Exam. 4. Art thou born again? Then thou seest all true peace and joy comes through the blood of the Son of Mary, and his righteousness, as in Romans 7:25 and 1 Corinthians 15:57, there are many poor souls that are taken with raptures of joy, and false conceited consolation (John 16:20) which doth come from the devil, and their own deceitful hearts; but their joy shall be turned into mourning and sorrow of heart (Luke 6:24,25), but thou that art a Christian in deed, and not in word only, rejoicest in Christ Jesus the Son of Mary; yea though now you see him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory (1 Peter 1:8). And these two things are the fruits of thy faith, and of thy joy.
(1.) The Lord Jesus Christ is very precious unto thee (1 Peter 2:7).
(2.) Thou dost purify thine heart by this faith, and the power of the Spirit of Christ, which thou hast received into thy soul (Rom 8:13; Acts 15:9; John 3:3). But if thy guilt of sin goes off, and convictions go off any other way than by the blood and righteousness of the Man Christ Jesus, thy guilt goes off not right, but wrong, and thy latter end will be a very bitter end without faith and repentance; for it is his blood through which all true peace comes (Col 1:20), and there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we should be saved, but by the Lord Jesus of Nazareth (Acts 4:10-12 compared together).
Exam. 5. Art thou born again? Then thou canst not be quiet till thou doest see God lift up the light of his countenance upon thee; yea, thou hast such a desire after the light of God's countenance, that, all the glory, riches, honour, pleasure, profits, &c. of this world will not satisfy, till thou doest see God to be a reconciled Father to thee in the Lord Jesus Christ, as it is Psalm 4:6; John 14:8; Psalm 35:3. Then thou wilt not be quiet till thou dost hear from the Son of Mary, which is the Lord of glory, such a voice as this, Son be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee: And 'my grace is sufficient for thee' (2 Cor 12:9; 1 Cor 2:8). But if thou canst content thyself with anything below this, thou wilt, when all comes to all, be found but a rotten-hearted professor, who will have thy portion among the slothful ones, who will fall in the judgment of the Son of Man, when he comes in flaming fire with his mighty angels (2 Thess 1:8).
Exam. 6. Art thou born again? Then thou knowest that God hath given thee thy faith that thou hast in his Son: Then thou art to say through grace, there was a time in which I had no faith; there was a time in which I could not believe in the Son of God for eternal life. 'But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins [and unbelief; which is the greatest;] hath quickened us together with Christ, by grace ye are saved' (Eph 2:4,5), 'through faith' (v 8).
Exam. 7. Art thou born again? Then thou knowest that the doctrine of the Son of God, the Son of Mary, is a right doctrine, which is this:
That the Son of God which was with his Father before the world was (John 1:1, 17:5) came into the world in the fulness of time, and was made in the likeness of man (Phil 2:7) being made of a woman or virgin, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law (Gal 4:4). And that was done in this wise. What the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh; that is, through our flesh; God sending his own Son in likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, that is, condemned him in the flesh for the sins of poor sinners: For this, compare Romans 8:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21 with Galatians 3:13 and it will appear clearly to be the truth of God: Also, that this Son of God, which is the true God, as well as the Son of Mary, did bear our sins in his own body on the tree (1 Peter 2:24) and did spill his own blood, which is also the blood of God (Acts 20:28), that he died, and was laid in Joseph's sepulchre (John 19:38-42) and rose again the third day (Acts 10:40), that very Man (Luke 24:39-45), and ascended up into heaven in a cloud (Acts 1:9-11) and there ever lives to make intercession for us, that very man (Heb 7:24,25, 8:3, 10:12).
Exam. 8. And in the last place, If thou art a Christian, then thou lookest for that very Jesus again, whom the Jews did crucify (John 19), whom God raised again, as it is 1 Thessalonians 1:10. I say, thou lookest, thou waitest, thou hasteneth after the coming of this Lord Jesus, which doth deliver thee from the wrath to come (2 Peter 3:10-12; Heb 9:26-28; 1 Thess 1:10). Yea, thou knowest, that this very man shall so come in like manner, as his disciples did see him go into heaven, which was a very man (Luke 24:39 compared with vv 50,51 of the same chapter). Yea, in a cloud he went away from his disciples, and in the clouds he shall come again (Rev 1:7) to judge all that are in their graves (John 5:28,29; Dan 12:2) and shall receive all that look for, and love his second coming, to himself (Heb 9:27,28). And they shall be for ever with him (1 Thess 4:16,17). But the wicked shall be cast into eternal damnation (Matt 25:46). These things, I say, if thou be a Christian indeed, thou believest, and ownest, and the faith of them doth purify thy heart (1 John 3:3) and wean thee from this world, and the things thereof; and if it is not from this principle; that is, if thy obedience do not flow from this faith, which is the faith of God's elect, as I have proved at large, thy obedience, thy zeal, thy self-denial, thy holiness, righteousness; yea, all that thou canst do, is but sin in the sight of the great God of heaven and earth (Heb 11:6; Rom 14:23). For all true sanctification comes through the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, by the operation of the Spirit of God (1 Cor 6:11). 'But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.' And (Cant 1:3), 'Thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee.'
Well then, seeing this is a truth of so great concernment, I beseech you, seek to be thoroughly rooted into it by faith. And that thou mayest so be, examine thy heart; yea, beg of God to help thee to examine it, and to throw out all that fancy that thou takest instead of faith; also throw away all thine own wisdom; yea, thy own righteousness also, and come to God in the name of the Son of Mary, which is the Son of God, and beg faith of him, true faith, the faith of the operation of God; such a faith as he gives to his own elect, which will shew thee clearly of these things; so that thou shalt not deceive thyself with a fancy of them; and the advantages will be many.
Advantage 1. It will comfort thy heart against persecutions, temptations, and cross providences, as also James saith to his persecuted brethren; 'Be patient [my brethren, saith he], stablish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh' (John 5:8).
Advantage 2. It will through grace, wean thy heart and affections abundantly from this world, and the things therein. 'Who is he that overcometh the world, [saith John] but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?' (1 John 5:5). Who is he also that purifies his heart, but he that looketh for the second coming of Christ from heaven to judge the world? as in 1 John 3:3 compared with 2 Peter 3:10, 11.
Advantage 3. Hereby thou wilt be able to judge of all doctrines whatsoever, though they come never so nigh the truth, yet if they be not indeed the very truth, thou wilt find them and their doctrine liars (Rev 2:2; 1 Cor 2:15).
Advantage 4. If thou beest thoroughly set down in this doctrine, even in the faith of this doctrine which I have held forth unto thee, thou wilt not be taken with any other doctrine whatsoever. What is the reason I pray you, that there are so many giddy-headed professors in these days, that do stagger to and fro like a company of drunkards, but this, They were never sealed in the doctrine of the Father, and the Son? They were never enabled to believe that that child that was born of the virgin Mary, was the mighty God (Isa 9:6). No, saith Christ, he that is built upon this rock, (meaning the faith of himself, which is to believe that the son of Mary is the Christ of God (Matt 16:16)) the gates of hell shall not prevail against him (v 18).
Advantage 5. The faith of this doctrine, will make thee labour in the work of God in the world. Oh, it will liven thy heart in the work of the Lord; especially, if thou livest in the faith of thy interest in Christ, it will make thee labour to be found watching when thy Lord shall return from the wedding; that when he doth come, thou mayest open to him immediately (Luke 12:35,36).
Now seeing the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is so nigh, even at the doors, what doth this speak to all sorts of people (under heaven) but this?
Admonition 1. First, to see whether they have oil in their lamps or not; that is, to search and see, whether the Spirit of the Man Christ Jesus be in them or no; for he that hath not the Spirit of Christ in him, is none of Christ's (Rom 8:9). Thou that hast not the Spirit of Christ in thee, why, at that day (let thy profession be what it will) he will say to thee, Depart, I know you not (Matt 25), and if so, then thy latter end will be worse than thy beginning, as in 2 Peter 2:20.
Admonition 2. Then what will become of all the profane, ignorant, scoffers, self-righteous, proud, bastard-professors in the world? If the children of God shall 'scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly, and the sinner appear?' (1 Peter 4:18).
Admonition 3. Then what will become of all those that creep into the society of God's people without a wedding garment on? Why, it will be said unto them, Friends, how came you hither? Take them, and bind them hand and foot, and cast them into utter darkness; 'There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth' (Matt 22:11-13).
