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A BODY OF

DOCTRINAL DIVINITY

BOOKS V AND BOOK VI OF SEVEN BOOKS

OR,

A SYSTEM OF PRACTICAL TRUTHS, DEDUCED FROM THE SCRIPTURES.

BY DR. JOHN GILL DD

PREPARED BY David Clarke FOR STUDENTS AT BIERTON PARTICULAR BAPTIST’S COLLEGE,

Pakistan


Published by

Bierton Particular Baptists 11 Hayling Close Fareham

Hampshire PO143AE

[email protected] www.BiertonParticularBaptists.co.uk

Preface

This reproduction of Dr John Gills Body of Doctrinal Divinity is Book V of VI of books, and has been reproduced for the benefit of students at Christchurch Bierton Particular Baptists, Rahim Yar Khan, Pakistan.


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Bierton Particular Baptists Pakistan is the first in Pakistan and founded by David Clarke. Mr Clarke is the sole surviving member of Bierton Particular Baptist, founded in 1831. in England, and was a Gospel Standard Cause. This book tells of the formation of Bierton Particular Baptist Pakistan 2016 along with the formation of a Minister Bible college. David Clarke appointed minister Anil Anwar and Anwar Shahid John of Rahim Yar Khan, as overseers work and the articles of religion and doctrinal foundation are those to the Bierton Particular Baptists 1831.

View the Wikipedia Entry for Bierton and view None Conformist Place of Worship


John Gill (23 November 1697 – 14 October 1771) was an English Baptist pastor, biblical scholar, and theologian who held to a firm Calvinistic soteriology. Born in Kettering , Northamptonshire, he attended Kettering Grammar School where he mastered the Latin classics and learned Greek by age 11. He continued self-study in everything from logic to Hebrew, his love for the latter remaining throughout his life.


Pastoral Work

His first pastoral work was as an intern assisting John Davis at Higham Ferrers in 1718 at age 21. He became pastor at the Strict Baptists church at Goat Yard Chapel, Horselydown, Southwark in 1719. His pastorate lasted 51 years. In 1757 his congregation needed larger premises and moved to a Carter Lane, St. Olave’s Street, Southwark. This Baptist church was once pastored by Benjamin Keach and would later become the New Park Street Chapel and then the Metropolitan Tabernacle pastored by Charles Spurgeon.


Works

In 1748, Gill was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity by the University of Aberdeen. He was a profound scholar and a prolific author. His most important works are:

Gill also edited and re-published the works of Rev. Tobias Crisp, D.D. (1600-1643).

NOTE:


We have not included the Greek, Hebrew or Latin text in the interest of economy.


BOOK V

Contents

OF THE GRACE OF CHRIST IN HIS STATE OF HUMILIATION AND EXALTATION, AND IN THE OFFICES EXERCISED BY HIM IN THEM

Chapter 1 6

OF THE INCARNATION OF CHRIST 6

Chapter 2 17

OF CHRIST’S STATE OF HUMILIATION 17

Chapter 3 23

OF THE ACTIVE OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST IN HIS STATE OF HUMILIATION 23

Chapter 4 28

OF THE PASSIVE OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST, 28

or of His Sufferings and Death 28

Chapter 5 33

OF THE BURIAL OF CHRIST 33

Chapter 6 37

OF THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST 37

FROM THE DEAD. 37

Chapter 7 42

OF THE ASCENSION OF CHRIST TO HEAVEN 42

Chapter 8 47

OF THE SESSION OF CHRIST AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD 47

Chapter 9 50

OF THE PROPHETIC OFFICE OF 50

CHRIST 50

Chapter 10 54

OF THE PRIESTLY OFFICE OF 54

CHRIST 54

Chapter 11 57

OF THE INTERCESSION OF CHRIST 57

Chapter 12 61

OF CHRIST’S BLESSING HIS PEOPLE 61

AS A PRIEST 61

Chapter 13 65

OF THE KINGLY OFFICE OF CHRIST 65

Chapter 14 74

OF THE SPIRITUAL REIGN OF 74

CHRIST 74

BOOK VI

Chapter 1 80

OF REDEMPTION BY CHRIST 80

Chapter 2 83

OF THE CAUSES OF REDEMPTION BY CHRIST 83

Chapter 3 86

OF THE OBJECTS OF REDEMPTION BY CHRIST 86

Chapter 4 92

OF THOSE TEXTS OF SCRIPTURE WHICH SEEM TO FAVOUR UNIVERSAL REDEMPTION 92

Chapter 5 101

OF THE SATISFACTION OF CHRIST 101

Chapter 6 113

OF PROPITIATION, ATONEMENT, AND RECONCILIATION, AS ASCRIBED TO CHRIST 113

Chapter 7 117

OF THE PARDON OF SIN 117

Chapter 8 126

OF JUSTIFICATION 126

Chapter 9 143

OF ADOPTION 143

Chapter 10 149

OF THE LIBERTY OF THE SONS OF GOD 149

Chapter 11 153

OF REGENERATION 153

Chapter 12 162

OF EFFECTUAL CALLING 162

Chapter 13 169

OF CONVERSION 169

Chapter 14 176

OF SANCTIFICATION 176

Chapter 15 183

OF THE PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS 183

OTHER PUBLICATIONS 203

A BODY OF DOCTRINAL DIVINITY 204

IN SEVEN BOOKS 204

THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD 204

THE TOTAL DEPRAVITY OF MAN 204

THE PAROUSIA 205

A BODY OF DOCTRINAL DIVINITY BOOK V

OF THE GRACE OF CHRIST IN HIS STATE OF HUMILIATION AND EXALTATION, AND IN THE OFFICES EXERCISED BY HIM IN THEM

Chapter 1

OF THE INCARNATION OF CHRIST

Having treated, in the preceding Book, of the exhibition of the covenant of grace, old both under the Old and New Testament dispensations, and of the law and gospel, as held forth in both; and of the latter only in a general way; I shall now proceed to consider, the particular, special, and important doctrines of the gospel, which express the grace of Christ, and the blessings of grace by him; and shall begin with the incarnation of the Son of God. This is a very considerable part of the glad tidings of the gospel, and which give it that name: when the angels related to the shepherds the birth of Christ, he said unto them; “Behold I bring you good tidings of great joy”, &c. (Luke 2:10,11). The whole gospel is a mystery; the various doctrines of it are the mysteries of the kingdom; the knowledge of which is given to some, and not to others; it is the mystery of godliness, and, without controversy, great; and this stands the first and principal article of it; “God manifest in the flesh” (1 Tim. 3:16). This is the basis of the Christian religion; a fundamental article of it; and without the belief of it no man can be a Christian; “Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God;” born of God, and belongs to him, and is on the side of God and truth; “And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God” (1 John 4:2, 3).

The incarnation of Christ is a most extraordinary and amazing affair; it is wonderful indeed, that the eternal Son of God should become man; that he should be born of a pure virgin, without any concern of man in it; that this should be brought about by the power of the Holy Ghost, in a way unseen, imperceptible and unknown, signified by his overshadowing; and all this in order to effect the most wonderful work that ever was done in the world, the redemption and salvation of men: it is a most mysterious thing, incomprehensible by men, and not to be accounted for upon the principles of natural reason; and is only to be believed and embraced upon the credit of divine revelation, to which it solely belongs. The heathens

had some faint notions of it; at least say some things similar to it. The Brachmanes among the Indians, asserted, that Wistnavius, the second person of the trine-une god with them, had nine times assumed a body, and sometimes an human one; and would once more do the same again; and that he was once born of a virgin. Confucius, the famous Chinese philosopher, who lived almost five hundred years before Christ, it is said, foresaw that the Word would be made flesh; and foretold the year in which it would be; and which was the very year in which Christ was born: but this seems to savour too much of the tale of a Christian in later times. However, several of the deities and heroes of the heathens, Greeks and Romans, are represented as having no father. Now whatever notion the heathens had of an incarnate God, or of a divine Person born of a virgin, in whatsoever manner expressed; this was not owing to any discoveries made by the light of nature, but what was traditionally handed down to them, and was the broken remains of a revelation their ancestors were acquainted with. Otherwise the incarnation of the Son of God, is a doctrine of pure revelation; in treating of which I shall consider,

First, The subject of the incarnation, or the divine Person that became incarnate. The evangelist John says it was the Word, the essential Word of God; “The word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). And therefore not the Father; for he is distinguished from the “Word”, in the order of the Trinity (1 John 5:7). And, he is said to be the “Word with God;” that is, with God the Father; and therefore must be distinct from him (Rev. 19:13; Acts 20:32; John 1:1). Besides, the Father never so much as appeared in an human form; and much less took real flesh; nay, never was seen in any shape by the Jews (John 5:37). And though their ancestor heard a voice, and a terrible one at Sinai, they saw no similitude (Deut. 4:12). And wherever we read of any visible appearance of a divine Person in the Old Testament, it is always to be understood, not of the first, but of the second Person. And it may be further observed, that the Father prepared a body, an human nature in his purpose, council and covenant, for another, and not

for himself, even for his Son, as he acknowledges; “A body hast thou prepared me;” (Heb. 10:5). To which may be added, that that divine Person who came in the flesh, or became incarnate, is always distinguished from the Father, as being sent by him; “God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh” (Rom. 8:3). And again; “God sent forth his Son made of a woman” (Gal. 4:4), that is, God the Father, in both passages; as appears from the relation of the Person to him, sent in the flesh, his Son. Once more, if the Father had been incarnate, he must have suffered and died; for that is the end of the incarnation, that the Person incarnate, might obey, suffer, and die, in the room of sinners; so Christ suffered in the flesh, and was put to death in the flesh. There were a set of men in ancient times, who embraced the Sabellian folly, and were called Patripassians, because they held that the Father suffered; and, indeed, if there is but one Person in the Deity, and Father, Son, and Spirit are only so many names and manifestations of that one Person; then it must be equally true of the Father as of the Son, that he became incarnate, obeyed, suffered, and died. But this notion continued not long, but was soon rejected, as it must be by all that read their Bible with any care. Nor is it the Holy Spirit that became incarnate, for the same reasons that the Father cannot be thought to be so: and besides, he had a peculiar hand, and a special agency, in the formation of the human nature, and in its conception and birth: when the Virgin hesitated about what was told her by the angel, she was assured by him, that the Holy Ghost should come upon her, and the power of the Highest should overshadow her; and accordingly the birth of Christ was on this wise, when Joseph and Mary were espoused, before they came together, “she was found with child of the Holy Ghost;” and Joseph was told, in order to encourage him to take her to wife, that what was “conceived in her, was of the Holy Ghost;” and therefore he himself was not incarnate; (see Luke 1:35; Matthew 1:18,20). It remains, that it is the second Person, the Son of God, who is meant by “the Word that was made flesh”, or became incarnate; and, indeed, it is explained of him in the same passage; for it follows; “And we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,” And it is easy to observe, that the same divine Person that bears the name of the Word, in the order of the Trinity, in one place, has that

of the Son in another; by which it appears they are the same; (compare 1 John 5:7 with Matthew 28:19). When this mystery of the incarnation is expressed by the phrase, “God manifest in the flesh;” not God the Father, nor the Holy Spirit, but God the Son is meant, as it is explained (1 John 3:8), for “this purpose the Son of God was manifested;” that is, in the flesh; and as before observed, it was the Son of God that was sent in the likeness of sinful flesh, and in the fulness of time was sent forth, made of a woman (Rom. 8:3; Gal. 4:4). He, therefore, is the subject of the incarnation, or the divine Person that became incarnate.

Now the Logos, the Word and Son of God, who is made flesh or become incarnate, is not to be understood of the human soul of Christ; for this Word was “in the beginning with God;” that is, was with him from all eternity; (see Prov. 8:22-30), whereas the human soul of Christ is one of the souls that God has made; a creature, a creature of time, as all creatures are; time is an inseparable adjunct and concomitant of a creature; a creature before time, is a contradiction: besides, this Word “was” God, a divine Person, distinct from the Father, though with him, the one God; which cannot be said of the human soul. Likewise, to it is ascribed the creation of all things; “All things were made by him;” not as an instrument, but as the efficient cause; “And without him was not anything made that was made;” and since the human soul is what is made, being a creature; if that is the Word and Son of God, it must be the maker of itself, seeing nothing that is made is made without it; which is too great an absurdity to be admitted. So the creation of all things is elsewhere ascribed to the Son of God, who therefore cannot be a creature; (see Heb. 1:1,2,10; Col. 1:16,17). To which may be added, that the human soul of Christ is a part of the human nature assumed by him; it is included in the word “flesh”, the Word, or Son of God, is said to be made, as will be shown presently; it is a part of that nature of the seed of Abraham, in distinction from the nature of angels, which the Word, or Son of God, a divine Person, took upon him, and into union with him, and therefore cannot be the assumer; the assumer and the assumed cannot be the same, but must be distinct from each other; (see Heb. 2:14,16). Nor by the Logos, or Word, made flesh, are we to understand the divine nature, essentially considered, or the essence of God, as common to the three divine

Persons, Father, Son and Spirit; for then it would be equally true of the Father and the Spirit, that they are made flesh, or become incarnate, as of the Son; as it must needs be, if the divine nature, so considered, was incarnated; or the human nature was united to it as such: such phrases are therefore unsound, unsafe, and dangerous; as that the man Christ stands in the divine nature; and that the human nature is united to Deity: this is not the truth of things; the human nature is not united to Deity absolutely considered: but as that in a distinct mode of subsisting, is in the second Person, the Son of God; it was the Son of God, by whom God made the world, and by him speaks to men, in these last days, who is the brightness of his Father’s glory, and the express image of his person; the Creator of angels, and the object of their worship and adoration; and who upholds all things by the word of his power, who partook of the same flesh and blood with the children, and has taken upon him, and assumed to him, not the nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham; he who was in the form of God, of the same nature with him, and thought it no robbery to be equal with God, is he that took upon him the form of a servant, the nature of man in a servile state, was made in the likeness of man, and found in fashion as a man, or really became man. I proceed,

Secondly, To observe, in what sense the Word, or Son of God, was “made flesh”, became a partaker “of flesh and blood, came in the flesh”, and was “manifest in the flesh”: all which phrases are made use of to express his incarnation (John 1:14; Heb. 2:14; 1 John 4:2,3; 1 Tim. 3:16), and signify, that he who is truly God really became man, or assumed the whole human nature, as will be seen presently, into union with his divine person. Socinus is so bold as to say, that if any passages of scripture could be found, in which it is expressly said that God was made man, or put on and assumed human flesh, the words must be taken otherwise than as they sound, this being repugnant to the majesty of God. The contrary to this will soon appear; and though this is not to be found in scripture just syllabically, the sense clearly is, as in the scriptures referred to. But there is no dealing with such a man who will talk at this rate; and who elsewhere says, on another account, that the greatest force must be used with the words of the apostle Paul, rather than such a sense be admitted, which yet

is obvious. It will be proper to inquire, both what is meant by flesh, and what by being made flesh.

1. First, What is meant by flesh, in the phrases and passages referred to. And by it is meant, not a part of the human body, as that may be distinguished from other parts, as the bones, &c. nor the whole human body, as that may be distinguished from the soul or spirit of a man; as in Matthew 26:41 but a whole individual of human nature, consisting of soul and body; as when it is said, “There shall no flesh be justified in his sight”: and again, “That no flesh should glory in his presence” (Rom. 3:20; 1 Cor. 1:29) with many other passages; (see Gen. 6:12; Luke 3:6), for such acts as being justified and glorying, can never be said of the flesh or body, abstractly considered; but of the whole man, or of individuals of human nature, consisting of soul and body; and in this sense are we to understand it, when it is used of the incarnation of the Son of God, who took upon him the whole nature of man, assumed a true body and a reasonable soul, being in all things made like unto his brethren; so his flesh signifies his human nature, as distinct from the Spirit, his divine nature (Rom. 1:3,4 1; Pet. 3:18).

  1. He took a true body, not a mere phantom, spectre, or apparition, the appearance of a body, and not a real one; as some fancied, and that very early, even in the times of the apostle John, and afterward; and who imagined, that what Christ was, and did, and suffered, were only seeming, and in appearance, and not in reality; and hence they were called “Docetae”: and this they argued from his being sent in the “likeness” of sinful flesh; and being found in fashion as a man; and from the appearances of Christ before his coming; of which same kind they supposed his appearance was when he came. As for the text in Romans 8:3 “likeness” there, is not to be connected with the word “flesh”, but with the word “sinful;” he was sent in real flesh, but that flesh looked as if it was sinful: it might seem so to some, because he took flesh of a sinful woman, was attended with griefs and sorrows, the effects of sin; had the sins of his people imputed to him, and which he bore in his own body on the tree; all which made his flesh appear as if it was sinful, though it was not; and hindered not its being real flesh. As to Philippians 2:7,8 the as there is not a note of similitude, but of certainty; as in Matthew 14:5 and signifies, that Christ was

    really a man, as John was accounted a real prophet, and not merely like one; and which is evident by his being obedient unto death, as follows: and as for the appearances of Christ in an human form, before his coming in the flesh, the Scriptures speak of; admitting they were only appearances, and not real, it does not follow, that therefore his coming in the flesh, in the fulness of time, was of the same kind; but rather the contrary follows; and since these were preludes of his incarnation, that must be real; though some of these previous appearances were not merely appearances, but realities: real bodies were formed and animated, and made use of for a time, and then laid aside; as seems to be the case of the three men that appeared to Abraham, two of which were angels, and the other the Lord, Jehovah, the Son of God; who were clothed with bodies, capable of walking and travelling, of talking and conversing, of eating and drinking in; so the man that wrestled with Jacob, who was no other than the Angel of the covenant, the promised Messiah; the body he appeared in was not a mere phantom, spectre, and apparition, but palpable flesh, that was felt and handled, and grasped, and held fast, by Jacob; and which he would not let go till he had received the blessing. However, it is certain that Christ partook of the same flesh and blood as his children and people do; and therefore, if theirs is real, his must be so. Likewise, his body is called the body of his flesh, his fleshly body (Col. 1:22), to distinguish it from the token of his body in the supper; and from his mystical and spiritual body, the church: all his actions, and what is said of him from his birth to his death, and in and after it, show it was a true body that he assumed; he was born and brought into the world as other men are; and when born, his body grew and increased in stature, as other human bodies do: the Son of man came eating and drinking; he traveled through Judea and Galilee; he slept in the ship with his disciples; he was seen, and heard, and handled by them; he was buffered, scourged, bruised, wounded, and crucified by men; his body, when dead, was asked of the governor by Joseph, was taken down from the cross by him, and laid in his tomb; and the same identical body, with the prints of the nails and spear in it, was raised from the dead, and seen and handled by his disciples; to whom it was demonstrated, that he had flesh and bones, a spirit has

    not: yea, the very infirmities that attended him, though sinless, were proofs of his body being a true and real one; such as his fatigue and weariness in travelling (John 4:6), his tears at the grave of Lazarus, and over Jerusalem; and his sweat in the garden (John 11:35; Luke 19:41; 22:44). In short, it was through weakness of the flesh that he was crucified; which was not in appearance, but in reality. The body he assumed was mortal, as it was proper it should be, since the end of his assumption of it was to suffer death in it; but being raised from the dead, it is become immortal, and will never die more, but will remain, as the pledge and pattern of the resurrection of the bodies of the saints, which will be fashioned like to his glorious body; and which will be the object of the corporal vision of the saints after their resurrection, with joy and pleasure, to all eternity.

  2. Christ assumed a reasonable soul, with his true body, which make up the nature he took upon him, and are included in the flesh he was made, as has been seen; and is the flesh and blood he partook of; which is sometimes understood of an individual of human nature, as flesh is; (see Matthew 16:17; Gal. 1:16) The Arians deny that Christ has an human soul; they say, that the Logos, or the divine nature in him, such a one as it is, supplied the place of an human soul. This nature, they say, is not the same, but like to the nature of God; that it was created by him; which they ground on Proverbs 8:22 and read, “He created me;” and they make this the first and principal creature God made, and by which he created others; that it is a superangelic spirit, and is in the room of an human soul to Christ. But Christ asserts, that he had a soul; and which, he says, was exceeding sorrowful; and which was an immaterial and immortal spirit; and which, when his body died, and was separated from it, he commended into the hands of his divine Father (Matthew 26:38; Luke 23:46). Had he not an human soul, he would not be a perfect man; and could not be called, as he is, the man Christ Jesus: the integral parts of man, and which constitute one, are soul and body; and without which he cannot be called a man; these distinguish him from other creatures: on the one hand he is distinguished from angels, immaterial and immortal spirits, with which his soul has a cognition, by having a body, or by being an embodied spirit; whereas they are incorporeal: so, on the other hand, he is distinguished

from mere animals, who have bodies as well as he, by his having a rational and immortal soul: and if Christ was without one, he could not be in all things like unto us; being deficient in that which is the most excellent and most noble part of man. But that he is possessed of an human soul, is evident from his having an human understanding, will, and affections; he had an human understanding, knowledge, and wisdom, in which he is said to grow, and which in some things were deficient and imperfect (Luke 2:52; Mark 13:32). He had an human will, distinct from the divine will, though not opposite, but in subjection to it (John 6:38; Luke 22:42). And he had human affections, as love (Mark 10:21; John 13:23). And joy (Luke 10:21). Yea, even those infirmities, though sinless passions, prove the truth of his human soul; as sorrow, grief, anger, amazement, and consternation (Matthew 26:38; Mark 3:5 14:33). Besides, if he had not had an human soul, he could not have been tempted in all points like as we are (Heb. 4:15), since the temptations of Satan chiefly respect the soul, the mind, and the thoughts of it, and affect and distress that: nor could he have bore the wrath of God, nor have had a sensation of that; which it is certain he had, when the weight of the sins of his people lay on him, and pressed him sore; (see Ps. 89:38; Matthew 26:38). Nor could he have been a perfect sacrifice for their sins; which required his soul as well as his body (Isa. 53:10; Heb. 10:10), nor have been the Saviour of their souls; as he is both of body and soul, giving life for life, body for body, soul for soul (1 Pet. 1:9).

Secondly, In what sense the Word, or Son of God, was “made” flesh, and so became incarnate; the Word could not be made at all, that is, created, since he is the Maker and Creator of all things; and therefore he himself could not be made or created: nor was he, nor could be, made, converted, and changed into flesh; the divine nature in Christ could not be changed into human nature; for he is the Lord, that changes not; he is the same in the “yesterday” of eternity, in the day of time, and “for ever” to all eternity. By the incarnation nothing is added to, nor altered in the divine nature and personality of Christ. The human nature adds nothing to either of them; they remain the same they ever were; Christ was as much a divine Person before his incarnation as he is since; the union of the human nature to the divine nature, is to it as subsisting in

the Person of the Son of God; so it is always to be understood, whenever we speak of the union of the human nature to the divine nature; for it is not united to the divine nature, simply considered; or as that is common to the three Persons; for then each would be incarnate; but as it has a peculiar subsistence in the Person of the Son of God: and so the human nature has its subsistence in his Person, and has a glory and excellency given it; but that gives nothing at all to the nature and person of the divine Word and Son of God. But, as other scriptures explain it, God the Word, or Son, was made and became “manifest in the flesh;” the Son that was in the bosom of the Father, the Word of life, that was with him from all eternity, was manifested in the flesh in time, to the sons of men; and that in order to take away sin, and destroy the works of the devil (1 Tim. 3:16; 1 John 1:1,2; 3:5,8). And the incarnation of the Word or Son of God, is expressed and explained by his partaking of flesh and blood; and by a taking on him the nature of man; or by an assumption of the human nature into union with his divine Person; so that both natures, divine and human, are united in one Person; and there is but one Lord, and one Mediator between God and man. The Nestorians so divided and separated these natures, as to make them distinct and separate Persons; which they are not, but one. And the Eutychians, running rate the other extreme, mixed and confounded the natures together; interpreting the phrase, “the Word was made flesh”, of the divine nature being changed into the human nature; and the human nature into the divine nature; and so blended together as to make a third; just as two sort of liquors, mixed together, make a third different from both. But this is to make Christ neither truly God, nor truly man; the one nature being confounded with and swallowed up in the other. But this union of natures is such, that though they are closely united, and not divided, yet they retain their distinct properties and operations; as the divine nature to be uncreated, infinite, omnipresent, impassible,

&c. the human nature to be created, finite, in some certain place, passible, &c. at least the latter, before the resurrection of Christ. But of this union, and the nature of it, more hereafter.

Thirdly, The causes of the incarnation, efficient and moving, or to whom and what it is to be ascribed; and the final cause, for the sake of whom, and what.

l. The efficient cause of it, God, Father, Son, and Spirit; all the three Persons have a concern in it, it being a work “ad extra,” The Father prepared a body for the Son in his purpose, and proposed it to him in council and covenant to assume it; and he sent him forth in the fulness of time, made of a woman, in the likeness of sinful flesh (Heb. 10:5; Gal. 4:4; Rom. 8:3). The Son having agreed to it, being sent, came in the flesh, by the assumption of it; he took upon him the nature of the children, and partook of the same flesh and blood with them; he took upon him the form of a servant, and was found in fashion as a man (Heb. 2:14,16; Phil. 2:7,8). The Holy Ghost had a very great concern in this affair; for that which was conceived in the Virgin was of “the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 1:20), not of his substance, nature, and essence; for then he would have been the Father of it, which he is never said to be; Christ, as man, was “without Father”, and so a proper antitype of Melchizedec (Heb. 7:3). Besides, the body of Christ would have been not human, but spiritual: but it was of him as the efficient cause of it; it was through his overshadowing power and influence that it was conceived and formed (Luke 1:35). Now, though all the three Persons in the Deity had an hand in the wondrous incarnation, yet only one of them became incarnate; only the Son assumed the human nature, and took it into union with his divine Person; it is the Word only that was made flesh. Some have illustrated this, by three virgins concerned in working a garment; when only one of them puts it on and wears it.

  1. The moving cause of the incarnation of Christ, is the love of the Father, and of the Son, to mankind. God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son to become man, obey, suffer, and die for sinners; herein is love, and this love manifested, that God sent his Son in human nature to be the propitiation for the sins of his people, and save them from death (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9,10). And such was the love and condescending grace of the Son, that though he was in the form of God, of the same nature with him, and equal to him; yet he took upon him the form and nature of man in a servile condition, humbled himself, and died in it. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is well known; who, though rich in his divine Person, became poor in human nature, to make his people rich (Phil. 2:6-8; 2 Cor. 8:9).

  2. The final cause, or for whose sake, and for what the Son of God became incarnate. It was for the sake of the elect of God; “To us”, or “for us”, for our sakes, “a Child is born; a Son is given”: it was “unto all people;” or rather, “unto all the people;” for the sake of the whole people of God among Jews and Gentiles, that Christ was born a Saviour, or to be a Saviour of them; for which reason, as soon as he was born, his name was called Jesus, because he was to save his people from their sins; for which end he was born and came into the world. But of this more hereafter; (see Isa. 9:6; Luke 2:10,11; Matthew 1:21).

Fourthly, The parts of the incarnation are next to be considered, conception and nativity.

  1. First, Conception; this is a most wonderful, abstruse, and mysterious affair; and which to speak of is very difficult.

    1. This conception was by a virgin; it was a virgin that conceived the human body of Christ, as was foretold it should; which was very wonderful, and therefore introduced with a note of admiration; “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son!” This was a “new thing;” unheard of and astonishing; which God “created in the earth”, in the lower parts of the earth, in the virgin’s womb; “A woman compassed”, or conceived, “a man”, without the knowledge of man (Isa. 7:14; Jer 31:22). This was not natural, but supernatural; though Mela the geographer, speaks of some women in a certain island who conceived without copulation with men; but that is all romance; Plutarch asserts, such a thing was never known. This conception was made “in” the virgin, and not without her; for so says the text; “That which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost;” this I observe to meet with, and confute the heretical illapse, as it is sometimes called; it was a notion of some of the ancient heretics, the Valentinians, and of late, the Mennonites, that the human nature of Christ was formed in heaven, and came down from thence into the virgin, and passed through her as water through a pipe, as their expression was; so that, according to them, he was not conceived in her, nor took flesh of her: to countenance this, it is observed, that the “second man” is said to be “the Lord from heaven” (1 Cor. 15:47. But the words are not to be understood of the descent of the human nature of Christ from heaven; but of his divine Person from thence; not by change of place, but by

      assumption of the human nature into union with him; by virtue of which union the man Christ has the name of the “Lord from heaven;” and not because of the original and descent of the human nature from thence; and in this sense, and in this sense only, are we to understand the words of Christ, when he says, “I came down from heaven” (John 6:38), namely, that he descended in and by the human nature; not by bringing it down from thence, but by taking it into union with his divine Person.

    2. This conception was through the power and influence of the Holy Ghost, overshadowing the virgin. His operations in this affair may be considered in this manner, and after this order; He first took a part and portion of the virgin, of her semen, or blood, and conveyed it to a proper place; and purified and sanctified it, or separated it, not from any moral impurity, which it was not capable of, being an unformed mass; but from a natural indisposition in it, which, had it not been removed, might hereafter have occasioned sin; to prevent which this was done; and then he impregnated it with a fructifying virtue, and formed the members of the human body, in order, at once, and in a fitness (being properly organized) to receive the human soul; for to consider its immediate formation in such a state, is much more agreeable to the formation of the first man, more becoming the workmanship of the Holy Ghost, and more suitable to the dignity of the Son of God to assume it into union with himself, than to suppose it an unformed and unshapen embryo. Yet this is to be understood, not as if it was in such a state as not to admit of a future increase, both before and after birth; nor to contradict its continuance in the womb of the virgin the usual time of every man. Now though this affair has been spoken of as in various processes, yet must be understood as all instantaneously done by the almighty power of the Holy Spirit: in the same instant the human body was thus conceived, formed, and organized, the human soul of Christ was created and united to it, by him who “forms the spirit of man within him;” and in that very instant the body was conceived and formed, and the soul united to it, did the Son of God assume the whole human nature at once, and take it into union with his divine Person, and gave it a subsistence in it; so that the human nature of Christ never had a subsistence of itself; but from the

      moment of its conception, formation, and creation, it subsisted in the Person of the Son of God: and hence the human nature of Christ is not a person; a person is that which subsists of itself: but that the human nature of Christ never did; therefore,

    3. It was a nature, and not a person, that Christ assumed so early as at its conception; it is called “the holy Thing”, and not a person; “The seed of Abraham”, or the nature of the seed of Abraham; the “form” and “fashion” of a man, that is, the nature of man; as “the form of God”, in the same passage, signifies the nature of God; (see Luke 1:35; Heb. 2:16; Phil. 2:6-8). The Nestorians asserted the human nature of Christ to be a person; and so made two persons in Christ, one human and one divine; and of course four persons in the Deity, contrary to 1 John 5:7 but there is but one Person of the Son, one Son of God, one Lord of all, one Mediator between God and man: if the two natures in Christ were two distinct separate persons, the works and actions done in each nature could not be said of the same Person; the righteousness wrought out by Christ in the human nature, could not be called the righteousness of God: nor the blood shed in the human nature the blood of the Son of God; nor God be said to purchase the church with his blood; nor the Lord of life and glory to be crucified; nor the Son of man to be in heaven, when he was here on earth: all which phrases can only be accounted for, upon the footing of the personal union of the human nature to the Son of God, and his having but one Person; of which these various things are predicated. Besides, if the human nature of Christ was a person of itself, what it did and suffered could have been of no avail, nor of any benefit to any other but itself; the salvation wrought out in it, and by it, would not have been the common salvation, or common to elect men; but peculiar to that individual human person; and the righteousness he is the author of, he would only have had the benefit of it, being justified by it, and accepted with God in it; whereas, it being wrought out in the human nature, as in personal union with the Son of God, this gives it an enlarged virtue, and spread; and so it comes to be “unto all, and upon all them that believe,”

I treat of the union of the two natures, divine and human, in the person of the Son of God, under the article of conception, and before the birth of Christ,

as it certainly was; hence when Mary paid a visit to her cousin Elizabeth, before the birth of Christ, and just upon the conception of him, she was saluted by her thus; “Whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come unto me?” (Luke 1:43). Wherefore, before I proceed to consider the second part of the incarnation, the nativity of Christ, I shall further observe some things concerning the union, which took place at the conception; and of the effects of it.

  1. Of the union itself; concerning which let it be observed,

    (l). That though Christ, by assuming the human nature, united it to his divine Person; yet there is a difference between assumption and union assumption is only of one nature; union is of both: Christ only assumed the human nature to his divine Person; but both natures, human and divine, are united in his Person: that he has two distinct natures is evident; in that, according to the flesh, or human nature, he is the Son of David; and according to the Spirit of holiness, or the divine nature, he is the Son of God: he was of the father’s, according to the flesh, or human nature; but, according to the divine nature, God over all, blessed for ever: he was put to death in the flesh, in the human nature; but quickened in or by the Spirit, the divine nature (Rom. 1:3,4; 9:5; 1 Pet. 1:18), yet but one Person.

    1. This union is hypostatical, or personal; but not an union of persons: the union of Father, Son, and Spirit in the Deity, is an union of three Persons in one God; but this is not an union of two persons; but of two natures in one person.

    2. This an union of natures; but not a communication of one nature to another; not of the divine nature, and the essential properties of it, to the human nature; for though “the fulness of the Godhead dwells bodily” in Christ (Col. 2:9), that is, substantially and really, not in shadow and type; yet the perfections of the Godhead are not communicated to the manhood, as to make that uncreated, infinite, immense, and to be everywhere, &c. the properties of each nature remain distinct, notwithstanding this union.

    3. This union lies in a communication of, or rather in making the personality of the Word, common to the human nature; or giving it a subsistence in the Person of the Word or Son of God; hence because of this

      union and community of person, it has the same name with the Word; and is called, “the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). And hence it appears, that the human nature of Christ is no loser, but a gainer, and is not inferior, but superior to other individuals of human nature, by its not being a person, subsisting of itself; because it has a better subsistence in the Person of the Son of God, than it could have had of itself; or than any creature has, angel or man.

    4. This union is indissoluble: though death dissolved the union between the body and soul of Christ, it did not, and could not, dissolve the union between the human nature and person of Christ; wherefore, in consequence of this union, he raised up the temple of his body, when destroyed, the third day, and thereby declared himself to be the Son of God with power (John 2:19; Rom. 1:4).

  2. The effects of this union, both with respect to the human nature, and to the Person of Christ. With respect to the human nature;

  1. Preeminence to all other individuals of human nature; it is chosen and preferred to the grace of union with the Son of God, above them all; it has a better subsistence than they have, and has obtained a more excellent name than they, and even than the angels; and is possessed of glory, blessings, and privileges above all creatures; as will appear from what will be further observed. All which is not of any merit in it, but of the free grace of God.

  2. Perfect holiness and impeccability: it is called, “the holy Thing;” it is eminently and perfectly so; without original sin, or any actual transgression; it is not conscious of any sin, never committed any, nor is it possible it should.

  3. A communication of habitual grace to it in the greatest degree; it is, in this respect, fairer and more beautiful than any of the sons of men; grace being poured into it in great plenty; it is anointed with the oil of gladness above its fellows; that is, with the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit; it has the Spirit given unto it, but not by measure; the Spirit of God rests upon it, in his several gifts and graces, in a most glorious and perfect manner (Ps. 45:2,7; John 3:34; Isa. 11:2). And should it be asked, if the same graces were in it, and exercised by it, as love, faith, and hope, in the saints? it may be answered, they were, and were exercised by it in its state of humiliation, as

its circumstances required: Christ trusted and hoped in God, when upon his mother’s breasts (Ps. 22:9,10). When in suffering circumstances, he exercised faith on him, that he would justify, help, and deliver him (Isa. 50:7-9). When the time of his death drew nigh, he expressed his love to God by a readiness to submit to his will, and obey his command (John 14:31). And when his body lay in the grave, he rested in hope of the resurrection of it (Ps. 16:10).

(4). A very high and glorious exaltation of it, after his death and resurrection from the dead: it was highly exalted by being united to the Person of the Son of God; and though it came into a state of humiliation in it, yet being raised from the dead, is highly exalted, far above all principality and power, and might and dominion, and above every name that is named in this world or in that to come; it is set down at the right hand of God, where angels are never bid to come; and where angels, authorities, and powers, are made subject to it (Eph. 1:20,21; Phil. 2:9,10; Heb. 1:13; 1

Pet. 3:22).

With respect to the Person of Christ, the effects of this union are,

1. A communication of idioms, or properties, as the ancients express it; that is, of the properties of each nature; which are, in common, predicated of the Person of Christ, by virtue of the union of natures in it; for though each nature retains its peculiar properties, and does not communicate them to each other; yet they may be predicated of the Person of Christ: yea, he may be denominated in one nature, from a property which belongs to another; thus in his divine nature he is God, the Son of God, the Lord of glory; and yet in this nature is described by a property which belongs to the human nature, which is to be passible, and suffer; hence we read of God purchasing the church with his blood; and of the blood of the Son of God cleansing from all sin; and of the Lord of glory being crucified (Acts 20:28; 1 John 1:7; 1 Cor. 2:8). And on the other hand, in his human nature he is called the Son of man; and yet as such, is described by a property which belongs to the divine nature, which is to be omnipresent, to be everywhere. So it is said; “No man hath ascended to heaven but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man, which is in heaven” (John 3:13), who was in heaven at the same time he was here on earth; which was true of his

Person, though denominated from his human nature; and thus what cannot be said of Christ in the abstract, is true of him in the concrete, by virtue of this union; it cannot be said, that the Deity of Christ suffered; or that the humanity of Christ is everywhere: but it may be said, that God, the Son of God suffered; and that the Son of man was in heaven when on earth, or everywhere. It cannot be said, that the Deity is humanity; nor the humanity Deity, nor equal to God: but it may be said, that God the Word is man, and the man Christ is God, Jehovah’s Fellow; because these names respect the Person of Christ, which includes both natures.

  1. A communion of office, and of power and authority to exercise it in both natures: thus by Virtue of this union Christ bears the office of a Mediator, and exercises it in both natures; there is “one Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5), but he is not Mediator only in his human nature, and only exercises it in that; he took upon him, and was invested with this office before his assumption of human nature; and could and did exercise some parts of it without it, as has been shown in its proper place; but there were others that required his human nature; and when, and not before it was requisite, he assumed it; and in it, as united to his divine Person, he is God-man, is Prophet, Priest, and King, Judge, Lawgiver, and Saviour; and has power over all flesh, to give eternal life to as many as the Father has given him; and upon his resurrection, had all power in heaven and earth given him, to appoint ordinances, and commission men to administer them; and had authority also to execute judgment, both in the world and in the church; because he is the Son of man (Matthew 28:18; John 17:2 5:27).

  2. A communion of operations in both natures, to the perfecting of the same work; which, therefore, may be called “theandric”, or the work of the God- man; there being a concurrence of both natures in the performance of it; which, when done, is ascribed to his Person: thus, for instance, the sacrifice of himself, as the propitiation for the sins of men; as God-man and Mediator, he is the Priest that offers; his human nature, consisting of soul and body, is the Sacrifice; and his divine nature is the altar which sanctifies it, and gives it its atoning virtue, his blood was shed in the human nature, to cleanse from sin; but it is owing

    to its union with the Son of God that such an effect is produced by it. The redemption of men is by the ransom price of the life and blood of Christ; but it is the divine nature, to which the human is united, in the Person of the Son of God, that makes it a sufficient one. The mission of the Spirit, by Christ, is owing both to his intercession in the human nature, and to his power and authority in the divine nature, according to the economy of things settled between the divine Persons.

  3. The adoration of the Person of Christ, having both natures united in him, is another effect of this union. The human nature of Christ is not the formal object of worship; it is a creature, and not to be worshipped as such; nor is worship given for the sake of it, or as singly considered; but then the divine Person of Christ having that nature in union with him, is the object of worship; the flesh of Christ is not worshipped, but the incarnate God is; a whole Christ is worshipped, but not the whole of Christ. “When he bringeth in the first begotten into the world”, which was at the time of the incarnation, “he saith, let all the angels of God worship him” (Heb. 1:6). And upon his resurrection from the dead, God has “given him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus should bow;” that is, in a way of religious (Phil. 2:9,10), and though Christ, as man, is not the object of such adoration; yet what he has done in the human nature, is a motive and argument why blessing and honour should be given to his Person, having both natures united in him; “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power”, &c. (Rev. 5:12,13).

Secondly, The birth, or nativity of Christ, the other part of the incarnation, is next to be considered.

  1. Of whom born; of a virgin, of the house of David, and of the tribe of Judah.

    (l). Of a virgin: this was hinted at in the first promise of “the seed of the woman;” and is fully expressed by Isaiah; “A virgin shall conceive and bear a Son;” to fulfil which prophecy, before Joseph and Mary cohabited as man and wife, and so, while she was a virgin, “she was found with child of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 1:18-23). And it was brought about in this manner, that the human nature of Christ might be clear of original sin, which it otherwise must have been infected with, had it been conceived and born in the ordinary and natural way of generation;

    for “whatsoever is born of the flesh, is flesh”, carnal and corrupt; but being produced in this extraordinary and supernatural way, but the power of the Holy Ghost, that which was born of the virgin is “the holy Thing;” free from all spot and blemish of sin. This is most surprisingly accounted for, by the more modern philosophy respecting generation, that every man is born of an animalcule; which agrees with the sacred philosophy in Job 25:6 and that all the animalcula from which millions of men spring in all ages, were originally formed by the great Creator in the first man; which, as it accounts for the guilt and pollution of all men in him; so for the purity of Chris’s human nature, since that was not born of an animalcule, as other men are; nor was it of man, nor of the seed of man; but was according to the first promise, the pure seed of the woman; nor was it ever in Adam, in the first man; no, not in “animalculo”, as the rest of the individuals of human nature, according to this hypothesis, and so was not represented by him; nor did he stand related to it, as a covenant head; nor did it descend from him by ordinary generation; but was conceived in the virgin through the power of the Holy Ghost; and did not exist in any respect before; no, not in “animalculo;” which lies strongly against the preexistence of Christ’s human nature in any sense whatever; and so, being free from sin, was fit to be a sacrifice for sin, since it could be offered up to God without spot, by the eternal Spirit. Moreover, so it was, that as the ruin of men came by means of a virgin; for the fall of Adam was before he knew his wife; so the Saviour of men from that ruin, came into the world by a virgin: and so it was ordered by the wisdom of God, that Christ should appear to have but one Father, having none as man, and so be but one Person; whereas, had he had two fathers, there must have been two persons.

    1. Christ was born of a virgin of the house of David; as in Luke 1:27 for the phrase of the house of David, is equally true of the virgin, as of Joseph, and may be connected with her. God promised to David, that the Messiah should be of his seed; and accordingly, of his seed he raised up unto Israel, a Saviour Jesus, who is therefore called the Son of David; and is both “the root and offspring of David;” the root of David, as God, and David’s Lord; and the offspring of David, as man, descending from him

      (Acts 13:23; Rev. 22:16).

    2. He was born of a virgin of the tribe of Judah; as she must be, since she was of the house of David, which was of that tribe; and it is manifest, as the apostle says, that our Lord sprung out of the tribe of Judah, as it was foretold he should (Gen. 49:10; Heb. 7:14).

  2. The birth of Christ, or his coming into the world, was after the manner of other men; his generation and conception were extraordinary; but his birth was in the usual manner; he came into the world after he had lain the common time in his mother’s womb; for it is said, “the days were accomplished that she should be delivered;” she went her full time with him, and brought forth him, her firstborn Son, as other women do; and no doubt with pains and sorrow, as every daughter of Eve does: and presented, him to the Lord when the days of her purification were ended, according to the law, as it is written, “Every male that openeth the womb, shall be called holy to the Lord” (Luke 2:6,22,23). So that in these respects Christ was made in all things like unto his brethren.

  3. The place of his birth was Bethlehem, according to the prophecy in Micah 5:2 here it was expected he would be born; and this was so well known to the Jews, that when Herod inquired of the chief priests and Scribes where Christ should be born; they, without any hesitation, immediately reply, in “Bethlehem of Judea”, and quote the above prophecy in proof of it (Matthew 2:4-6), yea, this was known by the common people (John 7:42), and so it was wonderfully brought about in providence; that though Joseph and Mary lived in Galilee, yet through a decree of Caesar Augustus to tax the whole empire, they were both obliged to come to the city of Bethlehem, the city of David, to be taxed, being of the lineage and house of David; and while they were on that business there, the virgin was delivered of her Son (Luke 2:1-7). Bethlehem signifies the house of bread; a fit place for the Messiah to be born in, who is the bread that came down from heaven, and gives life unto the world.

  4. The time of his birth was as it was fixed in prophecy; before the sceptre, or civil government, departed from Judah: Herod was king in Judea when he was born; before the second temple was destroyed; for he often went into it, and taught in it: and it was at the time pointed at in Daniel’s weeks; (see Gen.

49:10; Mai. 3:1; Hag. 2:6, 7, 9; Dan. 9:24), &c. The

exact year of the world in which he was born, is not agreed on by chronologers; but it was about, or a little before or after the four thousandth year of the world; nor can the season of the year, the month and day in which he was born, be ascertained. However, the vulgar account seems not probable; the circumstance of the shepherds watching their flocks by night, agrees not with the winter season. It is more likely it was in autumn, sometime in the month of September, at the feast of tabernacles, which was typical of Christ’s incarnation; and there seems to be some reference to it in John 1:14. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt”, or “tabernacled” among us; the temple of Solomon, a type of Christ’s human nature, was dedicated at the feast of tabernacles: and as Christ, the passover, was sacrificed at the very time of the passover; and the Holy Ghost was given on the very day of Pentecost, typified by the firstfruits offered on that day; so it is most reasonable to suppose, that Christ was born at the very feast of tabernacles, a type of his incarnation; and which feast is put for the whole ministry of the word and ordinances, to be observed in gospel times (Zech. 14:16). However, it was in the fulness of time, or when the time was fully up he was to come, that God sent him, and he came; and in due time, in the fittest and most proper time, infinite Wisdom saw meet he should come: God could have sent him sooner; but he did not think fit to do it; but he sent him at the most seasonable time; when the wickedness of men was at its height, both in Judea and in the Gentile world; and there appeared a necessity of a Saviour of men from it; and when the insufficiency of the light of nature, of the power of man’s free will, which had been sufficiently tried among the philosophers; and of the law of Moses, and of the works and sacrifices of it, to take away sin, and save men from it, had been clearly evinced. To conclude, it was in time, and not before time, that Christ became man. To talk of the human nature of Christ, either in whole or in part, as from eternity, is contrary both to scripture and reason; nor can that man, or human nature, be of any avail or benefit to us; but he that is the Seed of the woman, the Son of Abraham, the Son of David, and the Son of Mary.

Fifthly, The ends of Christ’s incarnation are many; there is a cluster of them in the song of the angels at

his birth; “Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace, good will towards men” (Luke 2:14).

  1. One end of Christ’s incarnation was, to show forth the glory of God in it; the glory of his grace, kindness, and goodness to men, in the mission of his Son in this way; the glory of his faithfulness in fulfilling his promise of it; the glory of his power in the miraculous production of Christ’s human nature; and the glory of his wisdom in bringing it into the world in such a manner as to be free from sin, and so fit for the purpose for which it was designed: and all this that God might be glorified in these his perfections; as he was by the angels, by Mary, by the father of John the Baptist, and by Simeon, at, or about, the time of Christ’s birth; and as he has been by saints in all ages since.

  2. Another end of Christ’s incarnation was, to make peace with God for men on earth; to make reconciliation for sin, was the work appointed him in covenant; and to do this, was the reason of his being made in all things like unto his brethren; and this end is answered; he has reconciled sinners to God by his death, and made peace for them by the blood of his cross.

  3. Another end of Christ’s incarnation was, not only to show the good will of God to men, but that they might receive the fruits of his good will and favour towards them; even all the blessings of grace, those spiritual blessings provided in covenant, and laid up in Christ; and which came by him our High Priest, and through his blood, called therefore, the blood of the everlasting covenant.

  4. Particularly, Christ became man that he might be our God, our near kinsman, and might appear to have a right to redeem us; and he was, in the fulness of time, made of a woman, to redeem men from the law, its curse and condemnation; and that they might receive the adoption of children, and every other blessing included in or connected with redemption; as peace, pardon, and justification; for he was sent in the likeness of sinful flesh, that by the sacrifice of himself for sin, he might condemn it in the flesh; and that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, as represented by him, and so be completely justified in him; (see Gal. 4:4,5; Rom. 8:3,4).

  5. Christ became man, that he might be a Mediator between God and men; and the better to perform each

of the parts of his office as such, he took upon him the nature of man; that he might have something to offer as a Priest to be a Sacrifice for sin, and that he might make satisfaction for it in that nature that sinned; and that he might be a prophet like unto Moses, raised up, as he was, among his brethren; and having the Spirit of the Lord God upon him, might preach glad tidings to the meek; and that he might appear to be a King taken from among his brethren, as the kings of Israel were; and to be the Ruler, Noble, and Governor that proceeded from the midst of them, as was predicted he should (Jer 30:21), and so sit and reign upon the throne of his father David.


Chapter 2

OF CHRIST’S STATE OF HUMILIATION

Christ’s state of humiliation began at his incarnation, and was continued through the whole of his life unto death, which is fully and clearly expressed in a few words in Philippians 2:7,8 “but made himself of no reputation,” &c. and which the apostle illustrates and confirms by placing it in a contrast with his glorious estate previous to it; for by how much the higher he was in that state, the lower and meaner he appears in this; and higher it was not possible for him to be, than as described by the apostle, as “in the form of God,” in his nature and essence; and as “equal with God” his Father; having the same perfections, names, works, and worship ascribed to him. Now in his state of humiliation he appeared the reverse of this; he, who was in the form of God, was not only made in the likeness of man, and in fashion as a man, but took on him the form of a servant, of one of the meanest of men; and he, who was equal to his divine Father, made himself of no account among men, and became obedient in all things to his Father, and that even to death itself, the accursed death of the cross.

1. The humiliation of Christ took place at his incarnation, and therefore in the above account of it, the phrases of being “made in the likeness of men,” and of “being found in fashion as a man,” are used as expressive of it; and which are to be understood of his being really and truly man, as has been observed in the preceding chapter; for though the assumption of the human nature into union with the person of the Son of God was an exaltation of it, and gave it a preeminence to all the other individuals of human nature, and even

to angels themselves, as has been shown; (see Ps. 89:19) yet it was an humbling of the person of Christ to take a nature so inferior to his into union with him; for I see not why the phrase of “humbling” may not be used with respect to this matter of the person of the Son of God, since it is used of the divine Being (Ps. 113:6), and if it is an humbling of God, a stoop of Deity, to look upon things in heaven and earth; a condescension in him to dwell on earth, whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain (1 Kings 8:27), it must be much more so for the Word and Son of God, who was in the beginning with God, and was God, and to whom the creation of all things is ascribed, to be made flesh and dwell among men (John 1:1-3,14). First, The humiliation of Christ appeared both in his conception and birth; though there were some things relating to his conception which were very illustrious and glorious; as a remarkable prophecy concerning it some hundreds of years before it was (Isa. 7:14), the dispatch of an angel to the virgin to acquaint her with it, when near or at the instant of it, and that it itself was of the mighty power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:26,31,35), yet it was amazing humility that he who was the Son of God, lay in the bosom of his Father, should by assumption of human nature into union with his divine person, lie nine months in the womb of a virgin; and he that ascended on high, should first descend into these lower parts of the earth. And though there were many great and glorious things that attended his birth, which made it very illustrious; as an unusual star, which guided the wise men from the east to the place of his nativity, who worshipped him, and presented gifts unto him; and an angel appeared in a glorious form to the shepherds, who acquainted them with his birth; and a multitude of the heavenly host descended and joined with him, singing “Glory to God in the highest” on account of it; yet, besides many things that followed it, very inglorious; as Herod’s search after him to take away his life; the flight of his parents with him into Egypt, where they continued for a while in fear and obscurity; and the massacre of a great number of infants in and

about Bethlehem: it may be observed,

  1. That he was “born of a woman,” which very phrase is expressive of meanness (Job 14:1), born of a sinful woman, though he himself without sin; “made of a woman,” as the expression is in Galatians 4:4

    made of one that was made by him, and to whom he stood in the character of Creator, Lord and Saviour, as she herself owned (Luke 1:46,47).

  2. Born of a poor woman; for though his mother, the virgin, was of the house of David, of that illustrious family, yet when that family was become very low, like a tree cut down to its roots; for when in such a state was the Messiah to spring from it, as he did, according to the prophecy (Isa. 11:1), that his mother was a poor woman, appears from the usage she met with at the time of her delivery in the inn, where there was no room for her to be received in, because of her poverty; and therefore was obliged to lay her newly born infant in a manger. Into what a low estate was our Lord brought! As also from her bringing the offering of the poorer sort at her purification. Persons of ability were obliged to offer a lamb on such an occasion, but if poor, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, which she did (Luke 2:7,24), hence the Jews upbraided Christ with the meanness of his parentage, saying, “Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary?” plain “Mary;” and “his brethren James and Joses,” and “Simon and Judas?” and “his sisters, are they not all with us?” do not we know them, what a low life family they are?

  3. He was born in a poor country village; for though it was the birth place of David, and called his city, and so famous on that account; yet in Christ’s time was mean and obscure, and said to be “little among the thousands of Judah;” and he afterwards lived in a very despicable place, where he was brought up; despicable to a proverb; “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46).

  4. The nature he was conceived and born in, and which he assumed, though without sin, yet had all the sinless infirmities of human nature: his soul was subject to sorrow, grief, anger, &c. and his body to hunger, thirst, weariness, &c. it was a nature inferior to angels; at least he was for a while, through the sufferings of death, made a little lower than they (Heb 2:9), and who at certain times, when in distress, ministered to him and relieved him (Matthew 4:11; Luke 22:43), into such a low estate and condition did Christ come in our nature.

Secondly, The humiliation of Christ appeared in all the stages of life into which he came; for he passed through the states of infancy, childhood, and

youth, as other men do; he was wrapped in swaddling bands, as newly born infants are; hung upon his mother’s breasts as soon as born, and received his nourishment from thence, as infants do; he endured the painful rite of circumcision when eight days old, and was presented in the temple according to usual custom; he continued in the infant state, both with respect to body and mind, the usual time, for ought appears: his case was not like the first Adam’s; he was created as one in the prime of life, a grown man, and in the full exercise of his rational powers at once: but so it was not with the second Adam; he was an infant of days, he grew in body as children do; and his reasoning faculties were not opened at once, but gradually, for it is said, he increased in wisdom as well as “in stature” (Luke 2:40,52), as he grew up in his childhood and youthful state, though we have but little account of it, it appears to be attended with much meanness and obscurity, even to his manhood; we have but one circumstance related of him in this time, which is that of his coming up to Jerusalem with his parents at the passover, when twelve years of age; and though there were some things then appeared in him very remarkable and uncommon, in taking his place among the doctors, hearing and asking them questions; yet he returned with his parents, and lived in subjection to them (Luke 2:42-51), and it seems as if he was brought up to a mechanic business; it was a commonly received tradition of the ancients, that he was brought up to the trade of a carpenter; and there are some things which make it probable; it is a question put by the Jews, “Is not this the carpenter?” (Mark 6:3), nor was it ever denied that he was; they suggest, that he had no liberal education, was not brought up in any of their public schools or academies: “How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?” John 7:15), and it cannot be supposed that he should live an inactive life the greater part of his days; but besides the poverty of his parents, which would not admit of the maintenance of him without business, what greatly prevails upon me to give into this sentiment is, that the second Adam must bear the first Adam’s curse, even that part of it which lay in getting his bread by the sweat of his brow (Gen. 3:19). O what a low estate was our Lord brought into on our account! Add to all this, that his whole life, until he was thirty years of age, was a life of obscurity; for

from the time of his coming out of Egypt and being had to Nazareth in his infancy, we hear nothing of him, excepting that single instance of being at Jerusalem when twelve years of age, until he came from Galilee to Jordan unto John to be baptized of him; and then he was about thirty years of age (Luke 3:23). Now what astonishing condescension and humility is this, and how great was the humiliation of Christ in this state! that the greatest personage that ever was in the world, the Son of God in human nature, and who came to do the greatest work that ever was done in the world, should be in the world thirty years running, and scarce be known at all by the inhabitants of it; at least not known who and what he was (John 1:10), at most but by very few.

