Two Hell-bred objections answered.
Object. If it be so, then one need not care what they do; they may sin and sin again, seeing Christ hath made satisfaction. [The first objection].
Answ. If I were to point out one that was under the power of the devil, and going post-haste to Hell, for my life I would look no farther for such a man than to him that would make such a use as this of the grace of God. What, because Christ is a Saviour, thou wilt be a sinner! because His grace abounds, therefore thou wilt abound in sin! O wicked wretch! rake Hell all over, and surely I think thy fellow will scarce be found! And let me tell thee this before I leave thee—as God's covenant with Christ for His children, which are of faith, stands sure, immutable, unrevocable, and unchangeable, so also hath God taken such a course with thee, that unless thou canst make God forswear Himself, it is impossible that thou shouldst go to Heaven, dying in that condition—"They tempted Me, proved Me," and turned the grace of God into lasciviousness, "so I sware," mark that, "so I sware," and that in My wrath, too, that they should never enter into My rest. Compare Hebrews 3:9-11, with 1 Corinthians 10:5-10. No, saith God; if Christ will not serve their turns, but they must have their sins too, take them, Devil; if Heaven will not satisfy them, take them, Hell; devour them, Hell; scald them, fry them, burn them, Hell! God hath more places than one to put sinners into. If they do not like Heaven, He will fit them with Hell; if they do not like Christ, they shall be forced to have the devil. Therefore we must and will tell of the truth of the nature of the Covenant of Grace of God to His poor saints for their encouragement and for their comfort, who would be glad to leap at Christ upon any terms; yet therewith, we can tell how, through grace, to tell the hogs and sons of this world what a hog-sty there is prepared for them, even such an one that God hath prepared to put the devil and his angels into, is fitly prepared for them (Matt 25:41).
Object. But if Christ hath given God a full and complete satisfaction, then though I do go on in sin, I need not fear, seeing God hath already been satisfied. [The second objection]. It will be injustice in God to punish for those sins for which He is already satisfied for by Christ.
Answ. Rebel, rebel, there are some in Christ and some out of Him. . They that are in Him have their sins forgiven, and they themselves made new creatures, and have the Spirit of the Son, which is a holy, living, self-denying Spirit. And they that are thus in Jesus Christ are so far off from delighting in sin, that sin is the greatest thing that troubleth them; and O how willing would they be rid of the very thoughts of it (Psa 119:113). It is the grief of their souls, when they are in a right frame of spirit, that they can live no more to the honour and glory of God than they do; and in all their prayers to God, the breathings of their souls are as much sanctifying grace as pardoning grace, that they might live a holy life. They would as willing live holy here as they would be happy in the world to come; they would as willingly be cleansed from the filth of sin as to have the guilt of it taken away; they would as willingly glorify God here as they would be glorified by Him hereafter (Phil 3:6-22). . But there are some that are out of Christ, being under the Law; and as for all those, let them be civil or profane, they are such as God accounts wicked; and I say, as for those, if all the angels in Heaven can drag them before the judgment-seat of Christ, they shall be brought before it to answer for all their ungodly deeds; and being condemned for them, if all the fire in Hell will burn them, they shall be burned there, if they die in that condition (Jude 15). And, therefore, if you love your souls, do not give way to such a wicked spirit. "Let no man deceive you with" such "vain words," as to think, because Christ hath made satisfaction to God for sin, therefore you may live in your sins. O no, God forbid that any should think so, "for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience" (Eph 5:6).
Thus have I, reader, given thee a brief discourse touching the Covenant of Works and the Covenant of Grace, also of the nature of the one, together with the nature of the other. I have also in this discourse endeavoured to show you the condition of them that are under the Law, how sad it is, both from the nature of the covenant they are under, and also by the carriage of God unto them by that covenant. And now, because I would bring all into as little a compass as I can, I shall begin with the use and application of the whole in as brief a way as I can, desiring the Lord to bless it to thee.
[USE AND APPLICATION].
A use of examination about the old covenant.
First. And, first of all, let us here begin to examine a little touching the covenant you stand before God in, whether it be the Covenant of Works or the Covenant of Grace; [The first use is a use of examination]. and for the right doing of this, I shall lay down this proposition—namely, that all men naturally come into the world under the first of these, which is called the old covenant, or the Covenant of Works, which is the Law; "And were all by nature the children of wrath, even as others"; which they could not be, had they not been under the law; for there are none that are under the other covenant that are still the children of wrath, but the children of faith, the children of the promise, the accepted children, the children not of the bond-woman, but of the free (Gal 4:28-31).
[Quest.] Now here lieth the question. Which of these two covenants art thou under, soul?
Answ. I hope I am under the Covenant of Grace.
Quest. But what ground hast thou to think that thou art under that blessed covenant, and not rather under the Covenant of Works, that strict, that soul-damning covenant?
Answ. What ground? Why, I hope I am.
Quest. But what ground hast thou for this thy hope? for a hope without a ground is like a castle built in the air, that will never be able to do thee any good, but will prove like unto that spoken of in Job 8, "Whose hope shall be cut off, and whose trust shall be" like "a spider's web. He shall lean upon his house, but it shall not stand; he shall hold it fast," as thou wouldst thy hope, it is like, "but it shall not endure" (Job 8:13-15).
Answ. My hope is grounded upon the promises; what else should it be grounded upon?
Reply. Indeed, to build my hope upon Christ Jesus, upon God in Christ, through the promise, and to have this hope rightly, by the shedding abroad of the love of God in the heart, it is a right-grounded hope (Rom 5:1-7).
Quest. But what promises in the Scripture do you find your hope built upon? and how do you know whether you do build your hope upon the promises in the Gospel, the promises of the new covenant, and not rather on the promises of the old covenant, for there are promises in that as well as in the other?
Answ. I hope that if I do well I shall be accepted; because God hath said I shall (Gen 4:7).
Reply. O soul, if thy hope be grounded there, thy hope is not grounded upon the Gospel promises, or the new covenant, but verily upon the old; for these words were spoken to Cain, a son of the old covenant; and they themselves are the tenor and scope of that; for that runs thus: "Do this, and thou shalt live. The man that doth these things shall live by them. If thou do well, thou shalt be accepted" (Lev 18:5; Eze 20:11; Rom 10:5; Gal 3:12; Gen 4:7).
Reply. Why, truly, if a man's doing well, and living well, and his striving to serve God as well as he can, will not help him to Christ, I do not know what will; I am sure sinning against God will not.
Quest. Did you never read that Scripture which saith, "Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness"? (Rom 9:30-32).
Object. But doth not the Scripture say, "Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life"? (Rev 22:14).
Answ. There is first, therefore, to be inquired into, whether to keep His commandments be to strive to keep the Law as it is a Covenant of Works, or whether it be meant of the great commandments of the New Testament which are cited in 1 John 3:22,23—"And whatsoever we ask we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight." But what do you mean, John? Do you mean the covenant of the Law, or the covenant to the Gospel? Why, "this is His commandment," saith he, "That we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another," as the fruits of this faith, "as He gave us commandment." If it be of the old covenant, as a Covenant of Works, then the Gospel is but a lost thing. If it were of works, then no more of grace; therefore it is not the old covenant, as the old covenant.
Quest. But what do you mean by these words—the old covenant as the old covenant? Explain your meaning.
Answ. My meaning is, that the Law is not to be looked upon for life, so as it was handed out from Mount Sinai, if ever thou wouldst indeed be saved; though after thou hast faith in Christ, thou mayest and must solace thyself in it, and take pleasure therein, to express thy love to Him who hath already saved thee by His own blood, without thy obedience to the law, either from Sinai or elsewhere.
Quest. Do you think that I do mean that my righteousness will save me without Christ? If so, you mistake me, for I think not so; but this I say, I will labour to do what I can; and what I cannot do, Christ will do for me.
Answ. Ah, poor soul, this is the wrong way too; for this is to make Christ but a piece of a Saviour; thou wilt do something, and Christ shall do the rest; thou wilt set thy own things in the first place, and if thou wantest at last, then thou wilt borrow of Christ; thou art such an one that dost Christ the greatest injury of all. First, in that thou dost undervalue His merits by preferring of thy own works before His; and, secondly, by mingling of thy works thy dirty, ragged righteousness with His.
Quest. Why, would you have us do nothing? Would you have us make Christ such a drudge as to do all, while we sit idling still?
Answ. Poor soul, thou mistakest Jesus Christ in saying thou makest Him a drudge in letting Him do all; I tell thee, He counts it a great glory to do all for thee, and it is a great dishonour unto Him for thee so much as to think otherwise. And this the saints of God that have experienced the work of grace upon their souls do count it also the same—"Saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof" (Rev 5:9). "Worthy is the Lamb, that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing" (Verse 12). And why so? read again in the 9th verse, "For Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy" own "blood" (See also Eph 1:6,7). "To the praise of the glory of His grace—in whom we have redemption through His blood."
Reply. All this we confess, that Jesus Christ died for us; but he that thinks to be saved by Christ, and liveth in his sins, shall never be saved.