Admonition 4. Then what will become of all those that mock at the second coming of the Man Christ, as do the Ranters, Quakers, drunkards, and the like? Why read their doom in Matthew 24:50, 51, 'The Lord of that or these servants, shall come in a day when they look not for him, and in an hour that they are not aware of, and shall cut them asunder, and appoint them their portion with the hypocrites,' And 'there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
Admonition 5. Then what doth this speak to the Lord's own people? Surely this, that they should be in a watchful posture (Mark 13:37).
(1.) Watch therefore over your own hearts, least they should be over-charged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares; for as a snare shall it come upon all the dwellers upon the face of the earth, as it is in Luke 31:34-36.
(2.) Watch over the devil's temptations. Oh, have a care in the first place, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ: And the rather, because at this day he is very busy with his doctrines, and his ministers; trying all ways, if by any means he might deceive you with fair speeches, and enticing carriages; what a fair shew in the flesh, yet denying the Lord, and refusing to be justified by the blood of Jesus the Son of Mary, the Son of God. Watch I say over the devil touching doctrines, for he labours as much this way as any way, for he knows that if he can but get you to lay a rotten foundation, he is sure of you, live as godly in your conceit as you will, and therefore, it is worth your observation, in that 24th of Matthew when Christ is speaking of the signs of his coming, he breaks forth with a warning word to his disciples, to beware of false teachers (v 4). The very first words that he answers to a question that his disciples put to him is this, 'Take heed that no man deceive you.' Again (v 11), 'And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.' And (v 24) he saith again, 'For there shall [come or] arise, false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.'
(3.) Take heed that he doth not deceive you in point of worship, that he make you not slight any of the ordinances of God; for if he do, he will quickly make way for another temptation.
(4.) Take heed also that you have not your lamps to trim when the bridegroom comes; if you have, you may peradventure be ashamed and blush before him at his coming (1 John 2:28). Therefore content not yourselves with a profession of Christ, and no more, for the devil may deceive, yea, doth deceive a professing people many times. And if he will deceive a professing generation, he must come in this manner: Under the name of Christ. With a fair shew in the flesh of outward holiness (Gal 6:12). He must come 'with good words and fair speeches' (Rom 16:18). Now though he come to drunkards, swearers, whore mongers, thieves, liars, murderers, and covetous persons, in his black colours; yet if he will come to deceive a professing party, he must appear like an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14). And the reason why souls are deceived by him in these his appearances, is, because they are not able to distinguish betwixt the law and the gospel, the convictions of conscience by the law only, and convictions by the Spirit, but do (though they profess the Lord Jesus) give ear to every wind of doctrine, and being unstable, as Peter saith, do fall into the temptations of the devil, in wresting the scriptures to their own destruction (2 Peter 3:16).
Admonition 6. In a word, you that have not yet laid hold on the Lord Jesus Christ, for eternal life, lay hold upon him; upon his righteousness, blood, resurrection, ascension, intercession, and wait for his second coming to 'judge the world in righteousness' (Acts 17:31). And you that have laid hold, I say to you, lay faster hold on your Lord Jesus, 'Who hath ears to hear, let him hear' (Matt 13:43).
Now, that thou mayest the more clearly understand my faith in the doctrines of God's dear Son, I have thought good to hold forth again the doctrine of the former treatise by way of question and answer, as followeth.
Quest. Seeing there are many false Christs gone out into the world, according as was prophesied of in former times by the Lord himself (Matt 24:5,23). And seeing (if we be saved) we must be saved by a Christ; for he that misses of him (saith the scriptures) cannot be saved, because there is no way to come to the Father but by him, as it is written (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). How therefore, is the knowledge of the true Christ to be attained unto, that we may be saved by him?
Ans. Indeed to know Christ, (God's Christ) is as the scripture saith, the one thing necessary (Luke 10:42), without which all other things will avail nothing: And therefore I shall according to the scriptures, (1.) Tell you what God's Christ is. And, (2.) How the knowledge of him is attained unto. And therefore, God's Christ is true God, and true man. That he is true God, is manifest by that scripture, in Isaiah 9:6 where it is said, 'unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.' Also 1 John 5:20. And we are in him that is true, (saith the apostle) even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. See Hebrews 1:8; John 1:12; Romans 9:5; John 20:28. That he is true man, see again (Isa 9:6) where it is said, 'Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given'; and compare it with Matthew 1:21 where it is said, 'And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins,' see John 1:14, 'And the word was made flesh.' (1 Tim 3:16) 'God was manifest in the flesh.' These two scriptures are expounded by Hebrews 2:14 where it is said, 'Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same'; that is, of flesh and blood, see Romans 8:3 and compare it with Luke 24:39 where Christ saith, 'Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.' And he doth often call himself by the name of the Son of man to signify that he is very man, as well as very God (Matt 24, 16:13).
Quest. But why was he true God and true man?
Ans. He was true man, because man had offended, and justice required that man should suffer and make satisfaction, and so it is written (1 Cor 15:21). 'For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.' And again, 'All we like sheep have gone astray;—and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.' And in 1 Peter 2:24 where that 53rd of Isaiah is mentioned, he saith, 'Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye were healed.' And again, God did prepare this body, the human nature of Christ, that it should be a sacrifice for sins, 'wherefore—he saith, Sacrifice and offering [that is, such as were offered by the law of Moses] thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me' (Heb 10:5). In the body which God had prepared for him, which he took of the virgin (Gal 4:4) in this he did bear all the sins of all his elect (1 Peter 2:24).
And he must needs be true God, because, it was an infinite God that was transgressed against, and justice required an infinite satisfaction, and therefore he must be infinite that must give this satisfaction, or else justice could not be satisfied, and so it was written, where the apostle is telling the pastors of the church of Ephesus, by what they were redeemed, he tells them, that God did purchase them 'with his own blood' (Acts 20:28). See 1 John 3:16 where he saith, 'Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us.' Not in his divine, but in his human nature; for as I said before, God's Christ was of both natures (Rom 9:5; 1 John 5:20; John 1:1-14). True God, and true man, and the divine nature did enable him to undergo in his human nature, all that sin, curse, and wrath that was laid upon him for us; and to overcome, and obtain eternal redemption for us (Heb 9:24).
Quest. How did this Christ bring in redemption for man?
Ans. (1.) Why first, man broke the law of God; but this man did fulfil it again, and became the end of it 'for righteousness to every one that believeth' (Rom 10:4).
(2.) Man was foiled and overcome by the devil; but this Man Christ did overcome him again, and that for us (Luke 4; Heb 2:14,15).
(3.) Man did lose the glory of God, but this Man hath obtained it again.
(4.) Man by sin lost eternal salvation; but this Man by his own blood hath obtained it again for him (Heb 9:12).
(5.) Man by sin brought death into the world (Rom 5:12). But Jesus Christ, that Man, hath destroyed it again (Heb 2:14 compared with Hosea 13:14) and brought in life and immortality (2 Tim 1:10; Rom 5:15).
Quest. But how are we justified by this man's obedience?
Ans. All our iniquities were laid upon him (Isa 53:6,8,11,12). And his righteousness is bestowed on us, if we believe, as it is written, 'Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe' (Rom 3:22). And this is it which Paul so much sought after, when he saith, 'Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss,—and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith' (Phil 3:8,9).
Quest. How do men come by this righteousness and everlasting life?
Ans. By faith men lay hold upon it, and apply it to their own souls in particular (Gal 2:20). For it is by faith they are justified, as also saith the scripture (Rom 5:1). That his faith lays hold on and applies, that which this Christ of God hath done, and is a doing, and owns it as his own.
Quest. What is this faith that doth justify the sinner?
Ans. It is a gift (Eph 2:8), fruit (Gal 5:22) or work, of the Spirit of God, whereby a soul is enabled, under a sight of its sins, and wretched estate, to lay hold on the birth, righteousness, blood, death, resurrection, ascension and intercession of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess 2:7), and by the assistance of the Spirit, whereby it is wrought, to apply all the virtue, life and merit of what hath been done and suffered, or is a doing by the same Lord Jesus Christ, to its own self in particular (Gal 2:20; Rom 7:24,25), as if itself had really done all that the Lord Jesus Christ hath done: I do not say that the soul doth any thing for justification, but it doth know, that whatsoever Jesus Christ hath done in point of justification, is given to, and bestowed upon it (Rom 3:22) and God finding the soul in him, that is in Christ, doth 'justify it from all things, from which it could not be justified by the law of Moses' (Acts 13:39).
Quest. Well, but is there no way to come to the Father of mercies but by this man that was born of the virgin? Is there no way to come to God but by the faith of him?
Ans. No, 'there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved' (Acts 4:12). And Jesus himself, that was born of the virgin Mary, said, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me' (John 14:6).
Quest. And where is this man, that was born of the virgin, that we may come to the Father by him?
