradually, till he has laid the top-stone 
of it ; so the work of grace, when begun by the Spirit, is a 
ground of hope that it shall not be left unfinished. As God 
would never have brought his people out of Egypt with an 
high hand and an outstretched arm, and divided the red sea 
before them, if he had not designed to bring them into the pro- 
mised land i so we may conclude, that when God has magni- 
fied his grace in delivering his people from the dominion of 
darkness, and translating them into the kingdom of his dear 
Son; when he has helped them hitherto, and given them a fair 
and beautiful prospect of the good land to which they are go- 
ing, he will not leave his work imperfect, nor suffer them to 
fall and perish in the way to it. Christ, in believers, is said 
to be the hope of glorij. Col. i. 27. and the joy which they have 
in believing, is said not only to be unspeakable, hwt full of glo- 
rify 1 Pet. i. 8. that is, it bears a small resemblan.ce to that joy 
■which they shall be filled with, when brought to glory, and 
therefore may well be styled the earnest or first-fruits of it. 

Now, that this may farther appear, let it be considered, that 
the happiness of heaven consists in the immediate vision and 

i'8-i' Oi' communion; wiiu cuitiiii in 'niis liie. 

fruition of God, where the saints behold his face in light and 
glory*, and enjoy all those comfortable Iruits and effects that 
arise from thence, which tend to make them compleatly hap- 
py. Thus it is said. They shell see him as he is, 1 John iii. 2. 
and they are said to enter into the Joy of their Lord, Matt. xxv. 
'21. Believers, it is true, are not in all respects, said to be par- 
takers of this blessedness here ; and their highest enjoyments 
bear but a very small proportion to it : Yet, when we speak 
of some as having the foretastes of it, we must consider, that 
there is something in the lively exercise of faith, and the joy 
that arises from it, when believers have attained the full assu- 
rance of the love of God, and have those sensible manifesta- 
tions of his comfortable presence with them, that bears some 
small resemblance to a life of glory. 

That which in some respects resembles the beatific vision, 
is a sight of God's reconciled face, and of their interest in all 
the blessings of the covenant of grace, by faith. It is true, the 
views which they have of the glory of God here, are not im- 
mediate, but at a distance ; and therefore they are said to be- 
hold, as in a^lass, the glory of the Lord, 2 Cor. iii. 18. Thus 
"^ve see things at a distance, as through a perspective glass, 
■which enlarges the object f, and brings it, as it were, near to the 
eye, though in reality, it be at a great distance from it ; and so 
gives us a clear discerning of th^t which could otherwise hard- 
ly be discovered : So faith givl^ us clearer views of this glory 
than we could have any other way. Hereby we are said to see 
him that is invisible, Heb. xi. 27. Thus, v/hen God bade Pilo- 
ses go up to the top of Pisgah, and strengthened his sight, he 
took a view of the whole land of Canaan, though without this 
he could only have beheld a small part thereof: So when God 
not only gives an eye of faith, but strengthens it in proportion 
to the views he designs it shall take of the heavenly state, that 
lies at so great a distance, the soul is enabled to see it, and 
herein has a faint emblem of the beatific vision, 

Moreover, as heaven is a state, in which the saints have the 
perfect fruition of those blessings Avhich tend to make them 
compleatly happy 5 the view which a believer is enabled, by 
,:faith, to take of his interest in Christ, and the glory he shall be 
made partaker of with him, is sometimes attended with such 
an extasy of joy and triumph, as is a kind of anticipation of that 
glory which he is not 3/et fully possessed of. Such an one is 
like an heir who wants but a few days of being of age ,° who 
does not look upon his estate with that distant view which he 
before did, but with the satisfaction and pleasure that arises 
from his being ready to enter into the possession of it ; or like 
one who after a long and tedious voyage, is within sight of hir^ 

• See Qiitsi. hcxxvi. xc. 

t ReSectirg as mirrcrs; or beholdLng; as by mirrors. 


liarbour, which he cannot but behold with a pleasure, which 
very^ much resembles that which he shall have when he enters 
into it ; this is more than a bare hope of heaven ; it is a full 
assurance, attended with a kind of sensation of those joys which 
are inexpressible, which render the believer a wonder to him- 
self, and afford the most convincing proof to others, that there 
is something real and substantial in the heavenly glory, where- 
of God is pleased to favour some of his people with the 
prelibations. That some have enjoyed such-like manifesta- 
tions of the divine love to them, and been filled with those rap- 
tures of joy, accompanying that assurance which they have had 
of their salvation, is evident from the experience which they 
have had of it in some extraordinary and memorable occurren- 
ces in life ; and others at the approach of death. 

Of this there are multitudes of instances transmitted to us in 
history : I shall content myself with a brief extract of some 
passages which we meet v.'ith in the life and death of some who 
appear to have had as comfortable a foretaste of the joys of 
heaven, as it is possible for any one to have in this world. And 
the first that I shall mention is that eminently learned and pious 
Dr. Rivet ; who, in his last sickness seemed to be in the very 
suburbs of heaven, signifying to all about him, what intimate 
communion he had with God, and fore-views of the heavenly 
state ; his assurance of being admitted into it ; and how earnest- 
ly he longed to be there : and, in the very close of life, one who 
stood by him could not forbear expressing himself to this pur- 
pose ; I cannot but think that he is now enjoying the vision of 
God, which gave him occasion to signify that it was so, as well 
as he was able to express himself, which account, and much 
more to the same purpose, is not only mentioned by the author 
of his last hours, but is taken notice of in a public funeral ora- 
tion, occasioned by his death.* 

And what a very worthy v/riter observes,! concerning that 
excellent servant of Christ, Mr. Rutherford, who recites some 

• Vid. Dauberi orat. Funeb. ad front. & Hor. JVoviss. r.f ca!c. Tom. 3. Jiiveii 
cpernm : in ivhich he in represented as saying, JVolite met cavia dolere, ultima hxc 
momenta nihil habent funesti ; corpus laugnet qiiidem, at anima Tobvre & consola- 
tione plena est, nee inipedit paries iste intergerinus, nebtda ista exigua, quo miuvs 
Incein Dei viileam. Atq ; ea-inde 7naffis tnugiscve optavit dissolvi i[> <nim Chrislo 
esse. Sufficit mi Dens cxclamabat subinde, snfficit, suscipe anima7n meam .- Ji/ori 
lamen moram impatienter fero. Expecto, credo, persevere, dimoveri nequeo, Dei 
Spiritiis meo spirit ni teslutur, me exjitiis snis esse. O amoretn inejfabilem ! id quod 
aentio, omnem exftressionem alte transcendit. Veni Domine Jtsu, veni, etenim deficio, 
7Utn quidem impatiens Domine, sed anima mea respicit te ut terra sicca. Preces &f 
^'otiim, ut Deus Paradisum aperiret, & huicjideli servo euofaciem suam ostenderet; 
Ms verbis supplevit ; cum animabus justorcm sanctijicatii ; ^>imen. Amen. Exinde 
iinffua pnepedita verbo offirmave; mox advocem adsta/itivm, ipsnmjamvisione Dei 
frni, annuere ; paulo post sub medium decimam matutiuavi p'acide in Domino ob- 

t .'^ee Fleming't Fulftlli^i^ oft}je Scripture, infol. Part 1. pog^ 28/. 


of his last words to this purpose, is very remarkable, who says^ 
'^ I shall shine, I shall see him as he is, and all the fair coin- 
**■ pany with him, and shall have my large share. It is no easy 
" thing to be a Christian ; but as for me, 1 have got the victory ; 
" and Christ is holding forth his arms to embrace me. I have 
" had my fears and faintings, as another sinful man, to be car- 
•^ ried through creditably; but as sure as ever he spake to me 
"* in his word, his Spirit witnessed to my heart, saying. Fear 
" not ; he had accepted my suffering, and the oiitgate should 
"• not be matter of prayer, but of praise." And a little before 
his death, after some fainting, he said, *' Now I feel, I believe, 
"' I enjoy, I rejoice, I feed on manna, I have angels' food, my 
'^ eyes shall see my Redeemer ; i know that he shall staled, at 
*' the latter day, on the earth, and I shall be caught up in the 
■^^ clouds to meet him in the air. I sleep in Christ ; and when 
** I awake I shall be sati'ilied with his likeness ; O for arms to 
*' embrace him !" And to one speaking concerning his painful- 
iress in the ministry, he cried out, " I disdain all ; the port I 
*'^ would be in at, is redemption and forgiveness of sins through 
*"' his blood." And thus, full of the Spirit ; yea, as it were over- 
come with sensible enjoyment, he breathes out his soul, his last 
words being these ; " Glory, glory dwelleth in Emmanuel's 
" land." 

To this I may add the account given of that great man Dr. 
Goodwin, in some memoirs of his life, composed out of his 
own papers published b)^ his son,* who intimates that he re- 
joiced in the thoughts that he was dying, and going to have a 
full and uninterrupted communion with God ; " I am going, 
** said he, to the three Persons with whonfi I have had com- 
" munion ; they have taken me, I did not take them ; I shall 
*' be changed in the twinkling of an eye ; all my lusts and cor- 
*' ruptions I shall be rid of, which I could not be here ; those 
*' croaking toads will fall off in a moment." And mentioning 
those great examples of faith, Heb. xi. said he, " All these died 
*' in faith. I could not have imagined I should ever had such 
*• a measure of faith in this hour; no, I could never have ima- 
**• gined it. My bow abides in strength. Is Christ divided ? 
*' No, I have the whole of his righteousness ; I am found in 
" him, not in my own righteousness, which is of the law ; but 
" in the righteousness which is of God, which is by faith of 
" Jesus Christ, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Chi'ist 
'' cannot love me better than he doth ; I think I cannot love 
** Christ better than I do ; I am swaliov/ed up in God :" and 
then he says, " Nov/ shall I ever be with the Ixird." With 
this assurance of faith, and fulness of joy his soul left this 

* i)C£ Dr. Gvod~.vm3 Works, Vol 5, in hi 3 Ufe,page 19. 


%vorld, and went to see and enjoy the reality of that blessed 
v^.^ate of glory. 

There is also an account, in the life and death of Mr. John 
Jaiieway, of the great £r,«:urancc and joy which he had in his 
last sickness, in which he expresses himself to this purpose ; 
" I am, through mercy, quite above the fears of death, and am 
" going unto him whom I love above life. O that I could let 
*' you know what 1 now feel ! O that I could shew you what 
" I see ! O that I could express the thousandth part of that 
" sweetness v/hich now I find in Christ! you would all then 
" think it worth the while to make it your business to be reli- 
*■'' gious. O my dear friends, you little think what a Christ is 
" worth upon a death-bed ! I would not, for a world, nay, for 
" millions of worlds, be now without Christ and a pardon. O 
" the glory ! the unspeakable glory that I behold ! Ivly heart 
" is full, my heart is full ; Christ smiles and I cannot choose 
'^ but smile. Can you find in your heart to stop me, who am 
" now going to the complete and eternal enjoyment of Christ"* 
" Would you keep me from my crown ? The arms of my 
*' blessed Saviour are open to embrace me ; the angels stand 
" ready to carry my soul into his bosom. O did you but see 
*' what I see, )-ou would all cry out with me, How long dear 
" Lord, come Lord Jesus, come quickly ? Or why are his 
** chariot-wheels so long a coming?" Much more to the same 
purpose may be found in the life of that excellent man, which 
is exceedingly affecting. 

And there is another who does not come short of liim in his 
death-bed triumphs ; * who says concerning himself, " Death 
" is not terrible, it is unstinged ; the curse of the fiery law is 
" done away : I bless his name I found him ; I am taken up 
" in blessing him ; I am dying rejoicing in the Lord : I long 
*' to l)e in the promised land ; I wait for thy salvation ; how 
*' long ! Come sweet Lord Jesus, take me by the hand ; I wait 
*' for thy salvation, as the watchman watcheth for the mom- 
" ing ; I am weary with delays ; I faint for thy salvation : Why 
" are his chariot-wheels so long a coming ? What moans he to 
" stay so long ? I am like to faint with delays." After that he 
" said, O Sirs, I could not believe that I could have born, and 
" bom cheerfully this rod so long : This is a miracle, pain with- 
" out pain. And this is not a fancy of a man disordered in ):ir. 
" brain, but of one lying in full composure : O blessed be God 
" that e 7'jr I was born ; O if I were where he is ! And yet, for 
" all this, God's v/ithdrawing from me vrould make me as AveaL 
" as water : all this I enjoy, though it be a miracle upon mira- 
" cle, would not make mc stand without new supply from God ; 

* S^e the Memoirs nf tht JJf'- of Mr. Tra'\h;rfov, Cn'y ''\ 


" the thing I rejoice in is, that God is altogether full ; and that 
'•' in the Mediator Christ Jesus, there is all the fulness of the 
" Godhead, and it will never run out. I am wonderfully helped 
*•' beyond the power of nature, though my body be sufficiently 
" teazed, yet my spirit is untouched." Much more to this pur- 
pose we have in the latter part of his life, which I shall close 
with one thing that is very remarkable. When he was appre- 
hensive that he was very near his death, he said, " When I 
*' fall so low that I am not able to speak, I'll shew you a sign 
'' of triumph, when I am near glory, if I be able ;" which ac- 
cordingly he did, by lifting up his hands, and clapping them, 
together, when he was speechless, and in the agonies of death. 

Many more instances might have been given to illustrate this 
argument, whereby it will evidently appear, that God is pleased, 
sometimes, to deal familiarly with men, by giving them extra- 
<3rdinary manifestations of his presence, before he brings them 
into the immediate enjoyment of himself in heaven ; which 
may be well called an earnest or prelibation thereof.* And it 
may serve as a farther illustration of an argument before in- 
sisted on,f to prove that assurance of God's love is attainable 
in this life, from the various instances of those who have been 
favoured with it. This assurance, as it may be observed, is 
accompanied with the lively acts of faith, by which it appears 
to be well grounded ; so that, as the apostle says. The God of 
hope is pleased to Jill thcjn with all Joy and peace in believing' ; 
whereby they abound in hope^ through the power of the Holy 
Ghost, Rom. xv. 13. in which respect it may be said, to use 
the prophet's words, that they Joy before thee, according to the 
Joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil, 
Isa. ix. o. This is like the appearing of the morning-star, which 
ushers in a bright and glorious day, and gives a full discovery 
to themselves and others, that there is much of heaven enjoyed 
in the way to it, by those whom God delights to honour. Thus 
concerning the communion in glory, which the members of the 
invisible church sometimes enjoy in this life | which leads us 
to consider, 

II. The miserable condition of the wicked in this life, when 
God is provoked, as a sin-revenging Judge, to fill them with 
a sense of his wrath ; from whence arises horror of conscience, 

* See this argument improved by Jifr. Fleming, in his Fjilfilling of the Scripture, 
I^dit. in Fol. pegs 394, & seq. in -ivhich he takes sex'eral remarkable p'Hiages out of 
,'Melchoir jidam's Lives, and gives severed instaiices of that extraordinary commU' 
r.ion -which some have had -with God, both in life and death ; whose conversation -was 
"U'ctl hnoivn in Scotland; so that he mentions it as ivhat is a matter undeniably true: 
and he relates other things coiicerning the assiirance and joy lohich som; have had; 
■luhich has afforded them the sxveetc.it comforts in prisons and dungeons, and given 
fhem a foretaste of heaven, when they have been calkd to suffer deal hfor Chrict's sake 

~ See I'uc-e 252, ante. 


and a fearful expectation of judgment ; which is the beginning 
of those torments which they shall endure after death, as it is 
observed in the latter part of this answer. We have many in- 
stances in scripture, of the punishment of sin in this world, in 
%vhom God is said to reprove and set their iniquities in order 
before their eyes^ Psal. 1. 21. which fills them with horror of 
conscience,* and leaves them in utter despair. They who once 
thought themselves in a prosperous condition, concerning whom. 
it is said, Their eyes stand out with fatness^ (hey have more than 
heart could wish^ Psal. Ixxiii. 7. yet their end was terrible, 
when it appears that they were set in slipperif places^ being cast 
doxvn into destruction^ broug-ht into desolation as in a moment^ 
and utterly consumed with terrors^ ver. 18, 19. 

We have a sad instance of this in Cain, after he had slain his 
brother, and fell under the curse of God, whereby he was sen- 
tenced to be a fugitive and vagabond in the earth. He separated 
himself indeed from the presence of the Lord, and the place in 
which he was worshipped ; but could not fly from the terrors of 
his own thoughts, or get any relief under the uneasiness of a 
guilty conscience ; which made him fear that he should be slain 
by the hand of eveiy one that met him; and complain, My 
punishtnefit is greater than I can hcar^ Gen. iv. 13. 

And some understand that expression of Lamech in the same 
sense, when he says, I have slain a man to my wounding^ and a 
young man to my hurt. If Cain shall be avenged seven-fold^ 
truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold. Gen. iv. 23, 24. The 
wi-ath of God was also denounced against Pashur ; as it is said, 
the Lord hath not called thy ?iame Pashur, but Idugor-missabib ; 
for thus saith the Lord, Ixvill make thee a terror to thyself and 
to all thy friends, Jer. xx. 3, 4. 

And Judas, after he had betrayed our Saviour, was filled 
with the terrors of an accusing conscience, which forced him 
to confess, not as a believing penitent, but a despairing crimi- 
nal ; / have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood ; 
after which it is said, He departed, and zvent and hanged him- 
self Matt, xxvii. 4, 5. Nothing is more terrible than this re- 
morse of conscience, which renders sinners inexpressibly mise- 
rable. This is a punishment inflicted on those who sin w ilfully, 
presumptuously, and obstinately against the checks of con- 
science and rebukes of providence, and various warnings to the 
contrar}^, who treasure up to themselves wrath against the day 
of wrath ; who are contentious, and do not obey the truth ; that 
is, they are so far from obeying it, that they persecute and op- 
pose it; and, on the other hand, obey unrighteousness : to these 
belong, as the apostle says, indignation and xvrath, tribulation 

* See Vol II. page 151 

Vol. III. O o 


and anguish^ Rom. ii. 5, 8, 9. This not only waits for them, as 
laid up in store^ and sealed up among God''s treasures^ to whom 
'vengeance belongeth^ Deut. xxxii. 34, Z5. but they are made to 
taste the bitterness of that cup, which shall afterwards be pour- 
ed forth without mixture. In this world their eijes shall see 
their destruction^ and afterwards they shall drink of the wrath 
of the Almighty^ Job xxi. 20. This is a most affectmg subject ; 
how awful a thing is it to see a person surrounded with mise- 
ries, and, at the same time, shut up in darkness, and left des- 
titute of hope ! With what horror and anguish was the soul 
of Saul filled, when he uttered that doleful complaint ; / am 
sore distressed ; for the Philistines make rvar against me, and 
God is departed from me, 1 Sam. xxviii. 15. much inore for a 
person to apprehend himself fallen into the hands of the living 
God, who is a consuming fire ; and having nothing left but the 
fearful expectation of future judgment, and an abyss of woes 
that will ensue hereupon. These are the evils that some en- 
dure in this life ; which is no less terrible to them than the 
comfortable foretastes of the love of God are joyful to the 

From the different viev/ of the end of the wicked, and the 
righteous, many useful instructions may be learned. 

1. When we consider the wicked as distressed with the af- 
flicting sense of what they feel, and with the dread of that 
wrath which they would fain flee from, but cannot, we may 

(1.) That a state of unregenerac)', whatever advantages may 
attend it, as to the outward blessings of common providence, is 
a very sad and deplorable condition, far from being the object 
of choice to those who duly consider the consequences here- 
of. The present amusements that arise from the enjoyment of 
sensual pleasures, from whence the sinner concludes himself to 
be happy, is the most miserable instance of self-deceit, and will 
appear to be so, if we consider the end thereof, or that the 
triumphing of the xvicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite 
but for a moment. Job xx. 5. and after that, nothing shall re- 
main but what wounds his spirit, and makes his misery into- 

(2.) When we meet with instances of persons sunk in the 
depths of despair, and tormenting themselves with the fore 
views of hell and destruction, let this be a warning to others 
to flee from the wrath to come. I would not be peremptory in 
passinjj, a judgment on the state of those who apprehend them- 
selves to be irretrievably lost, and feel those terrors in their 
consciences which no tongue can express. A person can hard- 
ly read the account of the despair of poor Spira, soon after 
the reformation ; and how much his sentiments concerning 


^limsclf, resembled the punishment of sin in hell, without trem- 
bling : he was, indeed, a sad instance, of the wrath of God 
breaking in upon conscience ; and is set up as a monument to 
warn otiiers, to take heed of apostacy ; and in this, and such- 
like instances, we have a convincing proof of the realitv of a 
future state of misery ; or, that the punishment of sin in hell 
is not an ungi-ounded fancy : nevenheless, it is not for us to 
enter into those secrets which belong not to us, or to reckon 
him among the damned in another world, because he reckoned 
himself among them in this. And as for any others that we 
may see in the like circumstances, we ai-e not so much to pass 
a judgment concerning their future state, as to infer the despe- 
rate estate of sinners, when left of God, and to bless him that 
it is not our case. And on the other hand, let not unregenerate 
sinners think that they are safe, merely because their consciences 
are quiet, or rather stupid, since that false peace, which they 
have, is no better than the hope of the hypocrite^ which shall 
perish^ and be cut off; and his trust shall be as a spider'^s xveby 
if he continue in his present condition. 

