Hence 2. The reasons moving a soule to yeeld to Christs drawing, comes under a two-fold consideration; as 1. Natu∣rall Page 229 dispositions. 2. As lustered with some common grace, and so thought preparatory to conversion and drawing.*
In the former consideration, Divines with good reasons, looke at them as sinnes, and the greatest obstructions of con∣version.
1. There is something that is taking with reason, why a man [unspec 1] will not come to Christ; no man goes to Hell without hire,* and gratis. Hell is a death, but a golden death, and fair afar: Ah, its sweet to men to perish; Hell is a most reasonable choice to the sinner, the chalmers of death shine with fair paintry to the na∣turall mans reason.
2. Its not single weaknesse, but wicked and wilfull impoten∣cy, that keeps men from Christ: as a beggar would be a king,* [unspec 2] hee hath no positive hatred of the honour, riches, pleasures of a king; but hee hath not legs, nor armes to climbe so high, as to ascend to a throne. But the naturall man neither will, nor can chuse a kings life, and be a follower of Christ: nor is man any other then a naturall hater of Christ, though many thinke they beare Christ at good will; Joh. 15.24. But now they have seen, and hated both me and my Father. The reason why men thinke they love Christ, is the luster that education and common literall report, from the womb, hath put upon Christ; our fathers and teachers said ever, Christ is the Saviour of man, and a mercifull God, and therefore we have that common esteeme of him; but were wee borne of Jewish parents, or among Jewes,* and taken from our parents, and heard nothing from the womb of Christ, but what the Jewes say, and that is, that hee is a false Prophet, that hee rose not from the dead, but that his disciples, by night, stole him away out of the grave, wee should from the womb hate Christ, as well as the Jewes. And the like wee may see in Indians, who love and adore the Devill from the womb; but with this difference, they love Satan truly, because both nature, now corrupt, and education carries them thereunto; but edu∣cation can give no man a true love of Christ. (2.) Whence is it that the world hates the children of God? It is from instinct and nature, rather then from any imperated acts, Joh. 15.19. Because yee are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Vers. 21. But all these things will they doe unto you, for my Names sake. To be chosen out of the world, to carry any thing of Christ and his image and Page 230 nature, and to be borne againe, and of another seed then the world is born of, is no ground of arbitrary and elective hatred; but of such hatred as comes from divers naturall instincts, such as is the hatred between the Wolfe and the Lambe, the Raven and the Dove. If then the world hate the Saints, as they doe, Rom. 1.30. and hate Christ, and hate the Saints upon this formall ground, Because they have in them the nature of God, the image of Christ,* some of the excellency of Christ, then they must hate Christ farre more; for, Propter quodunumquodque tale, id ip∣sum magis tale. The world hated Christ for God; for there was more of God in the Man Christ, then ever was in any crea∣ture: then they hated God more, and with a higher hatred. So Christ is the Sampler and Copy to all the Saints; therefore Christ must be more contrary to the wicked world, then the Saints are. If you hate the servant for the masters sake, then you hate the Master more▪ If you love the nurse for the childs sake, then you love the child more. So the Jewes killed the servants, the Prophets, they stoned them, and beat them, Mat. 21.35. but they did more to Christ, Vers. 39. They caught him, slew him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and took the inheritance to themselves. (3.) Men naturally hate the wayes of God: If [unspec 3] there be holinesse in his wayes, then it must be most eminent∣ly in God: If they esteem his yoke soure and heavie, and Re∣formation a burden, then must they farre more esteeme so of himselfe.
2. Men have a sort of satisfaction in their naturall condition: [unspec 2] A whole man desires no Physician. A dead man hath some ne∣gative content to lie in grave;* hee can have no acts of sorrow for want of life. (2.) Wee doe not put forth any stirring of life or desire toward that which is naturally above us: A child in the belly hath no acts toward a Crown or a Kingdome in this life, because, desires are bottomed and founded on nature: As an Ape, or a Horse, hath no desire to be a man. Pilate, as if hee were burdened with Christ, saith, Mat. 27.22. What shall I then doe with Jesus that is called Christ? What availeth my birth-right to me, saith Esau, seeing I die for hunger?
*3. When beasts and birds are allured by the snare, and fishes by the bait, death cometh to them in the garments of life; for food is all their heaven: and instinct helpeth them to prosecute their ends, and there is a naturall similitude and inclination be∣tween Page 231 their nature and what they desire, bottomed on an in∣stinct, even when the object of their inclination is but dyed with the hew and apparency of good. But there is no such in∣stinct in the naturall man, nor similitude between a cage of hell, and the beauty and excellency of Christ; between his sense and the hid manna, or the banquetting house of wine.
4. The naturall man cannot come to Christ. In that place Ioh. 6.44. there be four things considerable.
1. The best of men is unapt to come to Christ, No man, what ever his parts and eminencie be, had he a nature of gold, he can∣not come to Christ.
2. He saith not, No man cometh, as denying the act, for so no man of himselfe is an excellent Philosopher, but he denieth a power, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, He cannot come.
3. But help is much, happily if his eyes were open, the will is [unspec 3] good, he would gladly come to Christ if he were able;* Nay saith Christ, he is unwilling and unable both: He that cannot come, except he be haled and drawn, and some violence offered to his corruption, hath no good liking of Christ. But
4. It is but little drawing possibly that will do the businesse, [unspec 4] some gentle blast or aire of golden words, some morall suasion, some breathings and spiration of fine reasonings, from men or Angel, can do much. No, but it is not so, no lesse (saith Christ) can draw a sinner to me then the arm of the Father, and a pull of his omnipotencie, who is greater then all, Ioh. 10. No man what e∣ver mettall he be of, the finest of men can come, or hath power to come to me, and to beleeve on the only begotten son of God, except the Father who sent me draw him. We know Christ was much to extoll his Father, his Father was ever in his esteem an eminent one, as Matth. 11.25, 26, 27. Mark. 14.•6. Luke 23.46. John 3.35. John 5.21. and 6.27. Matth. 10.32. c. 24.37. Iohn 2.16. and 5.43. and 10.29. c. 19.2. Rev. 2.27. Joh. 15.1.
So is there a power alwayes denyed to the naturall man to close with Christ, Rom. 8.7. 2 Cor.•.5.
5. A will to beleeve and to submit to Christ is denyed to na∣turall men, Joh. 5.•0. Ye will not come to me,*that yee may bee [unspec 5] saved, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Luke 19.14. The enemies of Christ say, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. We will not have this man to reigne over us. Verse 27. But these mine Enemies that would not that I should reign over them, bring hither and slay them Page 232 before me,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, these to me seem to be allusions to Israels wearying of the Lord of old, Isai. 43.23. I have not wearied thee with incense, Jer. 2.5. What iniquity have your fathers found in me? Micah 6.3. O my peo∣ple what have I done unto thee, and wherein have I wearied thee? testifie against me. It is strange that sinners can see a black spot on the Lords faire face, or that their will, that is nearer of kin to reason, then the affections that are in beasts should be a∣verse to God; yet it is said of wicked men, that they are haters of God, Rom. 1.30. His citizens hated him, Luk. 19.14. Joh. 15.24. And especially these speeches carry allusion to Ps. 81.11. Israel would have none of me. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Israel had no liking of me, no will of me. So that weakenesse simply is not the nea∣rest cause of our not comming to Christ, but wilfull weaknesse, or rather weak-wilfulnesse. 1. Because in agents that cannot worke,* there impotencie, or lownesse of nature, is the cause, as the reason why a horse cannot discourse as a man, is because his nature is inferiour to the reasonable nature of a man, and not be∣cause the Horse will not, but because he cannot discourse. The cause why a lump of clay casts not such light in the night, as a candle, or a starre in the firmament, is the basenesse and opaci∣tie of the nature of clay to produce such an action, as to give light; there is not such a thing as will in the clay, which in∣tervenes between its nature, and the no-giving light in the night. But men hearing the Gospell doe not beleeve, not only because they cannot, for beasts cannot beleeve; but because, as Christ saith, They will not beleeve, Joh. 5.40. They will have none of Christ. Psal. 81.11. They will not have Christ to reigne over them Luk. 19.14. And will intervenes betweene the impoten∣cie of their will, and their disobedience. 2. Because that ha∣tred of God, and of Christ, ascribed to unregenerate men, Rom. 1.30. Luk. 19.14. Joh. 15.24. is the birth that lay in the wombe of Will, and comes from Will as Will, and not onely from Will as weake; so mens delighting, and their loving to be estranged from Christ, and to satisfie themselves with other lo∣vers, beside Christ, are high bended acts of the Will. Which argueth that not onely weaknesse, but wilfulnesse hath in∣fluence in mens unbeliefe. 3. The Lord chargeth men with this, Matth. 23.37. I would, yee would not. 4. Conscience Page 233 taketh it on its will, and fathers disobedience on the will. 1. Sam. 8.19. Nay, but we shall, or we will have a King, Jer. 44.16. The people avow their will and peremptory resolution is, we will not hearken to thee.
6. But for the ground,* reason and cause on Christs part of drawing, it is free grace, and only free grace, which are hol∣den forth in these Positions.
Pos. 1. As there is no merit, good deserving, worke, or hire in the miserable sinner dying in his bloud, dead in sinnes, out of his wit, and disobedient, deceived, and serving divers Lusts, Ezech. 16.4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Ephes. 2.1, 2, 3, 4. Tit. 3.3, 4. So there is as much love, mankind∣nesse and free grace in heaven, in the breast of Christ, as would save all in hell, or out of hell. I speake this in regard, not of the Lords intention, as if he did beare all and every one of mankind, a good will, purposing to save them. But because their lyes and flowes such a Sea, and Ocean of infinite love a∣bout the heart, and in the bowels of Jesus Christ, as would over-save, and out-love infinite worlds of sinners; (so all could come and draw, and drinke, and suck the breasts of overflow∣ings of Christs free grace) in regard of the intrinsecall weight and magnitude of this love,* that if you appoint banks to chan∣nell, or marches to bound this free love, God should not bee God, nor the Redeemer the Redeemer.
Pos. 2. Could any created eye of Men or Angels, reach or compasse the thousand thousand part of this love,* with one look; such an act of adoration and admiration must follow there∣upon, as should breake the soule and breast of this creature, in a thousand pieces; but Christ in heaven and out of heaven is hid. Infinitenesse is a secret that Angels, or Men never did, never shall comprehensively know, there is a secret of love seene in heaven, but never seene; how little of the Sea doe our naturall eyes behold? Onely the superfice. We see but a little part of the skinne, or hide of the visible heavens with our bodily eyes, but so much as is seene is of exceeding beauty. No eye bodily can see the bottome of the Seas, or the large in-fields in the visible heavens. If the infinite lumpe of the boundlesse love of Christ were seene at once, what a heavens wonder, what a worlds miracle would Christ appeare to bee? But as much of Christ is seene as vessels of glory, though wide Page 234 enough, can comprehend. But if Angels and glorified Saints see much of Christ, and so accordingly as they see and know, doe praise him, and yet cannot over-praise, and out-sing so much as they see; and if the in-side of infinitenesse of love, free grace, mercy, majesty, dominion, be an everlasting Mystery, Angels and Men are below merit, even in heaven, and Angels and Saints must be ashamed of, and blush at the imagination of me∣rits; for an infinite lovely Majesty seen, and not praised, nor loved in any measure of equality or commensuration to his dig∣nity and worth, must lay infinite, though sinlesse debt for eter∣nity on all the Citizens of glory, whether home-borne or na∣tives of that Countrey, as elect Angels; or adopted strangers, as glorified Saints.