Ans. He ascended away from his disciples in a cloud, into heaven, as we may read (Acts 1:9-11).
Quest. What doth he there?
Ans. He ever lives to make intercession for all that come unto God by him (Heb 7:25). That is, they shall come out of themselves to him, and venture their souls on what he did and suffered when he was on earth, and is doing now in heaven; shall certainly be saved: For he ever lives to save them, that do thus come to the Father by him. And it is, because he spilt his blood for all that shall by the faith of God's elect lay hold upon him. And thus it is written where he saith, 'Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, [Mark this] whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness, [that is, to declare God's righteousness] for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth [or layeth hold] in Jesus' (Rom 3:24-26).
Quest. But did this man rise again from the dead, that very man, with that very body wherewith he was crucified? for you do seem, as I conceive, to hold forth so much by these your expressions.
Ans. Why do you doubt of it?
Quest. Do you believe it?
Ans. Yes, by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, for he hath enabled me so to do.
Quest. And can you prove it by the scripture?
Ans. First, From that scripture in Luke 24:39, 40 where Christ himself after he was crucified appeared to his disciples, (who having seen him) supposed they had seen a spirit. But he said, Why are ye troubled, and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself, and do not think you see a spirit; handle me, and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as you see me have. This he spake after he was crucified (Luke 23:33) and buried (v 53) and rose again from the dead (24:6,7), many other scriptures could I give for the proof hereof, as Acts 10:40, 41. And Acts 13:30, 31; 1 Thessalonians 1:10. Only read Acts 2:29-32 where the apostle proveth the same, bringing in the words of the prophet David for a testimony thereof, saying, He 'being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; [saith] he seeing this before, spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.' Mark it, his flesh did see no corruption (v 31). But if he had not risen again, his flesh had seen corruption. But he rose again from the dead, that very man, that very body; for his flesh did see no corruption.
Quest. Why did he rise again from the dead, with that very body?
Ans. (1.) Because it was not possible he should be holden of death.
(2.) Because in his human nature he suffered for sin; and if he had not recovered himself from that very curse, even from under death, and all other things that lay on him, which he had through the sins of his children subjected himself unto, he had not overcome sin, hell, death, the law, and the devil (Acts 2:24): but had been overcome by them; and if so, then had not redemption been obtained for sinners; for it was at his resurrection from the dead, that God said unto him, 'Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee': (As saith the Apostle) 'And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again'; as it is also written in the second psalm, 'Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee' (Acts 13:30-36). And it is this, namely, the resurrection of that Man from the dead, that doth give us ground of hope; as in 1 Peter 1:3 where he saith, He 'hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.'
(3.) Because God intends to redeem the bodies of his saints out of their graves in which they have lain many a year (John 5:28,29; Rom 8:23; 1 Cor 15:52) and to possess them with his own glory; and when this comes to pass, then shall that scripture be fulfilled, that saith, He 'shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working [of his mighty power] whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself' (Phil 2:21). And he hath given us assurance thereof, in that he hath raised up Jesus our Lord again from the dead (Acts 17:31).
Quest. But do you think, that these our bodies that we do carry about with us in this world, after that they are dead and buried, and rotten, shall rise again out of those graves into which they are laid; when the scripture saith, flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God? (1 Cor 15:50).
Ans. Flesh in scripture is taken more ways than one: As,
It is taken for the works of the law; where the Apostle saith, 'Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?' (Gal 3:2,3). By flesh here, he means the law; as is clear, if you compare it with verses 10-12. Again, sometimes flesh is taken for sins (Rom 8:1,5). And sometimes it is taken for the bodies of the saints, as subject to distempers, to pain, sickness, corruptions, to death; by reason of sin (2 Cor 4:11, 7:5). Now the Apostle in that place, where he saith, 'Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom [of heaven, or] of God,' his meaning is, sinful flesh and blood, or the sin, with any imperfection that is in the bodies of the saints, shall not inherit the kingdom; and that you shall find to be the mind of the Holy Ghost, if you read with understanding the latter end of the same verse, where he saith, 'Neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.' That is, sin, or any imperfection of the body, shall not inherit eternal life; for, saith he, in verse 53, 'This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.' Mark here, I pray you, though he saith, 'Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God'; yet he saith, 'This corruptible must put on incorruption.' For the trump shall blow, and the dead shall be raised (as Christ saith) 'They that are in the graves shall hear his voice' (John 5:28). And shall come forth of their grave incorruptible (1 Cor 15:52). And shall 'all appear before the judgment seat of Christ' (2 Cor 5:10; Rev 2:12,13). See also that scripture (Phil 3:20,21) where the Apostle saith, He waited for Christ the Saviour from heaven. And what shall he do when he comes? why, He 'shall change our vile body.' Mark it, it must be our vile body that must be changed. But if it be changed, then how can it be the same? not the same in respect of sin, or bodily infirmities, but the very same in respect of substance: For, saith he, It is our vile body that must be changed; and it is the very same, It shall be 'fashioned like unto his glorious body.' And if you ask, How is it possible that this should be done? He answers, 'According to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.'
Quest. But do you think this is certain? methinks the scriptures seemingly hold forth so much, yet I cannot believe it, for it is contrary to all reason.
Ans. Truly the scriptures do not only hold forth so much seemingly, but they do most really, and plainly, hold out these things to all those that have received the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ. For it is it, and it alone, that can reveal these things. 'For the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God' (1 Cor 2:11). Now if thou wouldest know these things, thou must first receive the Spirit of the Son of God, without which, thou canst not know so much as one of the fundamental truths of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Quest. But there are those in our days, who reject this doctrine that you lay down, concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, as you lay it down, and they are for a Christ within, for a cross within, for a resurrection, and intercession within; and they do not hold as you do, a Christ without, and a resurrection of Christ without; and intercession of Christ without; Ay, and they have very much scripture for that which they say too: And therefore what shall such as we do, that stand tottering and shaking in these distracted and dangerous times? For our poor souls are in very much doubt what way to take.
Ans. Therefore I will speak a few words to you by way of discovery of the falsity of such opinions; and a word of direction, how you should understand the truth.
Therefore, he that cries up a Christ within, in opposition to a Christ without, that man instead of having the Spirit of Christ in him, is possessed with a spirit of delusion; for where the Spirit of Christ is in truth, that Spirit causeth the soul to look to the Christ that was born of the Virgin, for all justification; as it is written, 'Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come,' mark the next verse, 'He [saith the Son of the Virgin] shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you' (John 16:13,14). He shall take of mine; What is that? Why surely it is, he shall take of my Godhead, my humanity, my birth, my righteousness, my blood, my death, my resurrection, my ascension and intercession, my kingly, priestly, and prophetical offices, and shall shew you the life, merit, and value of them. And this was it which was revealed to Paul by the Holy Spirit, here spoken of (1 Cor 15:1-8). 'Moreover brethren, [saith he] I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.' But what is this doctrine? why, 'I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received.' What was that? Why, 'How that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: [there is his death and resurrection preached]. And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve; after that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the Apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, [saith Paul] as of one born out of due time.' This is it, I say, that the Spirit of Truth doth hold forth to poor sinners, a Christ crucified without the gates of Jerusalem (Luke 23:33), buried in Joseph's sepulchre (53), risen again the third day (Luke 24:6) ascended away from his disciples in a cloud into heaven, as in Acts 1:9-11. And there ever liveth, that very man, with that very body, to make intercession for all that receive him (Heb 7:24,25). This is, I say, the doctrine of the Spirit of truth, whatsoever is the spirit of error.
Quest. But do not the scriptures make mention of a Christ within? (2 Cor 13:5; Col 1:27).
Ans. Yes, And he that hath not the Spirit of Christ, is none of his (Rom 8:9). But he that hath it, is led out of himself by it; and as I said before, it shews the soul, what the blessed Son of the Virgin Mary hath done and suffered, and is a doing for it. Therefore hereby know we the Spirit of truth from the spirit of error (2 John 7). 'Every spirit that doth confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God' (1 John 4:2). That is, that spirit that doth confess, that Jesus Christ took flesh upon him and in that flesh did bear our sins (1 Peter 2:24; Col 1:20-22; 1 Peter 3:18, 4:1). And after he was taken down from the cross, and laid in a sepulchre, rose again from the dead; that very Man with that very body, wherewith he was crucified: That spirit that doth believe and confess this, is of God, and is the blessed Spirit of Christ, whereof he spake, when he was yet with his disciples touching his bodily presence: For 'he [saith the Son of Mary] shall glorify me, for he shall receive of mine and shew it unto you' (John 16:13,14).