Answ. I grant that. But this I say again, a man must not make his good doings the lowest round of the ladder by which he goeth to Heaven—that is, he that will and shall go to Heaven, must, wholly and alone, without any of his own things, venture his precious soul upon Jesus Christ and His merits.
Quest. What, and come to Christ as a sinner?
Answ. Yea, with all thy sins upon thee, even as filthy as ever thou canst.
Quest. But is not this the way to make Christ to loath us? You know when children fall down in the dirt, they do usually before they go home make their clothes as clean as they can, for fear their parents should chide them; and so I think should we.
Answ. This comparison is wrongly applied, if you bring it to show us how we must do when we come to Christ. He that can make himself clean hath no need of Christ; for the whole, the clean, and righteous have no need of Christ, but those that are foul and sick. Physicians, you know, if they love to be honoured, they will not bid the patients first make themselves whole, and then come to them; no, but bid them come with their sores all running on them, as the woman with her bloody issue (Mark 5). And as Mary Magdalene with her belly full of devils, and the lepers all scabbed; and that is the right coming to Jesus Christ.
Reply. Well, I hope that Christ will save me, for His promises and mercy are very large; and as long as He hath promised to give us life, I fear my state the less.
Answ. It is very true, Christ's promises are very large, blessed be the Lord for ever; and also so is His mercy; but notwithstanding all that, there are many go in at the broad gate; and therefore I say, your business is seriously to inquire whether you are under the first or second covenant; for unless you are under the second, you will never be regarded of the Lord, forasmuch as you are a sinner (Heb 8:9). And the rather, because if God should be so good to you as to give you a share in the second, you shall have all your sins pardoned, and for certain have eternal life, though you have been a great sinner. But do not expect that thou shalt have any part or share in the large promises and mercy of God, for the benefit and comfort of thy poor soul, whilst thou art under the old covenant; because so long thou art out of Christ, through whom God conveyeth His mercy, grace, and love to sinners. "For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him amen." Indeed, His mercy, grace, and love are very great, but they are treasured up in Him, "given forth in Him, through Him." "But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us—that He might show the exceeding riches of His grace"—but which way?—"in His kindness towards us through Jesus Christ."
But out of Christ thou shalt find God a just God, a sin-avenging God, a God that will by no means spare the guilty; and be sure that every one that is found out of Jesus Christ will be found guilty in the judgment-day, upon whom the wrath of God shall smoke to their eternal ruin. Now, therefore, consider of it, and take the counsel of the Apostle, in 2 Corinthians 13:5, which is, to examine thyself whether thou art "in the faith," and to prove thy ownself whether thou hast received the Spirit of Christ into thy soul, whether thou hast been converted, whether thou hast been born again, and made a new creature, whether thou hast had thy sins washed away in the blood of Christ, whether thou hast been brought from under the old covenant into the new; and do not make a slight examination, for thou hast a precious soul either to be saved or damned.
And that thou mayest not be deceived, consider that it is one thing to be convinced, and another to be converted; one thing to be wounded, and another to be killed, and so to be made alive again by the faith of Jesus Christ. When men are killed, they are killed to all things they lived to before, both sin and righteousness, as all their old faith and supposed grace that they thought they had. Indeed, the old covenant will show thee that thou art a sinner, and that a great one too; but the old covenant, the Law, will not show thee, without the help of the Spirit, that thou are without all grace by nature; no; but in the midst of thy troubles thou wilt keep thyself from coming to Christ by persuading thy soul that thou art come already, and hast some grace already. O, therefore, be earnest in begging the Spirit, that thy soul may be enlightened, and the wickedness of thy heart discovered, that thou mayest see the miserable state that thou art in by reason of sin and unbelief, which is the great condemning sin; and so in a sight and sense of thy sad condition, if God should deal with thee in severity according to thy deservings. Do thou [now] cry to God for faith in a crucified Christ, that thou mayest have all thy sins washed away in His blood, and such a right work of grace wrought in thy soul that may stand in the judgment-day. Again,
Second. In the next place, you know I told you that a man might go a great way in a profession, and have many excellent gifts, [Second use]. so as to do many wondrous works, and yet be but under the Law; from hence you may learn not to judge yourselves to be the children of God, because you may have some gifts of knowledge or understanding more than others: no, for thou mayest be the knowingest man in all the country as to head-knowledge, and yet be but under the law, and so consequently under the curse, notwithstanding that, 1 Corinthians 13. Now, seeing it is so, that men may have all this and yet perish, then what will become of those that do no good at all, and have no understanding, neither of their own sadness, nor of Christ's mercy? O, sad! Read with understanding, Isaiah 27:11, "Therefore He that made them will not have mercy on them, and He that formed them will show them no favour" (See also 2 Thess 1:8, 9).
Now there is one thing which, for want of, most people do miscarry in a very sad manner, and that is, because they are not able to distinguish between the nature of the Law and the Gospel. O, people, people, your being blinded here as to the knowledge of this is one great cause of the ruining of many. As Paul saith, "While Moses is read," or while the law is discovered, "the veil is upon their heart" (2 Cor 3:15) that is, the veil of ignorance is still upon their hearts, so that they cannot discern either the nature of the law or the nature of the Gospel, they being so dark and blind in their minds, as you may see, if you compare it with Chronicles 4:3, 4. And truly I am confident, that were you but well examined, I doubt many of you would be found so ignorant that you would not be able to give a word of right answer concerning either the Law or the Gospel. Nay, my friends, set the case, one should ask you what time you spend, what pains you take, to the end you may understand the nature and difference of these two covenants, would you not say, if you should speak the truth, that you did not so much as regard whether there were two or more? Would you not say, I did not think of covenants, or study the nature of them? I thought that if I had lived honestly, and did as well as I could, that God would accept of me, and have mercy upon me, as He had on others. Ah, friends, this is the cause of the ruin of thousands; for if they are blinded to this, both the right use of the law, and also of the Gospel, is hid from their eyes, and so for certain they will be in danger of perishing most miserably, poor souls that they are, unless God, of His mere mercy and love, doth rend the veil from off their hearts, the veil of ignorance, for that is it which doth keep these poor souls in this besotted and blindfolded condition, in which if they die they may be lamented for, but not helped; they may be pitied, but not preserved from the stoke of God's everlasting vengeance.
A legal spirit.
In the next place, if you would indeed be delivered from the first into the second covenant, I do admonish you to the observing of these following particulars. First. Have a care that you do not content yourselves, though you do good works—that is, which in themselves are good. Secondly. In and with a legal spirit, which are done these ways as followeth.
First. If you do anything commanded in Scripture, and your doing of it do think that God is well pleased therewith, because you, as you are religious men, do do the same. Upon this mistake was Paul himself in danger of being destroyed; for he thought, because he was zealous, and one of the strictest sects for religion, therefore God would have been good unto him, and have accepted his doings, as it is clear, for he counted them his gain (Phil 3:4-8). Now this is done thus—When a man doth think that because he thinks he is more sincere, more liberal, with more difficulty, or to the weakening of his estate; I say, if a man, because of this doth think that God accepteth his labour, it is done from an old-covenant spirit.
Again; some men think that they shall be heard because they have prayer in their families, because they can pray long, and speak excellent expressions, or express themselves excellently in prayer, that because they have great enlargements in prayer, I say, that therefore to think that God doth delight in their doings, and accept their works, this is from a legal spirit.
Again; some men think that because their parents have been religious before them, and have been indeed the people of God, they think if they also do as to the outward observing of that which they learned from their forerunners, that therefore God doth accept them; but this also is from a wrong spirit; and yet how many are there in England at this day that think the better of themselves merely upon that account; ay, and think the people of God ought to think so too, not understanding that it is ordinary for an Eli to have a Hophni and a Phinehas, both sons of Belial; also a good Samuel to have a perverse offspring; likewise David an Absalom. I say, their being ignorant of, or else negligent in regarding this, they do think that because they do spring from such and such, as the Jews in their generation did, that therefore they have a privilege with God more than others, when there is no such thing; but for certain, if the same faith be not in them which was in their forerunners, to lay hold of the Christ of God in the same spirit as they did, they must utterly perish, for all their high conceits that they have of themselves (John 8:33-35; Matt 3:7-9).
Second. When people come into the presence of God without having their eye upon the Divine Majesty, through the flesh and blood of the Son of Mary, the Son of God, then also do they come before God, and do whatsoever they do from a legal spirit, an old-covenant spirit. As, for instance, you have some people, it is true, they will go to prayer, in appearance very fervently, and will plead very hard with God that He would grant them their desires, pleading their want, and the abundance thereof; they will also plead with God His great mercy, and also His free promises; but yet they neglecting the aforesaid body or Person of Christ, the righteous Lamb of God, to appear before Him in, I say, in thus doing they do not appear before the Lord no otherwise than in an old-covenant spirit; for they go to God as a merciful Creator, and they themselves as His creatures; not as He is, their Father in the Son, and they His children by regeneration through the Lord Jesus. Ay, and though they may call God their Father, in the notion—not knowing what they say, only having learned such things by tradition—as the Pharisees did, yet Christ will have His time to say to them, even to their faces, as He did once to the Jews, Your father, for all this your profession, is the devil, to their own grief and everlasting misery (John 8:44).