*Pos. 3. The manner of graces working on Saints is gracious, and so essentially free; as is evident in our first drawing to Christ, when many sins are forgiven, and so the soule loves much; and the sweetest burden in heaven, or out of heaven, is a burden of the love of Christ: All debt must be a burden to an ingenuous spirit; but the debt of free grace, that lieth from eternity on Angels and Men, is a lovely and a desireable paine. That men before they were men, and had being, and before all eternity, were in the bosome of Christ the ingaged debters of the Lambe, in the purpose of free grace loved with an ever∣lasting love, is a deepe thought of love; and that being was gratious being, before actuall being, speaketh and cryeth much love; and its the floure, the glory, the crowne of free grace, that Gods free love in Christ casteth forth the warming rayes and beames of the Redeemers kind heart, on men who are ene∣mies, darkenesse, haters of God, dead in sinne, dying in blood and pollution. And how broad, how warme, and how ranck∣ly must the faire and large skirts of Christs love smell of admi∣rable grace, when they are spred over the bleeding, the loath∣some, the blacke, and unwashen sinner; is not every word a hea∣ven.*Ez. 16.8. Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold thy time, was the time of love, and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakednes: yea I sweare unto thee, and ente∣red into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou be∣camest mine, &c. Christs passing by is as a traveller on his jour∣ney, who findeth a child without Father or Mother, in the open field dying, and naked wallowing in bloud, and then casting a co∣vering Page 235 of freelove, (and love hath broad skirts) over his people, and its an expression of much tendernesse, and warmenesse of love. Many articles in that place extoll free grace.
1. Christ is brought in as a passing by-passenger,* to whom this fondling was no bloud-friend, but a meere stranger; so if humanity, and man-kindnesse had not wrought on his heart, [unspec 1] he might have passed by us, we are to Christ nothing of kinred or bloud, by our first birth, but strangers from the wombe to God, going a whoring as soone as we are borne.
2. Christ looked on forlorne sinners and there is love in his two eyes; it may be that bowels of iron, in which lodgeth [unspec 2] nothing of a man, or of naturall compassion, would move a traveller to see, and not see a young child dying in his bloud: but (saith he) I saw thee, my heart, my bowels had eyes of love toward thee; there was tender compassion in my very looke; my bowels within me, turned and swonned at the cast of mine eye, when I saw thy misery.
3. Behold, and behold, he would owne his owne mercy and love; let Angels and Men wonder at it, that the great and [unspec 3] infinite Majestie of God, should condescend to looke on such base sinners, so farre below the free love, and Majestie of God. There is a behold, a signe put upon this doore; come hither An∣gels and Men, and wonder at the condiscension. 2. Tender∣nesse. 3. Strength of heate and warmenesse. 4. Freedome and unhired motions. 5. Riches and aboundance. 6. Effi∣cacie and vertue. 7. The bounty and reality of the free love of Christ.
4. Thy time was a time of loving. What? of loving: it was a time of loathing; a time of love? when sinners were so [unspec 4] base, so poore, wretched, so sinfully despicable, such enemies to God, in their minde by wicked works, Col. 1.21. Dead in sins and trespasses, walking according to the course of this world, (•n ill Compasse to stirre by) according to the Prince of the power of the ayre, the Spirit that now worketh in the children of dis∣obedience? Was this a time of love? Yea, Christs love cannot be bowed or budded with any thing without Christ: Its as strong as Christ himselfe, and sinne and hell can neither breake, nor counter-worke the love of Christ; your hatred cannot countermand his imperious love.
5. It was not a time of single love, but it was a time of loves, [unspec 5] Page 236Thy time, Christ hath a time, and sinners have a time, when they are ripe for mercy, it was a time 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉of loves; of much loves, of much love. He loved us, and shewed mercie on us, Eph. 2.4. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, for his great and manifold love, Can. 7.12. there I wil give thee my loves. Cant. 6.2. Thy loves are better then wine, V. 4. We will remember thy loves, more then wine. Its a bundle, a wood of many loves that is in Christ. Then V. 5. I spred my skirt over thee: He is a warm-hearted passenger, who in a cold day, will take off his own garment, to cloth a naked fond∣ling, that he finds in the way; I (saith Christ) laid on thee a na∣ked sinner, the skirt of that love, wherewith the Father loved me. O what a strange word is that? Joh. 17.26. I have de∣clared unto them thy name, and will declare it; that the love wherewith thou hast loved me, may be in them, and I in them. Its true, Christ could not bee stript naked of the love, where∣with his Father loved him, and that love being essentiall to God, cannot be formally communicated to us, yet the fruit of it, is ours; and the Lord Jesus spreds over his redeemed ones, a lap of the same love and bowels, in regard of the fruits of free love, which the Father did from eternity spread over him∣selfe.
[unspec 6] 6. I covered (saith Christ) thy nakednesse. O what a gar∣ment of Glory is the imputed righteousnesse of Christ? Bring foorth the best robe, and put on him. This is the white rai∣ment that cloatheth the shame of our nakednesse.
7. Yea I sware unto thee, and entred in covenant with [unspec 7] thee. Equals doe much, if they swear, and enter in covenant with equals; But O humble Majestie, of an infinite God, who would enter in covenant with sinners, wretched sinners, at our worst condition, and would quiet our very unbeleeving thoughts of sinfull jealousie, with an oath of the most high, who hath no greater to sweare by then himselfe.
[unspec 8] 8. And thou becammest mine, Hebr. thou wast for mee, set a part for me. Heere stouping, and low condescending love to owne sinners, and a claime and propriety on wretched and farre off strangers, to name dying, bleeding, sinning, and God-hating dust, and guilty-perishing clay, his owne proper goods.
[unspec 9] 9. Vers. 9. Then washed I thee with water. That Christs so faire hands should stoupe to wash such blacke-skinned and de∣filed Page 237 sinners, in either free justification, or in purging away the rotten bloud, and filth of the daughter of Sion, in regenera∣tion, maketh Good, that (to the free love of Christ, that which is blacke is faire and beautifull.)
10. And I annointed thee with oyle, free grace, and Christ dwelling by Faith, Ephes. 3.17. in Saints, that are the floure, [unspec 10] gold, and marrow of the Church, is a high expression of free love. Sinners are worse then withered and dry clay, without saving grace.
11. And to all these, Christ clothed his naked Church with [unspec 11] broidered worke, fine linnen and silke, hee putteth bracelets on her hands; a chaine of gold of grace about her necke, a Jewel on her forehead, eare-rings on her eares, and a beautfull crown on her head, the grace to professe Christ, and carry on the fore∣head, the name of the Father, of the Lambe, and of the new Jerusalem, the bride, the Lambs wife; before Men and An∣gels, is a faire ornament.
12. Beside, a name, and the perfume of a sweet and pre∣cious report in the World, addeth a luster to the Saints, who [unspec 12] are by nature the children of wrath, as well as others, Ezech. 16.10, 11, 12, 13, 14. Ephes. 2.1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Pos. 4. Its an abasement of Christ, that he who gives such a ransome to justice for free grace, should wait for a penny from sinners, that sinners must bid, and buy, and ingage him to give, and Christ say, You must give me more, I must sell,* not give grace, for nothing. Your penny worthes cannot roll about that everlasting wheele of free grace, the decree of election, or bow, or breake Christs free heart to save you, rather then ano∣ther. 2. There is no more proportion betweene wages and sa∣ving grace, then between wages and eternall glory. Now there is much debt in heaven more then on earth, but no merit at all in either heaven or earth, except Christ for all. Merit cannot grow in a land of grace. 3. Grace is the sinners gaine, but no gaine to Christ; Is it gaine to the Sunne, that all the earth borrowes light and Summer from it? Or to the clouds that they give raine to the earth? Or to the Fountaines,* that they yeeld water to men and beasts? Can yee make infinite Jesus Christ rich? Yee may adde to the Sea, though very litle. The Creator could have made a fairer Sunne, then that which shines in the firmament, though it be faire enough. But the Mediator Page 238Christ is a Saviour so moulded, and contrived, that its unpossi∣ble to adde to his beauty, excellency, lovelinesse; Man or An∣gels, could not wish a choiser Redeemer, then Christ; if your wages could adde to him, he should bee needy, as you are.
Pos. 5. Free Grace is the loveliest piece in heaven or earth, it makes us partakers of the Divine Nature.* 2 Pet. 1.4. And though the creature graced of God, keep an infinite distance from God, and be not Goded, nor Christed, as some doe blasphe∣mously say. Yet it is considerable that there is a shaddow (though but a shaddow) of proportion betweene that expres∣sion of Paul, 1 Cor. 15.10. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. By the grace of God, I am that I am, and that which the Lord saith of himselfe, Exod. 3.14. speaking to Moses, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 I am that I am. Grace is but a borrowed accident of the crea∣ture; not heritage, not his essence. But Paul would say, all his excellencie was from free grace. Were any indifferent behol∣der up in the highest Jerusalem after the day of judgement,* to see the company of the Lambe, and his court, so many thou∣sand pieces of clay, then clothed with highest grace, smiling on the face of him that sits on the throne, made eternall Kings, that for glory and robes of grace, and the weighty crowne, you cannot see a bit of clay, and yet originally, all these are but glistering bits of clay, and graced dust; it should tyre the be∣holder with admiration. O but the second Creation is a rare piece of workmanship. But againe come and see that heaven of wonders,* the Man-Christ, who as man hath, 1. Flesh and bloud, and a mans soule, as we have; but O so incomparably wonderfull, as the grace of God without merit hath made the man Christ. Grace hath exalted this man to a high throne, the God head, in person dwelleth in this clay tent of endlesse glory, and God speakes personally out of this man, and this Emma∣nuel is God, and the man is so weighted with glory, as all that are there, (and they be a faire and numerous company) are upon one continued act of admiring, injoying, praysing, loving him, for no lesse date, then endlesse eternity, and they can never be able to pull their eyes off him. And then grace seene, enjoyed as it groweth at the Well-head, up in Emmanuels highest and newest land is of an other straine, sweeter and more glorious then downe here in the earth, which is not the element of grace, Page 239 they are but glympses, borrowed shaddowes, chips, and drops of grace that are heere. That is a world of nothing, but Graoe; all which I speake, to let us see, how farre free Grace is from base hire, and that we may not dare, to make Christ, who is an absolute free King, an hireling.
Pos. 6. Grace is not educed or extracted out of the potency of any created nature. Grace is borne in heaven,* and came from the inmost of the heart of Christ; it hath neither seed nor parent on earth, therefore the Lord challengeth it as his owne, 2 Cor. 12.9. The Lord said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee. 2 Tim. 2.1. The grace that is in Christ Jesus. 1 Cor. 15.10. The grace of God. 2 Cor. 13.14. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Gal. 1.15. He called me by his grace: If we could engage the grace of God, or prevent it, then should grace be our birth; but grace is not essentiall to Angels. Its a doubt if any creature can be ca∣pable by nature of any possibilitie naturall not to sin, it is much to know the just owner of grace who begot it? It came out of the eternall wombe and bowels of Jesus Christ.
Quest. But are there no preparations either of nature or at least of grace going before saving grace,*and the soules being drawn to Christ?
Ans. That we may come to consider preparations or previous qualifications to conversion. Let us consider whether Christ com∣ing to the soule hath need of an Usher.