I have answered this already in my epistle to the first treatise. Therefore believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they be of God, for many false spirits and prophets are gone out into the world, therefore have a care how thou receivest the voice that speaks to thee, but try whether they are according to the truth of God's word as it is written, 'To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them' (Isa 8:20).
(1.) Therefore try a little, Do they slight God's Christ, which is the Son of the Virgin? that spirit is of the devil (1 Cor 12:3).
(2.) Do they say that that blood of his which was shed without the gates of Jerusalem, doth not wash away sin, yea, all sin from him that believes? That is a spirit of antichrist (1 John 1:7).
(3.) Do they say, that that Man that was crucified without the gates of Jerusalem, is not risen again (with that very body wherewith he was crucified) out of the sepulchre? (Luke 24:38,39). That is a spirit of antichrist.
(4.) Do they say that that very Man that was crucified with that very body, is not now in the presence of his Father, absent from his people touching his bodily presence, though present in Spirit? I say whoever they be, that say he is not there, they are of the devil: for the proof of this see Acts 5:30 and 31 and compare it with Hebrews 7:24, 25. 'The God of our fathers [saith the Apostle] raised up Jesus.' But what Jesus? 'he whom ye slew,' saith he to the Jews. 'Him [the very same whom ye slew] hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.'
And indeed, here is my LIFE, namely, the birth of this Man, the righteousness of this Man, the blood of this Man, the death and resurrection of this Man, the ascension and intercession of this Man for me; and the second coming of this Man to judge the world in righteousness (Acts 17:31). I say, here is my LIFE, if I see this by faith without me, through the operation of the Spirit within me: I am safe, I am at peace, I am comforted, I am encouraged, and I know that my comfort, peace, and encouragement is true, and given me from heaven, by the Father of mercies, through the Son of the Virgin Mary (Matt 1:21) who is the way to the Father of mercies (John 14:6), who is able to save to the uttermost, all that come to the Father by him (Heb 7:25). Because he, that very Man, with that very body wherewith he was crucified, is ascended into heaven (Acts 1:9-11), and there ever lives to make intercession for them that come to God by him. This is the rock, sinner, upon which, if thou be built, the gates of hell, nor Ranter, Quaker, sin, law, death, no nor the devil himself, shall ever be able to prevail against thee (Matt 16:16-18). And here I leave thee to the wisdom of the great God, who if he hath chosen thee in his Son, and brought thee to him; and hath made thee by faith to lay hold on him, thou needest not fear the devil with his siftings, snares, wiles, and fiery darts, wherewith he doth destroy thousands; but mayest with the Apostle (if thou live in the power and life of the love of God towards thee) cry out, 'I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord' (Rom 8:38,39).
And now reader, if thou be a true Christian, I am sure that these be the things that appear to be the glorious substantial truths to thy soul, and thou doest not care for that comfort that doth not make this Man, the Son of the Virgin, precious to thy soul (1 Peter 2:7) for thou knowest, that it is he, that hath delivered thee from the wrath to come (1 Thess 1:10). But as for you that are disobedient, except you mend your manners, you will stumble 'and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken' (Isa 28:13) and wonder and perish because you believe not (Acts 13:41).
A few words more, and so I shall have done, and they are words of counsel to thee. Have a care thou receive not every Christ that is proffered to thee, though it may appear very excellent to thy foolish heart: for under the name Christ, are men deceived, as it is written, 'many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many' (Matt 24:5). But have a care that thou receive that Christ, that was born without thee, fulfilled the law in his human nature without thee; spilt his blood without thee, is risen again and ascended without thee, and maketh intercession without thee: And that he that very Man that was born of the virgin, will come again in the clouds without thee; and this truth must thou receive by that Spirit that he hath promised to send and give to them that ask him: And that shall dwell in thy heart, and shall shew thee what the Son of Mary the virgin, the Son of man, the Son of God, the true God hath in his body done for thy soul (John 16:13,14). And if thou receive him in truth, then though thou do not boast, nor brag of thy holiness, as those painted hypocrites called Quakers do: yet thou wilt do more work for God in one hour, than they, even all of them, can do in all their lifetime.
Take my counsel, and the Lord Jesus Christ have mercy upon thy soul and body. Farewell.
SOME QUESTIONS TO THE QUAKERS, OR A FEW QUERIES TO THOSE WHO ARE POSSESSED WITH A SPIRIT OF DELUSION IN THIS GENERATION.
'Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you,' (1 Peter 3:15). And I beseech you do it in sincerity.
1. If thou sayest that every one hath a measure of the Spirit of Jesus Christ within him, why say the scriptures that some are 'sensual having not the Spirit' (Jude 19). And when Christ tells his disciples of sending them the Spirit, he also saith, The world cannot receive it (John 14:17).
2. What is the church of God redeemed by, from the curse of the law? Is it by something that is done within them, or by something done without them? If thou answer, it is redeemed from the curse of the law by something that worketh in them; then I ask, why did the Man Christ Jesus hang upon the cross on Mount Calvary, without the gates of Jerusalem, for the sins of the people? (Gal 3:3; 1 Peter 2:24). And why do the scriptures say, that through this Man, is preached to us the forgiveness of sins (Acts 13:38). That is, through his blood (Eph 1:7; Col 1:20) which was shed without the gates of Jerusalem (Heb 13:12).
3. What scripture have you to prove, that Christ is, or was crucified within you, dead within you, risen within you, and ascended within you?
4. Is that very Man that was crucified on Mount Calvary between two thieves, whose name is Jesus, the Son of Mary, I say, is he the very Christ of God, yea, or no?
5. Is that very Man, with that very body, within you, yea, or no?
6. Was that Jesus, that was born of the Virgin Mary, a real Man of flesh and bones, after his resurrection from the dead, out of Joseph's sepulchre, yea, or no? For the scripture saith he was, as in Luke 24:39. If so, then did that Man that said handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have; I say, did that Man go away from his disciples (and not into them, in his body) as these scriptures declare (Luke 24:39,40 compared with 50,51, also Acts 1:9-11) or did he with that body of flesh go into his disciples, as some fond dreamers think?
7. Hath that Christ that was with God the Father before the world was, no other body but his church? If you say no, as it is your wonted course; then again I ask you, what that was in which he did bear the sins of his children? If you answer, It was 'in his own body on the tree,' for so saith the scripture (1 Peter 2:24). Then I ask you further, whether that body in which he did bear our sins, (which is also called his own body) was, or is, the church of God, yea, or no? Again if you say he hath no body but the church, the saints, Then I ask, what that was that was taken down from the cross, and laid into Joseph's sepulchre (Luke 23:53).
Now I know, that as Christ is the head of his church, so the church is the body of the head, which is Christ. But as Christ is the mediator between God and man, I say, as he is mediator, so he is a man (1 Tim 2:5) and absent from his saints in the world, as is clear (2 Cor 5:6). Therefore as he is a mediator, and a Man, so he hath a body that is absent from his church, which body is ascended from his disciples, above the clouds into heaven (Luke 24:51; Acts 1:9-11). If you say no, then I ask you, Did he leave the body behind him, which was born of the Virgin Mary, which walked up and down with his disciples in the world, was afterwards hanged upon the cross (Luke 23:26,33,53), buried, rose again from the dead (Matt 24:3,6,15,41,41,39,50) with which body he did eat, drink, and likewise walk with his disciples after his resurrection from the dead (Acts 10:41), and did bid his disciples see if he were not flesh and bones, yea, or no?
1. Bunyan quotes this passage from the Genevan or Puritan version.—Ed.
2. 'Overly,' carelessly, negligently, inattentively.—Ed.
3. 'Close,' secret, not disclosed.—Ed.
A VINDICATION of GOSPEL TRUTHS OPENED,
ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES;
AND THE OPPOSITION MADE AGAINST IT BY EDWARD BORROUGH, A PROFESSED QUAKER, BUT PROVED AN ENEMY TO THE TRUTH, EXAMINED AND CONFUTED BY THE WORD OF GOD,
The Things that were then laid down, and declare to the World by me, are a second Time borne witness to, according to truth: With the Answer of Edward Borrough to the Queries then laid down in my Book reproved. And also, a plain answer to his Queries, given in Simplicity of Soul; and is now also presented to the World, or who else may read, or hear them; to the end (if God will ) that Truth may be discovered thereby.
"I have found David...a man after mine own heart," (saith God, Acts 13:22)
"Of his man's seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus:" (saith the Apostle verse 23).
"And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre:" (verse 29).
"But God raised him from the dead:" (verse 30).
"And we declare unto you glad tidings how that the Promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again;" (verse 32, 33).
"Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:" (verse 38).
"And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses." (verse 39).
TO THE READER.