From what has been said concerning the happiness of the 
righteous, in the enjoyment they have of the first fruits of the 
heavenlv glory, we may learn, 

(1.) That this may afford farther conviction to us, that there 
is a state of complete blessedness reserved for the saints in ano- 
ther world ; since, besides the arguments we have to prove this 
taken from scripture, we have others founded in experience, so 
far as it is possible for any to attain to the joys of heaven be- 
fore they come there. Though the instances we have here given 
thereof are uncommon, yet this inference from them is just, 
and may alFord matter of conviction to those who are wholly 
taken up with earthly things, and have no taste of, nor delight 
in things spiritual, that religion has its own rewards attending 
it, and consequently that a believer is the only happy man in 
the world. 

(2.) This may serve as an encouraging motive to induce 
Christians to hold on their way. Whatever difficulties or dis- 
tressing providences they may meet with in this life, if they 
have the earnest and foretastes of heaven at any time, this will 
make their afflictions seem light; inasmuch as they work for 
them a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. And 
if they are rather waiting and hoping for them, than actually 
enjoying them, let them adore and depend on the sovereignty 
of God, who dispenses these comforts when he pleases : and if 
they are destitute of the joy of faith, let them endeavour to be 
found in the lively exercise of the direct acts thereof, trusting 
in Christ, though they have not such sensible communion with 
him as others have ; and let them bless God, (though they have 

292 OF DEATH. 

not those foretastes of the heavenly glory, which accompany a 
full assurance thereof,) if they have a quiet, composed frame 
of spirit, and are not given up to desponding thoughts, or un- 
believing fears, and have ground to conclude, that though their 
state be not so comfortable as that of others ; yet it is no less 
safe, and shall, at last, issue into the fruition of that felicity of 
which others have the first-fruits here on earth. 

(3.) Let them who are at any time favoured with this pri- 
vilege of assurance, and the joy that arises from it, walk very 
humbly with God, as being sensible that this frame of spirit is 
not owing to themselves, but to the quickening and sealing in- 
fluences of the Holy Ghost ; and if, by neglecting to depend 
on him for the continuance thereof, we provoke him to leave 
us to ourselves, we shall soon lose this desirable frame, and be 
left in darkness : since as without him we can do nothing, so 
without his continued presence we can enjoy none of those pri- 
vileges which tend to make our lives comfortable, and give us 
an anticipation of future glory. 

Quest. LXXXIV. Shall all men die ? 

Answ. Death being threatened as the wages of sin, it is ap- 
pointed unto all men once to die j for that all have sinned. 

Quest. LXXXV. Death being the xvages of sin^ xvhy are not 
the righteous delivered from death^ seeing all their sins are 
forgiven in Christ ? 

Answ. The righteous shall be delivered from death itself at 
the last day, and even in death are delivered from the sting 
and curse of it ; so that, although they die, yet it is out of 
God's love, to free them perfectly from sin and misery, and 
to make them capable of farther communion with Christ in 
glory, which they then enter upon. 

IN these answers we have an account, 
I. Of the unalterable purpose of God, or his appointment 
that all men once must die ; which is also considered as the 
wages of sin. 

II. It is supposed, that death has a sting and curse attending 
it with respect to force. 

III. It is the peculiar privilege of the righteous, that though 
they shall not be delivered from death, yet this shall redound 
to their advantage : For, 

1, The sting and curse of it is taken from them. 

2, Their dying is the result of God's love to them j and that 
m three respects. 

or DEATH. 293 

(1.) As they are thereby freed from shi and misery. 

(2.) As they are made capable of farther communion with 
Clirist in glory, beyond what they can have in this world. 

(3.) As they shall immediately enter upon that glorious and 
blessed state when they die. 

I. God has determined, by an unalterable purpose and de- 
cree, that all men must die. Whatever different sentiments per- 
sons may have about other things, this remains an incontesta- 
ble truth. We have as much reason to conclude that we shall 
leave the world, as, at present, we have that we live in it. I 
knoxv^ says Job, that thou ivilt bring me to deaths and to the 
house appointed for all livings Job xxx. 23. and upon this ac- 
rount the Psalmist says, I am a stranger with thee, and a so- 
joarner, as all mij fathers were, Psal. xxxix. 12. And if scrip- 
ture had been v/hoUy silent about the frailty of maji, daily ex- 
perience would have afforded a sufficient proof of it. We have 
much said concerning man's mortality in the writings of the 
heathen ; but they are at a loss to determine the origin or first 
cause of it ; and therefore they consider it as the unavoidable 
consequence of the frame of nature, arising from the contexture 
thereof, as that which is formed out of the dust must be resol- 
ved into its first principle ', or that which is composed of flesh 
and blood, cannot but be liable to corruption. But we have this 
matter set in a true light in scripture, which considers death as 
the consequence of man's first apostacy from God. Before this 
he was immortal, and would have always remained so, had he 
not violated the covenant, in which the continuance of his im- 
mortality was secured to him ; the care of providence would 
have prevented a dissolution, either from the decays of nature, 
or any external means leading to it. And therefore some of the 
Socinian writers have been very bold in contradicting the ex- 
press account we have hereof in Scripture, when they assert 
that death was, at first, the consequence of nature ;* for which 
reason man would have been liable to it, though he had not 
sinned ; whereas the apostle says, By one man sin entered into 
the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men^ 
for that all have sinned, Rom. v. 12. 

We have a particular account of this in the sentence God 
passed on our first parents immediately after their fall ; when 
having denounced a curse upon the ground for their sake, he 
says, Dust thou art, and unto dust shall thou return. Gen. iii. 
19. And it may be observed, that as this is unavoidable, pur- 
suant to the decree of God, so the constitution of our nature, 
as well as the external dispensations of providence, lead to it. 
This sentence no sooner took place, but the temperament of 

• Seq-uela nature. 

294 OF DEATH. 

human bodies was altered,* the jarring principles of nature, on 
the due temperament whereof hfe and health depends, could 
not but have a tendency by degrees to destroy the frame there- 
of; if there be too great a confluence of humours, or a defect 
thereof; if heat or cold immoderately prevails; if the circula- 
tion of the blood and juices be too swift or slow : or if the food 
on which we live, or the air which we breathe be not agreeable 
to the constitution of our nature, or any external violence be 
offered to it ; all these things have a necessary tendency to 
weaken the frame of nature, and bring on a dissolution. David 
includes the various means by which men die, in three general 
heads, speaking concerning Saul, The Lord shall Sfnzte liirn^ or 
his day shall come to die^ or he shall descend into battle^ and 
perish: the Lord shall smite him^ 1 Sam. xxvi. 10. denotes a 
person's dying by a sudden stroke of providence, in which there 
is the more immediate hand of God ; and Wis falling' into battle^ 
a violent death by the hands of men ; in both which respects 
men die before that time which they might have lived to, ac- 
cording to the course of nature ; and what is said concerning 
his dai/s coming" to die; that is, a person's dying what we call 
a natural death, or when nature is so spent and wasted that it 
can no longer subsist by all the skill of the physicians, or vir- 
tue of medicine ; and then the soul leaves its habitation, when 
it is not longer able to perform the functions of life. 

We might here consider those diseases that are the fore-run- 
ners of death, which sometimes are more acute ; and by this 
means, as one elegantly expresses it, nature feels the cruel vic- 
tory before it yields to the enemy. As a ship that is tossed by 
a mighty tempest, and by the concussion of the winds and 
waves, loses its rudder and masts, takes water in every part, 
and gradually sinks into the ocean : so in the shipwreck of na- 
ture, the body is so shaken and weakened by the violence of a 
disease, that the senses, the animal and vital operations decline, 
and, at last, are extinguished in death. f This seemed so for- 
midable to good Hezekiah, that he utters that mournful com- 
plaint, Mine age is departed and removed from me as a shep- 
hcrd\s tent : I have cut off like a zveaver^ my life ; he will cut me 
off' with pining sickness : from day even to nighty xvilt thou fnake 
an end of me. /reckoned till the mor?iing\ that as a lion^ so will 
fie break all my bones : from day even to night wilt thou make an 
cndofme^ Isa. xxxvii. 12, 13. 

We might here consider the empire of death as universal ; 
as the wise man says, One generation passeth azvay, and ano- 
ther generation cometh^ Eccl. i. 4. and then they pass away also, 
like the ebbing and flowing of the sea. Death spares none ; the 

* Before ihia there vjo.'i -.vhat some call tcinperamentum ad pondus, ivhich twis 
loxi b'j fiin ,- and a broken constitiition, leadlnjf to mortallt'j ensued !hereupon. 
' See Dr. BaCcs on Death, chnp. ii. 

or DKATH. ~9.^ 

Strongest constitution can no moi-e withstand its stroke, than 
the weakest ; no age of man is exempted from it. This is beau- 
tifully described by Job ; One dictli in his full strength^ being 
■wholhj at case and f/uiet : his breasts are full of milk^ a?id his 
bones are moistened xvith marrorv : and another dieth in the bit- 
terness of his soul ; and never eateth xvith- pleasure : they shall 
lie down alike in the dust, and the worms shall cover them, Job 
xxi. 23 — 26. 

We might also consider the body after death, as a prey foi* 
worms, the seat of corruption ; and lodged in the grave, the 
house appointed for all living ; and then an end is put to all the 
actions, as well as enjoyments of this life ; and, as the Psalmist: 
speaks, In that vcrij day all their thoughts perish^ Psal. cxlvi. 4. 
Whatever they have been projecting, whatever schemes thev 
have laid, either for themselves or others, are all broken : as 
the historian observes concerning the Roman emperor, thai: 
when he had formed great designs for the advantage of the 
empire,* death broke ail his measures, and prevented the exe- 
cution thereof. 

We might also consider it as putting an end to our present 
enjoyments, removing us from the society of our deaiest friends, 
to a dismal and frightful solitude. T'his was one of the conse- 
quences thereof, that was very afflictive to Hezekiah, when he 
says, / shall behold jnan no more xvith tlie inhabitants of the 
worlds Isa. xxxviii. 11. It also strips us of all our possessions, 
and the honours we have been advanced to in this world, as 
the Psalmist speaks, When he dieth he shall carrij nothing 
axvay, his glory shall not descend after him, Psal. xlix. 27. 

We might also consider the time of life and death as being 
in God's hand. As we were brought into the world by the so- 
vereignty of his providence, so we are called out of it at his 
pleasure ; concerning whom it is said, Our times are in his hand^ 
Psal. xxxi. 15. So that as nothing is more certain than death, 
nothing is more uncertain to us than the time when. I'his God 
has concealed from us for wise ends. Did we know that we 
should soon die, it would discourage us from attempting any 
thing great in life ; and did we know that the lease of life was 
long, and we should certainly arrive to old age; tliis might oc- 
casion the delaying all concerns about our soul's welfare, as 
presuming that it was time enough to think of the afiairs of 
religion and another world, when we apprehend ourselves to 
be near the confines thereof; and therefore, God has by this, 
made it our wisdom, as well as our duty, to be waiting all the 
days of our appointed time, till our change come. 

From what has been said under this head, we may leain, 

1. The vanity of man as mortal. Indeed, if we look on be- 
lievers as enjoying that happiness which lies beyond the grave, 

* Vid. Sxiiton. i?: Vit. J...'. Cx:. TaHa ci'in'.em c.tq ; mrJifaJ:::'^': ^Kors p!\ize>:-i';. 

296 OF DEATH. 

there is a very difterent view of things ; bul as to vvliat re- 
spects the world we have reason to say as the Psalmist does, 
Verilt/y every man at his best estate is altogether vanity^ PsaU 
xxxix. 5. We may see the vanity of all those honours and 
carnal pleasures which many pursue with so much eagerness, 
as though they had nothing else to mind, nothing to make pro- 
vision for but the flesh, which they do at the expence of that 
which is in itself most excellent and desirable : We may also 

2. That this affords an undeniable and universal motive to 
humility; since death knows no distinction of persons, regards 
the rich no more than the poor ; puts no mark of distinction 
between the remains of a prince and a peasant ; and not only 
takes away every thing that men value themselves upon, but 
levels the highest part of mankind with common dust : They 
who boast of their extract, descent, and kindred, are obliged, 
with Job, to say, to corruptioUy Thou art viij father ; to the 
zvonUy Thou art my mother and my sister^ Job xvii. 14. Shall 
we be proud of our habitations, xvho dxvell in houses of clay ^ 
■whose foundation is in the dust f chap. iv. 19. Are any proud 
of their youth and beauty ? this is, at best, but like a flower 
that does not abide long in its bloom, and when cut down, it 
withers. The finest features are not only spoiled by death, but 
rendered unpleasant and ghastly to behold ', and accordingly 
are removed out of sight, and laid in the grave. 

3. From the consideration of man's liableness to death, and 
those diseases that lead to it, as the wages of sin, we may in- 
fer ; that sin is a bitter and formidable evil. The cause is to 
be judged of by its effects. As death, accompanied with all 
those diseases which are the forerunners of it, is the greatest 
natural evil that we are liable to ; sin, from whence it took its 
rise, must be the greatest moral evil ; v/e should never reflect 
on the one without lying low before God in a sense of the 
other. The Psalmist, when meditating on his own mortality, 
traces it to the spring thereof; and ascribes it to those rebukes 
with which God corrects men for their iniquities^ that they die, 
and their beauty consumes away like a moth^ Psal. xxxix. II. 
And elsewhere, when he compares the life of man to the grass y 
which in the morning fiourishethy and groxoeth up ; and in the 
e'-.jening is cut doxvn and xvitherethy he immediately adds ; thou 
hast set our iniquities before theCy our secret sins in the light of 
thy countenance, Psal. xc. 6, 8. And when Hezekiah had an 
intimation of his recovery, after he had the sentence of death 
within himself, he speaks of his deliverance from the pit of cor- 
ruptiony Isa. xxxviii. 17. as that which was accompanied with 
God's casting all his siyis behind his back. And since we can- 
not be delivered from these sad effects of sin, till the frame of 

OF DEATH. 2.97 

nature is dissolved, and afterwards rebuilt ; if should put us 
upon using those proper methods whereby we may be freed. 
from the guilt and dominion thereof; and accordingly it should 
have a tendency to promote a life of holiness in us. 

4. From the uncertainty of life, let us be induced to improve 
our present time, and endeavour so to live, as that, when God 
calls us hence, we may be ready. And therefore, we ought 
to pray with the Psalmist, So teach us to number our days, that 
zue maij npphj our hearts unto iv'isdorn, Psal. xc. 12. that by this 
means, that which deprives us of all earthly enjoyments, may 
give us an admission into a better world, and be the gate to 
eternal life. This leads us to consider, 

II. That death has a sting and curse annexed to it, with re- 
spect to some. Thus the apostle expressly says, The sting of 
death is sin, 1 Cor. xv. 56. As sin at first brought death into 
the world ; so it is the guilt thereof, lying on the consciences 
of men, which is the principal thing that makes them afraid to 
leave the world ; not but that death is, in itself, an evil that 
nature cannot think of without some reluctancy. And there- 
fore the apostle Paul, although he expresses that assurance 
which he had of happiness in another world, which he groaned 
after, and earnestly longed to be possessed of; yet had it been 
put to his choice, he would have wished that he could have been 
clothed upon ruith the house which isfro?n heaven, 2 Cor. v. 2. 
that is, had it been the v.ill of God, that he might have been 
brought to heaven Avithout going the way of all the earth, this 
would have been more agreeable to nature. But when the two 
evils of death meet together, namely, that which is abhorrent 
to nature, and the sting which makes it much more formidable, 
this is, beyond measure, distressing. In this answer, the sting 
and curse of death are both put together, a^ implying the same 
thing. Accordingly, it is that whereby a person apprehends 
himself liable to the condemning sentence of the law, separated 
from God, and excluded from his favour, so that death ap- 
pears to him to be the beginning of sorrows ; this is that which 
tends to embitter it, and fills him with dread and horror at the 
thoughts of it. Which leads us, 

III. To shew that it is the peculiar privilege of the righte- 
ous, that though they shall not be delivered from death, yet 
this shall redound to their advantage. That they shall not be 
exempted from death is evident ; because the decree of God 
relating hereunto, extends to all men. We read, indeed, of 
two that escaped the grave, viz. Enoch, who was translated 
that he should not see death, and Elijah, who was carried to 
heaven in a fiery chariot ; but these are extraordinary instan- 
ces, not designed as precedents, by which we may judge of the 
common lot of believers. And the saints th«t shall be found 

Vol. III. P p 

299 or BJEATir. 

alive at Christ's second coming, shall undergo a change *, as 
the apostle speaks ; which though it be equivalent to death, it 
cannot properly be styled a dying ; inasmuch as he opposes it 
thereunto, when he says, IVe shall not all sleeps but xve shall all 
he cha7iged, 1 Cor. xv. 51. and he speaks of it as a future dis- 
pensation of providence, which does not immediately concern 
«s in this present age. Therefore we must not conclude that 
believers are delivered from the stroke of death ; nevertheless, 
this is ordered for their good, as the apostle says, with a par- 
ticular application to hiniself. For me to die is gaiii^ Phil. i. 21. 
And when he speaks of the many blessings that believers have 
in possession or in reversion, he says. Death is yours; as though 
he should say, it shall redound to your advantage ; and this it 
does if we consider, 

1. That the sting of death is taken away from them. This 
is the result of their being in a justified state ; for since a per- 
son's being liable to the condemning sentence of the law is the 
principal thing that has a tendency to make him uneasy, and 
may be truly called the sting that wounds the conscience ; so 
a sense of his interest in forgiveness through the blood of Christ, 
tends to give peace to it ; such an one can say, who shall lay 
any thing to my charge ? It is God that justifieth ; or though 
I have coi^tracted guilt, which renders me unworthy of his fa- 
vour ; yet I am persuaded that this guilt is removed ; and 
therefore iniquity shall not be my ruin ; and even death itself 
shall bring me to the possession of those blessings that were 
purchased for me by the blood of Christ, which I have been 
enabled to apply to myself by faith ; and with this confidence 
he can say with the apostle, death^ -where is thy sting ? 
gra'je^ xvhere is thy victory f 1 Cor» xv. 55, 

2. Their dying is an instance of God's love to them. As 
those whom Cnrist is said to \vA.\t loved in the xvorld^ he loved 
unto the end of his life ; so he loves them to the end of theirs> 
John xiii. 1. And as nothing has hitherto separated them 
from this love, nothing shall be able to do it. There are thres 
instances wherein the love of God to dying believers discovers 

(1.) In that they are hereby freed from sin and misery ; this 
they never were, nor can be till then. As for sin, there are the 
remainders, thereof in the best of men, M'hich give them great 
disturbance^ and occasion for that daily conflict which there is 
between flesh and spirit, as has been before observed. But at 
death the conflict will be at an end, and the victory which they 
shall obtain over it, compleat. There shall be no law in the 
members warring against the law of the mind ; no i)ropcnsity 
or inclination to what is evil ; nor any guilt or defilement con- 
* See 'mors of this in Quest. Ixxxvii. 

OF DEATH. 299 

tracted ; which would be inconsistent v/ith a state of perfect 
holiness. And as it is a state of perfect happiness, there is an 
entire freedom from all those miseries which sin brought into 
this lower world. These are either internal or external, per- 
sonal or relative ; none of which shall occur to allay, or give 
any disturbance to the saints' blessedness after death. But 
more of this will be considered under a following answer ; in 
which we shall be led to speak of the happiness of the righ- 
teous at the day of judgment, both in soul and body * ; and 
therefore we proceed to consider, 

(2.) That the death of a believer appears to be an instance 
of divine love, in that hereby he is made capable of farther 
communion with Christ in glory. Persons must be made meet 
for heaven before they are admitted to it. Though our pre- 
sent season and day of grace is a time in which God is train- 
ing his people up for glory ; and there is an habitual prepara- 
tion for it, when the work of grace is begun ; which is what 
the apostle intends when he speaks of some who are made meet 
to he made partakers of the inheritance of the saints in lights 
Col. ii. 12. when they were first translated into Christ's king- 
dom : nevertheless this falls very short of that actual meet- 
ness which the saints must have when they are brought to the 
possession of the heavenly blessedness. Then they ^hall be 
made perfect in holiness, as will be observed in the next an- 
swer ; otherwise there can be no perfect happiness. 