Asser. 1. Dispositions going before conversion, come under a four-fold consideration. 1. As •fficient causes,* so some imagine them to be. 2. As materially and subjectively they dispose the soule to receive grace. 3. Formally or morally, either as parts of conversion, or morall preparations having a promise of conversion annexed to them. 4. As meanes in reference to the finall cause, or to the Lords end in sending these before; and what is said of these, may have some truth proportionably in a Churches low condition or humiliation, before they be delivered. We may also speak here of dispositions going before the Lords renewed drawing of sinners al-ready converted, after a fall, or under de∣sertion, Cant. 1. Draw me, we will run.
Asser. 2. No man but Pelagians, Arminians, and such do teach,* if any shall improve their naturall habilities to the uttermost, and stirre up themselves in good earnest to seeke the grace of con∣version, and Christ the wisdome of God, they shall certainly, Page 240 and without miscarrying, find what they seeke. 1. Because no man, not the finest and sweetest nature can ingage the grace of Christ, or with his penny or sweating, earne either the king∣dome of grace, or glory; whether by way of merit of condig∣nitie, or congruity. Rom. 9.16. So then, it is not in him that willeth, nor in him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mer∣cie. 1 Tim. 1.9•Who hath saved us, and called us, with an holy calling, not according to our workes, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus, be∣fore the world began. So Ephes. 2.1, 2, •, 4, 5. Tit. 3.3, 4, 5. Ezech. 16.4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. (2.) Because there is no shad∣dow of any ingagement of promise on Gods part, or any word for it. Doe this by the strength of nature, and grace shall bee given to you. 3. Nor are wee ashamed to say with the Scripture, its as unpossible to storme heaven, or make purchase of Christ, by the strength of nature, as for the dead man to take his grave in his two armes, and rise and lay death by him, and walke: Nor does this impossibility free the sinner from guiltinesse and rebukes. 1. Because it is a sinfully con∣tracted inability, except we would deny originall sinne. 2. Its voluntary in us, and the bondage that we love. 3. The Scripture both calles it impossibility, and also rebukes it as sinfull. Joh. 6 44. Rom. 8.•, 7, 8. Ephes. 2.1, 2, 3, 11, 12, 13. chap. 4.17, 18, 19. chap. 5.8.
Asser. 3. All preparations even wrought in us, by the com∣mon and generall restraining grace of God,* can have no effe∣ctive influence to produce our conversion, from the Scriptures alledged; for then should we be called, saved, and quickned, when we are dead in sinne, foolish, disobedient, and enemies to God,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, According to our works of righteousnesse which we had done, contrary to Ephes. 2.1, 2, 3, 4, 5.11.12, 13. 2 Tim. 1.9. Tit. 3.3. (2.) Then common generall gifts might also engage Christs free grace. 3. Men might pre∣vene Grace, and forestall Christ and his merits, which over∣turnes the foundation of the Gospell, and cries down Christ and free Grace.*
Asser. 4. All these fore-going endeavours and sweatings being void of Faith, cannot please God, Hebr. 11.6. These who act in the strength of them, are yet in the flesh, and not in the Page 241 Spirit, and so can doe nothing acceptable to God, being yet out of Christ, Rom. 8.8. Joh. 15.4, 5, 6. and the tree being corrupt, the fruit must be soure, and naught; humiliation, sorrow for sin, displeasure with our selves, that goe before conversion, can be no formall parts of conversion, nor any essentiall limbs, mem∣bers or degrees of the new creature; nor so much as a stone or pin of the new building. Divines call them, gradus ad rem, initium materiale conversionis; non gradus in re, nec initium formale: For parts of the building remaine in the building; when the house is come to some perfect frame, all those bastard pieces, coming not from the new principle the new heart, Christ formed in the soule, are cast out as unprofitable. Paul, when he meets with Christ, casts off his silks and sattins, that hee was lordly of while hee was a Pharisee, as old rags, losse and dung, and acts now with farre other principles and tooles. Its all new worke, after another Sampler; heaven workes in him now.
Asser. 5.* Those are not morall preparations which wee per∣forme before conversion, nor have they any promise of Christ annexed to them; as, Hee that is humbled under sinne, shall be drawne to Christ: Hee that wisheth the Physician, shall be cured, and called to repentance: Wee read of no such promise in the word. 2. A man not in Christ, is without the sphere or element of Christ, at the wrong side of the doore of the sheep-fold, hee is not in Emanuels land; and all the promises of God are in Christ, Yea and Amen, 2 Cor. 1.20. The whole stock of Gospel-promises are put in Christ, as the first Subject;* and be∣leevers have them from Christ, at the second hand. Christ keeps, as the true Ark, the book of the Testament, the beleevers Bible. Its true, the new heart is promised to the elect, even while they are not in Christ, but they cannot make claime to that promise till they be first in Christ: but those promises are made, in a speciall manner, to Christ, as to the head of the redeemed, to be dispensed by Christ, to those onely whom the Father gave him before time. And as the promises are peculiar to Christ, so the persons and grace promised, both the one and the other, are due to Christ, and result from the Head, to those who in Gods decree onely shall be members; as righteousnesse, life eternall, and perseverance, are made to those that are members. 3. Ma∣ny runne, and obtaine not, 1 Cor. 9.24, 25, 26. Many strive to Page 242 enter in, and shall not be able, Luk. 13.24. Many lay a founda∣tion, and are not able to finish, Luk. 14.29. Many hunt, and catch nothing: Many have stormes of conscience, as Cain, and Judas, who goe never one step further. When therefore Anti∣nomians impute to us, that wee teach, That to desire to beleeve, is faith: To desire to pray,(a)is prayer.(b) They foulely mistake; for raw desires, and wishes after conversion, and Christ, are to us no more conversion, and the soules being drawn to Christ, then Esau's weeping for the blessing, was the bles∣sing; or Balaam's wish to die the death of the righteous, was the happy end of such as die in the Lord. But the sincere de∣sires and good will of justified persons, are accepted of the Lord, for the deed: and when Christ pronounceth such bles∣sed as hunger for righteousnesse, wee say, in that sense, a sin∣cere desire to pray, and beleeve, is materially, and by concomi∣tancy, a neighbour, and neare of kin to beleeving, and praying, A virtuall or seminall intention to pray, beleeve, love Christ, doe his will, is in the seed, praying, beleeving; when the in∣tention is supernaturall, and of the same kind with the act; as the seed is the tree: Wee say not so of naturall intentions and desires. As Abrahams sincere intention to offer his son, was the offering of his son; the widows casting in her mite, was, in her honest desire, the casting in of all that shee had; certainly, not all simply, that had been against charity toward her selfe: but (2) single desires, unfained aimes, weigh as much with Christ, as actions, in their reality. So wee say many are, in affections, Martyrs, who never die nor suffer losse for Christ; because no∣thing is wanting on the part of such Saints, thus disposed, but that God call them to it. So Abraham offered his son Isaac to God; because Abraham did all on his part, and hee was not the cause, why hee was not offered and made an actuall sacrifice to God; but Gods countermand and his forbidding was the cause, and nothing else.
Asser. 6. The humiliation and sorrow for sin, and desire of the Physician, by way of merit, or 2. by way of a morall dis∣position, having the favour of a Gospel-promise, doe no more render a soule nearer to Christ and saving grace, then the want of these dispositions; for as a Horse, or an Ape, though they come nearer to some shadow of reason, and to mans nature, then the Stork, or the Asse, or then things voyd of life, as stonesPage 243 and the like; yet as there is required the like omnipotency to turn an Ape into a Man, as to make a stone a sonne of Abra∣ham; so the like omnipotency of grace is required to turne an unhumbled soule into a saved and redeemed Saint, as to turne a proud Pharisee into a Saint. And merit is as farre to seek in the one, as the other. So an unconverted sinner, though some way humbled, if the Lord of free grace should convert hi•, were no lesse oblieged to free grace, and no lesse from laying any tye or bands of merits, or obligation, by way of promise, on Christ, for his conversion, then a stone made a beleeving sonne of Abraham, should be in the same case of conversion. And 3. the humbled soule, for ought hee know•s, (I speak of legall humiliation) hath no more any Gospel-title or promise that saving grace shall be given to him, even of meere grace, upon condition of his humiliation, or externall hearing, or de∣sire of the Physician, then the proud Pharisee.* Yet as the bo∣dy framed and organized is in a nearer disposition to be a house to receive the soule, then a stone, or a block; so is an humbled and dejected soule, such as cast-down Saul, and the bowed-down Jayler, and those that were pricked in their hearts, Act. 2. in the moment before their conversion were nearer to con∣version, and in regard of passive and materiall dispositions made by the Law-worke, readier to receive the impression and new life of Christ formed in them, then the blaspheming Jewes. Act. 13. and the proud Pharisees, who despised the counsell of God, and would not be baptized, Luk. 7.30. There be some pre∣paratory colours in dying of cloth, as blue, that dispose the cloth for other colours more easily; so is it here: And a fish that hath swallowed the bait, and is in the bosome of the net, is nearer being taken, then a fish free and swimming in the Ocean; yet a fish may break the net, and cut the angle, and not be taken. A legally-sitted man may be not farre from the Kingdome of God, Mar. 12.34. and yet never enter in. And those same dispositi∣ons, in relation to Gods •nd in saving the elect, are often means, and disposing occasions, fitting soules for conversion: though some be like a piece of gold lying in the dirt,* yet it is both true mettall, and hath the Kings stamp on it, and is of equall worth with that which goeth currant in the market. So, in regard of Gods eternall election, many are in the way of sin, and not con∣verted as yet, notwithstanding all the luster of fore-going pre∣parations, Page 244 though they be as truely the elect of God, as either those that are converted, yea or glorified in heaven; yet their preparations doe lead them, in regard of an higher power, (that they see not) to saving grace. And for any thing revealed to us, God ordinarily prepares men by the Law, and some previ∣ous dispositions, before they be drawne to Christ. I dare not peremptorily say,* that God useth no prerogative Royall, or no priviledges of Soveraignty, in the conversion of some who find mercy between the water and the bridge; yea, I thinke that Christ comes to some like a Roe, or a young Hart, skipping and leaping over hills and mountaines, and passeth over his owne set line, and snatcheth them out of hell, without these prepara∣tions; at least, hee works them suddenly: And I see no incon∣venience, but as in Gods wayes of nature, hee can make dispen∣sations to himselfe, so in the wayes of grace, wee cannot find him out. However, sure of crabbed and knotty timber hee makes new buildings; and it is very base and untoward clay that Christ, who maketh all things new, cannot frame a vessell of mercy of. To change one specie or kind of a creature into another, a lyon into a lamb, and to cause the wolfe and the lamb dwell together, and the leopard lie down with the kid, and the calfe and the young lyon and the fatling together, and a little child to lead them, is the proper work of Omnipotency, what∣ever be the preparations, or undisposition of sinners.