Third. The third thing that is to be observed, if we would not be under the Law, or do things in a legal spirit, is this—to have a care that we do none of the works of the holy Law of God for life, or acceptance with Him; no, nor of the Gospel neither. To do the works of the law to the end we may be accepted of God, or that we may please Him, and to have our desires of Him, is to do things from a legal or old-covenant spirit, and that is expressly laid down where it is said, "To him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt"; that is, he appears before God through the Law, and his obedience to it (Rom 4:4,5). And again, though they be in themselves Gospel-ordinances, as baptism, breaking of bread, hearing, praying, meditating, or the like; yet, I say, if they be not done in the right spirit, they are thereby used as a hand by the devil to pull thee under the Covenant of Works, as in former times he used circumcision, which was no part of the Covenant of Works, the Ten Commands, but a seal of the righteousness of faith; yet, I say, they being done in a legal spirit, the soul was thereby brought under the Covenant of Works, and so most miserably destroyed unawares to itself, and that because there was not a right understanding of the nature and terms of the said covenants. And so it is now; souls being ignorant of the nature of the old covenant, do even by their subjecting to several Gospel ordinances, run themselves under the old covenant, and fly off from Christ, even when they think they are acoming closer to him. O, miserable! If you would know when or how this is done, whether in one particular or more, I shall show you as followeth—
1. That man doth bring himself under the Covenant of Works, by Gospel ordinances, when he cannot be persuaded that God will have mercy upon him except he do yield obedience to such or such a particular thing commanded in the Word. This is the very same spirit that was in the false brethren (spoken of Acts 15; Galatians, the whole Epistle), whose judgment was, that unless such and such things were done, "they could not be saved." As now-a-days we have also some that say, Unless your infants be baptized they cannot be saved;23 and others say, unless you be rightly baptized, you have no ground to be assured that you are believers, or members of churches; which is so far off from being so good as a legal spirit, that it is the spirit of blasphemy, as is evident, because they do reckon that the Spirit, righteousness, and faith of Jesus, and the confession thereof, is not sufficient to declare men to be members of the Lord Jesus; when, on the other side, though they be rank hypocrites, yet if they do yield an outward subjection to this or that, they are counted presently communicable members, which doth clearly discover that there is not so much honour given to the putting on the righteousness of the Son of God as there is given to that which a man may do, and yet go to Hell within an hour after; nay, in the very doing of it doth shut himself for ever from Jesus Christ.
2. Men may do things from a legal or old-covenant spirit when they content themselves with their doing of such and such a thing, as prayers, reading, hearing, baptism, breaking of bread, or the like; I say, when they can content themselves with the thing done, and sit down at ease and content because the thing is done. As, for instance, some men being persuaded that such and such a thing is their duty, and that unless they do do it, God will not be pleased with them, nor suffer them to be heirs of His kingdom, they from this spirit do rush into and do the thing, which being done, they are content, as being persuaded that now they are without doubt in a happy condition, because they have done such things, like unto the Pharisee, who, because he had done this and the other thing, said therefore, in a bragging way, "Lord, I thank thee that I am not as this publican"; for I have done thus and thus; when, alas! the Lord give him never a good word for his labour, but rather a reproof.
3. That man doth act from a legal spirit who maketh the strictness of his walking the ground of his assurance for eternal life. Some men, all the ground they have to believe that they shall be saved, it is because they walk not so loose as their neighbours, they are not so bad as others are, and therefore they question not but that they shall do well. Now this is a false ground, and a thing that is verily legal, and savours only of some slight and shallow apprehensions of the old covenant. I call them shallow apprehensions, because they are not right and sound, and are such as will do the soul no good, but beguile it, in that the knowledge of the nature of this covenant doth not appear to the soul, only some commanding power it hath on the soul, which the soul endeavouring to give up itself unto, it doth find some peace and content, and especially if it find itself to be pretty willing to yield itself to its commands. And is not this the very ground of thy hoping that God will save thee from the wrath to come? If one should ask thee what ground thou hast to think thou shalt be saved, wouldst thou not say, Truly, because I have left my sins, and because I am more inclinable to do good, [Do not think that I am against the order of the Gospel]. and to learn, and get more knowledge; I endeavour to walk in church order, as they call it, and therefore I hope God hath done a good work for me, and I hope will save my soul. Alas, alas! this is a very trick of the devil to make souls build the ground of their salvation upon this their strictness, and abstaining from the wickedness of their former lives, and because they desire to be stricter and stricter. Now, if you would know such a man or woman, you shall find them in this frame—namely, when they think their hearts are good, then they think also that Christ will have mercy upon them; but when their corruptions work, then they doubt and scruple until again they have their hearts more ready to do the things contained in the law and ordinances of the Gospel. Again, such men do commonly cheer up their hearts, and encourage themselves still to hope all shall be well, and that because they are not so bad as the rest, but more inclinable than they, saying, I am glad I am not as this publican, but better than he, more righteous than he (Luke 18:11).
4. This is a legal and old-covenant spirit that secretly persuades the soul that if ever it will be saved by Christ, if must be fitted for Christ by its getting of a good heart and good intentions to do this and that for Christ; I say, that the soul when it comes to Christ may not be rejected or turned off; when in deed and in truth this is the very way for the soul to turn itself from Jesus Christ, instead of turning to Him; for such a soul looks upon Christ rather to be a painted Saviour or a cypher than a very and real Saviour. Friend, if thou canst fit thyself, what need hast thou of Christ? If thou cant get qualifications to carry to Christ that thou mightst be accepted, thou dost not look to be accepted in the Beloved. Shall I tell thee? Thou art as if a man should say, I will make myself clean, and then I will go to Christ that He may wash me; or like a man possessed, that will first cast the devils out of himself, and then come to Christ for cure from Him. Thou, must, therefore, if thou wilt so lay hold of Christ as not to be rejected by Him; I say, thou must come to Him as the basest in the world, more fit to be damned, if thou hadst thy right, than to have the least smile, hope, or comfort from Him. Come with the fire of Hell in thy conscience, come with thy heart hard, dead, cold, full of wickedness and madness against thy own salvation; come as renouncing all thy tears, prayers, watchings, fastings; come as a blood-red sinner; do not stay from Christ till thou hast a greater sense of thy own misery, nor of the reality of God's mercy; do not stay while thy heart is softer and thy spirit in a better frame, but go against thy mind, and against the mind of the devil and sin, throw thyself down at the foot of Christ, with a halter about thy neck, and say, Lord Jesus, hear a sinner, a hard-hearted sinner, a sinner that deserveth to be damned, to be cast into Hell; and resolve never to return, or to give over crying unto Him, till thou do find that He hath washed thy conscience from dead works with His blood virtually, and clothed thee with His own righteousness, and make thee complete in Himself; this is the way to come to Christ.
THE USE OF THE NEW COVENANT
Now a few words to the second doctrine, and so I shall draw towards a conclusion.
FIRST USE. The doctrine doth contain in it very much comfort to thy [The use, for the second doctrine]. soul who art a new-covenant man, or one of those who are under the new covenant. There is, First, pardon of sin; and, Second, the manifestation of the same; and, Third, as power to cause thee to persevere through faith to the very end of thy life.
First, There is, first, pardon of sin, which is not in the old covenant; for in that there is nothing but commands; and if not obeyed, condemned. O, but there is pardon of sin, even of all thy sins, against the first and second covenant, under which thou art, and that freely upon the account of Jesus Christ the righteousness, He having in thy name, nature, and in the room of thy person, fulfilled all the whole law in Himself for thee, and freely giveth it unto thee. O, though the law be a ministration of death and condemnation, yet the Gospel, under which thou art, is the ministration of life and salvation (2 Cor 3:6-9). Though they that live and die under the first covenant, God regardeth them not (Heb 8:9). Yet they that are under the second are as the apple of His eye (Deu 32:10; Psa 17:8; Zech 2:8). Though they that are under the first, the Law, are "called to blackness, and darkness, and tempest, the sound of a trumpet," and a burning mountain, which sight was so terrible, that Moses said, "I exceedingly fear and quake" (Heb 12:18-22). "But ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn," whose names "are written in Heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus," to blessed Jesus, "the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel" (Heb 12:22-24). Even forgiveness of sins (Eph 1:7).
Second, The covenant that thou art under doth allow of repentance in case thou chance to slip or fall by sudden temptation; but the law allows of none (Rev 2:5; Gal 3:10). The covenant that thou art under allows thee strength also; but the law is only a sound of words, commanding words, but no power is given by them to fulfill the things commanded (Heb 12:19). Thou that art under this second, art made a son; but they that art under that first, are slaves and vagabonds (Gen 4:12). Thou that art under this, hast a Mediator, that is to stand between justice and thee; but they under the other, their mediator is turned an accuser, and speaketh most bitter things against their souls (1 Tim 2:5; John 5:45). Again; the way that thou hast into Paradise is a new and living way—mark, a living way; but they that are under the old covenant, their way into Paradise is a killing and destroying way (Heb 10:20; Gen 3:24). Again; thou has the righteousness of God to appear before God withal; but they under the old covenant have nothing but the righteousness of the Law, which Paul counts dirt and dung (Phil 3:7-9). Thou hast that which will make thee perfect, but the other will not do so—"The law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did," which is the Son of God, "by the which we draw nigh unto God" (Heb 7:19).