And besides this, the soul must be more enlarged, that here- 
by it may be enabled to receive the immediate discoveries of 
the divine glory, or to converse with the heavenly inhabitants, 
than it can be here. The frame of nature must be changed ; 
which is what the apostle intends, when he says. Flesh and 
blood cannot inherit the kingdom ofGod^ neither doth corruption 
inherit incorruption^ 1 Cor. xv. 50. accordingly he adds, ver. 
53. This corruptible must put on incorruption^ and this mortal 
must put on immortality ; whereby he intimates, that frail, mor- 
tal, and corruptible man, is not able to bear that glory which 
is reserved for a state of immortality* Therefore the soul 
must be so changed as to be rendered receptive thereof; and 
in order thereto, all its powers and faculties must be greatly 
enlarged ; otherwise it can no more receive the immediate rays 
of the divine glory, than the weak and distempered eye can 
look steady on the sun shining in its meridian brightness. In 
this world our ideas of divine things are very imperfect, by 
reason of the narrowness of our capacities, and God conde- 
scends to reveal himself to us in proportion thereto; but when 
the saints shall see him as he is, or have a perfect and imme- 
diate vision and fruition of his glory, they shall be made recep- 

300 ur DEATH. 

tive of it ; this is done at death ; whereby ttity are rendered 
capable of farther communion with Christ in glory, (a) 

(a) The belief of a separate state is very ancient. Cicero and Seneca have as- 
serted, that all nations believed the immortality of the soul. Yet we know there 
■were not only individuals, but sects who were exceptions. Saul the first kir,{:j 
of Israel believed that the soul survived the death of the body, or he would nei- 
ther have made laws against necromancers, nor have applied to one in his dis- 
tresses. If Samuel was raised, it is a fact, directly in point, but the words thougli 
exjiress, are probably an accommodation to the sentiments of men. The son (jf 
Sirach who lived two hundred years before Cln-ist, says that Samuel prophesied 
after he was dead. (Ecclus. c. 46. v. 20) And Josephus in his account of th'i 
life of Sail!, shows his belief to be that Samuel actu.-dly arose. I'he same feats 
of apparitions which the disciples had, still exist with the common people, and are 
proofs that they entertain the same sentiment. 

Some of the Pharisees, who are represented as believing a separate state, 
tliought souls might retiu^n to other bodies. This was the opinion of Josephus 
■with respect to the virtuous ; and also of those Jews, who supposed tliat Jesus 
■was Elijah or Jeremiah ; but the question of the disciples, whether a man had 
been born blind for his own sins, implies apossibility of a return also of the wick- 
ed into other bodies. Nevertheless the prevailing opinion of the Pharisees was 
of a separate state ; otherwise Paul's professing their sentiments, which must 
liave been known to him, was disingenuous ; nor, if they had known the diffi rence, 
would they have protected him. The approbation of the multitude wlien he 
proved the doctrine from the words of Jehovah to Moses at the bush, (Matt. sxii. 
32.) and the parabla of Lazarus and the rich man, evmce that the common opi- 
nion was such. 

This subject, has been enlightened, not first brought tolight, through the Gospel, 
but plainly asserted ; this day shalt thou be -with me in paradise. At home in the body, 
and absent from the J^ord, absent from the body, and present with the Lord, is de- 
scriptive but of two states. The desire to depart to be -with Christ, shows an im- 
mediate expectation. And otherwise it cannot be said that the spirits of just men 
are made perfect. 

The Jews, Greeks, and Romans assigned the Heaven to the gods, earth to men, 
atid under tlie earth (/INK', aJji?, inferi) to the dead. The passages " the spi- 
rit shall return to God," and " the spirit of a man goeth upwards" are not ex- 
ceptions, for then they would prove that the evil, as well as the good, went to hea- 
ven. That the spirit is disposed of by God, and that the spirit of a man survives 
the death of the body, seem to be all th.it is respectively implied. Samuel was 
'believed to come out of, and return to his place under the earth ; and Saul was 
to be with him, below the earth ; but, possibly, in a different apartment. Thus 
Abraham and Lazarus were in sight of, and only divided from the man in tor- 
ments by a gulph. 

Under the gospel the place of separate saints is representee! to be in Heaven. 
Heaven had been always assigned to God among the Jews, and even the heathens 
thought it the most honourable place : Virgil assigned it to Cssar. Jesus declared 
he came from thence, and would return thither ; and for the comfort of his disci- 
ples, told them, be would prepare a place for them, and take them to himself. 
They saw him actually ascend. He is to come from thence, and to bring them 
with him to judgment. 

This change of representation implies no contradiction, for pure spii-its are not 
confined to place. Our sovds are connected with our bodies, and therelbre go and 
come with, or rather in them. But when the connexion is broken, the soul can- 
not be said to be in one place more than anotlter, except as it is occupied v/itli 
material objects. It can attend tct)ne thing only at once, and therefore when in, 
it cannot be out of the body, and must be wherever occupied, but not in any 
place, except concerned with material objects. The infinite Spirit iiad no con- 
.■".eiion with space in all the eternity which preceded creation ; since time began 


(3.) At death believers immediately enter upon, and are ad- 
mitted into the possession of this glory. At the same time that 
the soul is enlarged and fitted for the work and enjoyment of 
heaven, it is received into it ; where it shall have an uninter- 
rupted communion with Christ in glory ; which is the subject 
insisted on in the following answer. 

QuF.sT. LXXXVI. JFhat is the com>nunion in g'ory ivitk 
Christy which the members of the invisible church enjoy im- 
mcdiatehj after death P 

Answ. The communion in glory with Christ, which the mem- 
bers of the invisible church enjoy immediately after death, 
is, in that their souls are then made perfect in holiness, and 
received into the highest heavens, where they behold the 
face of God in light and glory, waiting for the full redemp- 
tion of' their bodies, v/hich, even in death, continue united 
to Christ, and rest in their graves as in their beds, till at the 
last day they be again united to their souls : Whereas the 
souls of the wicked are at death cast into hell, where they 
remain in torments and utter darkness, and their bodies kept 
in their graves, as in their prisons, till the resurrection and 
judgment of the great day. 

HAVING considered the soul as separated from the body 
by death ; the next thing that will be enquired into, is 
what becomes of it, and how it is disposed of in its separate 
state ? and here we find that there is a vast difference between 
t,he righteous and the wicked in this respect : the former have 
communion with Christ in glory, the latter are in a state of 
banishment and separation from him ; being cast into hell, and 
there remaining in torments and utter darkness. Both these 
are particularly insisted on in this answer. In speaking to 
which, we must consider, 

as every thin^ is known nnd supported by liim, he is said to be in all places. But 
the idea ot 'place is not necessary to our conceptions of Spirit. 

To speak of the planets as tlie residence of spirits, and to talk of souls flying 
through the wsjWe Heavens inquest of" paradise is idle. If all souls n.ust cs- 
cend to Heaven, from India they go in a direction opposite to our course thither. 

There is no sun nor moon enjoyed bv saints in glory ; the Lord is tiieir lig'ht. 
And spiritual bodies are not flesh and blood, nor belly, nor meats ; nor corrupti- 
ble nor mortal ; but fit for the society of spirits. Tiie soul at death is discharg'- 
ed from tiie prison of these bodies, and not confined to place. It I'tceives new 
faculties, which entertain it with more than substitutes for the sensations it had 
in the body ; it obtains a perception of lit^bt more vivid than in dreams, and per- 
manent. It enjoys the discei-nment, socictv, and cnmmTmion of other Spirits ; 
The presence of God and the Redeemer ; and prop.resses in the kriOwlcdge and love 
jf Gcd, and so in holin'.'sii and happlv.'.ii {er^rcr. 


I. That there is something supposed ; namely, that the soul 
of man is immortal ; otherwise it could not be capable of hap- 
piness or misery. 

II. We shall consider the happiness Avhich the members of 
the invisible church enjoy ; which is called communion with 
Christ in glory. 

III. The misery which the souls of the wicked endure at 
death ; which is contained in the latter part of the answer. 

I. To speak concerning the thing supposed in this answer ; 
namely, that the soul of man is immortal. This is a subject 
of that importance, that we must be first convinced of the truth 
of it before we can conclude that there is a state of happiness 
or misery in another world. But before we proceed to the 
proof of it, it is necessary for us to explain what we are to un- 
derstand thereby ; accordingly let it be premised, 

1. That we read, in scripture, of the death of the soul, in a 
spiritual sense, as separated by sin, from God, the fountain of 
life and blessedness, and as being destitute of a principle of 
grace ; whereby it is utterly indisposed to perform any actions 
that are spiritually good, as much as a dead man is unable to 
perform the functions of life. In this sense we are to under- 
stand the apostle's words. She that liveth in pleasure is dead 
xvhile she liveth^ 1 Tim. v. 6. And in this respect unregene- 
rate persons are said to be dead in trespasses and sins^ Eph. ii. 
1. and a condemned state, which is the consequence hereof, is 
a state of death. Now that which is opposed hereunto, is call- 
ed, in scripture, a spiritual life, or immortality; but this is not 
the sense in which we are to consider it in our present argu- 

2. Immortality may be considered as an attribute peculiar 
to God, as the apostle says, he only hath immortality^ 1 Tim. 
vi. 16. the meaning of which is, that his life, which includes 
his Being, and all his perfections, is necessary and independ- 
ent ; but in this respect no creature is immortal ; but their life 
is maintained by the will and providence of God, which gave 
being to it at first. 

3. When we speak of creatures being immortal, we must 
consider them either as not having any thing in the constitu- 
tion of their nature, that tends to a dissolution, which cannot 
be effected by any second cause ; or their eternal existence, 
pursuant to the will of God, who could, had he pleased, have 
annihilated them. It is in both these senses that we are to con- 
sider the immortality of the soul. 

That it is in its own nature immortal, has been allowed by 
many of the Heathens, who have had just conceptions of the 
spirituality of its nature, possessed due regards to the pro- 
x'idence of God, and those marks of distinction that he puts be- 


tween good and bad men, as the consequence of their behaviour 
in this life. That the soul survives the body, has been reckon- 
ed, by some of the Heathens, as an opinion that has almost uni- 
versally obtained in the world *. Thus Plato introduces So- 
crates f as discoursing largely on this subject, immediately be- 
fore his death : and, in some, other of his writings, not only 
asserts, but gives as good proofs of this doctrine as any one, 
destitute of scripture-light, could do. One of his followers, in 
the account he gives of his doctrine, recommends and insists 
on an argument which he brings to prove it, which is not with- 
out its weight, namely, that the soul acts from a principle seat- 
ed in its own nature, and not by the influence of some external 
cause, as things material do :|:. And Strabo speaks of the an- 
cient Brachmans, among the Indians, as entertaining some no- 
tions of the immortality of the soul, and the judgment passed 
upon it in its separate state ; agreeable to what Plato advances 
on that subject §. 

Some, indeed, have tliought that this notion took its rise from 
Thales, the Milesian, who lived between two and three hun- 
dred years before Plato, and about six hundred years before the 
Christian iEra, from an occasional passage mentioned by Dioge- 
nes Laertius, in his life, which is hardly sufficient to justify this 
supposition ; which he brings in only as matter of report * : 
And Cicero f supposes it was first propagated by Pherecydes, 
who was cotemporary with him ; though Diogenes Laertius 
makes no mention of it. But it may be inferred from many- 
things in Homer, the oldest writer in the Greek tongue, who 
lived above three hundred years before Thales, that the world 
had entertained some confused ideas of it in his time : As we 
often find him bringing in the souls of the deceased heroes ap- 
pearing in a form, and speaking with a voice like that which 
they had when living, to their surviving friends. And he not 
only supposes, but plainly intimates thp.t their souls existed in 
a separate state ■\.. And in other places he represents some suf- 

• Fid. Se7iec. Epist. 117. Cum de aivimarwn mmortalitnte hqnimur, non leve 
momentum apud nos hiibet consensus hominum, aut timentmm inferos, aut coientium. 
Utor hac pe7-suasio7ie publica. Et. Cic. Tusc. Quest. Lib. 1. permanere ammos arbi- 
tramiir consensu nutionum omnium; qua in sede 7naneant, qualesque sint rationtdis- 
cendum est. 

t InPhxd. 

i Vid. Alcin. de doct. Plat. Cap. xxv. AuTCKmloy J't f>i(rt tuv 4"^!*^'' i "''■' <!'"f*<p'^i'^ 

§ Vid. Sivub. i'tog. Lib. xv. na/):t«-A««(9-< it ttmi fAu^cvi, uTfrtp xm wXstTOT 5r«3/ t* 
*<}i6ap«c 4";t''f> "*' ''"*'' '^^' "^^^ i<^'9'«»v, xai ah\a. roiavTO., Trtiiyei t«v hfi^jAUvuy txv^c 

* Vid. J)iog. Laert. in Vit. Thai. 
t Vid. Cic. Tusr. Quxst. Lib. I. 

4 Vid. Horn. Iliad. 23. lin 65, & seq 


fering punishment for their crimes committed here on earth *; 
which plainly argues^ whatever fabulous account we have of the 
nature of punishment, or the person suifering it, that it was an 
opinion, generally received at that time, that the soul existed in 
a separate state. 

And, indeed, this may be inferred fi'om the doctrine of Dae- 
mons, or the superstitious worship of the heathens, which they 
paid to the souls of those heroes who formerly lived on earth, 
and had done some things which they thought rendered them 
the peculiar favourites of God, and the objects of worship by 
men ; and that their souls exist^S v/ith God in great honour 
and favour in a separate state f. But passing this by, it nr.'.y be 
farther observed, that Mdiatever notions some of the heathens 
had of the immortality of the soul in general ; they were very 
much at a loss, many of them, in determining the place, or ma- 
ny things relating to the state in v/hich they were ; and there- 
fore many of them, v/ith Pythagoras, asserted the doctrine of 
transmigration of souls, or their passing from one body to ano- 
ther ; and being condemned to reside in vile and dishonourable 
bodies ; which, though it perverts, yet doth not overthrow the 
doctrine of the soul's immortality ; and others seemed to doubt 
whether, after four or five courses of transmigration of souls 
from one body to another, they might not at last shrivel into 

It must also be acknowledged, that there was a considerable 

'Ha6(^' kt; 4 ''PC" naTpoKXxoj Juxoto, 

JJuvT a.\p!U) juiyticit Tt Kxt o/Ujuctlu x*A.' tiicinst, 

K«( cfivw. Ks.t Tc.'i in-pt ^fci iiy.A]n. ire. 

2t« (T'a/i 'uTTif Ki^aM;, nat f/.n 'S-pa /uuBov eii^Ttii. 

Ill •which, after he had killed Hector, he addresses himself to fds friend Patroclvs, 
signifying that he had done this to rfrenge his death; upon vhich, the poet brings in 
Patrocbis as appearing to him. 

* Vid. Odi's. Lib. xi. lin. 575. & seq. in luhich he speaks of the punishment ofTi- 
trjus and Tantahis. In this, an -.ve'd as many other things, he is imitated by Virgil. 
See ^^neid. Lib. vi. lin. 595, & seq. 

f See this argument managed v:ith a great deal oflear'iiivg cndjttdgment by 
J^fede, in his apostasy oftlte latter times, ^vho prove.i that the gods lohom the heat/ieva 
ivorshipped, -were the souls of men deifyed or cannomzed after death, from many rf 
their own -writers, chap. iv. and Voss. de orig. esc. idol. Lib. 1. cap. xi, xii, xiii. tvho 
refers to Land. Lib. 1. defals. lielig. cap. v. his rjords are these ; Qtcos impcriti, & 
insipientes, tanquam Deos & nuncnpant, & adoravt, nemo eft tarn inconsideratus, 
qui non intelligat fuisse mortales. Qitomodo ergo, inqniet aliquis, Dii crediti sunt ? 
JSTimiritm quia reges maximi,^ac potentissimi fuertmt, ob inerita virtutum suarnn:, 
ant muiierum, ant artinm repertaimm, cum charifuisse?it iis, qxabus ijnper/tavevnnt, 
in memoriam smit consecrati. Quod si qitis dvbitet, res corumgestas, & facta, con- 
sideret : quce universa tnmpoetiC, turn historici veteres, prodidenint. Et August, de 
Civ. Dei, Lib. viii. cap. v. Ipsi etiani majoriim gentium Dii, quos Cicero in Tiiscv- 
lanis, tacitis nominibns videtur attiiigere, Jupiter. Juno, Saturmis, Vidcanvs, Vesta, 
£;? alii plurimi, quos Varro contitnr ad mundi partes, f:ive elementa traw^ferre homi- 
nes fuisse prodimtur. Et Cic. Lib. 1. de nat. Dear. Quid, qui ant fortes, aut potcn- 
tes viros trudvnt post mortem ad Deos pervenisse ; eosq .- ipsos (juos, nos colere, p^-e~ 
carij venerariq ; soleamus P 


party among the heathen that adhered to the sentiments of Epi* 
CUIUS, wlio denied the immortality of the soul, as supposing it 
to be material. And the Sadducees are represented, in scrip- 
ture, as imbibing that notion ; who are said to deny both an- 
gels and spirits, Acts xxiii. a* In this respect they gave into 
his philosophy, as to what concerns his denying the immortali- 
ty ot the soul, or its existence in a future state * : But passing 
this bV) we may observe, that notwithstanding all that has been 
said concerning this doctrine, by the better and wiser part of 
the heathen in their writings ; yet their notions seem very de- 
tective, if we trace them farther than what concerns the bars 
separate existence of the soul ; or, if they attempt to tepeak any 
thing concerning its happiness in a future state, they then dis- 
<;over that they know but little of this matter; and many of 
them, though they cannot deny the soul*s immortality, yet they 
eeem to hesitate about it; and therefore we may say with the 
apostle, that life and immortalitu is brought to light through the 
gospel, 2 Tim. i. 10. that is, if we would be sure of the immor-* 
tality of the soul, and know its state and enjoyments in another 
•world, we must look farther than the light of nature for it : 
and in seeking for arguments in scripture, we shall find great 
satisfaction concerning this matter, which we cannot do from 
the writers before mentioned. 

That some of the heathen were in doubt about this impor- 
tant truth, is very evident from their writings ; for Plato him- 
self f, notwithstanding the many things which he represents 
Socrates as saying, concerning a state of immortality after death, 
endeavouring to convince his friend Cebes about that matter, 
and apprehending that he had so far prevailed in the argument, 
as that his antagonist allowed that the soul survived the body, 
but yet held the transmigration of souls into other bodies ; this 
he seems to allow him, and adds, that it is uncertain whether 
the soul, having worn out manj' bodies, may not at last perish 
with one that it is united to ^. And he farther says to him^ that 

" Some have luondered how the Sadducee^ could deny angels, and yet receive the 
five books ofjltoxes, in ivhich tliere is so frequent mention of the appearance of an' 
gels ; mid it might us -well be wondered ho-v thi-y could make any pretendona to relir 
ffion, iL'ho deiiyed the immortaU;y of the soid ; but as to both these, it may be ^aid con- 
cerning them, that they were the most irreligious part of the Jewish nation. To makt 
them consistent with themselves, is past the skill of any who treat on thi:; subjeck 
Some suppose that they understand ali those scriptures that speak concerning the ap- 
pearance of angels, as importing nothir,g else hut a bodily shape, appear i7ig for a tim&, 
and conversing with those to whom it was sent, moved and actuated by the divine 
Poioer, ami then disappearing and vanishing into not/ang. 

t In Pli^d. 

% His words are these ; KiGic ii f/.oi tSc^t nlo /uta tfjtoi ^uv ^(Uptiv, mxv)(fovia>rtpov yi 

>» •[^X*'' "^^ '^tKiul(tiiv, atifxfi. ii,*li?i7n:a-u vuv at/ln aTrcKWului' km u avli ^vls ^M^li;, ■^'^^(/i 

Vol. III. Q q 


I must now die, and you shall live ; but which of us is in tli» 
better state God only knows *. 

As for Aristotle, though, in many places of his writings, he 
seems to maintain the immortality oi the soul ; yet in others it 
appears that he is in doubt about it ; and seems to assert, that 
neither good nor evil happens to any man after his death f. 
And the Stoicks, who did not altogether deny this doctrine ; 
yet they supposed that in process of time, it would be dissolve 
ed \. And even Cicero himself, notwithstanding all that he 
says, by which he seems to give into this doctrine ; yet some- 
times speaks with great hesitation about it §. And notwith- 
standing what Seneca says concerning the immortality of the 
soul, as has been often before observed ; yet he speaks doubt- 
fully of it II ; so that we must have recourse to scripture, and 
those consequences that are deduced from it, as well as those 
tilings that may be inferred from the nature of the soul to prove 
that it is immortal. And, 

(1.) For the proof of this doctrine, let it be considered, that 
the soul is immaterial ; which appears from its being capable 
of thought, whereby it is conversant about, and takes in ideas 
of things divine and spiritual, which no creature below man can 
do. It has a povrer of inferring consequences from premises, 
and accordingly is the subject of moral govei^nment, capable 
of conversing with God here, and expecting rewards or punish- 
ments from him hereafter ; all this cannot be produced by mat- 
ter or motion : As for matter, that is in itself altogether unac- 
tive ; and when motion is impressed upon it, the only change 
that is made therein, is in the situation and contexture of its 
parts, which cannot give it life, sensation or perception, much 
less a power of judging and willing, or being conversant about 
things spiritual and immaterial. 

