Encouragements to faith Drawn from severall engagements both of Gods Christs heart to receive pardon sinners. By Tho: Goodwin, B.D.
Goodwin, Thomas, 1600-1680.
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The maine Observation out of the words: Demonstrati∣ons of Gods heart herein, from his engagements from everlasting: How his heart stood to sinners afore the world was.

THE Observation, which I single out of these words to insist upon, is this, That

Both God the Father, and Iesus Christ the Son are fully willing, and resolved to save sinners.

1. For God the Father, There are many Demonstra∣tions of his will herein, that may be taken ab extra from his Oath, Word, Promise, &c. which I shall handle in another method: but those which I shall first hold forth, are more intimate and Intrinsecall, and homogeneall to the argument which Christ useth here in the Text, which we have seen) to be these, that it was Gods will first, and Christs, but because it was his, (I come not to do mine own will,) and that it was he that dealt with Christ about it, and wrought him off to it, and made it his businesse; (but the will of him that sent me.) So that the Demonstrations which I shall pitch upon, shall be drawn from Gods engage∣ments, both from his transactions with Christ from everlasting, before he came into the world, and those that now lie upon him from Christs having fully per∣formed what he sent him into the world for. And from either may be fetcht strong consolations, and confirmations to our faith, that Gods will must needs continue most serious and hearty to save sinners.

Many other sorts of Demonstrations of this point Page  10 might be fetcht and drawn from the riches of his mercy, lying by him to bestow on some great pur∣chase: & on what greater purchase could they be be∣stowed, to shew forth the glory thereof, then upon the salvation & pardon of sinners? But these also I shal at the present let lie by untold, having elsewere counted them up, and set them forth, such demonstrations be∣ing only proper to this Text, as argue an engagement of his will; whereas all those riches of mercie that are in him (although the moving cause of all) might have for ever remained in him as his nature, without any determination of his will to save any man. When therefore a poor sinner shall heare (besides the merci∣full disposition of Gods nature) that acts and resolu∣tions of his will have past from him, about the par∣doning of sinners, so as his will hath engaged all the mercies of his nature to effect it, this brings in strong consolation.

Now the deepnesse of these engagements of his wil to pardon sinners, may be demonstrated,

1. From such transactions of his, as were held by him with Christ from everlasting; which hath both put strong obligations upon him, and also argue him fully and firmly resolved to save sinners. Now all the particular passages of those treaties of his with Christ, about the reconciliation of sinners from ever∣lasting, I have elsewhere also at large handled; and therefore it is not my scope now to enumerate them. I shall now onely draw Demonstrations from some few of them, by way of Corollary, to help our faith in this point in hand, namely, Gods resolvednesse to pardon sinners.

Page  11 The first is drawn from this, That God the Father had the first and chiefe hand in this matter of saving sinners (as I then shewed) the project was his, and the first motion his.

1. The Project, he laid the plot of it, and contrived all about it, for the effecting of it. Therefore John 5. 19. Christ sayes the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father do.

2. The first Motion was his, I came not to do my own will, (sayes Christ) but the will of him that sent him. Both which (Project and first motion) are shut up in that one sentence, Ephes. 1. He worketh all things by the [counsaile] of his own [will.] Now, for God thus to have the first hand in it, did put a great and deep en∣gagement upon his Will in it. We see among men, the Projector and first motioner of a businesse is al∣wayes most forward in it; because then it is most pe∣culiarly his own; and the greater will be his honour in the compassing of it. How many great affaires have been spoiled, because some men have not been the chiefe and first in them that affect the preheminence? Now this honour God the Father may challenge, that he was the first in reconciling and saving sinners: It is therefore called Gods wisdome, Eph. 3. 10. and his purpose, Ephes. 1. 9. Gods righteousnesse, Rom. 1. 17. and the pleasure of the Lord, Isa. 53.

Secondly, this Project and Motion did rise up in him unto a strong resolution and purpose, and to an unalterable decree to save sinners by Christ: so Eph. 1. 9.