Thirdly, The public life of Christ began at his baptism, for by that he was made manifest in Israel; and for that purpose John came baptizing with water; and who had this signal given him, that on whomsoever he should see the Spirit of God descending, the same was he; which when he saw he bore testimony of him that he was the Son of God, and pointed him out as the Lamb of God, that, takes away the sin of the world; and though there were some things attending the baptism of Christ which made it illustrious, as not only John’s testimony of him, but the descent of the Spirit on him as a dove, and a voice from his Father heard, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (John 1:29-36; Matthew 3:16,17), yet his submission to the ordinance itself was an instance of his humiliation; his coming many miles on foot, from Galilee to Jordan, to John to be baptized of him, is a proof of it; he that had the power of baptizing with the Holy Ghost and with fire, was baptized in water; he that knew no sin, nor did any, was baptized with the baptism of repentance, as though he had been a sinner; and he that was John’s Lord and Master, was before him, and preferred to him, and whose shoe latchet John was not worthy to unloose; and who could have ordered him to attend him at any place convenient for baptism, which for some reasons he thought fit to submit unto; yet took the pains and fatigue of a journey to go to him for that purpose; and though John modestly declined it at first, having some hint of him who he was, yet being pressed by him, he agreed to administer the ordinance to him, and did; and which was done to fulfil all righteousness, and in

obedience to the will of God, and to set an example to us, that we should tread in his steps; and in all which appear wonderful humility and condescension; (see Matthew 3:13-15).

Fourthly, Immediately after his baptism Christ was harassed with the temptations of Satan, which was another branch of his humiliation and low estate he came into; for “he suffered being tempted;” and he “was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 2:18; 4:15), that is, with all sorts of temptations, though not altogether in the same manner, nor had they the same effect on him as on us. Satan tempted him, not by stirring up any corruption, or provoking any lust in him, as he provoked David, stirred up the lust of pride and vanity in him to number the people; for in Christ was no sin, lust, or corruption to stir up; Satan could find nothing of this kind in him to work upon: nor did he tempt him by putting any evil into him, as he put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot to betray his Lord, and into the hearts of Ananias and Sapphira to lie unto the Holy Ghost; nor could he get any advantage over Christ by any of his temptations; he was forced after all his temptations in the wilderness to leave him, and in the garden and on the cross, he was foiled by him; yea he, and his principalities and powers, were spoiled and triumphed over; but inasmuch as by these temptations Christ in his human nature was harassed and distressed, they are a part of his humiliation, and require a particular consideration; and those we have the clearest account of are they which began in the wilderness; for he was “led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil” (Matthew 4:1), that is, he was influenced and directed by the Spirit of God, who had lighted on him at his baptism, under an impulse of his, both inward and outward, to go up from the habitable parts of the wilderness, where John was preaching and baptizing, and where he himself had been baptized, to the mountainous and uninhabitable parts of it, which were quite desolate and uncultivated; where were no provisions, nor any man to converse with, none but wild beasts, to whom he was exposed, and with whom he was (Mark 1:13), another instance of his low estate. The time when he was here tempted was quickly after his baptism; Matthew says “then” he was led to be tempted, that is, when he had been baptized; and Mark says it was “immediately;” and

thus as it was with Christ the head, so it often is with his members; that as he was tempted, after his baptism, after the Spirit of God had descended upon him, and filled him with his gifts and graces without measure; and after he had had such a testimony from heaven of his divine Sonship: so his people, after they have had communion with God in ordinances, and have had some sealing testimonies of his love, fall into temptations, and fall by them; as the disciples of Christ after the supper, who, when tempted, all forsook him and fled, and one denied him. Moreover, it was after Christ had fasted forty days, and when he was hungry, that the tempter came to him and attacked him; two of the evangelists say he tempted him forty days; so he might tempt him, more or less, all the forty days, at times; but when they were ended, and Christ was an hungry, then he set upon him with greater violence, as judging it a proper opportunity to try the utmost of his power and skill with him: so Satan suits his temptations to the constitutions, circumstances, and situation men are in.

The first temptation was by putting an if upon the Sonship of Christ; “If thou be the Son of God;” though there could be no doubt made of this, since a testimony of it from heaven had just been given; and the devils themselves have acknowledged, that Christ is the Son of God (Luke 4:41). And thus the children of God are sometimes tempted to call in question their sonship, because of inward corruptions and outward afflictions: or it may be, Satan argued from hence, “if,” or “seeing,” thou art the Son of God, as has been testified by a voice from heaven, and thou thyself affirmest; as a proof of it, “command that these stones be made bread,” or “this stone,” as Luke expresses it; that is, one of the stones which lay near by, and were in sight: and Satan might hope to succeed in this temptation, since Christ was now hungry, and he might insinuate a concern for his welfare; and the rather as he succeeded with the first Adam, in tempting him to eat of the forbidden fruit; and as he might suggest, he would, by such an act of omnipotence, give proof of his divine Sonship: but though Christ could have done this, as well as God could raise up out of stones children unto Abraham; yet as it was needless to do it in proof of his Sonship, since that had been so well attested already, by a voice from heaven; nor for his sustenance, since he had

been sustained by the power and providence of God forty days without food, he might be longer. Besides, he never wrought a miracle for his own support; nor would he do it now, at the instance of the devil, which was what he wanted him to do, in obedience to him, and at his motion; wherefore Christ’s answer is; “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Deut. 8:3), which signifies, that men may live by that which is not properly bread, as by manna, on which the Israelites lived in the wilderness, to which the passage quoted refers: nor does man live by bread, when he has it, abstracted from the blessing of the mouth of God with it, which gives it nourishment; and besides, without bread, in any sense, a man may be supported by the power and providence of God, as Moses and Elijah were, and as Christ now had been; and therefore, to take such a method as he was tempted to, would have seemed to have been a distrust of that power and providence by which he had been sustained; and thus, by quoting scripture, to repel Satan’s temptations, Christ has taught us to make use of the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, to withstand the temptations of Satan also.

The second temptation was, after Satan had prevailed on Christ, or he condescended to go along with him, or he suffered him to take him to the city of Jerusalem, and place him on the pinnacle of the temple, or on the battlements of it, to cast himself down from thence; in order to give proof of his divine Sonship, in a public manner, before the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Priests, Scribes, and common people; by which he might suggest it would gain him great credit and esteem; and as for his preservation in it, he quotes, in imitation of him, a passage of scripture, where it is written, “He shall give his angels charge concerning thee,” &c. which, however applicable to Christ, as well as to his members, is perverted, since a material clause is omitted, “to keep thee in all thy ways;” whereas Satan was endeavoring to lead him out of the right way, tempting him to the sin of suicide; which he did, either out of envy and malice, and the malignity of his nature; or to prevent, if he had any notion of it, Christ’s dying in the room and stead of his people, in a judicial way, for their salvation: however, Christ resisted the temptation, by saying, “It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the

Lord thy God” (Deut. 6:16), as Christ was; which was testified by a voice from heaven, declaring him to be the Son of God, and so Lord and heir of all things. In like manner the children of God are often tempted by Satan to destroy themselves; which shows the similarity between Christ’s temptations and theirs.

The third temptation was, after the devil had taken Christ, by his permission, to an exceeding high mountain, one of those about Jerusalem, or not far from it, and had showed him, by a diabolical and false representation of things to the sight, “all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;” alluring him with a promise of these to “fall down and worship him.” To promise Christ these was impertinent; since the earth is his, and the fulness thereof, the world, and they that dwell therein, as the maker of them; and all power in heaven and earth is given him as Mediator; to pretend that these were in his power to dispose of to whomsoever he pleased, as it is in Luke, was intolerable arrogance; when he had not the least thing in the world at his dispose; could not touch any of Job’s substance without permission, and a grant from God; nor go into a herd of swine without leave: but to propose to Christ, that he should fall down and worship him, was the height of insolence and impudence! This shows what the original sin of the devil was, affectation of Deity, and to be worshipped as God; hence he has usurped the title of the God of this world; and has prevailed upon the ignorant part of it, in some places, to give him worship: and, indeed, to sacrifice to idols, is to sacrifice to devils: but, not content with this, he sought to be worshipped by the Son of God himself; than which nothing could be more audacious and impious; wherefore Christ rejected his temptation with indignation and abhorrence; saying, “Get thee hence, Satan;” or, as Luke has it, “Get thee behind me, Satan; for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve” (Deut. 6:13), upon which the devil left him, finding he could do nothing with him; and angels came and ministered to him. After which we hear no more of him, till the time of Christ’s death drew nigh, when Christ observed to his disciples, that “the prince of this world cometh,” to meet him in the garden, where he was in an agony, and had a combat with him; and his sweat was as drops of blood falling to the ground; and when were the hour and power of darkness, when

all the posse of devils were let loose upon him, and cast their fiery darts at him; but he got the victory over them all; yet, notwithstanding that, these various assaults and temptations of Satan, to which he was subject, and by which he was harassed, must be considered as a part of his humiliation, and of that low estate he was brought into.

Fifthly, Christ’s humiliation appeared in the reproaches, indignities, and persecutions he endured from men, even contradiction of sinners against himself; the reproaches with which God and his people were reproached, fell on him; and these so thick and fast, and so heavily, that, in prophetic language, reproach is said to have broken his heart (Ps. 69:9,20). Sometimes his enemies the Jews upbraided him with the meanness of his descent and pedigree, the low estate of his family, as has been observed; with his illiberal education, and the illiterateness of his followers: sometimes they attacked his moral character, affirmed they knew him to be a sinner: charged him with sabbath breaking, with being a glutton and a wine bibber, and an encourager of men in sinful practices; they traduced his miracles, which they could not deny as facts, as if done by the help of the devil; and said he had a devil, and was familiar with one, by whom he did his works; they called him a deceiver of the people, and charged him with preaching false doctrines, and delivering out hard sayings not to be borne with; nay, they endeavoured to fix the imputation of blasphemy on him, because, being a man, he made himself God, and equal to him; they represented him as a seditious person, that went about teaching men not to give tribute to Caesar; as well as having an intention to destroy their law; and as setting men to pull down their temple. In short, they not only rejected him as the Messiah, with the greatest contempt and abhorrence of him; but sought to take away his life in a violent manner; sometimes by having him to the brow of an hill to cast him down headlong; and at other times they took up stones to stone him; nor were they satisfied until they had brought him to the dust of death.

Sixthly, There was a very great degree of meanness and poverty which appeared throughout the whole life of Christ, private and public; to which the apostle has respect, when he says; “Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus,” &c. (2 Cor. 8:9), where he puts Christ’s

riches and poverty in contrast, that by so much the greater his riches were in his former state, by so much the more does his poverty seem to be in his low estate; he was rich in the perfections of his nature, in the possession of heaven and earth, and all therein; and in the revenues of glory arising from the kingdom of nature and providence; and yet he who was Lord of all became poor to make us beggars rich. And this is to be understood of poverty in a literal sense; for Christ was not spiritually poor. Some instances of his meanness and poverty in private life have been observed before; as, that he was born of poor parents, had not a liberal education, and was brought up to a mechanic business. When he came into public life, it does not appear that he had any certain dwelling house to live in; so that “the foxes, and the birds of the air,” enjoyed more than he did (Matthew 8:20). To what a low estate was our Lord brought! though he could have supported himself, and his twelve apostles, by working miracles for his and their sustenance; yet he never did, but lived upon the contributions and ministrations of some good women, and others, mentioned in Luke 8:2,3. When the collectors of tribute came to him for the tribute money, he had none to pay them, but ordered Peter to cast his hook into the sea, and take up a fish, and out of that a piece of money, and pay the tribute for him and for himself (Matthew 17:24-27). At his death he had nothing to leave to his mother for her support; but seeing her, and his disciple John, when on the cross, said to her, “Behold thy son;” and to him, “Behold thy mother;” signifying, that he should take care of her; and from that time that disciple took her to his own house (John 19:26,27). Nor had he any tomb of his own, or family vault to be interred in; but was laid in one belonging to another, even Joseph of Arimathea. And this poverty of his was signified by hints, types, and prophecies, that he should be thus poor and needy; and which were hereby fulfilled (Ps. 40:17; Eccl. 9:14; Zech. 9:9).

Seventhly, Upon the whole, it clearly appears, that Christ indeed “humbled himself, and made himself of no reputation,” as in Philippians 2:7,8 or emptied himself; not of the fulness of grace it pleased the Father should dwell in him; this was with him, and seen, in him, when he became incarnate; and still continues with him; out of which saints receive grace for grace (John 1:14,16), much less of the perfections

of his divine nature, the whole fulness of which dwells in him bodily (Col. 2:9). Every perfection in Deity was asserted by him in his state of humiliation, as omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, &c. (John 2:24,25; 3:13; Rev. 1:8). Christ did not lay aside the form of God, in which he was; or lay down his divine nature, which was impossible; nor deny his equality with God, which would be to deny himself; but he consented to have his divine glory covered and veiled, as to the ordinary manifestation of it, and in common; I say as to the ordinary manifestation of it; for it sometimes did break forth in an extraordinary way by miracles (John 2:11), and there, were some, though but few, which saw his glory as the glory of the only begotten of the Father; the greater part saw no form nor comeliness in him, wherefore he should be desired by them (John 1:14; Isa. 53:3). He did not give up his equality with God the Father; but he was content that that for a time should be out of sight; and so behave, and be so treated, as if he was not his fellow; he was willing, in the human nature, and in his office capacity, to act in subordination to his Father; to say what he bid him say, and do what he bid him do; even to the laying down of his life; for which he had a commandment from his Father; yea, he owned that in that his present state and circumstances, his Father was greater than he (John 12:49,50; 10:18; 14:28). He was content to be had in the utmost disesteem by men, to be emptied of his good name, character, and reputation, to be reckoned a worm, and no man; to be a Samaritan, and have a devil; and to be called and abused as if he was the worst of men; and to be made sin, and a curse for his people, to repair the loss of honour sustained by the sins of men; so that Christ’s humiliation was his own voluntary act and deed.


Chapter 3

OF THE ACTIVE OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST IN HIS STATE OF HUMILIATION

The humiliation of Christ may be seen in his obedience to God, through the whole course of his life, even unto death; in order to which,

First, He took upon him the form of a servant (Phil. 2:7), and really became one; even the Servant of God: and this is an instance of his amazing humility and condescension; that he, who was the Son of God, of the same nature with God, and equal to him, the

brightness of his Father’s glory, and the express image of his person, should voluntarily become the Servant of him; which the apostle observes with astonishment; “though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered!” (Heb. 5:8). He was chosen of God, in his eternal purposes, to be his Servant; and therefore is called, his Servant elect (Isa. 42:1). He called him to the work and office of a servant; and said unto him, in the everlasting council and covenant of grace and peace, “Thou art my Servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified” (Isa.. 49:3). And Christ, the Son of God, accepted of this office; agreed to be the Servant of God, to come into the world, and do his will and work (Ps. 40:7,8). And accordingly, he was prophesied of as the Servant of the Lord, that should come (Zech. 3:8; Isa. 42:1). In the fulness of time he was sent, and came not to be ministered unto, as a monarch, but to minister as a servant; and he quickly appeared to be under a law, and was subject to the law of circumcision; and being had in his infancy to Egypt, the house of servants; to his ancestors, according to the flesh, was an emblem of that servile state he was come into: and very early did he declare, that he must be about his Father’s business: as a servant, he had work to do, and much work, and that very laborious; which lay, not only in working miracles, which were works his Father gave him to finish, as demonstrations of his Deity, and prods of his Messiahship; nor only in going about from place to place, healing all manner of diseases, and so doing good to the bodies of men; nor only in preaching the gospel, for which he was qualified and sent, and thereby did good to the souls of men; but chiefly in fulfilling the law of God, both in the preceptive and penal part of it, in the room and stead of his people; and thereby wrought out the great work of all he came to do, the redemption and salvation of men; for this was the work assigned him by God his Father, as his servant; “to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel”; that is, to redeem and save the chosen people: this was the work his Father gave him to do; this was the work which was before him when be came; and this is the work which he has finished; for he has obtained eternal redemption; and is become the author of eternal salvation. Now throughout the whole of his work, as a servant, he appeared very diligent and constant;

very early he discovered an inclination to be about it; very eager was he at it; when in it, it was his meat and drink; and he was continually, constantly employed in it (John 4:34; 9:4). Nor did he leave working till he had completed the whole. In all which he was faithful to him that appointed him; and very justly did he obtain the character of God’s “righteous Servant” (Isa. 11:5; 53:11).

Secondly, When Christ became incarnate, and took upon him the form of a servant, and really was one; he, as such, was subject to the law of God: hence these two things are joined together, as having a close connection with each other; “Made of a woman; made under the law” (Gal. 4:4).

First, Christ was made under the judicial, or civil law of the Jews; he was by birth a Jew, and is called one (Zech. 8:23). It is manifest that he sprung from the tribe of Judah; which tribe, in process of time, gave the name of Jews to the whole people of Israel; and because our Lord was of that tribe, he is called the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Heb 7:14; Rev. 5:5). He was born at Bethlehem, in the tribe of Judah, and was of the seed of David, who was of that tribe; and is therefore said to be the root and offspring of David (Rev. 22:16). Wherefore, since he, the salvation of God, and Saviour of men, as to his human nature, was of the Jews; it was fit and proper he should be subject to their civil government, and to the laws of it, as he was: for though he was charged with sedition, yet falsely, for he was subject to their government, though it was then in the hands of the Romans; and not only paid tribute himself, but directed others to do the same, saying, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s (Matthew 17:24-27; 22:17-21). And to this law he submitted,

l. That it might appear he was of the nation of the Jews, as it was prophesied of, and promised he should; as, that he should be of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Judah, and of the Jewish fathers, according to the flesh; all which he was (Gen. 22:18; 49:10; Matthew 1:1; Rom. 9:5).

  1. That it might be manifest that he came before the Jewish polity was at an end; as it was foretold he should (Gen. 49:10). And Christ being under and subject to the civil law, showed that the sceptre and lawgiver had not departed, but civil government yet continued; though now, for many hundreds of years it

    has wholly departed, and is not, in any form or shape, among that people; which has fulfilled the prophecy in Hosea 3:4. “The children of Israel shall be many days without a king”; and therefore the Messiah must be come long ago, before they were without one, as he did; for Herod was king when he was born.

  2. Christ became subject to the civil law, to teach his followers subjection to civil magistrates; and this is the doctrine of his apostles, frequently inculcated by them, to be subject to the higher powers, to obey magistrates, and submit to every ordinance of men (Rom. 13:1; Titus 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:13).

Secondly, Christ was made under the ceremonial law, and became subject to that; he was circumcised when eight days old, according to that law; and was presented in the temple at the time of his mother’s purification, as the law required: at twelve years of age he came with his parents to Jerusalem, to keep the passover; and when he had entered on his public office, it was his custom constantly to attend synagogue worship; and it was one of the last actions of his life, to keep the passover with his disciples. Now he became subject to this law,

l. Because it looked to him, and centered in him; it was a shadow of good things to come by him: the feasts of tabernacles, passover, and Pentecost; the sabbaths of the seventh day of the week, and of the seventh year, and of the seven times seventh year, were shadows, of which he is the substance: all the ablutions, washings, and purifications enjoined by it, were typical of cleansing by his blood: and all the sacrifices of it, daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly, all pointed to his sacrifice.

  1. He was made under this law, in order to fulfil it; for it became him to fulfil all righteousness, ceremonial as well as moral righteousness; and all things in it were to have an end, and had an end, even a fulfilling end in him.

  2. He was made under it, that by fulfilling it he might abolish it, and put an end to it; for when it was fulfilled, it was no longer useful; and there was a necessity of the disannulling of it, because of its weakness and unprofitableness; and accordingly, this law of commandments was abolished; this handwriting of ordinances was blotted out; this middle wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles was broken down; and the rituals of it pronounced

weak and beggarly elements; and believers in Christ were directed to take care they were not entangled with this yoke of bondage; nor should they judge and condemn one another for any neglect of it; Christ has answered to the whole, by being made under it.

Thirdly, Christ was made under the moral law; under this he was as a man; being “made of a woman”, in course he was made under the law; for every man, as a creature of God, is subject to him, its Creator and Lawgiver; and to his law: to fear God, and keep his commandments, is the whole duty of man; and is the duty of every man; and was the duty of Christ, as man. But besides this, Christ was made under it, as the surety and substitute of his people; as he became their surety, he engaged to fulfil the law in their room and stead; this is a very principal part of that will of God, which he declared his readiness to come and do; saying, “Lo, I come to do thy will, O God! thy law is within my heart” (Ps. 40:7,8).

l. He was made under it, in order to fulfil the precepts of it; which to do is righteousness (Deut. 6:25), and is that righteousness which he undertook to work out in perfect agreement with the commands of the law; and which he perfectly obeyed; for he always did the things which pleased the Father, and all that was pleasing to him; even every command of his righteous law; nor did he fail in anyone instance; he never committed one sin; and so did not transgress the law in anyone particular; but was holy and harmless throughout the whole of his life and conversation.

  1. He submitted to the penal part of the law; the law pronounces a curse on all those that do not perfectly observe its precepts; Christ being the Surety of his people, was made a curse for them; or endured the curse of the law in their stead, that he might redeem them from it (Gal. 3:10,13). The penal sanction of the law was death; it threatened with it, in case of sin or disobedience to it; the wages of sin is death; Christ therefore, as the substitute of his people became obedient to death, even the death of the cross, for them.

  2. All this he became and did, to fulfil the law in their room; and that the righteousness of it might be fulfilled in them, and so deliver them from the bondage, curse, and condemnation of it; that being, through Christ, dead to them, and they to that, that they might live unto God in a spiritual and evangelic

manner.

Thirdly, Christ taking upon him the form of a servant, in human nature, and being made under the law, he was obedient to it, throughout the whole course of his life, to the time of his death; which is meant by that phrase, “Became obedient unto death”; that is, until death, as well as in it, and by submission to it. And,

  1. There is the obedience of Christ to men; he was obedient to his earthly parents; he not only lived in a state of subjection to them in his childhood and youth, but continued his filial affection for them, and regard to them, particularly to his mother, when a grown man: his words to her in John 2:4 do not express irreverence towards her; nor did she so understand them, showing no resentment at them; but the contrary: nor do those in Matthew 12:48,49 signify any disrespect to her, nor want of affection to her; but his great affection for his spiritual relations: and that he retained his filial duty and regard to her to the last, appears by his bequeathing her to the care of one of his disciples (John 19:27). Christ also yielded obedience to civil magistrates, as before observed, by paying the tribute money; hence in prophecy he is called, the Servant of rulers (Isa. 49:7). But,

  2. There is the obedience of Christ to God; for his Servant he was; and it was his law he was made under; and to which he yielded obedience; and is that obedience by which his people are made righteous; though there are many things in which Christ was obedient to God, which do not come into the account of his obedience for the justification of men. As,

l. The miraculous actions which were performed by him: these were necessary to be done, for they were predicted of him, and were expected from him; hence the Jews said, “When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?” (John 7:31; Isa. 35:5,6). And these were done to prove his proper Deity, that he was truly God; that he was in the Father, and the Father in him; that is, that he was of the same nature with him, and equal to him; for the truth of which he appeals to those works of his (John 10:38 14:11). These were also proofs of his being the true Messiah; and were given by him as evidences of it to the two disciples John sent to him, to know whether he was the Messiah expected or not (Matthew 11:3-5). Now these were done in

obedience to his Father; he gave him those works to finish, and because they were done by his direction, and in his name, and by his authority, they are called the works of his Father (John 5:36; 10:25,37). And yet these are no part of that obedience by which men are made righteous; these were done to answer the above ends; and they are recorded, that we might believe in the Son of God, and in his righteousness; but, as Dr. Goodwin observes [Works, vol. 3. part 3. p. 336.], they are not ingredients in that righteousness in which we believe. Nor,

  1. His obedience in the ministration of the gospel: he had from God his mission and commission to preach the gospel; he was qualified for it as man, through the unction of the Holy Spirit; he was sent of God to preach to this and the other city; to these and the other people: he became the minister of the circumcision, or a minister to the circumcised Jews; both for the truth and faithfulness of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers; and in obedience to the will of God, who gave him a commandment what he should say, and what he should speak; and accordingly he said and spoke what was delivered to him; not his own doctrine, but his Father’s, in which he sought, not his own, but his glory; and so showed himself to be true, and no unrighteousness in him (Rom. 15:8; John 8:28; 12:49,50; 7:16-18). But now it was not his faithful execution of this his prophetic office, nor of the whole of his office as Mediator, which is the obedience or righteousness by which a sinner is justified; for though it is the righteousness of the Mediator; yet not the fidelity and righteousness he exercised in the execution of his office, is that by which men are justified. Nor,

  2. His obedience to the ceremonial law, which he was under, as has been shown; and to which he yielded obedience; of which many instances have been given; but this is no part of our justifying righteousness; for the greater number of those that are made righteous by Christ’s obedience, were never under this law; and so under no obligation to yield obedience to it; nor their surety for them. But,

  3. It is Christ’s obedience to the moral law, which he was under, and to which he was obedient throughout his life, unto death; and is what all men are subject, and ought to be obedient to; and for lack of which obedience, Christ has yielded a perfect one, in the room and stead of his people; concerning which

may be observed, his qualifications and capacity for it, his actual performance of it, and the excellency of his obedience, whereby it appears to have answered the end and design of it.

First, The qualifications and capacity of Christ to yield perfect obedience to the law.

l. His assumption of human nature, which was necessary to his obedience: as God he could not obey; he therefore took upon him a nature in which he could be subject to God, and yield obedience to him; and which was fit and proper to be done in that nature in which disobedience had been committed.

  1. He was made under the law, for this purpose; which has been particularly explained and enlarged on.

  2. He had a pure and holy nature, quite conformable to the pure, holy, and righteous law of God; clear of all irregular affections, desires, motions, or lusts; is called, “the holy Thing”, said to be “without spot or blemish”, harmless and undefiled; entirely free from both original and actual transgression, and so fit for pure and perfect obedience to be performed in it.

  3. Was possessed of a power of free will to that which is holy, just, and good, agreeable to the law of God. In the state of innocence the will of man was free to that which is good only: in man fallen, his will is only free to that which is evil: in a man regenerate, there being two principles in him, there is a will to that which is good, and a will to that which is evil; so that he cannot do oftentimes what he would: but the human will of Christ was entirely free to that which is good; and as he had a will and power to do, so he always did the things which pleased his Father.

  4. He had a natural love to righteousness, and an hatred of sin (Ps. 45:7), and from this principle flowed an entire conformity to the law, throughout the whole of his life, and all the actions of it.

Secondly, His actual performance of it; for as he came to fulfil it, he has fulfilled it; and is become the end of it, for righteousness, to everyone that believes. The moral law consists of two tables; and is reduced, by Christ, to two points, love to God, and love to our neighbour; and both have been exactly observed and obeyed by Christ.

l. The first table of the law; which includes,

(l). Love to God; “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart”, &c. (Matthew 22:37,38) and which

was never obeyed and fulfilled to such perfection and purity as by Christ; and which he has fully shown by his regard to the whole will of his Father, to all his commands, even to the laying down of his life for men; and therefore voluntarily went forth to meet the prince of this world in the garden, and deliver up himself into the hands of his emissaries, in order to suffer and die, according to his Father’s will; hence he said, “That the world may know that I love the Father” Arise, let us go hence” (John 14:31).

(2). Faith and trust in God; for to believe God, and to believe in him, is to have him before us, as the law requires: Christ very early exercised faith and hope on him as his God; even when he was upon his mother’s breasts; and when in the midst of his enemies, and in suffering circumstances, he expressed the strongest degree of confidence in him; “The Lord God will help me, therefore I shall not be ashamed” (Ps. 22:9,10; Isa. 50:7-9).

3. The whole worship of God; not only internal, which lies in the exercise of faith, hope, love, &c. just observed; but external, as prayer and praise; both which Christ was often in the exercise of (Luke 6:12; 10:21), and who not only directed to the worship and service of God, and of him only; but set an example by his constant attendance on public worship on sabbath days; and he showed his regard to it, by inveighing against all innovations in it, the doctrines, traditions, and commandments of men, as vain and superstitious; and by resenting every degree of profanation, even of the place of public worship (Matthew 4:10; 13:54; 15:3,6,9; 21:12,13).

  1. Honour and reverence of the name of God; and though Christ himself was dishonored by men, he was careful to honour his God and Father, and not take his name in vain; “I honour my Father”, says he, “and ye dishonor me”. With what reverence does he address him in his prayer; saying, “Holy Father, and righteous Father?” (see John 8:49; 17:11,25).

  2. Sanctification of the sabbath; for though Christ was charged with breaking it, by doing acts of mercy on it; which he vindicated, and so cleared himself from the aspersion of his enemies; yet he was constant in the observation of it for religious service; it was his constant custom to go to the synagogue on sabbath days, and there either hear or read the scriptures, and expound them (Luke 4:16,31).

2. The second table of the law; which includes,

  1. Honoring of parents, and obedience to them; the first commandment with promise, and the first in this table; and which, how it was observed by Christ, both in youth and manhood, has been remarked already; (see Luke 2:51), and in which he was a pattern to others of filial obedience.

  2. Love to our neighbour as one’s self, and which is the second commandment, and like to the first (Matthew 22:39). And this was never fulfilled by any as by Christ; who has shown the greatest love, pity, and compassion, both to the bodies and souls of men: greater love hath no man, than what he has expressed to men, by suffering and dying for them, and working out their salvation (John 15:13).

  3. Doing all good to men the law requires: and no injury to the persons and properties of men, which that forbids; and which Christ punctually observed: he went about continually from place to place, doing good to the bodies of men, by healing all manner of diseases; and to the souls of men, by preaching wholesome doctrine to them: nor did he ever, in one single instance, do any injury to the person of any man, by striking, smiting, or killing; nor to the property any one; he did “no violence”, committed no act of rapine or robbery, or took away any man’s substance by fraud or force (Acts 10:38; Isa. 53:9).

  4. As all malice, impurity, and evil concupiscence, are forbidden in this table of the law; none of these appeared in Christ; no, not the least shadow of them; no malice prepense, nor hatred of any man’s person; no unchaste desires, looks, words, and actions; no evil covetousness, or lust after what is another’s; nor after any worldly riches and grandeur: so that the law, in both its tables, was precisely obeyed by him.

Thirdly, The obedience which Christ yielded to the law, has these peculiar excellencies in it.

  1. It was voluntary; he freely offered himself to become man, to be made under the law, and yield obedience to it; or, in other words, to do the will of God; saying, “Lo, I come to do thy will, O God!” and when he was come, it was meat and drink; or, he took as much delight and pleasure in doing the will and work of God, and went about it as willingly and as cheerfully, as a man does in eating and drinking (Heb 10:7; John 4:34).

  2. It is perfect and complete; there is no command

    Chapter IV OF THE PASSIVE OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST 28

    but what Christ inviolably kept; no one, in anyone instance, was broken by him; “He did no sin”: whatever was commanded, he did; and whatever was forbidden, he avoided: hence those that are justified by his obedience and righteousness, are all fair, without spot, perfectly comely through his comeliness put upon them.

  3. It excels the obedience of men and angels; not only the obedience and righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, who pretended to a strict observance of the law, but of the most truly righteous persons; for “there is not a just man upon earth, that does good and sinneth not” (Eecl. 7:20). But Christ did all that was good, without sin: the obedience and holiness of angels is chargeable with folly, in comparison of the purity and holiness of God: but the obedience and righteousness of Christ is without any blemish, weakness, or imperfection.

  4. It was wrought out in the room and stead of his people; he obeyed the law, and satisfied it in all its demands, that the righteousness of it might be fulfilled in them, or for them, in him, as their head and representative; hence he, being the end of the law for righteousness unto them, it is unto them, and comes upon them.

  5. It is the measure and matter of the justification of them that believe in him; “By the obedience of one shall many be made righteous” (Rom. 5:19), that is, by the imputation of this obedience, or righteousness, unto them; (see 1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 5:21).

  6. It is an obedience well pleasing in the sight of God; because voluntary, perfect, superior excellency, performed in the room and stead of his people, and by which they are justified. God is well pleased with his Son, and with his people, considered in him; and with his righteousness and obedience imputed to them; because by it the law is magnified and made honorable; Christ always did the things which pleased his Father; his obedience, in all the parts of it, is acceptable to him; and so are his people on account of it, in whose room and stead it was performed; this is what is commonly called the active obedience of Christ, which he performed in life, agreeable to the precepts of the law.

Chapter 4

OF THE PASSIVE OBEDIENCE OF

CHRIST,

or of His Sufferings and Death

Another part of Christ’s humiliation, lies in his sufferings and death; to which he readily submitted; he was “obedient unto death,” and in it. He cheerfully endured all sufferings for the sake of his people, it was his Father’s will and pleasure he should; he “was not rebellious, neither turned away his back from the smiters, nor his face from shame and spitting”: and when the time was come to suffer death, in the room and stead of his people, according to the counsel of God, and his own agreement; he was like the innocent dumb sheep, “So he opened not his mouth;” said not one word against the sentence of death being executed on him; was not reluctant to become a sacrifice for the sins of men; but as he had “received a commandment” from his Father to lay down his life, as well as to take it up again; he readily and voluntarily obeyed that commandment; and this is what is sometimes called his passive obedience (Isa. 50:5,6; 53:7; John 10:18). First, I shall observe what the sufferings of Christ were which he endured. They were foretold by the prophets, “who testified beforehand” of them; and the apostles said no other things than what “Moses and the prophets did say should come, that Christ should suffer,” &c. (1 Pet. 1:11; Acts 26:22,23). This was intimated in the first revelation made of the Messiah; “Thou shall bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15). The twenty second Psalm, and fifty third of Isaiah, and ninth of Daniel, are illustrious prophecies of his sufferings; and which have had their exact accomplishment in

him.

Christ’s whole life was a life of sufferings, from the cradle to the cross; he suffered very early from Herod, who sought to destroy him; and which obliged his parents to flee with him into Egypt; he suffered much from Satan’s temptations; for his temptations were sufferings, “He suffered, being tempted;” and from the reproaches and persecutions of men; his life, throughout, was a life of meanness and poverty, which must be reckoned a branch of his sufferings: but what may more eminently and particularly be called his sufferings, are those which he endured as preparatory to his death, which led on to it, and issued in it: and death itself, and what attended it.

the Romans. Plutarch says, when malefactors were brought out to be punished, everyone carried his own cross: only Christ meeting with Simon, a Cyrenean, by the way, they obliged him to bear the cross after him; that is, one end of it, and so crucified him: which leads on to consider,

Secondly, The death itself he died. He was obedient to “the death of the cross,” the death he died on the cross; hence his blood shed on it is called, “the blood of the cross;” and the cross is put for the whole of his sufferings and death (Col. 1:20; Eph. 2:16). This was plainly foretold and pointed out in prophecy, particularly in the twenty second Psalm, described by the dislocation and starting out of his bones; by the fever upon him, which usually attended crucifixion; and especially by the piercing of his hands and feet; and was typified by the lifting up of the brazen serpent by Moses in the wilderness; and the phrase of lifting up from the earth, is used by Christ himself, to signify what death he should die (John 3:14; 12:32,33). This kind of death was a shameful one; hence Christ is said to endure the cross, and despise the shame; that is, the shame that attended it (Heb 12:2), which lay not so much in his being crucified naked, and so exposed, was that truly the case, as in its being the punishment of strangers, of servants, and slaves, and such like mean persons; but not of freemen and citizens of Rome; hence it was called “servile supplicium,” a servile punishment: and it was also a painful and cruel one, as the thing itself speaks; to have the whole body stretched to the uttermost; the hands and feet, those sensible parts of it, pierced; and to have the weight of the body depending on them! it was so cruel, that the most humane among the Romans, wished to have it disused, even to servants; and the more mild and gentle of the emperors would order persons to be strangled before they were nailed to the cross: and it was reckoned an accursed death. And though Christ was not accursed of God, but was his beloved Son, while he was suffering this death; yet it was a symbol of the curse; and he was hereby treated as if he was one accursed; and it became a clear case hereby, that he bore the curse of the law in the room and stead of sinners; yea, that he was made a curse for them; “for it is written, Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree” (Gal. 3:13).

There were several circumstances which

attended the death of Christ, which made it the more ignominious and distressing; as the place where he suffered, Golgotha, so called from the skulls of malefactors executed there; and was as infamous as our Tyburn; and it was as scandalous to be crucified in the one place, as to be hanged in the other. Here he was crucified between two thieves; as if he had been guilty of the same, or a like transgression, as theirs; and so fulfilled the prophecy in Isaiah 53:12. He “ was numbered among the transgressors;” and, instead of giving him a cup of wine with frankincense, which they used to give in kindness to a person about to be executed, to intoxicate him, that he might not be sensible of his misery; they gave to Christ vinegar mixed with gall, or sour wine with myrrh, and such like bitter ingredients, the more to distress him; of which he, in prophecy, complains (Ps. 69:21). Then they parted his garments, and cast lots upon his vesture; by which it seems that he was crucified naked, the more to expose him to shame and contempt; and which was predicted in Psalm 22:18 and while he was suffering, he endured the trial of cruel mocking, from all sorts of people; not only from travelers that passed by, and from the multitude of common people, assembled on the occasion; but from the chief priests, scribes, and elders; and even from the thieves, with whom he was crucified: to all which respect is had in prophecy (Ps. 22:7,8,12,13,16). And for three hours together, while he was on the cross, there was darkness over all the land, the sun, as it were, blushing and hiding its face at the heinousness of the sin now committed by the Jews; or as refusing to yield any relief and comfort to Christ, now sustaining as a surety the wrath of God, for the sins of his people; and might be an emblem of that greater darkness upon his soul, being now forsaken by his Father; (see Amos 8:9). And when this was over, he quickly gave up the ghost.

Let it be observed, that Christ was “put to death in the flesh;” as the apostle expresses it (1 Pet. 3:18), that is, in the body; that only suffered death; not his soul, that died not; but was commended into the hands of his divine Father: nor his Deity, or divine nature, which was impassible, and not capable of suffering death; and yet the body of Christ suffered death, in union with his divine person; hence the Lord of glory is said to be crucified and God is said to purchase the church with his blood (1 Cor. 2:8; Acts 20:28). And the

First. The things preparatory to his death, and which led on to it, and issued in it.

l. The conspiracy of the chief priests and elders to take away his life; this they had often meditated, and had made some fruitless attempts upon him: but a few days before his death it became a more serious affair; and they met, together in a body, in the palace of the high priest, to consult the most crafty methods to take him and kill him (Matthew 26:3,4), whereby was fulfilled what was foretold, “the rulers take counsel together;” the ecclesiastic rulers, as well as the civil ones (Ps. 2:2).

  1. The offer of Judas Iscariot to them, to betray him into their hands. A little before the passover, Christ and his disciples supped at Bethany, when Satan put it into the heart of Judas to betray him; which Christ, being God omniscient, knew, and gave an hint of it at supper; and said to Judas, “That thou doest, do quickly”: upon which, he set out for Jerusalem that night, and went to the chief priests, where they were assembled, and covenanted with them to betray his Master into their hands for thirty pieces of silver. This was one part of Christ’s sufferings, to be betrayed by one of his own disciples; and which, in prophecy, is observed as such; and the sum of money is foretold for which he agreed with them; and which also is observed as an instance of great disesteem of him (Ps. 41:9; Zech. 11:12,13).

  2. After Christ had eat his last passover with his disciples, and had instituted and celebrated the ordinance of the Supper; he went into a garden, where he used sometimes to go: here more manifestly his sufferings began; he saw what was coming upon him; the sins of his people he stood charged with as their surety, and the wrath of God for them; this caused him to be exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: at this his human nature shrunk; and he prayed that, if possible, the cup might pass from him; and the agony he was in was so great, and the pressure on his mind to heavy, and so much affected his body, that his sweat was, as it were, great drops of blood falling to the ground; this was a foretaste of what he was after more fully to endure (Matthew 26:38,39 Luke 22:44).

  3. Judas knowing the place Christ resorted to, and where he now was, came with a band of soldiers he had from the chief priests, and with a multitude of others, armed with swords and clubs, as if they came

    out against a thief, to take him, as our Lord observed to them; when with a kiss be betrayed him to them; and, after he had given them proof of his almighty power, and how easily he could have made his escape from them, voluntarily surrendered himself unto them; who laid hold on him, and bound him as a malefactor, and had him to Caiaphas the high priest.

  4. In whose palace he endured much from men, rude and inhumane; some “spit in his face, and buffetted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands;” one particularly struck him with the palm of his hand, as with a rod, saying, “Answerest thou the high priest so?” all which Christ took patiently, whereby the prophecies concerning him were fulfilled (Isa. 50:6; Micah 5:1).

  5. Still more he endured in the hall of Pilate the Roman governor, to whom the Jews delivered him bound. Here he was accused of sedition, and of stirring up the people against the Roman government; as he had been before in the high priest’s palace of an evil design to destroy the temple; which were all forged and false; as is said in prophetic language (Ps. 35:11 and though he appeared to be innocent, and that to the judge himself, who would willingly have let him go; yet such were the enmity and malice of the chief priests and elders, and of the multitude of the people, that they were the more vehement and incessant in their cries, to have Barabbas, a robber, released, and Jesus crucified: which verified what David, in the person of the Messiah, said (Ps. 69:4). Upon which he was scourged by Pilate, or by his orders; to which he willingly submitted, according to Isaiah 50:6, and then was delivered to the Roman soldiers, who used him extremely ill; who platted a crown of thorns, and put it upon his head, which gave him pain, as well as disgrace, which is now crowned with glory and honour; and put a reed in his right hand, for a sceptre, whose proper sceptre is a sceptre of righteousness; and, in a mock way, bowed to him, to whom every knee shall bow in the most solemn manner; having before stripped him of his garments, and put on him a soldier’s coat, as fit apparel for a king; and then having put on his clothes again, when they had sated themselves with sport, led him forth to be crucified, according to the sentence the governor had passed upon him, at the instance of the Jews; bearing his own cross they laid upon him, as was the custom with

death of Christ, as the death of other men, lay in the disunion of, or in a dissolution of the union between soul and body; these two were parted for a while; the one was commended to God in heaven; the other was laid in the grave: but hereby he was not reduced to a state of non-existence, as say the Socinians; his soul was with God in paradise; and his body, when taken from the cross, was laid in a sepulchre, and where it saw no corruption. The death of Christ was “real,” not in appearance only, as some of the ancient heretics affirmed; nor was he taken down from the cross alive; but was really dead, as appears by the testimony of the centurion that guarded the cross, to Pilate; by the soldiers not breaking his legs, with the others crucified with him, perceiving he was dead; and by one of them piercing his side, the “pericardium,” from whence flowed blood and water; after which, had he not been dead before, he must have died then. And lastly, his death was “voluntary;” for though his life was taken from the earth, seemingly in a violent manner, with respect to men, being cut off in a judicial way; yet not without his full will and consent; he laid it down of himself, and gave himself freely and voluntarily to be a sacrifice, through his death, for the sins of his people.

Now, besides this corporal death which Christ endured, there was a death in his soul, though not of it, which answered to a spiritual and an eternal death; for as the transgression of the first Adam, involved him and all his posterity in, and exposed them to, not only a corporal death, but to a moral or spiritual, and an eternal one; so the second Adam, as the surety of his people, in order to make satisfaction for that transgression, and all others of theirs, must undergo death, in every sense of the threatening (Gen. 2:17). And though a moral or spiritual death, as it lies in a loss of the image of God; in a privation of original righteousness; in impotence to that which is good, and in an inclination, bias, and servitude of the mind to that which is evil; could not fall upon the pure and holy soul of Christ; which must have made him unfit for his mediatorial work; yet there was something similar to it, so as to be without sin and pollution; as darkness of soul, disquietude, distress, want of spiritual joy and comfort, amazement, agony, his soul being sorrowful even unto death, pressed with the weight of the sins of his people on him, and a

sense of divine wrath on account of them; and what he endured both in the garden and on the cross, especially when he was made sin and a curse, and his soul was made an offering for sin, was tantamount to an eternal death, or the sufferings of the wicked in hell; for though they differ as to circumstance of time and place; the persons being different, the one finite, the other infinite; yet, as to the essence of them, the same: eternal death consists in these two things, punishment of loss, and punishment of sense: the former lies in an eternal separation from God, or a deprivation of his presence for ever; “Depart from me, ye cursed”: the latter is an everlasting sense of the wrath of God, expressed by “everlasting fire”. Now Christ endured what was answerable to these; for a while he suffered the loss of his Father’s gracious presence, when he said, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me!” And he endured the punishment of sense, when God was wroth with him, his anointed; when his wrath was poured out like fire upon him; and his heart melted like wax within him, under it; and “the sorrows of hell” compassed him about (Ps. 89:38; 22:14; 18:5). Eternity it not of the essence of punishment; and only takes place when the person punished cannot bear the whole at once: and being finite, as sinful man is, cannot make satisfaction to the infinite Majesty of God, injured by sin, the demerit of which is infinite punishment: and as that cannot be bore at once by a finite creature, it is continued ad infinitum; but Christ being an infinite Person, was able to bear the whole at once; and the infinity of his Person, abundantly compensates for the eternity of the punishment.

Secondly, Let us next inquire into the cause, reason, and occasion of the sufferings and death of Christ; and how he came to undergo them.

  1. With respect to God, and his concern in them. To trace this, we must go back as far as the eternal decrees and purposes of God; which are the foundation, source, and spring of them; for it was by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, that Christ was delivered into the hands of the Jews, and was taken, and by wicked hands was crucified and slain; Herod and Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles, and the people of the Jews, did no other things against him than what the hand and counsel of God determined before should be done; and therefore it was necessary

    they should be done (Acts 2:23; 4:27,28). Hence all things were overruled by the providence of God in time, to bring about what he had decreed should be; and without it nothing could have been done: Pilate had no power over him but what was given him from above: so great an hand had God in the sufferings of his Son, that he is said to bruise and put him to grief; to awake the sword of justice against him; to spare him not, but deliver him up for us all, into the hands of men, to justice and to death: and the moving cause of all this was, the great love he bore to his chosen ones in Christ; “God so loved the world,” &c. “In this was manifested the love of God towards us,” &c. (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9,10; Rom. 5:8).

  2. With respect to Christ, and his will, as to his sufferings and death; we must have recourse to the council and covenant of grace and peace; in which the plan of salvation was formed upon the obedience, and sufferings, and death of Christ; these were proposed to him, and he readily assented to them; and said, “Lo, I come to do thy will, O God! which was, to become incarnate; to obey, suffer, and die, in the room and stead of his people; and what moved him thereunto was, his free and unmerited love to them; and which is so fully and strongly expressed therein (John 15:13; 1 John 3:16; Eph. 5:2,25).

  3. With respect to Satan; the concern he had therein, in putting it into the heart of Judas, to betray his Lord and Master; and in stirring up the chief priests and elders of the Jews to conspire to take away his life; and so strongly to move for it, and insist upon with the Roman Governor: this arose from that old enmity that was between him and the woman’s seed; in which he betrayed great ignorance of the way of man’s salvation, or else acted in great contradiction to himself, and to his own scheme.

  4. With respect to men; these acted from different motives, and with different views: Judas from a spirit of covetousness, to gain a small sum of money from the Jews; they, from envy and malice to the Person of Christ, delivered him to Pilate, and moved to have him crucified; and he, against his own conscience, and the remonstrance of his wife, passed sentence of death on him, and delivered him to be crucified, to get and continue an interest in the affections of the Jews, and retain the good will and favour of his prince, the Roman emperor.

  5. But the true causes and reasons why it was the pleasure of God, and the will of Christ, from their great love to men, that he should suffer for them, were their sins and transgressions; to make satisfaction for them, and save them from them; it was not for any sin of his own, for he never committed any, but for the sins of others; he was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our sins; he was stricken for the transgressions of his people; he died for their sins, according to the scriptures (Isa. 53:5,8; 1 Cor. 15:3).

Thirdly, The effects of the sufferings and death of Christ, or the things procured thereby, are many. As,

  1. The redemption of his people from sin, from Satan, from the curse and condemnation of the law, and from wrath to come; which is through his blood, his sufferings, and death: he gave his flesh for the life of the world of his elect; and gave his life a ransom for them; and being made perfect through sufferings, became the author of salvation to them (Eph. 1:7; John 6:51; Matthew 20:28; Heb 2:10; 5:9).

  2. Reconciliation, which is by the death of Christ; and peace, which is made by his blood; even a complete atonement for sin; which is obtained through Christ’s being a propitiation for it, which he is, through his blood; that is, his sufferings and death (Rom. 3:25; 5:10; Col. 1:20).

  3. Pardon of sin; which is a branch of redemption, through the blood of Christ, which was shed for the remission of sin; and without shedding of blood there is no remission (Eph. 1:7; Matthew 26:28; Heb. 9:22).

  4. Justification, which is sometimes ascribed to the blood of Christ; that is, to his sufferings and death; the consequence of which is, deliverance, and security from wrath to come (Rom. 5:9).

  5. In short, the complete salvation of all God’s elect: Christ came to gather together the children of God that were scattered abroad, by dying for them to seek and to save that which was lost; even to save all his people from their sins, by finishing transgression, making an end of sin, making reconciliation for iniquity, and bringing in everlasting righteousness; and by obtaining an entire conquest over all enemies, sin, Satan, and death, and hell (John 11:51,52; Matthew 1:21; Dan. 9:24).

  6. In all which the glory of God is great; the glory of his mercy, grace, and goodness; the glory of his

wisdom, truth, and faithfulness; the glory of his power, and the glory of his justice and holiness.

Fourthly, The properties of Christ’s death and sufferings.

  1. They were real; and not imaginary, or in appearance only: as he really became incarnate, so he really suffered and died; which was confirmed by the testimony of the centurion, and the soldiers that guarded him; by his hands, feet, and side being pierced, and the prints of these being seen after his resurrection.

  2. They were voluntary; he willingly agreed in council and covenant to undergo them; he came readily into the world, in the time appointed for that purpose; and was earnestly desirous of, and even straitened until they were accomplished; he freely surrendered himself into the hands of his enemies; and cheerfully laid down his life, and resigned his breath.

  3. They were necessary: he ought to suffer; he could not be excused from suffering; because of the decrees of God; the covenant and agreement he entered into with his Father; the prophecies concerning them; and the types and figures on them. Besides, the redemption and salvation of his people could not be procured in any other way.

  4. They were efficacious, or effectual to the purposes for which they were endured; as redemption, reconciliation, &c. which efficacy they had from the dignity of his Person, as the Son of God; hence his blood cleansed from all sin; and his righteousness justified from all; and it is unto all, and upon all them that believe, to the justification of them; and his sacrifice is of a sweet smelling savor with God; and a full and proper atonement for the sins of men. For,

  5. They are expiatory and satisfactory. The sufferings of saints are by way of fatherly chastisement; but they have no efficacy to expiate sin, or make atonement for it. But Christ’s sufferings, through the infiniteness of his Person, are a complete atonement for all the sins of his people; by his sacrifice and death he has put away sin for ever, and perfected for ever them that are sanctified.


Chapter 5

OF THE BURIAL OF CHRIST

The last degree of Christ’s humiliation, and which it ended in, is his burial, or his being laid in the grave;

where he continued under the dominion of death for a time. This is one of the articles of the Christian faith, “that he was buried” according to the scriptures” (1 Cor 15:4). Therefore it will be proper to observe,

First, That Christ was to be buried, according to scripture prophecies and types of it; and what they were.

Ist, Scripture prophecies; which are the following.

l. Psalm 16:10. “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell,” or body in the grave. The whole Psalm is concerning Christ, and this verse particularly is applied to him, and strongly argued to belong to him, and not to David, by two apostles, Peter and Paul (Acts 2:25-31; 13:34-37). Indeed, they produce it in proof of Christ’s resurrection; but it is, at the same time, a proof of his burial in the grave, from whence he was raised. Some understand it, of his “descent into hell;” as it is expressed in some creeds, that of the Apostles, the Nicene, and the Athanasian creeds, though foisted into them in later times; and which the papists interpret of the local descent of the soul of Christ into hell, as it signifies the place of the damned, at least into an apartment of it, they call “limbus patrum;” whither they say he went, to complete his sufferings; to preach the gospel to the Old Testament saints; to fetch their souls from thence, and to triumph over Satan. But it is certain, that the soul of Christ, upon its separation from his body, went not to hell, but to heaven, being committed by him into the hands of his Father: nor needed he to go thither to complete his sufferings, which ended on the cross, when he said, “It is finished”: nor to preach the gospel, which belongs to the present life, and not to the state of the dead; and which had been preached to the old testament saints in their lifetime: nor to fetch their souls from thence, which were in heaven; as not only Enoch and Elijah, both in soul and body; but the souls of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and all the rest of the saints: nor to triumph over the devil and his angels, that he did when on the cross (Col. 2:15). The passages of scripture which all this is chiefly grounded upon, and brought for the confirmation of, are in 1 Peter 3:19,20 and 4:6 which are misunderstood, and wrongly applied; for the words are to be understood, not of Christ’s going down into the prison of hell, after his death, and preaching to the spirits there; but of his preaching by his Spirit, to the disobedient ones, who lived in the

34 OF THE BURIAL OF CHRIST BOOK V

times of Noah; whose spirits, for their disobedience to it, were, in the apostle’s time, in the prison of hell. In like manner the dead, to whom the gospel is said to be preached, in 1 Peter 3: 4:6 are those that were then dead when the apostle wrote, but were alive when the gospel was preached unto them. Nor are the words in the sixteenth Psalm, and with which the article in the creed is allowed by some to agree, to be understood of the soul sufferings of Christ; the anguish and distress of his mind, under a sense of wrath, and under divine desertion; which have been spoken of in the preceding chapter: though Calvin, and many that follow him, so interpret the phrases, both in the Psalm and in the Creed: but these were what he endured in the garden and on the cross, before his death, and not after it. By “hell,” is meant the grave; and so the word is used in many places (Gen. 42:38; 1 Sam. 2:6; Isa. 38:18). And by “soul,” is meant the dead body of Christ; as the word “nephesh” sometimes signifies; (see Lev. 21:1) and then the sense is, that God would not leave his dead body in the grave, at least not so long as to see corruption, to purify and corrupt, as bodies begin to do, usually, on the fourth day of their being laid in the grave (John 11:39), but Christ was to be, and was raised, on the third day, which prevented that. Now this prophecy manifestly implies that Christ’s dead body should be laid in the grave, though it should not be left there; and though it should not lie there so long as to be corrupted, or that any worm or maggot should have power over him, as the Jews express it.

  1. Another passage is in Psalm 22:15. “Thou hast brought me into the dust of death;” not only to death, but to dust after death; to lie in the dusty grave, according to the threatening; “To dust thou shalt return” (Gen. 3:19), and to which the body does return when laid in the grave; and the soul to God that gave it (Eccl. 12:7). So Kimchi interprets the passage; “I am ready to be put into the grave, which is the dust of death. “

  2. Some take the words in Isaiah 11:10 to be a prophecy of Christ’s burial; “And his rest shall be glorious;” that the passage belongs to the Messiah, is clear from Isaiah 11:1,2 and following; and from the quotation and application of it to the times of Christ (Rom. 15:12). And the Vulgate Latin version of the words is, “His grave shall be glorious”: and the grave, as it is a resting place to the saints, so it

    was to Christ; where his “flesh rested in hope” of the resurrection from the dead (Ps. 16:9). And though his being buried was an instance of his humiliation, and a proof of the low estate into which he was brought; yet it was, in some sense, glorious, inasmuch as he was honourably interred in the grave of a rich man; as the next prophecy suggests.

  3. In the passage in Isaiah 53:9 “and he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death;” in which words there is some difficulty: could they be transposed thus, “he made his grave with the rich, and he was with the wicked in his death,” facts would exactly answer to it; for he died between two thieves, and so was with the wicked in his death; and he was buried in the sepulchre of Joseph of Arimathea, a rich man, and so had his grave with the rich; but it might be using too much freedom with the text to transpose it at pleasure. The general sense of the words may be this, that after his death both rich men and wicked men were concerned in his burial, and were about his grave; Joseph and Nicodemus, two rich men, in taking down from the cross his body, and laying it in the tomb, enwrapped by them in linen with spices; and wicked soldiers were employed in guarding the sepulchre: or the first clause may respect the intention of the Jews, “he” or “it,” the Jewish people and nation, “gave,” appointed and intended that his grave should be with “the wicked,” that he should be interred in the common burying place for malefactors; and the latter clause may respect the will of God, but “he made it,” that is, God in his providence ordered it, that it should be “with the rich in his death;” that he should be buried in a rich man’s grave when dead. Aben Ezra says the word twmb translated “in his death,” signifies a structure over a grave, a sepulchral monument; and so the sense may be, that though his grave was put under the care and watch of the wicked soldiers, yet he had a famous monument erected at the charge of a rich man, where he was laid.

Secondly, There was a scripture type of his burial, and which our Lord himself takes notice of; “for as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40), that is, as Jonah was as it were buried so long in the belly of the whale, so Christ should lie a like time under the earth, called “the heart of it,” as elsewhere “the lower

parts” of it, into which Christ “descended,” that is, the grave (Eph. 4:9).