Since it hath please the Lord to work in my soul by his holy Spirit, and hath translated me in some measure from darkness to light, I have seen and heard, that such things have been done by those who did once pretend themselves to be the servants of Jesus Christ, that it hath made me marvel: Partly, while I have beheld the vile conversation of some, and also the seeming legal holiness of others, together with their damnable doctrine; which have, notwithstanding their professions, made shipwreck of the faith, both to themselves, and their followers. I having had some in-sight into such things as these, was provoked to publish a small treatise touching the fundamentals of religion, supposing that God might add his blessing thereto, both for the establishing of some, and the convincing of others; which things I doubt not but they have been accomplished; and will be still more and more. But, as it was in former days, so it is now: That is, some in all former ages have been on foot in the world, ready to oppose the truth: So it is now, there are certain men newly started up in our days, called Quakers, who have set themselves against the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ, and do in very deed deny, that salvation was then obtained by him, when he did hang on the cross without Jerusalem's gate. Now these men do pretend, that they do verily and truly profess the Lord Jesus Christ; but when it comes to the trial, and their principles be thoroughly weighed, the best that they do, is to take one truth, and corrupt it, that they may thereby fight more stoutly against another. As for instance:
FIRST, They will own that salvation was obtained by Christ, this is truth, that salvation was obtained by Christ; But come close to the thing, and you will find, that they corrupt the word, and only mean thus much, That salvation is wrought out by Christ as he is within; and by it (though not warranted by the scripture) they will fight against the truth: Namely, that salvation was obtained for sinners, by the man that did hang on the cross on Mount Calvary, between two thieves, called Jesus Christ. I say, by what he did then for sinners in his own person or body, which he took from the Virgin Mary, according to the word of God.
SECOND, They will own the doctrine of Christ within. This is truth, that Christ is within his saints: But this doctrine they will take to fight against the doctrine of Christ without, ascended from his disciples into heaven, by whom salvation was obtained, "neither is there salvation in any other" (Acts 4:12).
THIRD, They will won the resurrection of the saints, but their meaning is only thus much, That the saints are raised from the state of nature to a state of grace, and herewith they will fight against this truth; namely, the resurrection of the bodies of saints out of their graves, into which they were laid, some thousands, some hundreds of years before. And if they do say, they do own the resurrection of the saints out of their graves, they so mean out of the grave of sin only, and nothing else.
FOURTH, They will say, they do own the second coming of Christ to judge the world; but search them to the bottom, and you will find them only to own him in his coming in spirit, within, in opposition to the glorious coming of the Lord Jesus, the Son of Mary, from heaven in the clouds, with all his mighty angels, to raise the dead, and bring them to judgment, according to the scripture. And so for the intercession of Christ, and the truths of the gospel, they only own them to be within; in opposition to the glorious intercession, and mediation of the man Christ Jesus in his own person without, now in the presence of his Father, between us and him, pleading and making intercession for his children. These things, together with many more, I might mention, but now I forbear, knowing the none shall be lost, nor altogether carried away by them, nor any heretics, but the sons of perdition. Now that they might the better make their doctrine take place in the hearers, they endeavour to make a fair shew in the flesh, that thereby they now, as did their fathers in time past, compel and constrain them who are not by the Lord's right hand planted into the truth of Jesus, to follow their covered errors, as it is written (Gal 6:12). "As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh," That is, according to works of the law; do "by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple" (Rom 16:18). And indeed it doth clearly appear, that those that are carried away, are such as are not able to discern between fair speeches declared by heretics, and sound doctrine declared by the simple-hearted servants of Jesus.
First, Now I shall lay down several grounds, not only why errors are broached in the world; but also, why so many are carried away with them.
1. One ground, why so many errors do from time to time come into the world, is because those that are not indeed of the planting of the Lord's right hand, might be rooted out (Matt 15:13). Now these are many times carried away by deceivable doctrines: And truly in this our God hath both a care of his own glory, and of his church's welfare. For first, should they not be swept away by some heresy or other, there might be great dishonour brought to his name by their continuing among his people: And secondly, that he might take away such grievances as such may bring, had they continued still in the society of his children.
2. Another ground why the Lord doth suffer such errors to come into the world is, because, those that are Christians indeed might be approved and appear (1Cor 11:19). "For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest." Should not the Lord go this way to work (sometimes) there would be many that would make people believe that they are Christians, and yet are not. And again, that he might make it appear, that though there be heretics, yet he hath a people, enabled by his Spirit, to contradict, and oppose them, and plead to the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ, and his glorious gospel against them.
3. Another ground why the Lord doth suffer, yea, even send delusions among the people, is, That those who were so idle and slothful, as not to seek after the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, might be taken away, and violently possessed with error, and be made to run greedily after the same; that they might smart the more for their neglect of the truth. For always, those who were lazy in seeking after the truth when it was proffered, and afterward hasty after the doctrine of devils, when that is declared to them, shall be sure to have their latter behavior to rise up in judgment against them, in that when the truth was proffered to them they were idle and did not receive it, and yet when delusion did proffer itself, they were industrious, and labouring. Now mark, that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness; because they received not the truth in the love of it, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusions, that they might believe a lie, and be dammed (2Thess 2:10-12).
Second, Now in the second place, why so many are so easily carried away with errors in this day: the grounds are these That follow.
1. Because men count it enough to be professors of the truth, without seeking to be possessors of the same. Now because men are but only professors of the truth, not having it in their hearts in reality, they are carried away with an error, if it come in never so little power, more that the truth they profess. And this is the reason why so many are carried away with the errors that are broached in these days, because they have not indeed received the Lord Jesus by the revelation of the Spirit, and with power, but by the relation of others only; and so having no other witness to set them down withal, but the history of the word, and the relation of others concerning the truth contained therein, (though the knowledge of the truth this way shall abundantly aggravate their damnation) yet they having not had the Spirit of the Lord to confirm these things effectually unto them, they are carried away with delusions.
2. Another reason why so many are carried away with delusions, is, those differences that are among the children of God about smaller matter. O Friends! how is the hand of the enemy strengthened by our carnality, while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; many a poor soul is carried away with delusion. And why so? They are not satisfied that this is the truth, because the children are at difference among themselves, about some outward things. And again, it makes those that are not so desperately possessed with a spirit of delusion, as are others, but are mere moral men: I say it makes them to say within themselves, and one to another; There are so many sects and judgments in the world, that we cannot tell which way to take. And therefore you that have the Spirit, pray that these things may cease, least you blush for your folly, at the appearing of Jesus our Lord.
3. The pride, covetousness, and impiety of hypocrites, and carnal professors, are great stumbling-blocks to the poor world; and the cause why many at this day do drink down so greedily a deluding doctrine, and especially if it come with a garment of pretended holiness. But as for these, they shall go to their place in their time, with the curse of the Almighty poured out upon them, for their casting of stumbling-blocks before the simple by their loose conversation, if they do not hastily repent of their wickedness, and close in reality with our blessed Lord Jesus.
4. Another reason why delusions do so easily take place in the hearts of the ignorant, is, because those that pretend to be their teachers, do behave themselves so basely among them. And indeed I may say of these, as our Lord said of the Pharisees in another case, all the blood of the ignorant, from the beginning of the world, shall be laid to the charge of this generation. They that pretend they are sent of the Lord, and come, saying, Thus saith the Lord; we are the servants of the Lord, our commission is from the Lord (by succession) and the like; I say, these pretending themselves to be the preachers of truth, (but are not ) do by their loose conversation, render the doctrine of God, and his Son Jesus Christ, (by whom the saints are saved) contemptible, and do give the adversary mighty encouragement, to cry out against the truths of our Lord Jesus Christ, because of their wicked walking. Now shall not his soul be avenged on such a nation as this, who pretend to be teachers of the people in goodness, when, as for the most part of them, they are the men, that at this day do so harden their hearers, such ill examples, that none goeth beyond them for impiety. As for example; Would a parishioner learn to be proud? he or she need look no farther than to the priest, his wife and family; for there is a notable pattern before them. Would the people learn to be wanton, they may also see a pattern among their teachers. Would they learn to be drunkards? they may also have that from some of their minister; for indeed they are ministers in this, to minister ill example to their congregations. Again, would the people learn to be covetous, they need but look to their minister, and they shall have a lively, or rather a deadly resemblance set before them, in both riding and running after great benefices, and parsonages by night and by day. Nay, they among themselves will scramble for the same. I have seen, that so soon as a man hath but departed from his benefice as he calls it, either by death or out of covetousness of a bigger, we have had one priest from this town, and another from that, so run, for these tithe-cocks and handfuls of barley, as if it were their proper trade, and calling, to hunt after the same. O wonderful impiety and ungodliness! are you not ashamed of your doings? If you say no, it is (perhaps) because you are given over of God to a reprobate mind (Read Romans 1). towards the end. As it was with them, so (it is to be feared) it is with many of you, who knowing the judgments of God, that they who do such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have (as I may so say) pleasure also in them that do them. And now you that pretend to be the teachers of the people in verity and truth, though we know that some of you are not: Is it a small thing with you, to set them you say are your flock such an example as this. Were ever the Pharisees so profane; to whom Christ said, ye vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell; doth not the ground groan under you? surely, it will favour you no more than it favoured your fore-runners. Certainly the wrath of God lies heavy at your doors, it is but a very little while, and your recompense shall be upon your own head. And as for you that are indeed of God among them, though not of them; separate yourselves. Why should the righteous partake of the same plagues with the wicked? O ye children of the harlot! I cannot well tell how to have done with you, your stain is so odious, and you are so senseless, as appears by your practices. But I shall at this time forbear, having in some measure discharged my conscience according to the truth against you; hoping if God do give me opportunity, and a fair call, that I shall say no more, only thus much; Be ashamed of your earthly-mindedness, if you can; and be converted, or else you shall never be healed.