And 1. For his purposes, they are immutable. Would not Paul lightly alter purposes taken up by Page  12 him, When I therefore was thus tamed (sayes he, 2 Cor. 1, 17.) did I use lightnesse? or the things that I purpose do I purpose according to the Flesh, that with me there should be yea, yea, and nay, nay? Would not Paul (I say) alter his purpose because he preached the Gospel, and will God (think you) alter them who gave the Gos∣pel? no, it is the ete nall Gospel, Revel 14. 6. and God is of the same minde still, so it follows in that place to the Corinths, But as God is true (or varies not) so was our word to you, which yet is his more then Pauls, &c.

2. For Gods Decrees, (whereof this was one, they are also immutable. The great Monarchs of the earth, the Persians, took to themselves the infallibility, that they would not alter the Decrees which they made: (therefore when a thing was unalterable, it was said to be as the Lawes of the Medes and Persians) which was to shew their greatnesse, and their wisdome, that they could so resolve, as no person or power whatsoever should be strong enough to cause them to change their resolutions: and yet, they were forced, though not to alter a former Decree, yet to give counter∣mands unto it, (as Ahasuerus did, and men do alter, because they cannot foresee all events, and so cannot make unalterable Decrees without prejudice. There∣fore the Pope, who takes on him the style of Infallible, and so assumes to himself the highest prerogative that ever man did, yet of him it is said, Papa nunquam lgat sibi manus, that he never binds his own hands by any Decree he makes, because he cannot fore see all in∣conveniences, notwithstanding what ever he assumes: But with God it is not thus, He is not a man that he should have cause to repent, for he knows and fore∣sees all that can or will follow.

Page  13 Now 1. this immutability of his counsaile he shews by two oaths; the first made to Christ, the second to us.

1. To Christ, Heb. 7. 21. This Priest (Christ) was made with an oath, by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a Priest for ever, &c. And this was from everlasting; for then it was that Christ was first made Priest: Now then God foresaw that he could never have a relenting thought at the par∣doning of sinners through him, this his Son would so satisfie and please him: and thereupon he sware.

2. To us, Heb. 6. 17, 18. God willing more abundantly to shew unto the heires of promise the immutability of his counsaile, confirmed it by an oath: that by two immutable things (in which it was impossible for God to lie) we might have a strong consolation, &c. The thing I alledge this place for, and which I would have observed, is, that this oath is not mentioned as that now which makes God so immutable, (though that be a truth) But Gods oath is here made that whereby God did declare un∣to us the immutability of his purpose formerly and from everlasting taken up, and so that immutability of his counsaile was the cause of his oath, and that was to pardon sinners: for it is the Promise made to Abraham and his seed, that is there specified.

Yea 3. God set his seale unto all, further to confirm it. He both sealed Christ to the work, Joh. 6. 27. and likewise sealed up in his Decrees the persons of those sinners that shall be saved. 2 Tim. 2. 19. The foundati∣on of the Lord remains sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth who are his. And if it were but a Kings seal, it could not be reversed, but this is Gods. Yea, he Page  14 hath sealed up their sins also by and through Christ, Dan. 9. 24. never to be remembred or lookt upon more.

Thirdly, God rested not in a Decree only, but entred into Covenant with Christ to save sinners by him, if he would die. This Covenant you have Dialogue-wise set out, Esay 49. Frist, Christ begins at the first and second verses, and shewes his Commission, telling God how he had cal∣led him, and fitted him for the work of Redemption, and he would know what reward he should receive of him for so great an undertaking: God answers him, ver. 3. and at first offers low, only the Elect of Israel. Christ who stood now a making his bargain with him, thought these too few, and not worth so great a labour and work, because few of the Jewes would come in, but would refuse him, therefore ver. 4. he sayes, he should labour in vain, if this were all his re∣compence: and yet withall he tels God, that seeing his heart was so much in saving sinners to satisfie him, he would do it however for those few, comforting himselfe with this, that his work was with the Lord. Upon this God comes off more freely, and openeth his heart more largely to him, as meaning more amply to content him for his paines in dying: It is a light thing (sayes God to him) that thou shouldest be my ser∣vant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, that is not worth the dying for, I value thy sufferings more then so, I will give thee for a salvation unto the ends of the earth. Upon this he made a promise to Christ, 1 Tit. 2. and a pro∣mise is more then a purpose. A purpose may be in ones selfe, as Ephes. 1. 9. but a promise is made to an∣other. Page  15 Now God cannot lie in himselfe, but most of all, not to his Son.