Secondly, As Christ should be buried according to prophecy and type, so in fact he was buried, as all the evangelists relate (Matthew 27:59,60; Mark 15:46,47; Luke 23:53,55; John 19:39-42), though with different circumstances, yet not contradictory; what is omitted by one is supplied by another; and from the whole we learn,

  1. That the body being begged of Pilate by Joseph of Arimathea, a rich man, it was taken down from the cross, and was wrapped or wound about in fine clean linen, as was the manner of the Jews; (see John 11:44), when he was bound hand and foot like a prisoner; and which may denote the dominion death had over him; for when the apostle says, “death hath no more dominion over him” (Rom. 6:9), it supposes that it once had; as it had when he was bound with grave clothes and was laid in the grave, until he was loosed from the pains or cords of death, and declared to be the Son of God with power by his resurrection from the dead: the fine clean linen, in which he was wrapped, may be an emblem of his innocence, purity, and holiness; who notwithstanding all appearances and charges, was holy, harmless, and as a lamb without spot and blemish; and likewise of his pure and spotless righteousness, now wrought out, and brought in by his active and passive obedience completely finished, called fine linen, clean and white, which is the righteousness of the saints (Rev. 19:8), and in which his dead members, his people, who are in themselves dead in law, and dead in sin, being enwrapped, or having his righteousness imputed to them, it is unto justification to life.

  2. Nicodemus, another rich man, brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight; which spices, along with the linen clothes, were wound about the body of Christ; which may denote the savouriness and acceptableness of the righteousness of Christ to God, and to sensible sinners; all whose garments smell of myrrh, aloes, and cassia, as those his sepulchral garments did (Ps. 45:8), so the smell of the church’s garments, which she has from Christ, is like the smell of Lebanon, or like the smell of a field which the Lord has blessed; as the smell of Jacob in his brother’s garments was to Isaac (Song of Sol. 4:11; Gen. 27:27), also the savouriness of

    Christ’s death and sacrifice, how agreeable to God, being satisfactory to his justice, and so of a sweet smelling savour to him (Eph. 5:2), and the savour of a crucified Christ diffused through the preaching of the gospel, which is like a box of ointment poured forth, and emits such a sweet savour as attracts the love and affections of souls unto him; and whereby the ministers of it become a sweet savour to God and men (2 Cor. 2:14,15; Song of Sol. 1:3).

  3. The body being thus enwrapped was laid in Joseph’s own tomb, a new one, in which no man had been laid; and this was cut out of a rock. As Jacob, the patriarch and type of Christ, was honourably buried by his son Joseph, so Christ, the antitype of him, and who is sometimes called Israel, was honourably buried by another Joseph, and he a “rich” man, which fulfilled the prophecy in Isaiah 53:9. Christ was laid, not in his own, but in “another’s” tomb; which, as it is expressive of his meanness and low estate, who in his lifetime had not where to lay down his head to sleep in, and at his death had no tomb of his own to lay his dead body in; so it denotes, that what he did and suffered, and was done to him, were not for himself but for others; he died not for his own sins, but for the sins of others; and he was buried, not so much for his own sake, but for others, that they and their sins might be buried with him; and so he rose again for their justification: it was a “new” tomb in which Christ was laid, who wherever he comes makes all things new; he made the grave for his people quite a new and another thing to what it was; as, when he is formed, and lies, and dwells in the hearts of men, old things pass away, and all become new: and in this tomb “was never man yet laid;” and which, as the former circumstance, was so ordered in providence that it might not be said that not he but another man rose from the dead; or that he rose not by his own power, but by the touch of another body, as a man once rose by the touch of the body of Elisha (2 Kings 13:20), moreover this tomb was “hewn out in the rock,” as was sometimes the manner of rich men to do, to prepare such sepulchres while living for the greater security of their bodies when dead (Isa. 22:16), and this prevented any such objection to be made to the resurrection of Christ, that the apostles through some subterraneous passages got to the body of Christ and took it away; and to all this may be added, that at the door of this new tomb hewn

    out of a rock a great stone was rolled, and this stone sealed by the Jews themselves; so that no pretence could be made for a fraud or imposture in this affair.

  4. The tomb in which Christ’s body was laid was “in a garden;” nor was it unusual for great personages to have their sepulchres in a garden, and there to be buried. Manasseh and Amon his son, kings of Judah, were buried in a garden (2 Kings 21:18,26). Christ’s sufferings began in a garden, and the last act of his humiliation was in one; this may put us in mind of the garden of Eden, into which the first Adam was put, and out of which he was cast for his sin; and may lead us to observe, that as sin was first committed in a garden, whereby Adam and his posterity came short of the glory of God, so sin was finished in a garden; there it was buried, there the last act Christ’s humiliation for it was performed; and hereby way was made for our entrance into the garden of God, the heavenly paradise above. A garden is a place where fruit trees grow, and fruit is in plenty; and may direct us to think of the fruits of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection; who compares himself to a grain of wheat, which unless it falls into the ground and die, it abides alone; but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit (John 12:24), such as redemption, reconciliation, pardon of sin, &c. as also that as Christ’s remove from the cross was to a garden, so the remove of saints at death will be from the cross of afflictions and tribulations, to the garden of Eden, the paradise of God, where there are pleasures for evermore.

  5. The persons concerned in the burial of Christ, and attended his grave, were many and of various kinds, and on different accounts: the persons principally concerned in the interment of him were Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, both rich men; and though before they did not openly profess Christ, yet now being wonderfully animated, influenced, and strengthened by the power and grace of God, boldly appear in his cause, and are not ashamed to own him, and act on his behalf, though crucified and slain, and lay under so much ignominy and contempt. And this was so ordered by the wise providence of God, that it might appear, that though Christ was loaded with the reproaches of the multitude of the people of all sorts, yet he had some friends among the rich and honourable, who had courage enough to espouse his cause; and such faith in him, and love to him, as

publicly to do the kind offices they did to him, in his greatest debasement and lowest state of humiliation. There were some women also who attended his cross, and followed him to his grave; and continued sitting over against the sepulchre, saw where he was and how his body was laid there; and who went and prepared spices to anoint it, and with which they came early on the first day of the week; but were prevented doing it by his resurrection from the dead; here the power and grace of God were seen in spiriting and strengthening the weaker vessels to act for Christ, and show their respect to him, when all his disciples forsook him and fled; and this conduct of the women was a rebuke of theirs. Besides these, there were the Roman soldiers, who were placed as a guard about the sepulchre; and which, not only gave proof of the truth of his death, and of the reality of his burial; but also of his resurrection; though they were tampered with to be an evidence against it.

The continuance of Christ in the grave, was three days and three nights; that is, three natural days, or parts of them; which answered the type of Christ’s burial, Jonah; who lay so long in the belly of the whale (Matthew 12:40). Christ was buried on the, and so lay in the grave part of that natural day, and the whole seventh day, another natural day, and rose again on the first day, and so must lie a part of that day in it; and in like manner, and no longer, it may reasonably be supposed, Jonah lay in the whale’s belly.

Thirdly, The ends, uses, and effects of Christ’s burial, require some notice.

  1. To fulfil the prophecies and type before mentioned; for as this was predicted of him, it was necessary it should be fulfilled in him.

  2. To show the truth and reality of his death; for though there were other proofs and evidences of it; yet this must be a very convincing one, since he was taken down from the cross, and buried, not by his enemies, but by his friends, who would never bury him alive; nor, indeed, did Pilate, nor would he deliver the body to them until he was certified by the centurion that he was really dead; and if any doubt could remain after that, it must be removed by the burial of him.

  3. That it might appear, that by his death and sacrifice, he had made full satisfaction for sin, and a complete atonement for it; that as by his hanging on the tree, it was manifest that he bore the curse, and

    was made a curse for his people; so by his body being taken down from the cross, and laid in the grave, it was a token that the curse was at an end, and entirely abolished, agreeable to the law in Deuternomy 21:23.

  4. To sanctify the grave, and make that easy and familiar to saints, and take off the dread and reproach of it: Christ pursued death, the last enemy, to his last quarters and strong hold, the grave; drove him out from thence, and snatched the victory out of the hand of the grave; so that believers may, with pleasure, go and see the place where their “Lord lay;” which is now sanctified, and become a sleeping and resting place for them until the resurrection morn; and may say and sing, in the view of death and the grave; “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” For,

  5. In Christ’s burial, all the sins of his people are buried with him; as the “old man was crucified with him; that the body of sin might be destroyed” (Rom. 6:6). So being dead, that, and its deeds, are buried with him; these may be signified by the grave clothes with which he was bound, and from which being loosed, he left them in the grave; signifying that the sins of his people, with which he was held, but now freed from, having atoned for them, would never rise up against them; being left in his grave, and cast into the depths of the sea, and, by the Lord, behind his back, so as never to be seen and remembered more; and which is emblematically represented in the ordinance of baptism, designed to exhibit to view the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, and of believers in him (Rom. 6:4-6; Col. 2:12).

  6. This is an instance of the great humiliation of Christ; not only to be brought to death, but to the dust of death. The man, when laid in the grave, is a “vile” body, mean, abject, and contemptible; it is sown in dishonour and weakness; and so was the body of Christ; he descended into, and lay in the lower parts of the earth, where death and the grave had dominion, and triumphed over him for a while; and so did the enemies of Christ, as the enemies of the two witnesses will, over their dead bodies, saying, as in prophetic language, “And now that he lieth,” that is, in the grave, “he shall rise up no more” (Ps. 41:8). But they were mistaken; though he died once, he will die no more; death shall have no more dominion over him; though while he was in the grave it had dominion over

him; but now he is loosed from the cords and pains of death, and lives for evermore, having the keys of hell and death; and he is quickened and justified in the Spirit; and is risen again for the justification of his people: which is the next thing to be considered.


Chapter 6

OF THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST FROM THE DEAD.

Having gone through Christ’s state of humiliation, I pass on to his state of exaltation; which immediately took place on the ending of the former: these two are closely connected by the apostle, Phil. ii. 6—10. for having fully described the humiliation of Christ; he adds, Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him,

&c. see Acts ii. 33. and v. 31. The several steps and in- stances of his exaltation are, his resurrection from the dead, ascension to heaven, session at the right-hand of God, and his second coming to judge the world at the last day. I shall begin with the first of these; for the first step of Christ’s exaltation is, his resurrection from the dead; God raised him from the dead and gave him glory, 1 Pet. i. 21. This is one of the principal articles of the Christian faith; a very important one, and on which the truth of the whole gospel depends, 1 Cor.

xv. 4, 14.

First, I shall consider the prophecies and types of Christ’s resurrection from the dead, and how they have been fulfilled. 1st. Scripture-prophecies; and the apostle Paul takes notice of several of them in one discourse of his, in Acts xiii. 33, 34, 35. 1. A passage in Psalm ii. 1. Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee; which was not said to David; nor could it be said to any other man, since it never was said to any of the angels, Heb. i. 5. yet not so to be understood of Christ, as if his resurrection was the cause of his being, or of his being called the Son of God; since, before that, his divine Sonship was witnessed to by his Father, by angels, by men, good and bad, yea, owned by devils; and was the charge brought against him, for which the Jews said he ought to die, John xix. 1. But the sense is, that by his resurrection from the dead, he would be declared, as he was, to be the Son of God with power; and the truth of his divine Sonship confirmed thereby

; and so this prophecy fulfilled; see Rom. i. 4

  1. Another prophecy of Christ’s resurrection is in

    Psalm xvi. 10. which is produced both by the apostle Peter, and by the apostle Paul, as foretelling the resurrection of Christ, Acts ii. 31. and xiii. 35, 36, 37. for as it is a proof that his dead body would be laid in a grave, and lie buried there for a time, as has been observed in the preceding chapter, so that it would not be left there, not so long as to be corrupted, but would be raised from thence.

  2. Another scripture quoted by? the apostle Paul, Acts xiii. 34. as referring to the resurrection of Christ, and as a proof of it, is in Isa. lv. 3. will give you the sure mercies of David; by David is meant Christ, as he often is in prophecy, Jer. xxx. 9. Ezek. xxxiv. 23,

  1. and xxxvii. 24, 25. Hos. iii. 5. and by his mercies, the blessings of the covenant of grace, which are with him; so called, because they flow from the grace and mercy of God; and which” being put into his hands, are sure to all the elect through him ; and particularly through his resurrection from the dead; for had he died, and not rose again from the dead, the blessings of the covenant would not have been ratified and confirmed ; the impetration of them is owing to his death ; but the application of them to his resurrection from the dead; which, therefore, was necessary to make them sure. Besides these,

    1. There is another passage, foretelling the resurrection of Christ, in Isa. xxvi. 19. Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise; which is an answer to the complaint of the prophet, concerning the sad estate of his people, f \4, &c. and are not spoken by him, but by the Messiah to him, the Lord Jehovah, in whom is everlasting strength, the desire of his people, the ordainer of peace for them, and the worker of their works in them ; and who is acknowledged by them as being Lord of them, 4, 8, 9, 12, 13. and who assures the prophet, that whereas he should arise from the dead, others should rise with him, as a pledge of the resurrection of bis people at the last day; and which was fulfilled at the resurrection of Christ, when the graves were opened, and many of the saints arose from the dead, Matt, xxvii. 52, 53. or if the words are to be rendered, As my dead body; or, as sure as my dead body shall they arise: either way they predict the resurrection of Christ, of Christ’s dead body; which is both the exemplar, earnest, and pledge of the resurrection of the saints. Once more.

    2. Another prophecy of the resurrection of Christ,

and of its being on the third day, is, as is generally under-stood, in Hos. vi. 2. after two days will he revive us, &c. which words are thought to be spoken of the Messiah, whose coming is prophesied of in the following verse; and though they are expressed in the plural number, this may be no objection to the application of them to Christ, and his resurrection

; since he rose again, not as a single Person, but as a public Head, representing all his people, who are therefore said to be raised up together with him, Eph.

  1. 6. Col.iii. 1.

    2ndly, Scripture-types; some of which are,

    1. Types of the thing itself in general; or at least thought to be so; as the first Adam’s awaking out of a deep sleep, when the woman was presented to him, formed of one of his ribs ; the deliverance of Isaac, when his father received him in a figure as from the dead; the bush Moses saw burning with fire, and not consumed; the budding and blossoming of Aaron’s dry rod; the living bird let fly, after it had been dipped in the blood of the slain bird, used in the purification of the leper; and the scape-goat, let go into the wilderness, when the other taken with it was slain.

    2. Others are types of the time of it in particular; as well as of the thing itself; as the rescue of Isaac from the jaws of death, on the third day, from the time Abraham had the order to sacrifice him, and from which time he was looked upon by him as a dead man ; to which others add the preferment of Joseph in Pharaoh’s court, on the third year from his being cast into prison by Potiphar; putting a year for a day, as sometimes a day is for a year; but the principal “type of all, respecting this matter, is that of the deliverance of Jonas from the whale’s belly, when he had been three days in it, at least part of three natural days, and which our Lord himself makes mention of as such, Matt. xii. 40.

Secondly, As it was foretold that Christ should rise from it, and that on the third day; accordingly he did; of which there were many witnesses and full evidence. As,

  1. The testimony of angels. Matthew speaks of but one angel, that descended and rolled away the stone from the- sepulchre; but Luke makes mention of two men in shining garments, that is, angels, who appeared in such a form; and John calls them angels, and represents them as sitting, the one at the head and

    the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain; and who told the women that came to the sepulchre, that Christ was not there, but risen ; and so as angels were the first that brought the tidings of Christ’s in- carnation and birth to the shepherds, they were the first that made the report of his resurrection to the women, Matt, xxviii. 2, 5, 6. Luke xxiv. 5, 6. John xx.

    12, Who,

  2. Were good and sufficient witnesses of what they saw and heard; they were present when the body of Christ was laid in the sepulchre; they saw where it was laid, and how it was laid; they went home to prepare spices, and when the sabbath was over, came with them to the sepulchre, to anoint the body with them; where, to their great surprise, they saw the stone was rolled away from it; they entered into it, and found the body was gone; they saw the angels, who assured them that Christ was risen; and as they were returning to the disciples with the news, Christ himself met them, whom they knew and worshipped, and held by the feet: so that they had all the evidence of his being risen they could well have, and of his being risen in a real body; which was not only visible to them, but palpable by them, Mark xvi. 4. Luke xxiv. 2, 3. Matt.

    xxviii. 9.

  3. Even the soldiers that guarded the sepulchre were witnesses of Christ’s resurrection; they saw the angel roll away the stone, they were terrified with the sight, and with the earthquake they felt; they left their station, and went to the chief priests, and re-ported what was done, that Christ was risen from the dead; as appears by the method the priests took to stifle the matter, by bribing them with money, to contradict what they had said, and give out that the disciples came by night, and took the body away, whilst they slept; which is so far from invalidating their first report, that it serves but to corroborate it, that they spoke the truth at first, but a lie at last; since, if asleep, how could they know and attest the coming of the disciples to the grave, and taking the body from thence? Matt, xxviii. 4, 11—15.-

  4. After this, Christ was seen of many men, even of many hundreds; first he was seen of Cephas, or Peter; then of the twelve disciples after that of above five hundred brethren at once; next of James, then again of all the apostles; and, last of all, he was seen of the apostle Paul, both at his conversion, and afterwards in

    the temple; see 1 Cor. xv. 5—3, Acts xxvi. 16, 19. and

    xxii. 17, 18. Now the apostles were witnesses chosen before of God for this purpose, Acts x. 41. and are to be credited; for

    (1). They were such who knew Christ full well, who had been some years bis disciples and followers, had attended his ministry, had seen his miracles, and had been his constant companions in his life-time; and after he was risen from the dead, had eat add drank with him ; and had not only a glance or two of him; but he was seen by them at certain times for the space of forty days; and shewed himself alive to them by infallible proofs, Acts i. 3. and x. 41.

    (2.) They were men not over credulous, nay, slow of heart to believe, as our Lord upbraids them; and even with respect to this matter; though the women that had been at the sepulchre gave such a plain account of things, with such striking circumstances; yet their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not; nay, when Christ had appeared to all the disciples but one; and they were fully convinced of the truth and reality of his resurrection, and reported this to Thomas, who was not with them ; yet so incredulous was he, and would not receive their united re-port, that he declared he would not believe that Christ was risen, unless he saw the print of the nails in his hands, and put his finger into it, and thrust his hand into his side; all which he was indulged with by Christ; and then, and not before, declared his faith in it. Now had they been a credulous sort of men, easy of belief, ready to receive any thing that was told, their testimony might have been objected to; but they were all the reverse; see Luke xxiv. 11. John xx. 25, 27.

    1. The disciples were men of holy lives and conversation, of strict probity, honesty, and integrity; never charged with any vice or immorality: it may be said of them what the apostle Paul says of himself, that in simplicity and godly sincerity they had their conversation in the world: and the testimony of shell persons merits regard in any affair.

    2. They could have no sinister end, or any worldly advantage in view in contriving and telling such a story; they could expect no other but to be mocked and hated, reproached and persecuted, by all sorts of men, by Jews and Gentiles; as in fact they were, Acts iv. 1,2, 3. and xvii. 18. nay, not only they risked their credit and reputation, but life itself; and exposed

    themselves to the severest sufferings, and most cruel death; see 1 Cor. xv. 29, 30, 32. nay, even risked the salvation of their immortal souls; for how could such men but expect the wrath of God, eternal damnation, that could frame and propagate such a falsehood, if it was one?

  5. The resurrection of Christ is not only confirmed by the above witnesses, but the Holy Ghost himself is a witness of it, by the miracles which were wrought under his influence, in confirmation of it; the apostles, with great power, that is, with miracles, signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds, gave witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ; see Acts iv. 32. and v. 30, 31, 32.

  6. It is as certain, and of it there is full evidence, that Christ rose again from the dead on the third day, according to scripture prophecies and types. It was on the first day of the week Christ rose from the dead. All the evangelists agree that it was on that day the women came to the sepulchre with their spices, and found things as they were; which showed that Christ was risen, Matt, xxviii. 1. Mark xvi. 1,2. Luke

  1. 1. John xx. 1. which laid the foundation for the observation of that day to be kept by Christians in a religious manner, Acts xx. 7. 1 Cor. xvi. 1, 2. and it was early in the morning on that day, about the break of it, towards sun-rising; a fit time, very suitable to the Sun of righteousness, who arises on his people with healing in his wings ; and this day was the third day from his death. On the evening of the sixth day, on which he died, he was buried, and he rested in the grave on the seventh day, the Jewish sabbath; and fulfilled thereby that type of him, and put an end to it; which made way for the first day, as a day of religious worship, which immediately succeeded it, as none so proper as the next day: so that a time, or day of worship, was not in the least intermitted, nor ever since was one wanted; and on the first day, which was the third from his death, he rose from the dead, and so fulfilled the type of Jonah; who, it is reasonable to suppose, lay no longer in the belly of the whale than our Lord did in the earth; namely, one whole natural day, and parts of others; the Jews having no other name for a natural day than a night and a day; which the Greeks call a night-day; and a part being put for the whole, both might be said to lie three days and three nights; that is, three natural days; the one in the

    whale’s belly; the other in the heart of the earth: they lying there some part of two natural days, whether the night or day part of them, and one whole natural day, Matt. xii. 40.

    Thirdly, The manner of Christ’s rising from the dead comes next to be considered. -

    1. It was in his body; not in his divine nature; which, as it was not capable of suffering and dying, so not the subject of the resurrection; nor his human soul; for that died not with the body; but went to heaven, to paradise, on its separation from it; but in his body: as he was put to death in the flesh, so he was raised from the dead in it; it was the body only that died, and that only was raised again : when Christ said, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up, the evangelist observes, that he spoke of the temple of his body, John ii. 19,21.

    2. It was the same body that was raised that died, and was laid in the grave; it was a real body, consisting of flesh, blood, and bones; and was not only to be seen, but to be handled; and it was the same identical body, as appears from the print of the nails in his hands, and the mark in his side made by the spear, Luke xxiv. 39,

      40. John xx. 25, 27.

    3. It was raised immortal, clear of all former infirmities, as weariness, hunger, thirst, &c. it was, before, mortal, as the event showed; Christ was crucified through weakness: but was raised powerful, immortal, and incorruptible, never to die more; nor shall death have any more dominion over him; he lives for evermore, and has the keys of hell and death, the government of the grave, and can open it at his pleasure, and let out the inhabitants of it free, Rom.

      vi. 9. Rev. i. 18.

    4. It was raised very glorious; of which his transfiguration upon the mountain, before his decease, was an emblem and pledge: and though he might not appear in so -much glory immediately after his resurrection, and during his stay with his disciples, before his ascension, they not being able to bear the lustre of his countenance, it really had; yet now, being crowned with glory and honour, his body is a glorious one, according to which the bodies of the saints will be fashioned, at the resurrection of the just, Phil. iii. 21.

    5. Yet it has the same essential parts and properties of a body it ever had; not only being flesh and blood

      which a spirit has not, but circumscribed by space not everywhere, but limited to some certain place; I is received up into heaven, and there it is retained, and will be retained, until the restitution of all things.

    6. And lastly, The resurrection of Christ was at- tended with wonderful events; as with an earthquake which made it grand and solemn, and alarmed the watch to be attentive to it, and be witnesses of it; and was expressive of the mighty power of God, by which it was performed; and it was followed with a resurrection of many of the saints, shewing the efficacy of it and as a pledge, earnest, and confirmation of the future resurrection of all the righteous at the last day Matt, xxviii. 2. and xxvii. 52, 53.

Fourthly, The causes of the resurrection of Chris from the dead deserve notice; it is frequently ascribed to God, without any distinction of persons; it being

; divine work, which none but God could do, and is ; work of the exceeding greatness of his power, Eph. i 19. see Acts ii. 24, 32. and hi. 13, 15. and iv.

10. an v. 30. yet being a work ad extra, all the three divine persons were concerned in it. It is sometimes as ascribed to God the Father, as in Eph. i. 17—20. again in Acts xiii. 30, 33. which words are said to the Son bi God the Father, who raised him from the dead; see also 1 Pet. i. 3. At other times it is ascribed to the Son himself: he declared beforehand, that when the temple of his body was destroyed, he would raise it up again ; and that, as he had power to lay down his life he had power to take it up again, which he did; and was thereby declared to be the Son of God with power John ii. 19, 21. and x. 18. Rom. i. 4. see also 1 Pet iii. 18. The Spirit, the third Person, had also a concern in it; for the declaration of Christ’s Sonship wit] power was according to the Spirit of holiness, or tin holy Spirit, by the resurrection from the dead; that is by raising Christ from the dead; and as God, by hi Spirit, will raise the members of Christ at the last day so by the same Spirit, he raised Christ, their Head, o whose resurrection theirs depends, which is intimate by the apostle, Rom. viii. 11.

Fifthly, The effects of Christ’s resurrection from the dead, or the ends which were to be, and have been, or will be, answered by it.

1st, With respect to God, the chief end of all, was his glory; for Christ was raised from the dead by, some read it, to the glory of the Father, Rom. vi.

4. that i: to the glory of God the Father, as in Phil.

  1. 11. to the glory of his perfections; as particularly, his truth an faithfulness, in fulfilling types, promises, and prophecies concerning this matter ; for what the apostles an ministers of the New Testament say of it, is no other than what Moses and the prophets did say should come to pass; namely, that Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, Acts xxvi. 22, 23. and since God spoke of it by them, the veracity of God required it should be done, and that is glorified by it. Also the power of God; to raise one from the dead, is the work of almighty power; as is both the resurrection of Christ, and of the saints; God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power : and the exceeding greatness of his power was exerted in a most glorious manner in the resurrection of Christ, 1 Cor. vi. 14. Eph. i. 19, 20. Moreover, the justice of God is glorified in it; when Christ had done his work as a Surety, it was but just and equitable that he should be discharged, be loosed from the cords of death, and be detained no longer a prisoner in the grave; and that he should be honour-ably and legally acquitted; as he was when a messenger was dispatched from heaven to roll away the stone of the sepulchre, and set him free; and being thus raised from the dead, he was justified in the Spirit; and hereby the justice of God was glorified, as also his wisdom, grace, and goodness; which appeared in forming the scheme of salvation, and in the kind designs of God to his people; all which would have been defeated, if Christ had not been raised from the dead.

    2dly, With respect to Christ.

    1. Hereby is given further proof of his proper Deity, and divine Son-ship; by this it appears, that he is the Lord God Almighty, who could and did raise himself from the dead! this declares him to be the Son of God with power : shews that he is the Lord of all, both of the dead and of the living; that he has the keys of hell and death, and can and will unlock the graves of his people, and set them free, as he has himself, Rom. i.

  1. and xiv. 9. Rev. i. 18.

    1. By this it is a clear case, that Christ has done his work as the Surety of his people; that he has paid all their debts, finished transgression, made an end of sin, made reconciliation for iniquity, and brought in everlasting righteousness; that he has fulfilled the law,


      satisfied justice, and obtained eternal redemption, having given a sufficient price for it; and, in short, has done every thing he agreed to do, to the full satisfaction of his divine Father; and there-fore he is raised from the dead, received into glory, and set down at the right hand of God, having answered all his suretyship-engagements.

    2. This shews that he has got the victory over death and the grave; that he has not only destroyed him that had the power of death, the devil, but has abolished death itself, the last enemy, and has brought life and immortality to light; that he has done what he resolved to do; 0 death, I will be thy plague! O grave, I will be thy destruction ! so that the believer, in a view of interest in a risen Saviour, who has conquered death and the grave, may triumph, and say, 0 death, where is thy sting ? 0 grave, where is thy victory ? 2 Tim. i.

10. Hos. xiii. 14. 1 Cor. XT. 55.

4. It was necessary that Christ should rise from the dead, in order to enter into the glory promised him, and he prayed for: the prophets not only spoke of the sufferings of Christ, but of the glory that should follow; which could not be enjoyed by him, unless alter he had suffered death, he was raised again; wherefore God raised him from the dead, and gave him the promised glory, 1 Pet. i. 11,21.

3ridly, With respect to his people; the power of Christ’s resurrection is great; the effects of it are many, Phil. iii. 10.

  1. The blessings of the covenant of grace in general are enjoyed by the saints in virtue of it; for though reconciliation, and other blessings of grace, are by the death of Christ;’yet the application and enjoyment of them are through his inter-ceding life, in consequence of his resurrection from the dead; to which life the whole of salvation is ascribed, Rom. v. 10. Heb. vii. 25.

  2. Justification, in particular, is observed as one special end and effect of Christ’s resurrection; he was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification; and the triumph of faith, in the view of that blessing of grace, is rather, and more principally founded on Christ s resurrection, than on his sufferings and death, Rom. iv. 25. and viii. 33, 34.

  3. Regeneration is another effect of Christ’s resurrection; as the elect of God were quickened with him, and in him, as their head and representative,

    when he was quickened and raised from the dead ; hence said to be raised up together, Eph. ii. 5,6. so they are quickened in regeneration, in consequence and virtue of his resurrection, to which it is ascribed, 1 Pet. i. 3.

  4. The resurrection of the saints at the last day is the fruit and effect, of Christ’s resurrection, and which is ensured by it. Christ’s glorious body is the exemplar, according to which the bodies of the saints will then be formed; and his resurrection is the earnest and pledge of theirs; he is the first-fruits of them that slept, that is, of the dead: the first-fruits are the sample, and what ensure a following harvest; so the resurrection of Christ is the sample, and gives assurance of the resurrection of the saints in time to come: so that Christ’s resurrection being certain, the resurrection of the saints is also, 1 Cor. xv. 20, 23. 1 Thess. iv. 14.


Chapter 7

OF THE ASCENSION OF CHRIST TO

HEAVEN

The ascension of Christ to heaven was, at his death, burial, and resurrection, according to the scriptures; he himself gave hints of it to his disciples, even before his death, as well as after his resurrection; “What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?” (John 6:62; 16:28; 20:17). It was pre-signified both by scripture prophecies, and by scripture types.

First by scripture prophecies; of which there are many; some more obscurely, others more clearly point unto it. As,

1st. A passage in Psalm 47:5 “God is gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.” The whole Psalm is applied, by some Jewish writers, to the times of the Messiah, and this verse particularly, who is the great King over all the earth (Ps. 47:2,7), and more manifestly appeared so at his ascension, when he was made and declared Lord and Christ; and who subdued the Gentile world (Ps. 47:3), through the ministration of his gospel; by which, after his ascension, he went into it, conquering and to conquer; and caused his ministers to triumph in it. And though it was in his human nature that he went up from earth to heaven; yet it was in that, as in union with his divine Person; so that it may be truly said, that God went up to heaven; in like sense as God is said to purchase the church with his blood; even God in

our nature; God manifest in the flesh; Immanuel, God with us: and though the circumstance of his ascension, being attended with a shout, and with the sound of a trumpet, is not mentioned in the New Testament, in the account of it; yet there is no doubt to be made of it, since the angels present at it, told the disciples on the spot, that this same Jesus should so come, in like manner as they saw him go into heaven: now it is certain, that Christ will descend from heaven with the voice of an archangel, and with the trump of God: and also, since he was attended in his ascension with the angels of God, and with some men who rose after his resurrection; there is scarce any question to be made of it, that he ascended amidst their shouts and acclamations; and the rather, since he went up as a triumphant conqueror, over all his and our enemies, leading captivity captive.

2dly, The words of the Psalmist, in Psalm 110:1. “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand;” though they do not express, yet they plainly imply, the ascension of Christ to heaven; for unless he ascended to heaven, how could he sit down at the right hand of God there? and hence the apostle Peter thus argues and reasons upon them; “For David is not ascended into the heavens;” not in his body, and therefore the words are not spoken of him, but of one that is ascended; “But he himself saith,” not of himself, but another, even of his Lord the Messiah; “The Lord said unto my Lord,” &c. (Acts 2:34,35).

3dly, The vision Daniel had of the Son of man, in Daniel 7:13,14 is thought by some to have respect to the ascension of Christ to heaven; he is undoubtedly meant by “one like unto the Son of man;” that is, really and truly man; as he is said to be “in the likeness of men,” and to be “found in fashion as a man;” the same “came in the clouds of heaven;” so a cloud received Christ, and conveyed him to heaven, at his ascension; and he was “brought near to the Ancient of days,” to God, who is from everlasting to everlasting; and was received with a welcome by him; and there were given him “dominion, glory, and a kingdom;” as Christ, at his ascension, was made, or made manifest, openly declared Lord and Christ, Head and King of his church. Though this vision will have a farther accomplishment at the second coming of Christ, when his glorious kingdom will commence in the personal reign; who will deliver up the kingdom

until that reign is ended. Once more,

4thly, The prophecy in Micah 2:13 may be understood as referring to this matter; “The breaker up is come up before them;” which, in the latter part of the verse, is thus explained; “And their King shall pass before them, and the Lord on the head of them;” so that a divine Person is meant, who is head and king of the church, and plainly points to Christ, who may be called Phorez, “the breaker;” as Pharez had his name from the same word, because he broke forth before his brother; as Christ, at his birth, broke forth into the world in an uncommon way, being born of a virgin; and at his death, broke through the troops of hell, and spoiled principalities and powers; broke down the middle wall of partition, that stood between Jews and Gentiles; and at his resurrection, broke the cords of death, as Samson did his withs, with which he could be no more nor longer held by them, than he with them; and at his ascension he broke up, and broke his way through the region of the air, and through legions of devils; at the head of those that were raised with him when he rose, angels and men shouting as he passed along. But,

5thly, What most clearly foretold the ascension of Christ to heaven, is in Psalm 68:18 which is, by the apostle Paul, quoted and applied to the ascension of Christ (Eph. 4:8-10) and all the parts of it agree with him: he is spoken of in the context, in the words both before and after. He is the Lord that was among the angels in Sinai, who spoke to Moses there; and from whom he received the oracles of God, to give to Israel: and he is the God of salvation, the author of it to his people. And of him it may be truly said, that he “ascended on high,” far above all heavens, the visible heavens, the airy and starry heavens, and into the third heaven, the more glorious seat of the divine Majesty: he has led “captivity captive;” either such as had been prisoners in the grave, but freed by him, and who went with him to heaven; or the enemies of his people, who have led them captive, as Satan and his principalities; the allusion is to leading captives in triumph for victories obtained. Christ “received,” upon his ascension, “gifts for men;” and, as the apostle expresses it, “gave” them to men; he received them in order to give them; and he gave them, in consequence of receiving them: and even he received them for, and gave them to, “rebellious” men, as all by nature are

“foolish and disobedient;” and even those be to whom he gives gifts fitting for public usefulness; and such an one was the apostle Paul, as the account of him and his own confessions show, who received a large measure of those gifts of grace; the end of bestowing which gifts was, “That the Lord God might dwell among men,” gathered out of the world, through the ministry of the word, into gospel churches, which are built up for an habitation for God, through the Spirit.

Secondly, The ascension of Christ was pre-signified by scripture types; personal ones, as those of Enoch and Elijah. The one in the times of the patriarchs, before the flood, and before the law; the other in the times of the prophets, after the flood, and after the law was given. Enoch, a man that walked with God, and had communion with him, “was not;” he was not on earth, after he had been some time on it; “God took him” from thence up to heaven, soul and body (Gen. 5:24). Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind, in a chariot, and horses of fire; was carried up by angels, who appeared in such a form; when he and Elisha had been conversing together (2 Kings 2:11). So Christ was carried up to heaven, received by a cloud, attended by angels, while he was blessing his disciples: more especially, the high priest was a type of Christ in this respect, when he entered into the holiest of all once a year, with blood and incense; which were figures of Christ’s entering into heaven with his blood, and to make intercession for men (Heb 9:23,24). The ark in which the two tables were, was a type of Christ, who is the fulfilling end of the law for righteousness; and the bringing up of the ark from the place where it was to mount Zion, which some think was the occasion of penning the twenty fourth Psalm, in which are these words, “Be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in;” and of the forty seventh Psalm, where are the above words, “God is gone up with a shout,” &c. the bringing up of which ark to Zion, may be considered as an emblem of Christ’s ascension to heaven, sometimes signified by mount Zion. Now as it was foretold by prophecies and types, that Christ should ascend to heaven, so it is matter of fact, that he has ascended thither; concerning which may be observed,

First, The evidence of it; as the angels of God, who were witnesses of it; for as Christ went up to heaven

in the sight of his apostles, “two men stood by them in white apparel,” who were angels, that appeared in an human form, and thus arrayed, to denote their innocence and purity; and other angels attended him in his ascent, when it was that he was seen “of angels,” who were eyewitnesses of his ascension; (see Acts 1:10; 1 Tim. 3:16). The eleven apostles were together, and others with them, when this great event was; and while he was pronouncing a blessing on them, he was parted from them, and carried up to heaven; they beheld him, and looked stedfastly towards heaven, as he went up, until a cloud received him out of their sight (Luke 24:33,50,51; Acts 1:9,10). Yea, after this, when he had ascended to heaven, and had entered into it, and was set down on the right hand of God, he was seen by Stephen the proto-martyr, and by the apostle Paul: while Stephen was suffering, looking stedfastly to heaven, he saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and at the same time declared it to the Jews, that he saw the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God (Acts 7:55,56). Christ “appeared” to the apostle Paul at his conversion, when he was caught up into the third heaven, and heard and saw things not to be uttered; and afterwards, when in a trance in the temple, he says, “I saw him” (Acts 26:16; 22:18 see also 1 Co 15:8). Moreover, the extraordinary effusion of the Spirit, on the day of Pentecost, is a proof of Christ’s ascension to heaven (Acts 2:33), for before this time, the Spirit was not given in an extraordinary manner; “Because Jesus was not yet glorified;” but when he was glorified, and having ascended to heaven, and being at the right hand of God, then the Spirit was given; and the gift of him was a proof of his ascension and glorification (John 7:39).

Secondly, The time of Christ’s ascension, which was forty days from his resurrection; which time he continued on earth that his disciples might have full proof, and be at a certainty of the truth of his resurrection; “to whom he showed himself alive after his passion, by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days;” not that he was with them all that forty days, but at several times in that interval: on the first day he appeared to many, and on that day week again to his disciples; at another time at the sea of Tiberias; and again on a mountain in Galilee. Now by these various interviews the apostles had opportunities

of making strict and close observation, of looking wisely at him, of handling him, of conversing with him, of eating and drinking with him, of reasoning upon things in their own minds, and of having their doubts resolved, if they entertained any; and had upon the whole infallible proofs of the truth of his resurrection: in this space of time also he renewed their commission and enlarged it, and sent them into the whole world to preach and baptize, and further to instruct those that were taught and baptized by them; now it was he opened the understandings of his apostles, that they might more clearly understand the scriptures concerning himself, which he explained unto them, that so they might be the more fitted for their ministerial work; he also spoke to them “of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God,” the gospel church state; of the nature of a gospel church, of the officers of it, of ordinances in it, and discipline to be observed therein; wherefore all that they afterwards delivered out and practiced, were according to the directions and prescriptions given by him: and as all this required time, such a length of time was taken as that of forty days; yet longer it was not proper he should continue with them in this state, lest his apostles should think he was about to set up a temporal kingdom on earth, which their minds were running upon, and inquiring after and expecting (Acts 1:5,6), and besides, it was proper that they should be endued with the Holy Ghost in an extraordinary manner, to qualify them for the important work Christ gave them a commission to do; and which they could not receive until Christ was ascended and glorified.

Thirdly, The place from whence, and the place whither Christ ascended, may next be considered.

  1. The earth on which he was when he became incarnate, the world into which he came to save men, out of which he went when he had done his work (John 16:28), the particular spot of ground from whence he ascended was mount Olivet, as appears from Acts 1:12 a place he frequented much in the latter part of his life; and it was in a garden at the bottom of the mount where his sufferings began, where his soul was exceeding sorrowful, even unto death; and where he put up that prayer, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me;” and where he was in such an agony, that his sweat was as drops of blood falling to the ground; and from this very spot he ascended

    to his God and Father, to enjoy his presence, and all the pleasures of it, and partake of the glory promised him (Luke 21:37; 22:39,44). One of the evangelists tells us, that he led his disciples as far as Bethany, and there blessed them, and was parted from them; which must not be understood of the town of Bethany, but of a part of mount Olivet near to Bethany, and which bore that name, and which signifies the house of affliction, from whence Christ went to heaven; and as it was necessary he should suffer the things he did, and enter into his glory, so his people must through many tribulations enter the kingdom (Luke 24:50,51; 21:26; Acts 14:22).

  2. The place whither he ascended, heaven, even the third heaven; hence Christ is often said to be carried up into heaven, taken up into heaven, towards which the disciples were gazing as he went up; passed into heaven, and was received into heaven, where he remains; and which is to be understood, not merely of a glorious state, into which he passed, exchanging a mean, uncomfortable, and suffering one, for a glorious, happy, and comfortable one; which is meant by the two witnesses ascending to heaven, even a more glorious state of the church (Rev. 11:12), but a place in which he is circumscribed in his human nature, where he is, and not elsewhere, nor everywhere; which has received him, and where he is, and will be retained until the times of the restitution of all things; from whence he is expected, and from whence he will descend at the last day; he is gone to his Father there, and has taken his place at his right hand; who, though everywhere, being omnipresent, yet heaven is more especially the place where he displays his glory; and who is called “Our Father,” and Christ’s Father, who is “in heaven;” and of going to him at his ascension he often spoke (John 16:10,16,17,28; 20:17).

Fourthly, The manner of Christ’s ascension, or in what sense he might be said to ascend; not “figuratively,” as God is sometimes said to go down and to go up (Gen. 11:6; 17:22) which must be understood consistent with the omnipresence of God; not of any motion from place to place, but of some exertion of his power, or display of himself; nor in appearance only, as it might seem to beholders, but in reality and truth; nor was it a “disappearance” of him merely, as in Luke 24:31 for he was seen going up, and was gazed at till a cloud received him out of sight; nor

was it in a “visionary” way, as the apostle Paul was caught up into the third heaven, not knowing whether in the body or out of the body; nor in a “spiritual” manner, in mind and affections, in which sense saints ascend to heaven, when in spiritual frames of soul; but “really, visibly,” and “locally”: this ascension of Christ was a real motion of his human nature, which was visible to the apostles, and was by change of place, even from earth to heaven; and was sudden, swift, and glorious, in a triumphant manner: and he went up as he will come again, in a cloud, in a bright cloud, a symbol of his divine majesty, either literally taken; or if understood of the appearance of angels in the form of a bright cloud, as by Dr. Hammond, it is expressive of the same; nor does it at all affect the reality, locality, and visibility of Christ’s ascension, so to understand it: nor can Luke, as an historian, be chargeable with an impropriety in his relation of it in such sense, any more than in the same account by representing angels as appearing in an human form, and in white apparel; nor than that the author of the book of Kings is, in relating the ascent of Elijah to heaven in a chariot and horses of fire, generally understood of angels in such a form (2 Kings 2:11), as the horses and chariots of fire also are in 2 Kings 6:17 which yet were really and visibly seen; and the rather it may be thought that the angels are intended in the account of Christ’s ascension, since as the Lord makes the clouds his chariots (Ps. 104:3) so certain it is, the angels are the twenty thousand chariots of God among whom Christ was, and enclosed, as in a bright cloud when he ascended on high (Ps. 68:17,18), all which serve to set forth the grandeur and majesty in which Christ ascended.

Fifthly, The cause or causes of Christ’s ascension; it was a work of almighty power to cause a body to move upwards with such swiftness, and to such a distance; it is ascribed to the right hand of God, that is, of God the Father; to the power of God, by which he is said to be lifted up and exalted (Acts 2:33; 5:31), and therefore it is sometimes passively expressed, that he was “carried up, taken up,” and “received up” into heaven; and sometimes actively, as done by himself, by his own power; so it is said, “he went up,” he lifted up his own body through the union of it to his divine person, and carried it up to heaven; so “God went up with a shout;” (see Acts 1:10), and often he speaks of

it as his own act, “What if the son of man ascend,”

&c. “I ascend to my God,” &c. the “efficient” cause of it is God; and being a work “ad extra,” Father, Son, and Spirit were concerned in it. The “procuring” or “meritorious” cause of it was the “blood” of Christ; by which he made full satisfaction to divine justice, and obtained eternal redemption for his people: and therefore having done the work he engaged to do, it was but fit and just that he should be, not only raised from the dead, but ascend to heaven, and be received there; hence it is said, “by his own blood,” through the virtue of it, and in consequence of what he had done by it, “he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Heb. 9:12). The “instrumental” or ministering causes, were the “cloud” and the attending angels.

Sixthly, The effects of Christ’s Ascension, or the ends to be answered, and which have been answered, are,

  1. To fulfil the prophecies and types concerning it, and particularly that of the high priest’s entering into the holiest of all once a year, to officiate for the people; and so Christ has entered into heaven itself, figured by the most holy place, there to make, and where he ever lives to make, intercession for the saints.

  2. To take upon him more openly the exercise of his kingly office; to this purpose is the parable of the nobleman (Luke 19:12) by the “nobleman” is meant Christ himself; (see Jer. 33:21), by the “far country” he went into, heaven, even the third heaven, which is far above the visible ones; his end in going there, was “to receive a kingdom for himself,” to take possession of it, and exercise kingly power; to be made and declared Lord and Christ, as he was upon his ascension (Acts 2:36), which kingdom will be delivered up at the close of his personal reign, and not before.

  3. To receive gifts for men, both extraordinary and ordinary; and this end has been answered, he has received them, and he has given them; extraordinary gifts he received for, and bestowed upon the apostles on the day of Pentecost; and ordinary ones, which he has given since, and still continues to give, to fit men for the work of the ministry, and for the good of his churches and interest in all succeeding ages (Eph. 4:8-13).

  4. To open the way into heaven for his people, and to prepare a place for them there; he has by his blood

    entered into heaven himself, and made the way into the holiest of all manifest; and given boldness and liberty to his people through it to enter thither also, even by a new and living way, consecrated through the vail of his flesh (Heb. 9:8,12; 10:19,20), he is the forerunner for them entered, and is gone beforehand to prepare by his presence and intercession mansions of glory for them in his Father’s house (Heb. 6:20; John 14:2,3).

  5. To assure the saints of their ascension also; for it is to his God and their God, to his Father and their Father, that he is ascended; and therefore they shall ascend also, and be where he is, and be glorified together with him; and all this is to draw up their minds to heaven, to seek things above, where Jesus is; and to set their affections, not on things on earth, but on things in heaven; and to have their conversation there; and to expect and believe that they shall be with Christ for evermore.


Chapter 8

OF THE SESSION OF CHRIST AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD

This follows upon the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ to heaven; it is in this order things stand according to the scriptures; Christ was first raised from the dead; then he went to heaven, and was received up into it; and then sat down at the right hand of God (Eph. 1:20; 1 Pet. 3:22; Mark 16:19). I shall treat this article much in the same manner as the former.

First, Show that it was foretold in prophecy that Christ should sit at the right hand of God; hence it may be thought, that in prophetic language, and by anticipation, he is called “the man of God’s right hand” (Ps. 80:17), not only because beloved of God, and dear to him as a man’s right hand is to him; so Jacob called his youngest son Benjamin, the son of the right hand, because of his great affection to him; nor because Christ would be held and sustained by the right hand of God in the discharge of his mediatorial office (Isa. 42:1) but because when he had done his work on earth, he should be received to heaven, and placed at the right hand of God; of which there is a plain promise and prophecy in Psalm 110:1. “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand”; which words are spoken, not of Abraham by Melchizedek, nor by Eliezer the servant of Abraham;

not by Melchizedek, for he was greater than Abraham (Heb. 7:6,7), and therefore would not call him his Lord; and though he might be so called by Eliezer, yet he could not say of him, that he was a priest after Melchizedek’s order (Heb. 7:4), nor are they said of David; for, as the apostle Peter argues, “David is not ascended into the heavens; but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand”,

&c. nor indeed could they be said to, or of any man; not of the saints, for though they sit down together with Christ, their head and representative; and will sit on the same throne with him, and be glorified with him; yet are never said to sit at the right hand of God; nor indeed are they spoken to or of angels, for “to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand?” &c. (Heb. 1:13), but on the contrary, angels, authorities, and powers, are subject to him who sits at the right hand of God (1 Pet. 3:22), and who is the Messiah, Christ, the Son of God, of whom the text in the Psalms is spoken, and was so understood by the ancient Jews, and even by the Jews in Christ’s time, as is clear from Matthew 22:42-45 where Christ puts a question to which they could give no answer, but were nonplussed and confounded; but could they have given, or had they known any other sense of the words, they could easily have made answer by denying they belonged to the Messiah, but to some other person, and so have freed themselves from the embarrassment they were in; but they knew that this was the universal and acknowledged sense of their nation. The words were spoken by Jehovah the Father, to his Son, in the everlasting council and covenant of grace; even to him who was David’s Adon, or Lord: Christ himself also foretold, that he should sit down at the right hand of God; “Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of Power” (Matthew 26:64).

Secondly, It is fact; Christ is set down at the right hand of God, and the above prophecies are fulfilled; the evidences of this fact are,

  1. The effusion of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, after Christ had ascended and took his place at the right hand of God. The Spirit was not given until he was glorified in heaven, by his session there at God’s right hand; upon which, “having received of the Father, the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear”, says the apostle (Acts

    2:33). And again, “And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him”, on his exaltation at the right hand of God (Acts 5:31,32).

  2. Stephen, the proto-martyr, while he was suffering, was an eyewitness of this; he saw Christ at the right hand of God; and declared to the Jews that stoned him, that he did see him; only with this difference, in all other places Christ is spoken of as sitting; but Stephen saw him standing, at the right hand of God; having risen up, as it were, from his seat, to show his resentment at the usage of his servant; but this circumstance makes no difference, nor creates any objection to the thing itself, which is, Christ’s being exalted in human nature, at the right hand of God (Acts 7:55,56). I shall next,

Thirdly, Endeavour to explain this article, and show what is meant by it; what by the right hand of God; and what by sitting at it; how long Christ will sit there; and what the use and benefits of his session there are to his people.

1st, What is meant by the right hand of God, at which Christ is said to sit. This is variously expressed; sometimes by the right hand of the throne of God; sometimes by the right hand of thethrone of the Majesty in the heavens; and elsewhere, by the right hand of the Majesty on high (Heb. 12:2; 8:1 1:3). By “Majesty”, as it is in some of these places, is meant God himself; as is clear from others, to whom majesty, grandeur, and glory belong; with whom is terrible majesty; it is not only before him, but he is clothed with it. By his throne, heaven is sometimes meant, where he more especially displays his majesty and glory; and may be put for him that sits upon it; and he, and that, are said to be on high, in the heavens, in heavenly places; for though God is everywhere, yet, as now observed, his majesty and glory are most conspicuous in heaven; and here the human nature of Christ is; who in it, is at God’s right hand, being in a certain place, where he is, and will continue till his second coming, and from whence he is expected: and the right hand of God is not to be taken in a literal sense, but figuratively, and signifies the power of God, and the exertion of that (Ps 89:13; 118:16), and is such a glorious perfection of God, that it is sometimes put for God himself; and even when this article of Christ’s session at his right hand is expressed (Matthew 26:64).

2dly, What is meant by Christ’s sitting at God’s right hand.

l. It is expressive of great honour and dignity; the allusion is to kings and great personages, who, to their favorites, and to whom they would do an honour, when they come into their presence, place them at their right hand; so Bathsheba, the mother of Solomon, when she came with a petition to him, he caused her to sit on a seat on his right hand (1 Kings 2:19), in allusion to which, the queen, the church, is said to stand on the right hand of Christ (Ps. 45:9 see also Matthew 20:21). This supposes such a person, next in honour and dignity to the king; as Christ, under this consideration, is to the Majesty on high, on whose right hand he sits; and therefore is not to be understood with respect to his divine nature, abstractly considered, or as a divine Person; for as such he is Jehovah’s fellow, who thought it no robbery to be equal with God: nor with respect to his human nature merely, and of any communication of the divine perfections to it; for though the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily in him, yet this is not communicated to, or transfused into his human nature, as to make that omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, or equal to God, or give it a right to sit on his right hand; but this is to be understood of him as Mediator, with respect to both natures; who, in that office capacity, is inferior to his Father, and his Father greater than he; since the power in heaven and in earth he has, is given to him by him, and received from him; and he is made subject to him, that put all things under him, by placing him at his right hand; where he is next unto him, in his office as Mediator.

  1. It is expressive of his government and dominion over all; for this phrase of sitting at the right hand of God is explained by reigning or ruling; for it follows, in the original text, as explanative of it; “Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies” (Ps. 110:2), and so the apostle interprets it, in (1 Cor. 15:25). Now this government and dominion is not to be understood of what is natural to Christ, and common to him, with the other two divine Persons; the kingdom of nature and providence equally belongs to him, as to his divine Father, of whom he says, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work”; jointly with him, having the same power, operation, and influence in all things, he has (John 5:17; Ps. 22:28), but of his mediatorial

    kingdom and government; which dominion, glory, and kingdom, were given to him, and received from the Ancient of days; a delegated kingdom, for the administration of which he is accountable to his Father, and will deliver it up to him, when completed; in respect of which he may be said to sit at the right hand of God, and to be next unto him in power and authority (Dan. 7:14; Luke 19:12; 1 Cor. 15:28), and yet superior to all created beings, of the highest form, and of the greatest name, which are all subject to him (Eph. 1:20,21; Phil. 2:9,10; 1 Pet. 3:22).

  2. Sitting at the right hand of God, supposes Christ has done his work, and that to satisfaction, and with acceptance: as the work of redemption, which was given him, and he undertook, and came to work out, and has finished; upon which he “entered in once into the holy place”; that is, into heaven (Heb 9:12), and the work of making atonement for sin, reconciliation for iniquity, and full satisfaction for it; which was cut out in council and covenant for him, and he agreed to do; and having done it, “sat down on the right hand of God” (Heb 1:3; 10:12). And also the work of bringing in an everlasting righteousness, for the justification of his people: this he engaged to do, and for this end came into the world, and is become the end of the law for righteousness, to everyone that believes; and being raised from the dead for our justification, and gone to heaven, “is at the right hand of God”; which the apostle observes for the strengthening of his own faith, and the faith of others, with respect to their full acquittance, and complete justification before God (Rom. 4:25; 8:33,34). All which, and more, he has done with acceptance: God is well pleased with his righteousness, because the law is by it magnified, and made honourable: his sacrifice is of a sweet smelling savour to God: and all being done he agreed to do, to entire satisfaction, he was received up into heaven with a welcome; and, as a token of it, placed at God’s right hand.

  3. Sitting at God’s right hand, supposes ease and rest from labour; for Christ, upon his resurrection, and ascension to heaven, came into the presence of God; in whose presence is fullness of joy, and at whose right hand are pleasures for evermore; and when he was made glad with the light of his countenance; and when having entered into his rest, he ceased from his own works, as God did from his at creation, (Ps.

    16:11; Heb. 4:10). Not that Christ ceased to act for his people in heaven, when set down at the right hand of God; for he passed into the heavens for them, for their service and good; he entered as the forerunner for them, and appears in the presence of God for them; and, as their high priest, transacts all affairs for them, and ever lives to make intercession for them: but he ceases now from his toilsome and laborious work; for though it was his Father’s business, and which he voluntarily engaged in, and it was his meat and drink to do; yet it was very fatiguing, not merely in going about continually to do good to the bodies and souls of men; but in the labour and travail of his soul, when he bore the wrath of God, and endured the curse of the law, in his sufferings and death: and now, being freed and eased from all this, he sits down, and looks with pleasure on all that he has done; as God, when he had finished the works of creation, took a survey of them, and saw they were all very good, and then rested from his works; so Christ, with pleasure, sits and sees the travail of his soul, the blessings of grace, through his blood, applied to his people; and a continued succession of a seed to serve him, who, ere long, will be all with him where he is, and behold his glory; which is the joy that was set before him when he suffered for them.

  4. Sitting denotes continuance; Christ sits as a priest upon his throne, and abides continually: the priests under the law did not abide continually, by reason of death; but Christ lives for ever, and has an unchangeable priesthood; they stood daily offering the same sacrifices, because sin was not effectually put away by them; but Christ, by one offering, has made full and perfect expiation for sin; and therefore is set down, and continues to do the other part of his priestly office as an intercessor; and to see the efficacy of his sacrifice take place: he also sits King for ever; his throne is for ever and ever; and his kingdom an everlasting kingdom, of which, and the peace thereof, there shall be no end. Which leads,

Thirdly, To observe how long Christ will sit at the right hand of God; namely, “until all enemies are put under his feet, and made his footstool”. It began at his ascension to heaven, and not before; the Word and Son of God was with God in the beginning from all eternity; and was co-eternal with him, and hid a glory with him before the world was; but he is never said to

sit at the right hand of God till after his incarnation, death, resurrection from the dead, and ascension to heaven; then, and not before, be took his place at the right hand of God, where he will continue till his second coming, when all enemies shall be subdued under him. Some are subdued already; as sin, which is made an end of; the devil, who is destroyed; and the world, which is overcome by him: others remain to be destroyed; all, as yet, are not put under him, as the man of sin, and son of perdition, who will be destroyed with the breath of his mouth; the antichristian kings, who will be gathered to the battle at Armageddon and slain; the beast, and the false prophet, who will be cast into the burning lake: now Christ sits and reigns till all these are vanquished, and the last enemy destroyed, which is death.