Third, The new covenant promiseth thee a new heart, as I said before; but the old covenant promiseth none; and a new spirit, but the old covenant promiseth none (Eze 36:26). The new covenant conveyeth faith, but the old one conveyeth none (Gal 3). Through the new covenant the love of God is conveyed into the heart; but through the old covenant there is conveyed none of it savingly through Jesus Christ. Romans 5. The new covenant doth not only give a promise of life, but also with that the assurance of life, but the old one giveth none; the old covenant wrought wrath in us and to us, but the new one worketh love (Rom 4:15; Gal 5:6). Thus much for the first use.
SECOND USE. As all these, and many more privileges, do come to thee through or by the new covenant, and that thou mightst not doubt of the certainty of these glorious privileges, God hath so ordered it that they do all come to thee by way of purchase, being obtained for thee, ready to thy hand, by that one Man Jesus, who is the Mediator, or the Person that hath principally to do both with God and thy soul in the things pertaining to this covenant; so that now thou mayst look on all the glorious things that are spoken of in the new covenant, and say, All these must be mine; I must have a share in them; Christ hath purchased them for me, and given them to me. Now I need not to say, O! but how shall I come by them? God is holy, I am a sinner; God is just, and I have offended. No; but thou mayst say, Though I am vile, and deserve nothing, yet Christ is holy, and He deserveth all things; though I have so provoked God by breaking His law that He could not in justice look upon me, yet Christ hath so gloriously paid the debt that now God can say, Welcome, soul, I will give thee grace, I will give thee glory, thou shalt lie in My bosom, and go no more out; My Son hath pleased Me, He hath satisfied the loud cries of the Law and justice, that called for speedy vengeance on thee; He hath fulfilled the whole Law, He hath brought in everlasting righteousness (Dan 9:24,25). He hath overcome the devil, He hath washed away thy sins with His most precious blood, He hath destroyed the power of death, and triumphs over all the enemies. This He did in His own Person, as a common Jesus, for all persons in their stead, even as for so many as shall come in to Him; for His victory I give to them, His righteousness I give to them, His merits I bestow on them, and look upon them holy, harmless, undefiled, and for ever comely in my eye, through the victory of the Captain of their salvation (1 Cor 15:55-57).
And that thou mayest, in deed and in truth, not only hear and read this glorious doctrine, but be found one that hath the life of it in thy heart, thou must be much in studying of the two covenants, the nature of the one, and the nature of the other, and the conditions of them that are under them both. Also, thou must be well-grounded in the manner of the victory, and merits of Christ, how they are made thine.
First, And here thou must, in the first place, believe that the babe that was born of Mary, lay in a manger at Bethlehem, in the time of Caesar Augustus; that He, that babe, that child, was the very Christ.
Second, Thou must believe that in the days of Tiberius Caesar, when Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and Pontius Pilate governor of Judea, that in those days He was crucified, or hanged on a tree between two thieves, which by computation, or according to the best account, is above sixteen hundred years since. 24
Third, Thou must also believe that when He did hang upon that cross of wood on the Mount Calvary, that then He did die there for the sins of those that did die before He was crucified; also for their sins that were alive at the time of His crucifying, and also that He did by that one death give satisfaction to God for all those that should be born and believe in Him after His death, even unto the world's end. I say, this thou must believe, upon pain of eternal damnation, that by that one death, that when He did die, He did put an end to the curse of the Law and sin [This is the doctrine that I will live and die by, and be willing to be damned if it saves me not. I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation; therefore I preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block, and to the Greeks foolishness (Rom 1:16; 1 Cor 1:23).] and at that time by His death on the Cross, and by His resurrection out of Joseph's sepulchre, He did bring in a sufficient righteousness to clothe thee withal completely—"For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." Not that He should often offer Himself—"for then must He often have suffered since the foundation of the world; but now ONCE in the end of the world hath He appeared to put," or do, "away sin by the sacrifice of Himself"—namely, when He hanged on the Cross. For it is by the offering up of the body of this blessed Jesus Christ ONCE for all. Indeed, other priests may offer oftentimes sacrifices and offerings which can never take away sins; but this Man, this Jesus, this anointed and appointed sacrifice, when He had offered ONE sacrifice for sins, for ever sat down on the right hand of God (Heb 10:14; 9:24,25).
[A word of advice]. But because thou in thy pursuit after the faith of the Gospel wilt be sure to meet with devils, heretics, particular corruptions, as unbelief, ignorance, the spirit of works animated on by suggestions, false conclusions, with damnable doctrines, I shall therefore briefly, besides what hath been already said, speak a word or two before I leave thee of further advice, especially concerning these two things. First, How thou art to conceive of the Saviour. Second, How thou art to make application of Him.
First. For the Saviour. 1. Thou must look upon Him to be very God and very Man; not man only, nor God only, but God and Man in one Person, both natures joined together, for the putting of Him in a capacity to be a suitable Saviour; suitable, I say, to answer both sides and parties, with whom He hath to do in the office of His Mediatorship and being of a Saviour. 2. Thou must not only do this, but thou must also consider and believe that even what was done by Jesus Christ, it was not done by one nature without the other; but thou must consider that both natures, both the Godhead and the manhood, did gloriously concur and join together in the undertaking of the salvation of our bodies and souls; not that the Godhead undertook anything without the manhood, neither did the manhood do anything without the virtue and union of the Godhead; and thou must of necessity do this, otherwise thou canst not find any sound ground and footing for thy soul to rest upon.
For if thou look upon any of these asunder—that is to say, the Godhead without the manhood, or the manhood without the Godhead—thou wilt conclude that what was done by the Godhead was not done for man, being done without the manhood; or else, that that which was done with the manhood could not answer Divine justice, in not doing what it did by the virtue and in union with the Godhead; for it was the Godhead that gave virtue and value to the suffering of the manhood, and the manhood being joined therewith, that giveth us an interest into the heavenly glory and comforts of the Godhead.
What ground can a man have to believe that Christ is his Saviour, if he do not believe that He suffered for sin in his nature? And what ground also can a man have to think that God the Father is satisfied, being infinite, if he believe not also that He who gave the satisfaction was equal to Him who was offended?
Therefore, beloved, when you read of the offering of the body of the Son of Man for our sins, then consider that He did it in union with, and by the help of, the eternal Godhead. "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who, through the eternal Spirit, offered Himself without spot to God, purge your consciences from dead works," etc.
And when thou readest of the glorious works and splendour of the Godhead in Christ, then consider that all that was done by the Godhead, it was done as it had union and communion with the manhood. And then thou shalt see that the devil is overcome by God-man; sin, death, Hell, the grave, and all overcome by Jesus, God-man, and then thou shalt find them overcome indeed. They must needs be overcome when God doth overcome them; and we have good ground to hope the victory is ours, when in our nature they are overcome.
Second. The second thing is, how to apply, or to make application of this Christ to the soul. And for this there are to be considered the following particulars—
1. That when Jesus Christ did thus appear, being born of Mary, He was looked upon by the Father as if the sin of the whole world was upon Him; nay, further, God did look upon Him and account Him the sin of man—"He hath made Him to be sin for us," (2 Cor 5:21) that is, God made His Son Jesus Christ our sin, or reckoned Him to be, not only a sinner, but the very bulk of sin of the whole world, and condemned Him so severely as if He had been nothing but sin. "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh"—that is, for our sins condemned His Son Jesus Christ; as if He had in deed and truth been our very sin, although altogether "without sin" (Rom 8:3; 2 Cor 5:21). Therefore, as to the taking away of thy curse, thou must reckon Him to be made sin for thee. And as to His being thy justification, thou must reckon Him to be thy righteousness; for, saith the Scripture, "He," that is, God, "hath made HIM to be SIN for us, though He knew no sin, that we might be made the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God in HIM."
2. Consider for whose sakes all this glorious design of the Father and the Son was brought to pass; and that you shall find to be for man, for sinful man (2 Cor 8:9).
3. The terms on which it is made ours; and that you will find to be a free gift, merely arising from the tender-heartedness of God—you are "justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ, whom God hath set forth to be a Propitiation through faith in His blood," etc. (Rom 3:25).
4. How men are to reckon it theirs; and that is, upon the same terms which God doth offer it, which is freely, as they are worthless and undeserving creatures, as they are without all good, and also unable to do any good. This, I say, is the right way of applying the merits of Christ to thy soul, for they are freely given to thee, a poor sinner, not for anything that is in thee, or done by thee, but freely as thou art a sinner, and so standest in absolute need thereof.