*Asser. 7. Not any Protestant Divines, I know, make true repentance a worke of the Law, going before faith in Christ. 1. The Law speakes not one word of Repentance; but saith, either doe, or die. Repentance is an Evangelike ingredient in a Saint. 2. Christ was made a Prince, and exalted to give re∣pentance, Act. 5.31. and the Law as the Law, hath not one word of Christ, though it cannot contradict Christ, except we say, that there bee two contradictory wills in Christ, which were blasphemy; but some dispositions before conversition, I conceive Antinomians yeeld to us.* For one saith, a speaking of the manner of his conversion. One maine thing, I am sure, was to get some soule-saving-comfort, that moved mee to reveale my troubled conscience to godly Ministers, and not in generall to allay my trouble. Yet I can make good from Scripture, that this desire can be in no unconverted soule; a Physitian that mi∣stakes the cure doctrinally, will prove a cousening comforter. Page 245 And another b saith. The persons capable of justification are such, as truely feele what lost creatures they are in themselves, and in all their workes: this is all the preparative condition that God requireth on our part, to this high and heavenly worke, for hereby is a man truely humbled in himselfe, of whom God speaketh, saying, — I dwell with him that is of an humble Spi∣rit, &c. To make persons capable of justification, here is re∣quired a true feeling that they are lost in them•elves, and in all their workes. But this can be no preparative condition of justification, as Eaton saith, Because true feeling must follow Faith, not goe before it.* And 2. true feeling is proper to ju∣stified persons; nothing going before justification, and so, which is found in unjustified persons, can be proper to justified per∣sons onely. 3. Antinomians say, Sinners as Sinners, and con∣sequently all sinners are to beleeve justification in Christ, with∣out any foregoing preparation. This man saith, Prepared and feeling persons that are sensible of sinne, are onely capable of justification. 4. To truely feele a lost condition, cannot be all the Preparative condition, for the word hath annexed no pro∣mise of justification to the unjustified, who shall feele his lost condition. For the place Esai 57. speaketh of a justified sinner, not of an unjustified, who is onely prepared for justification. 1. Because God dwels in this humbled soule, then he must be justified and converted. Ephes. 3.17. That Christ may dwell in your heart by faith. 2. This is a liver by faith, and so justified; the just shall live by faith, Habak. 2.4. Rom. 1.17. Gal. 3.11. Hebr. 10.38. And he must live by Faith, whom the high and loftie One revives.*
Object. 1. But to bid a troubled soule be humbled for sin, and pray, and set upon duties, and speake nothing of Christ to them; whereas poore soules cannot pray in that condition, is to teach them to seeke righteousnesse in themselves.
Answ. 1. Satan cannot say, that wee teach any to set on duties, and to silence Christs strength and grace,* by which onely duties may bee done. 2. To bid them set on duties, as their righteousnesse before God, and as the way to find rest and peace for their soules, and that speaking nothing of Christ, we disclaime as Antichristian and Pharisaicall• 3. It is no argument, but the Arminian objection against free Grace, not to bid a troubled soule pray, because he cannot pray without Page 246 the Spirit, for Peter, Act. 3. bids Simon Magus, who was in the gall of bitternesse, pray, yet without the Spirit, he could not pray. Antinomians exhort troubled soules, though not con∣verted,* to beleeve in Christ: Yet they are as unable to beleeve without the Spirit, as to pray without the Spirit. 4. To bid them set on Evangelike duties, without trusting in them, that is, to feele their lost condition▪ to despaire of salvation in them∣selves, to looke a farre off to Christ, to desire him, are the set way that Christ walkes in, to fit us for saving Grace.
Object. 2. Dispaire of salvation in my selfe, is a part of Faith, so you exhort the troubled in minde at first to be∣leeve.
Answ. Not so: Judas and Cain both dispaired of salvati∣on in themselves,* yet had they no part of saving faith. Its un∣possible that any can rely on Christ while they leave resting on false bottomes; Faith is a saying and a swimming, Ships cannot sayle on mountaines, its •npossible to swim on drie land; as it is impossible to have a soule, and not to have a love; so we cannot have a love to lye by us, as uselesse; but a lover we must have, and Christs worke of conversion is or∣derly; as first to plow, and pluck up, so then to sow and plant; and first,* to take the soule off old lovers. We are on a way of gadding to seeke lovers. Jer. 2.•6. On a high and loftie mountaine to set our bed, Esai 57.7. God must straw thornes and briars in our love-bed, and take Ephraim off his Idols, Hos. 14.6. and from riding on horses, and make the soule as white and cleane paper, that Christ may print a new lover on it. Therefore its young mortification in the blossome, to give halfe a refusall to all old lovers; this is Christs ayme, Cant. 4.8. Come from the Lyons dens, and the Mountaines of Leo∣pards with me.
*Object. 3. Desires to pray and beleeve, being sometimes cold, sometimes none at all, cannot satisfie a troubled soule. I must have besides desires, indeavours: And desires to desire, and sorrow, because I cannot sorrow for sinne, are but Legall works; not such as are required in a broken heart.
Answ. Desires going before conversion, are nothing lesse, then satisfactory, nor are they such as can calme a storming conscience: he knowes not Christ, who dreames that a wake∣ned conscience, can bee calmed with any thing, lesse then the Page 247 bloud of Jesus Christ, that speakes better things then the bloud of Abel. Never Protestant Divines promise soule-rest in preparations, that are wrought by the law.* 2. If Antino∣mians can give soule-rest to troubled consciences, by all the pro∣mises of the Gospel, and raise up the Spirits of Judas, or Cain to found comfort, let them be doing; yea, or to weake afflicted soules: while the Spirit blowes right down from the Advocat of sinners, at the right hand of God, we much doubt. Sure there is a lock on a troubled conscience, that the Gospel-letter, or the tongue of Man or Angel can be no key to open. Christ hath reserved a way of his owne to give satisfaction to afflicted Spirits. But the question is now, supposing yee deale with unconverted men, whether or no yee are not. First, to convince them of the curses of the Law to come on them, to humble them, and so to chase them to Christ; and if to bid them be humbled, and know their dangerous condition, the state of damnation; and set to these preparatory duties, be to teach them to seeke righteousnesse in themselves. Wee an∣swer no.
Object. 4. If we preach wrath to beleevers, we must ei∣ther make them beleeve, they lye under that wrath, or no;*if they be not under that wrath, we had as good hold our tongues, if we say, if they commit these and these sinnes, they are damned, and except they performe such and such duties, and except they walke thus and thus holily, and doe these and these good works, they shall come under wrath, or at least, God will be Angry with them; what doe we in this, but abuse the Scriptures? We undoe all that Christ hath done, we b•ly God, and tell beleevers that they are under a covenant of workes. —I would have wrath preached to beleevers, that they may abstaine from sinne, because they are delivered from wrath, not that they may be delivered from wrath; for God hath sworne, Isai 54. as the world shall be no more destroyed with waters, so he will be no more wrath with his people.
Answ. 1. Wee are to make beleevers know if they be∣leeve not, and walke not worthy of Christ, in all holy duties;* their faith is a fancie, and a dead faith, and the wrath of God abides on them, and they are not beleevers. 2. Though they be beleevers, wrath must be preached to them, and is preach∣ed to them every where in the New Testament; as death, Page 248 Ro. 6.21.22. damnation, Ro. 14.23. the wrath of God, Ephes. 5.6▪ condemnation, 2 Thes. 1.8. perdition, flaming fire, eternall fire, 1 Cor. 3.17. 1 Cor. 11.32.34. Jude 7.8. 1 Tim. 6.9. 1 Cor. 16.22. to the end they may make sure their calling and election. 3. What is this, but to make a mock of all the threatnings of the Go∣spel? For by this argument, the threatnings are not to bee preached to the Elect before their conversion, except wee would make them beleeve a ly, that they are reprobats, and under wrath, when they are under no wrath at all, but from eter∣nity were delivered from wrath, nor should the Gospel-threat∣nings be preached to reprobats. Why? shew mee one word where Pastors are bidden tell men they are to beleeve, they are reprobats, and under eternall wrath, perempto∣rily, except wee know them to have sinned against the Holy Ghost. 4. Nor is deliverance from wrath to be belee∣ved as absolutely by us; whether we beleeve and walke wor∣thy of Christ, or doe no such thing, but walke after the flesh as we are to beleeve the world shall never be destroyed with waters; that is, a comparison to strengthen the peoples weak faith. Else I retort it thus, whether the world beleeve in Christ, or not, they shall never be drowned with water, and that we are to beleeve absolutely.* Then by this reason, whether men beleeve on Christ, or no, there is no condemnation, or wrath to be feared. The contrary is expressely, Joh. 3.18.36. I take the mystery to be this; Antinomians, would have no morall, no Ceremoniall Law preached at all; and therefore one of them writeth expressely. 1. That there be no commandements un∣der the Gospel. 2. No threatnings or penalties at all. 3. That the whole Law of Moses Morall, as well as Ceremo∣niall, is abrogated under the Gospel. That is a merrie life.
Object. 5. Other Preachers bid the troubled soule be sor∣ry for sinne,*lead a better life, and all shall be well.
Answ. Such as lead not men to Christ, with their sorrow for sin, or to any good life, that is not, or fits not for the life of faith, are none of ours, but the Antinomians.
Object. 6. But others bid the troubled soule beleeve, but he must first seek in himselfe qualifications,*or conditions, but this is to will them to walke in the light of their own sparks.
Answ. If to bid men abstaine from flagitious sinnes, and from seeking glory of men, that are both neck-breakes of faith, Page 249Joh. 5.44. and bring men under eternall displeasure, both be∣fore, and after we beleeve, be to walk in the light of our own Sparks; then when the Lord forbids these in his Law, and commandeth both the beleever and unbeleever, the contrary vertues he must counsell the same with us. To beleeve and not be humbled, and despaire of salvation in your selfe, is to pre∣sume, he that beleeveth right is cast on that broaken board, like a ship-broken man, either must I cast my self on the Rock Christ, or then drown eternally and perish: The unjust Steward was at, (what shall I doe) ere he came to a wise resolution; to goe the road way that Christ leades all beleevers, is not to walke in the light of our own sparks. Its one thing to seeke qualifications of our selves, trusting in them; and another thing to seek qualifications in our selves, as preparatory duties wrought by Christs grace; the former we disclaime, not the latter.
Object. 7. I will relate mine own experience. First, when I was minded to make away my selfe, for my sinne;*the Lord sent into my minde this word. I have loved thee with an ever∣lasting love. Ah thought I then, hath God loved me with such an everlasting love, and shall I sin against such a God? 2. Ma∣ny doubts and feares arose from the examination of my self, I was afraid of being deluded. 3. The Promise, Esai. 55.1. did sweetly stay my heart, Christ in his ordinances witnessed to me, that he was mine. 4. I went on for some time full of joy. 5. I was in feares againe, that I could not pray, but I had a promise, I will fulfill the desires of them that feare me, &c.