Fourthly, The use of Christ’s session at the right hand of God to his people, and the benefits and blessings arising from thence to them, are,

  1. Protection from all their enemies. Being raised, and set down at the right hand of God, he has a name, power, and authority, over all principalities and powers, might and dominion in this world and that to come; all things are put under his feet, and he is given to be an head over all things to the church; all are put into his hands, to subserve his own interest, and the interest of his people; he has all power in heaven and in earth given him, and which he uses for their good, and for the protection of them from all evil, (Eph 1:20,21,22: Matthew 28:18).

  2. In consequence of this is, freedom from fear of all enemies; some are destroyed already; those that remain will be; so that there is nothing to be feared from them by those that believe in Jesus (1 Cor. 15:25-27).

  3. The perpetual and prevalent intercession of Christ, on the behalf of his chosen ones, is another benefit arising from his session at the right hand of God; there he sits as their high priest; and being made higher than the heavens, ever lives to make intercession for them, by representing their persons, presenting their petitions, and pleading their cause; though Satan sometimes stands at their right hand to resist and accuse them; Christ sits at the right hand of God as their advocate with the Father, to rebuke him, and answer to, and remove his charges; in a view of which, every saint may say with the apostle; “Who

    shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” (Rom. 8:33,34).

  4. Hence great encouragement to come with boldness and freedom to the throne of grace; since we have such an high priest who is passed into the heavens for us, is our forerunner for us entered, appears in the presence of God for us, is on the throne of glory, and at the right hand of God, to speak a good word for us; and this serves to draw up our hearts heavenwards, to seek things above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God; and to set our affections on things in heaven, and not on things on earth, (Heb. 4:14,16; Col. 3:1,2).

  5. This raises the expectation of the saints, with respect to Christ’s second coming, and gives them assurance of it; Christ sits at the right hand of God, expecting till his enemies be made his footstool; and they look for and expect him from heaven, who is gone thither to prepare a place for them; and has assured them, that he will come again, and take them to himself, that where he is they may be also, and sit upon the same throne, and be for ever with him, (Heb. 10:12,13; Phil. 3:20; John 14:2,3; Rev. 3:21; 1 Thess. 4:16,18). Another branch of Christ’s exaltation lies in his second coming to judgment, when he will come in great glory. But that I shall reserve to treat of in a more proper place.


Chapter 9

OF THE PROPHETIC OFFICE OF CHRIST

Having gone through Christ’s estates of humiliation and exaltation, I shall next consider the offices sustained and executed by him in those estates. His office in general is that of Mediator, which is but one; the branches of it are threefold, his prophetic, priestly, and kingly offices; all which are included in his name, Messiah, or Christ, the anointed; prophets, priests, and kings, being anointed, when invested with their several offices; as Elisha the prophet, by Elijah; Aaron the priest, and his sons, by Moses; Saul, David, and Solomon, kings of Israel: these offices seldom, if ever, met in one person; Melchizedek was king and priest, but not a prophet; Aaron was prophet and priest, but not a king; David and Solomon were kings and prophets, but not priests: the greatest appearance of them was in Moses, but whether all together is not

so clear; he was a prophet, none like him arose in Israel till the Messiah came; he was king in Jeshurun; and officiated as a priest, before his brother Aaron was invested with that office, but not afterwards: but in Christ they all meet; he is a Prophet mighty in deed and word, a Priest after the order of Melchizedek, and is King of kings and Lord of lords. The case and condition of his people required him to take upon him and execute these offices. They are dark, blind, and ignorant, and need a prophet to enlighten, teach, and instruct them, and make known the mind and will of God unto them; they are sinful, guilty creatures, as all the world are before God, and need a Priest to make atonement for them; in their unconverted state they are enemies to God, and disobedient to him, and need a powerful Prince to subdue them; to cause his arrows to be sharp in their hearts, whereby they fall under him, and become willing to serve him, in the day of his power: and in their converted state are weak and helpless, and need a King to rule over them, protect and defend them. And though there are many other names and titles of Christ, yet they are all reducible to these offices of Prophet, Priest, and King: and it may be observed, that these are executed by Christ in the order in which they are here put: he first exercised the prophetic office, which he entered into upon his baptism, and continued it throughout his life: at his death, as a Priest, he offered himself a sacrifice to God for the sins of his people, and now ever lives to make intercession for them; and upon his ascension to heaven, was made and declared Lord and Christ, and sits as a King on his throne, and has been ever since exercising his kingly office; and will do so more apparently hereafter. I shall begin,

With his prophetic office; which was foretold in the writings of Moses and the prophets; the proof and evidence of which, as belonging to Jesus, lies in his miracles; each of the parts of his office will be inquired into; and the time of his execution of it.

First, It was foretold that Christ should appear in the character of a Prophet, and therefore was expected by the Jews as such; hence when they saw the miracles he wrought, they said; “This is of a truth that Prophet that should come into the world” (John 6:14), meaning, that was prophesied of by Moses, to whom the Lord said, “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren like unto thee” (Deut. 18:18,15), which

cannot be understood of a succession of prophets, as say the Jews; for a single Person is only spoken of: and this not Joshua, nor David, nor Jeremiah; only Jesus of Nazareth, to whom they are applied (Acts 3:22 7:37), and with whom all the characters agree: he was “raised” up of God as a Prophet; this the people of the Jews were sensible of; and therefore glorified God on that account, and considered it as a kind and gracious visitation of his (Luke 7:16). He was raised up “from among his brethren”, being the Son of Abraham, the Son of David; of the tribe of Judah; born in Bethlehem; and so was of the Israelites, according to the flesh: he was “like unto Moses”; a prophet, like unto him, and greater than he; as the law came by Moses, grace and truth came by Christ: as Moses was raised up, and sent to be a redeemer of Israel out of Egypt; Christ was raised up, and sent to be a Saviour and Redeemer of his people, from a worse than Egyptian bondage: as Moses was faithful in the house of God, so Jesus; they are compared together, but the preference is given to Christ (Heb. 3:2-6). The words of God were “put into the mouth” of Christ; the doctrine, he preached was not his own, but his Father’s; he spoke not of himself; what he spoke, as the Father said unto him, so he spoke; and he spoke “all” that he received from him, and that he commanded him; and so was faithful to him that appointed him (John 7:16; 8:29; 12:49,50 15:15; 17:6,8), and therefore to be hearkened to; as his Father directed his apostles to do; saying, “This is my beloved Son; hear ye him”: plainly referring to the above prophecy (Matthew 17:5).

The qualifications of Christ for this prophetic office were also foretold; which lie in the gifts and graces of the Spirit, which he received without measure: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek” (Isa. 61:1), from which passage of scripture Christ preached his first sermon, at Nazareth; and having read the text, said, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:16-21 see also Isa. 11:1,2). There are also several names of Christ, by which he is called in the Old Testament, which refer to his prophetic office; as a Messenger, the messenger of the covenant, whose work it was to explain it, and declare the sense of it; the same with the apostle of our profession, “an interpreter, one among a thousand, to show unto man his uprightness”; an

interpreter of the mind and will of God, who lay in his bosom, and has revealed it, and whose business it was to preach righteousness, even his own, in the great congregation, and has done it (Job 33:23; Ps. 40:9). He goes by the name of “Wisdom”, who cries and calls to the sons of men, and gives instructions to them (Prov. 1:20 8:1,2). He is called a “Counselor”; not only because he was concerned in the council of peace; but because he gives counsel and advice in the Gospel, and by ministering of it, both to saints and sinners (Isa. 9:6; Rev. 3:18). He is represented as a “Teacher” of the ways of God, and of the truths of the Gospel, called his law, or doctrine (Isa. 2:2,3; 42:4; Joel 2:23). Likewise, as a “Speaker”, who has the tongue of the learned, to speak a word in season (Isa. 50:4; 52:6; Heb. 2:3). Moreover, he is called a “Light” to lighten the Gentiles, as well as the Jews; and to give a clear knowledge of the truth as it is in himself (Isa. 9:2; 42:6). And likewise, “a Witness of the people” (Isa. 55:4), and to bear witness to the truth he came into the world; and a faithful witness he is (John 18:37; Rev. 3:14). All which belonged to, and pointed at the prophetic office of Christ, and have all appeared and met in our Jesus; yea, the very place, and more particular parts of Judea, where he was chiefly to exercise as a prophet were foretold; see (Isa. 9:1 compared with Matthew 4:12-15).

Secondly, The evidence and proof of Jesus being that prophet that was to come, are the miracles which were wrought by him: upon Christ’s working the miracle of feeding five thousand persons with five loaves and two small fishes; some of the Jews, that saw the miracle, were convinced, and said, “This is of a truth that Prophet that should come into the world” (John 6:14). And upon his raising from the dead the widow’s son of Naim, as he was carrying to the grave, they said, “A great Prophet is risen up among us” (Luke 7:16). So Nicodemus was convinced that Christ was “a Teacher come from God”, from his miracles (John 3:2). The Jews expected, that when the Messiah came he would do many and great miracles; as they had just reason for it; for it was foretold he should (Isa. 35:4-6), therefore, when they saw what kind of miracles, and what numerous ones were wrought by Christ, some of the Jews were convinced by them that he was the Christ (John 7:31). When John sent two of his disciples to Christ, to inquire of him, whether

he was “he that should come”, the prophet that was to come; or whether they were to “look for another”; he bids them go and tell John what they had seen and heard, meaning the miracles wrought by him, which he particularly mentions, and closes the account with saying, “the poor have the gospel preached to them”; plainly intimating, that he was that prophet that should preach glad tidings to the poor; and his miracles were a confirmation of it (Matthew 11:2-5). And he frequently appeals to his miracles, not only as proofs of his Deity, but of his Messiahship (John 5:36; 10:37,38), which miracles were true and undoubted ones; they were such as exceed the laws and power of nature; what a mere creature could never perform: nor could they be attributed to diabolical influence; for Satan, had he a power to work miracles, Would never assist in them, to confirm doctrines subversive of his kingdom and interest, as our Lord argues (Matthew 12:24-26). Nor did Christ ever work any miracles to serve any temporal interest of his own, but purely for the good of men, and the glory of God; and these were openly and publicly done, and liable to the strictest examination; so that there could be no fraud nor deceit in them. The next thing to be considered is,

Thirdly, The parts of the prophetic office executed by Christ; and which lay,

1. First, In foretelling future events; as he is God omniscient, he knew all things future, even the more contingent, and did foretell them; as of a colt tied at a certain place, which he bid his disciples go and loose; and intimated to them what would be said by the owners of it, and what they should say to them; and of a man’s carrying of a pitcher of water, whom his disciples were to follow, which would lead them to the master of a house, where the passover was to be provided for him and them (Mark 11:2-6; 14:13,16). But more particularly and especially, Christ foretold his sufferings and death; and the kind and manner of it, crucifixion (Matthew 16:21; 20:18,19; John 12:31,32), the means by which his death should be brought about, by one of his disciples betraying him into the hands of his enemies: he knew from the beginning who would betray him; and declared to his disciples in general, that one of them would do it; and to Judas in particular he directed his discourse, and bid him do what he did quickly: and when the time drew nigh for the execution of the scheme Judas had formed, Christ

said to his disciples with him, “He is at hand that doth betray me”; and immediately Judas appeared with a great multitude, and a band of soldiers, to seize on Jesus, upon a signal given them (John 6:64; 13:18,21; Matthew 26:46,47). Christ foretold the behavior of his disciples towards him, upon his being apprehended, that they would all be offended with him and forsake him; and that, particularly, Peter would deny him thrice before the cock crew: all which exactly came to pass (Matthew 26:31; 26:34,56,74,75). Likewise, his resurrection from the dead, on the third day; which he gave out, both in more obscure and figurative expressions, and in more plain and easy ones, and directed to the sign of the prophet Jonah, as a token of it; and notwithstanding all the precautions of the Jews, so it came about, who owned, that in his lifetime he predicted it (John 2:19; Matthew 16:21; 12:39,40; 27:63-66). He spoke beforehand of the treatment and usage his disciples should meet with from men after he was gone; that they should be delivered up to councils, and scourged in synagogues, and be brought before kings and governors for his sake; and that they should be put to death, and those that killed them think they did God good service: all which came to pass, and was fulfilled in all his disciples (Matthew 10:17,18; Johnl6:2). He predicted the destruction of Jerusalem; the signs going before of it, its distresses, and what followed upon it (Matthew 24:1-51), which, in every particular, was accomplished, as the History of Josephus abundantly shows. To observe no more, the Book of the Revelation is a prophecy delivered by Christ to John, concerning all that were to befall the church and world, so far as the church was concerned with it, from the resurrection of Christ to his second coming; the greater part of which has been most amazingly fulfilled; and there is the utmost reason to believe the rest will be fulfilled in due time.

Secondly, Another part of the prophetic office of Christ lay in the ministration of the word; which is sometimes in scripture called prophecy (1 Cor. 14:3), and this was not only exercised by Christ, in interpreting the law, giving the true sense of it, and pointing out its spirituality and extensiveness, and vindicating it from the false glosses of the Pharisees (Matthew 5:1-48), but chiefly in preaching the gospel; for which he was in the highest degree qualified; and was most assiduous in it, preaching it

in one city, and then in another, whereunto he was sent, and that throughout all Galilee, and other parts (Luke 4:43; Matthew 4:23), and which he delivered with such authority as the Scribes and Pharisees did not (Matthew 7:29), even the whole of it; declaring all that he had heard of the Father, and who spoke his whole mind and will by him; and so sealed up prophecy: hence no regard is now to be had to the pretended prophecy and revelations of men, inconsistent with the word of God (John 1:17; 15:15; Heb. 1:1,2; Dan. 9:24), and which he taught freely, boldly, and without fear or respect of persons, as the Jews themselves acknowledged (Matthew 22:16 and with such wisdom, prudence, and eloquence, as never man spake (John 7:46), and with such gracefulness, and such gracious words, grace being poured into his lips, as was astonishing to those that heard him (Ps. 45:2; Luke 4:22), and this part of his prophetic office lay not only in the external ministry of the word, but in a powerful and internal illumination of the mind, in opening the heart, as Lydia’s was, to attend to the things spoken; and in opening the understanding to understand the Scriptures, and to receive and embrace the truths thereof; the word coming not in word only, but with power, and in the Holy Ghost, and much assurance.

Fourthly, The time when this office was executed by Christ; and it may be observed, that this office may be considered as executed either “immediately” or “mediately”.

  1. Immediately, by Christ, in his own Person, by himself; and this was here on earth, in his state of humiliation; for he came a Teacher from God; being sent and anointed by him to preach the gospel; and on which office he entered quickly after his baptism, and continued in the exercise of it until his death; but only to the lost sheep of Israel, to whom he was sent, and to them only did he give his apostles a commission to preach the gospel during that time; for he was “a Minister of the circumcision”; that is, a Minister to the circumcised Jews, and to them only (Rom. 15:8).

  2. Mediately, by his Spirit, and by the prophets of the Old Testament, and by the apostles and ministers of the New; and in this sense he exercised the office of a Prophet both before and after his state of humiliation.

  1. Before his incarnation: he did indeed sometimes personally appear in an human form, and preached the

    gospel to men, as to our first parents in the garden of Eden, immediately after their fall; declaring, that “the Seed of the woman”, meaning himself, would “break the serpent’s head”: and thus the gospel, strictly speaking, “began to be first spoken by the Lord” (Gen. 3:15; Heb. 2:3). And so, under the name of the Angel of the Lord, and very probably in an human form, he appeared to Abraham, and preached the gospel to him; saying, “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 22:15-18; Gal. 3:8). He was with the thousands of angels at mount Sinai, even he who ascended on high, and led captivity captive: he was with Moses in the wilderness, to whom he spoke at Sinai; and gave unto him the lively oracles of God (Ps. 68:17,18; Acts 7:38). But at other times we read of his preaching by his Spirit unto men; Noah was a preacher of righteousness, even of the righteousness of faith; and Christ preached in him, and by him: he, by his Spirit, went and preached to the ungodly world, to those who were disobedient in the times of Noah; the same who in the times of the apostle were spirits in prison: and as Christ was spoken of by all the holy prophets that were from the beginning of the world; so he, by his Spirit, spoke in them, and testified of his own sufferings, and the glory that should follow (1 Pet. 3:18-20; 1:11).

  2. Christ continued to exercise his prophetic office, after his state of humiliation was over, and he was raised from the dead, and had glory given him; for he appeared to his disciples after that, and expounded to them the scriptures concerning himself, and opened their understanding, that they might understand them; and spoke unto them of the things concerning the kingdom of God, and instructed them in them, and renewed their commission to preach and baptize, and enlarged it; promised his presence with them, and with their successors to the end of the world; and by them, and not in his own person, after his ascension to heaven, he went and preached peace to them that were nigh, and to them that were afar off, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ speaking in and by his ministers; so that they that hear them, hear him; and they that despise them, despises him: and so he continues, and will continue, to exercise his prophetic office in and by his ministers, and by his Spirit attending their ministrations, throughout all ages, to the end of time, until he has gathered in all his chosen ones.


Chapter 10

OF THE PRIESTLY OFFICE OF CHRIST

1. Christ was to be a Priest; this was determined on in the purposes and decrees of God: God set him “forth”, foreordained him, “to be a propitiation” (Rom. 3:25), that is, to be a propitiatory sacrifice, to make atonement and satisfaction for sin; which is one part of Christ’s priestly office; on which, redemption by his blood is founded; to which he was “verily foreordained before the foundation of the world” (1 Pet. 1:18-20). The sufferings and death of Christ, whatever he endured from Jews and Gentiles, were all according to the “determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God”; and were no other than what his “hand and counsel determined before to be done” (Acts 2:23 4:27,28), and which he endured in the execution of his priestly office; of which, the decrees of God are the spring and rise. To this office Christ was called of God; he did not glorify himself to be called an High Priest, but his divine Father, whose only begotten Son he is, called him to take upon him this office, invested him with it, and swore him into it, in the council and covenant of peace; for he was made a Priest with an oath (Ps. 110:4), to show the importance, dignity, validity, and perpetuity of his priesthood: to all which Christ agreed; saying, “Sacrifice and offering that wouldst not”; “I foresee that sacrifices of slain beasts, offered by sinful men, will not be, in the issue, acceptable to thee; nor be sufficient to atone for sin; “But a body hast thou prepared me”, in purpose, council, and covenant; which I am ready, in proper time, to assume, and offer up a sacrifice to divine justice” (Heb. 10:5). And these eternal decrees, and mutual transactions, are the basis and foundation of Christ’s priesthood; and made it sure and certain.

In the prophecies of the Old Testament Christ is spoken of as a Priest. Some think he is meant in (1 Sam. 2:35), the characters agree with him; however it is certain, David, under divine inspiration, had knowledge of the above divine transactions, in which the Son of God was constituted a priest, and spoke of him as such (Ps. 40:6,7; 110:4), he is the priest, the Tirshatha, as Nehemiah the governor said should arise with Urim and Thummim, or what were signified

thereby, even all light and perfection (Neh. 7:65), but still more plainly in Zechariah 6:12,13 where the Messiah, called the Man the Branch, who was to spring up and build the temple, and bear the glory, is said to be “a priest upon his throne”. Moreover, each of the parts of Christ’s priestly office are particularly prophesied of, as that he should “make his soul an offering for sin”, and should make “intercession for the transgressors” (Isa. 53:10,12) to which may be added, that he sometimes appeared in the habit of a priest, clothed in linen; (see Ezek. 9:2; Dan. 10:5).

There were several types of Christ as a priest; among these the first and principal was “Melchizedek, king of Salem, and priest of the most high God” (Gen. 14:18), according to whose order Christ was to be, and is a priest (Heb. 5:10; 7:17), who this illustrious person was, is not easy to say, and it looks as if it was the will of God that he should not be known with certainty and precision; the Jews generally suppose that he was Shem, the son of Noah; and it is certain that Shem was living at the time that Abraham was met by this person; and he was also a very pious person, and in whose posterity the church of God continued till the Messiah came, and who sprung from them; but this is to be objected to him, that it was well known who was his father, when born, how long he lived, and when he died: it is not worth while to take notice of the various opinions of those that have bore the Christian name; they are so fanciful, and without any foundation, as that he was an angel, or a man created at once perfect and sinless, or the Holy Ghost; that which may seem at first sight more probable is, that he was the Son of God himself; and to this interview with him it is thought Christ had respect in John 8:56. “Abraham saw my day and was glad”; and since of Melchizedek it is said, “That he liveth and abideth a priest continually” (Heb. 7:3,8), but then this may be understood of him in his antitype; besides, he is said to be “made like unto the Son of God”, and therefore not he himself; and this would destroy his being a type of Christ, and Christ’s being after his order. It seems best to suppose that he was some Canaanitish king, famous for his extraordinary piety, princely dignity, and divine priesthood; whose genealogy and descent were purposely concealed that he might be a fit type of Christ, who was to be of his order; that is, after the similitude of him, as it is explained (Heb. 7:15), and

a very great similarity and likeness there is between them: Melchidezek was a type of Christ in his person, and the eternity of it, he being “without father” as man, and “without mother” as God; who as such had no genealogy or descent, but is from everlasting to everlasting; and in his offices, kingly and priestly; his name was Melchizedek, king of righteousness; as Christ, the church’s king, is said to be, just and having salvation, to reign in righteousness, and to be the Lord our righteousness; and his title, king of Salem, that is, peace, agrees with Christ, who is the prince of peace, and who is both king and priest on his throne, as this person was; and Christ’s perpetual never changing priesthood is shadowed out by his being a priest, “not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life” (Heb. 7:16).

Aaron the high priest was an eminent type of Christ, though Christ was not of the same tribe with him, nor made a priest after the same law, nor of the same order, but of one more ancient than his, and which continued in Christ when his was abolished. Yet there are many things in which Aaron typified Christ; in his priesthood, as in the separation of him from his brethren; in the unction of him when installed into his office; in his habit and several vestments with which he was clothed, his mitre, robe and broidered coat, ephod and the girdle of it, with the breastplate of judgment; but especially in the sacrifices which he offered, which were all typical of the sacrifice of Christ; and in his entrance into the most holy place, bearing the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment on his heart; in carrying in the burning coals and incense, with the blood of slain beasts, all typical of the intercession of Christ, as founded on his sacrifice; as well as he was a good spokesman, one that could speak well; as Christ has the tongue of the learned to speak on the behalf of his people: and even all the common priests were types of Christ, in their ordination from among men, and for men, and to offer gifts and sacrifices for them, though they were many, and he but one; and their sacrifices many, and were daily offering, and his but one, and once offered, and which was sufficient. Indeed all the sacrifices offered up from the beginning of the world, were all typical of the sacrifice of Christ our great high priest. The sacrifice of Abel, which was offered up in the faith of the sacrifice of Christ; and those of Noah, which

56 OF THE PRIESTLY OFFICE OF CHRIST BOOK V

for the same reason were of a sweet smelling savour to God; the passover lamb was a type of Christ, our passover, sacrificed for us; and so were the lambs of the daily sacrifice morning and evening, and all other sacrifices offered up to the times of Christ’s coming, sufferings, and death, which put an end to them all.

2. Christ is come in the flesh, and is come as an high priest; he came to give his life a ransom for many, and he has given himself a ransom price for all his people, which has been testified in due time; and which is a considerable branch of his priestly office; for the whole of which he was abundantly qualified, being both God and man.

1. As man; he is mediator according to both natures, but the mediator is particularly said to be “the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5), he became man, and was made in all things like unto his brethren, persons of that nature elect; that he might be fit to be a priest, and officiate in that office, and “that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God”, the glory of the divine perfections, and particularly his justice; to make reconciliation for the sins of the people, atonement for them, whereby the justice of God and all his perfections would be glorified (Heb. 2:17). Christ being man, is taken from among men, and ordained for men, for their use and service, as the priests of old were: not for angels; the good angels needed none, and those that sinned were not spared; no priest, no savior, nor salvation were provided for them, and therefore Christ took not on him their nature; but that of men, that they and they only might reap the benefit of his priestly office; and being man he had something to offer for them, an human body and an human soul, which as God he had not; as such he was impassible, not capable of sufferings and death; and had he assumed an angelic nature, that is not capable of dying, for angels die not; which it was necessary our high priest should, that by means of death he might obtain redemption from transgressions, both under the Old and under the New Testament; and it was proper that satisfaction should be made in that nature that sinned, and that those of that nature, and not others, should enjoy the advantages of it: also by being man he has another qualification of a priest, which is to be compassionate to persons in ignorance, difficulties, and distress; and hereby Christ becomes a merciful high priest, one that has a fellow feeling

with his people in all their infirmities, afflictions, and temptations; to which may be added, that Christ’s human nature is holy, harmless, and undefiled; clear of original and actual transgression; and such an high priest became us, is suitable for us, since he could, as he did, offer himself without spot to God; and being Jesus Christ the righteous, he is a very proper person to be an advocate or intercessor for transgressors.

2b. As God, or a divine person; being the great God, he was able to be a Saviour, and to work out a great salvation; being the mighty God, he was mighty to save to the uttermost; and being an infinite person, could make infinite satisfaction for the sins of men, and render his sacrifice acceptable to God, and sufficient to put away, and to put an end unto the sins of his people; and could put a virtue and efficacy into his blood, to cleanse from all sin, and bring in a righteousness that could justify from all, and could make his intercession and mediation for his people always prevalent with God.

3. Christ has executed, and is executing, and will continue to execute, his priestly office; the parts of which are more principally these two, offering sacrifice, and making intercession; to which may be added, a third, blessing his people; for it was the work of the high priest, as to do the two former, so the latter. First, Offering a sacrifice. The work of the priests was to offer sacrifice for sin; Christ was once offered up to bear the sins of many, and the punishment of them, and to make atonement for them; he has offered himself a sacrifice to God, of a sweet smelling savour

(Heb. 5:3; 9:28; Eph. 5:2). It may be inquired,

  1. Who is the sacrificer ? Christ is altar, sacrifice, and priest: as he had something to offer as man, he has offered it; and as it became him as a priest to do it, he has done it; it is his own act and deed, and is frequently ascribed unto him; “He offered up himself unto God”, &c. “He gave himself an offering and sacrifice” &c. (Heb. 9:14; Eph. 5:2).

  2. What it was he offered; or what was the sacrifice? Not slain beasts; their blood could not take away sin; it was not their blood he shed; but it was his own, with which he entered into the holy place; it was his flesh he gave for the life of the world, of his chosen ones; it was his body which was offered up once for all; and it was his soul that was made an offering for sin; and all as in union with his divine Person; and

    therefore said to be himself which was the sacrifice: strictly speaking, it was his human nature which was the sacrifice; the divine nature was the altar on which it was offered, which sanctified the gift or offering, and gave it a virtue and efficacy to atone for sin; it was through the “eternal Spirit” he offered up himself (Heb. 9:14).

  3. To whom was the sacrifice offered? It was offered to God; as it is often said to be (Eph. 5:2; Heb. 9:14), to God, against whom sin is committed; and therefore to him was the sacrifice for it offered; whose justice must be satisfied; without which, God will by no means clear the guilty: and therefore Christ was set forth and appointed to be the propitiation for sin, to declare the righteousness of God, to show forth his justice, the strictness of it, and give it satisfaction (Rom. 3:25,26), and being satisfied, the sacrifice of Christ became acceptable, and of a sweet smelling savour to God (Eph. 5:2).

  4. For whom was the sacrifice offered? Not for himself; he needed none, as did the priests under the law; he was cut off, but not for himself, being without sin: nor for angels; the elect angels needing no sacrifice, having not sinned; and evil angels were not spared, and so their nature was not taken by him, nor a sacrifice offered for them: but for elect men, called his church, his sheep, his children; for whom he laid down his life, and gave himself an offering to God. His sacrifice was a vicarious one; as were those under the law, which were typical of his; Christ our passover, was sacrificed for us, in our room and stead; Christ suffered, the just for the unjust, in the room and stead of them; he died for the ungodly, or they must have died; and became the ransom price for them.

  5. What the nature, excellency, and properties of this sacrifice of Christ? It is a full and sufficient sacrifice, “adequate” to the purposes for which it was offered: such were not the legal sacrifices; they could not make those perfect for whom they were offered; nor purge their consciences from sin; nor take it away from them: but Christ has, by his sacrifice, perform ever all those for whom it is offered (Heb. 10:1- 4,14). It is an “unblemished” sacrifice, as all under the law were to be, which was typical of this; as the passover lamb, the lambs for the daily sacrifice; Christ the sacrifice is a Lamb without spot and blemish, free from original and actual sin; in him was no sin, and

    so fit to be a sin offering for the sins of others; and was offered up, “without spot”, to God. This sacrifice was free and “voluntary”; Christ gave himself an offering; he laid down his life “freely”; he showed no reluctance, but was “brought as a lamb to the slaughter”, &c. (Isa 53:7). It was but “one” offering, and but “once” offered up. The priests under the law stood daily offering the same sacrifices, because insufficient; but Christ having offered one sacrifice for sin, offered no more, that being sufficient and effectual to answer the designs of it; wherefore in the Lord’s Supper, which is only a commemoration of this sacrifice, there is no reiteration of it; it is not an offering up again the body and blood of Christ, as the papists in their mass pretend; that has been done once, and it is needed no more.

  6. What are the ends and uses of this sacrifice, and the blessings which come by it? Christ “is come an High Priest of good things to come” (Heb. 9:11), or there are many good things which come through Christ’s priesthood; particularly through his sacrifice is a full “expiation” of sin, and “atonement” for it; Christ has, by the sacrifice of himself, put away sin for ever; finished it, made an end of it, and reconciliation for it. And the “perfection” of his sanctified ones, that were set apart for himself in eternal election; those he has “perfected for ever”, by his one sacrifice (Heb. 10:14), they are perfectly redeemed, justified, pardoned, and saved by it: by giving himself for them a sacrifice, in their room and stead, he has obtained “eternal redemption” for them; through it he has redeemed them from all iniquity (Titus 2:14), “peace” is made for them by the blood of his cross; and through his sufferings and death they are reconciled unto God (Rom. 5:10), full “pardon” of sin is procured, which was not to be had without shedding of blood; and a full satisfaction is made for sin; which is made through the sacrifice of Christ; and so there is redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins, free and full forgiveness of them (Eph 1:7). In a word “eternal salvation” is the fruit and effect of this sacrifice; Christ being “made perfect” through sufferings; and thereby made perfect satisfaction for sin, he is “become the author of eternal salvation” to his people; and which is owing to his being “called”, and officiating, as “an High Priest after the order of Melchizedek” (Heb. 5:9,10).


Chapter 11

OF THE INTERCESSION OF CHRIST

Secondly, another branch of Christ’s priestly office is his intercession; and this may be considered much in the same method as the former, by showing,

  1. That Christ was to be an Intercessor, or was to make intercession for his people: when Christ was called to the office of a priest, and invested with it, which was done in the council and covenant of grace; he was put upon making request on their behalf; he is bid to ask them of his Father, as his portion and inheritance, to be possessed and enjoyed by him; which is promised him on making such a request as he did, and they were given him (Ps. 2:8; John 17:6), and he not only asked them, but life for them, spiritual and eternal life, with all the blessings and comforts of life; which, upon asking, were given; God gave him the desires of his heart, and did not withhold the request of his lips: all blessings were bestowed upon his chosen in him; and grace, which is comprehensive of all blessings, was given them in him before the world began (Ps. 21:2,4; Eph. 1:3; 2 Tim. 1:9), and this asking, or requesting, is a species of Christ’s intercession, and an early instance of it, and of his success in it; and a specimen of what was to be done by him hereafter. The intercession of Christ was spoken of in prophecy in the books of the Old Testament; Elihu, in Job 33:23 not only speaks of him in his prophetic office, as an interpreter of his Father’s mind and will; but as an advocate, pleading on the behalf of the man to whom he shows and applies his righteousness; that he be delivered from the evil of destruction, from wrath and ruin; since he had found a ransom, a ransom price, and redemption by it; as in Hebrews 9:1-28 and 12:1-29 and therefore insists, in point of right and justice, that he be secure from condemnation and death: again, in Psalm 16:4 which is a Psalm concerning Christ, whose dead body would not be left in the grave so long as to see corruption; but be raised and shown the path of life (Ps. 16:10,11), now two sorts of persons are spoken of in it; one who are called saints, excellent ones, in whom was all Christ’s delight (Ps. 16:3), and another sort, that “hastened after another god”, another saviour, and not Christ; concerning whom he says, “I will not take up their names into my lips”; that is, he would not pray

    or make intercession for them; and has the same sense as the words in John 17:9. “I pray for them; I pray not for the world”: and saying that he would not take the names of some into his lips, supposes that he would take the names of others; that is, pray and intercede for them: but what most clearly foretells the intercession of Christ, and is a prophecy of it, is a passage in Isaiah 53:12 “and made intercession for the transgressors”; that is, would make intercession for them, according to the prophetic style used in that chapter; and which was particularly fulfilled, when Christ upon the cross prayed for his enemies (Luke 23:34).

    The types of Christ’s intercession are many. As Abel’s sacrifice was a type of Christ’s, so his speaking after his death was a type of Christ’s speaking since his death: it is said of Abel, that he, “being dead, yet speaketh” (Heb. 11:4), so Christ, though dead, is alive, and lives for ever, and makes intercession, and speaks for his people; as Abel’s blood had a voice in it, so has the blood of Christ; but with this difference, the blood of Abel cried against his brother; Christ’s blood cries for his brethren, on their behalf: Abel’s blood cried for vengeance on the murderer; Christ’s blood calls for, and speaks peace and pardon to guilty men (Heb. 12:24). Melchizedek, as he was a type of Christ, in his kingly and priestly offices, so in that part of the latter which respects intercession; he prayed for Abraham, that he might be blessed both with temporal and spiritual blessings, with blessings both in heaven and on earth (Gen. 14:19), so Christ prays and intercedes for his people, that they may have all the blessings of goodness here and hereafter bestowed upon them. Abraham likewise was a type of Christ in his intercession, when he so warmly interceded for Sodom and Gomorrah, at least for the righteous in those cities; in which he so far succeeded, that righteous Lot and his, were delivered from destruction in them. Aaron being a good spokesman, one that could speak well, was a type of Christ, who has the tongue of the learned, and can speak well on the behalf of his distressed ones; and who can plead their cause thoroughly, effectually, and infallibly: so was Moses, when the children of Israel had sinned in making the golden calf, and were threatened with destruction, he interposed in their behalf, and pleaded they might be spared; or otherwise, that he might be blotted out of the book of life, or die: and such is the

    love of Christ to the spiritual Israel of God, that he has died for them; and pleads his death that they might live. Particularly the entrance of the high priest once a year, with the blood of beasts, with a censer of burning coals, and an handful of incense, was an eminent type of Christ’s entrance into heaven, and his intercession there; who went in thither, not with the blood of beasts, but with his own blood; and so to a better purpose: the burning coals were emblems of his painful sufferings; and the incense put upon them represented his powerful mediation and intercession, founded upon his sufferings and death, and satisfaction for sin made thereby. Likewise the high priest going into the most holy place, with the names of the children of Israel on his breastplate, and bearing their judgment before the Lord, and taking away the sin of their holy things, typified Christ as the representative of his people in heaven; appearing in the presence of God for them, presenting his sacrifice for the taking away of their sins, even those of their most solemn services; (see Lev. 16:2,12-14; Ex. 28:29,30).

  2. Christ is an intercessor; he has executed, he is executing, and will continue to execute this office; and the inquiries to be made concerning it are: where, when, and in what manner, he has made, or does make intercession? for what he intercedes, and for whom; and the excellency and usefulness of his intercession? First, Where, when, and in what manner his intercession has been and is performed? And it may

be considered as,

  1. Before his incarnation: that he then interceded, and was a Mediator between God and man, is evident from that access to God which was then had: upon the sin and fall of our first parents they were driven from the presence of God, and no access could be had unto him, nor communion with him, on the foot of works; none, but through Christ, the Mediator, who is the only Mediator between God and men; there never was, nor never will be any other; through him both Jews and Gentiles, Old and New testament saints, have access to God; those under the former dispensation put up their prayers to God through Christ, and for his sake; and through his mediation and intercession they were heard and accepted. So Daniel prayed to be “heard for the Lord’s sake”; that is for Christ’s sake (Dan. 9:17). Christ was then “the Angel of God’s presence”; who was not only in the presence of God, but

    appeared there for his people, and by whom they were introduced and admitted into the presence of God, had audience of him, and acceptance with him (Isa. 63:9). We have an instance of Christ’s intercession for the people of the Jews, when in distress, who is represented as an angel among the myrtle trees in the bottom; signifying the low estate the Jews were in; and as interceding and pleading with God for them; “and the Lord answered the angel that talked with me, with good and comfortable words”: his intercession was acceptable, prevalent, and succeeded (Zech. 1:11,12,13). But a more clear and full instance of Christ’s intercession for his people in distress, through sin, is in Zechariah 3:1-4 where Joshua, a fallen saint, is represented as greatly defiled with sin; and Satan standing at his right hand, to accuse and charge him, and get judgment to pass against him; when Christ, the angel of the covenant, appears on his behalf, rebukes Satan, and pleads electing and calling grace in favour of the criminal; and, on the foot of his own sacrifice to be offered, satisfaction to be made, orders his filthy garments to be taken away, and him to be clothed with change of raiment, his own righteousness, and dismissed.

  2. Christ acted as an intercessor in his state of humiliation. We often read of his praying to God, and sometimes a whole night together, and of his offering up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears, especially in the garden and on the cross; which might be chiefly on his own account, though not without regard to his people: at other times we find him praying for particular persons; as at the grave of Lazarus, where he wept and groaned in Spirit, and inwardly put up supplications, which were heard; for he thanks his Father for hearing him; and declared he always heard him (John 11:41,42). And he prayed for Peter particularly, when tempted, that his “faith” might “not fail”, and was heard; for though he fell by the temptation, he was at once recovered (Luke 22:32). He prayed for all his disciples, in John 17:1-26 which is a specimen of his intercession in heaven for all his elect: yea, he prayed for his enemies, and such of his elect who were then in a state of enmity; and who, in consequence of his intercession, were converted and comforted; though they had been concerned in taking away his life (Luke 23:34; Acts 2:36-41). Such virtue is there in his blood, and in his intercession founded

    upon it!

  3. Christ is now interceding in heaven for his people; he is gone to heaven, entered there, and is set down at the right hand of God; where he ever lives to make intercession (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25), for so his intercession is sometimes represented, as after his death and resurrection from the dead, and session at God’s right hand; and which is performed, perhaps not vocally, as on earth; for as he could request and intercede before he assumed an human nature, even in the council and covenant of peace, without a voice, so he can now in heaven; though it is not improbable but that he may make use of his human voice at his pleasure; though it cannot with certainty be affirmed, yet it is not to be denied: however, it is certain that he does not intercede in like manner as when on earth, with prostration of body, cries, and tears; which would be quite inconsistent with his state of exaltation and glory, being set down at the right hand of God, and crowned with glory and honour; nor as supplicating an angry Judge, and entreating him to be pacified, and show favour; for peace is made by the blood of Christ’s cross; and God is pacified towards his people for all that they have done: nor as litigating a point in a court of judicature; for though Christ has names and titles taken from such like procedures, as counselor, pleader, and advocate; yet not as engaged in a cause dependant and precarious: but the intercession of Christ is carried on in heaven, by appearing in the presence of God there for his people; it is enough that he shows himself, as having done, as their Surety, all that law and justice could require; by presenting his blood, his sacrifice, and righteousness: Christ is gone with his blood into the holiest of all, and sprinkled it on the throne of mercy, before God; and where he is in the midst of the throne, as a Lamb that had been slain; his sacrifice being always in view of his divine Father, and his righteousness always in sight; with which God is well pleased, because by it his law is magnified and made honourable, and his justice satisfied: all which, of themselves, speak on the behalf of his people. Moreover, Christ intercedes, not as asking a favour, but as an advocate in open court, who pleads, demands, and requires, according to law, in point of right and justice, such and such blessings to be bestowed upon, and applied unto such persons he has shed his blood for; he speaks, not in a charitative,

but in an authoritative way, declaring it as his will, on the ground of what he has done and suffered, that so it should be; a specimen of this we have in the finishing blessing of all, glorification (John 17:24). Christ performs this his office also by offering up the prayers and praises of his people; which become acceptable to God through the sweet incense of his mediation and intercession (Rev. 8:3,4; Heb. 13:15; 1 Pet. 2:5). Once more, Christ executes this office by seeing to it, that all the blessings of grace promised in covenant, and ratified by his blood, are applied by his Spirit to the covenant ones; and so he sits as a Priest on his throne, and sees the travail of his soul with satisfaction; when, as those he engaged for are reconcile by his death, so they are saved by his interceding life; are effectually called by grace, and put into the possession of what was stipulated and procured for them.

Secondly, The next thing to be considered is, what Christ makes intercession for more particularly? For the “conversion” of his unconverted ones: “Neither pray I for those alone”, says he, meaning his disciples that were called; “but for them also which shall believe on me through their word” (John 17:20). And for the comfort of those that are convinced of sin, distressed with a sense of it, and need comfort; in consequence of his intercession, he sends the Comforter to them, to take of his things, and show them to them, and shed abroad his love in them, and so fill them with joy and peace in believing; insomuch that they have peace in him while they have tribulation in the world. And particularly for discoveries and applications of pardoning grace and mercy; “If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father”; not that he pleads for sinning, nor that any may be connived at in it; but that he may have a manifestation and application of the pardon of it, in consequence of his blood shed for it. And as Christ has a fellow feeling with his people under temptations, and helps them that are tempted; this is one way of doing it, interceding for “strength” for them to bear up under temptations, to be carried through them, and delivered out of them; and so that they might have “persevering grace” to hold on, and out, unto the end; he prays not that they be taken out of the world, but that they may be kept from the evil of it (John 17:11,15). Lastly, he intercedes for their “glorification”; one principal branch of which will lie in beholding his glory (John 17:24). This was the joy

set before him, and which he kept in view in all his sufferings; and for the sake of which he endured them so cheerfully; and it is that which is uppermost in his heart, in his intercession for them; nor will he cease pleading till he has all his people in heaven with him. Thirdly, The persons Christ makes intercession for are not the world, the men of it, and all that are in it; for Christ himself says, “I pray not for the world”; but for those that were chosen and given him out of the world; and who, in due time, are effectually called out of it by his grace: the objects of Christ’s intercession are the same with those of election, redemption, and effectual calling; to whom Christ is a propitiation, for them he is an advocate (John 17:9; 1 John 2:1,2). The high priest bore upon his heart, in the breastplate of judgment, only the names of the children of Israel; and they are only the spiritual Israel of God whom Christ bears upon his heart, whom he represents and intercedes for in the holiest of all; and not for those only who actually believe, but for those who shall hereafter; even who are, for the present, enemies to him, and averse to his rule over them; as his prayers in the garden, and on the cross, show (John 17:20; Luke 23:34). It is for all the elect Christ intercedes, that have been, are, or shall be, scattered up and down in each of the parts of the world, and in all ages and periods of time, that they be partakers of his grace here, and be glorified with him hereafter; hence says the apostle, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” since not only God justifies them, Christ died for them, is risen again, and is at the right hand of God; but makes intercession for them, and answers to, and removes all charges brought against them (Rom. 8:33,34), and for those even though and while they are sinners and transgressors; for so it is said of him in prophecy; “and hath made intercession for the transgressors” (Isa. 53:12), and as he died for such, yea, the chief of sinners, and calls them by his grace, and receives them into fellowship with himself, it is no wonder that he should pray and intercede for them. Fourthly, The excellent properties and use of Christ’s intercession. Christ is an only intercessor; “there is but one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5), though the Spirit of God makes intercession for the saints, it is within them, not without them, at the right hand of God; and it is with groans unutterable; not so Christ in heaven,

saints in heaven are no intercessors for saints on earth; they are ignorant of their persons and cases, and therefore cannot intercede for them; nor angels, as say the papists, who distinguish between mediators of redemption and mediators of intercession; the latter they say angels are, and Christ the former: but the Scripture knows no such distinction; he that is the Redeemer is the only Intercessor; he that is the Propitiation is the sole Advocate; and he is every way fit for it: being the Son of God, he has interest in his Father’s heart; being the mighty God, he is mighty to plead, thoroughly to plead the cause of his people; and having offered up himself as man, to be a sacrifice for them, he has a sufficient plea to make on their behalf; and having the tongue of the learned, can speak well for them; and being Jesus Christ the righteous, the holy and harmless High Priest, is a proper person to be the “advocate” for those that sin; as such he is with the Father, at hand, and to be called unto; is ready to defend the cause of his people, and deliver them from their adversary: and he is a “prevalent” advocate and intercessor; he is always heard; he was when on earth, and now in heaven; his mediation is always acceptable, and ever succeeds (John 11:41,42). And he performs this his office “freely”, willingly, and cheerfully; he never rejects any case put into his hands, nor refuses to present the petitions of his people to his divine Father; but is always ready to offer up the prayers of all saints with the much incense of his mediation (Rev. 8:3,4). And his intercession is “perpetual”; though he was dead he is alive, and lives for evermore; and “he ever lives to make intercession for them” that come unto God by him (Heb. 7:25). Many are the benefits and blessings of grace derived to saints from Christ’s intercession for them; such as access to God through him, acceptance with God in him, both of persons and services, communications of grace from him, the application of every blessing of the covenant to them; for though the impetration of them is by the death of Christ, the application of them is owing to his life (Rom. 5:10).


Chapter 12

OF CHRIST’S BLESSING HIS PEOPLE AS A PRIEST

Thirdly, I proceed in this chapter to consider another part of Christ’s priestly office; which lies in

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blessing his people; for this was what belonged to the priests. Aaron and his sons were appointed to bless the people of Israel in the name of the Lord; and had a form of blessing prescribed them; which they were to use, and did use on that occasion (Deut. 21:5; Num. 6:23-26). Indeed, the blessing of the priests was only prayer-wise; they could not confer a blessing, only prayed for one; yet when they did, the Lord promised to give one (Num. 6:27), and some think Christ’s blessing his people is only a species or branch of his intercession; though Christ does not only intercede for blessings for his people, but he actually confers them; and whether this is to be considered as a branch of Christ’s intercession; which is made, not in a supplicant, but in an authoritative manner, as has been shown; or whether as a distinct part of Christ’s priestly office; I shall treat of it particularly and separately, and much in the same method as the other parts have been treated of; by showing,

  1. That Christ was to bless his people; this was promised and prophesied concerning him, and was prefigured in types of him.

    First, It was promised to Abraham, that in his “seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed” (Gen. 22:1-24 28:1-22), and which was renewed to Isaac (Gen. 26:4), and also again to Jacob (Gen. 28:14), and which contains the sum of the gospel preached unto Abraham; for by “seed” is meant, not his numerous natural seed, descending from him by ordinary generation, in successive periods of time; but his single, special, and principal seed, the Messiah, who was to spring from him (Gal. 3:8,16), and by “all nations” are meant some of all nations, the chosen vessels, who consist both of Jews and Gentiles, the redeemed of the Lamb, who are by him redeemed out of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation; and are effectually called, by the Spirit and grace of God, out of the world, and the nations of it, in each of the periods of time, and so are all blessed, both in time and to eternity; and on this account Christ is truly called, “the desire of all nations” (Hag 2:7), whose coming as an High Priest with good things being promised, might be expected and desired by them; and those may be said not only to be blessed in him as their representative, as they are, both in eternity and in time (Eph 1:3,4; 2:5,6) and not only “through” him, all the blessings of goodness being put into his hands for

    them; and so they come to them, through his hands, and through the efficacy of his blood, as redemption, pardon, grace, and eternal life (Eph 1:7; Acts 13:38; Titus 3:6; Rom. 6:23), but they are blessed by him as it is his own act and deed; and so the apostle interprets and explains the phrase; “In thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed; unto you first, God having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away everyone of you from his iniquities” (Acts 3:25,26).

    Secondly, Christ’s blessing his people was prefigured in Melchizedek, the type of him, and of whose order he was. This illustrious person met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, “and blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abraham of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth” (Gen. 14:19), that is, May Abraham be blessed of God with both temporal and spiritual blessings, which he who is Lord of both worlds is able to bestow upon him: and on this benediction the apostle observes that Melchizedek, who “received tithes from Abraham, blessed him who had the promises”; not only of a Son to be his heir, and of the land of Canaan for his seed, but of the Messiah, and of the heavenly inheritance; from whence he infers the greatness, the excellency, and the superiority of Melchizedek, as a type of Christ (Heb 7:6,7). The priests under the law, one part of whose work and office it was to bless the people, and who did bless them, were types and figures of Christ in that action, and foreshowed what he was to do when he came (Lev. 9:22; Ps. 118:26).

  2. Christ has blessed his people, does bless them, and will continue to bless them: he blessed them under the Old Testament; he appeared in an human form to Jacob, and wrestled with him; nor would Jacob let him go except he blessed him; and he had power with him, and prevailed, and got the blessing; as appears by the name of Israel he gave him; and having such an experience of his ability to bless, he addressed him for a blessing on his grandchildren, saying, “The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads”; meaning Christ the uncreated Angel, the Angel of God’s presence, the Angel of the covenant, who had protected him from all evil throughout his life, and particularly from the evil he feared from his brother Esau; when he appeared to him, and for him, and blessed him, as before observed (Gen. 32:24-29;

Chapter 12 OF CHRIST’S BLESSING HIS PEOPLE AS PRIEST 63

48:16), and as Christ came in the fulness of time, an High Priest of good things; he blesses his people with them, of which his blessing his disciples is a specimen; and which was done by him after he had offered himself a sacrifice, and was risen from the dead, and before his ascension to heaven; “he lift up his hands and blessed them: and it came to pass while he blessed them he was parted from them” (Luke 24:50,51).

First, Observe the qualifications of Christ to bless his people, his fitness, ability, and sufficiency for such a work.

l. As he is God, or a divine person, he must be able to bless; God is blessed; this is an epithet of his; blessedness is a perfection of Deity; it is a principal one; yea, all his perfections are comprehended in it, and serve to complete it; and hence he is the fountain of all blessedness to his creatures. Now Christ is “over all, God blessed for ever” (Rom. 9:5), all the fulness of the Godhead is in him; all that the Father hath are his, he is the Lord God omnipotent, “and able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20), he is El-Shaddai, God all sufficient; as such he is the Creator of all things; nothing is made without him, but all by him and for him; and he has all the blessings of nature in his hands to dispose of; the earth is his, and the fulness thereof; and he can give it to whom and when he pleases: as such he is the God of providence; and as such jointly works in providence with his divine Father; and has all providential goodness to bless men with: as such he is the God of all grace, the God of his people, their sun and shield, who gives grace and glory; and his grace is sufficient for them; every good and perfect gift of grace comes from him; and grace and peace are equally prayed and wished for from him as from the Father; as in all the epistles.

2. Christ, as Mediator, has a fitness, ability, and sufficiency to bless his people; as such, God has “made him most blessed for evermore”, and “prevented him with the blessings of goodness” (Ps. 21:3,6), by laying up in him the blessings of the covenant of grace, to communicate to his people; by first giving all the blessings of grace to him, and then to them in him. As God, he has a natural claim and right to all blessedness; he has it to the full, infinitely, in right of nature; it is independent of, and underived from another: but as

Mediator, he is made blessed by the will and pleasure of his Father; the blessings of grace and goodness are given unto him; it is his Father’s good pleasure, that all the fullness of grace should dwell in him; out of which, his people, in all ages, receive grace for grace; and all their spiritual wants are supplied from thence; nor can they want any good thing; his grace is sufficient for them, and he has enough to dispense unto them. Besides, as Mediator, he has obtained all blessings for them, in a way consistent with all the perfections of God, to bestow them on them. Who can doubt of his abilities to bless his people with deliverance from sin, Satan, the law, its curses and condemnation, and from ruin and destruction; since he has obtained eternal redemption for them? or with a justifying righteousness; since, as he came to bring in everlasting righteousness, he is become the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes? or with spiritual peace, he has promised to give, since he has made peace by the blood of his cross? or with salvation, and all things appertaining to it; since he is become the author of eternal salvation, and is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him? Secondly, The persons who are blessed by Christ: though “all nations” of the earth are said to be blessed in him, and by him; yet not every individual of all nations; for at the same time that this was promised to Abraham, God declared that he would curse them that cursed him; and so all such that curse his people, and blaspheme his name; yea, there are some whose very blessings are cursed, as well as their persons; and, indeed, all that are of the works of the law, or seek for justification by them, are cursed, “that continue not in all things written in the book of the law to do them” (Gal. 3:10), which no man does; and therefore is cursed by that very law by which he seeks for justification. To which may be added, that all graceless and Christless sinners, instead of being blessed by Christ, will, at the last day, be bid to depart from him, saying, “Depart

from me, ye cursed” (Matthew 25:41). But,

  1. All that are blessed of the Father are blessed by Christ; God, as the God and Father of Christ, blessed his people with all spiritual blessings in him; and those that are blessed in him are blessed by him; the same the Father blesses, the Son does also; to whom he will say at the great day, “Come, ye blessed of my Father” (Eph. 1:3; Matthew 25:34).

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  2. All that are chosen of God in Christ are blessed by him; for they are blessed with all spiritual blessings according as they are chosen in him; their election of God is the standard, rule, and measure of all after blessings; that stands at the front of them and secures all the rest; “whom he did predestinate, them he also called”, &c. (Rom. 8:30). The elect of God are the objects of all the blessings of grace which arise from Christ’s death, resurrection, session at the right hand of God, and his intercession there; or otherwise there would be no strength nor force in the triumphant challenge of the apostle (Rom. 8:33,34).

  3. All that are given to Christ by the Father are blessed by him; for these he prays for blessings, on these he bestows them; he manifests the name of God unto them, his favour and grace, and the blessings of it; his gospel, and the privileges belonging to it; he confers grace on them, keeps them by his power, and gives unto them eternal life (John 17:2,6,8,9,11,12,24).

  4. All the covenant ones are blessed by Christ; all that are in covenant have a right to the blessings of it, and they are blessed with it; God is their covenant God, and happy are they whose God he is; God, even their own God, will bless them. The covenant of grace is ordered in all things and sure; and Christ, the mediator of it, in whose hands they are, gives them the sure mercies of David.

  5. All the spiritual Israel of God, the whole Israel of God, consisting both of Jews and Gentiles, are blessed by Christ; what is said of literal Israel, “Happy art thou, O Israel, - O people saved by the Lord” (Deut. 33:29), is true of mystic Israel, or the elect of God among all nations; that Israel whom God has chosen, and Christ has redeemed and called by name; these are the seed of Israel that are justified in Christ, and saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation (Ps. 135:4; Isa. 43:1; 45:17,25).

Thirdly, The blessings Christ blesses his people with, some of which are as follow.

l. With a justifying righteousness; this is a great blessing: David describes “The blessedness of the man to whom God imputeth righteousness without works” (Rom. 4:6), and that is the righteousness of Christ; and this Christ has not only wrought out, and brought in, but he brings it near to his people; he puts it upon them, he clothes and covers them with it; so that they are justified from all their sins, and secured from

condemnation and death, and are saved from wrath to come; their persons and services are acceptable unto God; and it is well with them at all times, in life, in death, and at the last judgment.

  1. With the pardon of their sins, which is another great blessing; “Blessed is the man whose transgression is forgiven” (Ps 32:1), and Christ has not only shed his blood to obtain remission of sins for his people, but through the ministry of his gospel, and by his Spirit and grace he applies it to them (Matthew 9:2), and which fills their hearts with joy and gladness.

  2. Christ blesses his people with the adoption of children; they are not only predestinated of God unto it by him, and he has redeemed them that they might receive it, but he himself bestows it on them; (John 1:12).

  3. Those are blessed by Christ with regeneration and conversion by his Spirit and grace through the ministration of his gospel; this is the instance mentioned by the apostle, of Christ’s blessing his people, for whose sake he was raised up, and to whom sent (Acts 3:26). His blessing them lay in this, in turning them from sin and self; and in turning them to himself, to his blood, righteousness, and sacrifice, for peace, pardon, justification, and eternal salvation.

  4. The same persons are blessed by Christ with the Spirit, which he has received without measure; and with the graces thereof in an abundant manner, at first conversion, which are richly shed on them, through Christ, their Saviour; and by whom they are blessed with all after supplies of grace, till he brings them to glory.

  5. The Lord blesses his people with peace (Ps. 29:11), which flows from his peace speaking blood, his perfect righteousness, and atoning sacrifice; with peace which passeth all understanding; and is what the world can neither give nor take away.

  6. He blesses them with the gospel, the ordinances of it, and the privileges of his house. He favors them with the joyful sound, with the good news and glad tidings of his gospel: he satisfies them with the goodness and fatness of his house; he gives them a place, and a name in it, better than that of sons and daughters; he makes them fellow citizens with the saints, and makes them into the household of God, and causes them to partake of every blessing and privilege of the children of God.

  7. And lastly, Christ blesses his people with eternal life and happiness; he not only intercedes for them that they may be with him where he is, and behold his glory; and not only is gone beforehand, to prepare mansions of glory for them; but, according to his promise, will come and take them to himself, and introduce them into his kingdom and glory, where they shall be for ever with him.