Here might I also aggravate your sin by its several circumstances, but I shall rather forbear; supposing that you may entertain wrong and harsh thoughts of me, though I have spoken the truth; therefore I shall at his time rather keep silence, and wish you to amend, than to rake in your sores; for thereby would your stink go more abroad in the world, Therefore I say forbear. And now to the reader, I beseech thee to have a care of thy soul, and look well to the welfare of it: And that you may do so, have a care what doctrine it is the your receivest. Be not contented until thou in deed and in truth, in the light of the Spirit of Christ, see thy sins washed away in the blood of that Lamb, who did offer up himself a ransom on the cross on Mount Calvary, for the sins of thy soul and body, together with the rest of the saints of God.
And let not the legal holiness of the one, nor the loose profane conversation of the other, beat thee of from pursuing after the truths of Jesus, as the truth is in Jesus, (and so laid down in this my discourse) neither let the plausibleness of the other beguile thy simple heart. And now to you that are carried away with the delusions at this day broached in the world, by the instruments of Satan, and that after a profession of the truth: I say to you, Turn again, (if you can) peradventure there may be hope, and that you may escape that wrath which justly you have deserved: But if you shall still refuse the Lord that speaks now from heaven in mercy to you, you shall not hereafter escape the Lord, that in his own time will speak to you in his wrath, and vex you in his sore displeasure.
And now a few words to you that have indeed closed in with the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of Mary, and they are these that follow. (1.) Be of good cheer, all "your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake" (1John 2:12). (3.) Know that though your Lord Jesus, who is in you by his Spirit, be absent from you touching his bodily presence, yet he is not forgetful of you, but is preparing a place for you (John 14:1-3). (4.) Consider, That he is also at his very present, in his very person in the presence of his Father now in the heavens, praying and making intercession for you, that you may be brought safe to glory (Heb 7:24). Father, I will (saith he) that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory (John 17:25). (5.) Know also, That he hath overcome in his own person (when he was in the world) devil, death, sin, hell, the curse of the law, the power of the grave, and all other evils, in the body of his flesh for you (Heb 2:14). (6.) Believe also, that while you are in the world, all things shall fall out for your good at the end, whether they be temptations, doctrines of devils, workings of corruption, all things shall fall out for your good, who love our precious Lord Jesus (Rom 8:28). (7.) Be assured, that all your enemies shall very suddenly be under your feet, even Satan and all (Rom 16:20). (8.) Consider, That there shall no temptation befall you in the days of your pilgrimage, but God will enable you to bear it; Ay, and make a way also for you to escape the destroying danger of it (1Cor 10:13). (9.) When the time of your dissolution shall come, your Jesus will deal with you, as he did with blessed Lazarus, that is, he will send his angels to fetch your souls away to glory (Luke 16:22). (10.) Believe also, and know assuredly, that at the last day, he will also raise your bodies out of their graves, and make them also for ever vessels of his glory (Rom 8:23), compared with (John 5:28; 1Thess 4:14-18). (11.) And lastly, consider, That though now by the world, and heretics, you be counted as not worth the looking after; Yet you have your day a coming, when as the Dive's of this and all other ages, would be glad if they might have but the least favour from you, one drop of cold water on the tip of your fingers. O you despised begging Lazarus's (as in Luke 16:24.) For the world, for all their stoutness, must be forced to come to judgment, before your Lord and you (1Cor 6:2). "This honour have all his saints" (Psa 149:9).
Now seeing that these things be so, I beseech you by (those ) the mercies of God, (1.) That you do give up your bodies, as hands, tongue, strength, health, wealth, and all that you have and are, to the service of God, your God (Rom 12:1). (2.) "Let your moderation [in every thing] be known unto all men. (for) The Lord is at hand" (Phil 4:5). (3.) Study to walk as like the Lord Jesus Christ, as ever you can, for your lives (Matt 11:29). (4.) Let that you strive for, be the faith of the gospel of your precious Lord Jesus (Phil 1:27). (6.) Let your hearts be always in heaven, where our Lord Jesus is (Col 3:1-3). (7.) Forbear and forgive one another, in love, and with all your hearts, as God for Christ sake hath forgiven you (Eph 4:2). (8.) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matt 5:16). (9.) You are the salt of the earth, have a care you lose not your savour (Matt 5:13). (10.) Be forward to distribute to those that are in want, for this is well-pleasing to your most glorious loving Father (Heb 13:16). (11.) Learn all one of another the things that are good, for this is the command of God, and also commendable in saints (Phil 3:17). (12.) And lastly, O brethren, consider what the Lord hath done for you; he hath bought you, and paid for you with his blood, and he doth now also make it his business to pray for your safe conduct to glory (Heb 7:25). He hath delivered you from those that would have been your ruin, and hath promise to you everlasting life, Let the love of Christ constrain you, let the love of God win upon your souls. What! he that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all: How shall he not with him freely give us all things. Hold out my brethren, hold out, for you have but a little while to run: Hold fast unto the death, and Christ will give you a crown of life (Rev 2:10). Farewell, dear brethren; the mighty God of Jacob preserve and deliver you from every evil work; and all the days of our pilgrimage let us pray one for another, that our God will count us worthy of this rich and glorious calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power, to whom be glory now and ever.
And now reader, before I make an end of this discourse, I think it meet to let thee understand, that though there hath been a book put forth by Edward Borrough, in seeming opposition to that of mine, called, "Some Gospel-Truths opened according to the scripture," Yet the substance of my discourse then published by me, standeth uncontrolled by scripture, as from him or others. I do not say he doth not wrangle with them, but I say, he doth not by any one plain scripture contradict them. As for instance:
1. The first great thing that I do hold forth in that discourse, is this: That that babe that was born of the virgin Mary, and that at that time did give satisfaction for sin, was the very Christ of God, and not a type of anything afterward to be revealed for the obtaining redemption for sinners within them. Which thing my adversary can find no ground in scripture to build an opposition upon, see his book, page 12. but is forced to confess it in word, though he do deny the very same in doctrine, see his book p. 29. at his 6th query. And p. 26. where in answer to this question of mine; Why did the Man Christ hang on the cross on Mount Calvary? All the answer he gives, is this; Because they wickedly judged him to be a blasphemer; and as in their account (saith he) he died as and evil doer. And his is all the ground he giveth: See his answer to my second query in this my book, taken word for word as he laid them down.
2. The next thing I do prove in that book is, that that light which every one hath, is not the Spirit of Christ; because the scripture saith Some have it not (Jude 19). But Edward Borrough saith, It is given to every one; [p. 18. of his book:] And he saith, They have it within them too; [p. 26. of his book,] in answer to my first question, though he hath no scripture to confirm the same, as I have had to contradict it. See his book.
3. The next thing I prove, is That Jesus Christ did fulfil the law in his own person without us for justification, and that his blood then shed, hath washed away the sins of the children of God, as aforesaid. Which thing he would oppose, but finds no footing for his discourse. See his book, p. 12. where he saith, The law is not fulfilled: (read the latter end of that page) [which is] contrary to scripture (Col 2:14; Rom 10:4). which saith, "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." Another thing I prove in that book is, That Christ is ascended into that heaven without, above the clouds and stars; and that I prove by eight several scripture demonstration, of which not one is confuted by scripture, though secretly in his book smitten against. Read his whole book.