* ^CTnPiifoi') »/um ip '^oi^-j.1 vrt a./uuvcv zrpA-^ /xs., uSiikoy ivivlt (wxnv » toj S«a. 

"f" Vid- ejnsd. moral. Lib. ill. cup. ix. 

% Vid. Diog. Laert. iri Vil. Zen. Tuv 4'"'^'"' i"'"'* S'^"*7ov eTrz/zfi'sc;, <|)9i<p7«v j uvtc; 
vpon ti'hick occasion Cicero says, That thougli they ofsaert that they shall contiime a 
greet -vhile in beiii^, yet they deny that they shall exist Jor ever. Vid. ejusd. in Tvsc. 
(^nxst. Lib. 1. Stolcl itsnram nobis largiuntiir, ianquam cornicibus ; diu man^uros 
animos ajzint ; semper negcmi. 

§ Et ibid. Ea qua vis, ut pote.ro, expUcaho, jiec tamen quasi Pythivs ^ipoUo cer-, 
to. ut sini, &fixa qitcs dixero, .ledut homnncidvs wins e muhis, probabiHa conjf^cfw'a 
izqitens ; ultra ejii7n quo pr ogre diar quam ut verisiinilia videam., von habeo ; which 
Ijuctant.i-.LS observes, speaking of him as in doubt about it Vid. Laclant. de V't. 
Meat. Lib. vii. § 8. ^nd elseivhere he says, in Lib. de Amicitia. Sin uutem ilia re- 
riora, nt idem interitus sit animnrinn, & corpornm, nee id.'us aensi/s maneat : Ut nihil 
bfiui est in viortc, sic eerie nihil est mail ; & in Lib. de Seiiect. Qvod si in hoc erro, 
q-.iod animos hominvrn i;nmorta'es esse credam, libenter erro : JVec mihihunc errorem, 
q^i.o dehctor, dnm vivo, e.Ttorqneri voh. Sin mortmis, ut quidnni minvti philosuph.i 
censeiit, nihil sentia7n ; nonvereor,ne hunc errorem mexnn philosophi minnti irrideant : 
i^uodsi non srujriusvnmortalesfuturl, tumen extingui hominem suo tempore, optahi'eest. 
\] Epist. 102. Credebam opininnibus magv.oriim virorum rem gratissi^an promi'- 
tfTitium, rr.^i^ isqnan p^-cbiintiuTn. 


(2.) This power of thinking or reasoning was not derived 
from the body to which it wns united ; for that which has not 
in itself those superior endowments, cannot communicate them 
to another : Its union with the soul cannot impart them to it ; 
for whatever sensation the body has, (which is btlow the pow- 
er of reasoning,) is derived from the soul, as appears from its 
being wholly destitute thereof, when the union between the soul 
and body is broken : And therefore, since those superior pow- 
ers, or excellencies of the soul, are produced by another cause, 
we must ccmiclude, that they are immediately from God : This 
evidently appears from scripture ; the body of Adam was first 
formed, and then it is said, God breathed into his nostrils the 
breath of life ^ Gen. ii. 7". that is, he put into it that soul which 
was the spring and fountain of all living actions ,• and then it 
follows, man became a living soul : And it is considered as a 
peculiar display of tlie glory of God, that ht:for77ieth the spirit 
of 7na7i ivithin him^ Zech. xii. 2. 

(3.) It follows from hence, that the dissolution of the body 
makes no alteration in the powers and faculties of the soul ; 
which is not hereby rendered subject to death. For, as it did 
not derive those powers from the body, as was before observed, 
it could not be said to lose them in the ruin of the body : Thus 
our Saviour speaks of the soul as not being affected with those 
injuries that tend to the bodies destruction, when he says, Fear 
not them xvhich kill the hodij^ but are not able to kill the soul^ 
Mat. X. 28. 

(4.) We have a particular account in scripture, of the soul 
when separated from the body, as disposed of in a different way 
from it ; it does not go down to the earth as the body does, 
from whence it was, but returns to God -who g'ave it, Eccl. xii. 
7. Its return to God supposes that it was accountable to him 
for its actions performed in the body, or the way and manner 
in which the faculties were exerted ; and accordingly, when se- 
parate from it, it is represented as returning to God to give an 
account of its behaviour in the body, and to reap the fruits and 
eftects thereof. And as it is said to return to Crod ; so believers 
breathe forth their souls, and resign them by faith into the hand 
of God, as our Saviour expresses it. Father^ into thy hands I 
commend my spirit, Luke xxiii. 46. or, as Stephen says, Lord 
jfesus receive 7ny spirit. Acts vii. 59. 

(5.) The soul's immortality n:ay be proved from the extent 
of the capacities thereof, and tlie small improvement men mai- c 
of them in this world, especially the greatest part of mankind. 
What u multitude are there who never had the faculties of the 
soul deduced into act, in whom the powers of reasoning were 
altogether useless, v/hile in this woild ; I n)ean in those whose 
Eouls are separated from their bodies as soon as they are horn ; 


Others die in their childhood, before reason comes to maturity j 
and how great a part of the world live to old age, whose souls 
have not been employed in any thing great or excellent, in pro* 
jportion to their capacities ? Were these made in vain ? or did 
God design, when he brought them into, or continued them 
either a longer or a shorter time in the v/orld, that they should 
never be employed in any thing that is worthy of these noble 
faculties ? Therefore we must conclude that there is another 
state, in which the soul shall act more agreeably to those capa- 
cities vvhich jt is endoM'ed with, 

(6.) This may be farther proved, not only from the natural 
desires, which there are in a^\ men, of immortality ; but more 
especially those desires, which the saints have, of enjoying some 
things in God, which cannot be attained in this life. The natu- 
ral desire of immortality is what belongs to all : With what re»- 
luctancy does the soul and body part ; which arises from a na- 
tural aversion to a dissolution, unless there be a well-grounded 
hope of a life of blessedness that shall ensue ? Moreover there 
is not only a desire but an expectation of the soul's living for 
ever, when separated from the body, in a state of happiness ; 
which believers are made partakers of, as a peculiar blessing 
from God : Therefore we must conclude, that he that gave them 
%vill satisfy them ; so that as they have a thirst after happiness, 
Vv'hich is the effect of a supernatural power, they shall not be 
disappointed or destitute of it> which they must be if the soul 
does not survive the body. 

(7.) The immortality of the soul may be proved from the 
justice of God as the Governor of the world. This divine per- 
fection renders it necessary that rewards and punishments should 
be distributed according to men's behaviour in this life. We 
observe, under a foregoing head, that man is supposed to be 
accountable to God, from the consideration of the spirit's re- 
turning to him : And it alr.o follows, from what was said un- 
der another head, concerning the soul's being the subject of mo-^ 
ral government: But this argument will be farther improved 
under a following answer, when we consider our Saviour's 
coming to judge the v/orld *. All the use therefore that we shall 
at present make thereof, is, that the soul being thus accounta^ 
ble to God, has reason to expect some peculiar marks of fa- 
vour beyond what it receives in this world ; or to fear some 
punishment as the consequence of crimes committed, from the 
hand of the supreme Judge of all : Thus it is said, God will 
render to every ?uan according- to his deeds, Rom. ii. 6. And 
elsewhere. Every one shall receive according to what he hath 
done in the body, whether it he good or bad, 2 Cor. v. 10. Now 
that which makes for our present argument, is, that the best 
* See Quest. Ixx^viij. Ixxxi?. 


meh in the world do not receive those peculiar marlcs of di- 
vine favour, as to what respects their outward condition there- 
in, as some of the vilest men often do : This the prophet Jere- 
miah takes notice of, when he says, Righteous art thou^ Lord^ 
xvhen I plead xvith thee ; yet let me talk xuith thee of thy judg- 
ments : Wherefore doth the xvay of the -wicked prosper ? Where- 
fore arc all they happy that deal very treacherously ? Jer. xii. 
1. And the Psalmist, when observing the prosperity of the 
wicked, says, They are not in trouble like other men; neither' 
are they plagued like other men^ Psal. ixxiii, 5. that is, not ex- 
posed to those rebukes of providence, as to what concerns out- 
ward things, as good men are. 

That which is alledged by some to solve this difficulty, is, 
that virtue has its own reward ; and therefore, the good man 
cannot but be happy, whatever troubles he meets with in thia 
life, since he has something within himself that makes him so« 
But to this it may be replied, that this cannot give the least sa- 
tisfaction, that the divine distributions are just and equal, to 
those who are destitute of this inward comfort ; and the princi- 
pal ingredient in that internal happiness which arises from the 
exercise of religion and virtue, consists in the divine approba- 
tion, and the interest which such have in that love, which shall 
discover itself more fully, when the soul, being separate from 
the body, shall enjoy the happiness resulting from it in another 
world : Therefore, this is so far from militating against the doc-» 
trine we are maintaining, that it aSfords a considerable argu- 
ment to support it. 

If it be objected also, on the other hand, that sin brings it* 
own punishment along with it, in that uneasiness which the 
wicked find in their own breasts ; concerning whom it is said, 
They are like the troubled sea xvhen it cannot rest ; xvhose xva- 
ters cast up mire and dirty Isa. Ivii, 20. This also proves the 
immortality of the soul ; inasmuch as this fear arises from a 
sense of guilt, whereby persons are liable to punishment in ano- 
ther world, who are not jn the least concerned about the punish- 
ment of sin in this, and are ready to conclude themselves out 
of the reach of human judicature ; therefore, that which they 
are afraid of, is God's righteous judgments in another world, 
which they cannot, by any means, free themselves from the 
dread of. We must therefore conclude that this is as natural to 
man, considered as sinful, as the hope of future blessedness is 
to one that is righteous ; and both these are the result of a di- 
vine impression enstamped on the souls of men, which affords 
an evident proof of their immortality. 

The objections against this doctrine, are generally such aa 
carry in them the lowest and most abject thoughts of human 
jiature in those who tnay trul^ be said to despise their owa 


souls. When they pretend, as was before observed, that they 
are material, this is to set the soul on a level with the body; 
for matter, how much soever it be refined, when it is resolved 
into the particles of which it consists, has no excellency above 
other material beings. 

As to the objections that are brought against this doctrine 
from scripture, by which the frailty of this present life is set 
forth : These do not in the least tend to overthrow the immor- 
tality of the soul. Thus, when it is said in Eccles. iii. 19, 20. 
That which befalleth the sons of men^ befalleth beasts^ even one 
thing befalleth them : As the one dieth^ so dieth the other ; yea^ 
they have all one breath; so that a jnaii hath no pre-eminence 
above a beast ; all go unto one place ; all arc of the dust^ and all 
turn to dust again. It is plain, that Solomon here speaks of the 
inferior part of man, in which he has no pre-eminence above 
the beasts, as the body is resolved into dust, as well as the bo- 
dies of the brute creatures ; but then the following words suf- 
ficiently confute the objection, in which it is said, the spirit of 
man goeth upxvard ; whereby he asserts, not only the superior 
excellency, but the immortality of the soul. 

Again, when it is said in chap. ix. 5. The living know that 
they 7nust die^ hut the dead know not any thing ; neither have 
ihey any more a reward ; for the memory of them is forgotten. 
This is sufficiently answered by only reading the following 
words ; by which it appears, that their memor^'^ is forgotten ; 
and they are said to have no farther reward in this world ; or, 
as it is expressed. They have no more amy portion for ever, in 
any thing that is done under the sun ; but this does not in the 
least intimate that they have no portion in what respects the 
things of another world ; and, indeed, their labour being unre- 
warded here, affords us an incontestible argument, that they 
shall have it hereafter, when the soul leaves this world. 

And as for other scriptures, that seem to intimate as though 
death put an end to all those actions of religion which were 
performed by good men in this life, as in Psal. xxx. 9. ' When 

* I go down to the pit, shall the dust praise thee, shall it declare 

* thy truth V and, ' The dead praise not the Lord ; neither any 

* that go down into silence,' Psal. cxv. 1 7. and what Hezekiah 
says to the same purpose, ' The grave cannot praise thee ', death 

* cannot celebrate thee ; they that go down to the pit cannot 

* hope for thy truth,' Isa, xxxviii. 18. These and such-like ex- 
pressions intend nothing else but this j that the praises of God 
cannot be celebrated by those who are in the state of the dead, 
in such a v/ay as they ^vere by taem while they lived in this 
world, vi%. in the assemblies of his saints, from which they ai-e 
separated, being no longer considered as members of the mili- 
tant church; neither are they apprized of, or afFectfd wii.h the 


ruing55 done in this lower world, in which respect they are said 
ro know nothing: But this does not in the least, militate a- 
gainst their praising God with the church triumphant, and hav- 
ing those privileges conferred upon them, which are adapted 
to a state of immortality and eternal life. 

As to what is further objected by others, that the immojtali- 
ty of the soul respects only the righteous; because the apostle 
bays in 1 John ii. 17. ' The world passes away, and the lust 
' thereof, hut he that doth the will of God abideth for ever.' 
This sense given of the words contradicts all those scriptures 
that speak of the punishment of sin in another world ; for if 
"none are said to abide for- ever, but the righteous, or they who 
do the v.ill of God ; the wicked must necessarily go unpunish- 
iid. Therefore we must understand the word abiding- in the 
same sense as tlie Psalmist does, when he says, ' The ungodly 
* shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregj- 
^ tion of the righteous,' Psal. i. 5. which does not signify their 
not existing in a future state, but not being adsnitted into the 
congregation of the righteous, or made happy with them there- 
in. («) 

(a) The doctrines of the immortality of (he soul, and of tJie resurrection <y'i 
the body equally rest upon the will and word of God. J5ut when viewed with tbe 
eye of n.ilural reason, they }i;ivc beeii deemed to possess very unequal ground* 
of probability. Tiie properties of matter and of mind are. so very different, they 
have been distin;^uished by almost all. If the mind be not matter, no argument 
for its extermination can he drav/n from the dissolution of the body; and as its 
Tiiateriulity has never been shown, no premises liuve been found from which its 
death can be inferred. Some wise men wlio had not the scriptures, have indeed 
withholden their belief; but the reason is discernible, they have demanded proofs 
v.'hich the God of nature has not vouchsafed ; and their rejection of the preiwn- 
dci'atinp,' evidence of probability, argues weakness and fastidiousness. 

The resurrection of the body has been held to be Impossible. If so, the impossi- 
bility shoulil either consist in the absolute incapacity in the dead body to be 
raised ; but this it docs not, for death can oniy reduce tlie body to its first ele- 
ment, and the dust which has been a body is not any more unfit to be reanima- 
tetl, than it was to receive life in tiie first instance ; or it must l>e owing to some 
detect of v.'isdom or power, or of both in him, wlio should raise the body ; but 
God is unchangeable, and in :dl respects as able to raise hira from the dead, as to 
create man at the first ; and there is no contradiction implied int he thing, which 
should prevent tlie exertion oi' his power; a resurrecLioii is tlierefore possible. 

The usual arguments for its probabdity drawn from analogy to the return of 
day, of spring, of vegetation, Sec. are not conclusive. But those drawn from the- 
resurrection of Christ, from the identity of man cc^nsidered as a compound from 
the removal of moral evil, from which natural evils arise, from the earnest e:^- 
pectation of animal nature for a better condition, and from the perfection of the 
fature stute, seem to raise a presumption which is probable ; yet these are not 
appreciated bv the natural man ; hence the world has so generally denied a resur- 
rection of the body. 

The testimony of the Holy Spirit on both points has been always the same, but 
T)ot with equal lustre. 

Jesus Christ explicitly aflirmed both, and brought his proofs from the oi-'. 
testament, pressed lliem as motives of comfort or terror to saints and sinners , 
and so connected thc-^r U-uth Tvith tbat of ti-.s owa cUaracter, that evei7 tfiirj- 


II. We shall consider the happiness that the members of the 
invisible church enjoy j which is called communion with Christ 
in glory, as it includes in it perfect holiness ; accordingly we 
read of the spirits of just men made perfect^ Heb. xii. 23. This 
perfection consists m the rooting out all those remainders of 
corruption, and those habitual inclinations to sin, th-it the)^ were 
never wholly treed from in this world. The most that can be 
said concerning a believer at pfesent, is, that he has a princi- 
ple of spiritual life and grace, which inclines him to oppose^ 
and stand his ground against, the assaults of sin that dwelleth 
in him, whereby it is mortified, but not wholly destroyed. The 
work of sanctiftcation is dnily growing to perfection, though it 
does not fully attain to it : But when the soul leaves the world, 
it arrives to perfection in a moment ; so that the power which 
jnan had at first, to yield sinless obedience, which was lost by 
the fall of our first parents, is regained with great advantage, 
i'or this perfection of holiness not only denotes a sinless state, 
but the soul's being confirmed therein ; and accordingly it is 
said to be received into the highest heaven, the place into which 
no unclean thing can enter; M-here there is spotless purity, as 
well as everlasting happiness ; and here they are described as 
beholding the face of God in light and glory. These things 
need not be particularly insisted on in this place, since the 
same privileges are said, in a following answer, to belong to be- 
lievers after the day of judgment, both in their souls and bo- 
dies, when they shall be received into heaven, and be made 
perfectly holy and happy, and be blest with the immediate vi- 
sion of God * ; Therefore all that we shall consider at present^ 
with relation hereunto^ is, 

1* That the soul is immediately made partaker of this bles" 
sedness on its separation from the body. 

2. It is farther described as waiting for the full redemption 
of the body, which is still supposed to continue under the do- 
minion of death, though united to Christ, and consequently un- 
der his special protection : Upon which account believers are 
said, when they die, to rest in their graves as in their beds, till 


their bodies are again united to their souls at the last day. 
1, We shall consider that the soul is made partaker of 

* See Que.it. xc 

which proves the latter, is a proof of the former. Not only did his actualiy 
falsing the dead, and arising himself, prove th:it the dead shall rise, biit every 
prophecy accomplished in him, and every miracle wrought by him and his apos- 
tles, the continuaitce of his church, the purity of his system of doctrines, the doc- 
trines of election, redemption, justification, regeneration and perseverance, as 
well as the express declarations on this subject, both in the old and new testa- 
ment, all form a solid mass of evider.ce upon which the hopes ol the christJRB 
tnsy firmly rest* 


blessedness Immediately after Its separation from the bod)', as 
it is observed in this answer ; which set rns to militate against 
three opinions tluU have been advanced relating to the state oi" 
separate souls. 

[l.] That of the Papists, who maintain that the soul is not 
made perfect in holiness at death, but enters into a middle- 
state, which thtry call purgatory, in which it is to endure ex- 
quisite torments, designed partly as a punishment inflicted for 
those sins committed in this life, which have not been expiated 
by satisfaction made by them, and partly to free them from tlae 
sin which they brought with them into that state. 

[2.] Another opinion which seems to be opposed in this an- 
swer, is what was maintained by some of the ancient Fathers; 
namely, that the souls of believers do not immediately enter in- 
to the highest heaven before they are reunited to their bodies, 
but into paradise ; not to sufl'er, as the Papists pretend that they 
do who are in purgatory; but to enjoy those pleasm-es Vtdiich 
are reserved for them in a place not much inferior to heaven. 

[3.] There is another opinion which is subversive of the doc- 
trine contained in this answer; namely, that the soul, at its se- 
paration from the body, sleeps till the resurrection ; and con- 
sequently, in that intermediate space of time in which it is se- 
parate, it is no more capable of happiness or misery than the 
body that lies in the grave. The absurdity of these opinions we 
shall take occasion farther to consider. And, 

[l.] That of the Papists concerning a middle-state, into which 
they suppose, souls enter at death, in order to their being cleans- 
ed from the remainders of sin, whereby they are made meet 
for heaven. This doctrine, how ludicrous and ungrounded so- 
ever it may appear to be, they are so fond of, that it will be as 
hard a matter to convince them of the absurdity thereof, as ic 
was of old to convince the Worshippers of Diana at Ephesus, 
of their stupid idolatry ; because it tends to promote their se- 
cular interest. Tliey first endeavour to persuade the poor delu- 
ded people, that they must suffer very great torments after 
death, unless they be relieved by tiic prayers of their survivinc; 
friends ; and then, to induce them to shew this favour to them, 
as well as that they may merit some abatement of these tor- 
ments or a speedy release from them, they tell them, that it is 
their duty and interest to leave their estates, by their last will 
and testament to pious uses ; such as building of churches, en-i 
dowing of monasteries, &c. by which means they have got a 
great part of tlie estates of the people into their own hands. 
And to carry on this cheat, they give paiticular instances, in 
some of their writings, of souls being released from this dread- 
/ill place by their prayers. 