Answ. The method of the conversion of a deluded Anti∣nomian, is no rule to others. 2. Nor doe I thinke that G•d keeps one way with all, especially, when this m••s ••st st•p is from nature, and thoughts of selfe-murther, up to the Lambs booke of life, the secret of eternall election in the b••ast of God, I have loved thee with an eternal love.* How knew the Au∣thor this to bee Gods voice from a qualification in his soule? It kept him from selfe-murther. Yee see qualifications in our selfe, which the Author saith is the way of Legall Preachers, are required in any that beleeve. 2. It is utterly false that the Gospel-faith commanded to all the Elect and Reprobate, is the apprehention of Gods eternall love to me in particular, Page 250 the Scripture saith no such thing. Experience contrary to Scripture can be no leading rule. So the Antinomian way of conversion is, that every soule-troubled for sinne, Elect, or Re∣probate, is immediatly, without any foregoing preparations, or humiliation, or worke of the law, to beleeve that God loved him with an everlasting love. A manifest lie, for so Repro∣bats are to beleeve a ly, as the first Gospel-truth. This is I con∣fesse a honey-way, and so Evangelike, that all the damned are to beleeve, that God did beare to them the same everlast∣ing good will and love he had in heart toward Jacob. 2. All Reprobates may abstaine from selfe-murther, out of this prin∣ciple, of the Lords everlasting love of election, revealed im∣mediately, at first without any previous signes, or qualificati∣ons going before. 3. The Gospel wee teach, saith eternall election,* is that secret in the heart of the Lambe, called his booke; so as really God first loves and chooses the sinner to sal∣vation, and we are blacked with hell, lying amongst the pots, till Christ take us up, and wash, and lick the Leopard Spots off us; but to our sense and apprehension; wee first love and choose him as our onely liking, and then by our faith, and his love on us, we know he hath first loved us, with an everla∣sting love: but there be many turnings, windings, ups, and and downes, ere it come to this. I have not heard of such an experience, that at the first, without any more adoe, forthwith, the Lord saith, Come up hither, I will cause thee read thy name in the Lambs booke of life; The same Author saith, Election is the secret of God, and belongeth to the Lord. Pag. 104. and shall the beleeving of the love of election to glory bee the first Medicine that you give to all troubled consciences, Elect and Reprobate? This is to quench the fire, by casting in oyle; but if Antinomians take two wayes, one with the unconver∣ted Elect, troubled in conscience; another with unconver∣ted Reprobats, so troubled; we should bee glad to heare these two new wayes. 4. In the second place, (he is so well ac∣quainted with the way of the Spirit, as if through the case∣ment of the Cabinet-counsell of God, he had seene and recko∣ned on his fingers all the steps of the staires;) he saith, He had many doubts and feares to be deluded; that is, hee doubted if his faith was true and saving: for this is all the delusion to be feared upon self-examination; So Pag. 24. c. 2. But you may Page 251 read his words, chap. 5. pag. 93. I find not any (saith the same Author) in the whole course of Christs preaching, or the Disci∣ples, when they preached to them to beleeve, asking the que∣stion, whether they beleeved, or no. then it is like this experi∣ence finds no warrant or precedent in the Saints to whom Christ and the Apostles preached.* 5. The sweet witnessing of the Spirit, from Esai 55.1. Ho, every one that thirsts, come to the waters, is Gospel-honey, but consider if there were no law-worke preparing, no needle making a hole be∣fore Christ should sew together the sides of the wound. Its but a delusion.* 1. Because Esai 61.1. no whole-hearted sinners meet with Christ; none come at first laughing to Christ, all that come to Jesus for helpe, come with the teare in their eye. 2. To come dry and withered to the waters, Esai 55.1. is the required preparation. 3. The gold in a beggars purse in great abundance is to be suspected for stollen gold, because he labou∣red not for it. This, I say not, because preparations, and sweatings, and running, that goe before conversion, are merits, or such as deserve conversion, or that conversion is due to them. Antinomians impute this to us; but unjustly, I humbly con∣ceive it not to be the doctrine of Luther, Calvine, or Prote∣stants, which Libertines charge us with: that I may cleare us in this, let these propositions speake for us.
Propos. 1. We cannot receive the Spirit, by the preach∣ing of the Law, and covenant of Works; but by the hearing [unspec 1] of the promises of the Gospel, Gal. 3. The Law its alone, can chase men from Christ, but never make a new creature; nor can the letter of the Gospel without the Spirit doe it.
Propos. 2. when we looke for any thing in our selves, or thinke that an unrenewed man is a confiding person to pur∣chase [unspec 2] Christ, we bewilder our selves,* and vanish in foolish∣nesse: This wrong Libertines doe us; from which wee are as farre as the East from the West.
Propos.•. It is not our doctrine, but the weakenesse of sinners, and of the flesh, that we should be shie to Christ, and [unspec 3] stand aloofe from the Physitian, because of the desperate con∣dition of our disease. This is, as if one should say, it is not fit for the naked to goe to him who offereth white linnen to cloath him, nor that the poore should goe to him, who would be glad, you would take his fine gold off his hand, or to say, set Page 252 not a young plant, but let it lye above earth, till you see if it beare fruit,.* Unworthinesse in the court of justice is a good plea, why Christ should cast us off; but unworthynesse felt, though not savingly, is as good a ground to cast your selfe on Christ, as poverty, want, and weakenesse, in place of a Statute, and act of Parliament to beg, though the letter of the Law forbid any to beg.
Propos. 4. Acting and doing thou•h neither savingly, nor [unspec 4] soundly, is not merit of grace, yet not contrary to grace; to obey the law of nature, to give almes, is not against grace. Li∣bertines should not reject this, though it be not all, but a most poore All to engage Christ.
Propos. 5. Faith is a morall condition of life eternall, and [unspec 5] wrought in us by the free grace of God. I never saw a con∣tradiction between a condition wrought by irresistible grace▪ and the gift, or free grace of life eternall; for life eternall gi∣ven in the law, and Adams doing and performing by the irre∣sistible acting and assisting of God, are not contrary; yet the former was never merit, but grace; the latter was Legall doing.
Propos. 6. We doe receive the promise of willing and do∣ing, [unspec 6] wrought immediatly in us, according to the good will and most free grace of Christ, and yet we are agents, and worke under Christ.
Propos. 7. Luther (for I could fill a booke with citations) [unspec 7] Calvine, and all our Protestant Divines, are for qualificati∣ons voyd of merit, or promise, before conversion, and for gra∣cious conditions after conversion under the Gospel. Antino∣mians belie Luther.
[unspec 8] Propos. 8. Antinomians yeeld the preaching of the Law, and preparations before conversion, and conditions after, and peace from signes of sanctification, &c. yet they are to be re∣puted enemies to grace and holinesse, and turne all sanctificati∣on in their imaginary faith and justification, of which they are ut∣terly ignorant. Never Antinomian knew rightly what free ju∣stification is.
Propos. 9. Immediate resting on Christ for all wee doe, and [unspec 9] drawing of comfort from the testimony of a good conscience, are not contrary.
Propos. 10. Holinesse idolized or trusted in, is to make Christ, [unspec 10] the alone Saviour, no Saviour.
Page 253Propos. 11. God is not provoked to reprobate whom hee elected from eternity, by new sins; yet is hee displeased with Davids adultery so farre, as to correct him for it; and Solo∣mon for his back-sliding, with the rod of men.
Propos. 12. Works before justification please not God; but it followes not, that God keeps not such an order, as sense of sin, though not saving, should goe before pardon and conversion; no more then because Adams sin pleased not God, therefore it should not goe before the Sons taking on our flesh. If we are not to doe, nor act any thing, before conversion, neither to hea•e, conferre, know our sinfull condition, nor be humbled for sin, despaire of salvation in our selves, because these are not merits before conversion, nor can they procure conversion to us; neither are wee after conversion to beleeve, for beleeving cannot merit righteousness• and l•fe eternall nor are we to heare, pray, be patient, rejoyce in tr•••lation, for not any of these can procure life eternall to us: And why is not the doing of the one, as w•ll as the other, a seeking righteousnesse in our selves?
Propos. 13. The promise of Christs comming in the flesh, (2.) and of giving a new heart, are absolute promises;* the for∣mer requireth no order of providence, but that sin goe before redemption: the latter requireth an order of providence, not of any Gospel-promise, or merit, in any sort; there n•ver was, ne∣ver can be merit betw•en a meere creature and God.
Propos. 14. There is no faith, no act of Christs coyn, or of the right stamp before justification.
Propos. 15. Wee are justified in Christ virtually, as in the publike Head,* when hee rose again▪ and was justified in the Spi∣rit. 2. In Christ, as h•s merits are 〈◊〉 cause of our justification. 3. In Christ, apprehended by fa•th, form•lly, in the Scriptures sense, in the Epistle to the Romanes and Galathians; not that faith is the formall cause, or any merit in justification, but be∣cause it lay•s •old on imp•ted ri•••eo•snesse, which is the for∣mall cause of our justi••ca•ion. 4. We are justified in our own sense and feeling, not by faith 〈◊〉, (because wee may be∣leeve, and neither know that wee b•l•eve, nor be sensible of our justification) but as wee know that wee beleeve; whether this knowledge result from the ligh• of faith, or from signes, as meanes of our knowledge. 5. Ju••i•ication by way of declara∣tion Page 254 to others, is not so infallible, as that the Scripture calls it justification, properly so named.
Object. 8. I was, sixthly, in hearing the word shined upon, by a sweet witnessing of the Spirit: But O how I did strive a∣gainst this work! I was called upon, but I put away all promi∣ses of mercy from me; I may justly say, The Lord saved me, whether I would or no. Sometimes I was dead, and could not pray; sometimes so quickened, that me thought that I could have spent a whole night in prayer to God.
Answ. 1. If the faith of the eternall love of free election was his first conversion, no wonder hee was shined upon with light. But it was not Scripture-light, but wild-fire; for the method of Christs drawing in the Scripture is not Enthusiasticall, up at secret election at first. There is no doubt wee put Christ a∣way from us after conversion, Cant. 5.1. and that so Christ saves us against our will. That the principle of saving is free grace, 2. that free will is neither free nor willing till Christ first draw us, till hee renew and work upon the will: But I feare Antinomians will have free will a block to doe nothing at all;*If Christ(a)will let me sinne, (say they) let him look to it upon his honour be it. And, (b)Faith justifies an unbeleever; that is, that faith that is in Christ, justifieth me who have no faith in my selfe. And, (c)It is legall to say wee act in the strength of Christ. And, (d)To take delight in the holy service of God, is to goe a whoring from God. And, A man(e)may not be exhorted to any duty, because hee hath no power to doe it. And, (f)The Spirit acts most in the Saints, when they en∣deavour least. And, (g)In the conversion of a sinner, the facul∣ties of the soule and working thereof are destroyed, and made to cease. Yea, saith the Bright Starre, cap. •. pag. 20. The naked influence of God annihilates all the acts of the soule. Cap. 4. pag. 28. Boyling desires after Christ, savours too much of acti∣on; — hindereth the soule to be perfectly illuminated, and to arise to the rosie kisses and chaste embraces of her Bridegrome. See Theolog. German. cap. 5. pag. 9, 10. and *In place of them the Holy Ghost works. And this (i)Author saith, The Spirit of adoption works not freely, when men are in bondage to some outward circumstances of worship, as time, place, or persons, that th•y cannot pray but at such houres, or in such places, &c. Protestant Divines teach no such thing. But his aime is to set Page 255 on foot the Familists(k) Doctrine, That wee are not bound to keep a constant course of prayer in our Families, or privately, unlesse the Spirit stirre us up thereunto. Saltmarsh saith, hee thought hee could have spent a whole night in prayer; but 1. whether hee did so or no hee expresseth not, lest hee should contradict his Brethren the Familists of New-England, who teach, That to take delight in the service of God, is to goe a whoring from God. 2. It would be asked, Whether this sit was on him before, or after his conversion? To say before, would seeme a delusion, or a preparation of eminency: if after conversion, its to no purpose, except to be a mark of a conver∣ted man. And Antinomians have no stomack to Marks: nor belongs it to the way of his conversion; which hee relates. It is true, wee cannot tye the Spirit to our houres; but then all the Lords-day-worship, all set houres at morn or at night, in private or in families, set times and houres for the Churches praying, preaching, heating, conference, reading, were unlaw∣full; for wee cannot stint the Spirit to a set time, nor are wee tyed to time, except to the Christian Sabbath. Some may say, Its no charity to impute Familists errors of New-England to Antinomians here. Answ. Seeing Saltmarsh and others here doe openly owne Antinomian Doctrine as the way of Free grace, they are to be charged with all those, till they cleare them∣selves, or refute those blasphemies; which they have never done to this day.