And, Christian, thou art not in this thing to follow thy sense and feeling, but the very Word of God. The thing that doth do the people of God the greatest injury, it is their too little hearkening to what the Gospel saith, and their too much giving credit to what the Law, sin, the devil, and conscience saith; and upon this very ground to conclude that because there is a certainty of guilt upon the soul, therefore there is also for certain, by sin, damnation to be brought upon the soul. This is now to set the Word of God aside, and to give credit to what is formed by the contrary; but thou must give more credit to one syllable of the written Word of the Gospel than thou must give to all the saints and angels in Heaven and earth; much more than to the devil and thy own guilty conscience.
Let me give you a parable:—There was a certain man that had committed treason against his king; but forasmuch as the king had compassion upon him, he sent him, by the hand of a faithful messenger, a pardon under his own hand and seal; but in the country where this poor man dwelt, there were also many that sought to trouble him, by often putting of him in mind of his treason, and the law that was to be executed on the offender. Now which way should this man so honour his king, but as by believing his handwriting, which was the pardon. Certainly he would honour him more by so doing than to regard all the clamours of his enemies continually against him.
Just thus it is here: thou having committed treason against the King of Heaven, He through compassion, for Christ's sake, hath sent thee a pardon; but the devil, the Law, and thy conscience do continually seek to disturb thee by bringing thy sins afresh into thy remembrance. But now, wouldst thou honour thy King? Why then, he that believeth "the record that God hath given of His Son," hath set to his seal that God is true. "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son" (1 John 5:11). And therefore, my brethren, seeing God our Father hath sent us damnable traitors a pardon from Heaven, even all the promises of the Gospel, and also hath sealed to the certainty of it with the heart-blood of His dear Son, let us not be daunted, though our enemies, with terrible voices, do bring our former life never so often into our remembrance.
Object. But, saith the soul, how, if after I have received a pardon, I should commit treason again? What should I do then?
Answ. Set the case: thou hast committed abundance of treason, He hath by Him abundance of pardons—"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon" (Isa 55:7).
Sometimes I myself have been in such a strait that I have been almost driven to my wit's ends with the sight and sense of the greatness of my sins; but calling to mind that God was God in His mercy, pity, and love, as well as in His holiness, justice, etc.; and again, considering the ability of the satisfaction that was given to holiness and justice, to the end there might be way made for sinners to lay hold of this mercy; I say, I considering this, when tempted to doubt and despair, I have answered in this manner—
"Lord, here is one of the greatest sinners that ever the ground bare; a sinner against the Law, and a sinner against the Gospel. I have sinned against light, and I have sinned against mercy. And now, Lord, the guilt of them breaks my heart. The devil also he would have me despair, telling of me that Thou art so far from hearing my prayers in this my distress, that I cannot anger Thee worse than to call upon Thee; for saith he, Thou art resolved for ever to damn, and not to grant me the least of Thy favour; yet, Lord, I would fain have forgiveness. And Thy Word, though much may be inferred from it against me, yet it saith, If I come unto Thee, Thou will in nowise cast me out. Lord, shall I honour Thee most by believing Thou canst pardon my sins, or by believing Thou canst not? Shall I honour Thee most by believing Thou wilt pardon my sins, or by believing Thou wilt not? Shall I honour the blood of Thy Son also by despairing that the virtue thereof is not sufficient, or by believing that it is sufficient to purge me from all my blood-red and crimson sins? Surely, Thou that couldst find so much mercy as to pardon Manasseh, Mary Magdalene, the three thousand murderers, persecuting Paul, murderous and adulterous David, and blaspheming Peter—Thou that offeredst mercy to Simon Magus, a witch, and didst receive the astrologers and conjurors in the 19th of Acts—Thou hast mercy enough for one poor sinner. Lord, set the case: my sins were bigger than all these, and I less deserved mercy than any of these, yet Thou hast said in Thy Word that he that cometh to thee Thou wilt in "nowise cast out." And God hath given comfort to my soul, even to such a sinner as I am. And I tell you, there is no way so to honour God, and to beat out the devil, as to stick to the truth of God's Word and the merits of Christ's blood by believing. When Abraham believed—even against hope and reason—he gave glory to God (Rom 4). And this is our victory, even our faith (1 John 5:4). Believe, and all things are possible to you. He that believeth shall be saved. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life, and shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of Christ's Father's hands."
And if thou dost indeed believe this, thou wilt not only confess Him as the Quakers do—that is, that He was born at Bethlehem of Mary, suffered on Mount Calvary under Pontius Pilate, was dead and buried, rose again, and ascended, etc.; for all this they confess, and in the midst of their confession they do verily deny that His death on that Mount Calvary did give satisfaction to God for the sins of the world, and that His resurrection out of Joseph's sepulchre is the cause of our justification in the sight of God, angels, and devils; but, I say, if thou dost believe these things indeed, thou dost believe that then, so long ago, even before thou wast born, He did bear thy sins in His own body, which then was hanged on the tree, and never before nor since; that thy old man was then crucified with Him, namely, in the same body then crucified (See 1 Peter 2:24; and Rom 6:6). This is nonsense to them that believe not; but if thou do indeed believe, thou seest it so plain, and yet such a mystery, that it makes thee wonder. But,
[THIRD USE]. In the third place, this glorious doctrine of the new covenant, and the Mediator thereof, will serve for the comforting, and the maintaining of the comfort, of the children of the new covenant this way also—that is, that He did not only die and rise again, but that He did ascend in His own Person into Heaven to take possession thereof for me, to prepare a place there for me, standeth there in the second part of His suretyship to bring me safe in my coming thither, and to present me in a glorious manner, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; that He is there exercising of His priestly office for me, pleading the perfection of His own righteousness for me, and the virtue of His blood for me; that He is there ready to answer the accusations of the Law, devil, and sin for me. Here thou mayst through faith look the very devil in the face, and rejoice, saying, O Satan! I have a precious Jesus, a soul-comforting Jesus, a sin-pardoning Jesus. Here thou mayst hear the biggest thunder-crack that the Law can give, and yet not be daunted. Here thou mayst say, O Law! thou mayst roar against sin, but thou canst not reach me; thou mayst curse and condemn, but not my soul; for I have righteous Jesus, a holy Jesus, a soul-saving Jesus, and He hath delivered me from thy threats, from thy curses, from thy condemnations; I am out of thy reach, and out of thy bounds; I am brought into another covenant, under better promises, promises of life and salvation, free promises to comfort me without my merit, even through the blood of Jesus, the satisfaction given to God for me by Him; therefore, though thou layest my sins to my charge, and sayest thou wilt prove me guilty, yet so long as Christ is above ground, and hath brought in everlasting righteousness, and given that to me, I shall not fear thy threats, thy charges, thy soul-scarring denunciations; my Christ is all, hath done all, and will deliver me from all that thou, and whatsoever else can bring an accusation against me. Thus also thou may say when death assaulteth thee—O death, where is thy sting? Thou mayst bite indeed, but thou canst not devour; I have comfort by and through the one Man Jesus; Jesus Christ, He hath taken thee captive, and taken away thy strength; He hath pierced thy heart, and let out all thy soul-destroying poison; therefore, though I see thee, I am not afraid of thee; though I feel thee, I am not daunted; for thou hast lost thy sting in the side of the Lord Jesus; through Him I overcome thee, and set foot upon thee. Also, O Satan! though I hear thee grumble, and make a hellish noise, and though thou threaten me very highly, yet my soul shall triumph over thee, so long as Christ is alive and can be heard in Heaven; so long as He hath broken thy head, and won the field of thee; so long as thou are in prison, and canst not have thy desire. I, therefore, when I hear thy voice, do pitch my thoughts on Christ my Saviour, and do hearken when He will say, for He will speak comfort; He saith, He hath got the victory, and doth give to me the crown, and causeth me to triumph through His most glorious conquest.
Nay, my brethren, the saints under the Levitical Law, who had not the new covenant sealed or confirmed any further than by promise that it should be; I say, they, when they thought of the glorious privileges that God had promised should come, though at that time they were not come, but seen afar off, how confidently were they persuaded of them, and embraced them, and were so fully satisfied as touching the certainty of them, that they did not stick at the parting with all for the enjoying of them. [Shall not we then that see all things already done before us make it a strong argument to increase our faith (Heb 11).] How many times doth David in the Psalms admire, triumph, and persuade others to do so also, through the faith that he had in the thing that was to be done? Also Job, in what faith doth he say he should see his Redeemer, though He had not then shed one drop of blood for him, yet because He had promised so to do; and this was signified by the blood of bulls and goats. Also Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zechariah, etc., how gloriously in confidence did they speak of Christ, and His death, blood, conquest, and everlasting priesthood, even before He did manifest Himself in the flesh which He took of the Virgin. [For they were so many sure promises, with a remembrance in them, also for the better satisfaction of them that believed them]. We that have lived since Christ, have more ground to hope than they under the old covenant had, though they had the word of the just God for the ground of their faith. Mark, they had only the promise that He should and would come; but we have the assured fulfilling of those promises, because He is come; they were told that He should spill His blood, but we do see He hath spilt His blood; they ventured all upon His standing Surety for them, but we see He hath fulfilled, and that faithfully too, the office of His Suretyship, in that, according to the engagement, He hath redeemed us poor sinners; they ventured on the new covenant, though not actually sealed, only "because He judged Him faithful who had promised" (Heb 11:11). But we have the covenant sealed, all things are completely done, even as sure as the heart-blood of a crucified Jesus can make it.