Fourthly, The nature and excellencies of these blessings.

l. They are covenant blessings; which are laid up and secured in the covenant of grace, ordered in all things and sure; and which are very comprehensive, and include both grace and glory.

  1. They are spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3), such as are of a spiritual nature, relating to the spiritual welfare of men, and suited to spiritual men; and for the good of their souls or spirits; and are what the Spirit of God takes, shows, and applies unto them.

  2. They are solid and substantial ones; blessings indeed, such as Jabez prayed for; saying, “O that thou wouldst bless me indeed!” (1 Chron. 4:10). Earthly and temporal blessings, as riches and honours, are things that are not, non-entities, comparatively speaking, have no solidity and substance in them; but the blessings of Christ, both of grace and glory, have substance in them; faith is the “substance” of things hoped for; and heaven is a more “enduring substance”; which wisdom, or Christ, causes his people to inherit (Heb 11:1; 10:34; Prov. 8:21 23:5).

  3. They are irreversible blessings; the blessing with which Isaac blessed Jacob was confirmed by him with a resolution not to alter it: and the blessing Balaam was commanded to bless Israel with, was what he could not reverse, whatever good will he had to it: but the blessings of grace by Christ, are such as God never repents of, revokes, or reverses; these are “the gifts and calling of God” to grace and glory, which “are without repentance” (Rom. 11:29).

  4. These blessings are eternal; whatever is done in this way of Christ’s blessing his people “is for ever” (Eccl. 3:14). Christ’s righteousness is an everlasting righteousness; pardon of sin ever remains; once a child of God, always so; no more a servant, but a son, an heir of God, and a joint heir of Christ; so every blessing of grace, with glory and happiness, in the world to come.


Chapter 13

OF THE KINGLY OFFICE OF CHRIST

The prophetic and priestly offices of Christ having been considered; the kingly office of Christ is next to be treated of. Christ is king in a twofold sense: he is a king by nature; as he is God, he, is God over all; as the Son of God, he is heir of all things; as he is God the Creator, he has a right of dominion over all his creatures: and he is king by office, as he is mediator; and accordingly he has a two-fold kingdom, the one natural, essential, universal, and common to him with the other divine persons; the kingdom of nature and providence is his, what he has a natural right unto, and claim upon; it is essential to him as God; dominion and fear are with him; it is universal, it reaches to all creatures visible or invisible, to all in heaven, earth, and hell; it is common to the three divine persons, Father, Son, and Spirit, who are joint creators of all the creatures, and have a joint rule, government, and dominion over them; and as Christ is the creator of all, nothing that is made being made without him, but all things by him, he has a right to rule over them. This kingdom of his extends to angels, good and bad; he is the head of all principality and power; of the good angels, he is their creator, lord, and king, from whom all worship, homage, and obedience are due unto him; and who are at his command to do his will and pleasure; and whom he employs as ministering spirits in nature, providence, and grace, as he pleases: and the evil angels, though they have left their first estate, cast off their allegiance to him, and rebelled against him, yet whether they will or no they are obliged to be subject to him; and even when he was manifest in the flesh, they trembled at him, and were obliged to quit the possession of the bodies of men at his command, and could do nothing without his leave. Men also good and bad, are under the government of Christ as God, who is Lord of all; he not only is king of saints, who willingly become subject to him; but even those who are sons of Belial, without a yoke, who have cast off the yoke, and will not have him to reign over them; whether they will or not, they are obliged to yield unto him; over whom he rules with a rod of iron, and will break them in pieces as a potter’s vessel; so easy, so inevitable, and so irreparable is their ruin and everlasting destruction by him. This

his kingdom rules over all men, of all ranks and degrees, the highest and the greatest; he is King of kings, and Lord of lords; he sets them up and puts them down at his pleasure; by him they reign, and to him they are accountable. But besides this, there is another kingdom that belongs to Christ as God-man and Mediator; this is a special, limited kingdom; this concerns only the elect of God, and others only as they may have to do with them, even their enemies; the subjects of this kingdom are those who are chosen, redeemed, and called from among men by the grace of God, and bear the name of saints; hence the title and character of Christ with respect to them is “king of saints”; this kingdom and government of his is what is put into his hands to dispense and administer, and may be called a dispensatory, delegated government; what is given him by his Father, and he has received authority from him to exercise, and for which he is accountable to him; and when the number of his elect are completed in the effectual calling, he will deliver up the kingdom to the Father, perfect and entire, that God may be all in all. And this is the kingly office of Christ, now to be treated of; and which will be done much in the same manner the other offices have been treated of.

  1. I shall show that Christ was to be a king; as appears by the designation of his Father, in his purposes, council, and covenant; by the types and figures of him; and by the prophecies concerning him.

    l. That he was to be a king, appears by the designation and appointment of him by his Father to this office; “I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion”, says Jehovah (Ps. 2:6), that is, he had set up Christ his Son, in his eternal purposes, to be king over his church and people; and therefore calls him his king, because of his choosing, appointing, and setting up. And as he appointed him to be a king, he appointed a kingdom to him; which is observed by Christ; “I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath, appointed unto me” (Luke 22:29). In the council and covenant of grace, Christ was called to take upon him this office, “feed the flock of slaughter”, the church, subject to the persecutions of men; and the act of feeding them, designs the rule and government, care and protection of the people of God; in allusion to shepherds, by which name kings and rulers are sometimes called: to which Christ assented and agreed; saying, “I will feed

    the flock of slaughter”, take the care and government of them (Zech. 11:4), upon which he was invested with the office of a king, and was considered as such; “Unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever” (Heb 1:8).

  2. It appears from the types and figures of Christ, in his kingly office. Melchizedek was a type of him; not only in his priestly office, of whose order Christ was; but in his kingly office; both offices meeting in him, as they do in Christ, who is a priest upon his throne; from his quality as a king he had his name Melchizedek, king of righteousness, or righteous king; and such an one is Christ, a king that reigns in righteousness; and from the place and seat of his government, king of Salem; that is, king of peace; agreeable to which, one of Christ’s titles belonging to him, in his kingly office, is, prince of peace; (see Heb. 7:1; Isa 9:6). David was an eminent type of Christ in his kingly office; for his wisdom and military skill, his courage and valor, his wars and victories, and the equity and justice of his government; hence Christ, his antitype, is often, with respect to the Jews, in the latter days, called David their king, whom they shall seek and serve; and who shall be king over them (Jer 30:9; Ezek. 33:23 37:24; Hosea 3:5). Solomon also was a type of Christ as king; hence Christ, in “the Song of Songs”, is frequently called Solomon, and king Solomon (Song of Sol. 3:7,9,11; 8:11,12), because of his great wisdom, his immense riches, the largeness of his kingdom, and the peaceableness of it; in all which he is exceeded by Christ; and who, speaking of himself, says, “a Greater than Solomon is here” (Matthew 12:42).

  3. This still more fully appears, that Christ was to be a King, by the prophecies concerning him, in this respect; as in the very first promise or prophecy of him (Gen. 3:15), that “the Seed of the woman”, meaning Christ, should break the “serpent’s head”; that is, destroy the devil, and all his works; which is an act of Christ’s kingly power, and is expressive of him as a victorious prince, and triumphant conqueror over all his and his peoples enemies. Balaam foretold, that “there should come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre”, that is, a Sceptre bearer, a King, should “rise out of Israel” (Num. 24:17 which prophecy, some way or other, coming to the knowledge of the magi, or wise men in the East, upon the appearance of a new star,

led them to take a journey into Judea, to inquire after the birth of the King of the Jews, where he was born. In the famous prophecy of Isaiah, concerning Christ (Num. 9:6,7 it is said, that “the government should be upon his shoulders”; one of his titles be, “the Prince of peace”; and that of his government, and the peace of it, there should be no end; as well as it should be ordered and established with justice and judgment: and to the same purpose is another prophecy in Jeremiah (Jer 23:5,6) of the Messiah, the Man the Branch, it is said, “And a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth; and this is his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord our Righteousness”: and there can be no doubt but Christ is here meant; as well as in that known prophecy of the place of his birth, Bethlehem Ephratah; of which it is said, “Out of thee shall he come forth unto me, that is to be Ruler in Israel”, the King of Israel, as Christ is sometimes called (Micah 5:2). To which may be added, another prophecy of Christ, as King, and which was fulfilled in him; “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion — behold thy King cometh unto thee” (Zech. 9:9; Matthew 21:4,5), yea, the angel that brought the news to the Virgin Mary, of Christ’s conception and incarnation, foretold unto her, that this her Son should be “great, and be called the Son of the Highest”; and that “the Lord God would give unto him the throne of his father David”; and that he should “reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there should be no end” (Luke 1:32,33).

2. I proceed to show, that Christ is a King; as it was decreed and determined he should be, and according to the types of him, and prophecies concerning him. And,

  1. Christ was a King before his incarnation, during the Old Testament dispensation. He was King over the people of Israel; not as a body politic; though their civil government was a theocracy; but as a church, a kingdom of priests, or a royal priesthood; and he is the Angel that was with them, the church in the wilderness, which spoke to Moses on mount Sinai; from whose right hand went the fiery law, the oracles of God; for the rule, government, and instruction of that people: he is the Angel that went before them, to guide and direct them, and to rule and govern them, whose voice they were to obey: he appeared to Joshua, with a drawn sword in his hand, and declared himself

    to be the Captain of the Lord’s hosts, to fight their battles for them, and settle them in the land of Canaan. David speaks of him as a King in (Ps. 45:1-17), and represents him as a very amiable Person, grace being poured into his lips, and he fairer than the children of men; as a majestic and victorious Prince, whose queen stands at his right hand, in gold of Ophir, his church, who is called upon to worship him, to yield homage and subjection to him; because he is her Lord and King; and as such he is acknowledged by the church in the times of Isaiah; “The Lord is our Judge; the Lord is our Lawgiver; the Lord is our King” (Isa. 33:22; 26:13).

  2. Christ was King in his state of incarnation; he was born a King, as the wise men understood it he was, by the prophecy of him, and by the star that appeared, that guided them to come and worship him as such. The angel that brought the news of his birth to the shepherds, declared, that that day was born a Saviour, Christ the Lord, Head and King of his church; agreeable to the prophecy of him by Isaiah, that the child born, and Son given, would have the government on his shoulders, and be the Prince of peace; and Christ himself acknowledges as much, when he was asked by Pilate, whether he was a King? he answered in a manner which implied it, and gave assent unto it; though at the same time, he declared his kingdom was not of this world, but of a spiritual nature (John 18:36,37). He began his ministry with giving notice, that the “kingdom of heaven was at hand”; that is, his own kingdom, which was going to take place, with some evidence of it; and he assures the Jews, that the kingdom of God was then within them, or among them; though it came not with the observation of the vulgar: nor with outward show, pomp, and splendor, like that of an earthly king (Matthew 4:17; Luke 17:20,21), and Christ was known, and owned by some, as a King, though not by many: Nathaniel made the following noble confession of faith in him, respecting his person and office, upon a conviction of his being the omniscient God; “Rabbi, thou art the Son of God! thou art the King of Israel!” (John 1:49). When Christ entered into Jerusalem, in a very public manner, whereby was fulfilled the prophecy of him as a King (Zech. 9:9), not only the children cried, Hosanna to the Son of David! expressive of his royal character and dignity; but the disciples, in so many

    words, said, “Blessed be the King, that cometh in the name of the Lord!” (Matthew 21:4,5,9 Luke 19:38). Moreover, Christ, in the days of his flesh on earth, received authority from his divine Father, to execute judgment; that is, to exercise his kingly office in equity and justice; and this before his sufferings and death; and had all things requisite to it, delivered unto him by his Father (John 5:22,27; Matthew 11:27), and after his resurrection from the dead, and before his ascension to heaven, he declared, that “all power was given him in heaven and in earth”; in virtue of which, he appointed ordinances, renewed the commission of his disciples to administer them, promising his presence with them, and their successors, to the end of the world (Matthew 28:18-20). All which shows how false the notion of the Socinians is, that Christ was no King, nor did he exercise his kingly office before his ascension to heaven. It is true, indeed,

  3. That upon his ascension to heaven, he “was made both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36), not but that he was both Lord and Christ before, of which there was evidence; but then he was declared to be so, and made more manifest as such; then he was exalted as a Prince, as well as a Saviour, and highly exalted, and had a name given him above every name; and angels, authorities, and powers, were made subject to him. He then received the promise of the Spirit, and his gifts from the Father, which he plentifully bestowed upon his apostles; whom he sent forth into all the world, preaching his gospel with great success, and causing them to triumph in him in every place where they came; and so increased and enlarged his kingdom: he went forth by them with his bow and arrows, conquering and to conquer, making the arrows of his word sharp in the hearts of his enemies, whereby they were made to submit unto him; sending forth the rod of his strength out of Zion, the gospel, the power of God unto salvation; he made multitudes willing in the day of his power on them, to be subject to him; whereby his kingdom and interest were greatly strengthened in the world; and from small beginnings, his kingdom being at first but like a grain of mustard seed, became very flourishing and populous: and in this way, more or less, Christ has been exercising his kingly office in the world; which, though sometimes it has been in great obscurity, yet will more gloriously appear in the latter day, in that remarkable period of time

    which may be properly called, “the spiritual reign of Christ”; when he shall take to himself his great power and reign; not begin to take it, nor begin to reign; but shall take it and exert it in a more conspicuous manner; and will reign before his ancients gloriously; when the kingdoms of this world shall become his, and he shall be King over all the earth; and there shall be one Lord, and his name one; and more especially, when the kingly office of Christ shall appear in its full glory, in his personal reign on earth a thousand years; of which two types of his kingly office, I shall treat separately and distinctly, in their proper place; and at present shall only observe,

  4. That all the rites and ceremonies used at the inauguration of kings, and their “regalia”, are to be found with Christ. Were kings anointed? as Saul, David, and Solomon were, so was Christ; from whence he has his name, Messiah; he whose throne is for ever and ever, is anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows; that is, with the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit without measure; as he more eminently was, upon his ascension to heaven, when he was made, or declared, Lord and Christ; and, indeed, because of this ceremony used at the instrument of kings into their office, the original investiture of Christ with the kingly office is expressed by it; “I have set”, or as in the Hebrew text, “I have anointed my King upon my holy hill of Zion” (Ps. 2:6; 45:6,7). Were kings crowned at the time of their inauguration? so was Christ at his ascension to heaven; he was then “crowned with glory and honour”; his Father set “a crown of pure gold on his head”; not a material one; the phrase is only expressive of the royal grandeur and dignity conferred upon him: his mother, the church, is also said to crown him; and so does every believer set the crown on his head, when, rejecting all self- confidence, and subjection to others, they ascribe their whole salvation to him, and submit to him, as King of saints; and he, as a mighty Warrior, and triumphant Conqueror, is represented as having many crowns on his head, as emblematical of the many great and glorious victories he has obtained over all his, and the enemies of his people (Heb. 2:9; Ps. 21:3; Song of Sol. 3:11; Rev. 19:12). Do kings sometimes sit on thrones when in state? Isaiah, in vision, saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, when he saw the glory of Christ, and spake of him: and when our

Lord had overcome all his enemies, he sat down with his Father on his throne, as he makes every overcomer sit down with him on his throne; and this throne of his is for ever and ever: and when he comes to judge the world, he will sit on a great white throne; an emblem of his greatness, purity, and justice, in discharging this part of his kingly office, judging quick and dead (Isa. 6:1 45:6; Rev. 3:21; 20:11). Do kings sometimes hold sceptres in their hands, as an ensign of their royalty? so does Christ; his sceptre is a “sceptre of righteousness”; he reigns in righteousness; he has a golden sceptre of clemency, grace, and mercy, which he holds forth towards his own people, his faithful subjects; and he has an iron one, with which he rules his enemies; (see Ps. 45:6; 2:9). Do kings sometimes appear in robes of majesty and state? Christ is arrayed with majesty itself; “The Lord reigneth, he is clothed with majesty” (Ps. 93:1), and so is he appareled, as now set down on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; of which his transfiguration on the mountain was an emblem, when his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light (Heb 8:1; Matthew 17:2).

3. Having shown that Christ was to be a King, and is one; I shall next consider the exercise and administration of the kingly office by him; and observe,

First, his qualifications for it. David, who well knew what was requisite to a civil ruler, or governor, says, “He that ruleth over men, must be just, ruling in the fear of God”; and this he said with a view to the Messiah, as appears by what follows (2 Sam. 23:3,4), and with whom these characters fully agree; he is the righteous Branch, raised up to David; and sits upon his throne, and establishes it with judgment and justice; a king that reigns in righteousness, and governs according to the rules of justice and equity; who with righteousness judges, and reproves with equity; the girdle of whose loins is righteousness, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins, all the while he is executing his kingly office; his sceptre is a sceptre of righteousness; and his throne is established by it; and one of the characters of Zion’s King, by which he is described, is just, as well as lowly; (see Jer. 23:5,6; Isa. 9:7; 11:4,5; Ps. 45:6; Zech. 9:9). And the other character, “ruling in the fear of God”, is found in him; on whom the Spirit of the fear of the Lord rests, and

makes him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord, so that he judges impartially; not through favour and affection to any, nor according to the outward appearance; but with true judgment (Isa. 11:2,3), and a king should be as wise as an angel of God, to know all things appertaining to civil government, as the woman of Tekoah said David was; even to know and to be able to penetrate into the designs of his enemies, to guard against them, to provide for the safety and welfare of his subjects: and such is David’s Son and Antitype, the Messiah; on whom rests “the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, of counsel and of knowledge”; and who has all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; and all that wisdom by which kings reign, and princes decree judgment, is from him; to which may be added, “the Spirit of might” rests upon him (Isa. 11:2), he has power and authority to execute judgment, to enforce his laws, and command obedience from his subjects; all power in heaven and on earth is given to him, and which he exercises; yea, he is the Lord God omnipotent; and as such reigns (Matthew 28:18; Rev. 19:6), and how capable therefore, on all accounts, must he be to exercise his kingly office? The next inquiry is,

Secondly, Who are his subjects? a king is a relative term, and connotes subjects: a king without subjects, is no king. The natural and essential kingdom of Christ, as God, reaches to all creatures; as has been observed; “His kingdom ruleth over all” (Ps. 103:19), but his kingdom, as Mediator, is special and limited, and is over a certain number of men; who go under the names of Israel, the house of Jacob, the holy hill of Zion, and are called saints; hence Christ is said to be “King of Israel”; to reign over “the house of Jacob”; to be set King upon “the holy hill of Zion”; and to be “King of saints” (John 1:49; Luke 1:33; Ps. 2:6; Rev. 15:3), and by Israel, and the house of Jacob, are not meant the people of the Jews, as a body politic, of whom Christ was never king in such a sense; nor carnal Israel, or Israel according to the flesh, especially the unbelieving part of them, who would not have him to reign over them, in a spiritual sense; nor only that part of them called the election of grace among them; the lost sheep of the house of Israel Christ came to seek and save, and so to rule over, protect, and keep: but the whole spiritual Israel of Gods consisting both of Jews and Gentiles; even that Israel God has

chose for his special and peculiar people, among all nations; whom Christ has redeemed by his blood, out of every kindred, tongue, and people; and whom, by his Spirit, he effectually calls, through grace; and who are saved in him, with an everlasting salvation: and these are meant by the holy hill of Zion, over which he is set, appointed, and anointed King; even all those whom God has loved with an everlasting love, and chosen in Christ his Son, and who are sanctified and made holy by his Spirit and grace; and are brought to make an open profession of his name, and become members of his visible church, and are immovable in grace and holiness; for all which they are compared to mount Zion, the object of God’s love and choice, a hill visible, holy, and immovable: and to these Christ stands in the relation, and bears the office of a King; and they are his voluntary subjects; and who say of him and to him, “Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints!” (Rev. 15:3), the church of God is Christ’s kingdom, and the members of it his subjects.

Thirdly, The form and manner of Christ’s executing his kingly office; which is done, — 1st. Externally, by the ministry of the word, and administration of ordinances; and in the exercise of discipline in his church, which is his kingdom. And,

2dly, Internally, by his Spirit and grace, in the hearts of his people; and by his power, with respect to their enemies.

First, Externally, by the word and ordinances, and church discipline.

  1. By the ministry of the word; which is his sceptre he holds forth, and by which he invites his people to come and submit to him; and by which he rules and governs them when come; it is the rod of his strength he sends out of Zion, and which is the power of God unto salvation to them that believe: it is signified by the weapons of warfare, the sword of the Spirit, the bow and arrows, with which Christ rides forth, conquering and to conquer; and with which he smites the hearts of his people, while enemies to him, and causes them to fall under him, and be subject to him; it is the rule and standard of their faith and practice, he sets before them, showing them what they are to believe concerning him, and what is their duty in obedience to him; it is the “magna charta” which contains all their privileges and immunities he grants them; and which he, as their King, inviolably maintains; and

    it is according to this his word, that he will execute that branch of his kingly office, judging the world in righteousness at the last day.

  2. By the administration of ordinances; as baptism: Christ, in virtue of that power in heaven and earth, which he received as King of saints, issued out a command, and gave a commission to his apostles, as to preach the gospel, so to baptize, such as are taught by it, in the name of the three divine Persons; and directed that all such who become members of his visible church, the subjects of his kingdom, should first submit to this ordinance of his; as the instance of the first converts after the commission given shows; who were first baptized, and then added to the church: this is part of that yoke of Christ’s kingdom, which is easy; and one of those commandments of his, which are not grievous. The Lord’s Supper is another of the ordinances kept by the church at Corinth, as delivered to them; for which the apostle commends them; the account of which he had from Christ himself, and delivered to them; and which he suggests was to be observed in his churches, and throughout his kingdom, to the end of the world. Public prayer in the house of God, is another appointment in Christ’s kingdom, the church; which is distinct from the duty of private prayer, in private meetings, and in the family, and the closet; and is what goes along with the public ministry of the word; and is meant by what the apostles proposed to give themselves continually to; and which was attended to by the first Christians, and continued in, and by which they are described, and for it commended; (see Acts 2:42; 4:31; 6:4). Singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, in a public manner, in the churches, is another ordinance of Christ, enjoined them (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16), and in doing which, they express their joy and gladness, in Zion’s King (Ps. 149:2).

  3. In the exercise of church discipline; about which Christ, as King in his church, has given orders and directions; in case of private offences, the rules how to proceed, are in Matthew 18:15-18. In case of public, scandalous sins, which bring a public disgrace on religion, and the church; the delinquents are to be rebuked before all in a public manner, and rejected from the communion of the church (1 Tim. 5:20). In case of immoralities and disorderly walking, such are to be withdrawn from, till repentance is given

    to satisfaction; and in case of false doctrines, and heretical opinions, such that hold them, are not only to be rebuked sharply, in a ministerial way, that they may be sound in the faith; but being incorrigible, are to be cut off from the communion of the church (Titus 1:13; 3:10).

  4. For the execution and due performance of all this, the ministry of the word, administration of ordinances, and exercise of church discipline, Christ has appointed officers in his church and kingdom; whom he qualifies and empowers for such purposes; who have a rule and government under Christ, and over the churches, to see his laws and rules carried into execution; and who are to be known, owned, and acknowledged, as having rule over the churches; and to be submitted to and obeyed by them, so far as they act according to the laws of Christ (Eph. 4:10-12; 1 Thess. 5:12; Heb. 13:7,17).

Secondly, The kingly office of Christ is exercised internally, by his Spirit and grace in the hearts of his people, and by his power, with respect to their enemies; and which chiefly lies in the conversion of his people; in the protection of them from their enemies; and in the utter abolition and destruction of them.

  1. In the conversion of his people; which is no other than a rescue of them out of the hands of those who have usurped a dominion over them. While unregenerate, they are in a state of enmity to Christ, and in open rebellion against him; they who are reconciled by him, are not only enemies in their minds, by wicked works; but enmity itself, while their minds remain carnal; and such they were when reconciled to God, by the death of Christ; and so they continue until the enmity is slain, by his powerful grace in them; by which the arrows of his word are made sharp in them; and thereby they are conquered, and fall under him. While in a state of nature, other lords have dominion over them, sin, Satan, and the world; sin reigns in their mortal bodies, and they yield their members instruments of unrighteousness! and are servants and slaves to sin, even unto death; for it reigns in them to death; and though its reign is so severe and rigorous, yet they yield a ready obedience to it; “We ourselves”, says the apostle, “were foolish and disobedient”, disobedient to God, and disobedient to Christ, “serving divers lusts and pleasures”: Satan, the prince of the power of the air, works in them, while

    they are the children of disobedience; and they have their conversation according to him, and according to the course of the world, while in such a state; and live according to the will of men, and not according to the will of God (Isa. 26:13; Titus 3:3; Eph. 2:2,3). Satan particularly, the god of this world, has power over them, and leads them captive at his will, until the prey is taken from the mighty, and the lawful captive is delivered; he is the strong man armed, that keeps the palace and goods in peace, till a stronger than he comes; who is Christ, the King of glory, who causes the everlasting doors of men’s hearts to lift up, and let him in, when he enters, binds the strong man armed, dispossesses him, and spoils his armor, wherein he trusted; sets up a throne of grace in the heart, where he himself sits and reigns, having destroyed sin, and caused grace to reign, through righteousness; and will not suffer sin to have any more dominion there. By the power of his grace he makes those his people willing to submit to him, and serve him, and him only, disclaiming all other lords (Isa. 26:13; 33:22). Christ, as King in Zion, enacts laws, appoints ordinances, and gives out commands, which he enjoins his subjects to observe and obey; and those he writes, not on paper, nor on tables of stone, nor on monuments of brass, but upon the tables of the heart; and puts his Spirit within his people, to enable them to walk in his statutes, and to keep his judgments, and do them. Moreover, Christ being set up as an ensign to the people, they flock unto him, and enlist themselves under his banner, and become volunteers, in the day of his power, or when he musters his armies; and declare themselves willing to endure hardness, as good soldiers of Christ; to fight the Lord’s battles, the good fight of faith, and against every enemy; when they are clad by him with the whole armour of God, and become more than conquerors, through their victorious Lord and King; by, and under whom, they abide as his faithful subjects and soldiers unto death.

  2. Christ’s kingly office is further exercised, in the protection and preservation of his people from their enemies; out of whose hands they are taken, and who attempt to reduce them to their former captivity and slavery: they are protected and preserved from sin: not from the indwelling and actings of it in them; but from its dominion and damning power; and the grace that is wrought in them is preserved, and its reigning

    power is continued and confirmed. Christ, as a Prince, as well as a Saviour, gives repentance to his people, attended with the manifestation and application of pardon of sin; and he not only gives this grace; but every other, faith, hope, and love: these are his royal bounties, and are principles of grace, wrought in the souls of his people; according to which, and by the influence of which, he rules and governs them: and these he preserves, that they are not lost; that their faith fail not; their hope remain, as an anchor, sure and stedfast; and their love continue: and the fear of God, put into them, abide; so that they shall never depart from him: he is able to keep them from falling, finally and totally, and he does keep them; they are in his hands, out of which none can pluck them: they are protected by him from Satan; not from his assaults and temptations, to which the most eminent saints are exposed; but from being destroyed by him, who goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, and would gladly devour them: but Christ is able to help them, and does; and knows how to deliver them out of temptation, and does, in his time and way, and bruises Satan under their feet; so that, instead of being destroyed by him, he himself is destroyed by Christ: and they are protected from the world, its force and fury; he makes their wrath to praise him, and restrains the remainder of it. In short, he protects them from every enemy; and from the last enemy, death; not from dying a corporal death, but from the sting of it; and from it as a penal evil; and from a spiritual death ever more taking place in them; and from an eternal death, by which they shall not be hurt, and which shall have no power over them.

  3. Christ’s kingly office appears to be exercised in the utter destruction of the said enemies of his people. He came to finish transgression, and make an end of sin; and he did it meritoriously, on the cross; where the old man was crucified, that the body of sin might be destroyed; and by his Spirit and grace he weakens the power of sin in conversion; and will never leave, till he has rooted out the very being of it in his people: he came to destroy Satan, and his works: and he has destroyed him; and spoiled his principalities and powers, on the cross; and rescued his people out of his hands, at conversion; and will not only bruise him under their feet shortly, but will bind him, and cast him into the bottomless pit for a thousand years; and

after loosed from thence, will cast him into the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, where be will continue for ever. Christ has also overcome the world; so that it could not hinder him from doing the work he came about: and he gives his people that faith by which they overcome it also; and nothing they meet with in it, even tribulation, persecution, and everything of that kind, shall not be able to separate them from Christ, from a profession of him, and love unto him; but they become more than conquerors over the world, through Christ that loved them; and who must reign till all enemies are put under his feet; and the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death: which will be destroyed at the resurrection; when mortal shall put on immortality, and corruption incorruption; and then that saying will be brought to pass, that “death is swallowed up in victory”; in a victory obtained by Christ over that and every other enemy (1 Cor. 15:25,26,54).

Fourthly, The properties of Christ’s kingdom and government; showing the nature and excellency of it.

l. It is spiritual; not carnal, earthly, and worldly: “My kingdom”, says Christ, “is not of this world” (John 18:36). Though it is in the world, it is not of it; its original is not from it; it is not founded on maxims of worldly policy; it is not established by worldly power, nor promoted and increased by worldly means, nor attended with worldly pomp and grandeur; “The kingdom of God”, that is, of Christ, “cometh not with observation”, with outward glory and splendor (Luke 17:20). The Jews, at the coming of Christ, having lost the notion of the spirituality of his kingdom, thought of nothing but an earthly and worldly one; and expected the Messiah as a temporal king, who would deliver them from the Roman yoke; and make them a free and flourishing people, as in the days of David and Solomon: and this was the general and national belief; the disciples and followers of Christ were possessed of it; as appears from the request of the mother of Zebedee’s children (Matthew 20:20,21), and from the question of the apostles to Christ, even after his resurrection (Ac 1:6. But this notion was contrary to the prophecies of the Messiah; which represent him as poor, mean, and abject; a man of sorrows and griefs, despised of men; and should be treated ill, and be put to death (Isa. 53:2-4,8,12; Zech. 9:9), and not being able to reconcile these prophecies, with those

which speak of him as exalted and glorious, they have feigned and expect two messiahs; the one they call the son of Ephraim, who shall make a poor figure, be unsuccessful, and shall be slain in the war of Gog and Magog; the other they call the son of David, who prosperous, gain many victories, and shall live long; restore the Jews to their own land, and make them an happy people. But the true Messiah was neither to destroy his enemies with carnal weapons; but smite them with the rod of his mouth, and consume them with the breath of his lips, his gospel; nor to save his people by bow, by sword, by horses and horsemen; but by himself, his righteousness and sacrifice. His kingdom was not to be, and has not been, set up and spread by the sword, by dint of arms; as the kingdom of Mahomet has been; but by his Spirit and grace attending the ministration of his gospel. Christ never had, nor never will have, an earthly, worldly kingdom; such will not be his personal reign on earth a thousand years, as some have fancied, imagining it will be a state of worldly grandeur, riches, and civil power; which has brought the doctrine of the millennium into disgrace and contempt; whereas they that are worthy to obtain that world and kingdom, which will take place at the first resurrection, will neither eat nor drink, nor marry, nor be given in marriage; but will be like the angels of God: there will be nothing carnal nor worldly in it; it will be a spiritual state, suited to bodies raised spiritual; and to the spirits of just men made perfect: what will have the greatest appearance of a worldly kingdom, will be in what we call the spiritual reign of Christ, when multitudes of all ranks and degrees shall be converted; and great personages, as kings and queens, shall be nursing fathers and nursing mothers to the churches; shall join them, and submit to the ordinances in them; and when they shall bring their riches and wealth into them; and all civil power and authority shall be in the hands of true Christians; and the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the saints of the most High; but then there will be such a pouring down of the Spirit, which will be an over balance to this worldly grandeur, and shall check it, that it shall not hurt, or do prejudice to the spirituality of God’s people. But of this, more hereafter, in its proper place. The kingdom of Christ is spiritual; he is a spiritual King, the Lord from heaven, the second Adam, that is spiritual, the Lord and Head

of his church; his throne is spiritual, he reigns in the hearts of his people by faith; his sceptre is a spiritual sceptre, a sceptre of righteousness; his subjects are spiritual men born of the Spirit, and savour the things of the Spirit of God; they are subdued, and brought to submit to Christ by spiritual means; not by carnal weapons of warfare, but by the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; the kingdom of God is within them, set up in their hearts, where grace reigns; and it lies not in outward things; it is “not meat and drink”, and such like carnal things; “but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost”; they are spiritual promises Christ makes to them, to encourage them in their obedience to him; and spiritual blessings and layouts are bestowed upon them by him; and even their enemies, with whom their conflict is, are spiritual wickednesses in high places; and are not to be fought with carnal weapons; nor to be subdued and conquered by means of them; but by the shield of faith and sword of the Spirit; even by the rod of Christ’s mouth, and the breath of his lips.

  1. Christ’s kingdom is a righteous one; this has been suggested already; the whole administration of it is righteous; he is a King that reigns in righteousness, his throne is established by it; his sceptre is a right sceptre; justice and judgment are executed in his kingdom, and nothing else, by Christ the King; no injustice, violence, or oppression; just and true are his ways, who is King of saints.

  2. Christ’s kingdom is a peaceable kingdom: he is the prince of peace; his gospel, which is his sceptre, is the gospel of peace; his subjects are sons of peace; the kingdom of grace in them, lies in peace and joy in the Holy Ghost; and in the latter day, there will be abundance of peace in Christ’s kingdom, the church; and of it, and its increase, there will be no end.

  3. Christ’s kingdom is gradually carried on; so it has been from the first; it arose from a small beginning, in the external administration of it; it was like a little stone cut out of the mountain, without hands, which will, in due time, fill the face of the whole earth; it was like a grain of mustard seed, the least of all seeds, in the times of Christ, which grows up to a large tree; as Christ’s kingdom afterwards greatly increased, first in Judea, and then in the Gentile world; notwithstanding all the opposition made unto it; until the whole Roman empire became Christian, and paganism

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    abolished in it: and though it has met with some stops, in some periods, yet it has revived again; as at the reformation; and will hereafter be extended from sea to sea; and from the river to the ends of the earth: and the internal kingdom of Christ in the hearts of his people is gradually carried on: it is like seed sown in the earth, which springs up, and whose appearance is but small, and by degrees grows up to maturity; as grace in the heart does; until it arrives to the fulness of the stature of Christ.

  4. Christ’s kingdom is durable; of his government there will be no end; his throne is for ever and ever; he will reign over the house of Jacob evermore; his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. Christ will never have any successor in his kingdom; for he lives for evermore and has the keys of hell and death in his hands: ashis Priesthoodisanunchangeablepriesthood, which passes not from one to another, as the Aaronic priesthood did, by reason of the death of priests; so his kingdom is an unchangeable kingdom, which passes not from one to another; he being an everliving and everlasting King; his kingdom will never give way to another; nor be subverted by another; as earthly kingdoms are, and the greatest monarchies have been: the Babylonian monarchy gave way to the Persian and Median, and was succeeded by that; the Persian to the Grecian; and the Grecian to the Roman: but Christ’s kingdom will stand for ever; his church, which is his kingdom, is built on a rock; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. The word and ordinances of the gospel, by which the government of Christ is externally administered, will always continue: the gospel is an everlasting gospel, the word of God, which abides for ever: and the ordinances of baptism, and the Lord’s Supper, are to be administered until the second coming of Christ: and the internal kingdom of grace, set up in the hearts of Christ’s subjects, is a kingdom that cannot be moved; grace can never be lost; it is a governing principle, and reigns unto eternal life by Christ: and even when Christ shall have finished his mediatorial kingdom, and delivered it up to his Father, complete and perfect; all the elect of God being gathered in; he will not cease to reign, though in another and different manner: he will reign after the spiritual kingdom is ended a thousand years with his saints, in a glorious manner on earth; and when that is ended, he will reign with them, and they with him, in heaven, for ever and ever.


Chapter 14

OF THE SPIRITUAL REIGN OF CHRIST

It has been observed in the preceding chapter, that Christ has been exercising his kingly office in all ages of time, both before and since his incarnation: and there are two remarkable periods of time yet to come; in which Christ will exercise his kingly office in a more visible and glorious manner; the one may be called, the “spiritual reign of Christ;” and the other his “personal reign;” it is the former of these that will now be attended to; and which is no other than the present reign continued; and which will be administered in the same manner: only,

First, with greater purity, and to a greater degree of perfection; both as to doctrine and practice.

l. The kingdom of Christ will be carried on by the ministry of the word, as now; the gospel will then be preached; and in this the spiritual reign will differ from the personal one, in which there will be no ministry of the word, all God’s elect being gathered in, and the saints in a perfect state; but in this there will be multitudes to be converted, and will be converted by the word, and saints be in an imperfect state, and to be edified and comforted. The gospel is to be preached unto the end of the world, and Christ has promised his presence with his ministers so long; and hence the gospel is called the “everlasting gospel” (Matthew 28:19,20; Rev. 14:6), but in the spiritual reign it will be preached.

(l). With more light and clearness than now. The light of the present time is fitly described as being neither “clear nor dark;” not so clear as in the first times of the gospel, nor so dark as in the darkest times of Popery, or as it may be before a brighter day appears. It is “one day,” a remarkable uncommon day; “known to the Lord,” how long it will last, and to him only; “not day nor night,” not clear day nor dark night, but a sort of an evening twilight; and at “evening time,” when a greater darkness may be expected to be coming on, “it shall be light” (Zech. 14:6,7), a blaze of light shall break out, and that to such a degree, that “the light of the moon,” which at most is the light we now have, “shall be as the light of the sun” in its meridian splendor; and “the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days;” as great as the light of seven days could it be collected together; so

great will be the difference between the gospel light as now, and as it will be then (Isa. 30:26). “The angel having the everlasting gospel to preach;” by whom is meant a set of gospel ministers in the spiritual reign; is said to “fly in the midst of heaven” with it, which not only denotes the public but the clear ministration of it (Rev. 14:6).

  1. The gospel will be preached with greater consistence; a principal fault in the present ministry of the word is inconsistency; not only in different ministers, but in the same ministers at different times, and even in the same discourse; “the trumpet gives an uncertain sound;” but “in that day,” in the spiritual reign, “the great trumpet” of the gospel will be “blown” with great strength and fervour, and with a more even and unwavering note, and so be understood by saints and sinners, and be a better direction to them; there will not be that yea and nay as now, but the ministry of the word will be uniform and all of a piece.

  2. There will be an agreement in the ministers of it; now they clash with one another, scarcely two persons think and speak the same thing; and some so widely different, that it seems to be another gospel preached by some than what is by others; though indeed there is not another gospel; but in the spiritual reign the “watchmen,” Christ’s ministers, who watch for the good of the souls of men, “shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion,” or restore his church to its former state and glory (Isa 52:8 their light will be the same, their ministry will be alike, they will see things in the same light, and speak the same things, and in the same manner.

  3. There will be one faith, one doctrine of faith or system of truths, which will be preached and professed by all; there will be no more an Arian, a Socinian, a Pelagian and Arminian, or any other heterodox person; as there will be but one Lord, “his name” will be “one,” one religion professed by all that name the name of Christ; they will be all of one accord, of one mind (Zech. 14:9).

  4. The gospel will have a greater spread than now; at present it lies in a narrow compass, chiefly in the isles, very little on the continent; and in the countries where it is, it is but in few places there; but hereafter many will run to and fro, and knowledge, evangelical knowledge, will be increased; the earth shall be full of it, as the waters cover the sea; the angel, or a set

    of gospel ministers, shall have it to preach to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. Those “living waters,” the doctrines of grace, which are the means of quickening sinners and enlivening saints, “shall go out from Jerusalem,” the church of God; “half of them towards the former,” or eastern “sea,” and “half of them towards the hinder” or western “sea;” that is, they shall go east and west, even into all parts; “in summer and in winter shall it be;” these waters shall be always flowing, or these doctrines constantly and continually preached (Dan. 12:4; Isa. 11:9; Rev. 14:6;

    Zech. 14:8).

  5. The gospel will be preached with greater success; there will be no more such complaints, as “Who hath believed our report?” the report of the gospel will be generally believed; and “to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?” the power of God will go along with the word, to the conversion of multitudes; who, to the great surprise of the church, will “fly as a cloud” for number; so that there shall scarce be room enough in the church for them; and it will be said, “The place is too strait for me, give place to me that I may dwell;” the place of her tent must be enlarged, the curtains of her habitation stretched forth, and her cords lengthened, since she shall break forth on the right hand and on the left, and her seed shall inherit the Gentiles (Isa. 49:18-20; 54:2,3; 60:4-8).

  1. The same ordinances will be administered in the spiritual reign as now; in this it will differ also from the personal reign; for then the “city,” the church, will have no “need of the sun nor moon” of gospel ordinances, the Lord himself personally will be the light of his people; but in this state the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper will be celebrated; for they are to continue till Christ’s second coming and personal appearance (Matthew 28:19,20; 1 Cor. 11:26), but not as they are commonly administered now, but as they were first delivered; through a course of time and prevailing corruption, men “have transgressed the laws, change the ordinances, and broken the everlasting covenant” (Isa. 24:5), so that were the apostles to rise from the dead, they would not know the ordinances as in general use, to be the same that were given to them; but in the spiritual reign of Christ they will be restored to their primitive purity, and be observed clear of all renovation and corruption; we shall no more hear of that absurd notion

    of transubstantiation, or of the bread and wine in the ordinance of the supper being transubstantiated into the very body and blood of Christ; nor of withholding the cup from the laity; nor of kneeling at the reception of the elements, as if adored; nor of the prostitution of this sacred ordinance to secular purposes, to qualify for places of honour or trust, or profit in civil things; nor shall we hear any more of the childish practice of infant sprinkling; the ordinance of baptism will be administered only to its proper subjects, believers in Christ, and in its proper manner, by immersion.

  2. The same discipline will be observed in the churches of Christ as now; only with greater strictness, and more agreeable to the laws and rules of Christ: in this also the spiritual reign will differ from the personal; there will he no temple seen in that, but the Lord God Almighty, and the Lamb will be the temple of it (Rev. 21:22). The worship and discipline of Christ’s house will not be carried on in the manner as in the present state: but in the spiritual reign, “the temple of God will be opened in heaven, and the ark of his testament will be seen” in it: the affairs of the church will be restored as at first; and all things will be done according to the pattern Christ has given; the form and fashion of the house, the church, its comings in, and goings out, admission and exclusion of members, the laws and ordinances of it, respecting discipline, will be shown most clearly to it; and which will be strictly and punctually observed: there will be no more controversies about the nature of a church, and the government of it, and of officers in it; and in whom the exercise of power lies; and who to be admitted into it, and rejected from it, and by whom; see (Rev. 11:19; Isa. 1:26; Jer. 30:18; Ezek. 43:10,11). Churches will be formed and governed upon the plan they were in the times of the apostles.

Secondly, The spiritual reign of Christ will be more large and ample than now it is; it will reach all over the world.

  1. The first step towards the increase and enlargement of Christ’s kingdom, will be the destruction of antichrist; who, in the prophecy of Daniel, is spoken of as a “little horn;” an “horn,” which is an emblem of strength, power, and dominion: a “little” one, as at his first rise, and in comparison of other powers; having eyes like “the eyes of man;” denoting his sagacity, penetration, and looking out

    sharp on all sides, to enlarge his power and dominion; and a “mouth speaking great things,” in favour of himself, and against the most high, and his people; and a “look more stout than his fellows,” than his fellow bishops, more bold, arrogant, and impudent; making war with the saints, the Waldenses and Albigenses; and thinking to “change times and laws;” to change times and seasons, for different purposes than for what they were designed; and to dispense with the laws of God and man, and make new ones: but though he should continue thus great and mighty for a time, it is said, his “dominion should be taken away, consumed and destroyed;” and that he should “come to his end, and none shall help him” (Dan. 7:20-26; 11:45). In the New Testament he is called, “the man of sin,” because extremely wicked; and “the son of perdition,” because not only deserving of it, but shall certainly come into it; who “opposeth” Christ in his offices; “exalteth himself above all that is called god;” above heathen deities, above angels, and above civil magistrates; “sits in the temple of God,” the church, over which he sets himself as head; “showing himself that he is God;” taking the name of God to himself; and assuming the prerogative of God, to forgive sin: he is called, “that wicked” and lawless one, and “mystery of iniquity,” that began doctrinally and practically to work in the times of the apostles; though this evil one lay greatly hid for a while, and was let and hindered from a more open appearance by the Roman emperor; yet, upon his removal from Rome to Constantinople, way was made for him to take his seat, and show his power: but notwithstanding his long and tyrannical reign, Christ will consume him “with the Spirit of his mouth,” and destroy him “with the brightness of his coming” (2 Thess. 2:3- 8). In the book of Revelation, he is described by two beasts, one rising out of the sea, the other out of the earth; signifying his twofold capacity, civil and ecclesiastical; and his twofold power, temporal and spiritual: great things are ascribed to him, and said to be done by him; who shall continue long, but at last go into perdition: this mother of harlots, with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, shall be hated by them, and she be burnt with fire; (see Rev. 13:1-18; 17:8,16), then they that destroyed the earth with false doctrines and worship shall be destroyed (Rev. 11:18), the man of the earth shall no more

    oppress and tyrannize over the consciences of men; the Heathen, or Gentiles, by which name the papists are sometimes called, shall perish out of the land; and those sinners shall be consumed out of it, and those wicked ones be no more; see (Ps. 10:16,18; 104:35) so the judgment and burning of the beast, antichrist, is related as previous to the kingdom of Christ, the Son of man (Dan. 7:12-14).

    The reign of antichrist is fixed in prophecy, for a certain time; in (Dan. 7:25), for a time, and times, and the dividing of time; that is, for three years and a half; the same with forty-two months, and one thousand two hundred and sixty days; which are so many years: but when these will end, cannot be said with any precision, because it is difficult to settle the beginning of his reign; could that be done, it would easily be known when it would end: there have been many conjectures made, and times fixed, but without effect; even this very year, one thousand, seven hundred, and sixty-six (The substance of this Chapter was preached in that year) has been pitched upon as the time of antichrist’s destruction, and the beginning of the millennium; but nothing of this kind appears; or as being very near at hand: however, what is said of the ruin of antichrist, and of the antichristian states, will be fulfilled by the Lord in his own time. And this will be done, partly by the preaching of the gospel, which is the Spirit and breath of Christ’s mouth; with which antichrist will be consumed and destroyed, upon the angel flying in the midst of heaven, with the everlasting gospel, to preach to all nations; and upon mother angel appearing with such splendor, power, and glory, as to lighten the whole earth, the fall of Babylon will immediately follow, and be proclaimed; the gospel then preached, will give such a light as to open the eyes of men, to behold the abominable doctrines and practices of the church of Rome, so as to hate it, depart from it, and leave it desolate; (see Rev. 14:6-8; 18:1,2; 17:16), and partly the ruin of antichrist, and the antichristian states, will be effected by the pouring out of the seven vials of God’s wrath upon them; which will be put into the hands of seven angels, or protestant princes, by one of the four beasts, or living creatures, the emblems of gospel ministers; who having some knowledge of the time of antichrist’s destruction being near, will stir up the protestant princes to take this work in hand; who

    will carry their victorious arms into popish countries, and make a conquest of them; first into Germany, then into France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy; and into the very kingdom and seat of the beast; for the first five vials will be poured out on the Western antichrist, and his dominions; which will cause revolutions in them from popery, and where the gospel will take place; and all those countries now under the power of papacy, will become the kingdom of Christ, and will make a large addition to his interest in the world; (see Rev. 15:1-8; 16:1-21).

  2. The next step to the increase and enlargement of Christ’s kingdom and government in the world, will be the conversion of the Jews, which will follow upon the destruction of antichrist; for the Popish religion is the great stumbling block which lies in the way of the Jews; and therefore must be first removed. There are many prophecies that speak of their conversion; as that they shall be “born” at once; not in a civil sense, set up and established as a nation; but in a spiritual sense, born again of water and of the spirit; they shall be brought into a thorough conviction of sin, and a true sense or it, and shall mourn for it; particularly the sin of their obstinate rejection of the true Messiah, and their continued unbelief in him; when they shall be led and go forth with weeping and with supplication, and shall seek the Lord their God, and David their king, the Messiah, and receive him and submit unto him; and join themselves to Christian churches, and be subject to the ordinances of Christ: and this will be universal; all Israel shall be saved, the whole nation shall be born at once, suddenly; for which for many hundreds of years they have been kept a distinct people, and have not been reckoned and mixed among the nations, though scattered in the midst of them; which is a most marvelous thing in providence, and plainly shows that God has some great things to do for them and by them. In the reign of the late king, and within our knowledge and memory, was a very surprising event respecting this people, yet little taken notice of; a bill was brought into our British Parliament to naturalize them; I then thought in my own mind it would never pass; God would not suffer it in providence, being so contrary to scripture revelation and prophecy, and the state of that people, in which they are to continue until their conversion; but the bill did pass to my great astonishment, not knowing what to think of prophecy,

    and of what God was about to do in the world, and with that people. But lo! the bill was repealed, and that before one Jew was naturalized upon it; and then all difficulties were removed, and it appeared to be the will of God, that an attempt should be made, and that carried into execution as near as possible, without crossing purposes, and contradicting prophecy; and to let us see what a watchful eye the Lord keeps upon the counsels of men, and that there is no counsel against the Lord; and that the Jews must remain a distinct people until the time of their conversion. How otherwise at that time would it appear that a nation is born at once, if not then a people that dwell alone, and not reckoned among the nations? These two sticks, Jews and Gentiles, will become one; but it will be in and by the hand of the Lord; it will not be effected by Acts of Parliament, but by works of grace upon the souls of men; the Jews will never be naturalized until they are spiritualized; and when they are, they will return to their own land and possess it, being assisted, as they will be, by Protestant princes, who will drive out the Turk and establish them in it; this will be another addition to the kingdom of Christ.

  3. By this means, the conversion of the Jews, and the settlement of them in their own land, a way will he opened for the great spread of the gospel in the Eastern nations, and for the enlargement of Christ’s kingdom there; for the Protestant princes, who will be assisting to the Jews in replacing them in their own land, will carry their victorious arms into other parts of the Turkish dominions, and dispossess the Turk of his empire; which will be effected by the pouring out of the sixth vial upon the river Euphrates, which will be dried up; an emblem of the utter destruction of the Ottoman empire; whereby way will be made for the kings of the East; or for the gospel being carried into the kingdoms of the East; not only into Turkey, but Tartary, Persia, China, and the countries of the Great Mogul; which, upon the passing away of the second, or Turkish woe, the kingdoms of this world, those vast kingdoms just mentioned, will become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ (Rev. 16:12; 11:14,15). And now will the fulness of the Gentiles be brought in; and those vast conversions made among them, prophesied of in (Isa. 60:1-22). And now will the interest and church of Christ, make the greatest figure it ever did in the world; now kings shall come

to the brightness and glory of Zion; her gates shall stand open continually for the kings of the Gentiles to enter in; who will become church members, and submit to all the ordinances of Christ’s house; their kings shall be nursing fathers, and their queens nursing mothers: and this will be the case, not only of one or two, or a few of them; but even of all of them; for all kings shall fall down before Christ, and all nations shall serve him: churches shall be raised and formed everywhere; and those be filled with great personages: now will be the time when the kingdom, and dominion, and greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High (Isa. 60:3,10,11; 49:23; Ps. 72:10,11; Dan. 9:27). Yet such will be the spirituality of this state, that it will be a counterbalance to the grandeur and riches of it; so that the saints shall not be hurt thereby; as in former times, particularly in the times of Constantine; which leads me further to observe,

Thirdly, That the reign of Christ in this state, will be more spiritual than now; from whence it has its name.

  1. There will be a more plentiful effusion of the Spirit of God upon ministers and churches, in this state: the prophecy of Joel, concerning the pouring forth of the Spirit, had a very great accomplishment on the day of Pentecost, upon the apostles; but not its whole accomplishment; for the Spirit was not then poured forth upon “all” flesh, as promised; nor upon the Gentiles: but now it will be poured out on them in general from on high; so that the wilderness of the Gentiles shall become a fruitful field (Isa. 32:15,16), and to this will be owing the above things; as the destruction of antichrist, which will be by the Spirit of Christ accompanying his word; and the conversion of the Jews will follow, upon the Spirit of grace and supplication being poured forth on the house of David, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and the many and great conversions in the Gentile world, will be, not by might or power of mere, but by the Spirit of the Lord of hosts.

  2. The saints in general will be more spiritualized than now: they will have more spiritual frames of soul; and will more mind, savour, and relish the things of the Spirit of God; and with their whole hearts and spirits, seek more after God, and communion with him; they

    will have more spiritual light and knowledge in the doctrines of the gospel; and the light of Zion will rise, and be very bright and glorious, conspicuous to others, and be very inviting; it will be like the shining light, that shines more and more unto the perfect day. The saints will be more spiritual in their conversation; there will be less of that frothiness, vanity, and emptiness, which now too often appear in them; they will frequently meet together, and speak often one to another, about divine, spiritual, and experimental things. They will be more spiritual in their worship; they will worship God in the Spirit, with their spirits, and under the influence and conduct of the divine Spirit; and will enjoy more of the spiritual presence of God and Christ; who will come down upon them like rain upon the mown grass, and as showers of rain upon the earth, very refreshing and delightful.

  3. The graces of the Spirit of God will be more in exercise. Faith, which a little before this time will be scarcely found in the earth, will now be in high exercise; and especially the grace of love, which will be the distinguishing character of this state; and which will answer to its name, Philadelphia, which signifies brotherly love; for in that church state, the spiritual reign will be: then the saints will be of one heart, and of one soul; as the primitive Christians were; they will be kindly affectioned one to another; no animosities and contentions among them, on any account, civil or religious; Ephraim shall not envy Judah, nor Judah vex Ephraim; but all being of one mind, having one Lord, one faith, one baptism, they will keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace; (see Isa. 11:13; Eph. 4:2-4).

  4. There will be abundance of peace in this reign, even of outward peace; no more wars, nor rumoors of wars; swords and spears will be beaten into plowshares and pruning hooks; and war shall be learnt no more: no more persecution, nor persecutors: there will be none to hurt and destroy in all God’s holy mountain: and such as were like wolves, and leopards, and bears, shall be as tame as lambs, kids, and calves; and shall feed and lie down together: there shall be an abundance of peace of every kind, and of it no end; and particularly internal and spiritual peace; for as grace will be high in exercise, joy and peace will increase and abound; see (Ps. 72:7,8; Isa. 9:7; 11:6-9).

  5. There will be a great degree of holiness in all saints, of every class and rank; all the Lord’s people will be righteous; “Every pot in Jerusalem, and in Judea;” that is, every member of the church, “shall be holiness unto the Lord;” in his sight, and to his glory; yea, “holiness to the Lord shall be upon the bells of the horses;” signifying how common it should be, and appear in every civil action of life, as well as in religious ones; and that holiness shall then be as common as unholiness is now; and that it shall be visible in the lives and conversations of saints; and be seen of all; (see Isa. 9:21; Zech. 14:20,21).

The other period of time in which Christ will, in a most glorious manner, reign with his people on earth, and which may be called, his personal reign; being what will take place at his second coming to judgment, and personal appearance then, and upon the first resurrection; it will be most proper to defer it, until those articles come under consideration.