'I'he account thev give of this middle-state, between heaven 

Vol. III. ' R r 


and hell, is not only that they are not admitted into the imme- 
diate presence of God ; but are exposed to grievous torments 
by fire, little short of those that are endured in hell ; and if 
they are not helped by the prayers of the church, they are in 
danger of being sent from thence directly to hell, from whence 
there is no release. They also add, that the punishment, in this 
state, is either longer or shorter, in proportion to the crimes 
committed in this world ; for which satisfaction has not been 
made by penances endured, or money given to compensate for 
them. Some, indeed, are allowed, by them, to pass immediate- 
ly into heaven, without being detained here ; namely, those 
who have performed works of supererogation ; or if by their 
entering into a vow of poverty, they have parted with their 
estates, while living in the world, for the use of the church, in 
which case no end could be answered, by telling them of this 
fable of purgatory. Others are told that they ma)^ escape it, 
by entering into a vow of chastity and canonical obedience .; 
which belongs more especially to the priests, when entering 
into holy orders ; whereby they take care to make provision 
for themselves, that so the deluded people may have a greater 
regard to their prayers, since they will lind none in purgatory 
to perform that service for them. This is so vile and absurd 
an opinion, that it cannot but expose the church of Rome to 
the scorn and contempt of all who are not given up to strong 

But though it sufficiently appears, that secular interest is the 
main foundation of this doctrine ; yet there are some argu- 
ments, which they take from scripture, to support it ; which is 
the only thing that requires our notice. 

One scripture brought to this purpose, is in Isa. iv. 4. where 
the prophet speaks concerning the Lord'^s purging the blcod of 
y erusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment^ and 
by the spirit of burning ; supposing that this should have its 
accomplishment when the soul left the body, and was detained 
in this place of torment. But this is very remote from the de- 
sign of the Holy Ghost herein ; for it only contains a meta- 
phorical description of some judgments which God would in- 
flict on people in this life, and as a means to reclaim them froiVi 
them : therefore we often read, in the prophets, of God's refi- 
ning his people in the furnace of affliction^ Isa. xlviii. 10. and 
accordingly it is said, that the Lord^s fre is in Zion, and his 
furnace in Jerusalem, chap. xxxi. 9. denoting the sore judg- 
ments they should undergo in this world, as a punishment for 
their idolatry. 

Another scripture, which is miserably perverted, to support 
this doctrine, is that in Zech. ix. 11. By the blood of thy cove- 
?iant have I sent forth thy prisoners, out of the pit xahcrein is 


)io water; which they suppose, is to be understood of some 
state after this life; because it is called the pit ; and it is also 
described as a place of miserv% inasmuch as there is no water, 
that is, no refreshing comforts ; and they add, that the prophet 
does not speak of hell because some persons are described as 
.^mt for thy or released from it; therefore it must needs be un- 
derstood of this middle-state, between heaven and hell. But 
this is far from being the sense of the text, since it contains a 
prediction of their being delivered from the Babylonish capti- 
vity, which, in a metaphorical way of speaking, is called the 
pity rvherein is no -tvater^ to denote the great distress that the 
people were to be brought under therein ; thus the prophet 
Isaiah, speaking of their deliverance from the captivity, says. 
The captive exile hasteneth that he may be loosed^ and that he 
mould not die in the pit, Isa. li. 14-. Or else it denotes some 
future deliverance, which the church was to expect after great 
calamities undergone by them ; and this is said to be bij the 
blood of the covenant , denoting that all the happiness the church 
shall enjoy in this world, as well as the other is founded in the 
blood of Christ, pursuant to the covenant of grace : and if the 
text must necessarily be understood of a deliverance from evil 
after death, it may be considered as a prediction of our being 
delivered from eternal destruction, by the blood of Jesus. 

Again7 another scripture which they bring to support this 
fabulous doctrine, is in 1 Cor. iii. 13, 14, 15. Every man's 
•work shall be made manifest : for the day shall declare it, be- 
cause it shall be revealed by f re ; and the fire shall try every 
nimi's xvorky ofxvhat sort it is^ If any man's xvork abide xvhicfi 
he hath built thereupon^ he shall receive a reward. If any marCs 
xvork shall be burnt^ he shall suffer loss ; but he himself shall be 
saved ; yet so as by fire. The reason why this scripture is for- 
ced into that cause which they maintain, is, because we read 
of persons being saved so as by fre ; and this they suppose to 
respect that which should follow after the particular judgment 
of every one at death in which, a scrutiny shall be made con- 
cerning their works, or their behaviour in this world ; and if 
they are found faulty, they may, notv/ithstanding, be saved af- 
ter they have endured those suft'erings which are there allotted 
for them. 

But there is nothing in the text that gives the least counte- 
nance to this notion, since the apostle seems to be speaking con- 
cerning those ministers who preach false doctrines, that is, pro- 
pagate errors not directly subversive of the fundamental arti- 
cles of faith, but such as tend to embarrass the consciences of 
men, and, in many respects, lead them out of the way ; or of 
others, who have been perverted by them, and have embraced 
pernicious errors, whirh, in their consequencer., are subversive 


of the faith, but yet do not hold those consequences : these may 
be saved, but their salvation shall be attended with some diffi- 
culty, arising from the mistaken notions which they have imbi- 
bed. Some compare this to a person whose house is in flam.es, 
and he saves his life with difficulty, being scorched thereby. 
God will, in his own time, take some method to discover what 
notions we have received in religion ; and he is said to do it by 
fire. Whether this, as a learned writer observes, is to be under- 
stood of the clear gospel-dispensation,* or else respects some 
trying dispensation of providence, accompanied with a greater 
measure of the effusion of the Spirit, that shall lead men into the 
knowledge of their mistakes, and set them in the right way, I 
will not determine. But whether the one or the other of these 
senses of the texts seems most agreeable to the mind of the 
apostle, it is sufficiently evident that no countenance is given* 
either in this or any other scripture, to this absurd doctrine of 
the Papists. 

Another scripture which they bring for the proof of this doc- 
trine, is in 1 Pet. iii. 19. in which it is said, that our Saviour 
rvent and preached unto the spirits in prison. The sense they 
give of that text, compared with the foregoing verse, is, that as 
our Saviour, after his death, visited those repooitories, where 
the Old Testament-saints were lodged, and preached the gos- 
pel to them, which they embraced ; and pursuant hereupon, 
were admitted into heaven : so he went down into this subter- 
raneous prison, and preached to them also ; but whether this 
was attended with the same success, or no, they pretend not to 
determine ,• but only allege this as a proof that there is such a 
place : and to give countenance to this sense they say, that by 
the prison here spoken of, the prison of hrll cannot be intend- 
ed ; inasmuch as there is no hope of salvation there, and con- 
sequently no preaching of the gospel. And it cannot be meant 
of his preaching to any in this world; for they suppose, that 
he went after he left the world, and preached to spirits^ that is, 
to persons, whose souls were separate from their bodies ; there- 
fore he went, as they argue, and preached to those that are in 
purgatory: but in giving this sense of the text, they are obli- 
ged to take no notice of what follows, which, if duly considered^ 
would plainly overthrow if. 

The meaning of this scripture therefore is this, that our Sa- 
viour preached by his Spirit, to the old world, in the ministry 
of Noah, while he was preparing the iirk ; but they being diso- 
bedient, were not only destroyed by the Hood, but shut up ir^ 

* See Dr. Edward^s exsrdt. Part II. on 1 Cm\ iii. 15. r..iho, to give ccunfenavce 
to this opinicTi, produces t-.co scriptures, viz. JMar/j xiv. 54. tind Lvke xxii. 55. where 
the word^mc, is put for fire ; from tvhencr he supposes, that *tt^ tindnufi^ are used- 


the prison of hell; in which respect it is said he preached to 
those that are now in prison : so that this scripture makes no- 
thing for that doctrine which we are opposing ; nor any other 
that is or can be brought ; so that all the arguments pretended 
to he taken trom it, are a manifest perversion thereof. 

However, there is one method of reasoning which they make 
use of, that I cannot pass over; inasmuch as they apprehend 
that it contains a d'ilein7na that is unanswerable; namely, that 
there is some place in which persons are perfectly freed from 
sin, which must be cither this world, or heaven, or some mid- 
dle state between them both. It is allowed by all, that there is 
no perfect freedom from sin in this world ; and to suppose that 
persons are perfectly freed from sin after they come to heaven, 
is to conclude that that is a state of probation, in which the 
gospel must be preached, and persons that attend upon it, in- 
clined to embrace it, which is not agreeable to a state of per- 
fection : and this is contrary to scripture, which speaks of no 
unclean thing entering therein. Therefore it follows, that the 
state in which they are fitted for it, must be this which they 
plead for, to wit, a middle-state, in which they are first purged, 
and then received into heaven. 

But to this it may be replied, that it is true, believers are 
not perfectly freed from sin in this world, nor do they enter in- 
to heaven, either with the guilt or pollution of their sins upon 
them ; but thev are made perfect in an instant, in passing out 
of this world into heaven : the same stroke which separates 
the soul from the body takes away the remainders of corrup- 
tion, and fits it for the heavenly state ; it passes out of this 
world perfect, though it was imperfect while in it; in like man- 
ner as the body being raised out of the grave is rendered in- 
corruptible thereby, so that we have no occasion to invent a 
middle state, into which the saints are brought. Therefore it 
follows, as it is expressed in this ansM'er, that the souls of 
believers, immediately after death, are made perfect in holi- 

[2.] There is another opinion embraced by some of the Jews, 
and several of the Fathers, in which they are followed by some 
modern writers ; namely, that the souls of believers, at death, 
enter into paradise, where they continue till they are reunited 
to their bodies, and, after the day of judgment, are received 
into the highest heaven : thus they understand our Saviour's 
words to the penitent thief on the cross, To day thou shalt be 
ivitk 7rie in paradise^ in a literal sense, as contra-distinguished 
from heaven. And these assert, that the soul of our Saviour, 
when separate from his body, went immediately into paradise, 
and not into heaven, till after his resurrection. This is sup- 
posed to import tlie same thing as Abraham's bosom does in the 


parable ; and indeed, the Greek vrord,* in the metaphorical 
sense thereof, which we translate boaom^ signifies a port or 
Iiaven ; which is, as it were, a bosom for shipping. 

This is described as very distinct from the Popish doctrine 
cf purgatory ; for it is not a place of suffering, but of delight 
and pleasure. Tertullian, who gave into this notion, f describes 
ist as a place of divine pleasure, designed for the- reception of 
the spirits of holy men, being separate either from the world, 
or other places near it, by an inclosure of fire, designed to keep 
she wicked out. 

This is what they suppose the apostle Paul speaks of when 
he says, that he was caught up into paradise^ 2 Cor. xii. 5. and 
f.hey conclude that this vision or rapture which he mentions, 
includes in it what he experienced at two several times ; and 
that this is agreeable to what he mentions in verse 1. where he 
speaks not of one single vision, but of visions and revelations. 
Accordingly they suppose that he had first of all a vision of 
the glory of heaven, and then he had another of paradise : thus 
a late writer understands the text.:|: However, I cannot think 
that this can be sufficiently inferred from the apostle's words, 
which ai-e, as it were, a preface to introduce the account which 
he gives of himself, vv'hen he says, I will come to visions and 
revelations ; that is, L will now" tell you how God sometimes 
favours his people with extraordinary visions and revelations : 
then he proceeds to give an instance hereof in himself, as being 
caug-ht i-ip info the third heaven^ or into paradise ; for I cannot 
suppose that he speaks of two visions, or distinguishes paradise 
fi-om heaven ; and therefore I am obliged not to pay that de- 
ference to the sentiments of the Fathers he mentions, as he 
does, but must conclude the notion to be altogether unground- 
ed, though it is supported by the credit of Irenaeus, Tertullian, 
Epiphanius, Methodius, as well as of several Jewish writers; 
Kuch as Philo, and sojne others,'^ 

[3.] We shall now consider another doctrine, maintained by 
some, v/hich is inconsistent with what is said in this answer, 
concerning the souls of believers being made perfect in holi- 
ness, and entering immediately into heaven, when separate 
from their bodies, viz. that at deatli the soul sleeps as well as 
the body, till the resurrection, when one shall be raised, and 
tlie -other awakened out of its sleep. These do not suppose that 
the soul ceases to exist; but that it enters into, and continues 
in, a state of inactivity, without any power to exercise the facul- 

* KcXTTO!. Sinus, n hotom, coast, or fiaven. 

f Fid. Ttirtull. Apologet. Cap. xlvii. Et si parnjhwn nominemus, locum ilivinx 
Antjniitufis recipiendis sanctorum splritibns dtiitinaium, materia quadem igneea illius 
'/.uiiig segreifatufii. 

i See Wlutbtj in loc. 

*i See aho hk.no'.e'i -jn Luke sx'.li, 4-";. 


ty of thinking, and, as a consequence ihercof, whilst remaining 
in this state, it must be incapable either of happiness or misery. 
These do not assert that there shall be no rewards and punish- 
ments in a future state; but that there will be a defeiring there- 
of until the last day. 

Tiiis doctrine was generally maintained by the Socinians, as 
may be seen in several of their writings referred to by a learned 
author, who opposes them;* and the arguments by which iti* 
usually supported, are taken partly from the possibility of th.? 
soul's being destitute of thought, and partly from those scrip- 
tures that compare death to a sleep ; by which they understand 
not only a cessation of action in the body, but likewise in the 
soul. In defence of the former of these, viz. that it is possible 
for the soul to be without tiie exercise of thought, they argue, 
that the soul of a new-born infant, (or, at least, beiore it is 
born,) has no ideas : tliough there be a power of reasoning, 
which is essential, to the soul ; yet this is not deduced into act, 
so as to produce thought, or actual reasoning, from whence 
moral good or evil would proceed, and a sense of happiness ot 
misery, arise from it. And this notion is carried somewhat 
farther by a late celebrated writer ;f v^'ho, though he takes no 
notice of the tendency of his assertion to support this opiniou 
concerning the soul's sleeping at death ; yet others make a han- 
dle of it, to defend it with a greater shew of reason than whu?. 
was formerly discovered in maintaining this argument. 

He asserts, that the souls of those that are adult do not al- 
ways think ; and particularly when a person is in a sound sleep. 
that he has no thought ; how much soever there may be the 
exercise of thought, tiiough confused and irregular, in those 
who, between sleeping and waking, not only dream a thousand 
things which they never thought of before, but also remember 
those dreams when they awake. That a person, in a sound sleep, 

* Vid. ffonynbeck S'-'iri. Cunfut. Ton. III. Lib. v. C'ofj. 1. ■?;/.■<? quote? sowe pas- 
itig/s out of aeverul Socinian -luriifr.i, among whom I ahall on't/ mention luhut is saJ<S 
by tioo oft/ifm, -,i-ith ivbotn set^i^'-id uttmys of tiieir brethren agree be^^ein. Vid. Satire, 
in Epi.1t. V. ad Vothel. I'u/iluin id mihi •videtiir statiii posse, post hunc vitum, atu- 
mam., sire unimum Itumiiiia iion ita per it siibsistere nt prxmia it/iu parnasve seniialf 
vel etiam inta serttiendi sit cafii.x. gme meafirmu opinio facile pule^t coU/gi ex mtUUt 
qitif a mr diamtur, he. Et Smulc. in J-'.xum. Error. Peg. 33. Animnm vel spirimk 
ftomima post v.nrtum aliqnid nentire, 7h'I uliqiia re perfruJ, nee ratio permittit nee 
icriptnra testutur : ut enttn corpus liine unima, sic etw.m auima sine tw^-cre, milium 
ofterali'tne." exi'rC'^re potest ; lii peril. dr! uc i,c I'l ainiiut, iUorum mi'ia ctisel, eliarmi 
suo modo sit, quia xi'iiet nul'ius rei i,e>.:.u:n hcheut, avt per se voli/pliUe aliquaf-iv 
possit. .^nd e'^ftsihere the sa^w: auih'.rt.iUHliurdyastoterui the contrary dvctrin' 
no other than a fable, in lAb. de JJeiJiUo, t'l./i. vi. J-'mr. 43. Qnotl iiern df vtta avz- 
tnarv.m disserit, hoc in&tar fubulje e..t, ^. Spiritum hominis ad Deum redire testft- 
tiir sticra scriptiirn, at eum viverii vita, nt uit Sriu^^fciiis, spirit man, Cy vel uiiq^ii^ 
iiitelligere, ret voli'ptutefrni hoc ertra, G^ co7,tra scriptumtn dicitvr. 

t Sue Locke's Eescj co'icemir^ h^man understand:?!!:, Lib. ii. C/;/?/'. I. '■ ':x 1* 
t'li xw. 


has no dreams, and consequendy is destitute of thought, he at- 
tempts to prove ; inasmuch as when any one is suddenly waked 
out of a sound sleep, he can give no account of what he had 
been thinking of; and he supposes it impossible for a person 
who was thinking, to forget the next moment what his thoughts 
were conversant about. This is the principal argument where- 
by he supports this notion ; and he has so far the advantage 
thereof, as that it is impossible for us to prove the contrary 
from any thing that we know or experience concerning our- 
selves : Nevertheless, it v»^ill not appear very convincing, when 
we consider that there are innumerable thoughts which we have 
when awake, that v/e can hardly give an account of the next 
minute : And if the thoughts are very active in those that 
dream, (who are as much asleep as others that do not dream ; 
though the sleep may not be so refreshing as if it were other- 
wise,) I cannot see how this consequence can be inferred, that 
sleep is inconsistent with thought. Moreover, a person who is 
delirious, or distracted, undoubtedly thinks, though his thoughts 
are disordered ; but v/hen the delirium or distraction is over, 
he can no more remember what he thought of, than a person 
that is waked out of the soundest sleep : This argument there- 
fore tends rather to amuse, or embarrass the cause they main- 
Lain, than to give sufEcient conviction. 

Now from this method of reasoning it is inferred, that when 
the soul is separated from the body, it is altogether destitute of 
the exercise of thought, which is what they mean by the soul's 
sleeping : And to give farther countenance to this matter, they 
produce several scriptures, in which death is compared to a 
sleep ; as when God speaks of the death of Moses, he says, 
Behold^ thou shalt sleep with thy fathers^ Deut. xxxi. 26. and 
Job speaks of sleeping^ in the dust^ Job vii. 21. And concern- 
ing the resurrection after death, he says, That man lieth down 
and riseth not^ till the heavens be 7io more., they shall not awake 
nor be raised out of their sleep., chap. xiv. 12. and David pray?, 
Lighten mine eyes., lest J sleep the sleep of death, Psal. xiii. 3. 
and our Saviour, speaking concerning Lazarus, v/hen dead, 
says, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth ; but I go that I may awake 
him out of sleep., John xi. 11. which he afterwards explains, ver. 
14. when he says, Lazarus is dead. There are several other 
scriptures to the like purpose, they bring to prove that the soui 
sleeps in death, taking the word in the literal sense thereof. 

But to this it may be replied, that as to what respects the 
possibility of the soul's being rendered incapable of ihinkins^, 
when separate from the body ; it is no just way of reasoning to 
infer from the possibility of a thing, the actual being of it : 
Therefore if it could be proved to a demonstration, (as the au- 
thor above-mention?d supposes he has done, though, I think. 


without sufficient ground,) that sleep deprives a person of 
thought ; yet it will not follow from hence, that the soul, when 
separate from the body, ceases to think. When the powers and 
faculties of the soul are deduced into act, experience tells us, 
that they are greatly improved and strengthened ; and therefore 
the exercise thereof cannot be so easily impeded as is pretend- 
ed ; especially when we consider that it does not derive this 
from the body, which contributes very little to those ideas it 
has of things immaterial, which are not the objects of sense; 
and how much soever bodily diseases may weaken or inteiTupt 
the soul in its actings, we do not find that they so far destroy 
those powers, but that, when the distemper ceases, the former 
actings return, like the spi-ing of a watch, which may be stop- 
ped by something that hinders the motion of the wheels, which, 
when it is removed, continues to give motion to them as it had 
done before : The body, at most, can be considered but as a 
clog and impediment to the activity of the soul ; and conse- 
quently it may be argued from thence, that in a state of sepa^ 
ration the soul is so far from being impeded in its actings, that 
it becomes more active than before. 