There is a great difference between their dispensation and ours for comfort, even as much as there is between the making of a bond with a promise to seal it, and the sealing of the same. It was made indeed in their time, but it was not sealed until the time the blood was shed on the Mount Calvary; and that we might indeed have our faith mount up with wings like an eagle, he showeth us what encouragement and ground of faith we have to conclude we shall be everlastingly delivered, saying, "For where a testament" or covenant "is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood" (Heb 9:16-18). As Christ's blood was the confirmation of the new covenant, yet it was not sealed in Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob's days to confirm the covenant that God did tell them of, and yet they believed; therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to believe the things that we have heard, and not in any wise to let them be questioned; and the rather, because you see the testament is not only now made, but confirmed; not only spoken of and promised, but verily sealed by the death and blood of Jesus, who is the Testator thereof.
My brethren, I would not leave you ignorant of this one thing, that though the Jews had the promise of a sacrifice, of an everlasting High Priest that should deliver them, yet they had but the promise; for Christ was not sacrificed, and was not then come a high priest of good things to come; only the type, the shadow, the figure, the ceremonies they had, together with Christ's engaging as Surety to bring all things to pass that were promised should come, and upon that account received and saved.
It was with them and their dispensation as this similitude gives you to understand:—Set the case that there be two men who make a covenant that the one should give the other ten thousand sheep on condition the other give him two thousand pound; but forasmuch as the money is not to be paid down presently, therefore if he that buyeth the sheep will have any of them before the day of payment, the creditor requesteth a surety; and upon the engagement of the surety there is part of the sheep given to the debtor even before the day of payment, but the other at and after. So it is here; Christ covenanted with His Father for His sheep—"I lay down My life for My sheep," saith He—but the money was not to be paid down so soon as the bargain was made, as I have already said, yet some of the sheep were saved even before the money was paid, and that because of the Suretyship of Christ; as it is written, "Being justified," or saved, "freely by His grace through the redemption," or purchase, "that is in Christ Jesus. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past," or the sinners who died in the faith before Christ was crucified, through God's forbearing till the payment was paid; to declare, I say, at this time His righteousness; "that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (Rom 3:24-26).
The end of my speaking of this is, to show you that it is not wisdom now to doubt whether God will save you or no, but to believe, because all things are finished as to our justification: the covenant not only made, but also sealed; the debt paid, the prison doors flung off of the hooks, with a proclamation from Heaven of deliverance to the prisoners of hope, saying, "Turn you to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope, even today do I declare," saith God, "that I will render double unto thee" (Zech 9:12). And, saith Christ, when He was come, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the Gospel," that is, good tidings "to the poor," that their sins should be pardoned, that their souls shall be saved. "He hath sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised," and to comfort them that mourn, "to preach the acceptable year of the Lord" (Luke 4:18,19).
Therefore here, soul, thou mayst come to Jesus Christ for anything thou wantest, as to a common treasure-house, being the principal Man for the distributing of the things made mention of in the new covenant, He having them all in His own custody by right of purchase; for He hath bought them all, paid for them all. Dost thou want faith? then come for it to the Man Christ Jesus (Heb 12:2). Dost thou want the Spirit? then ask it of Jesus. Dost thou want wisdom? Dost thou want grace of any sort? Dost thou want a new heart? Dost thou want strength against thy lusts, against the devil's temptations? Dost thou want strength to carry thee through afflictions of body, and afflictions of spirit, through persecutions? Wouldst thou willingly hold out, stand to the last, and be more than a conqueror? then be sure thou meditate enough on the merits of the blood of Jesus, how He hath undertaken for thee, that He hath done the work of thy salvation in thy room, that He is filled of God on purpose to fill thee, and is willing to communicate whatsoever is in Him or about Him to thee. Consider this, I say, and triumph in it.
Again; this may inform us of the safe state of the saints as touching their perseverance, that they shall stand though Hell rages, though the devil roareth, and all the world endeavoureth the ruin of the saints of God, though some, through ignorance of the virtue of the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, do say a man may be a child of God today, and a child of the devil tomorrow, which is gross ignorance; for what? Is the blood of Christ, the death of Christ, the resurrection of Christ, of no more virtue than to bring in for us an uncertain salvation? or must the effectualness of Christ's merits, as touching our perseverance, be helped on by the doings of man? Surely they that are predestinated are also justified; and they that are justified, they shall be glorified (Rom 8:30). Saints, do not doubt of the salvation of your souls, unless you do intend to undervalue Christ's blood; and do not think but that He that hath begun the good work of His grace in you will perfect it to the second coming of our Lord Jesus (Phil 1:6). Should not we, as well as Paul, say, I am persuaded that nothing shall separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus (Rom 8). O let the saints know, that unless the devil can pluck Christ out of Heaven, he cannot pull a true believer out of Christ. When I say a true believer, I do mean such an one as hath the faith of the operation of God in his soul.
Lastly, Is there such mercy as this? such privileges as these? Is there so much ground of comfort, and so much cause to be glad? Is there so much store in Christ, and such a ready heart in Him to give it to me? Hath His bleeding wounds so much in them, as that the fruits thereof should be the salvation of my soul, of my sinful soul, as to save me, sinful me, rebellious me, desperate me? What then? Shall not I now be holy? Shall not I now study, strive, and lay out myself for Him that hath laid out Himself soul and body for me? Shall I now love ever a lust or sin? Shall I now be ashamed of the cause, ways, people, or saints of Jesus Christ? Shall I now yield my members as instruments of righteousness, seeing my end is everlasting life? (Rom 6). Shall Christ think nothing too dear for me? and shall I count anything too dear for Him? Shall I grieve Him with my foolish carriage? Shall I slight His counsel by following of my own will? Thus, therefore, the doctrine of the new covenant doth call for holiness, engage to holiness, and maketh the children of that covenant to take pleasure therein. Let no man, therefore, conclude on this, that the doctrine of the Gospel is a licentious doctrine; but if they do, it is because they are fools, and such as have not tasted of the virtue of the blood of Jesus Christ; neither did they ever feel the nature and sway that the love of Christ hath in the hearts of His. And thus also you may see that the doctrine of the Gospel is of great advantage to the people of God that are already come in, or to them that shall at the consideration hereof be willing to come in, to partake of the glorious benefits of this glorious covenant. But, saith the poor soul,
Object. Alas! I doubt this is too good for me.
Inquirer. Why so, I pray you?
Object. Alas! because I am a sinner.
Reply. Why, all this is bestowed upon none but sinners, as it is written, While we were ungodly, Christ died for us (Rom 5:6,8). "He came into the world to save sinners" (1 Tim 1:15).
Object. O, but I am one of the chief of sinners.
Reply. Why, this is for the chief of sinners—"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief," saith Paul (1 Tim 1:15).
Object. O, but my sins are so big, that I cannot conceive how I should have mercy.
Reply. Why, soul? Didst thou ever kill anybody? Didst thou ever burn any of thy children in the fire to idols? Hast thou been a witch? Didst thou ever use enchantments and conjuration? [You that are resolved to go on in your sins, meddle not with this]. Didst thou ever curse, and swear, and deny Christ? And yet if thou hast, there is yet hopes of pardon; yea, such sinners as these have been pardoned, as appears by these and the like Scriptures, 2 Chronicles 33:1-10, compared with verses 12, 13. Again, Acts 19:19, 20; 8:22, compared with verse 9; Matthew 26:74, 75.
Object. But though I have not sinned in such kind of sins, yet it may be I have sinned as bad.
Answ. That cannot likely be; yet though thou hast, still there is ground of mercy for thee, forasmuch as thou art under the promise (John 6:37).
The unpardonable sin.
Object. Alas! man, I am afraid that I have sinned the unpardonable sin, and therefore there is no hope for me.
Answ. Dost thou know what the unpardonable sin, the sin against the Holy Ghost, is? and when it is committed?
Reply. It is a sin against light.
Answ. That is true; yet every sin against light is not the sin against the Holy Ghost.
Reply. Say you so?
Answ. Yea, and I prove it thus—If every sin against light had been the sin that is unpardonable, then had David and Peter and others sinned that sin; but though they did sin against light, yet they did not sin that sin; therefore every sin against light is not the sin against the Holy Ghost, the unpardonable sin.
Object. But the Scripture saith, "If we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the Truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins; but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries."
Answ. Do you know what that willful sin is?
Reply. Why, what is it? Is it not for a man to sin willingly after enlightening?
Answ. 1. Yes; yet doubtless every willing sin is not that; for then David had sinned it when he lay with Bathsheba; and Jonah, when he fled from the presence of the Lord; and Solomon also, when he had so many concubines. 2. But that sin is a sin that is of another nature, which is this—For a man after he hath made some profession of salvation to come alone by the blood of Jesus, together with some light and power of the same upon his spirit; I say, for him after this knowingly, willfully, and despitefully to trample upon the blood of Christ shed on the Cross, and to count it an unholy thing, or no better than the blood of another man, and rather to venture his soul any other way than to be saved by this precious blood. And this must be done, I say, after some light (Heb 6:4,5) despitefully (Heb 10:29) knowingly (2 Peter 2:21) and willfully (Heb 10:26 compared with verse 29) and that not in a hurry and sudden fit, as Peter's was, but with some time beforehand to pause upon it first, with Judas; and also with a continued resolution never to turn or be converted again; "for it is impossible to renew such again to repentance," they are so resolved and so desperate (Heb 6).