BOOK VI

OF THE BLESSINGS OF GRACE, WHICH COME BY CHRIST; AND OF THE DOCTRINES IN WHICH THEY ARE HELD FOR

Chapter 1

OF REDEMPTION BY CHRIST

Having, in the preceding book, gone through the twofold state of Christ, his humiliation and exaltation; and considered each of the offices of Prophet, Priest, and King, sustained and exercised by him therein; I shall now proceed to consider the blessings of grace, which come by him, through the exercise of them; and especially his priestly office; for he is “come an High Priest of good things to come” (Heb. 9:11), which were future, under the former dispensation, were promised, prophesied of, and prefigured in it; but not accomplished; for “the law” had only a shadow of these good things to come, (Heb. 10:1), but now they are come, and are actually obtained, through Christ’s coming in the flesh; and through what he has done and suffered in it; as redemption, satisfaction, and reconciliation for sin, remission of sin, justification, adoption, &c. and as redemption stands in the first place; and is a principal and most important blessing and doctrine of grace, I shall begin with that. And,

First, I shall settle the meaning of the word; and show what it supposes, includes, and is designed by it. Our English word Redemption, is from the Latin tongue, and signifies, buying again; and several words in the Greek language, of the New Testament, are used in the affair of our Redemption, which signify the obtaining of something by paying a proper price for it; sometimes the simple verb ayopaco, to “buy”, is used: so the redeemed are said to be “bought unto God” by the blood of Christ; and to be “bought” from the earth; and to be “bought” from among men; and to be “bought” with a price; that is, with the price of Christ’s blood, (Rev. 5:9; 14:3, 4; 1 Cor. 6:20), hence the church of God is said to be purchased with it, (Acts 20:28). Sometimes the compound word eqxyopatco, is used; which signifies, to buy again, or out of the hands of another; as the redeemed are bought out of the hands of justice; as in (Gal. 3:13; 4:5). In other places auxpogw, is used, or others derived from it; which signifies, the deliverance of a slave, or captive, from his thraldom, by paying a ransom price for him:

so the saints are said to be redeemed, not with silver or gold, the usual price paid for a ransom; but with a far greater one, the blood and life of Christ, which he came into this world to give, as a ransom price for many; and even himself, which is ccvxiauxpov, an answerable, adequate, and full price for them (1 Pet. 1:18; Matt. 20:28; 1 Tim. 2:6). There are various typical redemptions, and that are of a civil nature, which may serve to illustrate our spiritual and eternal redemption by Christ. As,

l. The deliverances of the people of Israel out of their captivities, Egyptian and Babylonian; the latter I shall not much insist upon; since, though the Jews were exiles in Babylon, they did not appear to be in much slavery and thraldom; but built houses, planted gardens, and had many privileges; insomuch that some of them, when they might have had their liberty, chose rather to continue where they were; and though their deliverance is sometimes called a redemption, yet sparingly, and in an improper sense (Jer. 15:21), for they were redeemed without money; and Cyrus, their deliverer, neither gave nor took a price for them; and is never called a redeemer; (see Isa. 14:13; 52:3). But the deliverance of the people of Israel out of Egypt, was a very special and remarkable type of redemption by Christ, out of a worse state of bondage than that of Egypt. The Israelites were made to serve with rigor, and their lives were made bitter with hard bondage, in brick and mortar, and service in the field; and they cried to God, by reason of their bondage, it was so intolerable; and it was aggravated by the taskmasters set over them; who, by the order of Pharaoh, obliged them to provide themselves with straw, and yet bring in the full tale of brick as before: which fitly expresses the state and condition that men are in; who, through sin, are weak and unable to fullfill the law; yet is it as regardless of want of strength, as the Egyptian taskmasters were of want of straw: it requires sinless and perfect obedience to it; and curses and condemns such as continue not in all things to do it. The deliverance of the people of Israel, is called a redemption; God promised to rid them out of their bondage, and to “redeem” them with a stretched out arm; and when they were delivered, he is said to have led forth the people he had “redeemed”: and the bringing them out of the house of bondage, or redeeming them out of the house of bondmen, is

used as an argument to engage them to regard the commandments of God (Ex. 6:6; 15:13; 20:9; Deut. 7:8). And which redemption by Christ, from sin, the law, and death, lay the redeemed under a still greater obligation to do; Moses, who was the instrument God raised up, and whom he called and sent to redeem Israel, is said to be a “deliverer”, or as it should be rendered, a “redeemer” (Acts 7:35), in which he was a type of Christ, whom God raised up, called, and sent to be a Redeemer of his spiritual Israel: and there was, in some sense, a price paid for the redemption of literal Israel; since they are expressly said to be a purchased people, bought by the Lord (Ex. 15:16; Deut. 32:6), and their deliverance was owing to blood, the blood of the passover lamb, sprinkled on their door posts; typical of the blood of Christ, the price of our redemption. Besides, as it has been observed by some, the redemption of the people of Israel, being the Lord’s people, was by virtue of their future redemption by Christ; whose sufferings and death were for the “redemption of transgressions”, or of transgressors, who were “under the first testament”; and that the temporal deliverance of none but the Lord’s people, is called a redemption, not that of his and their enemies.

  1. The ransom of the people of Israel, when numbered, was typical of the ransom by Christ; which was made by paying half a shekel, called the atonement money for their souls, and which was paid alike for a rich man, as a poor man; whereby they were preserved from any plague among them (Ex. 30:12-16). None but Israelites were ransomed; and none are ransomed by Christ, but the spiritual Israel of God, whom he has chosen, Christ has redeemed, and who shall be saved with an everlasting salvation; even the whole Israel of God, Jews and Gentiles: they were a numbered people for whom the ransom was paid; and so are they that are redeemed and ransomed by Christ; whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life; who have passed under the hands of him that telleth them, and have been told into the hands of Christ; and are particularly and distinctly known by him, even by name; the sheep for whom he has laid down his life; and are a special and peculiar people. The half shekel was paid alike for rich and poor, for one neither more nor less. Christ’s people, though some may be redeemed from more and greater sins

    than others; yet they are all redeemed from all their sins, and with the same price, the price of his blood; and which is, as the half shekel was, an atonement for their souls; by which peace and reconciliation, and full satisfaction are made for sin, so that no plague shall come nigh them; they are delivered from going down to the pit of destruction; and are saved from the second death; (see Job 33:24).

  2. The buying again of an Israelite, waxen poor, and sold to another, by any near akin to him; is a lively representation of the purchase and redemption of the Lord’s poor people (Lev. 25:47-49) who, in a state of nature, are poor, and wretched, and miserable; even so as to be like beggars on the dunghill; when such was the grace of Christ, who, though rich, for their sakes became poor, that they, through his poverty might be made rich; and to such a degree, as to be raised from the dunghill and sit among princes, and inherit the throne of glory. Though some may not sell themselves to work wickedness, as Ahab did, yet all are sold under sin; for if this was the case of the apostle Paul, though regenerate, much more must it be the case of an unregenerate man; who, through sin, is brought into subjection to it, a servant of it, and a slave to it; as the poor Israelite, sold to a stranger, was a bondman to him: and such an one cannot redeem himself, being without strength, unable to fulfil the law, and to make atonement for sin; nor can any of his friends, though ever so rich, redeem him, or give to God a ransom for him; such may redeem a poor relation, or friend from a prison, by paying his pecuniary debts for him; but cannot redeem his soul from hell and destruction; may give a ransom price to man for one in slavery and bondage; but cannot give to God a ransom to deliver from wrath to come: only Christ, the near Kinsman of his people, can do this, and has done it; he that is their “Gaol”, their near “Kinsman”, partaker of the same flesh and blood with them, is their Redeemer, who has given himself a ransom for them.

  3. The delivery of a debtor from prison, by paying his debts for him, is an emblem of deliverance and redemption by Christ: a man that is in debt, is liable to be arrested, and cast into prison, as is often the case; where he must lie till the debt his discharged, by himself or another: sins are debts; and a sinner owes more than ten thousand talents, and has nothing to pay; he cannot answer to the justice of God for one

    debt of a thousand; nor can he, by paying a debt of obedience he owes to God, pay off one debt of sin, or obligation to punishment; and so is liable to a prison, and is in one; is concluded under sin, under the guilt of it, which exposes him to punishment; and he is held with the cords and fetters of it; which he cannot loose himself from; and he is shut up under the law, in which he is held, until delivered and released by Christ; who, as he has engaged to pay the debts of his people, has paid them, cleared the whole score, and blotted out the hand writing that was against them; in consequence of which is proclaimed, in the gospel, liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; and in the effectual calling Christ says “to the prisoners”, “Go forth”, opening the prison doors for them; and to them that sit in darkness, in the gloomy cells of the prison, “show yourselves”; all which is done in virtue of the redemption price paid by Christ for his people.

  4. The ransoming of persons out of slavery, by paying a ransom price for them, serves to give an idea of the redemption of the Lord’s people by Christ. They are in a state of slavery, out of which they cannot deliver themselves; Christ is the ransomer of them out of the hands of such that are stronger than they; his life and blood are the ransom price he has paid for them; and they are called, the ransomed of the Lord; their deliverance from present bondage, and future ruin and destruction, is in consequence of a ransom found and given; “Deliver him from going down to the pit; I have found a ransom” (Job 33:24; Zech. 9:11). In which there is an allusion to a custom in the eastern countries, to put their slaves in an evening into a pit, where they are close shut up till the morning, and then taken out, to be put to their slavish employments; but not delivered, unless a sufficient ransom is given for them; and such is the blood of the covenant. Now all these views of redemption plainly point out to us the following things with respect to the redemption of the Lord’s people.

1. That they are previous to their redemption, and which that supposes, in a state of captivity and bondage; they are sinners in Adam, and by actual transgressions; and so come into the hands of vindictive justice, offended by sin; and which will not clear the guilty without satisfaction given to it; which is made by paying a price: redemption by Christ is

nothing more nor less than buying his people out of the hands of justice, in which they are held for sin; and that is with the price of his blood; which is therefore paid into the hands of justice for them: hence they are said to be redeemed, or bought unto God by his blood (Rev. 5:9). Being sinners, and offenders of the justice of God, that holds under sin; under the guilt of it, which binds over to punishment, unless delivered from it; it holds them under the sentence of the law, transgressed by them; which not only accuses of and charges with sin, but pronounces guilty, and condemns and curses: it holds them in subjection to death, even eternal death; which is the wages and just demerit of sin: the law threatened with it in case of sin; sin being committed, the sentence of death passed upon all men; all having sinned, judgment, or the judicial sentence, came upon all men to condemnation in a legal way; and sin reigned unto death in a tyrannical manner; or, in other words, man became not only deserving of wrath, but obnoxious to it; the wrath of God was revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness and ungodliness of men; and indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, come upon every soul of man, as upon the children of disobedience, unless delivered from it, through the redemption that is by Christ. In such an enthralled state are men to sin, to the justice of God, to death, and wrath to come.

Ie2. That redemption by Christ is a deliverance from all this. It is a redemption from sin; from all iniquities whatever, original and actual (Ps. 130:8; Titus 2:14), from avenging justice, on account of sin; from the guilt of sin; for there is no condemnation by it to them that are interested in redemption by Christ; “Who shall condemn? it is Christ that died!” and by dying, has redeemed his people from sin, and secured them from condemnation (Rom. 8:1, 33) and in virtue of this they are delivered from the dominion of sin; for though this is done in the effectual calling, by the power of divine grace, it is in virtue of redemption by Christ, by whom sin is crucified, and the body of it destroyed; so that it shall not reign in them, or have dominion over them: one branch of redemption lies in being delivered from a vain conversation; and, ere long, the redeemed shall be delivered from the very being of sin; when their redemption, as to the application of it, will be complete; as it will be in the resurrection; when the soul will not only be among

the spirits of just men made perfect; but the body will be clear of sin, mortality, and death; which is called redemption that draws near, the redemption of the body waited for, and the day of redemption (Luke 21:28; Rom. 8:23; Eph. 1:14; 4:30). Redemption is a deliverance from the law, from the bondage of it, and from the curse and condemnation by it; so that there shall be no more curse; and from eternal death and wrath to come: life is forfeited into the hands of justice by sin; which life is redeemed from destruction by Christ, giving his life a ransom for it; he, by redeeming his people, has delivered them from wrath to come; being justified through the redemption that is in Christ, by his blood, they are, and shall be saved, from everlasting wrath, ruin, and destruction.

Ie3. That redemption by Christ is such a deliverance, as that it is setting persons quite free and at entire liberty; such who are dead to sin by Christ are freed from it, from the damning power of it, and from its dominion and tyranny; and though, not as yet, from the being of it; yet, ere long, they will be; when, with the rest of the members of the church, they will be presented glorious, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing: and such are free from the law; though not from obedience to it, yet from the bondage of it; they are delivered from it, and are no longer held in it, as in a prison; but are directed and exhorted to stand fast in the liberty from it, with which Christ has made them free; and this will have its full completion on all accounts, when the saints shall be delivered from every degree of bondage into the glorious liberty of the children of God.


Chapter 2

OF THE CAUSES OF REDEMPTION BY

CHRIST

Secondly, The next thing to be considered are the causes of redemption; what it springs from, by whom, and by what means it is obtained; and for what ends and purposes it is wrought out.

First, the moving cause of it, or from whence it springs and flows; and that is, the everlasting love of God; which, as it is the source and spring of every blessing of grace; as of election, regeneration, and effectual calling; so of redemption. The gift of Christ to be the Redeemer of his people flows from this love. Christ was given to be a Redeemer before he

was sent; when he was given for a covenant to the people he was given in covenant to be the Redeemer of them; and this gift was the effect of love; to this Christ himself ascribes it; “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son”; that is, to he their Redeemer; hence, before he came, Job had knowledge of him as his living Redeemer; and all the Old Testament saints waited for him as such. The mission of Christ in the fulness of time, to be the propitiation for the sins of men, and to redeem them from them, is given as a manifest, clear, and undoubted instance of his love; “In this was manifested the love of God”,

&c. “Herein is love”, &c. (1 John 4:9,10) and God’s not sparing his Son, but delivering him into the hands of justice and death, to die in the room and stead of sinners, while they were such, is a full demonstration and high commendation of his great love unto them (Rom. 5:8). The free grace of God, for grace, if it is not altogether free is not grace; and which is no other than unmerited love, clear of all conditions, merit and motives in the creature; it is at the bottom of our redemption by Christ; for as we are “justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus

Christ”; so that redemption that is in and by Christ is of free grace; the gift of Christ is a free grace gift; his being sent and delivered up to death are owing to the grace of God; it is “by the grace of God he tasted death for everyone”; for everyone of the sons of God: and this cannot be attributed to any merit or desert in those for whom Christ died; since they were without strength, ungodly wicked sinners, the chief of sinners, and enemies in their minds, by wicked works (Rom. 5:6-8, 10). Mercy, which is no other than the love and grace of God, exercised towards miserable creatures, gives rise to this blessing of redemption: God first resolved to have mercy on sinful men; and then determined to redeem and save them by his Son; and it is through the tender mercy of our God, that Christ, the dayspring from on high, visited and redeemed his people; and so performed the mercy promised to men (Luke 1:68, 69, 72, 78), hence God is said to save men according to his mercy; and mercy is glorified in their salvation and redemption by Christ; and they are under obligation to sing of mercy, to praise the Lord, and give thanks unto him, on account of it (Titus 3:5; Ps. 107:1, 2; 136:23, 24), it is now, by the love, grace, and mercy of God to sinful men, that his will is

determined, and his resolution fixed, to redeem them; for redemption is according to an eternal purpose he has purposed in Christ; who was foreordained before the foundation of the world, to redeem men from a vain conversation, with his precious blood: he was set forth, in the decrees and purposes of God, to be the propitiation for sin; God appointed him to be the Redeemer and Saviour; and appointed men, not unto wrath, which they deserved, but to obtain salvation by him; even the vessels of mercy afore prepared for glory; and being moved, from his love, grace, and mercy, within himself, to determine upon the redemption of them, his wisdom was set to work to find out the best way and method of doing it: upon this a council was held; God was, in Christ, forming a scheme of peace, reconciliation, and redemption; in which he has “abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence”, in fixing upon the most proper person, and the most proper means, whereby to effect it: and hence the scheme of redemption, as formed in the eternal mind and council of God, is called “the manifold wisdom of God” (Eph. 1:7, 8; 3:10). But of the wisdom of God, as it appears in redemption by Christ, I have more largely treated when on the attribute of Wisdom. All these workings in the heart and will of God, issued in a covenant between him and his Son; in which he proposed to his Son, that he should be the Raiser up, Restorer, and Redeemer of his people, both among Jews and Gentiles; and to which he agreed, and said, “Lo, I come to do thy will!” which was no other, than to work out the redemption of his people (Isa. 49:5, 6; Ps. 40:7, 8). Hence this covenant is by some called, the covenant of redemption, in which this great affair was settled and secured. Now upon all this, the love, grace, and mercy of God, the good will and purpose of his heart, his council and covenant, the plot of man’s redemption is formed; this is the source and spring of it.

Secondly, The procuring cause, or author of redemption, is Christ, the Son of God; he was appointed to it, and assented to it; was prophesied of as the Redeemer that should come to Zion; he was sent to redeem them that were under the law; and he has obtained eternal redemption; and in him believers have it, through his blood, and he is of God made redemption to them.

  1. If it be asked, how Christ came to be the

    Redeemer? it may be answered, as the love, grace, and mercy of God the Father moved him to resolve upon redemption, and appoint his Son, and call him to this work; so like love, grace, and mercy, wrought in the heart of the Son of God to accept of this call, and engage in this work; the love of Christ, which was in his heart from everlasting, and was a love of complacency and delight; this showed itself in various acts, and especially in giving himself for his people to redeem them; in giving himself an offering and a sacrifice for their sins; in laying down his life for them; all which is frequently ascribed to his love (Titus 2:14; Eph. 5:2, 25; 1 John 3:16), and this love is unmerited, as appears from the characters of the persons for whom he died, observed before; and so is called the grace of Christ, free grace, unmoved and unmerited by anything in the creature; and to this is attributed the whole affair of our redemption and salvation by Christ (2 Cor. 8:5), pity and compassion in his heart towards his people in their miserable and enthralled state, moved him to undertake and perform the work of their redemption: “in his love and in his pity he redeemed them”, as he did Israel of old (Isa. 63:9). This love, grace, and mercy, influenced and engaged him to resolve upon the redemption of them; hence he said, “I will ransom them, I will redeem them”; as from the grave and death, so from every other enemy (Hosea 13:14), and as he entered into covenant engagements with his Father from everlasting, he considered himself as under obligation to perform this work, and therefore spoke in language which imports the same; as that he must work the works of him that sent him, of which this is the principal; that he “ought” to suffer and die as he did; and that he “must” bring in those the Father gave him, and he undertook for, and bring them safe to glory.

  2. The fitness of Christ to be a Redeemer of his people is worthy of notice. As he engaged in it he was every way fit for it; none so fit as he, none fit for it but himself; no creature, man or angel: no man, for all have sinned, and so everyone needs a redeemer from sin, and can neither redeem himself nor any other; nor could an angel redeem any of the sons of men; God has put no trust of this kind in those his servants the angels, knowing that they were unequal to it: the angel Jacob speaks of, that redeemed him from all evil, was not a created but the uncreated angel; the

    angel and messenger of the covenant, the Messiah. Now Christ’s fitness for the work of redemption lies in his being God and man in one person. It was the Son of God that was sent to redeem men, who is of the same nature, and possessed of the same perfections his divine Father is; the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person; who was in the form of God, and thought it no robbery to be equal to him: this Son of God is the true God, the great God, and so fit to be the Redeemer and Saviour of men; and a mighty redeemer he must be, since he is Jehovah, the Lord of hosts, and therefore equal to such a work as this (Gal. 4:4; 1 John 5:20; Titus 2:13; Jer. 50:34), and he is both God and man; he is the child born, as man, and the son given, as a divine person; he is Immanuel, God with us, God in our nature, God manifest in the flesh, and so fit to be a mediator between God and man; and to be an umpire, a daysman to lay hands on both; and to do the work required of a redeemer of men, to make reconciliation for their sins, and to take care of things pertaining to the glory of God, his justice and holiness. As man he could bemade, as he was made, under the law, and so capable of yielding obedience to it, and of bearing the penalty of it; which it was necessary he should, as the surety and redeemer of men; as man, he had blood to shed, with which most precious blood he could redeem them unto God; had a life to lay down, a sufficient ransom price for his people, and was capable of suffering and dying in their room and stead, and so of making full satisfaction for them. As God, he would be zealously concerned for the glory of the divine perfections, and secure the honour of them in the redemption wrought out by him; as such, he could put an infinite virtue into his blood, and make it a full and adequate price for the purchase of his church, and the redemption of it; as such, he could support the human nature under the load of sin and of sufferings for it, and of carrying it through the work, otherwise insupportable; and as both God and man he had a right to redeem; as Lord of all, he had a right as well as power to redeem them that were his; and being, as man, their near kinsman, the right of redemption belonged to him, and therefore bears the name of Gaol which signifies a redeemer, and a near kinsman; see the law in Leviticus 25:47-49 and who so fit to be the redeemer of the church as he who is her head and her husband?

  3. The means by which redemption is wrought out by Christ; and that is by his blood, his life, to which it is often ascribed (Eph. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:18, 19; Rev. 5:9), this was shed, and shed freely, for the remission of sins, and for the redemption of men; had it been shed involuntarily, by accident, or by force, against his will, it would not have been a proper redemption price, or have answered such an end; but it was purposely and voluntarily shed, and with full consent; Christ, as he had the full disposal of his own life, freely gave his life a ransom price for many; “Hay down my life for the sheep”, says he, as a ransom price for them; “I lay it down of myself” (Matt. 20:28; John 10:15,18), and the blood that was thus freely shed was the same with that of those for whom it was shed, which was necessary; not the blood of bulls and goats, which could not be an adequate price of redemption, but human blood; Christ partook of the same flesh and blood with the children for whom he died; only with this difference, it was not tainted with sin as theirs is; which is another requisite of the ransom price; it must be the blood of an innocent person, as Christ was: much notice is taken in scripture of the innocence, holiness, and righteousness of the Redeemer; that he was holy in his nature, blameless in life, knew no sin, nor ever committed any; that he, the just and Holy One, suffered for the unjust; a great emphasis is put upon this, that the price with which men are redeemed is “the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Pet. 1:18,19), for if he had had any sin in him, he could not have been a redeemer from sin, nor his blood the price of redemption: and yet more than all this, it is necessary to make this price a full and adequate one, it must not be the blood of a mere creature, but of one that is God as well as man, and such is Christ; hence God, who is Christ, is said to “purchase the church with his own blood”; being God and man in one person, this gave his blood a sufficient virtue to make such a purchase; and a peculiar emphasis is put upon his blood, being the “blood of” Jesus Christ “the Son of God”, which cleanses from all sin (Acts 20:28; 1 John 1:7). Now this price is paid into the hands of God, whose justice is offended, whose law is broken, and who is the lawgiver, that is able to save and to destroy; and against whom all sin is committed: and who will not clear the guilty unless his justice is satisfied; for he is the judge

of all the earth, who will do right; wherefore Christ is said “to redeem” men “unto God by his blood” (Rev. 5:9). The price of redemption, which is the blood of Christ, was paid unto God, whereby redemption from vindictive justice was obtained; it was not paid into the hands of Satan, or any other enemy that had power over the redeemed; for the power of Satan was only an usurpation; he had no legal right to hold them captives; and therefore the delivery of them out of his hand is by power and not by price: but the justice of God had a legal right to shut them up, and detain them as prisoners, till satisfaction was given; and therefore redemption from avenging justice, which is properly the redemption that is by Christ, is by a price paid to justice for the ransom of them.

Thirdly, The final cause, or causes, or ends, for which redemption was wrought out and obtained by Christ in this way; and they are these.

  1. That the justice of God might be satisfied in the salvation of a sinner; that God might appear to be just, while he is the justifier of him that believes in Jesus; and be just and faithful in forgiving sins, and cleansing from all unrighteousness; that the attributes of his justice, holiness, truth, and faithfulness, might be glorified in the redemption of men, as well as the other perfections of his (Rom. 3:25, 26; 1 John 1:9; Ps. 85:10).

  2. That the people of God might be reconciled unto him, and have peace with him, and joy through believing in Christ; for the price of redemption being paid for them, and satisfaction given, they are reconciled to God by the death of his Son; even to his justice, as they always stood in his love and favour; and peace being made by the blood of Christ on such a footing, they may joy in God through Christ,

    by whom they have received the atonement (Rom.

    5:10,11)

  3. Another end of redemption by Christ is, that the redeemed might enjoy the blessing of adoption; for so it is said, that God sent his Son “to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons”, (Gal. 4:4, 5) for though the saints are predestinated to the adoption of children in the purpose of God from everlasting; and this blessing is provided and secured in the covenant of grace; yet sin having thrown an obstruction in the way of the enjoyment of it in their own persons, consistent with

    the holiness and justice of God, this is removed by the redemption which is through Christ; so that they come to receive and enjoy this blessing of grace in themselves in virtue of their redemption by Christ, and through believing in him.

  4. The sanctification of God’s elect is another end of redemption by Christ; “who gave himself for them, that he might redeem them from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14), and again, Christ is said to love the church, and give himself for it, a ransom price for it, “that he might sanctify and cleanse it” (Eph. 5:25,26) and the redeemed are said to be redeemed by his blood “from a vain conversation” (1 Pet. 1:18), for in consequence of redemption by Christ, the Spirit of Christ comes as a Spirit of sanctification, and begins and carries on that work in the souls of God’s people; and by applying the grace and benefit of redemption, lays them under the highest obligation to holiness of life and conversation; see Galatians 3:14.

  5. In a word, the end of Christ’s redeeming his people is, that they might be freed from all evil, from every enemy, and all that is hurtful, sin, Satan, the world, law, hell, and death; and that they might be put into the possession of every good thing. “Christ has redeemed them from the curse of the law, being made a curse for them, that the blessing of Abraham”, even all the blessings of the covenant of grace, in which Abraham was interested, “might come on them through Jesus Christ” (Gal.3:13,14)

  6. And lastly, The subordinate end of redemption is the everlasting salvation of God’s elect, and their eternal life and happiness; and the ultimate end is the glory of God, of his grace and justice, and of all the perfections of his nature.


Chapter 3

OF THE OBJECTS OF REDEMPTION BY

CHRIST

Thirdly, the objects of redemption come next under consideration. These are a special and distinct people; they are said to be “redeemed from the earth”; that is, from among the inhabitants of the earth, as after explained, “redeemed from among men”; and one end of Christ’s redemption of them is, “to purify to himself a peculiar people” (Rev. 14:3,4; Titus 2:14). The inspired writers seem to delight in using the

pronoun “us”, when speaking of the death of Christ, and redemption by it; thereby pointing at a particular people, as the context shows: “Christ died for us”; God “delivered him up for us all; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us; hath redeemed us unto God by thy blood” (Rom. 5:8; 8:32; Titus 2:14; Rev. 5:9). They are many indeed for whom Christ has given “his life a ransom”, a ransom price, the price of their redemption (Matthew 20:28). But then these are so described as show they are a peculiar people; they are the “many” who are ordained unto eternal life; the “many” the Father has given to Christ; the many whose sins he bore on the cross; the “many” for whom his blood was shed for the remission of their sins; the “many” who are made righteous by his obedience; the “many” sons, he, the Captain of their salvation, brings to glory. That the objects of redemption are a special people, will appear by the following observations.

  1. The objects of redemption are such who are the objects of God’s love; for redemption, as has been observed, flows from the love of God and Christ; and which love is not that general kindness shown in providence to all men, as the creatures of God; but is special and discriminating; the favour which he bears to his own people, as distinct from others; “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated”:and the love which Christ has expressed in redemption is towards his own that were in the world, whom he has a special right and property in, “his” people, “his” sheep, “his” church; as will be seen hereafter.

  2. The objects of election and redemption are the same; “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?~It is Christ that died!” died for the elect: so the same, us all, for whom God delivered up his Son, are those whom he foreknew, and whom he predestinated; and whose calling, justification, and glorification are secured thereby (Rom. 8:30-33), and the same us, who are said to be chosen in Christ, before the foundation of the world, have redemption in him through his blood (Eph. 1:4, 7). Election and redemption are of equal extent; no more are redeemed by Christ than are chosen in him; and these are a special people: what is said of the objects of the one is true of the objects of the other. Are the elect the beloved of the Lord? and does the act of election spring from love? Election presupposes love: so the redeemed are the beloved of God and Christ; and their redemption flows from

    love. Are the elect a people whom God has chosen for his peculiar treasure? the redeemed are purified by Christ, to be a peculiar people to himself. Do the vessels of mercy, afore prepared for glory, consist of Jews and Gentiles; even of them who are called of both? so Christ is the propitiation, not for the sins of the Jews only, or the Redeemer of them only; but for the sins of the Gentile world also, or the Redeemer of his people among them. Are the elect of God a great number, of all nations, kindreds, people, and tongues? Christ has redeemed those he has redeemed unto God, out of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation. Is it true of the elect, that they cannot be totally and finally deceived and perish? it is true of the ransomed of the Lord, that they shall come to Zion with everlasting joy; Christ will never lose any part of the purchase of his blood.

  3. Those for whom Christ has died, and has redeemed by his blood, are no other than those for whom he became a Surety. Now Christ was the Surety of the better testament, or covenant of grace; and of course became a Surety for those, and for no other, than who were interested in that covenant, in which he engaged to be the Redeemer: Christ’s suretyship is the ground and foundation of redemption; the true reason of the sin of his people, and the punishment of it, being laid upon him, and of his bearing it; of the payment of the debts of his people, and of redeeming them out of the hands of justice; was because he engaged as a Surety, and laid himself under obligation to do all this. But for those for whom he did not become a Surety, he was not obliged to pay their debts, nor to suffer and die in their room and stead. Christ’s suretyship and redemption are of equal extent, and reach to the same objects; they are the Lord’s Benjamins, the sons of his right hand, his beloved sons, that Christ, the antitype of Judah, became a surety for, and laid himself under obligation to bring them safe to glory, and present them to his divine Father,

  4. The objects of redemption are described by such characters as show them to be a special and distinct people; particularly they are called, the people of God and Christ; “for the transgressions of my people”, saith the Lord, “was he stricken”; that is, Christ was, or would be, stricken by the rod of justice, to make satisfaction for their sins, and thereby redeem them from them (Isa. 53:8), and when he was about to

    come and redeem them, Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, at his birth said, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel! for he hath visited and redeemed his people”; by sending Christ, the dayspring from on high, as he afterwards calls him, to visit them, and redeem them by his blood (Luke 1:68, 78). Hence, also, the angel that appeared to Joseph, and instructed him to call the Son that should be born of his wife by the name of Jesus, gives this reason, “for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Now though all men are, in a sense, the people of God, as they are his creatures, and the care of his providence; yet they are not all redeemed by Christ; because those that are redeemed by Christ are redeemed “out of every people”; and therefore cannot be every or all people (Rev. 5:9), the redeemed are God’s covenant people; of whom he says, “They shall be my people, and I will be their God”: they are his portion and his inheritance; a people near unto him, both with respect to union and communion; a people given to Christ, to be redeemed and saved by him; of whom it is said, “Thy people shall be willing”, &c.

  5. The objects of redemption; or those for whom Christ laid down his life a ransom price, are described as “sheep”; as the sheep of Christ, in whom he has a special property, being given him of his Father; and who are represented as distinct from others, who are not his sheep (John 10:15, 26, 29), and such things are said of them as can only agree with some particular persons; as, that they are known by Christ; “I know my sheep”, not merely by his omniscience, so he knows all men; but he knows them distinctly as his own; “the Lord knows them that are his”, from others; he has knowledge of them, joined with special love and affection for them; as he has not brothers, to whom he will say, “Depart from me: I know you not”. Likewise Christ is “known” by those sheep of his he has laid down his life for; they know him in his person, offices, and grace; whereas there are some that neither know the Father nor the Son; but those know the voice of Christ; that is, the gospel of Christ, the joyful sound; whereas the gospel is hid to them that are lost: and the sheep Christ has died for “follow” him, imitate him in the exercise of grace, of love, patience, humility, &c. and in the performance of duty; and this is said of the redeemed from among men; that they “follow the Lamb whithersoever he

    goes” (Rev. 14:4). It is also affirmed of those sheep, that they shall “never perish”; whereas the goats, set on Christ’s left hand, shall he bid to go, as “cursed”, into everlasting fire (Matthew 25:33, 34).

  6. The objects of redemption are the sons of God; redemption and adoption belong to the same persons; according to the prophecy of Caiaphas, Christ was to die, not for the nation of the Jews only, but to “gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad” throughout the Gentile world (John 11:52), and those who are predestinated to adoption by Christ are said to have redemption in him, through his blood (Eph. 1:5, 7), and the blessing of adoption, in the full enjoyment of it, in the resurrection, is called “the redemption of the body”; when redemption, as to the application of it, will be complete also (Rom. 8:23). Now these sons, or children of God, are a peculiar number of men, who are given of God to Christ, to redeem; the seed promised to him in covenant, that he should see and enjoy; and to whom he stands in the relation of the everlasting Father; these are they on whose account he became incarnate, “took part of the same flesh and blood”; and these are the many sons he brings to glory (Heb 2:10, 13,14). Now these are not all men; “the children of the flesh”, or such as are never born again, they are “not the children of God”; only such are openly and manifestly the children of God who believe in Christ; and this is owing to special grace, to distinguishing love; and is a favour that is only conferred on some (Rom. 9:8; Gal. 3:26; John 1:12; 1 John 3:1).

  7. The objects of redemption are the church and spouse of Christ; it is the church he has loved, and given himself as a sacrifice and ransom price for; it is the church he has purchased with his blood; even the general assembly, the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven; that is, the elect of God, whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life (Eph. 5:25; Acts 20:28), of that church of which Christ is the head and husband, he is the Redeemer; “thy Maker is thine husband; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel!” (Isa. 54:5). This cannot be said of all communities and bodies of men: the whore of Babylon is not the spouse of Christ; nor sects under the influence of false teachers, though there may be “threescore queens, and fourscore concubines”, of this sort; yet, says Christ, “my dove, my undefiled,

is but one”; and who only is redeemed by Christ, and espoused to him (Song of Sol. 6:9).

Now from all this it appears, that redemption is not universal, is not of all men; for though they are many for whom the ransom price is paid; yet though all are many, many are not all; and if the redeemed are such who are the objects of God’s special love and favour, then not all men; for there are some of whom it is said, “He that made them, will not have mercy on them; and he that formed them, will show them no favour” (Isa. 27:11). If they are the elect of God who are redeemed by Christ, and them only, then not all men; for all are not chosen; “The election hath obtained it”; and “the rest are blinded” (Rom. 11:7), if only those are redeemed for whom Christ became a surety, then not all men; since Christ did not engage to pay the debts of all men; and if they are the people of God and Christ, then not all; since there are some on whom God writes a “loammi”, saying, “Ye are not my people; and I will not be your God” (Hosea 1:9). And if they are the sheep of Christ, to whom he gives eternal life; then not the goats, who will go into everlasting punishment; and if they are the children of God, and the church and spouse of Christ; then not all men; for all do not bear these characters, nor stand in these relations. What may be further necessary, will be to produce some reasons, or arguments, against universal redemption; and to give answer to such scriptures as are brought in favour of it. It should be observed, that it is agreed on both sides, that all are not eventually saved: could universal salvation be established, there would be no objection to universal redemption; the former not being the case the latter cannot be true; Christ certainly saves all whom he redeems.

First, I shall give some reasons, or produce some arguments against the universal scheme of redemption. And,

1st. The first set of arguments shall be taken from hence, that universal redemption reflects highly on the perfections of God; and what is contrary to the divine perfections, cannot be true; for God cannot deny himself, nor say, nor do anything contrary to his nature and attributes.

  1. The universal scheme greatly reflects on the love of God to men: it may, at first sight, seem to magnify it, since it extends it to all; but it will not appear so;

    it lessens it, and reduces it to nothing. The scriptures highly commend the love of God, as displayed in the death of his Son, and in redemption by him; but what kind of love must that be, which does not secure the salvation of any by it? it is not that love which God bears to his own people, which is special and distinguishing; when, according to the universal scheme, God loved Peter no more than he did Judas; nor the saints now in heaven, any more than those that are damned in hell; since they were both loved alike, and equally redeemed by Christ; nor is it that love of God, which is immutable, invariable, and unalterable; since, according to this scheme, God loves men with so intense a love, at one time, as to give his Son to die for them, and wills that they all should be saved; and afterwards this love is turned into wrath and fury; and he is determined to punish them with everlasting destruction. What sort of hove must this be in God, not to spare his Son, but deliver him up to death for all the individuals of mankind, for their redemption; and yet, to multitudes of them, does not send them so much as the gospel, to acquaint them with the blessing of redemption by Christ; and much less his Spirit, to apply the benefit of redemption to them; nor give them faith to lay hold upon it for themselves? Such love as this is unworthy of God, and of no service to the creature.

  2. The universal scheme, highly reflects on the wisdom of God: it is certain, God is “wonderful in counsel”, in contriving the scheme of redemption; and is “excellent in working”, in the execution of it: he is the wise God, and our Saviour; and is wise as such. But where is his wisdom in forming a scheme, in which he fails of his end? there must be some deficiency in it; a want of wisdom, to concert a scheme, which is not, or cannot be carried into execution, at least as to some considerable part of it. Should it be said, that the failure is owing to some men not performing the conditions of their redemption required of them; it may be observed, either God did know, or did not know, that these men would not perform the conditions required: if he did not know, this ascribes want of knowledge to him; which surely ought not to be ascribed to him that knows all things: if he did know they would not perform them, where is his wisdom, to provide the blessing of redemption, which he knew beforehand, would be of no service to them? Let not such a charge of folly, be brought against infinite Wisdom.

  3. The universal scheme, highly reflects on the justice of God: God is righteous in all his ways and works; and so in this of redemption by Christ; and, indeed, one principal end of it is, “To declare the righteousness of God, that he might be just”, or appear to be just, “and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus”. But if Christ died for the sins of all men, and the punishment of their sins is inflicted on him, and bore by him, and yet multitudes of them are everlastingly punished for them, where is the justice of God? It is reckoned unjust with men, to punish twice for the same act of offence: if one man pays another man’s debts, would it be just with the creditor to exact, require, and receive payment again at the hands of the debtor? If Christ has paid the debts of all men, can it be just with God to arrest such persons, and cast them into the prison of hell, till they have paid the uttermost farthing? Far be it from the Judge of all the earth to do so, who will do right.

  4. The universal scheme, reflects on the power of God; as if he was not able to carry his designs into execution; whereas, “The Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save”; but, according to this scheme, it seems as if it was; for if Christ has redeemed all men, and all men are not saved, it must be either from want of will in God to save them, or from want of power: not from want of will; for, according to this scheme, it is the will of God that every individual man should be saved: it must be therefore for want of power; and so he is not omnipotent. Should it be said, that some men not being saved, is owing to evil dispositions in them, obstructing the kind influences and intentions of God towards them; to the perverseness of their wills, and the strength of their unbelief. But, what is man mightier than his Maker? Are the kind influences of God, and his gracious intentions, to be obstructed by the corrupt dispositions of men? Is not be able to work in them, both to will and to do, of his good pleasure? Cannot he remove the perverseness of their wills, and the hardness of their hearts? Cannot he, by his power, take away their unbelief, and work faith in them, to believe in a living Redeemer? Far be it to think otherwise of him, with whom nothing is too hard, nor anything impossible.

  5. The universal scheme reflects on the immutability of God, of his love, and of his counsel: God, in the scripture, says, “I am the Lord, I change not; therefore

    ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” (Mai. 3:6). But, according to this scheme, it should be, rather, I am the Lord, I change; and therefore the sons of men, or at least some of them, are consumed, are lost and perish, though redeemed by Christ; for the love of God, as has been observed, is changeable with respect unto them: one while he loves them, so that he wills their salvation; at another time his love is changed into hatred, and he is resolved to stir up his wrath to the uttermost against them. He is said to be “in one mind, and who can turn him?” and yet, according to this scheme, he is sometimes in one mind, and sometimes in another; sometimes his mind is to save them; and at another time his mind is to damn them. But let not this be said of him, “with whom there is no variableness, nor shadow of turning”.

  6. The universal scheme disappoints God of his chief end, and robs him of his glory. The ultimate end of God, in the redemption of men; as has been observed; is his own glory, the glory of his rich grace and mercy; and of his righteousness, truth, and faithfulness: but if men, any of them who are redeemed, are not saved, so far God loses his end, and is deprived of his glory; for should this be the case, where would be the glory of God the Father, in forming a scheme which does not succeed, at least with respect to multitudes? and where would be the glory of the Son of God, the Redeemer, in working out the redemption of men, and yet they not saved by him? And where would be the glory of the Spirit of God, if the redemption wrought out, is not effectually applied by him? But, on the contrary, the “glory of God”, Father, Son, and Spirit, “is great in the salvation” of all the redeemed ones (Ps. 21:5).

2ndly, Another set of arguments against universal redemption, might be taken from its reflecting on the grace and work of Christ: whatever obscures, or lessens, the grace of Christ in redemption, or depreciates his work as a Redeemer, can never be true. Whereas,

  1. The universal scheme reflects on the love and grace of Christ. The scripture speaks highly of the love of Christ, as displayed in redemption; and Christ himself intimates, that he was about to give the greatest instance of his love to his people, by dying for them, that could be given; even though and while they were enemies to him, (John 15:13). But what sort of love is that, to love men to such a degree as to die

    for them, and yet withhold the means of grace from multitudes of them, bestow no grace upon them, and at last say to them, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire!”

  2. The universal scheme reflects upon the work of Christ; particularly his work of satisfaction, which was to finish transgression, to make an end of sin, by satisfying divine justice for it; by putting away sin by the sacrifice of himself. Now, either he has made satisfaction for every man, or he has not: if he has, then they ought to be set free, and fully discharged, and not punishment inflicted on them, or their debts exacted of them: if he has not made satisfaction by redeeming them, this lessens the value of Christ’s work, and makes it of no use, and ineffectual; and indeed, generally, if not always, the advocates for general redemption deny the proper satisfaction, and real atonement by Christ; plainly discerning, that if he has made full satisfaction for the sins of all men, they must all be saved; and so the work of reconciliation, which is closely connected with, and involved in satisfaction, is not perfect according to the scriptures: Christ, by redeeming then with the price of his blood, has made satisfaction to justice for them, and thereby has procured their reconciliation; for they are said to be reconciled unto God by the death of his Son; and peace is said to be made by the blood of his cross, which is the redemption price for them; and he is pacified towards them for all that they have done; which is meant by Christ being a propitiation for sin, whereby justice is appeased. But, according to the universal scheme, God is only made reconcilable, not reconciled, nor men reconciled to him: notwithstanding what Christ has done, there may be no peace to them, not any being actually made for them; and, indeed, the work of redemption must be very incomplete; though Christ is a “Rock”, as a Saviour and Redeemer, and his work is “perfect”, his world of redemption; and hence called a “plenteous” one; and Christ is said to have obtained “eternal redemption” for us; and yet if all are not saved through it, it must be imperfect; it cannot be a full redemption, nor of eternal efficacy; the benefit of it, can at most, be only for a time to some, if any at all, and not be for ever; which is greatly to depreciate the efficacy of this work of Christ.

  3. According to the universal scheme, the death of

    Christ, with respect to multitudes, for whom he is said to die, must be in vain; for if Christ died to redeem all men, and all men are not saved by his death, so far his death must be in vain: if he paid a ransom for all, and all are not ransomed; or if he has paid the debts of all, and they are not discharged, the price is given, and the payment made, in vain. According to this scheme, the death of Christ is no security against condemnation; though the apostle says, “Who shall condemn? It is Christ that died!” so that there is no condemnation to them whose sins are condemned in Christ; and he has condemned them in the flesh (Rom. 8:1, 33), and yet there is a world of men that will be condemned (ICor. 11:32), and therefore it may be concluded, that Christ did not die for them, or otherwise they would not come into condemnation; or else Christ’s death has no efficacy against condemnation.

  4. The universal scheme separates the works of Christ, the work of redemption, and the work of intercession; and makes them to belong to different persons; whereas they are of equal extent, and belong to the same; for whom Christ died, for them he rose again from the dead; and that was for their justification; which is not true of all men: for those he ascended to heaven, to God, as their God and Father, for the same he entered into heaven, as their forerunner, and appears in the presence of God for them and ever lives to make intercession for them; and for the same for whom he is an advocate, he is the propitiation; for his advocacy is founded upon his propitiatory sacrifice: now those for whom he prays and intercedes, are not all men, himself being witness; “I pray for them; I pray not for the world” (John 17:9). Yet, according to the universal scheme, he died for them for whom he would not pray; which is absurd and incredible.

  5. If Christ died for all men, and all men are not saved, Christ will not see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied; as was promised him (Isa. 53:11), for what satisfaction can he have to see his labour, with respect to multitudes, all lost labour, or labour in vain? it was the joy that was set before him, of having those for whom he suffered and died, with him in heaven: but what joy can he have, and what a disappointment must it be to him, to see thousands and millions whom he so loved as to give himself for, howling in hell, under the everlasting displeasure and wrath of God?

Thirdly, Other arguments against universal redemption, may be taken from the uselessness of it to great numbers of men. As,

  1. To those whose sins are irremissible; whose sins will never be forgiven, neither in this world, nor in that which is to come: that there are such sinners, and such sins committed by them, is certain, from what Christ himself says (Matthew 12:31, 32), and the apostle speaks of a sin which is “unto death”, unto eternal death; which he does not advise to pray for (1 John 5:16), and surely Christ cannot be thought to die for such sins, for which there is no forgiveness with God, and no prayer to be made by men for the remission of them; to say that Christ died for those, is to say that he died in vain: besides, there were multitudes in hell at the time when Christ died; and it cannot be thought that he died for those, as he must, if he died for all the individuals of mankind; as the men of Sodom, who were then, as Jude says, “suffering the vengeance of eternal fire”; and the inhabitants of the whole world, the world of the ungodly, destroyed by the flood; those that were disobedient in the times of Noah; whose spirits, as the apostle Peter says, were, in his time, in the prison of hell (Jude 5:7; 1 Pet. 3:20), if he died for these, his death must be fruitless and useless; unless it can be thought, that a jail delivery was made at his death, and the dominions and regions of hell were cleared of their subjects.

  2. Redemption, if for all, must be useless to those who never were favored with the means of grace; as all the nations of the world, excepting Israel, for many hundred of years were; whose times of ignorance God winked at and overlooked, and sent no messengers, nor messages of grace unto them; (see Ps. 147:19, 20; Acts 17:30), and since the coming of Christ, though the gospel has, in some ages, had a greater spread, yet not preached to all; nor is it now, to many nations, who have never heard of Christ, and of redemption by him (Rom. 10:14).

  3. The universal scheme affords no encouragement to faith and hope in Christ: redemption, as it ascertains salvation to some, it encourages sensible sinners to hope in Christ for it; “Let Israel hope in the Lord, for with him is plenteous redemption” (Ps 130:7), a redemption full of salvation; and which secures that blessing to all that believe. But, according to the universal scheme, men may be redeemed by Christ,

    and yet not saved, but eternally perish: what hope of salvation can a man have upon such a scheme? it requires no great discernment, nor judgment of things, to determine, which is most eligible of the two schemes, that which makes the salvation of some certain; or that which leaves the salvation of all precarious and uncertain; which, though it asserts a redemption of all; yet it is possible none may be saved.

  4. Hence, even to those who are redeemed and saved, it lays no foundation for, nor does it furnish with any argument to engage to love Christ, to be thankful to him, and to praise him for the redemption of them; since the difference between them and others, is not owing to the efficacy of Christ’s death, but to their own wills and works; they are not beholden to Christ, who has done no more for them than for those that perish; they are not, from any such consideration, obliged to walk in love, as Christ has loved them, and given himself for them; since he has loved them no more, and given himself for them no otherwise, than for them that are lost; nor are they under obligation to be thankful to him, and bless his name, that he has redeemed their lives from destruction; since, notwithstanding his redemption of them, they might have been destroyed with an everlasting destruction; it is not owing to what Christ has done, but to what they have done themselves, performing the conditions of salvation required, that they are saved from destruction, if ever they are, according to this scheme: nor can they indeed sing the song of praise to the Lamb, for their redemption; saying, “Thou art worthy~for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by that blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation!” since, according to this scheme, Christ has redeemed every kindred, every tongue, every people, and every nation.


Chapter 4

OF THOSE TEXTS OF SCRIPTURE WHICH SEEM TO FAVOUR UNIVERSAL

REDEMPTION

There are several passages of scripture, which, at first sight, may seem to countenance the universal scheme; and which are usually brought in support of it; and which it will be necessary to take under consideration: and these may be divided into “three”

classes,

  1. Such in which the words”all”,and”every”one,are used,when the death of Christ, and the benefits of it are spoken of.

  2. Those in which the words “world”, and the “whole world”, occur, where the same subjects are treated of. And,

  3. Those that seem to intimate, as if Christ died for some that may be destroyed and perish.

  1. Such in which the words “all”, and “every” one, are used; when the death of Christ, and the benefits of it, particularly redemption and salvation by him, are spoken of. As,

    l. The declaration of the angel, in Luke 2:10, 11. “Behold, I bring good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people; for unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord”. Let it be observed, that Christ is not here said to be the Saviour of all men; but to be born for the sake of some, that he might be the Saviour of them; “Unto You is born a Saviour”; to you the shepherds, who appear to be good men, waiting for the salvation of God, and the coming of their Saviour, and therefore praised and glorified God for what they heard and saw; the words fully agree with the prophetic language, in which the birth of Christ is signified, in Isaiah 9:6. “To us a Child is born”: indeed, it is said, that the news of the birth of a Saviour, would be great joy “to all people”, or “to all the people”; not to all the people of the world, many of whom never heard of it; nor to all the people of the Jews, who did hear of it; not to Herod the king, and to the Scribes and Pharisees, and to many, at least, of the inhabitants of Jerusalem; for when he and they heard the report the wise men from the East made, of the birth of the king of the Jews, “Herod was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him” (Matthew 2:3), but to all the people of God and Christ; to the people Christ came to save, and does save; on whose account his name was called “Jesus, for he shall save HIS people from their sins”; the people given him in covenant, and for whose transgressions he was stricken, and for whose sins he made reconciliation (Matthew 1:21; Isa. 53:8; Heb. 2:17), at most, the birth of Christ, as a Saviour, can only be matter of great joy to whom the tidings of it come; whereas, there are multitudes that come into the world, and go out of it, who never hear of the birth of Christ, and of salvation by him;

    and where the gospel, the good tidings of salvation by Christ, does come, it is only matter of great joy to them to whom it comes in power, and who are, by it, made sensible of their lost, perishing estate, of their want of a Saviour, and of the suitableness of salvation; such as the three thousand convinced and converted under Peter’s sermon; and the jailer and his household, who cried out, sirs, what must I do to be saved? To such, and to such only, the news of Christ as a Saviour, is matter of great joy.

  2. The account given of John’s ministry, and the end of it; “That all men, through him, might believe” (John 1:7), from whence it is concluded, that all men are bound to believe that Christ came to save them, and that he died for them; and if he did not die for them, then they are bound to believe a lie; and if condemned for not believing, they are condemned for not believing an untruth. But John’s ministry only reached to the Jews, among whom he came preaching; and the report he made of Christ they were bound to believe, was, not that he died for them; as yet he had not died; but that he was the Messiah: and their disbelief of this was their sin and condemnation: as it is the sin of the deists, and of all unbelievers, to whom the gospel revelation comes; and they give not credit to it; for such are bound to believe the report it makes, and give an assent to the truth of it; and which is no other than an historical faith, and which men may have and not be saved; and which the devils themselves have: so that men may be bound to believe, and yet not to the saving of their souls; or that Christ died for them. As is the revelation that is made to men, so they are under obligation to believe; if no revelation is made, no faith is required; “How shall they believe in him, of whom they have not heard?” The Indians who have never heard of Christ, are not bound to believe in him; nor will they be condemned for their unbelief; but for their sins against the light of nature, they have been guilty of; (see Rom. 10:14; 2:12). Where a revelation is made, and that is only external, and lies in the outward ministry of the word, declaring in general such and such things, concerning the person and office of Christ, men are obliged to give credit to them, upon the evidence they bring with them, and for their unbelief will be condemned; not because they did not believe that Christ died for them, to which they were not obliged; but because they did not believe

    him to be God, the Son of God, the Messiah, and the Saviour of men. Where the revelation is internal, “By the Spirit of wisdom, and revelation in the knowledge of Christ”; showing to men their lost estate, and need of a Saviour; acquainting them with Christ, as an able and willing Saviour; setting before them the fulness and suitableness of his salvation; such are, by the Spirit and grace of God, influenced and engaged to venture their souls on Christ, and to believe in him, to the saving of them; but then the first act of faith, even in such, is not to believe that Christ died for them; for it is the plerophory, the full assurance of faith to say, “He hath loved me, and given himself for me!” (Gal. 2:20).

  3. The words of Christ in John 12:32. “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth will draw all men to me”; are expressive of the death of Christ, and of the manner of it, crucifixion; which would be the occasion of drawing a great number of persons together, as is usual at executions; and more especially would be and was at Christ’s, he being a remarkable and extraordinary person; some to deplore his case and bewail him, and others to mock at him and reproach him. Though rather this is to be understood of the great multitude of souls who should be gathered to Christ through the ministry of the word after his death, as the fruit and consequence of it; who should be “drawn” and influenced by the powerful and efficacious grace of God to come to Christ, and believe in him; in which sense the word “draw” is used by Christ in John 6:44 but this is not true of all and every individual person; for there were multitudes then, as now, who will have no will to come to Christ, and are never wrought upon by the grace of God, or drawn by it to come unto him and believe in him; and will be so far from being gathered to him, and into fellowship with him, that they will be bid to depart from him another day, with a “Go, ye cursed”; and in the words before the text, mention is made of the “judgment”, or condemnation of the world, as being then come; as well as of the prince of it being cast out. But by all men, are meant some of all sorts, Jews and Gentiles, more especially the latter, that should be gathered to Christ after his death, through the gospel preached unto then; as was foretold, that when Shiloh, the Messiah, came, who now was come, “to him should the gathering of the people be”; that is, the Gentiles: and it may be

    observed, that at this time, when Christ spoke these words, there were certain Greeks that were come to the feast to worship, who were desirous of seeing Jesus; with which he was made acquainted by his disciples, and occasioned the discourse of which these words are a part; and in which our Lord suggests, that at present these Greeks could not be admitted to him, but the time was at hand when he should be “lifted up from the earth”, or die; by which, like a grain of wheat falling into the ground and dying, he should bring forth much fruit; and should be lifted up also as an ensign in the ministry of the word, when the Gentiles in great numbers should flock and seek unto him.

  4. The passage of the apostle in Romans 5:18. “By the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life”; is undoubtedly meant of the righteousness of Christ, called the free gift, because it was freely wrought out by Christ, and is freely imputed without works; and faith, which receives it, is the gift of God; but then this does not come upon, or is imputed to, every individual son and daughter of Adam; for then they would be all justified by it, and entitled to eternal life through it; and would be glorified, for “whom he justified, them also he glorified”: and being justified by the blood and righteousness of Christ, they would be secure from condemnation, and saved from wrath to come; but this is not true of everyone; there are some who are righteously “foreordained to condemnation”; yea, there is a “world” of ungodly men, a multitude of them, that will he “condemned” (Jude 1:4; 1 Cor. 11:32). The design of the apostle in the text and context is to show, that as all men are sinners, and are originally so through the sin and offence of the first man Adam; so all that are righteous become righteous, or are justified, only through the righteousness of Christ imputed to them to their justification; and those who are justified by it, are described by the apostle in this epistle as the elect of God; “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? it is God that justifies”; as believers in Christ, on whom his righteousness comes, or is imputed to their justification; that is, “unto all, and upon all them that believe”; and such who receive that, receive also “abundance of grace” (Rom. 8:33; 3:22; 5:17), all which cannot be said of every individual of mankind. But what will set this matter in a clear light is, that Adam and Christ, throughout the

    whole context, are to be considered as two covenant heads, having their respective seed and offspring under them; the one as conveying sin and death to all his natural seed, and the other as conveying grace, righteousness, and life to all his spiritual seed; now as through the offence of the first Adam judgment came upon all to condemnation, who descended from him by natural generation, and upon none else; as not upon the human nature of Christ, which did not so descend from him; nor upon the angels that sinned, who were condemned and punished for their own offences, and not his, being none of his offspring; so the free gift of Christ’s righteousness comes upon all to justification, and to none else, but those who are the spiritual seed of Christ; given to him as such in the covenant of grace in which he stands an head to them; and “in whom all the seed of Israel”, the spiritual Israel of God, “are justified”, and shall glory (Isa. 45:24, 25).

  5. The parallel place in 1 Corinthians 15:22. “As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive”; which is similar to the preceding in some respect, though not in everything; it is similar to it in that Adam and Christ are to be considered as representative heads of their respective offspring. Though these words have no respect at all to justification of life, nor to men being quickened together with Christ, nor to the quickening of them by the Spirit and grace of God; but of the resurrection of the dead, when men that have been dead will be made alive, or quickened; (see 1 Cor 15:36), and the design of them is to show, as in the preceding verse, that “as by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead”; as death came by the first Adam, the resurrection of the dead comes by the second Adam; as the first Adam was a federal head and representative of all that naturally descended from him, and they were considered in him, and sinned in him, and death passed upon all in him, and actually reigns over all his posterity in all generations; so Christ is a federal head and representative of all his spiritual seed, given to him in covenant, and who, though they die a corporal death, shall be made alive, or raised from the dead, by virtue of union to him; for of those only is the apostle speaking in the context, even of such of whom Christ is the first fruits, and who belong to him (1 Cor. 15:23), for though all shah be made alive, or raised from the dead, by Christ, through his mighty power; yet only

    those that belong to him, as his seed and offspring, or the members of his body, shall be raised through union to him, and in the first place, and to everlasting life; others will be raised to shame and everlasting contempt, and to the resurrection of damnation.