But that which I would principally insist on, as what will 
sufficiently overthrov/ this doctrine, is, the account which we 
have in many scriptures ; and several just consequences which 
may be deduced from them, by which it will appear, that no- 
thing that bas been said concerning the possibility of the soul's 
being unactive, when separate from the body, can enervate the 
force of the argument taken fiom thence to support the con- 
trary doctrine. It is true, the scripture oftentimes represents 
death as a sleeps as in the placea before-mentioned ; and it is 
sometimes ^described as a state of rest, v/hich is of the same 
import with sleep ; but this is explained as a state of peace, 
holiness, and happiness, and not a cessation from action. Thus 
it is said. He shall enter into peace^ they shall rest in their bedsj 
each one walking in his uprightness^ Isa. Ivii. 2. which is plain- 
ly meant of the death of the righteous, as appears from the 
preceding verse, where it is said. The righteous perisheth^ and 
no man laxjetk it to heart. Now these are said to enter into 
peace ; which supposes that they are capable of the enjoyment 
of those blessings which the soul shall then be possessed of, and 
they are said to ivalk in their uprightness ; which signifies their 
being active in what respects the glory of God, which is very 
inconsistent with the soul's sleeping, when separate from the 
body. Rest and sleep are metaphorical expressions, when ap- 
plied to this doctrine ; and nothing is more common than for 
such figurative ways of speaking to be used in the sacred writ- 
ings ; and therefore it is very absurd for us to understand the 
words othei-wise in this instance before us. 
Vol.. III. Ss 


We wiil now proceed to consider those proofs we have from 
scripture, of the soul's being in a state of activity when sepa- 
rate from the body. 

The first scripture that may be brought to prove this, is what 
the apostle says in 2 Cor. xii. 2, 3, 4. when speaking concern- 
ing himself as caught up into the third heaven; and not know- 
ing whether he was at the same time, in, or out of the body. 
If he was in the body, his senses wer^ locked up, and he must 
be supposed to have been in a trance ; which militates against 
the supposition that the soul's power of acting may be impeded 
either by sleep or some bodily disease, in which there is not 
the exercise of the senses. Or if, on the other hand, he was 
out of the body^ his hearing unspeakable words plainly proves 
our argument, viz, that the soul is capable of action, and con- 
sequently of enjoying the heavenly glftrj^, when separate from, 
the body. 

Moreover, this is evident from our Saviour's words to the 
penitent thief on the cross. Verily I say unto thee, to day shalt 
thou be with me in paradise^ Luke xxiii. 43. To be in paradise 
is certainly to be in heaven in a state of compleat blessedness, 
where the soul delights itself in the enjoyment of God, which 
is altogether inconsistent with a state of insensibility. Were it 
otherwise, it ought rather to have been said, thou shalt be with 
xne in paradise after the resurrection of the body, than to day. 
The method which some take to evade the force of the argu- 
ment, who say, that to day^ refers not to the time of his being 
admitted into heaven, but to the time when Christ spake these 
v/ords, is so low and trifling, that it doth not deserve an answer. 

There is another scripture which fully proves this doctrine, 
namely, what the apostle says, / am in a strait betwixt two^ 
having a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far 
better^ Phil. i. 23. In which he takes it for granted, that as soon 
as he departed out of this world, he should be with Christ ; 
which denotes that he should be in his immediate presence, be- 
holding his glory ; which is inconsistent with the supposition 
that the soul sleeps at death. And this is farther evident from 
%vhat he says, that this is far better, which could not be said 
to be, if the notion we are opposing were true ; for it is so much 
better for a saint to be serving Christ's interest in this world, 
and made so eminently useful in promoting his glory, as the 
apostle was, than to be in a state of inactivity, wherein the soul 
is not capable of doing any thing for him, nor enjoying any 
thing from him, that there is no comparison between them ; 
and whereas he was iti a strait which of these two he should 
chuse, had it been referred to him, the matter might easily have 
been determined in favour of his continuing in this world ; for 
there hs was useful ; whereas, in the other, he would not only 


be useless, but incapable of enjoying those privileges which he 
was made partaker of here. 

My next argument shall be taken from what is said in 2 Cor. 
V. 8. IVe are confident^ ^ sai/y and willing- rather to be absent 
from the bodij^ and to be present xvith the Lord ; where one in- 
fers the other, without any intimation of his waiting till the soul 
is united again to the body, before he is admitted into Christ's 

Again, this farther appears from the words of Solomon, in 
Eccl. iv. 2. I praised the dead which are already dead^ more 
than the living which are yet alive. By which we are to under- 
stand, that the state of believers, when they die, is much more 
happy than it can be in this life ; which supposes that they are 
capable of happiness, and consequently that the soul, when se- 
parated from the body, is notin a state of insensibility ; which 
is altogether inconsistent with happiness. 

And to all this we may add what our Saviour says in the pa- 
rable of the rich man and Lazarus ; the beggar died^ and zvas 
carried by angels into Abraham'' s bosom : The rich man also died 
and was buried^ and in hell he lifted up his etfeSy being^ in tor- 
mentSy Luke xvi. 22, 23. In which parable we have an account 
of the different state of the souls of the righteous and wicked 
at death, and not barely what shall follow upon the resurrec- 
tion of the body ; for when the rich man is represented as be 
ing in torments, he says, in a following part of the parable, / 
have Jive brethren ; and he would have had Lazarus sent to 
testify to themy lest they should also come into that place cf tor- 
ment ; to which it is replied. They have 3Ioses and the prophets ^ 
let them hear them^ ver. 28, 29. which plainly intimates, that 
the parable refers to the state of separate souls, before the re- 
surrection, whilst others enjoyed the means of grace ; and con- 
sequently it proves that the soul, when separate from the bo- 
dy, is capable of happiness or misery ; and Vf^hich is more, is 
fixed in one or the other of them. 

As to those scriptures that speak of the happiness or misery 
of men, as deferred to the end of the world. It is intimated in 
the parable of the tares, that the angels shall come forth^ and 
sever the wicked from the just^ Mat. xiii. 9. and the former are 
said to be cast into a furnace of fire ^ ver. 49, 50. and the latter, 
viz. the righteous, to shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of 
their Father^ rer. 43. which respects tlic dealings of God with 
man, in the end of time. Moreover our Saviour speaks of his 
people as blessed and recompensed at the resurrection of the just^ 
Luke xiv. 14. And the apostle Paul expresses his hope of a 
croxvn of righteousness ^ which the Lord, the righteous, fudgc^ 
should give him at that day^ 2 Tim. iv. 8. that is, the day of 
his coming to judgment ; and several other scriptures that speak 


of what is consequent to the resurrection. To this it may be re- 
plied, that these scriptures respect not the beginning, but con- 
summation of the happiness of the saints, or their compleat bles- 
sedness in soul and body, which is not inconsistent with the 
happiness that separate souls enjoy before the resurrection. 
Nor is the misery that is consequent upon the resurrection, in- 
consistent with that which sinners endure before it, when their 
souls are separate from their bodies. Thus concerning the hap- 
piness of the souls of believers at death ; which leads us to con- 

2. What is farther observed in this answer, concerning the 
soul's waiting for the full redemption of the body ; which 
though it continues under the dominion of death, is notwith- 
standing united to Christ ; and accordingly believers are said 
to rest in their graves as in their beds, till the resurrection. 

The souls of believers are described as waiting for the full 
redemption of their bodies ; which is the same expression that 
the apostle uses, Rom. viii. 23. where redemption denotes a full 
discharge from that prison, or state of confmement in the grave ; 
in which the body was rendered incapable of answering the end 
for which it vv'as redeemed by Christ, and, at the same time, 
the soul was destitute of that happiness which its re-union 
therewith shall convey to it. Its enjoyments wxre all spiritual, 
and, in their kind perfect j but yet it was naked, or, as the apos- 
tle expresses it unclothed ; inasmuch as it wanted that which 
was designed to be a constituent part, necessary to compleat 
the human nature ; without which it was indisposed for those 
actions and enjoyments wliich arise from its union with the bo- 
dy. This it is said to wait for, as a desire of re-union there- 
with is natural to it. Nevertheless it waits without impatience, 
or any diminution of its intellectual happiness. 

(2.) As to what respects the bodies of believers, they are 
said to continue united to Christ, which is the result of their 
being redeemed by him, and of his condescending to dwell in 
them by his Spirit. Accordingly his love extends itself to their 
lower part, as well as to their souls j and, as the apostle says. 
Nothing shall separate a believer from his love^ no, 7iot death 
itself ver. 38, 39. upon which account they are said to sleep in 
yesuSy 1 Thes. iv. 14, or to die in the Lord, Rev. xiv. 14. 
They are indeed buried in the grave, and seem to lie neglected 
like common dust : nevertheless it is said, Preciotis in the sight 
of the Lord is the death of his saints , Psal. cxvi. 15. Christ 
reckons every particle of their dust among his jewels ^ Mai. iii. 
17. and is no more ashamed to ov/n them as his peculiar care, 
than he was w^hen they were in their most flourishing state in 
this world ; and for this reason they are also said to rest in their 
graves as in their beds. This is a scripture-expression, as the 


Psalmist says, My fiesh shall rest in hope^ Psal. xvi. 9. and the 
prophet Isaiah, He shall enter into peace, they shall rest in their 
beds, Isa. Ivii. 2. The body, indeed, remains, at the same time, 
under the external part of the curse due to man for sin ; yet it 
is freed from that which is the most bitter ingredient therein ; 
which will be abundantly demonstrated when death shall be 
compleatly swallowed up in victory. In this the bodies of be- 
lievers have the advantage of all others. The frame of nature 
indeed is dissolved; there is no visible mark of distinction from 
the wicked put upon them in the grave ; yet there is a vast dif- 
ference in God's account, which one elegantly compares to the 
removing of the tabernacle in the M'ilderness : when the Israel- 
ites changed their stations, all the parts thereof were carefully 
taken down and delivered to the Levites' charge, in order to 
its being raised again with honour; whereas, the house incu- 
rably infected with the leprosy, was plucked down with vio- 
lence, and thrown into an unclean place with execration. The 
bodies of the saints are committed to the bosom of the earth, as 
the repository Christ has appointed for them ; from whence he 
will call them forth at last, when their souls shall be again uni- 
ted to them In the glorious morning of the resurrection. This 
leads us to consider, 

III. The misery which the souls of the wicked endure at 
death, which is contained in the latter part of this answer. 

We have here a different scene opened, the final estate of the 
wicked described in words adapted to strike dread and terror 
into those who have, at present, no sense of their future mise-" 
ry : their souls are considered as cast into, or shut up in hell ; 
their bodies imprisoned in the grave, and both, the objects of 
divine wrath. We shall have occasion, under a following an- 
swer,* farther to speak concerning the punishment that shall 
be inflicted on sinners, whose torments shall be inexpressiblie, 
both in body and soul, after the day of judgment: and there- 
fore we shall, at present, consider the misery which the souls 
of the wicked shall undergo before they are united to their bo- 
dies. The soul, which carries out of the world with it the power 
of reflecting on itself as happy or miserable, immediately sees 
itself separate from the comfortable presence of God, the foun- 
tain of blessedness. And that which tends to enhance its mise- 
ry beyond what it is capable of in this life, will be the enlarge- 
ment of its faculties ; as the apprehension shall be more clear 
and its sensation of the wrath of God more pungent; when it 
is not oppressed with that drowsiness and stupidity as it was 
before ; nor will it be possible for it to delude itself, with those 
vain hopes, which it once conceived, of escaping that misery, 
which it is now plunged into ; when all the waves and billows 
* Que^i. Ixxxix. 


of the Almighty shall overwhelm and swallow it up. The soul 
is, in a peculiar manner, the subject of misery, as it is made 
uneasy by its own thoughts ; which are compared to the worm 
that dieth not. While it looks backwards, and calls to mind the 
actions of his past life, and all his sins are charged upon him, 
this fills it with such a sense of guilt and confusion as is inex- 
pressibly tormenting ; and when he looks forward, there is nor 
thing but what administers despair, which increases his misery 
to the highest degree. These torments the soul endures before 
it is reunited to the body, and thereby rendered receptive of 
others, which we generally call the punishment of sense, that 
are conveyed by it. 

The place of punishment is the same that is allotted for soul 
and body, viz, hell ; and this is called utter darkness ; which is 
an expression used to signify the greatest degree of misery. 
As for their bodies, they dread the thoughts of being united to 
them again ; inasmuch as that will bring with it new accessions 
of torment. These are considered as liable to a double dis- 
honour ; not only that which arises from their being in a state 
of corruption in common with all mankind; but in their being 
detained in the grave, as prisoners to the justice of God, from 
whence they shall not be released as persons acquitted or dis- 
charged, but remanded from that prison to another, from 
whence there is no deliverance. But more of this under a fol- 
lov/ins answer. 

Quest. LXXXVII. What are xve to believe concerniJig the 
resurrection ? 

Answ. We are to believe, that at the last day there shall be a 
general resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust; 
when they that are then found alive, shall, in a moment, be 
changed; and the self-same bodies of the dead which were 
laid in the grave, being then again united to their souls for 
ever, shall be raised up by the power of Christ ; the bodies 
of the just, by the Spirit of Christ, and by virtue of his re- 
surrection, as their head, shall be raised in power, spiritual, 
incorruptible, and made like to his glorious body ; and the 
bodies of the wicked shall be raised up in dishonour, by him, 
as an offended Judge. 

IN the foregoing answers, we have considered the soul and 
body as separated by death, the body turned to corruption, 
and the soul immediately entering into a state of happiness or 
misery ; and are now led to insist on the doctrine of the resur- 


rectlon, when these two constituent parts of man shall be re- 
united. And accordingly we shall endeavour, 

I. To explain what we are to understand by the resurrection 
of the dead. 

II. We shall prove that there is nothing in this doctrine con- 
trary to reason, at least, if we consider it as a supernatural and 
divine work. 

III. We shall farther observe, that this doctrine could not 
be known by the light of nature ; and therefore we believe it 
as founded in divine revelation. 

IV. What arguments are contained in scripture for the proof 
thereof; some of which might be taken from the Old Testa- 
ment, and others from the New, in which it is more clearly 

V. We shall answer some of the most material objections 
brought against it. 

VI. We shall consider it as universal, as it is here styled a 
general resurrection of the dead, from the beginning of time to 
Christ's second coming ; yet with this exception, that they who 
are found alive shall be changed. And, 

VII. The condition in which the body shall be raised ; and 
those circumstances of honour and glory, which respect, more 
especially, the resurrection of the just. And, on the other hand, 
we shall consider the resurrection of the wicked, as being in 
dishonour, by Christ, as an offended Judge. 

I. What are we to understand by the resurrection of the 
dead. We sometimes find the word taken, in scripture, in a 
metaphorical sense, for God's doing those things for his church, 
which could not be brought about any otherwise than by his 
extraordinary and supernatural power. Sometimes the work of 
regeneration is set forth by this figurative way of speaking; 
whereby they who are dead in trespasses and sins, are said to 
be quickened ; and our Saviour speaks of this when he says, 
The hour is coming^^ and noxv isy rvhen the dead shall hear the 
voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live, John v. 
25. But we are to understand it in a proper sense, as denoting 
that change which shall pass upon the body, when it shall be 
delivered from the state of corruption, into which it was 
brought at death, and reunited to the soul ; which is distin- 
guished in a following verse, ftom this metaphorical sense of 
it, when he says, All that are in the g-raves shall hear his voice^ 
and shall come forth, theij that have done good unto the resurrec- 
tion of life ^ and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of 
damnation, ver. 28. This includes in it not barely the repairing, 
but the rebuilding the frame of nature ; which was not only de- 
cayed, but dissolved in death ; or the gathering together those 
particles of matter, of which the body M'as before constituted; 


which was not only turned into corruption, but common dust ? 
whereby a new body, as to the form and qualities thereof, is 
erected out of its old materials ; otherwise it could not be called 
a resurrection. It is said, indeed, that the body shall not, in all 
respects, be the same that it was when separated from the soul ; 
as the apostle compares i^ to a grain of xuheat sown in the 
ground, which, when it springs up, is not altogether the same 
as it was before ; for God giveth it a bodij^ {a) as it hath pleased 
him^ and to every seed his own bodij^ 1 Cor. xv. 37, 38. It is the 
same for substance, as it consists of the same inaterials, but 
very different as to its qualities ; as will be farther considered, 
when we speak concerning the condition of the body when 
raised from the dead ; and as it is raised with a design that it 
should be re-united to the soul, which will immediately follow 
upon it ; and this union shall be indissoluble and eternal. 

II. We shall now consider that there is nothing contrary to 
reason, or impossible, from the nature of the thing, which might 
have a tendency to overthrow this doctrine ; especially if we 
consider it as a supernatural and divine work, brought about 
by the almighty power of God. 

If we look no farther than the power of natural causes, we. 
may conclude it to be impossible for a creature to effect, as 
much as it was at first to produce the body of man out of the 
dust of the ground ; but this is not impossible with God : He 
that gave life and being to all things ; and, by his sovereign 
will, puts a period to that life, which had been, for some time 
continued by his power and providence, can give a new life to 
it ; especially if there be nothing in this work that renders it 
unmeet for it to be performed by him. 

That there is nothing in the nature of the thing that renders 
a resurrection impossible, appears, in that death, though it be 
a dissolution of the frame of nature, does not annihilate the 

(n) •'* By affirming, that the grain produced from the seed sown, is not the 
very body which is sown, the apostle I think insinuates, that the body to be 
raised is not numerically the same with the body deposited at death, but some- 
thing of the same kind formed by the energy of God. Having such an example 
of the divine power before our eye-, vve cannot think the reproduction of the body 
impossible, though its parts be utterly dissipated. Farther, although the very 
numerical body is not raised, yet the body is truly raised, because what i:^ raised, 
being united to the soul, there will arise in the man thus completed, a conscious- 
ness of his identity, by which he will be sensible of the justice of the retribution 
which is made to him for his deeds. Besides, this new body, will more ilvm sup- 
ply the place of tlie old, by serving every purpose necessary to the perfection and 
happiness of the man in his new state. According to this view of the subject, 
the objection taken from the scattering of the particles of the body that dies, has 
Co place ; because it does not seem necessarj^, that the body to be raised, should 
be composed of them. For the scripture no wliere affirms, that the same numeri- 
C«l body is to be raised. What it teaches is^ that the dead shall be raised." 

Da. .MAi;s:::ilcmT. . 


body. If the body, indeed, were annihilated at death, then it 
would be impossible, or contrary to the nature of things, that 
there should be a resurrection thereof; since the bringing it 
again into a state of existence would be a new creation ; which, 
though it would not be too great a work for omnipotency, yet 
it could not be styled a resurrection, or restoring the same body 
to life that was separated from the soul, to which it was once 
united. But when we suppose that the matter of which the bo- 
dy consisted is still in being, and nothing is necessary to the 
raising it from the dead but the recollecting the various parti- 
cles thereof, and forming it again into a body, fitted to receive 
the soul : this is not in its own nature impossible ; nor docs it 
infer a contradiction, so as that wc should argue from thence, 
that it cannot be brought about by divine power. 

That this may more fully appear, let it be considered, that 
nothing which God has brought into being, can be annihilated, 
but by an act of his will ; since nothing can defeat or disannul 
liis providence, which upholdeth all things that were brought 
into being by the word of his power. It is also certain, that God 
has given us no ground to conclude that any part of his mate- 
rial creation has been, or shall be turned into nothing; from 
whence it follows, that the particles of all the bodies of men, 
that once lived in this world, though tm-ned to corruption or 
dust, are as much in being as ever they were, though not in 
the same form. 

Again, it is certain that God, who made and upholdeth all 
things, has a perfect knowledge of that which is the object of 
his power, since his understanding is infinite : therefore he 
knows where the scattered dust, or the smallest particles of 
matter that once constituted the bodies of men, are reserved : 
and when we speak of a resurrection from the dead, we un- 
derstand hereby the gathering them together, and disposing 
them in such a way as that new bodies shall be framed out of 
them : therefore, though this could not be done by any but 
God, it is not impossible, from the nature of the thing, for him 
to do it; and that he v.ill do it will be considered, wl\en we 
come more directly to the proof of this doctrine. We shall 
therefore proceed, 

III. To consider it as a matter of pure revelation, such as 
we could not have known by the light of nature, without the 
assistance of scripture-light. Something, indeed, might be 
known by reason concerning the immortality of the soul, and 
its being not only capable of happiness or misery in a future 
state, but dealt with therein according to its behaviour in this 
world : nevertheless, when we enquire into that part, which 
the body shall bear therein ; whether it shall be raised and re- 
united to the soul, to be for ever a partner with it in what re- 

Vol. III. T t 


spects Its state in another world, or shall remain for ever in 
a state of corruption ; this cannot be known by the light of 

There are, indeed, many things which we find in the writings 
of the Heathen, that discover them to have had some notion of 
what bears a resemblance to a resurrection : as when they speak 
concerning the transmigration of souls, or their living in other 
bodies, when separated from those which they formerly were 
united to. And others of them speak concerning the general 
conflagration, and the restoration of all things, immediately af- 
ter, to their former state, as well as give some hints which are 
contained in their writings, concerning particular persons that 
have been raised from the dead, at least, pretended to have 
been so. What we find of this nature therein, very much re- 
sembles the fabulous account we have in the Popish legends of 
miracles, said to have been wrought, though without proof : 
thus we are told of one Aristeas, the Proconnesian, who had 
a power of expiring and returning to life at pleasure, and rela- 
ting what he had seen in a separate state.* The same is re- 
ported of one Hermotimus of Clazomena.f But the most fa- 
mous story of this kind, is what is related by Plato, :f: and tran- 
scribed from him by Eusebius,§ concerning one Er, the son of 
Armenius ; who, after he was slain in battle, and had continued 
ten days among other dead bodies, was brought home to his 
house ; and two days after, being laid on his funeral pile, came 
to life again : this Plato, while he is relating it, calls little bet- 
ter than a fable. || And it was treated by others with ridicule, 
how much soever believed by some who regarded reports more 
than solid evidence of the truth thereof. 