4. The next thing I prove, is, That the same Jesus that was born of Mary, laid in the manger, who is the Saviour, is at this day making intercession in that body he then took of Mary; which thing also is not confuted by him, by the scripture; though cunningly smitten against in his discourse, where he saith, It is only necessary to salvation to preach Christ within, laying aside all that Christ did when he was in his own person in the world. See p. 29. of his book, Qu. 6.
5. Another truth I prove, is, That the very same Jesus that was born of Mary, that very Man (that was also hanged on the cross) will come the second time, and that shall be to save his children, and to judge the world at the last day, that great day of judgment. And though they will not own, that he shall so come as he went away, which was a very Man without; yet they could not at all by the scripture contradict it. But the very sum of his discourses is a wrangling with the thing laid down, as a dog with a bone; but hath not, nor cannot by scripture overcome the same. This have I written, that the reader into whose hand this book may come, may have the more certain information concerning the things before published by me, and also concerning the opposition made against them by the adversary. And here, because I am loath to be too tedious, I do conclude, and desire thy prayers to God for me (if thou be a Christian) that I may not only be preserved to the end in the faith of Jesus, cut that God would enable me to be an earnest contender for the same, even to the last; and rest,
The servant of the Lord JESUS,
We, whose names are here under-written, having (through grace) some blessed faith and experience of the truths declared in this book, and knowing them so to be; having tried them by the scriptures in the light of the Spirit, thought it our duty to bear witness thereunto, together with our brother, desiring the blessing of God may go along with these endeavours of his, for the doing good to our Christian brethren, of any other who may read it. Farewell.
Yours in the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, for which faith we desire to contend,
Richard Spencly. John Burton. John Child.
A VINDICATION OF GOSPEL TRUTHS, &c.
It is very expedient that there should be heresies amongst us, that thereby those which are indeed of the truth might be made manifest; and also that the doctrine of God, and his Son Jesus Christ, might the more cast forth its luster and glory. For the truth is of that nature, that the more it is opposed, the more glory it appears in; and the more the adversary objects against it, the more it will clear itself; which doth give me, and all that stand for it, and doth plead on its side in the wisdom of the Spirit, much boldness and encouragement, to venture without any slavish fear upon those that have already, or shall hereafter, stand up to oppose it. I did some few weeks past, put forth a small book, called, Some Gospel-Truths opened, and so forth; and the thing I looked for from them was, namely, opposition from the adversary, which hath been accomplished in that, namely, as I did look for it, so did it happen; not that it daunted me, for if it had so done, it might have made me kept those truths within my breast, which are now made manifest by me (as well as others) to the world. Now I have not only met with some opposition from others face to face in secret, but there is one Edward Burrough (as I heard his name is so, by some of themselves) that hath ventured to stand up against the truth, with the rest of his companions, and hath published a book, called, "The true faith of the gospel of peace contended for, &c." In which book of his there is a very great number of heresies cunningly vented by him, and also many things there falsely reported of me, which things in this my discourse I shall very plainly discover; and the way that I shall take, shall be by laying down some of thy expressions, and also some of mine; and by inquiring into the truth of one, and the error of the other, through the assistance of the Spirit of Christ, and according to the scriptures. Only by the way, I think good to mind thee of thy clothing thyself with the words of the prophets and apostles, against whom thou dost fight (as will appear in my following discourse) and also of thy endeavouring to wrest the sword out of the hands of the saints, and art fighting against them bitterly, with a parcel of scolding expressions. But I wish thee to learn, (if thou canst) to be sober, and to keep under thy unruly spirit; and do not so much appear, at least not so grossly, a railing Rabshakeh; but contrariwise, if you would be looked upon to be holy, which ( we know and believe that ) as yet, many of you are not. Let at the least some appearance of moderation be manifest among you. After many words that are flung into the wind by thee my adversary, in the first and second page of thy book, thou couldst not be contented therewith, as being too few to vent thyself withal; but thou breakest out in page 3. with a small testimony of John Burton, and his fellow, saying,
"They have joined themselves with the broken army of Magog—And have shewed themselves in the defence of the dragon against the Lamb, in the day of war betwixt them." When alas! poor soul we do know, and are bold to declare, in the name of the Lord Jesus the Son of Mary, that our God hath owned us, with others of his servants, in his own work against the devil's devices and false doctrine; as instruments both for the comforting and establishing of his own, and also for the convincing and converting of some of them, who aforetime was not converted. And friend, why dost thou say, that we join with Magog in the defence of the dragon against the Lamb, when thou seest the whole drift both of my brother's epistle, and also of my writing, is to exalt and advance the first-born of Mary, the Lord of glory, and to hold on his side, notwithstanding there are so many tempests go through the world, And the rather, because we know that it is he, and he alone, that did bear our sins in his own body on the tree (1Peter 2:24), for it is he that hath taken away the sins of the world. Now I say therefore, do not thou thus accuse the brethren, for speaking good of the name of Jesus, lest thou be troubled at thy end for thus spending thy beginning in taking part with the devil to accuse God's children.
Then in the same page thou sayest, thou hast numbered up part of our work, and the sum is, A corrupted grain of Babylon's treasure, &c. Ans. Friend, The sum of our discourse is of the birth, righteousness, death, blood, resurrection, ascension, intercession, and second coming of the Son of Mary the virgin, by which righteousness, blood, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and intercession we are saved. And dost thou count this a corrupted grain of Babylon's treasure? Have a care what thou sayest, least thou utter that with thy mouth now, which will lie heavy on thy conscience for ever.
Then, as though this thy unwise speaking were too little, thou breakest out with a taunt, or a jeer, saying; A larger portion, and more to the purpose might have been brought in, but with such as you had, or could procure from your neighbours are you come. Ans. Friend, Who hath despised the day of small things? But again, we desire not to bring to others, no nor to know ourselves, anything else but Jesus Christ (the Son of Mary) and him crucified for our sins (1Cor 2:2). Then thou sayest further in the same page, that though thou hast not seen our faces, yet our spirit is tried, and we are clearly described to thee, (sayest thou) to be of the stock of Ishmael, and of the seed of Cain, whose line reacheth to the murdering priests, &c. Ans. Friend, thou art very censorious, and utterest many words without knowledge. We bless God, for the most part of our line, we do labour to stretch it out, either in building up and exhorting the saints of the most High, to cleave close to their Jesus, or else as much as in us lies, we labour to convince poor souls of their lost condition, according to the word of God, and not to murder any. Nay contrariwise, we desire through grace, if at any time we chance to see any of Christ's lambs in the teeth of any wolf or bear, be they never so terrible in appearance; I say, we desire, we labour, we strive, and lay out ourselves, if it be possible, to recover the same, though with the hazard of our lives, or whatsoever may befall us in doing our duty. And whereas thou sayest in the 4th page, that we are found enemies to Christ, revealed in his saints. Ans. Thou dost us wrong, for we labour all that we may to countenance the same, where he doth indeed appear: and if at any time we do see or discern, that any soul hath any breathing after the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are so far from disowning or discountenancing of the same, that we give them all the encouragement we may: Nay, and we are so far from discountenancing the doctrine of God, and his Son Jesus Christ, that we say plainly, some have not the Spirit of Christ in them, and they are reprobates, according to that scripture (Rom 8:9). "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." And again, Some are "sensual, having not the Spirit" (Jude 19). And again, we are so far from being against the doctrine of the Spirit of Christ in his saints, we bless God that we say, It is the distinguishing character of a true believer, from others: All which things do I also affirm in my book, and hold forth, as doth also my brother in his epistle. Therefore, I marvel, that you should be overseen, as to utter so many false things together, in less than four sides of paper, I wonder what will be the end of your discourse.
Well, now thou dost come and fall a wrangling with some of the words of my brother Burton, which are to this purpose, (he speaking before of the doctrine of Jesus) and this is quite contrary (saith he) to those commonly called Familists, Ranters, Quakers, and others, who on the other hand either deny Christ to be a real man without them, blasphemously fancying him to be only God manifest in their flesh; or else make his human nature with the fulness of the Godhead in it, to be but a type of God to be manifested in the saints. Now first of all, the great offence thou takest of some of these words, is, because he doth join in his discourse, Familists, Ranters, and Quakers together. Friend, what harm is it to join a dog and a wolf together? A fawning dog and a wolf in sheep's clothing; they differ a little in outward appearance, but they can both agree to worry Christ's lambs. But again, friend, let us a little compare the principles of a Ranter and a Quaker together, and it will clearly appear, that in many of their principles (at least) they agree, or jump in one: As
1. The Ranters will own Christ no otherwise, than only within; and this is also the principle of the Quakers, they will not own Christ without them. 2. The Ranters, they cry down all teaching, but the teaching within: and so do the Quakers (witness thousands) and yet condemn their principles by their practice, as the Ranters also did and do. Now the apostle saith the contrary, saying, "He that knoweth God heareth us; (meaning himself with the rest of the apostles and servants of Christ.) He that is not of God heareth not us" (1John 4:6). Again, 3. the Ranters are neither for the ordinance of baptism with water, nor breaking of bread. And are not you the same? 4. The Ranters would profess that they were without sin: and how far short of his opinion are the Quakers? 5. The Ranters would not own the resurrection of the bodies of the saints after they were laid in the graves: And how say you, Do you believe that the very bodies of the saints, as the very body of Abraham, and the body of Isaac, with the bodies of all the saints, notwithstanding some of them have been in the graves thousands of years. others hundreds, some less: I say, Do you believe the resurrection of these very bodies again, which were buried so long since; or do you hold, as the Ranters do, nothing but the resurrection from a sinful to an holy state in this life.