  6. The text in 2 Corinthians 5:14, 15 is sometimes brought as a proof of Christ’s dying for all men in an unlimited sense; “if one died for all, then were all dead”: now let it be observed, that in the supposition “if one died for all”, the word “men” is not used; it is not “all men”, but all, and may be supplied from other scriptures, “all” his “people”, whom Christ came to save; and “all the sheep”, he laid down his life for; all the members of the “church” for whom he gave himself; “all the sons” whom he brings to glory: and the conclusion, “then were all dead”, is not to be understood of their being dead “in” sin, which is no consequence of the death of Christ; but of their being dead to sin in virtue of it; and could it be understood in the first sense, it would only prove that all for whom Christ died are dead in sin, which is true of the elect of God as of others (Eph. 2:1), but it would not prove that Christ died for all those that are dead in sin, which is the case of every man; but the latter sense is best, for to be dead to sin is the fruit and effect of Christ’s death; Christ bore the sins of his people on the cross, that they being “dead to sin, should live unto righteousness”; through the death of Christ they become dead to the damning power of sin; and to the law, as a cursing law; that they might serve the Lord in newness of spirit: this puts them into a capacity of living to him, and affords the strongest argument, drawn from his love in dying for them, to such purposes; to influence and engage them to live to his glory; (see Rom. 6:2, 6; 7:4, 6). And let it be further observed; that the same persons Christ died for, for them he rose again; now as Christ was delivered for the offences of men unto death, he was raised again for their justification; and if he rose for the justification of all men, then all would be justified; whereas they are not, as before observed.

  7. The words in 1 Timothy 2:4. “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth”. It is certain that all that are saved, it is the will of God they should be saved, and that by Christ, and by him only; “I will save them by the Lord their God”; salvation of whomsoever, is not of the will of

    men, but flows from the sovereign will and pleasure of God; and if it was the will of God that every individual of mankind should be saved, they would be saved; for “who hath resisted his will?” he works all things after the counsel of it; he does according to it in heaven and in earth; but as it is certain in fact that all are not saved, it is as certain that it is not the will of God that every man and woman should be saved; since there are some who are “foreordained to condemnation”; and if there are any he appoints to condemnation, it cannot be his will that the selfsame individuals should be saved; besides, there are some of whom it is clearly signified that it is his will they should be damned; as the man of sin and the son of perdition, Antichrist and his followers; to whom “God sends strong delusions, that they should believe a lie, that they might be damned” (2 Thessalonians 2:11, 12). Besides, those it is the will of God that they should be saved, it is his will that they should “come unto the knowledge of the truth”; both of Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life, the true way to eternal life; through the faith of whom, as well as through sanctification of the Spirit, men are chosen unto salvation; and of the truth of the gospel; not a notional and superficial, but an experimental knowledge of it; now to all men it is not the will of God to give the means of knowledge, of Christ, and the truths of the gospel: for hundreds of years together God gave his word to Jacob, and his statutes unto Israel, a small people in one part of the world; and as for other nations, they knew them not; God winked at and overlooked the times of their ignorance, and sent not the gospel, the means of knowledge, unto them; and this is the case of many nations at this day; yea, where the gospel is sent and preached, it is the will of God to hide the truths of it from many, and even from those who have the most penetrating abilities; “even so, Father”, says Christ, “for so it seemeth good in thy sight” (Matthew 11:25, 26), it was his will it should be so, and therefore it could not be his will they should be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth. It is best therefore to understand by “all”, some of all sorts, as the word “all” must be understood in many places, particularly in Genesis 7:14, and this sense agrees with the context, in which the apostle exhorts that prayers and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings, and for all in authority; not only for men of low degree, but for men of high degree also;

    for all sorts of men; this being agreeable to God, and acceptable in his sight; whose will it is that men of all sons should be saved, and know the truth. Though it is best of all to understand this of the Gentiles, some of whom God would have saved as well as of the Jews; and therefore had chosen some of both unto salvation; and had appointed his Son to be his salvation to the ends of the earth; and therefore had sent his gospel among them, declaring that whoever believed in Christ should be saved, whether Jew or Gentile; and had made it the power of God unto salvation to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile; and therefore it was proper that prayers and thanksgivings should be made for Gentiles in every class of life.

  8. Another passage in the same context, in which Christ is said to “give himself a ransom for all” (1 Tim. 2:6), or a ransom price, avxiA/uxpov, in the room and stead of all; but this cannot be understood of all and every individual man; for then all would be ransomed, or else the ransom price must be paid in vain; but of many, as it is expressed by Christ (Matthew 20:28), and particularly of the Gentiles, as before; the truth contained herein being what has been testified in the gospel, of which the apostle was ordained a preacher, a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity, when the Jews forbid him and other apostles to preach unto them; but as he opposed this prohibition of theirs, so another notion of theirs in the next verse, which confined public prayer to a certain place; all which show whom the apostle had in view throughout the whole context, and intended by the word “all”.

  9. Another passage in the same epistle is sometimes brought in favour of the general scheme (1 Tim. 4:10), where God is said to be “the Saviour of all men”; but the passage is not to be understood of Christ, and of spiritual and eternal salvation by him; which it is certain all men do not share in; but of God the Father, and of temporal salvation by him; and of his preservation of all his creatures; who is the “preserver of men”, supports and upholds them in being, and supplies them with the necessaries of life; and in a providential way is “good to all”; but his providence is extended in a special manner towards those that trust and believe in him; he takes a particular care of them, and makes particular provisions for them; these being his people, his portion, and the lot of his inheritance, like Israel of old, he surrounds them by

    his power, leads them about by his wisdom, and keeps them as tenderly as the apple of his eye.

  10. So the words of the apostle, in Titus 2:11, 12. “For the grace of God, that bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men”: but it is not said, that this grace brings salvation to all men, but has appeared to all men; nor that it teaches all men to deny ungodliness,

    &c. but only us, to whom the gospel of the grace of God comes with power; for that is to be understood by it; not the grace and love of God, in his own heart, towards men; for this is not manifested to all men; but is a favour he bears to his own people: nor grace, as wrought in the heart by the Spirit of God for this is not vouchsafed unto all men; all men have not faith; and some are without hope and God in the world, and have no love to God and Christ, and to his people; but the gospel, which often goes by this name, because of the doctrines of grace contained in it; this had been like a candle lighted up in a small part of the world, in Judea; but now it was like the sun in its meridian glory, and appeared to Gentiles as well as Jews, being no longer confined to the latter; and where it came with power, as it did not to every individual, it produced the effects herein mentioned; from whence it appears, the apostle is speaking only of the external ministration of the gospel, and of the extent of that; and not of redemption and salvation by Christ; of which when he speaks, in a following verse, it is in a very different form; “Who gave himself for us”, not for all, “that he might redeem us”, not every man, “from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people”, a special and distinct people, “zealous of good works”.

  11. Likewise what the author of the epistle to the Hebrews says (Heb. 2:9), “That he (Christ) by the grace of God, should taste death for every man”; but the word “man” is not in the text; it is only for “every one”; and is to be interpreted, and supplied, by the context, for everyone of the sons Christ brings to glory (Heb. 2:10), for everyone of the brethren whom he sanctifies, and is not ashamed to own in that relation (Heb. 2:11), and for every one of the members of the church, in the midst of which he sung praise, and for the whole of it (Heb. 2:12), for everyone of the children given him by his Father, and for whose sake he became incarnate (Heb. 2:13,14). Besides, the words may be rendered, “that he should taste of every death”, of every kind of death, which it was proper he

    should, in bringing many sons to glory (Heb. 2:10), and as he did; of the death of afflictions, of which he had waters of a full cup wrung out to him; of corporal death, being put to death in the flesh; and of spiritual and eternal death, or what had a semblance thereof, and was tantamount thereunto, when he was deprived of the divine presence, and had a sense of divine wrath; as both in the garden, when his soul was “exceeding sorrowful, even unto death”; and on the cross, when he said, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me!”

  12. One passage more, is in 2 Peter 3:9. “God is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish; but that all should come to repentance”. This cannot be understood of every individual of mankind; for certain it is, that God is willing that some should perish; “What if God willing”, &c. (Rom. 9:22). Nor is it true, that it is the will of God that all men should have repentance unto life; for then he would give it to them; for it is solely in his own gift; at least, he could give them the means of it, which he does not: the key to this text lies in the phrase, “toward us”, to whom God is longsuffering; these design a society to which the apostle belonged, and not all mankind; and who are distinguished, in the context, from scoffers and mockers, that would be in the last days (1 Pet. 3:3, 4), and are described by the character of beloved (1 Pet. 3:8), beloved of God and Christ, and of his people; for whose sake he waited, did not bring on the destruction of the world so soon as, according to his promise, it might be expected; but this was not owing to any dilatoriness in him; but to his longsuffering towards his beloved and chosen ones, being unwilling that any of them should perish; but that they should all come to, and partake of, repentance towards God, and faith in Christ; and when everyone of them are brought thereunto, he would delay the coming of Christ, and the destruction of the world, no longer; when the last man was called by grace, and converted, and become a true believer, and a real penitent; when the head, or last, stone was laid upon the top of the building, the church, and that edifice completed thereby, he would stay no longer, but come suddenly, as a thief in the night, and burn the world about the ears of the ungodly: this world is but like scaffolding to a building, which, when finished, the scaffolding is taken down and destroyed, and not before; the

98 OF SCRIPTURE WHICH SEEM TO FAVOUR UNIVERSAL REDEMPTION BOOK VI

building is the church, for the sake of which this world was made; and when this edifice is finished, which will be when all the elect of God are called, and brought to repentance, then it will be destroyed; the earth, and all therein, will be burnt with fire; as in 1 Peter 3:10.

II. A second class of scriptures, which may seem to favour, and are sometimes brought in support of the universal scheme, are such in which the words “world”, and the “whole world”, are used; when the death of Christ, and the benefits of it, are spoken of. As,

  1. The words of John the Baptist to his hearers, in John 1:29. “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!” which are to be understood, neither of original sin, which is common to the whole world; but is not taken away, with respect to all: nor of the actual transgressions of every person; which is not true in fact; and is only true of such whose sins are laid on Christ, and imputed to him; and which he bore, and the whole punishment of them; and so has taken them away, as to be seen no more; which cannot be said of the sins of all men (1 Tim. 5:24), they are the sins of “many”, and not all, which have been made to meet on Christ, and he has bore them, and took them away (Isa. 53:6,12)

  2. The words of Christ himself, in John 3:16. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son”, &c. But all the individuals in the world are not loved by God in such a manner; nor is Christ the special gift of God to them all; nor have all faith in him; nor can it be said of all, that they shall never perish, but have everlasting life; since many will go into everlasting punishment: but by the world, is meant the Gentiles; and Christ opposes a notion of the Jews, that they themselves only were the objects of God’s love, and that the Gentiles had no share in it, and would not enjoy any benefit by the Messiah when he came; but, says Christ, I tell you, God has so loved the world of the Gentiles, as to give his Son, that whosoever believes in him, be he of what nation soever, shall be saved with an everlasting salvation.

  3. The words of the Samaritans to the woman of Samaria, in John 4:42. “We know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world”, of Gentiles as well as Jews; this they learnt from what Christ had made known of himself, and of his grace to them; for

    they were originally Gentiles, and were now reckoned by the Jews as heathens; (see also 1 John 4:14.)

  4. The words of our Lord in his discourse about himself, as the bread which “giveth life unto the world”; and which “is his flesh he gave for the life of the world”: now no more can be designed by the “world”, than those who are quickened by this bread applied unto them, and received by them, and for the obtaining of eternal life; for whom the flesh, or human nature of Christ, was given, as a sacrifice for sin, whereby that is secured unto them: but this is not true of all men; since even the gospel, which exhibits the heavenly manna, and holds forth Christ, the bread of life, is to some “the savour of death unto death”, while to others it is, “the savour of life unto life” (2 Cor. 2:16).

  5. The words of the apostle, in 2 Corinthians 5:19. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself”: these are the same with the us, in the preceding verse, which were a special and distinct people; for it cannot be said of every man what follows, “not imputing their trespasses unto them”; which is a special blessing, that belongs to some; for though it comes upon both Jews and Gentiles, that believe, yet not upon all and every man (Rom. 4:6-8), for some men’s sins will be charged upon them; and they will be punished for them, with an everlasting destruction; by various circumstances in the context it seems, that by the “world” the Gentiles are meant.

  6. The famous, and well known text, in this controversy, is 1 John 2:2 where Christ is said to be, “the propitiation for the sins of the whole world”. Now let it be observed, that these phrases, “all the world”, and “the whole world”, are often in scripture to be taken in a limited sense; as in Luke 2:1 “that all the world should be taxed”; it can mean no more than that part of the world the Roman empire, which was under the dominion of Caesar Augustus: and in Romans 1:8 it can only design the Christians throughout the world, not the heathens; and when the gospel is said to be “in all the world, and bring forth fruit” (Col. 1:6), it can only intend true believers in Christ, in all places, in whom only it brings forth fruit; and when it is said, “all the world wondered after the beast” (Rev. 13:3), at that same time, there were saints he made war with, because they would not worship him: and so in other places; and in this

Chapter 4 OF THE SCRIPTURE THAT SEEM TO FAVOUR UNIVERSAL REDEMPTION 99

epistle of John, the phrase is used in a restrained sense (1 John 5:19), where those that belong to God, are distinguished from the whole world, described by lying in wickedness, which they do not. And as John was a Jew, he spake in the language of the Jews, who frequently, in their writings, use the phrase 31V $has “the whole world”, in a limited sense: sometimes it only signifies a large number of people; sometimes a majority of their doctors; sometimes a congregation; or a whole synagogue; and sometimes very few: and so here in the text under consideration, it cannot be understood of all men; only of those for whom Christ is an advocate (1 John 5:1), whose advocacy is founded on his propitiatory sacrifice; now Christ is not an advocate, or does not make intercession for all men; for he himself says, “I pray not for the world”: and Christ can be a propitiation for no more than he is an advocate; if he was a propitiation for all, he would surely be an advocate for all; and plead on their behalf his propitiatory sacrifice; but Christ was “set forth”, or preordained, to be “a propitiation”, not for all men; but for such only, who, “through faith in his blood”, receive the benefit of it, and rejoice in it (Rom. 3:25; 5:11), moreover, in this epistle, the persons for whom Christ is a propitiation, are represented as a peculiar people, and the objects of God’s special love (1 John 4:10), but what may be observed, and will lead more clearly into the sense of the passage before us, is, that the apostle John was a Jew, and wrote to Jews; and in the text speaks of them, and of the Gentiles, as to be distinguished; and therefore says of Christ, “he is” the propitiation “for our sins; and not for ours only”, for the sins of us Jews only; “but for the sins of the whole world”; of the Gentiles also, of all the elect of God throughout the Gentile world: in which a notion of the Jews is opposed, that the Gentiles would receive no benefit by the Messiah, as has been observed, on John 3:16 and here the apostle takes up the sentiment of his Lord and Master, in whose bosom he lay, and expresses it. Nothing is more common in Jewish writings, than to call the Gentiles the world, the whole world, and the nations of the world; as they are by the apostle Paul, in distinction from the Jews

(Rom. 11:12,15)

3. Another class of scriptures, which may seem to favour the universal scheme, and are usually brought in support of it, are such which it is thought, intimate

that Christ died for some that may be destroyed and perish.

  1. The first passage is in Romans 14:15. “Destroy not him with thy meat for whom Christ died”: which can never design eternal destruction; for that cannot be thought to be neither in the will nor power of men; could it be supposed, that it was in the will of any, or that any were of such a malicious disposition, as to wish for, and seek the eternal damnation of another; which surely cannot be imagined among men professing religion; yet it could never be in their power; for none but God can destroy soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28), nor can one instance be produced, of any that were eventually destroyed for whom Christ died; nor can such destruction be brought about by eating meat, of indifferent use, that might, or might not be eaten, of which the apostle is speaking, neither through themselves nor others eating it: for that can never affect the eternal state of men, which makes a man neither better nor worse (1 Cor. 8:8). But the passage is to be understood of the destruction of a weak brother’s peace and comfort, through the imprudent use of things indifferent, by a stronger brother; who thereby may be the occasion of offending and grieving his brother, and of his stumbling and falling, so as to wound and distress him, though not as to perish eternally; thus it is explained (Rom. 14:13, 21), and is to be taken in the same sense as the phrase in Romans 14:20 “for meat destroy not the work of God”; not saints, as the workmanship of God; for as that is not of man’s making, it is not of man’s marring; nor the work of grace, which being begun, will be perfected; nor the work of faith, which will be performed with power; but the work of peace in individual persons, and in the church of God.

  2. A similar passage, and to be understood in much the same manner, is in 1 Corinthians 8:12. “And through thy knowledge shall thy weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?” which intends, not the perishing of his immortal soul; or of his perishing eternally in hell; which can never be the case of any for whom Christ died; for then the death of Christ would be so far in vain; and not be a security from condemnation; contrary to Romans 8:33 nor be a full satisfaction to justice; or God must be unjust, to punish twice for the same offence: but it intends, the perishing of his peace and comfort for a time;

    and is explained by “defiling” and “wounding” his conscience, and making him to “offend”, through the imprudent use of Christian liberty, in those who had stronger faith and greater knowledge (1 Cor. 8:7, 12, 13), of which they should be careful, from this consideration; that a weak brother is as near and dear to Christ, since he died for him, as a stronger brother is.

  3. Another passage urged for the same purpose, is in 2 Peter 2:1 which speaks of false teachers that should be among the saints, who would bring in “damnable heresies, denying the Lord that bought them; and bring upon themselves swift destruction”: from whence it is concluded, that such as are bought by Christ, may be destroyed; but Christ is not here spoken of, but God the Father; and of him the word yesiys; is always used, when applied to a divine Person, and not of Christ; nor is there anything in this text that obliges us to understand it of him; nor is there here anything said of Christ’s dying for any persons, in any sense whatever; nor of the redemption of any by his blood; and which is not intended by the word “bought”: where Christ’s redemption is spoken of, the price is usually mentioned; or some circumstance or another, which plainly determines the sense; (see Acts 20:28; 1 Cor. 6:20; Eph. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:18, 19; Rev. 5:9; 14:3, 4). Besides, if such as Christ has bought with his blood, should be left so to deny him, as to bring upon themselves eternal destruction, Christ’s purchase would be in vain, and the ransom price be paid for nought; which can never be true. The “buying”, spoken of in the text, respects temporal deliverance, particularly the redemption of Israel out of Egypt; who are therefore called, a “purchased” people (Ex. 15:16), the phrase is borrowed from Deuteronomy 32:6 where, to aggravate the ingratitude of the people of Israel, it is said, “Is not he thy Father that hath bought thee?” And this is not the only place Peter refers to in this chapter; (see 1 Pet. 2:12, 13 compared with Deut. 32:5). Now the persons the apostle writes unto were Jews, scattered about in divers places; a people that in all ages valued themselves upon, and boasted of their being the Lord’s peculiar people, bought and purchased by him: wherefore the phrase is used here as by Moses, to aggravate the ingratitude and impiety of the false teachers among the Jews; that they should deny, in works at least, if not in words,

that mighty Jehovah who had of old redeemed their fathers out of Egypt, and had distinguished them with peculiar favours.

Of these various passages of scripture, see more at large, in my “Cause of God and Truth”, Part I and of the objections and answers to them, taken from reason, and the absurd consequences following the denial of universal redemption, as supposed; see the same Treatise, Part III.

From what has been observed concerning redemption, the nature and properties of it may be learnt. As,

  1. That it is agreeable to all the perfections of God: it springs from his love, grace, and mercy, and glorifies them: it is planned and conducted by his infinite wisdom, which is illustriously displayed in it; and it is wrought out to declare his justice and honour; that all the perfections of God meet in it, mercy and truth, peace and righteousness: the glory of all his attributes is great, in the redemption and salvation of his people.

  2. It is what a creature could never obtain; none but the Son of God: no man could have redeemed himself, or any other, nor given to God a ransom for either: a creature could never have redeemed himself, neither by power nor by price; not by power, he could not have loosed the fetters of sin, with which he was held; nor delivered himself out of the hands of Satan, the gaoler [jailer], stronger than he: nor by price; for the infinite justice of God being offended by sin, required an infinite satisfaction, an infinite price to be paid into its hands, for redemption and deliverance; and to which no price was adequate, but the precious blood of Christ.

  3. The redemption obtained by Christ resides in him, as the subject of it, who is the author of it; “In him we have redemption, through his blood” (Eph. 1:7), and the benefits of it are communicated from him by the Father, through his gracious imputation and application of it, and of them to his people (1 Cor. 1:30).

  4. It is special and particular; they are many, and not all that are ransomed and redeemed; they that are redeemed, are redeemed out of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation; they are the elect of God, and sheep of Christ; a peculiar people (Rev. 5:9).

  5. It is a plenteous one, full and complete (Ps.

    130:7), by it men are brought, not into a mere salvable state; but are actually, and to all intents and purposes, saved by it; God, through it, is not made merely reconcilable to them; but the redeemed are actually reconciled to God, through the death of his Son. Salvation is obtained for them, not conditionally, but absolutely; Christ came to seek and save what was lost; even the lost sheep of the house of Israel; and he has found them in redemption, and saved them. Redemption includes the several blessings of grace; as justification, pardon of sin, adoption, and eternal life; and secures all to the redeemed ones.

  6. It is eternal (Heb. 9:12), so called, in distinction from the typical and temporary expiation, by the blood of slain beasts, which could not take away sin; but there was an annual remembrance of them; but by the blood of Christ men are eternally redeemed from all iniquity: and in distinction from temporary redemption and salvation: as of the people of Israel out of Egypt and Babylon; which were types of this; and because it extends, as to ages past, and was a redemption of transgressions and of transgressors, that were under the first testament; so to ages to come; the benefits and blessings of which reach to the saints in all generations: the blessings of it are eternal; an everlasting righteousness for justification; pardon of sin is once and for ever; and once a child of God, always so, and the inheritance secured by it: redemption is eternal; and the redeemed ones shall be saved in the Lord, with an everlasting salvation; none of them shall ever perish, but have everlasting life.


    Chapter 5

    OF THE SATISFACTION OF CHRIST

    Though the doctrine of satisfaction is not only closely connected with, but even included in, the doctrine of redemption, made by paying a satisfactory price into the hands of justice, and is a part of it; yet it is of such importance, that it requires it should be distinctly and separately treated of: it is the glory of the Christian religion, which distinguishes it from others; what gives it the preference to all others, and without which it would be of no value itself: and though the word “satisfaction” is not syllabically expressed in scripture, as used in the doctrine under consideration, the thing is abundantly declared in it; which yet Socinus denies; though he himself owns,

    that a thing is not to be rejected, because not expressly found in scripture; for he says, it is enough with all lovers of truth, that the thing in question is confirmed by reason and testimony; though the words which are used in explaining the question are not found expressly written. What Christ has done and suffered, in the room and stead of sinners, with content, well pleasedness, and acceptance in the sight of God, is what may, with propriety, be called “satisfaction;” and this is plentifully spoken of in the word of God; as when God is said to be “well pleased for Christ’s righteousness sake,” and with it, it being answerable to the demands of law and justice; and is an honoring and magnifying of it; and when the sacrifice of Christ, and such his sufferings are, is said to be of a “sweet smelling savor to God;” because it has expiated sin, atoned for it; that is, made satisfaction for it, and taken it away; which the sacrifices under the law could not do; hence here was a remembrance of it every year (Isa. 42:21; Eph 5:2), and there are terms and phrases which are used of Christ, and of his work; as “propitiation, reconciliation, atonement,” &c. which are equivalent and synonymous to satisfaction for sin, and expressive of it; concerning which may be observed the following things:

    1. The necessity of satisfaction to be made for sin, in order to the salvation of sinners; for without satisfaction for sin, there can be no salvation from it; “for it became him for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings;” that is, it became the all wise and all powerful Former and Maker of all things for himself; it was agreeable to his nature and perfections; it was fitting, and so necessary, that it should be done; that whereas it was his pleasure to bring many of the sons of men, even as many as are made the sons of God, to eternal glory and happiness by Christ; that the author of their salvation should perfectly and completely suffer, in their room and stead, all that the law and justice of God could require; without which not a sinner could be saved, nor a son brought to glory. If two things are granted, which surely must be easily granted, satisfaction for sin will appear necessary:

      l. That men are sinners; and this must be owned, unless any can work themselves up into such a fancy, that they are an innocent sort of beings, whose

      natures are not depraved, nor their actions wrong; neither offensive to God, nor injurious to their fellow creatures; and if so, indeed then a satisfaction for sin would be unnecessary: and one would think the opposers of Christ’s satisfaction must have entertained such a conceit of themselves; but if they have, scripture, all experience, the consciences of men, and facts, are against them; all which declare men are sinners, are transgressors of the law, and pronounced guilty by it before God; and are subject to its curse, condemnation, and death, the sanction of it; and “every transgression” of it, and “disobedience” to it, has “received,” does receive, or will receive, “a just recompence of reward;” that is, righteous judgment and punishment, either in the sinner himself, or in a surety for him (Heb 2:2). God never relaxes the sanction of the law; that is, the punishment for sin it threatens; though he favorably admits one to suffer it for the delinquent. By sin men are alienated from God, set at a distance from him, with respect to communion; and without reconciliation or satisfaction for sin, they never can be admitted to it; a sinner, not reconciled to God, can never enjoy nearness to him, and fellowship with him; and this, when ever had, is the fruit of Christ’s sufferings and death; he suffered, in the room and stead of the unjust, to bring them to God; and it is by his blood making peace for them, that they that were afar off, with respect to communion, are made nigh, and favored with it (1 Pet. 3:18; Eph 2:13, 14), the satisfaction of Christ does not procure the love of God, being the effect of it; yet it opens the way to the embraces of his arms, stopped by sin. Moreover, men by sin, are declared rebels against God, and enemies to him; hence reconciliation, atonement, or satisfaction, became necessary; as they are enemies in their minds, by wicked works; yea, their carnal mind is enmity itself against God. And, on the other hand, on the part of God, there is a law enmity, which must be slain, and was slain, through the sufferings of Christ on the cross; “Having slain the enmity thereby” (Eph. 2:16), and so made peace and reconciliation; for this designs not any internal disposition in the mind of God’s people, before conversion, which is overcome in it, by the love of God implanted in them; but the declared enmity of the moral law against them, broken by them; of which the ceremonial law was a symbol, in the slain sacrifices of it, and stood as an

      handwriting against them; all which were necessary to be removed.

    2. The other thing to be taken for granted is, that it is the will of God to save sinners, at least some of them; for if it was not his will to save any from sin, there would be no need of a satisfaction for, it. Now it is certain, that it is the will and resolution of God to save some; whom he appointed not to the wrath they deserve, but to salvation by Christ; whom he has ordained to eternal life, and are vessels of mercy, afore prepared for glory; and for whose salvation a provision is made in the council and covenant of grace, in which it was consulted, contrived, and settled, and Christ appointed to be the author of it; and who, in the fulness of time, was sent and came about it, and has obtained it; and which is ascribed to his blood, his sufferings, and death, which were necessary for the accomplishment of it.

Some have affirmed that God could forgive sin, and save sinners, without a satisfaction; and this is said, not only by Socinians, but by some, as Twisse, Dr. Goodwin, Rutherford, &c. who own that a satisfaction is made, and the fitness and expedience of it: but then this is giving up the point; for if it is fitting and expedient to be done, it is necessary; for whatever is fitting to be done in the affair of salvation, God cannot but do it, or will it to be done. Besides, such a way of talking, as it tends to undermine and weaken the doctrine of satisfaction; so to encourage and strengthen the hands of the Socinians, the opposers of it; much the same arguments being used by the one as by the other. It is not indeed proper to limit the Holy One of Israel, or lay a restraint on his power, which is unlimited, boundless, and infinite; with whom nothing is impossible, and who is able to do more than we can conceive of; yet it is no ways derogatory to the glory of his power, nor is it any impeachment of it, nor argues any imperfection or weakness in him, to say there are some things he cannot do; for not to be able to do them is his glory; as that he cannot commit iniquity, which is contrary to the purity and holiness of his nature; he cannot do an act of injustice to any of his creatures, that is contrary to his justice and righteousness; he cannot lie, that is contrary to his veracity and truth; he cannot deny himself, for that is against his nature and perfections; and for the same reason he cannot forgive sin without a satisfaction, because so to do, does not

agree with the perfections of his nature. It is a vain thing to dispute about the power of God; what he can do, or what he cannot do, in any case where it is plain, what it is his will to do, as it is in the case before us; at the same time he declared himself a God gracious and merciful, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; he has, in the strongest terms, affirmed, that he “will by no means clear the guilty;” (see Ex 34:6, 7; Jer 30:11; Nahum 1:3; Num. 14:18), or let him go unpunished; that is, without a satisfaction. Besides, if any other method could have been taken, consistent with the will of God, the prayer of Christ would have brought it out; “Father, if it be possible, let this cup of suffering death pass from me:” and then adds, “not my will, but thine be done!” what that will was, is obvious; (see Heb. 10:5-10). It may be said, this is to make God weaker than man, and to represent him as not able to do what man can do; one man can forgive another the debts that are owing to him; and in some cases he should, and is to be commended for it; and one may forgive another an offence committed against himself, and ought to do it; especially when the offender expresses repentance. But it should be observed, that sins are not pecuniary debts, and to be remitted as they are: they are not properly debts, only so called allusively: if they were proper debts, they might be paid in their kind, one sin by committing another, which is absurd; but they are called debts, because as debts oblige to payment, these oblige to punishment; which debt of punishment must be paid, either by the debtor, the sinner, or by a surety for him; sins are criminal debts, and can be remitted no other way. God, therefore, in this affair, is to be considered not merely as a creditor, but as the Judge of all the earth, who will do right; and as the Rector and Governor of the world; that great Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy; who will secure his own authority as such, do justice to himself, and honour to his law, and show a proper concern for the good of the community, or universe, of which he is the moral Governor. So though one man may forgive another a private offence, committed against himself, as it is an injury to him, yet he cannot forgive one, as it is an injury to the commonwealth, of which he is a part; a private person, as he cannot execute vengeance and wrath, or inflict punishment on an offender; so neither can he, of right, let go unpunished one that

has offended against the peace and good of the commonwealth; these are things that belong to the civil magistrate, to one in power and authority: and a judge that acts under another, and according to a law which he is obliged to regard, can neither inflict punishment, nor remit it, especially the latter, without the order of his superior. God indeed is not trader another; he is of himself, and can do what he pleases; he is the Maker and Judge of the law, but then he is a law to himself; his nature is his law, and he cannot act contrary to that; wherefore, as Joshua says, “he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions, nor your sins;” that is, without a satisfaction; and which comports with his own honour and glory; of which he is a jealous God. Sin is “crimen laesae Majestatis;” a crime committed against the majesty of God; it disturbs the universe, of which he is Governor, and tends to shake and overthrow his moral government of the world; to introduce atheism into it, and bring it into disorder and confusion, and to withdraw creatures from their dependence on God, and obedience to him, as the moral Governor of it; and therefore requires satisfaction, and an infinite one, as the object of it is; and cannot be made, but by an infinite Person, as Christ is; such a satisfaction the honour of the divine Being, and of his righteous law, transgressed by sin, requires. Which leads to observe,

That to forgive sin, without a satisfaction, does not accord with the perfections of God.

l. Not with his justice and holiness; God is naturally and essentially just and holy; all his ways and works proclaim him to be so; and his creatures own it, angels and men, good and bad; as he is righteous, he naturally loves righteousness; and naturally hates evil, and cannot but show his barred of it; and which is shown by punishing it. God is a consuming fire; and as fire naturally burns combustible matter, so it is natural to God to punish sin. Wherefore, punitive justice, though denied by Socinians, in order to subvert the satisfaction of Christ, is natural and essential to him; he cannot but punish sin: it is a righteous thing with him to do it; the justice of God requires it; and there is no salvation without bearing it; and he is praised and applauded for it, by saints and holy angels; and to do otherwise, or not to punish sin, would be acting against himself and his own glory.

  1. To forgive sin, without satisfaction for it, does

    not agree with his veracity, truth, and faithfulness, with respect to his holy and righteous law: it became him, as the Governor of the universe, to give a law to his creatures; for where there is no law, there is no transgression; men may sin with impunity, no charge can be brought against them; sin is not imputed, where there is no law; but God has given a law, which is holy, just, and good; and which shows what is his good and perfect will; and this law has a sanction annexed to it, as every law should have, or it will be of no force to oblige to an observance of it, and deter from disobedience to it; and the sanction of the law of God is nothing less than death, than death eternal; which is the just wages, and proper demerit of sin, and which God has declared he will inflict upon the transgressor; “In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die:” now the veracity, truth, and faithfulness of God, are engaged to see this sanction established, and threatening executed; either upon the transgressor himself, or upon a surety for him; for the judgment of God is, that such a person is worthy of death; and his judgment is according to truth; and will and does most certainly take place.

  2. The wisdom of God makes it necessary that sin should not be forgiven, without a satisfaction; for it is not the wisdom of any legislature, to suffer the law not to take place in a delinquent; it is always through weakness that it is admitted, either through fear, or through favour and affection; and this may be called tenderness, lenity, and clemency; but it is not justice: and it tends to weaken the authority of the legislator, to bring government under contempt, and to embolden transgressors of the law, in hope of impunity. The all wise Lawgiver can never be thought to act such a part: besides, the scheme of men’s peace and reconciliation by Christ, is represented as the highest act of wisdom, known to be wrought by God; for “herein he has abounded towards us in all wisdom and prudence:” but where is the consummate wisdom of it, if it could have been in an easier way, at less expense, without the sufferings and death of his Son? had there been another and a better way, infinite wisdom would have found it out, and divine grace and mercy would have pursued it.

  3. Nor does it seem so well to agree with the great love and affection of God, to his Son Jesus Christ, said to be his beloved Son, the dear Son of his love; to send

him into this world in the likeness of sinful flesh~to be vilified and abused by the worst of men~to be buffeted, lashed, and tortured, by a set of miscreants and to put him to the most cruel and shameful death, to make reconciliation for sin, if sin could have been forgiven, and the sinner saved, without all this, by a hint, a nod, a word speaking; “Thy sins are forgiven thee,” and thou shall be saved! Nor does it so fully express the love of God to his saved ones; but tends to lessen and lower that love. God giving his Son to suffer and die, in the room and stead of sinners, and to be the propitiation for their sins, is always ascribed to the love of God, and represented as the strongest expression of it! But where is the greatness of this love, if salvation could have been done at an easier rate? and, indeed, if it could have been done in another way: the greatness of it appears, in that either the sinner must die, or Christ die for him; such was the love of God, that he chose the latter! To all this may be added, as evincing the necessity of a satisfaction for sin, that there is something of it appears by the very light of nature, in the heathens, who have nothing else to direct them; they are sensible by it, when sin is committed, deity is offended; else what mean those accusations of conscience upon sinning, and dreadful horrors and terrors of mind? witness also, the various, though foolish and fruitless methods they have taken, to appease the anger of God; as even to give their firstborn for their transgression, and the fruit of their body for the sin of their souls; which shows their sense of a necessity of making some sort of satisfaction for offences committed; and of appeasing justice, or vengeance, as they call their deity (Acts 28:4). The various sacrifices of the Jews, they were directed to under the former dispensation, plainly show the necessity of a satisfaction for sin; and plainly point out forgiveness of sin, as proceeding upon it; though they themselves could not really, only typically, expiate sin, make atonement and satisfaction for it. But if God could forgive sin without any satisfaction at all, why not forgive it upon the foot of those sacrifices? The reason is plain, Because he could not, consistent with himself, do it without the sacrifice of his Son, typified by them. Therefore it may be strongly concluded, that a plenary satisfaction for sin, by what Christ has done and suffered, was absolutely necessary to the forgiveness of sin; “Without shedding of blood is no

remission,” neither typical nor real; without it there never was, never will be, nor never could be, any forgiveness of sin (Heb. 9:22).

II. The ground and foundation of satisfaction for sin by Christ, and the cause and spring of it.

First, The ground and foundation on which it is laid, and upon which it proceeds, are the council and covenant of grace, and the suretyship engagements of Christ therein.

l. The scheme of making peace with God, or of appeasing divine justice, and of making reconciliation for sin, that is, satisfaction for it, was planned in the everlasting council; which, from thence is called, “the council of peace,” (Zech. 6:13). “God was” then “in Christ,” or with Christ, “reconciling the world,” the whole number of the elect, “to himself;” that is, they were consulting together to form the plan of their reconciliation and salvation; and the method they pitched upon was, “not imputing their trespasses to them;” not to reckon and place to their account, their sins and iniquities, and insist upon a satisfaction for them from themselves; for God knew, that if he made a demand of satisfaction for them on them, they could not answer him, one man of a thousand, no, not one at all; nor for one sin of a thousand, no, not for a single one; and that if he brought a charge of sin against them, they must be condemned; for they would not be able to give one reason, or say anything on their own behalf, why judgment should not proceed against them; wherefore, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” since God will not, whoever does, it will be of no avail against them; for “it is God that justifies” them: and happy are the persons interested in this glorious scheme, to whom the Lord “imputeth not iniquity:” and it was also further devised in this council, to impute the transgressions of the said persons to Christ, the Son of God; which, though not expressed in the text referred to (2 Cor. 5:19), yet it is implied and understood, and in clear and full terms signified, in the verse following but one, in which the account of the scheme of reconciliation is continued; “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin;” that is, the sinless Jesus, who was made sin, not inherently, by a transfusion of sin into him, which his holy nature would not admit of; but imputatively, by a transfer of the guilt of sin unto him, by placing it to his account, and making him answerable for

it; which was done, not merely at the time of his sufferings and death, though then God openly and manifestly “laid upon him,” or made to meet on him, “the iniquity of us all,” of all the Lord’s people, when “the chastisement of their peace was on him;” or the punishment of their sin was inflicted on him, to make peace for them; but as early as the council of peace was held, and the above method was concerted and agreed to, or Christ became a Surety for his people, so early were their sins imputed to him, and he became responsible for them; and this laid the foundation of his making satisfaction for sin. For,

  1. The scheme drawn in council, was settled in covenant; which, on that account, is called “the covenant of peace,” (Isa. 54:10; Mai. 2:5) in which covenant Christ was called to be a Priest; for Christ glorified not himself to be called one; but his father bestowed this honour on him, and consecrated, constituted, and ordained him a Priest with an oath (Ps. 110:4). Now the principal business of a priest, was to make reconciliation and atonement for sin; for the sake of this Christ was called to this office; and it was signified to him in covenant, that he should not offer such sacrifices and offerings as were offered up under the law, which could not take away sin, or atone for it; and though God would have these offered, as typical of Christ’s atoning sacrifice, from the beginning, throughout the former dispensation, to the coming of Christ; yet it was not his will that any of this sort should be offered by him; “Sacrifice and offering thou wouldst not:” and therefore, though Christ was a Priest, he never offered any legal sacrifice; but when anything of this kind was necessary to be done for persons he was concerned with, he always sent them to carry their offerings to a priest; as in the case of cleansing lepers (Matthew 8:4; Luke 17:14), a sacrifice of another kind, and to answer a greater purpose, was to be offered by him, and which in covenant was provided; “A body hast thou prepared me,” which is put for the whole human nature; for not the body of Christ only, but his soul also, were made an offering for sin (Heb. 10:5, 10; Isa. 53:10), and this offering for sin was made by Christ’s suffering and dying in the room and stead of sinners, when he was wounded for their transgressions, and bruised for their sins, and stricken for their iniquities; that is, to make satisfaction for them; this was what was

    enjoined in covenant; this commandment he received from his Father, and he was obedient to it, even to die the death of the cross; and this work was proposed and appointed to him in covenant, and declared in prophecy, in order to finish transgression, make an end of sin, and make reconciliation for iniquity; and this he did by the sacrifice of himself. Now as this whole scheme was drawn in council, and settled in covenant, it was proposed to Christ, and he readily agreed to it, and became the surety of the covenant, the better testament; and engaged to assume human nature, to do and suffer in it, all that the law and justice of God could require, and should demand of him, in the room and stead of sinners, in order to make full satisfaction for their sins, of which the above things are the ground and foundation. Now,

  2. There is nothing in this whole transaction that is injurious to any person or thing, or that is chargeable with any unrighteousness; but all is agreeable to the rules of justice and judgment.

  1. No injury is done to Christ by his voluntary substitution in the room and stead of sinners, to make satisfaction for their sins; for as he was able, so he was willing to make it; he assuming human nature, was qualified to obey and suffer, he had somewhat to offer as a sacrifice; as man, he had blood to shed for the remission of sin, and a life to lay down for the ransom of sinners; and as God, he could support the human nature in union with him under the weight of sin laid on it; and bear the whole of the punishment due unto it with cheerfulness, courage, and strength: and as he was able, so he was willing; he said in covenant, when it was proposed to him, “Lo, I come to do thy will;” and at the fullness of time he readily came to do it, went about it as soon as possible, counted it his meat and drink to perform it, and was constant at it; and what was most distressing and disagreeable to flesh and blood, he most earnestly wished for, even his bloody baptism, sufferings, and death; and “volenti non fit injuria”. Besides, he had a right to dispose of his own life; and therefore in laying it down did no injustice to any: the civil law will not admit that one man should die for another; the reason is, because no man has a right to dispose of his own life; but Christ had, “I have power,” says he, “to lay it down;” that is, his life (John 10:18), hence he is called, “The prince of life,” both with respect to his own life, and the life

    of others (Acts 3:15), and accordingly it was in his power to give it as a redemption price for his people; wherefore he says, he came “to give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28), and which he did give; and he also had a power to take it up again: was a good man admitted by the civil law to die for a bad man, it would be a loss to the commonwealth, and is another reason why it is not allowed of; but Christ, as he laid down his life for sinners, so he could and did take it up again, and that quickly; he was delivered to death for the offences of men, to satisfy justice for them; and then he rose again for the justification of them; he died once, and continued a little while under the power of death, but it was not possible for him to be held long by it; when through it he had made satisfaction for sin, he rose from the dead, and will die no more, but will live for ever for the good of his people. Nor is the human nature of Christ a loser but a gainer by his sufferings and death; for having finished his work, he is glorified with the glory promised him in covenant before the world was; is crowned with glory and honour, highly exalted above every creature, has a place at the right hand of God, where angels have not; angels, authorities, and powers, being subject to him; nor has the human nature any reason to complain, nor did it ever complain of any loss sustained by suffering in the room and stead of sinners, and by working out their salvation.

  2. Nor is there any unjust thing done by God throughout this whole transaction; there is no unrighteousness in him, in his nature, nor in any of his ways and works; nor in this affair, which was done “to declare his righteousness, that he might be just,” appear to be just, “and be the justifier of him that believes in Jesus;” upon the foot of a perfect righteousness, and full satisfaction made for sin. The person sent to do this work, and who was given up into the hands of justice, and not spared, was one God had a property in, he was his own Son, his only begotten Son; and it was with his own consent he delivered him up for all his people; and who being their surety, and having engaged to pay their debts, and to answer for any hurt, damage, or wrong done by them; and having voluntarily taken their sins upon him, and these being found on him by the justice of God; it could be no unrighteous thing to make a demand of satisfaction for them; and accordingly “it was exacted, and he

    answered,” as the former part of Isaiah 53:7 may be rendered; that is, satisfaction was required of him, and he answered to the demand made upon him; and where is the unrighteousness of this? Christ’s name was in the obligation, and that only; and therefore he was the only person that justice could lay hold upon, and get satisfaction from: besides, there was a conjunction, an union, a relation between Christ and his people, previous to his making satisfaction for them; which lay at the bottom of it, and showed a reason for it; as in all such cases where the sins of one have been punished on another; as when God has visited the iniquities of fathers upon the children, there is the relation of fathers and children; and the fathers are punished in the children, as being parts of them; thus Ham, the son of Noah, was the transgressor, but the curse was denounced and fell on Canaan his son, and Ham was punished in him; when David numbered the people, and so many thousands suffered for it, here was a relation of king and subjects, who were one in a civil sense, and the one were punished for the other. Thus Christ and his people are one, both in a natural sense, being of the same nature, and partakers of the same flesh and blood; and so satisfaction for sin was made in the same nature that sinned, as it was fit it should; and in a law sense, as a surety and debtor are one, so that if one pay the debt it is the same as if the other did it; and in a mystical sense, as head and members are one, as Christ and his people be head and members of the same body, so that if one suffer, the rest suffer with it; nor is it any unjust thing, if one part of the body sins another suffers for it; as, if the head commits the offence, and the back is punished: Christ and his people are one, as husband and wife are, who are one flesh; and therefore there can be no impropriety, much less injustice, in Christ’s giving himself a ransom price for his church, to redeem her from slavery; or an offering and sacrifice for her, to make atonement for her transgressions: and as there appears to be no unrighteousness in God through this whole affair, so far as he was concerned in it, so there is no injury done him through a satisfaction being made by another; for hereby all the divine perfections are glorified (Ps. 85:10).

  3. Nor is there any injury done to the law of God; it has the whole of its demands, no part remaining unsatisfied; for it is neither abrogated nor relaxed;

there is a change of the person making satisfaction to it, which is favorably allowed by the lawgiver; but there is no change of the sanction of the law, of the punishment it requires; that is not abated. The law is so far from being a loser by the change of persons in giving it satisfaction, that it is a great gainer; the law is magnified and made honorable; more honorable by Christ’s obedience to it, than by the obedience of the saints and angels in heaven; and is made more honorable by the sufferings of Christ, in bearing the penal sanction of it, than by all the sufferings of the damned in hell to all eternity (Isa. 42:21).

Secondly, The causes, spring, and source of satisfaction.

  1. So far as God the Father was concerned in it, he may be said to be an efficient cause of it, and his love the moving cause; he was at the first of it, he began it, made the first motion, set it in motion; “All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 5:18), he called a council upon it, he contrived the scheme of it, he set forth Christ in his eternal purposes and decrees to be the propitiation for sin, to make satisfaction for it; and he sent him in the fullness of time for that purpose; he laid on him the iniquities of his people, and made him sin for them by imputation; he bruised him, and put him to grief, and made his soul an offering for sin; he spared him not, but delivered him into the hands of justice and death; and what moved him to this, was his great love to his people (John 3:16; 1 John 4:10).

  2. In like manner Christ may be considered as an efficient cause, and his love as a moving cause in this affair; he came into the world to die for sinners, and redeem them to God by his blood; he laid down his life for them; he gave himself for them an offering and a sacrifice unto God, a propitiatory, expiatory one; and what moved him to it, was his great love to them, and kindness for them; “Hereby perceive we the love of God,” that is, of God the Son, “because he laid down his life for us” (1 John 3:16), and the love of Christ is frequently premised to his giving himself to die in the room of his people (Gal. 2:20; Eph 5:2, 25).

III. The matter of satisfaction, or what that is which gives satisfaction to the justice of God; so that a sinner upon it, or in consideration of it, is acquitted and discharged; and this is no other than Christ’s fulfilling the whole law, in the room and stead of sinners; this

was what he undertook in covenant; hence he said, “Thy law is within my heart;” he was willing and ready to fulfil it; and when he came into the world, by his incarnation he was made under it voluntarily, and became subject to it, for he came not to destroy it, but to fulfil it; and he is become “the end of the law,” the fulfilling end of it, to everyone that believes: he has fulfilled it,

  1. By obeying the precepts of it, and answering all that it requires. Does it require an holy nature? it has it in him, who is “holy, harmless, and undefiled;” does it require perfect and sinless obedience? it is found in him, who did no sin, never transgressed the law in one instance, but always did the things which pleased his Father; and who has declared himself “well pleased for his righteousness sake,” and with it; and that as wrought out for his people by his active obedience to the law, which is so approved of by God, that he imputes it without works for the justification of them (Rom. 4:6; 5:19). Nor is it any objection to this doctrine that Christ, as man, was obliged to yield obedience to the law for himself, which is true; but then it should be observed, that as he assumed human nature, or became man, for the sake of his people, “to us,” or for us, “a child is born;” so it was for their sake he yielded obedience to the law. Besides, though he was obliged to it as man, yet he was not obliged to yield it in such a state and condition as he did; in a state of humiliation, in a course of sorrow and affliction, in a suffering state throughout the whole of his life, even unto death; for the human nature of Christ, from the moment of its union to the Son of God, was entitled to glory and happiness; so that its obedience to the law in such a low estate was quite voluntary, and what he was not obliged unto: nor is it to be argued from Christ’s yielding obedience for his people, that then they are exempted from it; they are not; they are under the law to Christ, and under greater obligation to obey it; they are not obliged to obey it in like manner, or for such purposes that Christ obeyed it, even to justify them before God, and entitle them to eternal life.

  2. Christ has fulfilled the law and satisfied it, by bearing the penalty of it in the room and stead of his people, which is death of every kind (Gen. 3:19; Rom. 6:23), corporal death, which includes all afflictions, griefs, sorrows, poverty, and disgrace, which Christ

endured throughout his state of humiliation; for he took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses; and was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with griefs all his days; and all that he suffered in his body, when he gave his back to the smiters, and his cheeks to them that plucked off the hair; when he was buffeted and smitten with the palms of the hand in the palace of the high priest; and was whipped and scourged by the order of Pilate; his head crowned with thorns, and his hands and feet pierced with nails on the cross, where he hung for the space of three hours in great agonies and distress; and some have confined his satisfactory sufferings to what tie underwent during that time, which though very great indeed, and none can tell what he endured in soul and body, in that space of time; yet these, exclusive of what he endured before and after, must not be considered as the only punishment he endured by way of satisfaction for the sins of men; the finishing and closing part of which was death, and what the law required; and hence making peace and reconciliation are ascribed to the bloodshed and death of Christ on the cross (Col. 1:20; Rom. 5:10), which death was a bloody, cruel, and painful one, as the thing itself speaks, and the description of it shows (Ps. 22:15, 16), and was also a very shameful and ignominious one, the death of slaves, and of the worst of malefactors; and was likewise an accursed one, and showed, that as Christ was made sin for his people, and had their sins charged upon him, so he was made a curse for them, and bore the whole curse of the law that was due unto them (Gal. 3:13). Moreover, Christ not only endured a corporal death, and all that was contained in it, and connected with it, or suffered in his body; but in his soul also, through the violent temptations of Satan, “he suffered, being tempted;” and through the reproaches that were cast upon him, which entered into his soul, and broke his heart; and through his agonies in the garden, when his soul was exceeding sorrowful, even unto death; and especially through his sufferings on the cross, when his soul, as well as his body, was made au offering for sin; and when he sustained what was tantamount to an eternal death, which lies in a separation from God, and a sense of divine wrath; both which Christ then endured, when God deserted him, and hid his face from him; which made him say, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me!” and he a dreadful sense of divine

wrath, on the account of the sins of his people laid upon him, the punishment of which he bore; when he said, “Thou hast cast off and abhorred, thou hast been wrath with thine anointed,” thy Messiah (Ps. 89:38), and thus by doing and suffering all that the law and justice of God could require, he made full and complete satisfaction thereunto for his people; it was not barely some thing, some little matter, which Christ gave, and with which God was content, and what is called “acceptilation;” but a proper, full, and adequate satisfaction, which he gave, so that nothing more in point of justice could be required of him.

  1. The form or manner in which satisfaction was made by Christ; which was by bearing the sins of his people, under an imputation of them to him, and by dying for their sins, and for sinners; that is, in their room and stead, as their substitute; these are the phrases by which it is expressed in scripture.

    First, By bearing the sins of his people, which we first read of in Isaiah 53:11,12 where two words are made use of, both alike translated: “And he bare the sin of many,” he took, he lifted them up, he took them off of his people, and took them upon himself; and again, “He shall bear their iniquities,” ‘03*?, as a man bears and carries a burden upon his shoulders; and from hence is the use of the phrase in the New Testament: the author of the epistle to Hebrews in 9:28 observes, that “Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many;” pointing at the time when he bore the sins of many; it was when he was offered up a sacrifice to make atonement for them; and the apostle Peter observes where he bore them; “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree!” (1 Pet. 2:24). “He bore them in his own body,” in the body of his flesh; when that was offered once for all; and “on the tree,” upon the cross, when he was crucified on it. Now his bearing sin, supposes it was upon him: there was no sin “in” him, inherently, in his nature and life; had there been any, he would not have been a fit person to take away sin, to expiate it, and make satisfaction for it; he was manifested to take away our sins; that is, by the sacrifice of himself; and in him is no sin (1 John 3:5), and so a fit sacrifice for it: but sin was upon him, it was “put” upon him, as the sins of Israel were “put upon” the scapegoat, by Aaron. Sin was put upon Christ by his divine Father; no creature could have done it, neither angel nor men;

    but “the Lord hath laid on him,” or “made to meet on him,” “the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6), not a single iniquity, but a whole mass and lump of sins collected together, and laid, as a common burden, upon him; even of us all, of all the elect of God, both Jews and Gentiles; for Christ became the propitiation, or made satisfaction, for the sins of both (1 John 2:2). This phrase, of laying sin on Christ, is expressive of the imputation of it to him; for as it was the will of God, not to impute the trespasses of his elect to themselves; it was his pleasure they should be imputed to Christ, which was done by an act of his own; “For he hath made him to be sin for us;” that is, by imputation, in which way we are “made the righteousness of God in him;” that being imputed to us by him, as our sins were to Christ: the sense is, a charge of sin was brought against him, as the surety of his people; “he was numbered with the transgressors;” bearing the sins of many, he was reckoned as if he had been one, sin being imputed to him; and was dealt with, by the justice of God, as such; sin being found on him, through imputation, a demand of satisfaction for sin was made; and he answered it to the full. All this was with his own consent; he agreed to have sin laid on him, and imputed to him, and a charge of it brought against him, to which he engaged to be responsible; yea, he himself took the sins of his people on him; so the evangelist Matthew has it: “Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses” (Matthew 8:17), as he took their nature, so he took their sins, which made his flesh to have “the likeness of sinful flesh,” though it really was not sinful.

    What Christ bore, being laid on him, and imputed to him, were sins, all sorts of sin, original and actual; sins of every kind, open and secret, of heart, lip, and life; all acts of sin committed by his people; for he has redeemed them from all their iniquities; and God, for Christ’s sake, forgives all trespasses; his blood cleanses from all sin, and his righteousness justifies from all; all being imputed to him, as that is to them: all that is in sin, and belongs to sin, were bore by him; the turpitude and filth of sin, without being defiled by it, which cannot be separated from it; and the guilt of sin, which was transferred to him, and obliged to punishment; and particularly the punishment itself, sin is often put for the punishment of sin (Gen. 4:13; Lam. 5:7), and is greatly meant, and always included,

    when Christ is said to bear it; even all the punishment due to the sins of his people: and which is called, “the chastisement of our peace,” said to be “upon him” (Isa. 53:5), that is, the punishment inflicted on him, in order to make peace, reconciliation, and atonement for sin. Bearing sin, supposes it to be a burden; and, indeed, it is a burden too heavy to bear by a sensible sinner: when sin is charged home upon the conscience, and a saint groans, being burdened with it, what must that burden be, and how heavy the load Christ bore, consisting of all the sins of all the elect; from the beginning of the world to the end of it? and yet he sunk not, but stood up under it, failed not, nor was he discouraged, being the mighty God, and the Man of God’s right hand, made strong for himself: and he himself bore it; not any with him, to take any part with him, to help and assist him; his shoulders alone bore it, on which it was laid; and his own arm alone brought salvation to him. And he bore it, and bore it away; he removed the iniquity of his people in one day; and that as far as the East is from the West: and in this he was typified by the scapegoat, on whom were put all the iniquities, transgressions, and sins, of all the children of Israel, on the day of atonement, and which were all borne by the scapegoat to a land not inhabited (Lev. 16:21, 22). Aaron was also a type of Christ, in bearing the sins of the holy things of the people of Israel, when he went into the holy place (Ex. 28:38). And the sin offering was typical of the sacrifice of Christ, which is said to bear the iniquities of the congregation, and to make atonement for them (Lev. 10:17).

    Secondly, The form and manner in which Christ made satisfaction for sin, is expressed by “dying for sin,” that is, to make atonement for it; and “for sinners;” that is, in their room and stead, as their substitute.

    1. By dying for the sins of his people; this the apostle represents as the first and principal article of the Christian faith, “that Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3), according to the scriptures of the Old Testament, which speak of Christ being “cut off,” in a judicial way, by death, but not for himself, for any sin of his own; and of his being wounded, bruised, and stricken, but not for his own transgressions and iniquities; but as “wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, and stricken

      for the transgressions of his people” (Dan. 9:26; Isa. 53:5, 8), that is, wounded and bruised unto death, and stricken with death; which death was inflicted on him as a punishment for the sins of his people, to expiate them, and make atonement for them, being laid on him, and bore by him: the meaning of the phrases is, that the sins of his people were the procuring and meritorious causes of his death; just as when the apostle says, “for which things sake;” that is, for sins before mentioned; “the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience” (Col. 3:6), the sense is, that sins are the procuring, meritorious causes of the wrath of God, being stirred up, and poured down upon disobedient sinners: so, in like manner, when Christ is said to be delivered into the hands of justice and death, “for our offences;” the sense is, that our offences were the meritorious cause why he was put to death, he bearing them, and standing in our room and stead; as his resurrection from the dead, having made satisfaction for sins, was the meritorious and procuring cause of our justification from them; as follows, “and was raised again for our justification” (Rom. 4:25). The Socinians urge, and insist upon it, that the particle “for,” used in the above phrases, signifies not the procuring, meritorious cause, but the final cause of Christ’s death; which they say was this, to confirm the doctrines and practices he taught, that men, by obedience to them, might have the forgiveness of their sins: which is a doctrine very false; for though Christ did, both by the example of his life, and by his sufferings and death, confirm the truths he taught, which is but what a martyr does; and that though through the grace of God, his people do obey from the heart the doctrines and ordinances delivered to them; yet it is not by their obedience of faith and duty, that they obtain the forgiveness of their sins; but through the blood of Christ, shed for many, for the remission of sins.