I might also mention others, who are said, by Heathen wri- 
ters to have been translated into heaven in their bodies and 

* This is reported in a ve)'y fabulous manner, and is reckoned vo more than an 
idle tale by Plimj, -who mentions it among other stories of the, like Jiattire. Vid. JPli:;. 
J\rat. Hist. Lib. vii. Cap. lii. Animam ^ristcei etiam visam evolentem ex ore, in Pro- 
conneso, corvi efftgie, magna qii(£ sequittir fabidositate. This is also mentioned as a 
fable % Origen. Vid. Origin. Lib iii. Contr. Cels. 

f Vid. Plin. J\rat. Hist. Cap. lii. Reperimns inter exempla Hermotimi Clazomerr.i 
animam relicto corpore, errare aolitam, vaga?ng ; e loginquo mnlta anminciare. qv.£ 
nisi a prcesenti nosci non possent ; but by thefoUo-wi7ig words he speaks of him as not 
dead, but in a kind oydeliquium ; corpora iiiterim ctmianimi ; but yet it -was given 
out by many, that he died and rose again very often. This Lucian himself laughs at 
as a foolish tale. Vid. Lucian. Etic. J^Iusc. 

if- Vid. Plat, de Hepub. Lib. x. 

§ Vid. Euseb. Praparat. Evang. Lib. si. Cap. xxsv. It is mentioned by Plu~ 
tarch, Symp. Lib. ix. Cap. v. 

H JUacrobius speaking concerning it, in Somn. Scip. Lib. 1. Cap. 1. represents Ci- 
cero as being under a great concern, that this story of Er rvas ridiculed, by many 
who did not stick to say. Visum fuisse Erem, vitam effundere, animamq ; recipere, 
guam revera non amiserat. See mere to (his purpose in JIuct. Dsr.oJist. Ezvn^. 
Prop, ix. Cap. cslii. 


souls * : Which might take its first rise from what they had re- 
ceived by tradition, concerning the translation of Enoch and 
Elijah ; as the stories of those that were raised from the dead 
might be first invented by them with this view, that their reli- 
gion might have as great reputation as that of the Jews. 

But notwithstanding these particular instances related by 
them, of some translated, or others raised from the dead; there 
were very few of them that believed the doctrine of the resur- 
rection ; and some treated it with as much contempt as we do 
the before-mentioned account which they give of particular 
persons raised from the dead f. This agre<is very well with 
what we read in scripture, concerning the treatment the apos- 
tle Paul met with, when he encountered the Epicureans and 
Stoicks at Athens, preaching to them yesus and the resurrec- 
tion^ Acts xvii. 18. upon which occasion they call him babbler ; 
and insinuated that he seemed to be a setter forth of strange 
gods. Oecumenius and Chrysostom think, that they supposed 
he reckoned the resurrection among the gods \^ as well as ye- 
sus^ whose divinity he doubtless maintained ; but whether they 
were so stupid as thus to wrest his words, is not material. It 
IS no wonder to find the Epicureans treating this doctrine with 
ridicule ; for they, denying the immortality of the soul, could 
not entertain the least idea of the resurrection of the body in 
any sense : Whereas the Stoicks, though they did not own the 
doctrine of the resurrection, yet they could not think it ao 
strange a doctrine as some others might do ; since they held 
that the soul, after death, continued at least, as long as the 
body ; and they knew very well, that many of the philosophers 
strenuously maintained the transmigration of souls ; and, in- 
deed, this was held by many of them, as well as the Platonists 
and Pythagoreans ; and therefore the resurrection, though it 
differed from it, could not seem so strange and unheard of a 

• See a late learned -writer, Hodii en the rcsurrecticn of the samebodv ; ii'fio re 
jcrs to several places in Heathen tiTiters, of -whom some beliei<ed it ; others exposedit 
asfiibvloua, Pag: 13 — 16. 

^ T/nis Pliny, who a little before related several stories of persons raisedfrom the 
dead, notiuithstandinff calls the doctrine of the resurrection, puerile delinimeiitum. 
Vid. Ejnsd. JVat. Hist. Lib. vii. Cap. Iv. and elsctvhere he ■•^peafcs of it as a thing in 
iti cr.'unature impossible ; and therefore concludes it to be one of those things -oldch 
God cannot do. Lib. ii. Cap. vii. J\> Denm qnidem posse omnia, nee mortales <cfcr- 
■nitate donare, out revocare defunctos. And Jtfinvtitis Felix. Vid. Ejusd. Octav. 
Cap. xi. brings in an Heathen, luho was his friend, railinj at it, ruithont any decency, 
cs though it vas no better than an old n'ives fable ; end the principal argument fte pro- 
duces, is, because he supposes it impossible fot a body that luas burnt to ashes, to spring 
tip into life again. And Celsiis, speaking concerning the impossibility ofGod^s doing 
any thing contrary to nature, reckons this among those things. Vid. Orig. Contr. 
Cels. Lib. v. Page 240. and says, the hope hereof is more icorthy ofivorms than mem 
and styles ii an abominable, n:; Ttll as an impos'^ible thing, wAjcA God neither car, 
".or ■will do. 

332 OF THE Resurrection. 

notion, as that they should reckon it among the gods : How- 
ever, it plainly appears from hence that this doctrine could not 
bs learned by the light of nature; whatever confused ideas the 
Heathen might have entertained by tradition, concerning it. 

Therefore it follows from hence, that we must look for a sa- 
tisfactory account hereof from scripture : Thus when the Sad- 
ducees put a stupid question to our Saviour concerning the 
woman that had seven husbands^ which successively died; and 
they would know whose wife she should be in the resurrection; 
by which they designed to express their opposition to this doc- 
trine, rather than a desire of information as to the question 
proposed : Our Saviour in his reply to them refers them to the 
scriptures^ Matt, xxii 29. as the fountain from whence a clear 
and satisfactory knowledge of this doctrine is to be derived as 
well as from the poxver of God. This divine perfection argues 
the possibility thereof, the justice and goodness of God, its ex- 
pediency ; but the scriptures, which contain a revelation of his 
will, represent it as certain ; and this leads us to consider some 
arguments that are contained in, or deduced from scripture for 
the proof thereof ; and here we shall consider, 

1. Those proofs which we have for it, taken from the Old 
Testament. These I chuse first to insist on, because I am 
sensible there are many who think, that the church knew no- 
thing of it, till it was revealed, by our Saviour, in the New 
Testament : This very much detracts from the importance of 
the doctrine, as well as renders the state of those who lived be- 
fore Christ's incarnation, very uncomfortable, since the saints, 
according to this opinion, must have had no hope of a glorious 
resurrection to eternal life. This notion is defended by many 
who extend the darkness of the dispensation farther than what 
is convenient; and among others, it is generally maintained by 
the Socinians, probably with this design, that since according 
to them, our Saviour had little else in view, in coming into the 
world, but to lead men into the knowledge of some things 
which they v.^ere ignorant of before ; this might be reckoned 
one of those doctrines that he came to communicate. Thus 
Volkelius denies that there were any promises of eternal life 
made to the church under the Old Testament ; and concludes 
that there was no one who had the least surmise that any such 
doctrine was contained in those scriptures which we common- 
ly bring from thence to prove it *. And to give countenance 

* Vid. Volkel. de vera relig. Lib. iii. Cap. xi. Jlpparet promissionem vita sempi- 
iernx in prisco illo Joedere factam minime fiiisse. And in a following part of this 
chapter, wherein he professedly treats on this subject, he adds; Qme apertis hiculen- 
tissimisq ; verbis ut in nova scriptura fieri videamus, hoc Dei beneficium nobis pol- 
liceantur. JBx quorum mimere, hoc de quo agimns, nequaqitayn esse hinc patet, quod 
atitequam Christiis illiid explicaret, nemo iinquam extitit, qui vet mspicari auderet, 
tale quid illo comprehendi. 


to this opinion, several quotations are often taken from Jewish 
writers, since our Saviour's time, who either speak doubtfully 
of this matter, or give occasion to think that they did not un- 
derstand those scriptures which establish the doctrine of the re- 
surrection in the Old Testament, as having any reference to it. 
Therefore it may not be amiss for us to enquire ; what were 
the sentiments of some of the Jews about this matter ? Every 
one knows that there was one sect amongst them, namely, the 
Sadducees, who distinguished themselves from others by deny- 
ing it : And Josephus gives the largest account of any one, 
concerning another sect^ to wit, the Essens, who affected to 
lead a recluse life, in their respective colleges, and were gov- 
erned by laws peculiar to themselves : Among other things 
which he relates concerning their conduct and sentiments, he 
r.ays, that it was an opinion established among them, that the 
bodies of men were corruptible, and the matter of which they 
were compounded, not perpetual ; though the soul remained 
for ever : And then he represents them as speaking, according 
to the Pythagorean and Platonick way, concerning the body's 
being the prison of the soul, and its remaining when released 
from it, and of the soul's dwelling in a pleasant place, and en- 
joying many things that tend to make it happy, &c. *. Nev- 
ertheless, his account of them is so short, and the expression 
on which the whole stress of this supposition is founded, a little 
ambiguous, namely, that the bodies of men are corruptible, and 
their matter not perpetual, which may be understood as agree- 
ing with the common faith concerning man's mortality, and the 
body's turning to corruption, and not remaining in the same 
state in which it was ; that it seems to leave the matter doubt- 
ful, whether they asserted or denied the resurrection. It is 
also supposed, that Philo denied this doctrine from several pas- 
sages observed in his writings, which a late learned writer takes 
notice of f ; but this is only the opinion of a single person, who, 
according to his general character, seems to be halting between 
two opinions, to v/it, the doctrine of Moses, and the philoso- 
phy of Plato ; and therefore I take his sentiments, about this, 
to be nothing else but an affection of thinking or speaking a- 
greeably to the Platonic philosophy, which had probably given 
such a tincture to his notions, that he might deny the resurrec- 
tion. And if the Essens, before- mentioned, should be allowed 
to have denied it, they received it from their attachment to the 
same, or, at least, the Pythagorean philosophy : But we can- 
not from hence conclude that the doctrine of the resurrection 
was denied by tlie main body of the Jews, or the greatest part 

• Vid. Joseph, de Bell. Jud. Lib. ii. Cap. vli. 'Kai yap tfewjm Trtif avlut tuff " ^f* 
<fyiplci /Ltfynvii tit, ruiAuJu, KUI riiv vXiiy cu /ucvlfjiov dvloK, &c. 
f See Dr. Hadij on the resurrection, &c. Fage 56—59. 


of them ; or by any, excepting those who were led out of the 
way, by the writings of the philosophers : Which gave occa- 
sion to the apostle Paul to warn the church to kexvare of philo- 
sophy and vain deceit^ after the traditio7i of men^ after the rudi- 
ments of the tvorldy and not after Christy Col. ii. 8. as foresee- 
ing that some of them, in after-ages, would, in many respect's, 
corrupt the doctrines of the gospel, by accommodating them to, 
or explaining them by what they found in the writings of the 
Heathen philosophers, as Origen, Justin Martj^r, and some 
others did ; and he seems to take the hint from what had been 
before observed relating to the corruption of the Jewish yai?/j, 
by those who were attached to them. Thus concerning the 
opinion of those Jews, who are supposed to deny the doctrine 
of the resurrection. 

On the other hand, there are several Rabbinical writers, 
w^ho sufficiently intimate their belief of this doctrine ; though 
it is true, some of them infer it from such prem.ises, as discov- 
er great weakness in their method of reasoning. Thus the 
learned bishop Pearson observes, that they produce several pla- 
ces out of Moses's writings, which when the resurrection is 
believed, may, in some kind, serve to illustrate it, but can, in 
no degree, be thought to reveal so great a mystery *. And 
Dr. Lightfoot produces other proofs, which they bring for this 
doctrine, as little to the purpose |, of which all the use that can 
be made is, that we may from hence observe, that they believ 
ed the doctrine we are maintaining, to be contained in scrip- 
ture. Whether they were able to defend it by shewing the 
force of those arguments on which it is founded therein or no, 

* See Bis flop Pearson on the Creed, Jlriic. 11. 7uho observes, from their writings, 
that because, m the formation of man, mentioned in Gen. ii. 7. Moses uses the -word 
•^ifi^.l and in the formation of beasts, verse 19. the word y^i^ the former having 
ttoo jods, the latter bnt one : Therefore the beasts are made but once, but mmi tivice ; 
to toit, once in his generation, and the second time in his resurrection, ^nd they 
sfranp-ehi apprehend a proof of the resurrection to be contained in the malediction. 
Gen. iii. 19. Dust thou art, and unto dust tliou shalt return, q. d. thou art nozo 
dust luhile thou livest ; and, after death, thou shalt return unto this dust, that if:, 
thou shalt live again, as thou, dost no-zv : Jind those loordsin Exod. xv. 1. then sang 
Moses and tli-2 children of Israel ; they render he shall sing, viz. after the resurrec- 
tio7i in the life to corie, and from thence infer this doctrine, -which coidd afford but 
'uerij rrnall satisfaction to the Sudducees, tvhile they omitted to insist on other preg- 
nant proofs tJiereof. 

■f See Vol II. Heb. and Talmud. Exercit. on John iv. 25. -zuherein he says, that 
they pretend to proz-e it from Detrt. xxxi. 16. ivhere God says to Moses, Thou shalt 
sleep with thy fatiiers, and rise again ; -which isaji addition to, as -zoell as a perver- 
sion' of the text ; -.mich says, the people shall rise up and go a whoring, &c. and 
Page 541, and TB". he represents them as proving it from Josh, vili 30. -where it is 
said, that Joshua built an altar unto the Lord ; -zohich they translate, he shall build 
an altar ; svppos-lng this to be after the resvrrectioyi : And from Psal. Ixxxiv. 4. 
Blessed are they that dwell in thy house, they will be still pr^iislng thee, they 
.■suppose is meant of their praising God after the resurrection. See many other ab- 
-vr' Tn-'*hod: ofrrarnnin^ to the same purpose, referred to by him in tks same, place. 


is not much to our present purpose, my design in referring to 
their writings being to prove that this doctrine was embraced 
by the Jews, in the ages before, as well as since our Saviour's 
time. It is true, the Talmud, and other writings, which are 
generally quoted for the proof of it, are of later date, and the 
most ancient of the Chaldee paraphrases now extant, is suppo- 
sed to have been written about that time, or, at least, but little 
before it : And there are no uninspired writings, relating to the 
Jewish affairs, more ancient, except those which we generally 
call Apocryphal ; which most suppose to have been written a- 
bout 150 years before the Christian i£ra. And it is very evi- 
dent, that about that time the doctrine of the resurrection was 
believed by the Jewish church ; as the author of the book of 
Maccabees, in the history of the martyrdom of the seven breth- 
ren in the reign of Antiochus *, represents some of them in the 
agonies of death, as expressing the firm belief they had of a 
resurrection to eternal life ; their mother, in the mean while, 
encouraging them from the same consideration. These, as it 
is more than probable, the apostle includes in the number of 
those noble Old Testament worthies who were tortured^ not 
accepting- deliverance, that they anight obtain a better resurrec- 
tion, Heb. xi. Q>5. which is an undeniable evidence that the 
church at that time believed the doctrine of the resurrection. 

All that I shall add under this head is, that how weak soev- 
fer the reasoning of some Jewish writers, concerning this sub- 
ject, has been, there are others who give substantial proofs 
from the Old Testament ; which not only argues that they be- 
lieved it, but that their belief proceeded from a just conviction 
of the truth thereof. And they give the same sense of some 
of those scriptures which are generally produced for the proof 
hereof, as we do f. 

The first scripture that we shall take notice of, is what con- 
tains the vision mentioned in Ezek. xxxvii. 1, £s? sc^. concern- 
ing the valley rvhich xuas full of bones, which were very dry : 
Upon which occasion God says, Son of many Can these bo7ies 

• Macab. vii. 9, 11, 14, 23, 29. 

f Thus Josephus Jacchiades, referred to by Witdusin St/mb. Exercit. xxvi. § 41. 
in exp'ainivg that famous text m Daniel xii. 2- sai/s, Et tiincftt mirncidum resur- 
rectioms mortuorum : J^am midti dormientium in terra pulverulenta expcrgiscentur^ 
hi ad vitam letemarn, qui sutU sancti ; illiveroad opprobria & detestationem ater- 
Tiavi : qxd sunt iinfiii. Quorum resiwrectioiiis causa cct, nt impiifateaiitur palan:, 
suam fidem essefatsam, (J eos qui ipsisfdem habuerint, prosecutos finsse vanitateni 
atque evanuisse, ipsiqxte affnoscant suos majores fahltatem possedisse. And Me ' 
nasseh Ben Israel, de liesurr. mort. Lib. ii. Cap. viii. proves it from the same scrip- 
ture. Jilofe to the same purpose may be seen in T)r. Hody on the resurrection. Page 
72. l^ seq. -who quotes several of t fie Talmudical -writers, as signifying their belief of 
tills doctrine ; and especially Pocock in Maimon. Port. Mof Cap. \\. -who produ- 
ces a multitude of quotations to the same purpose ; in -which some assert this doctrine 
■without proof, others establish it by solid arguments, and some mix a great manyad- 
surdnctions --Mth it, -ivhich-we shall, at present, past ovtr. 


live P to which he replies, Lord God, thou knoxvest. And af- 
terwards we read of God's laying sinezvs, and bringing iipjiesh 
upon them, covering them xvith skin, and putting breath into 
them ; and their being hereupon restored to life. I am sensi- 
ble that they who are on the other side of the question, pretend 
that this is no proof of a resurrection; because the design there- 
of was to illustrate and make way for the prediction mention- 
ed in the following verses, concerning the deliverance of God's 
people from the Babylonish captivity : But that which seems 
to have its weight with me is, that God would never have 
made use of a similitude to lead them into this doctrine, taken 
from a thing which they had no manner of idea of : But if we 
suppose that they believed that there shall be a resurrection of 
the dead, agreeable to the literal sense of the words here made 
use of to illustrate it, then the argument taken from thence 
as plain and easy, q. d. as certainly as you have ground to be- 
lieve that the dead shall be raised at the last day (which though 
it could not be brought about by any natural means, yet it shall 
be eiFected by the power of God ;) so your deliverance, hovr 
tmlikely soever it may appear to those who look no farther than 
second causes, shall come to pass by God's extraordinary pow- 
er and providence, which will be as life from the dead. 

And whereas it is farther objected, that when God asked the 
prophet, whether these dry bones could live ? He seemr lo be 
in doubt about it ; which argues that he had no idea of the re- 
surrection of the dead. To this it may be replied, that his doubt 
respected an event that should immediately ensue ; he knev/ 
that God could put life into these bones j but whether he would 
do it now or no, he could not tell : Therefore it does not con- 
tain any disbelief of the doctrine of the resurrection at the last 
day ; and, indeed, this scripture, how little soever it may seem 
to some to make for the doctrine we are maintaining, is alleg- 
ed by others, as an undeniable proof of it. Tertullian expressly 
says, that this would have been a very insignificant vision, if 
this doctrine were not true *. And Jerome speaks to the same 
purpose, supposing that God would never illustrate any truth 
which they were in doubt of, by a similitude taken from an in- 
credible fiction f . And Menasseh Ben Israel, a learned Jew, 
supposes this text to be an express and infallible proof of the 
resurrection ; which plainly argues that he thought the Jews, 
in former ages, were convinced of this doctrine thereby \» 

* Vid. Teriull. de Resurrect. Carn. Cap. xxx. JVgji posset fie ossibusfgura com- 
poni, si non id ipsitjn, & ossibus eventurum esset. 

•j- Vid. Hievon. in JEzeh. xxxvii. jVuriquam poneretur similitudo resurrectionis, ad 
restitutionem Israelitici populi significa7idam,msistaret ipsa restirrectitio, & futlira 
crederetur ; quia r.emo de rebus 7ion extantibiis incerta confirmat. 

t Vid. Menasseh Ben Isr. Lib. 1. de Resurrect. Cap. 'u.\ 4. Sic textus expressttc 
fsf. & i;>fallibilis quo sine o?nni dtibio resxirrectio probatur. 