And really I tell thee (reader) plainly, that for the generality, the very opinions that are held at this day by the Quakers, are the same that long ago were held by the Ranters. Only the Ranters had made them threadbare at an alehouse, and the Quakers have set a new gloss upon them again, by an outward legal holiness, or righteousness. But again, Why should you be so angry with my brother, for joining of a sinner and a liar together? Is there any great harm in that? Surely no. And the joining Ranters and Quakers together, is but so. The Quakers themselves confess, the Ranters are to be disowned, page 4. Nay if they would not, yet God hath disowned them in the open view of the nations. Now that the Quakers are liars, I shall prove from their own mouth. As first, from the several things that I did oppose even now, page 1-4, of this book, called, "the true Faith of the Gospel of Peace," &c. Now lest they should be slighted and set at nought, I shall shew you clearly this man's lies manifestly laid down in his book, page 11, 12. That I said positively, the blood of Christ was shed before the world began. Whereas I said only this, That in the account of God (mark it, in the account of God) his blood was shed before the world was, according to that scripture (Rev 13:8). "The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world," in my book, page 3 . Secondly, he saith, that I cry aloud against Christ within, in page 24. Of his book. And again he saith, "That all my work is an obscure shooting against the manifestation of Christ within." Where he speaks very falsely of me, for I confess and own God's Christ within as well as without, as appears in my book, page 206. towards the end . And in the epistle to my book you may find the same held out by me for two or three leaves together; besides, many other places of my book dith testify of the same; therefore, doth not he lie miserably in this also?
Again, he saith, that I am one of those that do preach for hire, through covetousness, making merchandise of souls, page 23. of book, which is also an untruth, as I shall shew further when I come to the place.
Again he saith, in page 30, that I said "Christ's coming in the Spirit was no coming." Here also he uttereth falsehood. I never said so, as many or our brethren can witness. But of his also in its place, when I come to it, with many other things which he hath very untruly vented of me, which I fear not but they shall be cleared, both now, and also at the second appearance of the man Christ Jesus. And therefore friend (I say to thee) be not so pharisaical as to say within thine heart, "I am not as this publican." Why am I reckoned with the Ranters? thou art, both thou and thy fellows, of the same mind with them in many things, and shall assuredly partake of the same plague with them, if they and you repent not speedily.
Again, in page7, thou wouldest make us believe, that the Quakers do really and truly lay the Christ of God, God-man, for their foundation. Saying, "We prize the Lord Jesus Christ, God-man, to be precious to us, and to all that do believe, and have owned him to be the foundation," &c. Now friend, this is fairly spoken; but by word in general we may be deceived, because a man may speak one thing with his mouth, and mean another thing in his heart; especially it is so with those that use to utter themselves doubtfully; therefore we will a little enquire what it is to lay Christ, God-man for a foundation.
1. Then, to lay God's Christ, God-man, for a foundation, is to believe that man that was born of the Virgin Mary, to be the saviour.
How he was and is the saviour, and therefore if you do indeed lay him for your foundation, then you do believe that when the man Christ did hang on the cross on Mount Calvary, that then your sins were satisfied for at that time, as it is written, "Who his ownself bare our sins in his own body on the tree" (1Peter 2:24).
2. If the Christ of God, God-man, be indeed your foundation, then you do believe, that that very man in that very body, did fulfil all the law, in the point of justification, as it is written, "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth" (Rom 10:4). So that now, believe aright in what the Son of Mary hath done without on the cross, and be saved.
3. If you have laid Christ that man aright for your foundation, then you do believe, that when he was raised out of the sepulchre into which Joseph had laid him, then at that time was accomplished your justification (Rom 4:25). How say you to these things, Do you make an open profession of them without dissembling? Or do you not (notwithstanding your talk of Christ) in very deed deny the virtue of the death and blood of Christ without, as for justification and life? If so, you have not laid him for your foundation.
4.I you have indeed laid Christ, God-man for your foundation, then you do lay the hope of your felicity and joy on this, That the son of Mary is now absent from his children in his person and humanity, making intercession for them and for thee, in the presence of his Father (2 Cor 5:6). And the reason that thou canst rejoice here at is, because thou hast not only heard of it with thine ear only, but dost enjoy the sweet hope and faith of them in thy heart; which hope and faith is begotten by the Spirit of Christ, which Spirit dwelleth in thee, (if thou be a believer) and sheweth those things to thee to be the only things. And God having shewn thee these things, thus without thee by the Spirit that dwelleth in thee, thou hast mighty encouragement to hope for the glory that shall be revealed at the coming again of the man Christ Jesus, of which glory thou hast also greater ground to hope for a share in, because that that Spirit that alone is able to discover to thee the truth of these things, is given to thee of God, as the first fruits of that glory which is here-after to be revealed, being obtained for thee by the man Christ Jesus's death on Mount Calvary, and by his blood that was shed there, together with his resurrection from the dead, out of the grave where they had laid him. Also, thou believest that he is gone away from thee in the same body which was hanged on the cross, to take possession of that glory, which thou, through his obedience, shall at his (the very same man's) return from heaven the second time, have bestowed upon thee, having all this while prepared and preserved it for thee, as he saith himself: "I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:2,3). Again.
5.If thou hast laid Christ, God-man, for thy foundation, though thou hast the Spirit of this man Christ within thee, yet thou dost not look that justification should be wrought out for thee, by that Spirit of Christ that dwelleth within thee, for thou knowest that salvation is already obtained for thee by the man Christ Jesus without thee, and is witnessed to thee by his Spirit which dwelleth within thee. And thus much doth this man Christ Jesus testify unto us where he saith he shall glorify me; mark, "He shall glorify;" (saith the Son of Mary)but how? Why, "he shall receive of mine (what I have done, and am doing in the presence of the Father) and shall shew it unto you" (John 16:14). I have been a little the larger in this, because it is of weight.
But again, thou sayest further, The rest of this first epistle I shall say little to; only thus much is the mind of the penman's spirit, secretly smiting at the doctrine of true faith and salvation, (to wit) Christ within. Ans. My friend, by saying that my brother doth strike at the doctrine of true faith and salvation, thou dost him a great deal of wrong; for it is so far from him so to do, that he telleth souls plainly, that without true faith in the blood of the Son of Mary, who was crucified on Mount Calvary, there is no remission; for saith he, it is only through that one offering then given up to the Father, that you must be justified. And that is according to the whole stream of scripture: For by one offering, What was that? Why, the offering up of the body of Jesus once for all (Heb 10:10), he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. "But this man after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, for ever sat down." Mark it: "this man after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, for ever sat down on the right hand of God" (verse 19).
And as for thy saying, that salvation is Christ within; if thou mean in opposition to Christ without; instead of pleading for Christ, thou wilt plead against him; for Christ, God-man, without on the cross, did bring in salvation for sinners. And the right believing of the, doth justify the soul. Therefore Christ within, of the Spirit of him who did give himself a ransom, doth not work out justification for the soul in the soul; but doth lead the soul out if itself, and out of that that can be done within itself, to look for salvation in that man that is now absent from his saints on earth (2Cor 5:6). Why so? For [because] it knoweth that there is salvation in none other (Acts 4:12). And therefore I would wish thee to have a care what thou dost, for I tell thee, that man who is now jeered by some, because he is preached to be without them, will very suddenly come the second time, to the great overthrow of those, who have spoken, and shall still speak against him (Jude 14,15).
Thou sayest also the next thing thou mindest, is this in the second epistle,1 where a questions asked, Who are the men that at this day are so deluded by the Quakers, and other pernicious doctrines, but they that counted it enough to be talkers of the gospel, &c. And why? because he saith the Quakers are those deceivers that at this day beguile poor souls by their doctrine. Alas poor man, why shouldest thou be angry for my speaking the truth, in saying: The Quakers are deceivers, this will easily appear.