Object. 9. I seldome desired pardon of sin, till I were fitted for mercies; but now I see wee are pardoned freely. O rest not in your owne duties.
Answ. To desire pardon of sin before we be sitted for par∣don, by no Divinity is contrary to free pardon, though such desires be fruitlesse, as coming from no gracious principles.
Asser. 8. To beleeve and take Christ because I am a needy sin∣ner, is one thing; and to beleeve,* because I am fitted for mer∣cy and humbled, is another thing: This latter wee disclaime. Preparations are no righteousnesse of ours; nor is it our Do∣ctrine to desire any to rest on preparations, or to make them causes, foundations, or formalia media, formall meanes of faith: they hold forth the meere order and method of graces work∣ing; not to desire pardon, but in Gods way of fore-going hu∣miliation, is nothing contrary, but sweetly subordinate to free Page 256 pardon. And to cure too suddenly wounds, and to honey secure and proud sinners, and sweeten and oyle a Pharisee, and to reach the Mediators bloud to an unhumbled soule, is but to turne the Gospel into a charme; and when, by Magick, you have drawne all the bloud out of the sick mans veines, then to mixe his bloud with sweet poyson, and cause him drinke, and swell, and say you have made him healthie and fat. Now Peter, Act. 2. poured vin•ger and wine at first on the wounds of his hearers, when hee said, Yee murthered the Lord of glory; and they were pricked in their heart. This is the Law's work, Rom. 3. to condemne and stop the sinners mouth. And you cannot say that Peter failed in curing too suddenly; because hee preached first the Law, to wound and prick them, for that they crucified the Lord of glory, before hee preached the Gospel of beleefe and Baptisme. And the Lord rebuking Saul from heaven, con∣vincing him of persecution, casting him downe to the ground, striking him blind, while hee trembled: And the Lords dealing with the Jayler was fourer work, then proposing and pouring the Gospel oyle and honey of fre•ly imputed righteousnesse in their wounds at the first; and a close unbottoming them of their own righteousnesse. And the Lords way of justifying Jews and Gentiles, is a Law-way, as touching the order, Rom. 3. Ha∣ving proved all to be under sin, Vers. 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18. hee saith, Vers. 19. Now wee know that what things so∣ever the Law saith, it saith to them who are under the Law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world become guil∣ty before God. Indeed, if they be convinced of sin by the Spi∣rit, and so converted, and yet under trouble of mind, a pound of the Gospel, for one ounce weight of the Law, is fit for them. But Antinomians erre, not knowing the Scriptures, in dream∣ing that converted soules are so from under the Law, that they have no more to doe with the Law, no more then Angels and glorified Saints; so as the letter of the Gospel doth not lead them,* but some immediate acting of the Spirit. And that 2. there is no commandement under the Gospel, but to beleeve onely. That 3. mortification and new obedience, as M. Town and others say, is but faith in Christ, and not abstinence from worldly lusts that warre against the soule. 4. That the Go∣sp•l commandeth nothing, but perswadeth rather, that we may be Libertines and serve the flesh, and beleeve, and be saved. Page 257 5. That God hath made no covenant with us under the Gos∣pel; the Gospel is all promise, that wee shall be carried as meere patients to heaven, in a chariot of love. 6. That the way is not strait and narrow, but Christ hath done all to our hands. 7. That its Legall, not Gospel-conversion, to keep the soule so long under the Law for humiliation, contrition and confession, and then bring them to the Gospel: whereas wee teach, that the Law purely and unmixed, without all Gospel, is not to be used as a dyet-potion, onely to purge, never to let the unconver∣ted heare one Gospel-promise. It is true, Peter preached not Law to Cornelius, nor Philip to the Eunuch, nor Ananias to Paul; but these were all converted afore-hand. Wee think the unconverted man knowes neither contrition nor confession a∣right. But I was more confirmed that the way of Antinomians is for the flesh, not for the Gospel, when I read that M. Crispe(a) expounding Confession, 1. Joh. 1. maketh it no humble ac∣knowledging that the sinner in person hath sinned, and so is under wrath eternall, if God should judge him; but hee maketh it a part of faith, by which a sinner beleeveth and confesseth, that Christ payed for his sin, and hee is pardoned in him.* Sure Confession in Scripture is no such thing; Ezra 10.1. Neh. 9.2. In Scripture, confession of sins is opposed to covering of sin, and not forsaking of it, Pro. 28. Joshua sought not such a con∣fession of Achan. James commands not such a Confession. Da∣niel's, Ezra's, Peter's confession were some other thing. Joh. 1.20. Act. 19.18. Heb. 11.13. Pro. 28.13. 1 Joh. 4.2. Mar. 3.6. Josh. 7.19. Dan. 9.4. Rom. 10.10. 1 Tim. 6.13. Psal. 32.5. Jam. 5.16. Levit. 5.5. chap. 16.21. & 26.40. 2 Chron. 6.24. In which places, faith and confession of sins cannot be one; nor are wee justified by confession, as by faith. But these men have learned to pervert the Scriptures.
Asser. 9. There be more vehement stirrings and wrestlings in a naturall spirit under the Law;* as the bullock is most un∣ruly at the first yoking: and greene wood casts most smoke. Paul, Rom. 7. was slaine by the Law; but this makes more way for Christ: and though it doe not morally soften, and fa∣cilitate the new birth; yet it ripeneth the out-breaking.* Pre∣parations are penall, to subdue; not morall, to deserve or me∣rit; nor conditionall, to engage Christ to convert, or to facili∣tate conversion.
Page 258Asser. 10. There be no preparations at all required before Redemption,* 1 Tim. 1.15. Rom. 5.8. But there is a farre other order in the working of Conversion: Those who (b) confound the one with the other, speak ignorantly of the wayes of Grace; for though both be of meere grace, without wages or merit, yet wee are meere patients in the one, not in the other. Saltmarsh and Antinomians argue from the one to the other, most igno∣rantly.
Asser. 11. That the promises of the Gospel are holden forth to sinners,* as sinners, hath a two fold sense: 1. As that they be sinners, and all in a sinfull condition to whom the promises are holden forth.* This is most true and sound. The Kingdome of grace is an Hospitall and Guest-house of sick ones, fit for the art and mercy of the Physician Christ. 2. So as they are all immediatly to beleeve and apply Christ and the promises, who are sinners; and there be nothing required of sinners, but that they may all immediatly challenge interest in Christ, after their owne way and order, without humiliation, or any Law-work. In this sense, it is most false, that the Promises are holden forth to sinners, as sinners; because then Christ should bee holden forth to all sinners, Americans, Indians, and sinners who ne∣ver, by the least rumor, heard one word of Christ. 2. Peter desires not Simon Magus to beleeve that God had loved him, in Christ Jesus, with an everlasting love; nor doth the Gospel-promise offer immediatly soule-rest to the hardened, and proud sinner, wallowing in his lusts, as hee is a hardened sinner; nor is the acceptable yeare of the Lord proclaimed, nor beauty and the oyle of joy offered immediatly to any, but to those who are weary and laden, and who mourne in Sion, and wallow in ashes, Mat. 11.28, 29, 30. Esay 61.1, 2, 3. Its true, to all within the visible Church, Christ is offered without price or money; but to be received after Christs fashion and order, not after our order; that is, after the soule is under selfe-despaire of salvation, and in the sinners moneth, when hee hath been with childe of hell.* I grant, in regard of time, sinners cannot come too soon to Christ, nor too early to Wisdome; but in regard of order, many come too soon, and unprepared. Simon Magus too soon beleeved. Saltmarsh saith, Hee mis-beleeved too soon; for he falsly beleeved: none can beleeve too soon. Answ. To beleeve too soon, is to mis-beleeve; and Saltmarsh and AntinomiansPage 259 teach us the method of false-beleeving, when they teach us too soone to beleeve; that is, to beleeve that God hath loved you (be yee what yee will, Simon Magus, Judas, or others) with an everlasting love; for that is the Antinomian Faith. Simon Magus is without any fore-going humiliation, or sense of sin, or selfe-despaire, to beleeve hee was no lesse written in the Lambs book of life from eternity, then Peter; and this hee can∣not beleeve soon enough. I say, neither soon or late ought a re∣probate to beleeve any such thing. A covetous man, who had great possessions, had not yet bidden fare-well to his old god Mammon, when hee came to Christ; therefore hee departed sad from Christ. Another came before hee had buried his father; and some come, Luk. 14.28, 29. before they advise with their strength, and what Christ will cost them. I desire I be not mistaken: none can be throughly fitted for Christ, before hee come to Christ; but it is as true, some would buy the pearle before they sell all they have, which is not the wise Merchants part: and they erre fouly who argue thus, If I were not a sin∣ner, or if my sinnes were lesse hainous, and so I were lesse un∣worthy, I would come to Christ and beleeve; but ah, I am so grievous an offender, and so unworthy, that I cannot goe. Their Antecedent is true, but the Consequence is naught and wicked. It is true, I am sicke, and good that I both say and feele that I am sicke; but, ergo, I cannot, I will not goe to the Physician, that is wicked Logick, and the contrary consequence is good: whereas the other consequence is a seeking of righteousnesse in our selves. 2. Another false ground is here laid by Libertines, That wee place worth and righteousnesse in Preparations; or, 2. That Preparations make us lesse unworthy, and lesse sinners. But Preparations are not in any sort to us money nor hire;* wee value them as dung, and sin; yet such sin, as sicknesse is in relati∣on to physick. 2. Preparations remove not one dram, or twen∣tieth part of an ounce of guiltinesse, or sin. Christ, in practice of Free-grace, not by Law, yea not by promise, gives grace to the thus prepared, and often hee denyes it also: Yea, and there is a good houre appointed by God, when Christ comes. Other Physicians take diseases so early as they can, lest the malice of the disease over-come art; but Christ lets sin of purpose ripen, to the eleventh houre, often to the twelfth houre: Hee knowes his art can over-take and out-run seven devils, most easily. The Page 260 omnipotency of grace knowes no such thing, as more or lesse pardonable in sin;* yea of purpose to heighten grace, that sin∣fulnesse may contend with grace, and be overcome, the Gentiles must be like corn ripe, white and yellow, ere the sickle cut them down, and they be converted. Joh. 4.35. The boyle must be ripe ere it break; the sea full ere it turne; therefore the Lord appoints a time, and sets a day for conversion. Tit. 3.3. We our selves were sometime 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, mad; but the Lord hath a gra∣cious 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, when; When the kindnesse and man-love of God appeared, hee saved us. And, Jer. 50.4. In those dayes, and at that time, saith the Lord, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah, going and weeping, they shall seek the Lord. Zech. 12.11. And in that day, there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. Its good to lie and wait at the doore and posts of Wisdomes house, and to lie and attend Christs tyde, it may come in an houre that you would never have beleeved. O what depth of mercy, when for naturall, or no saving-one-waiting, or upon a poore venture, What if I goe to Christ, I can have no lesse then I have? beside any gracious intention the Lord saves, and the wind not looked for turnes faire for a sea-voyage to heaven, in the Lords time.