But supposing this scripture be not reckoned sufficient to 
evince the truth of this doctrine, there is another which has 
more weight in it, viz. that in Job xix. 25 — 27. I knoix) that 
mij Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day 
upon the earth : And though^ after my skhi^ worms destroy this 
body^ yet in viy flesh shall I see God : Whom I shall see for my^ 
self and mine eyes shall behold, and not anothery though my 
reins be consumed within me. Job, as is generally supposed, 
lived in Moses' time ; therefore, if it can be made appear that 
he professes his faith in the doctrine of the resurrection, we 
may conclude that the church was acquainted with it in the 
early ages thereof; and nothing seems more evident, from the 
plain sense of the words, than that he here professes his faith 
in, and encourages himself from the hope of future blessedness, 
both in soul and body, at Christ's second coming in the last day. 

It is with a great deal of difficulty that they who deny this 
doctrine, are obliged to account for the sense of this text, so as 
to evade the force of the argument taken from thence to prove 
it. These suppose that Job intends nothing hereby but a firm 
persuasion which he had, that he should be recovered from that 
state of misery in which he .then was, which not only affected 
his mind, but his body, as it was smitten with sore boils, from 
the sole of his foot unto his crown. Job ii. 7. his flesh being clo- 
thed xvith xvorms, and his skin broken and become loathso7ne, 
chap. vii. 5. and accordingly he says, I shall be redeemed from 
this affliction, and brought into a happy state before I die ; and 
so they suppose that the words are to be taken in a metaphori- 
cal sense; and therefore do not prove the doctrine of the re- 
surrection. But this will appear to oe a very great perversion 
of the sense of this text, if we consider, 

1. In how solemn a manner he brings it in, in the verses 
immediately foregoing. Oh that my words were now zvritten / 
Oh that they were printed in a book I that they were graven 
xvith an iron pen and lead, in the rock for ever .' Which seems 
to import that he had something to communicate, that was of 
far greater moment than the account of his deliverance from 
the afflictions he was under in this world. Therefore it seems 
more agreeable to understand the sense of the words, as de- 
noting that great and important truth, in which all believers 
are concerned, relating to Christ's second coming, and the hap- 
piness that his saints shall then enjoy in soul and body ; this 
deserves to be writ with a pen of iron, that it may be trans- 
mitted to all generations. But, 

2. It is evident that he is here speaking of something that 
should be done, not whilst he lived, but in the end of time ; for 
he considers his Redeemer, as standing in the latter day upon 
the earth. The person whom he here speaks of as his Redccra- 

Voi. III. U a 


er, is, doubtless, our Saviour, who is frequently described, both 
in the Old and New-Testament, under that character : And, 
if at any time God the Father is called the Redeemer of his 
people, it may farther be observed that he is never said in re- 
deeming them to make himself visible to their bodily eyes, or 
to stand upon the earth, much less to do this in the latter or 
last day, in which Christ is said to come again in a visible man- 
ner, to raise the dead and judge the world : And this Job in- 
tends when he says. In mij jiesh shall I see God^ whom I shall 
see for myself and 7nine eyes shall behold^ and not another. 

3. It is evident also that he intends hereby something that 
should befal him after his death, and not barely a deliverance 
from his present misery in this world ; for he speaks of his 
skin or body as devoured by tuorms, and his reins consumed 
ivithin him ; which can intend no other than a state of corrup- 
tion in death. 

4. It does not appear that Job had any intimation concern- 
ing the change of his condition in this world, before God turn- 
ed his captivity, having first made him sensible of his error, in 
uttering- that which he understood not^ when he testified his re- 
conciliation to his friends, notwithstanding the injuries he had 
received from them, by praying for them, chap. xlii. 3, 10. 
And, indeed, he was so far from expecting happiness in this 
life, that he says. Mine eye shall no more see good, viz. in this 
world, chap. vii. 7. and hereupon he takes occasion to medi- 
tate on his own mortality in the following words ; The eye of 
him that hath seen me shall see me no more ; thine eyes are up- 
on me, and I am not : And after this he prays, that thou 
7vouldst hide me in the grave, chz'^. xiv. 13. &c. And immedi- 
ately before he speaks of his Redeemer as living, and the de- 
liverance which he should obtain in the latter day, in the text 
under our present consideration, he earnestly desires the com- 
passion of his friends : Have pity upon vie, have pity upon me^ 
O ye my friends ; for the hand of God hath touched me; which 
does not well agree with the least expectation of a state of hap- 
piness in this world ; in which case he would not need their 
pity ; he might only have convinced them of the truth thereof, 
and it would have given a turn to their behaviour towards him ; 
for we find, that, when God blessed his latter end more than 
his beginning, every one was as ready to comfort him concern- 
ing the evil that the Lord had brought upon him, and shew 
their very great respect to him, by offering him presents, as 
any were before to reproach him. Therefore upon the whole, 
it is very evident that Job is not speaking concerning his de- 
liverance from his present evils in this world, but of a perfect 
deliverance from all evil in the great day of the resurrection : 
Accordingly we must conclude, that the doctrine of the resur- 


lection is plainly asserted in this scripture ; and indeed, Jerome 
says, that no one who wrote after Christ has more plainly main- 
tained the doctrine of the resurrection than Job docs in this 
scripture, who lived before him *. 

There is another scripture, by which, if I do not mistake the 
sense thereof, Job appears to have had a steady faith in the 
doctrine of the resurrection, and was firmly persuaded concern- 
ing his happiness, when raised from the dead, namely, in chap, 
xiv. 13, 14, 15. in which he says, 1 that thou xvouldst hide me 
in the gi-avc^ that thou xvouldst keep me secret until thy xvrath be 
past ; that is, till a full end is put to all the afflictive providences 
which men are liable to in this present world, namely, till the 
day of Christ's second coming ; or, that thou xvouldst appoint 
me a set time^ and remember me ; namely, that thou wouldst de- 
liver me from the evils which I now endure. As to the former 
of these expedients, to wit, his deliverance by death, that he 
counts a blessing, because he takes it for granted that if a man 
die he shall live again^ ver. 14. f and therefore says, all the days 
of my appointed time^ that is, not of the appointed time of life, 
but the time appointed that he should lie in the grave, in which 
he desired that God would hide him ; there, says he, I shall 
xuait^ or remain, till 7?iy change co7ne, that is, till I am changed 
from a state of mortality to that of life. And he goes on in the 
following words. Thou shalt call, that is, by thy power thou 
shalt raise me, and I zvill ansxver thee, or come forth out of my 
grave; and hereby thou wilt make it known that thou hast a 
desire to the xvork of thine hands. 

If it be objected to this sense of the words, that Job says, 
ver. 12. that man lieth doxvn, and riseth not till the heavens be 
no 7uore ; they shall not axvake 7ior be raised out of their sleep ; 
therefore he is so far from expecting relief from his misery in 
the resurrection, that he seems plainly to deny it. To this I 
answer,- that he doth not deny the doctrine of the resurrection 
in those words wherein he says that they shall not be raised 
from the dead^ till the heavens be 7io more ; which seems to in- 
timate that he concluded that the dead should rise when the 
frame of nature was changed, as it will be, at the last day, in 
which the heavens shall be no more. I confess this sense is not 
commonly giv-en of these verses, nor any argument drawn from, 
them to prove a resurrection from the dead ; therefore I would 
not be too tenacious of mine own sense thereof; but I cannot 
but think it more probable than the common sense that is given 

• Vid. Hieron. Epist. 61. ad Pammach. de error. Joh. Hieros. Qind hac prophetia 
manifa-tiua ? JVidbn tarn aperte post Christxim, quam iste ante Christum de resur- 
rectioiic loquitur. 

f Tlie -words are put in the form of an interrogation, ivhich sometimes argues a strong 
negation, but not al'u/a^'s, since here it seems to imply a concessicn that he should live 


of the words, and if so, it may be considered as a proof of the 
doctrine that we are maintaining. 

There is another scripture which plainly proves the doctrine 
of the resurrection, namely, Dan. xii. 2. Manij of them that 
sleep in the dust shall axvake^ some to everlasting life^ and some 
to shajne and everlasting contempt. This scripture is brought 
by several Rabbinical writers, as a proof of this doctrine ; and 
the words are so express, that it will be very difficult to evade 
the force of them ; though, it is true, some modern writers, who 
are ready to conclude that the Old Testament is silent as to 
the doctrine of the resurrection, take the words in a metaphori- 
cal sense, for the deliverance of the church from those griev- 
ous persecutions which they were under in the reign of Antio- 
chus ; and so sleeping in the dust is taken, by them, for lying 
in the holes and caves of the earth, the Jews being forced to 
seek protection there from the fuiy of the tyrant : But this can- 
not be prpperly called sleeping in the dust of the earth ; and 
their deliverance from this persecution is not consistent with 
the contempt that should be cast on some that were raised out 
of the dust ; nor could the happiness that others enjoyed in this 
deliverance, be called everlasting life^ it being only a temporal 
salvation, that according to them, is here spoken of j and it 
must be a straining the metaphor to a great degree, to apply 
the following words to their wise men and teachers, after this 
deliverance, that they should shine as the brightness of the fir- 
mament ; therefore this sense has such difficulties attending it, 
that every person who is not prepossessed with prejudice must 
give into the literal sense of the text ; and confess that it is an 
argument to prove die doctrine of the resurrection. 

The only difficulty that is pretended to be involved in this 
sense of the text is its being said. Many of them that sleep in 
the dust shall awake ; whereas the doctrine that we are defend- 
ing, is that of an universal resurrection. But since we shall 
have occasion to speak to that under a following head, we shall 
rather choose to refer it to its proper place, in which, according 
to our designed method, we are to consider that all who have 
lived from the beginning to the end of time, shall be raised. 

There are other scriptures in the Old Testament that might 
be brought to prove this doctrine, such as that in Deut. xxxii. 
39. in which God says, I kill ^ and I make alive ; and that paral- 
lel text,, in which the same thing is confessed, and farther ex- 
plained, by Hannah, in her song, in 1 Sam. ii. 6. The Lord 
killeth and maketh alive^ he bringeth dorvn to the grave^ and 
bringeth up, I know that death and life are sometimes taken 
for good and evil; but why should deliverance from the mise- 
ries of this present life be represented by the metaphor of a re- 
surrection, and this attributed to the almighty power of God, 


if the doctrine of the resurrection was reckoned by the church 
at that time, no other than a fiction or chimera, as it must be 
supposed to be if they had no idea of it, as not iiaving receiv- 
ed it by divine revelation ? 

We might, as a farther proof of this doctrine, consider those 
three instances that we have in the Old Testament of persons 
raised from the dead, namely, the Shunamite's child, by the 
prophet Eiisha, 2 Kings iv. 35. and 'the man who was cast in- 
to his sepulchre, that revived and stood on his fcet^ when he 
touched his bones^ chap. xiii. 21. and the widow of Zarephath's 
son, by the prophet Elijah, on which occasion it is said. He 
cried to the Lord^ and said^ Lord mij God^ I pray thee let this 
child^s soul co?ne irito him ag^ain ; and accordingly the soul of 
the child came into him again, and he revived, 1 Kings xvii- 
21, 22. From hence v/e must conclude, that this doctrine was 
not unknown to the prophet ; for if it had, he could not have 
directed his prayer to God in faith. And these instances of a 
resurrection of particular persons could not but give occasion 
to the church at that time, to believe the possibility of a resur- 
rection at the last day ; so that it might as reasonably be ex- 
pected that God will exert his power by raising the dead then„ 
as that he would do it at this time, unless thei-e was something 
in this possible event contrary to his moral perfections j but the 
resurrection appeared to them as it doth to all who consider 
him as the governor of the world, and as distributing rewards 
and punishments to every one according to their works, as not 
only agreeable to these perfections, but, in some respects, ne- 
cessary for the illustration thereof. Therefore we must con- 
clude, that as they had particular instances of a resurrection, 
which argued the general resurrection possible, they might ea- 
sily believe that it should be future j which is the doctrine that 
we are maintaining. 

To this we may add, that the patriarch Abraham believed 
the doctrine of the resurrection ; therefore he had it some way 
or other revealed to him, before the word of God was commit- 
ted to writing. This appears from what the apostle says when 
speaking concerning his offering Isaac, that he accowited that 
God was able to raise him up even from the dead^ Fleb. xi. 19. 
From hence it is evident that he v/as verily persuaded when he 
bound \\\\\\ to the altar, and lifted up his hand to slay him, that 
God would suffer him to do it, otherwise it had been no trial 
of his faith, so that his being prevented from laying his hand 
on him was an unexpected providence. Now how could he 
solve the difficulty that would necessarily ensue hereupon ; had 
he expected that God would give him another seed instead of 
Isaac, that v/ouid not have been an accomplishment of the pro- 
mise which was given to him. namely, that in Isaac his seed 


should be called ; therefore the only thing that he depended on, 
was, that when he had offered him, God would raise him from 
the dead, and by this means fulfil the promise that was made 
to him concerning the numerous seed that should descend from 
him; therefore it cannot be supposed that Abraham was a 
stranger to the doctrine of the resurrection. 

There are other scriptures by which it appears that the doc- 
trine of the resurrection was revealed to the church under the 
Old Testament dispensation, either from the sense of the words 
themselves, or the explication thereof in the New, which re- 
fers to them : thus it is said in Psal. xvi. 10. Thou wilt not 
leave my soul in hell ; neither wilt thou siijfer thine holy one to 
■see corruptio7i ; which the apostle Peter quotes to pi-ove the 
resurrection of Christ, in Acts ii. 24 — 27. If David therefore 
knew that the Messiah should be raised from the dead (which, 
as will be considered under a following head, is a glorious proof 
of the doctrine of the resurrection of the saints) we cannot sup- 
pose that he was a stranger to this doctrine himself. 

Again, it is said in Isa. xxv. 8. He will swallow up death in 
victory ; and this is mentioned immediately after a prediction 
of the glorious provision, which God would make for his peo- 
ple under the gospel-dispensation, which is called, by a meta- 
phorical way of speaking, ver. 6. A feast of fat things^ a feast 
ofxvines on the lees^ of fat things full of marrow^ ofxvines on the 
lees xuell refined; and of the gospel's being preached to the Gen- 
tiles, ver. 7. which is expressed by his destroying the face of 
coverings and the veil that was spread over all natio?is : there- 
fore it may well be supposed to contain a prediction of some- 
thing consequent thereupon, namely, the general resurrection : 
and there is another scripture to the same purpose, viz. Hos. 
xiii. 14. Iwill ransom them from the power of the gr-ave ; Izvill 
redeem them from death : death^ Izvill be thy plague ; grave ^ 
I xvill be thy destruction! ; and both these scriptures are refer- 
red to by the apostle, as what shall be fulfilled in the resur- 
rection of the dead ; when he says. Then shall be brought to 
pass the saying that is xuritten^ Death is swalloxued up in vic- 
tory : deaths where is thy sting P grave^ xvhere is thy vic- 
tory f 1 Cor. XV. 54, 55. Therefore we cannot but think that 
the prophets, and the church in their day, understood the words 
in the same sense. 

There is another scripture in the Old Testament, in which 
the premises are laid down, fi-om whence the conclusion is 
drawn in the New for the proof of this doctrine, namely, when 
God revealed himself to Moses, Exod. iii. 6. which our Sa- 
viour refers to, and proves the doctrine, of the resurrection 
from, against the Sadducees. Now that the dead are raised^ even 
Moses shexved at the bush^ when he calleth the Lordj the God of 


Abraham^ and the God of Isaac^ and the God of Jacob : for he 
is not the God of the dead^ but of the living, Luke xx. 2,7, 38. 
which argument was so convincing, that ct?r^«7n of the Scribes, 
said, in the following words, Master, thou hast xvell said; and 
after that, they, that is, the Sadducees, durst not ask him amj 
question at all; so that it silenced, if it did not convince them. 
There are some, indeed, who, though they conclude that it is 
a very strong proof of the immortality of the soul, which the 
Sadducees denied, since that which does not exist cannot be 
the subject of a promise ; yet, they cannot see how the resur- 
rection can be proved from it ; whereas it is brought, by our 
Saviour, for that purpose : therefore, that the force of this ar- 
gument may appear, we must consider what is the import of 
the promise contained in this covenant, that God would be the 
God of Abraham ; which is explained elsewhere, when he told 
him, I am thy shield and thy exceeding- great reward. Gen. xv. 
1. He was therefore given hereby to expect, at the hand of 
God, all the spiritual and saving blessings of the covenant of 
grace ; but these blessings respect not only the soul, but the 
body ; and as they are extended to both worlds, it is an evi- 
dent proof of the happiness of the saints in their bodies in a 
fature state, and consequently that they shall be raised from 
the dead. This leads us, 

2. To consider those arguments to prove the doctrine of the 
resurrection which are contained in the New Testament, in 
which it is more fully and expressly revealed than in any part 
of scripture. Here we may first take notice of those particular 
instances in which our Saviour raised persons from the dead in 
a miraculous way, as the prophets Elijah and Elisha did under 
the Old Testament dispensation, as was before observed. Thus 
he raised Jairus's daughter, whom he found dead in the house. 
Matt. ix. 25. and another, to wit, the ividoxv's son at Nain,v,'\\tn 
they were carrying him to the grave ; which was done in the 
presence of a great multitude, Luke vii. 11, 14, 15. and there 
was another instance hereof in his raising Lazarus from the 
dead, John xi. 43, 44. which he did in a very solemn and pub- 
lic manner, after he had been dead four days, his body being 
then corrupted and laid in the grave, from whence Christ calls 
him, and he immediately revived and came forth. These in- 
stances of the resurrection of particular persons tended to put 
the doctrine of the general resurrection out of all manner of 
doubt ; and, indeed, it was, at this time, hardly questioned by 
any, excepting the Sadducees : therefore before Christ raised 
Lazarus, when he only told his sister Martha that he should 
rise agaiji, she, not then understanding that he designed im 
mediately to raise him from the dead, expresses her faith in 
the doctrine of the general resurrection ; / knozv that he shall 


rise again in the resurrection at the last day^ John xi. 24. upon 
which occasion our Saviour replies, I am the resurrection and 
the life^ ver. 25. denoting that this work was to be performed 
by him. 

Moreover, this doctrine was asserted and maintained by the 
apostles, after Christ had given the greatest proof hereof in 
his own resurrection from the dead : thus it is said, that theij 
preached through Jesus^ the resurrection from the dead^ Acts 
iv. 2. And the apostle Paul standing before Felix, and con- 
fessing his belief of all things which are written in the law and 
the prophets, immediately adds, that he had hope towards God^ 
xvhich they thetnsehes also alloxv ; that is, the main body of the 
Jewish nation ; that there shall be a resurrection of the deady 
both of the just dnd of the unjust. 

And he not only asserts but proves it with very great strength 
of reasoning, in 1 Cor. xv. and the argument he therein insists 
on, is taken from Christ's resurrection, ver. 13. If there be no 
resurrection^ then is Christ not risen ; which is a doctrine that 
could not be denied by any that embraced the Christian reli- 
gion, as being the very foundation thereof; but if any one 
should entertain the least doubt about it, he adds, ver. \7. If 
Christ be not raised from the dead^ your faith is vain^ ye are yet 
in your sins; that is, your hope of justification hereby is un- 
grounded, a7id they also xvhich are fallen asleep in Christy are 
perished ; but this none of you will affirm ; therefore you must 
conclude that he is risen from the dead : and if it be enquired, 
how does this argument prove the general resurrection, that he 
farther insists on from ver. 20. Now is Christ risen from the 
dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept ? Christ's 
resurrection removes all the difficulties that might afford the 
least matter of doubt concerning the possibility of the resur- 
rection of the dead ; and his being raised as the first-fruits of 
them that slept., or, as the head of all the elect, who are said to 
hav^e communion with him in his resurrection, or to be risen 
xvitfi him. Col. iii. 1. renders the doctrine of the resurrection 
of all his saints, undeniably certain. As the first-fruits are a part 
and pledge of the harvest, so Christ's resurrection is a pledge 
and earnest of the resurrection of his people. Thus the apostle 
says elsewhere, If the Spirit of him that raised up fesusfrom 
the dead dxuell in you^ he that raised up Christ from the dead 
shall also quicken your jnortal bodies, Rom. viii. 11. And our 
Saviour, when he v/as discoursing with his disciples concern- 
ing his death, and resurrection that would ensue thereupon, 
tells them, that though after this he should be separated for a 
time from them, and the xvorld should see him no more, yet 
that they should see Him again ; and assigns this as a reason, 
hfr.ause I live ye shall live also- John xiv» 19. q> d, because I 


:.hall be raised fnom the dead, and live for ever in heaven ; 
you, who are my favourites, friends, and followers, shall