Quest. And how sayest thou now? Didst thou ever, after thou hadst received some blessed light from Christ, willfully, despitefully, and knowingly stamp or trample the blood of the Man Christ Jesus under thy feet? and art thou for ever resolved so to do?
Answ. O no; I would not do that willfully, despitefully, and knowingly, not for all the world.
Inquiry. But yet I must tell you, now you put me in mind of it, surely sometimes I have most horrible blasphemous thoughts in me against God, Christ, and the Spirit. May not these be that sin I trow?
Answ. Dost thou delight in them? Are they such things as thou takest pleasure in?
Reply. O no; neither would I do it for a thousand worlds. O, methinks they make me sometimes tremble to think of them. But how and if I should delight in them before I am aware?
Answ. Beg of God for strength against them, and if at any time thou findest thy wicked heart to give way in the least thereto, for that is likely enough, and though thou find it may on a sudden give way to that Hell-bred wickedness that is in it, yet do not despair, forasmuch as Christ hath said, "All manner of sins and blasphemies shall be forgiven to the sons of men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man," that is Christ, as he may do with Peter, through temptation, yet upon repentance, "it shall be forgiven him" (Matt 12:31, 32).
Object. But I thought it might have been committed all on a sudden, either by some blasphemous thought, or else by committing some other horrible sin.
Answ. For certain, this sin and the commission of it doth lie in a knowing, willful, malicious, or despiteful, together with a final trampling the blood of sweet Jesus under foot (Heb 10).
Object. But it seems to be rather a resisting of the Spirit, and the motions thereof, than this which you say; for, first, its proper title is the sin against the Holy Ghost; and again, "They have done despite unto the Spirit of grace"; so that it rather seems to be, I say, that a resisting of the Spirit, and the movings thereof, is that sin.
Answ. First. For certain, the sin is committed by them that do as before I have said—that is, by a final, knowing, willful, malicious trampling under foot the blood of Christ, which was shed on Mount Calvary when Jesus was there crucified. And though it be called the sin against the Spirit, yet as I said before, every sin against the Spirit is not that; for if it were, then every sin against the light and convictions of the Spirit would be unpardonable; but that is an evident untruth, for these reasons—First, Because there be those who have sinned against the movings of the Spirit, and that knowingly too, and yet did not commit that sin; as Jonah, who when God had expressly by His Spirit bid him go to Nineveh, he runs thereupon quite another way. Secondly, Because the very people that have sinned against the movings of the Spirit are yet, if they do return, received to mercy. Witness also Jonah, who though he had sinned against the movings of the Spirit of the Lord in doing contrary thereunto, "yet when he called," as he saith, "to the Lord," out of the belly of Hell, "the LORD heard him, and gave him deliverance, and set him again about his work." Read the whole story of that Prophet. But,
Answ. Second. I shall show you that it must needs be willfully, knowingly, and a malicious rejecting of the Man Christ Jesus as the Saviour—that is, counting His blood, His righteousness, His intercession in His own Person, for he that rejects one rejects all, to be of no value as to salvation; I say, this I shall show you is the unpardonable sin, and then afterwards in brief show you why it is called the sin against the Holy Ghost.
[Must be a willfully and maliciously rejecting the Saviour.]
1. That man that doth reject, as aforesaid, the blood, death, righteousness, resurrection, ascension, and intercession of the Man Christ, doth reject that sacrifice, that blood, that righteousness, that victory, that rest, that God alone hath appointed for salvation—"Behold the Lamb," or sacrifice, "of God" (John 1:29). "We have redemption through His blood" (Eph 1:7). That I may "be found in Him"—to wit, in Christ's righteousness, with Christ's own personal obedience to His Father's will (Phil 3:7-10). By His resurrection comes justification (Rom 4:25). His intercession now in His own Person in the Heavens, now absent from His saints, is the cause of the saints' perseverance (Rom 8:33-39).
2. They that reject this sacrifice, and the merits of this Christ, which He by Himself hath brought in for sinners, have rejected Him through whom alone all the promises of the New Testament, together with all the mercy discovered thereby, doth come unto poor creatures—"For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him amen, unto the glory of God" (2 Cor 1:20). And all spiritual blessings are made over to us through Him; that is, through and in this Man, which is Christ, we have all our spiritual, heavenly, and eternal mercies (Eph 1:3,4).
3. He that doth knowingly, willfully, and despitefully reject this Man for salvation doth sin the unpardonable sin, because there is never another sacrifice to be offered. "There is no more offering for sin.—There remaineth no more sacrifice for sin," (Heb 10:18-26); namely, than the offering of the body of Jesus Christ a sacrifice once for all (Heb 10:10,14, compared with 18, 26). No; but they that shall, after light and clear conviction, reject the first offering of His body for salvation, do crucify Him the second time, which irrecoverably merits their own damnation—"For 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 repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame" (Heb 6:4-6). "If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance." And why so? Seeing, saith the Apostle, they do crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and do put Him to an open shame. O, then, how miserably hath the devil deceived some, in that he hath got them to reject the merits of the first offering of the body of Christ, which was for salvation, and got them to trust in a fresh crucifying of Christ, which unavoidably brings their speedy damnation.
4. They that do reject this Man, as aforesaid, do sin the unpardonable sin, because in rejecting Him they do make way for the justice of God to break out upon them, and to handle them as it shall find them; which will be, in the first place, sinners against the first covenant; and also despising of, even the life, and glory, and consolations, pardon, grace, and love, that is discovered in the second covenant, forasmuch as they reject the Mediator and priest of the same, which is the Man Jesus. And the man that doth so, I would fain see how his sins should be pardoned, and his soul saved, seeing the means, which is the Son of Man, the Son of Mary, and His merits, are rejected; "for," saith He, "if you believe not that I am He, you shall," mark, "you shall," do what you can; "you shall," appear where you can; "you shall," follow Moses' law, or any holiness whatsoever, "ye shall die in your sins" (John 8:24). So that, I say, the sin that is called the unpardonable sin is a knowing, willful, and despiteful rejecting of the sacrificing of the Son of Man the first time for sin.
[Why it is called the sin against the Holy Ghost.]
And now to show you why it is called the sin against the Holy Ghost, as in these Scriptures, (Matt 12; Heb 10; Mark 3).
1. Because they sin against the manifest light of the Spirit, as I said before; it is a sin against the light of the Spirit—that is, they have been formerly enlightened into the nature of the Gospel and the merits of the Man Christ, and His blood, righteousness, intercession, etc.; and also professed and confessed the same, with some life and comfort in and through the profession of Him; yet now against all that light, maliciously, and with despite to all their former profession, turn their backs and trample upon the same.
2. It is called the sin against the Holy Ghost because such a person doth, as I may say, lay violent hands on it; one that sets himself in opposition to, and is resolved to resist all the motions that do come in from the Spirit to persuade the contrary. For I do verily believe that men, in this very rejecting of the Son of God, after some knowledge of Him, especially at their first resisting and refusing of Him, they have certain motions of the Spirit of God to dissuade them from so great a soul-damning act. But they, being filled with an overpowering measure of the spirit of the devil, do despite unto these convictions and motions by studying and contriving how they may answer them, and get from under the convincing nature of them, and therefore it is called a doing despite unto the Spirit of Grace (Heb 10:29). And so,
3. In that they do reject the beseeching of the Spirit, and all its gentle entreatings of the soul to tarry still in the same doctrine.
4. In that they do reject the very testimony of the Prophets and Apostles with Christ Himself; I say, their testimony, through the Spirit, of the power, virtue, sufficiency, and prevalency of the blood, sacrifice, death, resurrection, ascension, and intercession of the Man Christ Jesus, of which the Scriptures are full both in the Old and New Testament, as the Apostle saith, for all the Prophets from Samuel, with them that follow after, have showed of these days—that is, in which Christ should be a sacrifice for sin (Acts 3:24, compared with verses 6, 13-15, 18, 26). Again, saith, he, "He therefore that despiseth not man, but God; who hath also given unto us His Holy Spirit" (1 Thessalonians 4:8); that is, he rejecteth or despiseth the very testimony of the Spirit.
5. It is called the sin against the Holy Ghost, because he that doth reject and disown the doctrine of salvation by the Man Christ Jesus, through believing in Him, doth despise, resist, and reject the wisdom of the Spirit; for the wisdom of God's Spirit did never more appear than its finding out a way for sinners to be reconciled to God by the death of this Man; and therefore Christ, as He is a sacrifice, is called the wisdom of God. And again, when it doth reveal the Lord Jesus it is called the "Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him" (Eph 1:17).