Asser. 12. The ground moving Christ to renew his love in drawing a fallen Saint out of the pit,* is the same that from hea∣ven shined on him at the beginning. Love is an undevided thing; there are not two loves, or three loves in Christ, that which be∣gins the good work, promoves it, even the same love which Christ hath taken up to heaven with him, and there ye find it be∣fore you, when ye come thither. 2. Some love-sicknesse goes before his returne, Cant. 3. I was but a little passed, I found him whom my soule loves:* the skie devides and rents it selfe, and then the Sunne is on its way to rise; the birds begin to sing, then the Summer is neere, the voice of the Turtle is heard, then the winter is gone; when the affections grow warme, the welbeloved is upon a returne. 3. You die for want of Christ; absence seemes to be at the highest, when hunger for a renewed drawing in the way of comforting is great, and the sad soule, lowest, he will come at night, and sup, if hee dine not. 4. Let Christ moderate his own pace; hope quiet∣ly waiteth; Hope is not a shouting and a tumultuous grace. Page 261 5. Your disposition for Christs returne, can speake much for a renewed drawing, as when the Church findes her own pace s•ow, and prayes, draw me, we will runne; then hee sendeth ushers before to tell that he will come. 6. Sick nights for the Lords absence in not drawing, are most spirituall signes.
Antinomians beleeve, that all the promises in the Gospel, made upon conditions, to bee performed by creatures, especi∣ally free-will casting in its share to the worke, smell of some graines of the Law, and of obedience for hire,* and that bar∣gaining of this kind, cannot consist with free grace. And the doubt may seeme to have strength in that our Divines argue a∣gainst the Arminian decree of election to glory, upon condi∣on of faith and perseverance, foreseene in the persons so chosen, because then election to glory should not be of meere grace,* but depend on some thing in the creature, as on a condition or mo∣tive; at least, if not as on a cause, worke, or hire. But Armini∣ans reply, the condition being of grace, cannot make any thing against the freedome of the grace of election; because, so justi∣fication and glorification should not be of meere grace; for sure, we are justified and saved upon condition of faith, freely given us of God. The question then must bee, Whether there can be any conditionall promises in the Gospel of Grace, or whether a condition performed by us, and free grace can consist toge∣ther. Antinomians say they, are contrary as fire and water.
Hence these positions for the clearing of this considerable question.
Pos. 1. The condition that Arminians fancie to bee in the Gospel, can neither consist with the grace of election,* justifica∣tion, calling of grace, or crowning of beleevers with glory; this condition they say we hold, but they erre: because it is a condition of hire, that they have borrowed from Lawyers, such as is betweene man and man, ex causa onerosa, its absolutly in the power of men to doe, or not to doe, and bowes and determineth the Lord and his free will, absolutly to this part of the contradiction, which the creature choseth, though con∣trary to the naturall inclination, and Antecedent will and de∣cree of God, wishing, desiring, and earnestly inclining to the obedience and salvation of the creature. Now works of grace and infinite grace, flow from the bowels, and in-most desire of God, nothing without laying bonds, chaines, or determination Page 262 on the Lords grace, or his holy will. Could our well-doing milke out of the breasts of Christs free grace, or extrinsecally determine the will or acts of free-bounty;* Grace should not be grace. But without money or hire, the Lord giveth his wine and milke, Isai 55.1. Ephes. 2.1, 2. Ezech. 16.5, 6, 7. 2 Tim. 1.9. Tit. 3.3. (2.) Because such a condition is of work, not of grace; and so of no lesse Law-debt and bargaining, then can be between man and man. And the party that fulfilleth the condition; is 1. most free to forfeit his wages, by wor∣king, or not working, as the hireling, or labourer, in a vineyard; yea or any Merchant ingaged to another, to performe a condi∣tion, of which he is Lord and Master, to doe or not doe. 2. He is no wise necessitate nor determined any way, but as the hire or wages doe determine his will, who so worketh; but the wages being absolutely in his power to gaine them, or lose them, determine his will; which cannot fall in the Almigh∣tie. 3. Such a condition performed by the creature, putteth the Creature to glory, but not in the Lord, but in himselfe, Rom. 4.2.*For if Abraham were justified by works, hee hath whereof to glory, but not before God. Yea, Adam before the fall, and the elect Angels, hold not life eternall by any such free condition of obedience as is absolutely referred to their free will, to doe, or not to doe; so our Divines deny against Papists, with good warrant, the free-hold of life eternall, by a∣ny title of merit. Sure, if God determine freewill in all good and gracious acts, as I prove undeniably from Scripture. 2. From the dominion of providence. 3. The covenant between the Father and the Sonne Christ. 4. the intercession of Christ. 5. The promises of a new heart, and perseverance. 6. Our prayers to bow the heart to walke with God, and not to lead us into temptation. 7. The faith and confidence wee have, that God will worke in the Saints to will, and to doe to the end. 8. The praise and glory of all our good works; which are due to God onely, &c. If God (I say,) determine free will to all good, even before, as after the entrance of sinne into the world, and that of Grace, (for this grace hath place in Law-o∣bedience, in Men and Angels) then such a condition cannot consist with Grace. For such a condition puts the creature in a state above the Creator, and all freedome in him.
Pos. 2. Evangelike conditions wrought in the Elect, by the Page 263 irresistible grace of God, and Grace doe well consist together. Joh. 5.24. Verily, Verily, I say unto you,*hee that heareth my word, and beleeveth in him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation: but is passed from death to life. Ch. 7.37. If any man thirst, let him come to me, and drink. Acts 13.39. And by him, all that beleeve, are justified from all things, from which yee could not be justified, by the Law of Moses. Acts 16.30. The Jaylor saith to Paul and Silas, what must I doe to be saved? Vers. 31. And they said, be∣leeve on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy houshold. There is an expresse required of the Jaylor, which he must performe, if he would be saved. And Rom. 10. looke as a condition is required in the Law, Vers. 5. For Moses describeth the righteousnesse of the Law, that the man that doth these things, shall live by them. So beleeving is required as a condition of the Gospel. Vers. 6. But the righ∣teousnesse which is of Faith, &c. Ver. 9. Saith, that if thou con∣fesse with thy mouth, the Lord Jesus, and shalt beleeve in thine heart, that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Rom. 22.214.171.124.30. ch. 4. ch. 5. Faith is the condition of the Covenant of Grace, and the only condition of Justifica∣tion, and of the title, right, and claime that the Elect have, tho∣row Christ to life eternall. Holy walking, as a witnesse of faith, is the way to the possession of the kingdome. As Rom. 2.6. Who will render to every man according to his deeds. Vers. 7. To them who by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for glory, and honour, and immortality, eternall life. Vers. 8. To them that are contentious. — Vers. 9. Tribulation and anguish upon every soule of man that doth evill, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile. Matth. 25.34. Then shall the King say to them on his right hand, come yee blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdome prepared for you from the foun∣dation of the world. Ver. 33. For I was hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirstie, and ye gave me drink, &c.* And let Antino∣mians say, we are freed from the Law, as a rule of holy walking, sure the Gospel and the Apostles command the very same duties in the letter of the Gospel, that Moses commanded in the letter of the Law, as that children obey their parents, servants their masters, that we abstaine from murther, hatred of our brother, stealing, defrauding, lying, &c. that we keepe our selves from Page 264 Idols, swearing, strange gods, I doe not say, that these duties, are commanded in the same way, in the Gospel, as in the Law. For, sure we are out of a principle of Evangelike love, to ren∣der obedience; and our obedience now is not Legall, as com∣manded by Moses, in strict termes of Law, but as perfumed, oyled, honeyed, with the Gospel-sense of remission of sinnes, the tender love of God in Christ. So that wee justly challenge two extreme waies, both blasphemous as we conceive.
1. Arminians object to us, that which the Antinomians truely teach,* to wit, that we destroy all precepts, commands, exhortations, and active obedience in the Gospel; and render men under the Gospel, meere blocks, and stones, which are im∣mediately acted by the Spirit, in all obedience, and freed from the Letter of both Law and Gospel, as from a Legall bondage. This we utterly disclaime, and doe obtest, and beseech Anti∣nomians, as they love Christ, and his truth, to cleare themselves of this, which to us is vilde Libertinisme. And by this Ar∣minians turne all the Gospel, in literalem gratiam, in a Law-Gospel, in meere golden letters, and sweet-honeyed comman∣dements of Law-precepts, and will have the Law possible, ju∣stification by works, conversion by the power of free will, and morall suasion, really without the mighty power of the Spirit and Gospel-grace, and receive the doctrine of merit, and set heaven and hell on new Polls to be rolled about, as Globes on these two Poles, the nilling and willing of free-will, and they make grace to be sweet words of silke and gold; on the o∣ther hand, Antinomians, doe exclude words, letter-perswasi∣ons, our actions, conditions of Grace, promises written or preached from the Gospel; and make the Spirit, and celestiall rapts, immediate inspirations, the Gospel it selfe, and turne men regenerate into blocks, and how M. Den can be both an Antinomian, and loose us from the Law, and an Arminian, de∣fending both universall attonement, and the resistible working of grace, and so subject us to the Law, and to the doctrine of Merit, and make us lords of our owne faith, and conver∣sion to God; let him and his followers see to it. Wee goe a middle way here, and doe judge the Gospel to bee an Evan∣gelike command, and a promising and commanding Evangel, and that the Holy Ghost graceth us to doe, and the Letter of the Gospel obligeth us to doe.
Page 265Pos. 3. The decree of Election to glory, may bee said to bee more free and gracious in one respect, and justification,* and glorification, and conversion, more free in another respect, and all the foure, of meere free grace. For Election, as the cause and fountaine-grace is the great mother, the wombe, the infi∣nite spring, the bottomlesse ocean of all grace; and wee say, effects are more copiously and eminently in the cause then in themselves; as water is more in the element and fountaine, then in the streames; the tree more in the life, and sapp of life, then in the branches; and conversion, and justification have more freedome, and more of grace, by way of extension, because good will stayeth within the bowels and heart of God, in free election, but in conversion, and justification, infinite love comes out, and here the Lord giveth us the great gift, even himselfe, Christ, God, the darling, the delight, the onely, onely well-be∣loved of the Father, and he giveth Faith to lay hold on Christ, and the life of God, and all the meanes of life, in which there be many divided acts of grace (to speake so) which were all one in the wombe of the election of grace.
Pos. 4. Conversion, justification, are free for election; and therefore election is more free, but all these as they are in God,* are equally free, and are one simple good will. Though Christ justifie and crowne none, but such as are quallified with the grace of beleeving, yet beleeving is a condition that removeth nothing of the freedome of grace. 1. Because it worketh no∣thing in the bowels of mercy, and the free grace of God; as a mo∣tive, cause, or moving condition, that doth extract acts of grace out of God, only we may conceive this order, that Grace of ele∣cting to glory stirres another wheele, (to speak so) of free love to give Faith, effectuall calling, justification, and eternall glory. 2. Its no hire, nor work at all, nor doth it justifie, as a worke, but onely lay hold on the Lord our righteousnesse.
Object. There is more of God in election to glory then in giving of Faith, or at least of Christs righteousnesse, and eternall glory; therfore there must bee more grace in the one, then in the other. The Antecedent is thus proved; be∣cause God simply, and absolutly, may chuse to glory Moses, Pe∣ter, or not chuse them to glory, and here is liberty of contra∣diction, and freedome, in the highest degree: but having once chosen Moses and Peter to glory; if they beleeve, the Lord Page 266 cannot but justifie them, and crown them with glory; because his promise and decree doth remove this liberty of contradicti∣on, so as God cannot choose, but justifie and glorifie these that beleeve, both in regard of his immutable nature, who cannot repeale, what he hath once decreed, and of his fidelity, in that he cannot but stand to his owne word, and promise, in justify∣ing and saving the ungodly that beleeve. Againe, in election to glory, there is nothing of men, but all is pure free grace, no condition, no merit, no faith, no workes required in the party chosen to glory; but in the justified there is more of man, ere hee can be justified and saved, he must heare, consider, be humbled, know the need hee hath of a Saviour, and beleeve, and without these he cannot be justified.
Answ. 1. I deny, that Libertie of contradiction belongeth to the essence and nature of libertie.* Its enough to make liber∣tie, that 1. It proceeds not from a principle determined by nature, to one kind of action, so the Sunne is not free to give light. 2. That the principle be free of all forraigne force, the malefactor goeth not freely to the place of execution, when hailed to it. 3. That it proceed from deliberation, reason, election, and wisdome, seeing no essentiall connexion, or ne∣cessary, or naturall relation, between the action, and the end thereof of themselves, but such as may bee dispensed with; if these three be, though there be a necessity, in some respect, from a free decree, and a free promise, though there bee not liberty of contradiction, simply to doe, or not to doe, yet is not any degree, of the essence of libertie removed. I well remem∣ber, Dr. Jackson, denying all decrees in God, that setteth the Almighty to one side of the contradiction, resembleth God to the Pope, whose wisdome he commendeth in that the Popes decrees, grants, lawes, promises, are fast and loose, and all made with a reserve of after-wit, so as if the morrowes illu∣mination be better,* then the dayes; whiles his life breatheth in, and out, he may change and retract his will; so saith he, Papa nunquam sibi ligat manus, the Pope tyes all the world to himselfe by oathes, lawes, promises; but that lawlesse beast is tyed to none. Now the Scripture teacheth us, that the de∣crees and counsels of God are surer, then mountaines of brasse and unchangeable, and that his promise cannot faile. But who dare say, when he executes his decrees, and fulfilleth his pro∣mise, Page 267 that he forfeiteth or loseth one inch, degree, or part of his essentiall libertie, God should then bee lesse free to create the world, then if we suppose he had never decreed to create it, and yet doth create it; as if the Lords free decree lavished a∣way, and should drinke up, and waste any part of his naturall freedome in his actions: or as if his faithfulnesse to make good what he promised, should render him lame, and dis∣member him of the fulnesse and freedome of his grace, and so the more faithfull and true, the lesse gracious; and the more unchangeable in his counsels; the more fettered and chained, and the lesse free in all these actions, that he doth according to the counsell of his will. A grosse mis-conception: and I de∣ny, that God is lesse free in the justifying, and crowning the be∣leever, then in electing, and chusing him both to glory, and to faith. It may bee mens decrees, and promises that are rash, and may be at the second, or third edition, like their books, corrected by a new-borne wit, or because they ayme at under-board-dealing, diminsh of their liberty; but its not so in the Almighty. When the Lord by a promise to men, maketh himselfe debter to his creature, and that of free-grace, with one and the same infinite freedome of grace, hee contracteth the debt, and payeth the summe; for so the freedome of infinite grace, should ebbe and slow, as the Seas, and as∣cend and descend as the Sunne; which I cannot conceive; the effects of free grace I grant; being created and finite things in men, are more or lesse according to the free dispensation of God.
Answ. 2. Its no marvell, that there bee more of men in justification and glorification, that are transient acts passing out of the creature, then in election to glory, that is an imma∣nent and eternall act; and so I grant Justification to be more conditionate, then Election: but if more gracious; that is the question: for the condition of Grace, is a thing of free grace; indeed, we argue against the Arminian election that hangeth upon a condition of Free-wils carving, such as their faith is, and their perseverance; and from thence we conclude, from such a condition, their election to glory cannot bee of free grace, but in him that willeth and runneth: because mans will deter∣mining Gods will to chuse this man to glory, not this man, is a running will, and a mad, and a proud will, that will sit a∣bove Grace.
Page 268Pos. 4. Though it be true, that Grace is essentially in God, and in us by participation;* yet is it false, that grace is not properly in us, but that Faith, Hope, Repentance, and the like, that are in us, are gifts, not graces. For grace in us may be cal∣led a gift, in that it is freely given us; as a fruit of the grace and favour of election, and free redemption, which indeed is the onely saving fountaine-grace of God, but if grace be taken for a saving qualification, and a supernaturall act, worke, or qualitie, given freely of the Father through Christ, upon Gods gracious intention, to cause us freely beleeve, repent, love Christ, rejoyce in the hope of glory, worke out our salvation in feare and trembling: so Grace is not onely in Christ, but in us properly, though Antinomians hold all saving grace to bee properly in Christ, and that there is nothing inherent in a be∣leever, that differenceth him from hypocrites, all the difference must be in Christ (say they.) 1. The word saith, there was another Spirit in Caleb and Joshua, then was in the rest of the Spies; Ergo, there was some distinguishing saving grace in them. 2 Joh. 1.16. And of his fulnesse we have all received, and grace for grace. When he ascended to heaven, he sent down the holy Ghost, Joh. 14.17. Hee dwelleth in you, and shall abide in you. Joh. 16.13. He will guid you in all truth — he will shew you things to come. So there is a Spirit of grace powred on the Family of David. Zach. 12.10. On the thirstie ground, Esai 44.3. A new heart, put in the midst of the covenanted people. Ezech. 36.26. Feare of God put in their hearts. Jer. 32.40. Jer. 31.33. 1 Joh. 3.9. 3. There is Grace in the Saints, that denominates them gracious. 1 Cor. 15.10. By the grace of God, I am that I am. Galat. 2.20. I am crucified with Christ, neverthelesse I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, &c.
*There is a great deceitfulnesse in our heart, in the matter of performed conditions,* so soone as we have performed a con∣dition, though wrought in us by meere grace, we hold out our hand, and cry, pay me, Lord, my wages, for I have done my worke; so neere of kin to our corrupt hearts, is the conceit of merit.
2. A second deceit is, when an obligation of obedience pres∣seth us, we overlooke the condition, and fix our eyes on the promise, when we should eye the precept; and when it com∣meth Page 269 to the reward, when we should most looke to the promise of free grace, then we eye the precept, and challenge debt, and forget grace.
3. When we are pressed with the supernaturall dutie of beleeving, and should looke onely to free grace, which onely must inable us to that high worke of beleeving, wee looke to our selves, and complaine; oh, I am not weary and laden, and therefore not qualified for Christ, and so we turne wicked∣ly, and proudly wise, to shift our selves of Christ; when we should looke to our selves, we looke away from our selves, to a promise of our wages, but our bad deservings, if looked to, would turne our eyes on our abominations, that wee might eye free grace, and when we should eye free grace, we looke to our sinnefull unfitnesse to beleeve, and come to Christ.
Vse Beware of false preparations,* that yee take them not for preparations, or for grace: For, 1. discretion, Mar. 12.34. is not grace, but wings and sailes to carry you to hell. 2. Pro∣fession [unspec 1] is a deceiving preparation, it blossomes and laughs, and [unspec 2] deludes, under formes. 3. Victorious strugglings against lusts, [unspec 3] upon naturall motives, look like mortification, and are but ba∣stard dispositions. 4. Education, if civill and externally reli∣gious, [unspec 4] and civill strained holinesse from feare of eternall wrath, or worldly shame, are not to be rested on. When the man is sick, and between the mil-stones of divine wrath, in heavie af∣flictions, his lusts may be sick, and not mortified. The strongest man living, under a feaver, can make no use of his strength and bones, yet hee hath not lost it. It may be a querie, whether the Lord in-stamps something of Christ on Preparations in the e∣lect that are converted, which is not in all the Legall dejections of Saul, Cain, and Judas. 2. It may be a querie, Whether this be any thing really inherent in these Preparations; or on∣ly, which is more probable, an intentionall relation in God, to raise these to the highest end proposed in the Lords eternall e∣lection.
Vse If God bestow saving-grace freely on us, without hire and price,* then temporall deliverances may be bestowed on the Church, when they are not yet humbled. Its true, 1. The people of God are low, and their strength is gone before the Lord delivereth, Deut. 32.36. (2.) Hee delivereth his people when then they are humbled, Levit. 26.41, 42. But, 3. God Page 270 keeps not alwayes this method; nor is it like hee will observe it with Scotland and England, first to humble, and then deliver; but contrarily hee first delivers, and then humbles. As Ezek. 20.42. And yee shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall bring you unto the land of Israel, unto the countrey, for the which I lifted up mine hand, to give it to your fathers. Vers. 43. And there, in that place, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 when yee are delivered, yee shall re∣member your wayes, and all your doings, wherein yee have been defiled, and yee shall loath your selves in your owne sight, for all your evills, that yee have committed. Ezek. 36.33. And I will sanctifie my great Name, which was prophaned among the heathen,*which yee have prophaned in the midst of the heathen. (Then they were not humbled before they were delivered;) Vers. 24. For I will take you from among the heathen, and ga∣ther you out of all countreys, and bring you unto your own land. So when the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt, were they hum∣bled? nay, their murmuring against Moses and Aaron, Exod. 5.20, 21, 22. testifieth their pride: and in that miraculous deli∣verance, and greatest danger, when they were betweene Satan and the deep sea, they were not humbled, but, Psal. 106.7. They provoked him at the sea, even at the red sea. Exod. 14.11, 12. The Lord must also now first deliver us, and shame and con∣found us in Scotland with mercy, and so humble us; for mercy hath more strength to melt hearts of iron and brasse, then the furnace of fire hath, or a sea of bloud, or a destroying pesti∣lence.
Vse The third particular Use is, Wee have no gracious disposition to Christ:* Every man hath a fore-stall'd opinion, and a prejudice against Christ; and our humiliation before conver∣sion should humble us. The merit of decency, devised of late by Jesuites; of congruity, formed of old; or of condignity, to buy grace or glory, are all but counterfeit mettall. Grace, the onely seed of our salvation, is the freest thing in the world, and least tyed to causes without. 1. That of two equall matches in nature, two borne brethren in one wombe, the Lord chuseth one, and refuseth another. 2. Of two sinners, of which one hath one devill, another hath seven devils, hee sheweth mercy upon one that hath seven devils, and forsaketh the other. 3. Of two equally disposed and fitted for conversion, though none be Page 271 fitted aright, hee calleth one of meere grace, and not the other. 4. Grace is so great that, Revel. 5.11. when ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousand of thousands, are set on work to sing, Vers. 12. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and strength: Yea and to help them, every creature that is in heaven, and earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, cry, Blessing, and honour, and power, be to him that sits on the throne, and to the Lamb. And they have been since the Creation upon this Song, and shall be for all eternity upon it; but all of them for ever and ever,* shall never out-sing these praises to the bottome; there is more yet, and more yet to be said of Christ, and ever shall be. What wonder then that we have no leasure to praise grace, being of so little strength, and being clothed with time. Can you out-bottome the Song of Free grace? or can any soule say so much of Christs love, but there is a world more, and another world yet more to be said? And when will yee end? or come to an height? I know not. O be in Graces debt, and take the debt to eternity with you.