Object. But, some may say, the slighting or rejecting of the Son of Man, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Mary, cannot be the sin that is unpardonable, as is clear from that Scripture in Matthew 12:32, where He Himself saith, "Whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come." Now by this it is clear that the sin that is unpardonable is one thing, and the sin against the Son of Man another; that sin that is against the Son of Man is pardonable; but if that was the sin against the Holy Ghost, it would not be pardonable; therefore the sin against the Son of Man is not the sin against the Holy Ghost, the unpardonable sin.
Answ. 1. I do know full well that there are several persons that have been pardoned, yet have sinned against the Son of Man, and that have for a time rejected Him, as Paul (1 Tim 1:13, 14) also the Jews (Acts 2:36,37). But there was an ignorant rejecting of Him, without the enlightening, and taste, and feeling of the power of the things of God, made mention in Hebrews 6:3-6. 2. There is and hath been a higher manner of sinning against the Son of Man, which also hath been, and is still, pardonable; as in the case of Peter, who in a violent temptation, in a mighty hurry, upon a sudden denied Him, and that after the revelation of the Spirit of God from Heaven to him, that He, Jesus, was the Son of God (Matt 16:16-18). This also is pardonable, if there be a coming up again to repentance. O, rich grace! O, wonderful grace! that God should be so full of love to His poor creatures, that though they do sin against the Son of God, either through ignorance, or some sudden violent charge breaking loose from Hell upon them, but yet take if for certain that if a man do slight and reject the Son of God and the Spirit in that manner as I have before hinted—that is, for a man after some great measure of the enlightening by the Spirit of God, and some profession of Jesus Christ to be the Saviour, and His blood that was shed on the mount without the gates of Jerusalem to be the Atonement; I say, he that shall after this knowingly, willfully, and out of malice and despite reject, speak against, and trample that doctrine under foot, resolving for ever so to do, and if he there continue, I will pawn my soul upon it, he hath sinned the unpardonable sin, and shall never be forgiven, neither in this world, nor in the world to come; or else these Scriptures that testify the truth of this must be scrabbled out, and must be looked upon for mere fables, which are these following—"For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world, through the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ," which is the Son of Man (Matt 16:13) "and are again entangled therein, and overcome," which must be by denying this Lord that brought them (2 Peter 2:1) "the latter end is worse with them than the beginning," (2 Peter 2:20). For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift—and have tasted the good Word of God, and the powers of the world to come; if they shall fall away, not only fall, but fall away, that is, finally (Heb 10:29) "it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance"; and the reason is rendered, "seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God," which is the Son of Man, "afresh, and put Him to an open shame" (Heb 6:4-6). Now if you would further know what it is to crucify the Son of God afresh, it is this—for to undervalue and trample under foot the merits and virtue of His blood for remission of sins, as is clearly manifested in Hebrews 10:26-28, where it is said, "For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the Truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy,—of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God," there is the second crucifying of Christ, which the Quakers think to be saved by, "and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing,"—and then followeth—"and hath done despite unto the Spirit of Grace?" (verse 29). All that Paul had to keep him from this sin was, his ignorance in persecuting the Man and merits of Jesus Christ (Acts 9). But I obtained mercy, saith he, because I did it ignorantly (1 Tim 1:13). And Peter, though he did deny Him knowingly, yet he did it unwillingly, and in a sudden and fearful temptation, and so by the intercession of Jesus escaped that danger. So, I say, they that commit this sin, they do it after light, knowingly, willfully, and despitefully, and in the open view of the whole world reject the Son of Man for being their Lord and Saviour, and in that it is called the sin against the Holy Ghost. It is a name most fit for this sin to be called the sin against the Holy Ghost, for these reasons but now laid down; for this sin is immediately committed against the motions, and convictions, and light of the Holy Spirit of God that makes it its business to hand forth and manifest the truth and reality of the merits and virtues of the Lord Jesus, the Son of Man. And therefore beware, Ranters and Quakers, for I am sure you are the nearest that sin by profession, which is, indeed, the right committing of it, of any persons that I do know at this day under the whole heavens, forasmuch as you will not venture the salvation of your souls on the blood shed on Mount Calvary, out of the side of that Man that was offered up in sacrifice for all that did believe (Luke 23:33). In that His offering up of His body at that time, either before He offered it, or that have, do, or shall believe on it for the time since, together with that time that He offered it, though formerly you did profess that salvation was wrought out that way, by that sacrifice then offered, and also seemed to have some comfort thereby; yea, insomuch that some of you declared the same in the hearing of many, professing yourselves to be believers of the same. O, therefore, it is sad for you that were once enlightened, and have tasted these good things, and yet, notwithstanding all your profession, you are now turned from the simplicity that is in Christ to another doctrine, which will be your destruction, if you continue in it; for without blood there is no remission (Heb 9:22).
Many other reasons might be given, but that I would not be too tedious; yet I would put in this caution, that if there be any souls that be but now willing to venture their salvation upon the merits of a naked Jesus, I do verily for the present believe they have not sinned that sin, because there is still a promise holds forth itself to such a soul where Christ saith, "Him that cometh to me, I will in nowise," for nothing that he hath done, "cast him out" (John 6:37). That promise is worth to be written in letters of gold.
Objections answered for their comfort who would have their part in the New Covenant.
Object. But, alas, though I should never sin that sin, yet I have other sins enough to damn me.
Answ. What though thou hadst the sins of a thousand sinners, yet if thou come to Christ, He will save thee (John 6:37; See also Hebrews 7:25).
Object. Alas, but how shall I come? I doubt I do not come as I should do? My heart is naught and dead; and, alas! then how should I come?
Answ. Why, bethink thyself of all the sins that ever thou didst commit, and lay the weight of them all upon thy heart, till thou art down loaden with the same, and come to Him in such a case as this, and He will give thee rest for thy soul (Matt 11:28-30). And again; if thou wouldst know how thou shouldst come, come as much undervaluing thyself as ever thou canst, saying, Lord, here is a sinner, the basest in all the country; if I had my deserts, I had been damned in Hell-fire long ago; Lord, I am not worthy to have the least corner in the Kingdom of Heaven; and yet, O that Thou wouldst have mercy! Come like Benhadad's servants to the king of Israel, with a rope about thy neck (1 Kings 20:31,32) and fling thyself at Christ's feet, and lie there a while, striving with Him by thy prayers, and I will warrant thee speed (Matt 11:28-30; John 6:37).
Object. O, but I am not sanctified.
Answ. He will sanctify thee, and be made thy sanctification also (1 Cor 1:30; 6:10,11).
Object. O, but I cannot pray.
Answ. To pray is not for thee to down on thy knees, and say over a many Scripture words only; for that thou mayest do, and yet do nothing but babble. But if thou from a sense of thy baseness canst groan out thy heart's desire before the Lord, He will hear thee, and grant thy desire; for He can tell what is the meaning of the groanings of the Spirit (Rom 8:26,27).
Object. O, but I am afraid to pray, for fear my prayers should be counted as sin in the sight of the great God.
Answ. That is a good sign that thy prayers are more than bare words, and have some prevalence at the Throne of Grace through Christ Jesus, or else the devil would never seek to labour to beat thee off from prayer by undervaluing thy prayers, telling thee they are sin; for the best prayers he will call the worst, and the worst he will call the best, or else how should he be a liar?
Object. But I am afraid the day of grace is past; and if it should be so, what should I do then?
Answ. Truly, with some men indeed it doth fare thus, that the day of grace is at an end before their lives are at end. Or thus, the day of grace is past before the day of death is come, as Christ saith, "If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace," that is, the word of grace or reconciliation, "but now they are hid from thine eyes" (Luke 19:41,42). But for the better satisfying of thee as touching this thing, consider these following things—
First, Doth the Lord knock still at the door of thy heart by His Word and Spirit? If so, then the day of grace is not past with thy soul; for where He doth so knock, there He doth also proffer and promise to come in and sup, that is, to communicate of His things unto them, which he would not do was the day of grace past with his soul (Rev 3:20).
Object. But how should I know whether Christ do so knock at my heart as to be desirous to come in? That I may know also, whether the day of grace be past with me or no?
Answ. Consider these things—1. Doth the Lord make thee sensible of thy miserable state without an interest in Jesus Christ, and that naturally thou hast no share in Him, no faith in Him, no communion with Him, no delight in Him, or love in the least to Him? If He hath, and is doing this, He hath, and is knocking at thy heart. 2. Doth He, together with this, put into thy heart an earnest desire after communion with Him, together with holy resolutions not to be satisfied without real communion with Him. 3. Doth He sometimes give thee some secret persuasions, though scarcely discernible, that thou mayest attain, and get an interest in Him? 4. Doth He now and then glance in some of the promises into thy heart, causing them to leave some heavenly savour, though but for a very short time, on thy spirit? 5. Dost thou at some time see some little excellency in Christ? And doth all this stir up in thy heart some breathing after Him? If so, then fear not, the day of grace is not past with thy poor soul; for if the day of grace should be past with such a soul as this, then that Scripture must be broken where Christ saith, "Him that cometh to Me, I will in nowise," for nothing, by no means, upon no terms whatsoever, "cast out." (John 6:37).