    2. By dying for sinners, as their substitute, in their room; so the several Greek particles, ocvxi, x>ite.p, 7t£pi, used in this phrase, and others equivalent to it, signify a surrogation, a substitute of one for another; as in various passages in the New Testament; (see Matthew 2:21; 5:38) and in various writers, as has been observed by many, with full proof and evidence, and most dearly in the scriptures, where Christ’s sufferings and death are spoken of as for others; thus

    Christ gave his life “a ransom for many,” in the room and stead of many (Matthew 20:28), so he himself is said to be avxiA/uxpov, “a ransom for all,” in the room and stead of “all” his people, Jews and Gentiles. The prophecy of Caiaphas was, “That one Man should die for the people,” in the room and stead of them (John 11:50). “Christ died for the ungodly,” in the room and stead of the ungodly; “While we were yet sinners Christ died for us,” in our room and stead (Rom. 5:6-8). Again, “Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust,” in the room and stead of the unjust (IPet. 3:18). The Socinians say, that these phrases only mean, Christ died for the good of men: that Christ became a Surety for good to his people, and has obtained good for them, by performing his suretyship engagements, is certain; yet this good he has obtained by obeying, suffering, and dying, in their room and stead: thus that the blessing of Abraham, even all the spiritual blessings of the everlasting covenant, might come upon the Gentiles, through Christ, he was “made a curse for them,” in their room; he bore the whole curse of the law for them, as their substitute, and so opened a way for their enjoyment of the blessings, or good things, in the covenant of grace; and that sinners might be made the righteousness of God in him, or have his righteousness imputed to them for their justification; he was “made sin for them,” had their sins laid on him, and imputed to him, as their substitute; and was made a sacrifice for sin in their room and stead, to make atonement for it (see Gal. 3:13,14; 2 Cor. 5:21). This is the greatest instance of love among men, “that a man lay down his life” x>itep, “for,” in the room and stead of, “his friend” (John 15:13), and such was the love of Christ to his church, “that he gave,” delivered “himself” to death x>itep ai)TT|<;, for her, in her room and stead (Eph 5:25).

  2. The effects of satisfaction made by Christ, or the ends that were to be, and have been answered by it.

    1. The finishing and making an entire end of sin; this was Christ’s work assigned him in covenant, and asserted in prophecy; and which was done when he made reconciliation or atonement for sin (Dan. 9:24), not that the being of sin was removed thereby; for that remains in all the justified and sanctified ones, in this life, but the damning power of it; such for

      Christ has made satisfaction, shall never come into condemnation, nor be hurt by the second death, that shall have no power over them; sin is so done, and put away, and abolished, by the sacrifice of Christ for it, that no charge can ever be brought against his people for it; the curse of the law cannot reach them, nor light upon them; nor any sentence of condemnation and death can be executed on them; nor any punishment inflicted on them; they are secure from wrath to come. Sin is so finished and made an end of, by Christ’s satisfaction for it, that it will be seen no more by the eye of avenging Justice; it is so put away, and out of sight, that when it is sought for, it shall not be found; God, for Christ’s sake, has cast it behind his back, and into the depths of the sea.

    2. In virtue of Christ’s satisfaction for sin, his people are brought into an open state of reconciliation with God; atonement being made for their sins, their persons are reconciled to God, and they are admitted into open favour with him; and he declares himself “pacified towards them, for all that they have done” (Ezek. 16:63).

    3. Sin being atoned for, and made an end of, an everlasting righteousness is brought in, with which God is well pleased; because by it his law is magnified and made honorable; all its demands being fully answered, by Christ’s obeying its precepts, and bearing its penalty; which righteousness God so approves of, that he imputes it to his people, without works; and so it is unto all, and upon all, them that believe, as their justifying righteousness; which acquits them from sin, and entitles them to eternal life.

    4. Immunity from all evil; that is, from all penal evil, both in this life, and in that to come, is an effect of Christ’s satisfaction for sin; since sin being removed by it, no evil can come nigh them; no curse attends their blessings; no wrath is in their afflictions; all things work together for their good; it is always well with them in life, in all the circumstances of it; at death, they die in the Lord, in union to him, in faith, and hope of being for ever with him; and at judgment, the Judge will be their Friend and Saviour, and it will be well with them to all eternity; they will be eternally delivered from wrath to come.

    5. With respect to God, the effect of Christ’s satisfaction is the glorifying of his justice; for, for that end was Christ “set forth to be the propitiation,” or to

112 OF PROPITIATION ASCRIBED TO CHRIST BOOK VI

make atonement for sin; to declare the righteousness of God, to show it in all its strictness, “that he might be just, and the justifier of him that believes in Jesus;” appear to be just in so doing; yea, all the divine perfections are glorified hereby; (see Rom. 3:25, 26; Ps 21:5).

There are many objections made by the Socinians, to this important doctrine, and article of faith; some of the principal of which are as follow:

l. It is suggested, as if the doctrine of satisfaction for sin to the justice of God, is inconsistent with the mercy of God, and leaves no room for that. But the attributes of mercy and justice, are not contrary to each other. They subsist and accord together, in the same divine nature; “Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful” (Ps. 116:5), merciful, though righteous; and righteous, though gracious and merciful; (see Ex. 34:6, 7) and as they agree as perfections in the divine Being; so in the exercise of them, they do not clash with one another, no, not in this affair of satisfaction; justice being satisfied, a way is opened for mercy to display her stores (Ps. 85:10).

  1. It is objected, that pardon of sin, upon the foot of a full satisfaction for it, cannot be said to be free; but eclipses the glory of God’s free grace in it: it is certain, that remission of sin is through the tender mercy of God, and is owing to the multitude of it; it is according to the riches of free grace, and yet through the blood of Christ: and both are expressed in one verse, as entirely agreeing together; “In whom (Christ) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph 1:7), the free grace of God is so far from being eclipsed, in the forgiveness of sin, through the satisfaction of Christ, that it shines the brighter for it; for consider, that it was the free grace of God which provided Christ to be a sacrifice for sin, to atone for it; as Abraham said to Isaac, when he asked, “Where is the lamb for a burnt offering? My son,” says he, “God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering” (Gen. 22:7, 8), so God, of his rich grace and mercy, has provided Christ to bean offering for sin; and his grace appears more, in that it is his own Son, his only begotten Son, he provided to be the atoning sacrifice; it was grace that set forth Christ in purpose, proposed him in council and covenant, and sent him forth in time to be the propitiation for sin: it was grace to us

    that he spared him not, but delivered him up for us all: and it was grace in God to accept of the satisfaction made by Christ; for though it was so full and complete, as nothing could be more so; yet it would have been a refusable one, had he not allowed Christ’s name to be put in the obligation: had it not been for the compact and covenant agreed to between them, God might have marked, in strict justice, our iniquities, and insisted on a satisfaction at our own hands; he might have declared, and stood by it, that the soul that sinned, that should die: it was therefore owing to the free grace and favour of God, to admit of a Surety in our room, to make satisfaction for us, and to accept of that satisfaction, as if made by ourselves. Moreover, though it cost Christ much, his blood, his life, and the sufferings of death, to make the satisfaction for sin, and to procure forgiveness by it; it cost us nothing; it is all of free grace to us. Besides, grace in scripture is only opposed to the works of men, and satisfaction by them, and not to the works of Christ, and to his satisfaction.

  2. It is pretended, that this scheme of pardon, upon the foot of satisfaction, makes the love of Christ to men, to be greater than the love of the Father; it represents the one as tenderly affectionate, compassionate, and kind to sinners; and the other as inexorable, not to be appeased, nor his wrath turned away without satisfaction to his justice; and so men are more beholden to the one than to the other: but the love of both is most strongly expressed in this business of Christ’s satisfaction; and he must be a daring man that will take upon him to say, who of them showed the greatest love, the Father in giving his Son, or the Son in giving himself, to be the propitiatory sacrifice for sin; for as it is said of Christ, that he loved the people, and gave himself for them, an offering and a sacrifice of a sweet smelling savor to God (Eph. 5:2, 25; Gal. 2:20), so it is said of the Father, that he “so loved the world,” that he gave his only begotten Son to suffer and die for men; and that herein his love was manifested; and that he commended it towards us, in sending Christ to be the propitiation for sin (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9,10; Rom. 5:8). Can there be greater love than this expressed by both? and which is greatest is not for us to say.

  3. It is said, that if Christ is a divine Person, he must be a party offended by sin; and if he has made

    satisfaction for it, he must have made satisfaction to himself; which is represented as an absurdity. All this will be allowed, that Christ is God, and, as such, equally offended as his Father; and that he made satisfaction to the offended, and that, in some sense, to himself too; and yet no absurdity in it. Indeed, in case of private satisfaction, for a private loss, it would be quite absurd for one to make satisfaction to himself; but in case of public satisfaction, for a public offence to a community, of which he is a part, he may be said, by making satisfaction to the whole body, to make satisfaction to himself, without any absurdity. A member of parliament, having violated the rules and laws of the house, when he makes satisfaction for the same to it, may be said to make satisfaction to himself, being a member of it. It is possible for a lawgiver to make satisfaction to his own law broken, and so to himself, as the lawgiver: thus Zaleucus, a famous legislator, made a law which punished adultery with the loss of both eyes; his own son first broke this law, and in order that the law might have full satisfaction, and yet mercy shown to his son, he ordered one of his son’s eyes, and one of his own, to be put out; and so he might be said to satisfy his own law, and to make satisfaction to himself, the lawgiver. But in the case before us, the satisfaction made by Christ, is made to the justice of God, subsisting in the divine nature, common to all the three Persons; this perfection subsisting in the divine nature, as possessed by the first Person, is offended with sin, resents it, requires satisfaction for it; and it is given it by the second Person, in human nature, as God man: the same divine perfection subsisting in the divine nature, as possessed by the second Person, shows itself in like manner, loving righteousness, and hating iniquity; affronted by sin, and demanding satisfaction for it, it is given to it by him, as the God man and Mediator; who, though a Person offended, can mediate for the offender, and make satisfaction for him. And the same may be observed concerning the justice of God, as a perfection of the divine nature, possessed by the third Person, the Spirit of God; the satisfaction is made to the justice of God, as subsisting in the divine nature, common to the three Persons; and is not made to one Person only, singly and separately, and personally; but to God, essentially considered, in all his Persons; and to his justice, as equally possessed by them; and that

    as the Lord, Judge, and Governor of the whole world; who ought to maintain, and must and does maintain, the honour of his Majesty, and of his law.

  4. Once more, it is said that this doctrine of Christ’s satisfaction for sin, weakens men’s obligation to duty, and opens a door to licentiousness. But this is so far from being true, that, on the contrary, it strengthens the obligation, and excites a greater regard to duty, in those who have reason to believe that Christ has made satisfaction for their sins; for the love of Christ in dying for them—in being made sin and a curse for them, to satisfy for their sins, constrains them, in the most pressing manner, to live to him, according to his will, and to his glory; being bought with the price of Christ’s blood, and redeemed from a vain conversation by it; they are moved the more strongly to glorify God with their bodies and spirits, which are his, and to pass the time of their sojourning here in fear; the grace of God, which has appeared in God’s gift of his Son, and in Christ’s gift of himself to be their Redeemer and Saviour, to be their atoning sacrifice; teaches them most effectually to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this evil world (2 Cor. 5:14; 1 Cor. 6:20; 1 Pet. 1:17,18; Tit. 2:11,12)


Chapter 6

OF PROPITIATION, ATONEMENT, AND RECONCILIATION, AS ASCRIBED TO

CHRIST

Having observed, that though the word “satisfaction” is not syllabically used in scripture, when the doctrine of Christ’s satisfaction is spoken of; yet that there are words and terms equivalent to it, and synonymous with it; as “propitiation, atonement”, and “reconciliation”: it may be proper to explain these terms, and give the sense of them; which may serve the more to clear and confirm the doctrine of satisfaction; and to begin,

First, with “Propitiation”: the first time we meet with this word, and as applied to Christ, is in Romans 3:25. “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation”; either to be the author of propitiation; for whose sake, and on account of what he was to do and suffer, God would be propitious to men—his justice be appeased— and he be at peace with them; laying aside all marks of displeasure, anger, and resentment against them: for

114 OF PROPITIATION AS ASCRIBED TO CHRIST BOOK VI

this was Christ’s work as Mediator; he drew nigh to God, and treated with him about terms of peace, and entered into measures of peace with him; interposed between justice and them, became a Mediator between God and man, to bring them together; hence he has the names of Shiloh, the Prince of peace, the Man the Peace, and Jesus our peace, who has made both one: or else to be the propitiatory sacrifice for sin; such hilastic, propitiatory, and expiatory sacrifices there were under the law; typical of the expiatory and propitiatory sacrifice of Christ; and as God in them smelled a sweet savor of rest, as types of Christ; so his sacrifice was an offering of a sweet smelling savor to him; he was well pleased with it, it gave him content and satisfaction, because his justice was appeased by it, and the demands of his law were answered, yea, it was magnified and made honorable; the word used in the above text iA,omt|piov, is the same which the Greek version of Exodus 25:21 and which the apostle, in Hebrews 9:5 use of the mercy seat; which, with the cherubim upon it, and the ark, with the law therein under it, to which it was a lid or cover, formed a seat for the divine Majesty; and which was an emblem of his mercy and justice shining in the atonement made by Christ, which this exhibited to view; and gave encouragement to draw nigh to this mercy seat, or throne of grace, in hope of finding grace and mercy, and enjoying communion with God: a glimpse of this the poor publican had, when he said, “God be merciful”, iA,OCT0T|Ti, “propitious, to me a sinner!” or be merciful to me, through the propitiation of the Messiah. Now Christ was “set forth” to be the propitiation in the purposes and decrees of God, 7tpoe6£TO, God “foreordained” him, as he was foreordained to be the Lamb slain, as the ransom price and propitiatory sacrifice; whose sufferings and death, which were the sacrifice, were according to the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God (1 Pet. 1:19; Acts 2:23; 4:28), and he was set forth in the promises and prophecies spoken of by all the holy prophets that were from the beginning of the world; as the seed of the woman that should bruise the serpents head, destroy him and his works, among which this is a principal one, making an end of sin, by a complete atonement for it; and he was set forth as such in the types and shadows of the law, the trespass offerings, and sin offerings, which are said to bear the

sins of the congregation, and to make atonement for them; which were typical of Christ, who was made an offering for sin, bore the sins of many, and made atonement for them (Lev. 10:17), and he has been set forth, in the fulness of time, in the exhibition of him, in human nature, in which he was manifested to take away sin; and he has put it away, and even abolished it, by the propitiatory sacrifice of himself; and he is still set forth in the gospel, as the sin bearing and sin atoning Saviour who has satisfied law and justice, and made peace by the blood of his cross; and therefore it is called the word of reconciliation, the gospel of peace, and the word preaching peace by Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.

There are two other places where Christ is spoken of as , t h e “propitiation”; and these are in the first epistle of the apostle John; in one of them (1 John 4:10), it is said, “God sent his Son to be the propitiation of our sins”; that is, sent him in human nature, to offer up soul and body as a sacrifice, and thereby make expiation of sin, and full atonement for it; and in the other it is said (1 John 2:9). “And he is the propitiation for our sins”, the sins both of Jews and Gentiles; for which he is become a propitiatory sacrifice; upon which God is “merciful”, ikeox,, “propitious” to his people, notwithstanding all their “unrighteousness, sins, and transgressions”, or is “pacified towards them for all that they have done” (Heb. 8:12; Ezek. 16:63).

2. Secondly, the word atonement, though often used in the Old Testament, of typical sacrifices, making expiation of sin; as in Leviticus 1:4; 4:20, 26, 31, 35; 5:6, 10, 13, 16, 18; 16:6, 10, 11, 16-18, 27, 30, 32-34; 17:11 where the word rpk is used, which signifies to “cover”; and Christ, by his sacrifice, the antitype of these, is a covering to his people, from the curses of the law they have broken—from the wrath of God they have deserved—and from avenging justice their sins exposed them to. Yet it is but once used in the New Testament (Rom. 5:11). “By whom we have received the atonement” made for them by Christ their surety, head, and representative; that is, the benefit of it, the application of it by the Spirit of God, who takes the blood, righteousness, and sacrifice of Christ, and applies to his people, and shows them their interest therein; the effect of which is joy, peace, and comfort. The word used properly signifies “reconciliation”; and so it is elsewhere translated; and the Hebrew

Chapter 6 OF PROPITIATION AS ASCRIBED TO CHRIST 115

word isa is sometimes rendered to “reconcile” (Lev. 6:30), atonement and reconciliation for sin, design the same thing, and both satisfaction for it. Which leads to observe,

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Thirdly, that the word “reconciliation” is frequently used with respect to this doctrine. Reconciliation began with God himself; “All things are of God”, originally, in nature, providence, and grace; particularly this, “Who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 5:18). It began in the thoughts of his heart, which were thoughts of peace; it was brought into council and settled in covenant, called the council and covenant of peace. It was carried into execution by Christ, who is frequently represented as the author of it, by his death, and the blood of his cross (Rom. 5:10; Eph. 2:16; Col. 1:20-22), and it was made unto God, against whom sin is committed, whose law is broken, and his justice offended; and who is the Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy (Rom. 5:10; Eph. 2:16), and it is a reconciliation for sin, to make atonement for it (Dan. 9:24; Heb 2:17), and of sinners and enemies in their minds to God (Rom. 5:10; Col. 1:21), which may be further illustrated,

First, by observing the character of the persons reconciled; which will show the cause, reason, and necessity of a reconciliation to be made; they are “enemies”; and in one of the texts referred to, they are said to be “enemies in their minds by wicked works”: which is expressive,

  1. Of the internal enmity there is in their minds and hearts; the carnal mind, as every man’s mind is naturally carnal, is not only an enemy, but “enmity” itself, “against God” (Rom. 8:7), to the Being of God—wishing there was no God—to the nature and perfections of God, denying some of them, misrepresenting others, and framing him in their minds, as altogether such an one as themselves—to the purposes and decrees of God, which they cannot bear, and to which they insolently reply; and to the providences of God, they charge with inequality and unrighteousness: and they are inwardly and secretly enemies to Christ, to his person and offices; particularly his kingly office, being unwilling that he should reign over them; and to his gospel, and the special doctrines of it; and to his ordinances, they care not to be subject unto: and so they are to the Spirit, to his Person, whom they know not, nor can receive;

    to his operations, which they deride and ridicule; the things of the Spirit of God are foolishness to them: and they are enemies to the people of God, there is an old and implacable enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent; the saints are hated by the world, because chosen and called out of the world; God’s elect themselves, while in a state of nature, are hateful, and hating one another; Paul, a chosen vessel of salvation, was, while unregenerate, exceeding mad against the saints. But

  2. There is an external enmity, which appears by wicked works and sinful actions openly committed: which are acts of hostility against God, are contrary to his nature and will are abominable in his sight provoke the eyes of his glory, excite his wrath, and cause it to be revealed from heaven, and for which it comes on the children of disobedience; and all are deserving of it: sins are breaches of the law of God, render men liable to the curses of it, and to death itself, the sanction of it; they not only all with enmity to God, and show it to him, but set men at a distance from him; so that they have no communion with him, are far off, are without him, and separate from him. But,

  3. Men are not only enemies internally, and externally to God, but there is an enmity on the part of God to them; there is a law enmity, or an enmity declared in the law against them; they are declared by the law of God as enemies; traitors, and rebels to him; and as such God’s elect were considered, when Christ died to make reconciliation for them; for it is said, “while they were sinners Christ died for them, and when they were enemies they were reconciled to God, the death of his Son” (Rom. 5:8, 10). Now the far greater part of those for whom Christ died, were not then in an actual sinful state, nor in actual rebellion and enmity against God; for then they were not in actual being; but they were considered as in their apostate head, as sinners in him, and so as rebels and traitors; as such they were deemed by the law, and proceeded against, proclaimed guilty, judgment came upon them to condemnation; they were, in the eye of the law, and in the sight of justice, viewed as enemies, and declared such: and this law enmity is what was slain by Christ, and removed at his death; and not that enmity that was in their minds; that was not removed by and at the death of Christ; that is removed

at conversion, when the arrows of the word become sharp in these enemies, which bring them to fall under, and be subject to Christ; when they are made willing in the day of his power, to be saved by him, to submit to his righteousness, and to have him to reign over them: this is the work of the Spirit of Christ: there is a two fold reconciliation, one of which is the work of Christ, and was made at his death: the other the work of his Spirit, at conversion; when, by his grace, men are reconciled to the way of salvation by Christ; and both may be seen in one text (Rom. 5:10). If there had been no other enmity than what is in the hearts of men against God, there would have been no need of the sufferings and death of Christ to make reconciliation; but there was a law enmity on the part of God, and his justice, which required the death of Christ to take it away. Not that there was any enmity in the heart of God to his elect; that would be inconsistent with his everlasting and unchangeable love, which appeared strongly towards them at the time Christ died for them, reconciled them, and became the propitiation for their sins (Rom. 5:8,10; Titus 3:3, 4; 1 John 4:10). But they were, according to the law, and in the view of justice, deemed and declared as the enemies of God. So when the subjects of a king rise up in rebellion against him, there may be no enmity in his heart to them; yet they are, according to law, proclaimed rebels, and enemies to him, and may be treated as such, and proceeded against in due form of law; and yet, after all, be pardoned by him. There was, in some sense, a reciprocal enmity between God and men, which made a reconciliation necessary; and which was brought about by the bloodshed, sufferings, and death of Christ, when he slew the enmity of the law, and blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that were against sinners, so making peace (Eph. 2:14-16; Col. 2:14). Which will further appear,

2dly, By observing what reconciliation signifies and imports: there is something similar and analogous in a case when it is made between man and man, though not altogether the same; and some caution must be taken, lest we go into mistakes: reconciliation between man and man, supposes a former state of friendship subsisting between them, a breach of that friendship, and a renewing and restoration of it: and there is something like it in reconciliation between God and man; man, in his primeval state, was in strict

friendship with God, not only Adam personally being made after the image, and in the likeness of God, having dominion over all the creatures, made for his use, and which were brought to him, to be named by him; and having an habitation in a most delightful garden, where he was allowed to eat of all kind of fruit in it, but one; and where he enjoyed communion with God: in all this honour he was; and not he only, but all his posterity, considered in him, as their head and representative, were in a state of friendship with God; hence the covenant made with him, in which he was their federal head, is rightly called by divines, “foedus amicitiae”, a covenant of friendship: but man abode not long in this state; sin, that whisperer and agitator, soon separated chief friends; alienated man from the life of God, caused him to apostatize from him, and to become a traitor to him; filled him with enmity to him, and set him at a distance from him; and in this state of alienation and enmity, all his posterity naturally are; with respect to the elect of God among them, Christ has interposed, appeased justice, satisfied the law, and made reconciliation for them, and brought them into an open state of friendship with God; so that they are considered, in consequence of this, as Abraham was, the friends of God, and are treated as such (Jas. 2:23; Song of Sol. 5:1; John 15:15), have the blessings of divine favour bestowed upon them, and rich communications of grace made unto them. But here we must proceed warily, and observe some things to prevent mistakes and misrepresentations; for perhaps there is not one thing in the whole scheme of evangelical truths more difficult rightly to fix than this. It should be considered, that properly speaking there are no passions nor perturbations of mind in God, who is a spirit, simple and uncompounded, and not capable of such things; when therefore displeasure, anger, provocation, resentment, &c. are ascribed to him, it must be understood after the manner of men; that he says something in his word, and does something in his providence, and the outward dispensations of it, which is somewhat similar to what men say and do, when the above is the case with them; otherwise we are not to conceive that God is in a passion, and is ruffled, and his mind disturbed, as they are. Nor are we to imagine there is any change in God, as in men, who are sometimes friends, then enemies, and then friends again; he changes not, there is no

variableness nor shadow of turning in him; he may change his voice to his people, and speak comfortably to them in his gospel, who before spoke terribly to them in his law; he may change his outward conduct and behavior towards them, and carry it friendly to them, when before as at a distance: but he never changes his mind, counsel and affections to them; his love is everlasting and invariable; he ever rested in it, and nothing can separate from it; his love is never changed to enmity, and from enmity to love again; his special secret favour, as it is never lost, needed no recovery; nor did Christ, by making satisfaction and reconciliation for sin, procure the love and favour of God to his people; for Christ’s being sent to be the propitiation, his sufferings and death, sacrifice and satisfaction, were the fruit and effect of the love of God, and not the cause of it (John 3:16; Rom. 5:8; 1 John 4:10). The reconciliation made by Christ was not to the love of God, which was never lost, but to the justice of God, offended by sin; the flaming sword, which turned every way and threatened vengeance, was plunged into the heart of Christ, the surety of his people, which was done to declare the righteousness and satisfy the justice of God; and to open a way for mercy to display itself, and turn its hand upon the little ones; and thus justice and mercy happily met together, and were reconciled to one another in their different pleas and demands (Zech. 13:7; Rom. 3:25, 26; Ps. 85:10). The reconciliation made by Christ is for sin, to make satisfaction for it (Dan. 9:24; Heb. 2:17), and on that account it is a reconciliation of sinners to God, he being thereby pacified towards them for all that they have done; being well pleased with what Christ has done and suffered for them; he is well pleased with him, and with all that are considered in him, who are accepted in him the beloved, and are admitted into an open state of favour; which is meant by their having access through Christ into the grace wherein they stand (Matthew 3:17; Eph. 1:6; Rom. 5:2), for though the love of God to his elect is invariable and unchangeable in itself, yet the manifestation of it is different; and it may be distinguished into secret and open love; there are obstructions by sin thrown in the way of love, which must be removed, in order to enjoy open favour and the blessings of it, and which are removed by Christ; thus Christ was made under the law, to redeem his people, that they might receive

the adoption of children; and was made a curse for them, that the blessings of grace love had provided in covenant for them, might come upon them; and he was made sin, and a sin offering for them, that they might be made the righteousness of God in him; and be brought into a state of open fellowship and communion with him, who before were kept at a distance. Thus David, though he most affectionately loved his son Absalom, and longed for him, when for an offence he fled; and though through the mediation of Joab he was allowed to return to Jerusalem, yet the king would not suffer him to see his face for the space of full two years; when by the mediation of the same person he was admitted into the king’s presence, taken into open favour, and kissed by him (2 Sam. 13:39; 14:1, 21, 24, 33).

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Thirdly, the means by which this reconciliation is made, are the bloodshed and death of Christ; he only is the reconciler and peace maker; a sinner cannot make peace with God or reconciliation, that is, satisfaction for his sins; not by his works of righteousness, which are impure and imperfect; nor by repentance, which the law does not admit of, nor is it any satisfaction to it; nor by faith, for that does not make, only receives the atonement made by Christ; there is nothing a sinner can do, will make peace and reconciliation for him; and what will, he cannot do; which is no less than fulfilling the whole law, and answering all the demands of law and justice (Rom. 8:3, 4), death being the sanction of the law, and the wages of sin, there is no reconciliation to be made but by death; not by the death of slain beasts, which could not take away sin; nor by the death of the sinner himself: the Jews having lost the true notion of the atonement by the Messiah, fancy that a man’s death atones for his sins; but it is a false notion, there is no other way of peace, reconciliation, and atonement being made, but by the death of the Son of God; who being God as well as man, could and did give virtue and efficacy to his blood, sufferings, and death in human nature united to his person, as to make them adequate to the said purposes.


Chapter 7

OF THE PARDON OF SIN

The doctrine of pardon properly follows the doctrine of satisfaction; for pardon of sin proceeds

upon satisfactory made for it. Forgiveness of sin, under the law, followed upon typical atonement for it: four times, in one chapter, it is said, the priest shall make atonement for sin, and it shall be forgiven (Lev. 4:20, 26, 31, 35), and as often in the next chapter

(Lev. 5:10, 13, 16, 18), and in other places. This doctrine is of pure revelation; it is not to be known by the light of nature; “as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law” (Rom. 2:12), for anything the light of nature suggests, concerning the pardon of it; men may fancy, from the goodness and mercy of God, that he will forgive their sins; but they cannot be certain of it that he will, since he is just as well as merciful; and how to reconcile justice and mercy in the pardon of sin the light of nature leaves men in the dark; they may conjecture, that because one man forgives another, upon repentance, God will do the same; but they cannot be sure of it: besides, grace must be given to a man to repent, as well as remission of sins, or else he never will repent. Nor is this a doctrine of the law, which gives not the least hint of pardon, nor any encouragement to expect it; “as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law”, condemned without any hope of pardon (Rom. 2:12). “Every transgression and disobedience” of the law, or word spoken by angels, “received a just recompense of reward”; that is, proper and righteous punishment (Heb. 2:2). Nor does the law regard a man’s repentance, nor admit of any; “he that despised Moses’ law died without mercy!” (Heb. 10:28). But the doctrine of pardon is a pure doctrine of the gospel, which Christ gave in commission to his disciples to preach, and which they preached in his name, and to which all the evangelic prophets bore witness (Luke 24:47; Acts 13:38; 10:43). Concerning which may be observed,

1. First, The proof that may be given of it, that there is such a thing as pardon of sin: this is asserted in express words by David; “There is forgiveness with thee” (Ps. 130:4), and by Daniel, “To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses”, full and free pardon of sin (Dan. 9:9). It is a blessing provided and promised in the covenant of grace, ordered in all things, which, without this, it would not be; this is a principal blessing in it; the promise of which runs thus; “I will be merciful to their unrighteousnesses, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no

more” (Heb. 8:12. It is in the gracious proclamation the Lord has made of his name, and makes a considerable part of it as “the Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin!” (Ex. 34:7). Christ was “set forth”, in the purposes of God, to be “a propitiation, through faith in his blood, for the remission of sins”; and he was sent forth, in the fullness of time, to shed his blood for it; and his blood has been “shed for many for the remission of sins!” and it is procured by it; or otherwise his bloodshed and death would be in vain (Rom. 3:25; Matthew 26:28; Eph. 1:7), and it is in his hands to bestow it; having ascended on high, he has received gifts for men, “even for the rebellious”; and among the gifts for them pardon of sin is one; Christ is “exalted to be a Prince and a Savior, to give repentance unto Israel and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:31), and it is by his orders, published in the gospel, as before observed; to which may be added, the numerous instances of it, both under the Old and under the New Testament; as of the Israelites, who, as they often sinned, God had compassion on them, and forgave their iniquities; even though he took vengeance on their inventions, (Ps. 78:38; 99:8) and of David, Manasseh, and others, and of Saul the blasphemer, the persecutor, and injurious person; and of other notorious sinners (Ps 32:5; 1 Tim. 1:13; Luke 7:37, 47). It is in this way God would have his people comforted, when burdened grid distressed with the guilt of sin, (Isa. 40:1,2 Mt 9:2 and they are, at times, favored with a comfortable experience of it, and peace of soul from it (Ps. 85:1-3; Rom. 5:11), they are directed to pray for it, anti do pray for it; to which there would be no encouragement if there was no such thing (Ps 32:5; 51:1, 2, 7-9; Dan. 9:19; Matthew 6:12). To add no more, forgiveness of sin is included in complete salvation, and is a part of it, and without which it would not be complete; nay, without it there could be no salvation; forgiveness of sin is a branch of redemption by the blood of Christ, which is explained by it (Eph. 1:7).

Secondly, The phrases by which the pardon of sin is expressed, and which will serve to lead into the nature of it.

  1. By lifting it up, and taking it away; “Blessed he whose transgression is forgiven”, J7W (ywvn) is “lifted up”, taken off from him, and carried away (Ps 32:1). Sin lies upon the sinner, and lays him under

    obligation to punishment, unless it is taken off; and the sins of God’s elect are taken off of them, and laid on Christ, and bore by him, and removed from them, as far as the East is from the West; so that when sought for they shall not be found, God having pardoned those he has reserved for himself: and sin lies upon the conscience of an awakened sinner as a burden too heavy for him to bear; which is taken away by the application of the blood of Christ; and who gives orders to take away the filthy garments of his people, and clothe them with change of raiment, and puts away their sins, that they shall not die.

  2. By the covering of it; “Blessed is he whose sin is covered” (Ps. 32:1). “Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people; thou hast covered all their sin” (Ps. 85:2). Sin is something impure, nauseous, and abominable, in the sight of God, and provoking to the eyes of his glory, and must be covered out of sight; and this cannot be done by anything of man’s; not by his righteousness, which is but rags, a covering too narrow to be wrapped in, and can no more hide his nakedness than Adam’s fig leaves could hide his; nay, it is no better than a spider’s web; and of which it may be said, “Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works” (Isa.. 59:6), sin is only covered by Christ, who is the antitype of the mercy seat which was a lid or cover to the ark of the same dimensions with it, in which was the law, and prefigured Christ, as the covering of the transgressions of it by his people, from the sight of avenging Justice; and whose blood is the purple covering in the chariot of the covenant of grace, under which his people ride safe to glory; all their iniquities being out of sight; and whose righteousness is unto and upon all that believe; a garment that reaches to the feet, that white raiment with which being clothed, the shame of their nakedness does not appear; yea, being clothed with this robe of righteousness and garments of salvation, are as ornamented as the bridegroom and bride on the wedding day; hereby their sins are covered, so as not to be seen any more, and they appear unblameable and irreproveable in the sight of God.

  3. By a non-imputation of it; “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity” (Ps. 32:2), does not reckon it, or place it to his account, or bring any charge against him for it, or punishes for it; but

    acquits him from it, having imputed it to Christ, placed it to his account, charged him with it, laid the chastisement of it on him, or the punishment of it on him, and received satisfaction from him for it.

  4. By a blotting of it out: in such language David prays for the forgiveness of sin; “Blot out my transgressions, and blot out all mine iniquities” (Ps 51:1, 9), and in the same way God declares his will to forgive the sins of his people; “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions” (Isa. 43:25), which language is used, either in allusion to the crossing of debt books, drawing a line over them; or to the blotting out a man’s handwriting to a bond or note, obliging to payment of money; hence the phrase of “blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us” (Col. 2:14). Sins are debts, and these are numerous, and sinners poor, and unable to pay them; wherefore God, for Christ’s sake, freely forgives, and draws the line of Christ’s blood over them, and cancels the obligation to payment: or else to the dissipation of a cloud, by the sun rising or breaking out through it; “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions; and as a cloud thy sins” (Isa. 44:22). Sins may be compared to clouds for their quantity, their number being many; for their quality, being exhaled out of the earth and sea, and mount up to heaven, cause darkness, and intercept light; sin rises out of the earthly minds of men, who mind earthly things, and who are like the troubled sea which cannot rest; and the sins of some, like those of Babylon, reach up to heaven, and call for wrath and vengeance to come down from thence; sin causes the darkness of unregeneracy, and is often the reason of darkness to such who have been made light in the Lord; it intercepts the light of his countenance, and of Christ, the Sun of righteousness: now as a cloud is dispersed and dissipated by the breaking forth of the sun, which, overcoming the cloud, scatters it, so as it is seen no more: in like manner, through the rising of the Sun of righteousness, with healing in his wings, an application of pardoning grace is made for his sake; upon which darkness is dispersed, light and joy introduced, a serene heaven of peace and comfort follow: and as a cloud is so dispersed that it is seen no more, so sin is pardoned, in such sort as not to be seen any more, or to be set in the light of God’s countenance unto condemnation; and though as fresh clouds may arise, so new sins may be committed, which yet are

    removed and cleansed from, by the blood of Christ, and the efficacy of it, for the continual pardon of it, through the repeated application of that blood.

  5. By a non-remembrance of it; “And their iniquities will I remember no more” (Heb. 8:12; Isa. 43:25). God forgives and forgets; having once forgiven them, he thinks of them no more; they are out of sight and out of mind; his thoughts are thoughts of peace, and not of evil; he remembers not former iniquities, but his tender mercies, which have been ever of old.

  6. By making sin, or rather sinners, “white as snow”: so David prays, “Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (Ps. 51:7). So the Lord promises; “Thy sins shall be as white as snow” (Isa. 1:18). “Her Nazarites are purer than snow” (Lam. 4:7). Being justified by the righteousness of Christ, clothed with that fine linen, clean and white, washed in his blood, and their garments made white therein, and all their sins forgiven for his sake, and so all fair without spot or blemish.

Thirdly, What sins are pardoned; sins both with respect to quality and quantity.

1st, For quality; they are called “trespasses”. Sin is a walking on forbidden ground, for which a man must suffer, unless forgiven: and “transgressions” of the law of God; a passing over and going beyond the bounds and limits prescribed by it: and “iniquities”, which are contrary to the rules of justice and equity; and sins, errors, aberrations, strayings from the rule of God’s word: when God is said to forgive “iniquity, transgression”, and “sin”, it takes in every kind and sort of sin; every sin is against God, though some are more immediately against him than others; they are contrary to his nature, which is pure and holy; whereas, nothing is more impure and unholy than sin is; and therefore it is abominable to him, and hated by him; and hence sins arc called abominations; not that they are so to sinners, for they delight in them; but to God, to whom they are so very disagreeable: there is an enmity in sin, and in every sinner’s heart, to God; every sin is an act of hostility against him, it is a stretching out the hand against God, and a strengthening a man’s self against the Almighty; it strikes at his Deity, and is a contempt of his authority; and yet he forgives it: it being committed against him, an infinite Being, it is objectively infinite, and requires an infinite satisfaction; and without it is punished “ad

infinitum”. Sin is defined, “a transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4), a breach, a violation of it; which accuses of it, pronounces guilty for it, and curses and condemns; and is only forgiven by the Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Sins are sometimes represented as “debts”; because, being committed, they oblige to the debt of punishment, which God remits; the sinner owing more than ten thousand talents, and not able to pay, he frankly forgives all for Christ’s sake; of which the year of release from debts under the law was typical: sins, with respect to men, are called diseases, and they are incurable, but by the grace of God and blood of Christ; and pardon of sin is expressed by healing them; “who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases” (Ps. 103:3; Isa. 33:24; Mai. 4:2).

Secondly, for quantity; all trespasses, sins, and transgressions are forgiven (Col. 2:13; Ps. 103:3). Original sin, the sin of the first man, and the sin of all men in him, by which all are made, constituted, and accounted sinners; which is the source and fountain of all sin, and is the iniquity of us all, which was laid on Christ, and he satisfied for, and is forgiven for his sake; of all sin, it cannot be thought this should be left unforgiven: all actual sins which spring from thence; the works of the flesh, which are many and manifest; some are more secret, some more open, some lesser, others greater, more daring and presumptuous; some sins of commission, others sins of omission; but all are forgiven; see (Isa. 43:22-25 and not only daily failings and infirmities, but all backslidings, revolts, and partial apostasies, (Jer 3:12-14,22 Ho 14:4 and, indeed, every sin, excepting the sin against the Holy Ghost (Matthew 12:31, 32),and why that is unpardonable has been observed, (see Gill on “Matthew 12:31” and on “Matthew 12:32”).

Fourthly, The causes of the pardon of sin.

1st The efficient cause is God, and not any creature, angels or men.

l. It is not in the power of men to forgive sin; one man may forgive another an offence, as committed against himself, but not as committed against God; saints ought to forgive one another’s offences that arise among them; as God, for Christ’s sake, has forgiven them, (Eph. 4:32; Col. 2:13). Ministers can remit sin ministerially and declaratively, but not authoritatively; no man that goes under the name

of a priest, or a minister of the word, has a power of absolution, or has authority to absolve men from their sins: all that a true and faithful preacher of the gospel can do is to preach remission of sins in the name of Christ; and to declare, that whoever repent of their sins, and believe in Christ, shall receive the forgiveness of them; and which declaration of theirs God abides by and confirms; and whose sins, in this sense, they remit, they are remitted (John 20:23). To assume a power to forgive sin, and absolve from it, is the height of antichristianism; it is with respect to this that antichrist is said to sit in the temple of God, “showing himself that he is god”, by taking that to himself which belongs to God only; namely, to forgive sin; this is one of the blasphemies, and a principal one, which his mouth is opened to utter, to dispense with sin, grant indulgences of it, and pardons for it (2 Thess. 2:4; Rev. 13:5, 6), the highest angel in heaven cannot forgive, nor procure the forgiveness, of one sin; they could not for those of their own kind that sinned; nor can they for any of the sons of men.

  1. There is nothing a man has, or can do, by which he can procure the pardon of sin, either for himself or for others: no man, by his riches, and the multitude of his wealth, can give to God a ransom for himself, or his brother, make atonement and satisfaction for sin, and obtain the pardon of it; “riches profit not in the day of wrath”: when God comes to deal with men for their sins, and pour out his wrath upon them for them, bags of gold and silver will be of no avail. Nor is pardon of sin to be obtained by works of righteousness; could it, it would not be of grace; for grace and works are opposed to each other; men would be saved by works, contrary to the scriptures, since pardon is included in salvation, and that is by grace, and not works: besides the blood of Christ would be shed in vain; for as if righteousness, or justification, came by the law, then Christ died in vain; so if pardon of sin came by the works of the law, and obedience to it; in like manner Christ must have died in vain. Once more, the best works of men are due to God; he has a prior right unto them, and therefore cannot be meritorious of pardon; nor is there any just proportion between them and pardon, and eternal life; one debt cannot be paid by another, or the debt of punishment be remitted by the debt of obedience. Nor is pardon procured by repentance; they are both gifts of grace; and though

    given to the same persons, the one is not the cause of the other; at least, repentance is not the cause of remission; for true, evangelical repentance, flows from, and in the exercise of it is influenced by the discovery and application of pardoning grace; (see Ezek. 16:63). Brinish tears will not wash away sin, notwithstanding these, it will remain marked before God; the tears the woman, a sinner, shed, and with which she washed Christ’s feet, were not shed to procure the pardon of her sins; but flowed from a sense of pardoning love manifested to her (Luke 7:37, 47). Nor is pardon procured by faith, as the cause of it; faith does not obtain it by any virtue of its own, but receives it as obtained by the blood of Christ (Acts 10:43; 26:18). Nor is it procured by a submission to the ordinance of water baptism; baptism neither takes away original sin, nor actual sin; not as to the guilt thereof, as the case of Simon Magus shows; for though the three thousand are directed to be “baptized in the name of Christ, for the remission of sins”; and Saul was advised by Ananias, to “arise, and be baptized, and wash away his sins” (Acts 2:38; 22:16), yet the meaning is not, as if remission of sins was to be obtained by baptism, or sinners to be cleansed from them by it; but that by means of this ordinance, they might be led to the sufferings, death, and bloodshed of Christ, represented in it; for whose name’s sake remission of sins is granted, and whose blood was shed for it, and cleanses from it.

  2. God only can forgive sin; it is his sole prerogative; it belongs to him, and to no other (Mark 2:7; Isa. 43:25; Dan. 9:9). And this appears from the nature of sin itself; it is committed against God; and none but he against whom it is committed can forgive it; it is a breach of his righteous law; and none but the Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy, can remit it, or free from obligation to punishment for it. Besides, if there was any other that could forgive sin, then there would be one equal to God; whereas, “Who is a God like unto him that pardoneth iniquity?” (Micah 7:18), and it may be observed, that saints in all ages, under the Old and under the New Testament, never made their application to any other but to God for the forgiveness of sin; nor are they ever directed to any other for it (Ps. 51:1; Dan. 9:19; Matthew 6:9,12; Acts 8:22).

  3. Yet all the three Persons, Father, Son, and Spirit,

have a concern in it. God the Father made an early provision of this blessing of pardon in his heart, in his purposes, in his council and covenant; and sent his Son to be the propitiation for it, and for the remission of it, through faith in his blood; and does bestow it for his sake; in which he shows, not only his grace, but his justice and faithfulness; for upon the bloodshed of his Son for it, he is “just and faithful to forgive sin”; just, in that the blood of Christ is a sufficient atonement for it; and faithful to his counsels, covenant, and promises, concerning it. Christ, as God, and the Son of God, has power to forgive sin, even as Immanuel, God with us. God in our nature, and when he was here on earth; of which he gave proof, by another act of his divine power, bidding a lame man take up his bed and walk (Matthew 9:2, 6). As God man and Mediator, his blood was shed for the remission of sin; and by it was obtained; as the Advocate of his people he calls for it, and demands and requires the application of it when it is wanted; and as the exalted Savior he gives it, and in his name it is preached, according to his orders, by the ministers of the gospel. The Holy Spirit of God has also a concern in it: he convinces men of sin, and of their need of the pardon of it; he makes it manifest; he takes the blood of Christ, and applies it to the conscience, which speaks peace and pardon; he pronounces the sentence of it in the conscience of a sinner; he is the Holy Spirit of promise, and he seals up the pardon of sin in a promise; and witnesses to the spirits of God’s people that they are pardoned ones.

2dly. The impulsive moving cause of pardon, is not neither man’s misery nor his merits; not any works of righteousness done by him; nor even any of the graces of the Spirit in him; but the sovereign grace and mercy of God, through Christ, (Eph 1:7; Ps. 51:1; Luke 1:77, 78).

3dly, The procuring meritorious cause of it, is the blood of Christ, which was shed for it, has obtained it, and for the sake of which God forgives sin; which virtue it has from the human nature being in union with the divine Person of the Son of God; see (Heb. 9:14; 1 John 1:7).

Fifthly, The effects of pardon, that is, when applied; for the effects of it are not sensibly perceived unless applied; which are,

  1. Peace of conscience; when sin ischarged upon the conscience, and there is no sight and sense of pardon,

    there is no peace; but no sooner is there a view of interest in justification, by the righteousness of Christ, and pardon by his blood, but there is peace, which that blood speaks and gives; and which the world cannot take away; a peace that passeth all understanding, and is better experienced than expressed.

  2. Cheerfulness of spirit: when sin lies as an heavy burden, without a view of pardon, the mind is depressed; it is filled with gloominess, and melancholy apprehensions of things, if not with despair, as in the case of Cain: a spirit, wounded with a sense of sin, and without a view of pardon, who can bear? But when the Lord says, “Son”, or “daughter, be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee!” cheerfulness takes place; the spirits, that were sunk, are raised; the head, that was bowed down, is lifted up; that countenance, that looked dejected, smiles; the soul is caused to hear joy and gladness; and the bones that were broken are made to rejoice.

  3. Comfort of soul: while a gracious soul, under a sense of sin, apprehends that God is angry with him, he has no comfort; but when he manifests his pardoning grace, then he concludes his anger is turned away, and he is comforted: and this is one of the ways and means in which God would have his people comforted by his ministers; “Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem; cry unto her, that her iniquity is pardoned” (Isa. 40:1, 2), and when their ministry is accompanied by the Spirit of God, comfort is enjoyed.

  4. Access to God with boldness and confidence: a soul, under the weight and pressure of the guilt of sin, moves heavily to the throne of grace; and when it comes there cannot lift up his eyes, but looking downward, and smiting on his breast, says, “God be merciful”, or propitious, “to me, a sinner!” but when it has a view of the blood, righteousness, and sacrifice of Christ, it comes with liberty, boldness, and confidence; particularly when it has a clear and comfortable sight of the pardon of sin, through the blood of Jesus, it has boldness to enter into the holiest of all, and come up to the seat of God, and claims interest in him.

  5. Attendance on divine worship with pleasure and delight: this flows from a sense of forgiveness of sin, and is one end of it; “there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared”, that is, worshipped; for fear is put for worship, both inward and outward; and

    especially denotes, serving the Lord with reverence and godly fear. And to have the conscience purged from dead works by the blood of Christ, both puts a soul into the best capacity, and into the most suitable frame to serve the living God, (Ps. 130:4; Heb. 12:28; 9:14).

  6. Love to God and Christ is raised, promoted, and increased, by an application of pardon; which, as it is an evidence of the love of God to a sinner, it produces love again; the poor woman in the gospel, the notorious sinner as she had been, loved much, many sins having been forgiven her (Luke 7:47).

  7. Evangelical repentance, and the exercise of it, are much influenced by pardon of sin being applied: the tears of repentance, shed by the poor woman before mentioned, flowed from a sense of pardoning grace and mercy; sin never appears more odious than in the glass of forgiving love; shame, confusion of face, and silence, are never more manifest, than when a soul knows that God is pacified towards it for all that it has done; this produces a godly sorrow, a sorrow after a godly sort, for sin committed against a God of love, grace, and mercy; faith first looks to Christ, and beholds pardon through him; and then evangelical mourning and repentance follow upon it (Ezek. 16:63; (Zech. 12:10).

  8. Thankfulness of soul for such a mercy; than which there cannot be a greater: if a man is truly impressed with a sense of it, he will call upon his soul, and all within him, to bless and praise the Lord for all his benefits; and particularly for this, “who forgiveth all thine iniquities” (Ps. 103:2, 3). Think with what gratitude and thankfulness a condemned malefactor, and just ready to be executed, receives his pardon from the king! with that, and much more, souls sensible of sin, the demerit of it, and danger by it, receive pardon of all their sins, through the blood of Christ, from the King of kings.

Sixthly, The properties of pardon.

  1. It is an act of God’s free grace; it is according to the “riches” of it; that is, the plenty of it, which is abundantly displayed in it; and according to the “multitude of his tender mercies”, mercy being richly shown forth in it, (Eph 1:7 Ps 51:1. It is an act of the Father’s grace, who has found the ransom; and, upon it, delivered men from going down to the pit of corruption; has set forth Christ to be the propitiation,

    through faith in his blood, for the remission of sins, and does, for his sake, freely forgive them: and it is an act of the Son’s grace, in shedding his blood for the remission of it: and it is an act of the Spirit’s grace, to lead to the blood of Jesus, which speaks peace and pardon; to that fountain opened to wash in for sin and uncleanness; to take of the things of Christ, his blood, righteousness, and sacrifice, and show interest in them, and make application of them. Pardon of sin is one of the things freely given of God, which the Spirit gives knowledge of; and it is an act of sovereign, unmerited, and distinguishing grace. God bestows it on whom he pleases, according to his sovereign will, and on persons altogether undeserving of it, who have been guilty of all manner of sin, of sins of omission and commission; and yet to such he says, “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake” (Isa. 43:25), and it is bestowed on some, and not others, who are equally as bad as the others; and on men, and not angels; for to the angels that sinned no sparing pardoning mercy is extended; only to rebellious, sinful men.

  2. It is a point of justice; God is just, while he pardons those that repent of their sins, confess them, and believe in Christ; “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins” (1 John 1:9), just on account of the blood of his Son being shed for the remission of sin, and faithful to his counsel, covenant, and promises, to grant it upon that footing; and hence also Christ, as an advocate, calls for it, and demands it in right of justice; that it be applied to his people, for whom he shed his blood; and became the propitiatory sacrifice for their sins; which he powerfully and effectually pleads on their behalf, (ljo 2:1,2.

  3. It is a complete act; it is a forgiveness of all the sins and trespasses of God’s people, not one is left unforgiven; and it is done “simul” and “semel”, together and at once; though the manifestation and application may be made at different times, as wanted by believers; yet in the mind of God it passed at once; even a full as well as free forgiveness of all sins, past, present, and to come. Nor is it any objection to this, that then sins must be forgiven before they are committed; so they are, in virtue of Christ’s suretyship engagements, and the performance of them.

  4. It is an act that will never be repealed; it is one of

    those gifts of grace which are without repentance, and will never be revoked; it is a blessing God has given in covenant, and in and with his Son Jesus Christ, and it is irreversible; it is one of those things which God does, which are for ever; sins once pardoned are always so; when sought for they shall not be found; they are removed from the pardoned sinner as far as the east is from the west; God has cast them behind his back, and will never set them more in the light of his countenance; he has cast them into the depths of the sea, and wild never fetch them up again.

  5. It is one of the chief articles of faith, and blessings of grace; it stands the first of those benefits, on account of which the Psalmist called upon his soul to bless God for, (Ps 103:2,3 next to eternal election, it is reckoned among the spiritual blessings saints are blessed with in Christ; being a branch of redemption through his blood (Eph. 1:3, 4, 7), and happy is the man that has an interest in it; he has peace and comfort now, and may rejoice in hope of the glory of God hereafter!

Seventhly, answer some questions relating to pardon of sin; which do not so naturally fall under any of the above points.

Q1. Whether any sin is venial or pardonable in its own nature, and does not deserve eternal death? The reason of this question is, the distinction the Papists make between venial and mortal sins; some sins, they say, are in their own nature venial, pardonable, or not deserving of eternal death, only some lesser chastisement, while others are mortal, and deserving of death: but there is no room nor reason for such a distinction; no sin is venial or pardonable in itself but mortal, and deserving of death; though every kind of sin is venial or pardonable, or rather is pardoned through the grace of God and blood of Christ, excepting one. There is a difference in sins, some are greater, others lesser; (see John 19:11) some are breaches of the more weightier matters, or precepts of the law, as those against the first table of it; others of the lesser matters, or precepts of it, as those against the second table; some are attended with more aggravated circumstances than others, being committed against light and knowledge, and under the enjoyment of great blessings and privileges (Luke 12:47, 48; Matthew 11:22, 24) while others are done ignorantly without knowledge of the Lord’s will, and not favored with

means that others have; yet every sin is mortal, or deserving of death: death was threatened to sin before it was committed, in case it should: and the first sin brought death into the world with it, and the end of all other sins is death; death is the wages and just demerit of sin; every sin is committed against God, and is objectively infinite, and deserving of infinite and everlasting punishment; it is a breach of his law, and every disobedience to that has a just recompense of reward annexed to it; righteous punishment, or the wrath of God it reveals and works; the breach of the least of the commands of it is liable to divine resentment; and he that offends in one point is guilty of all; the least sin leaves a stain which what is done or used by the sinner cannot remove; and such pollution excludes from the kingdom of God; the least sin, even every sin of thought, word, and deed, will be brought into judgment, and must be accounted for: though all manner of sin is venial, or pardonable, or is pardoned through the grace of God and blood of Christ; God forgives iniquity, transgression, and sin, which include all sorts of sin; sins of the greatest magnitude, and of the deepest die, are blotted out for Christ’s sake; such as are like crimson and scarlet become through him as white as wool, as white as snow; his blood cleanses from sin; every sin is forgiven, but the sin against the Holy Ghost (Matthew 12:31,32)

Q2. Whether any sin will be forgiven in the world to come? The reason of this question is, because it is said of the sin against the Holy Ghost, that it shall “not be forgiven, neither in this world nor in the world to come”; which seems to imply, that though that sin shall not then be forgiven, others may: but the meaning of the expression is, that it shall never be forgiven; it is a phrase expressive of endless duration, that that sin shall always remain unpardonable, and does not suppose anything concerning other sins; and therefore the answer to be returned to the question is, that there will be no forgiveness of any sin at all in the other world. As for the sins of God’s people, the remission of them is perfect; all of them have been laid on Christ, and bore by him; and he has finished and made an end of them all; and has made perfect reconciliation and satisfaction for them; and God, Christ’s sake, has forgiven all trespasses, and no new sins will he committed by them; the will of God will be done by them with the same perfection as by the

angels; there will be no sin in them, and done by them, to be pardoned; there will be indeed a general declaration of pardon, and of their being blessed with that and all other blessings comprehended in Christ’s address to them, “Come, ye blessed of my Father”; and they will live under a continual sense of pardoning grace, and in admiration of it, and thankfulness for it; but no particular act of pardon will be passed by God, nor applied to them for any particular sin: and as for others, the door will be shut upon them at the day judgment; the door of the ministry of the word; repentance and remission of sins will be no more preached in the name of Christ; after this there will be no repentance of sin in sinners, nor faith to believe in Christ for the remission of sins; these graces will not be bestowed on any in the other world, the door of mercy will be shut, and never opened to men any more.

Q3. Whether the sins of pardoned ones will be made known and exposed to others in the day of judgment! I think not; my reasons are, because none but their good works are taken notice of in Matthew 25:1-46 because it does not seem consistent with the nature of pardon: pardon of sin is expressed by a covering of it; when God forgives sins he covers them, and he will never uncover them, or take off the blood and righteousness of his Son; and if he does not uncover them, who can? neither angels, nor men, nor devils: it is a blotting them as a cloud; and when a cloud is broke to pieces and scattered, it can never be collected together any more; sins are cast behind the hack of God, and into the depths of the sea; and are removed as far as the east is from the west, and can never, though sought for, be found more. Nor does it consist with the state and condition of the pardoned ones that their sins should be exposed; Christ, who has taken so much pains to sanctify and cleanse his church, that he might present her to himself a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, will never suffer their sins ever more to appear; the church will now descend from heaven as a bride adorned and prepared for her husband, having the glory of God upon her, and clothed with the shining robes of immortality and glory, as well as with the fine linen, clean and white, the righteousness of her Lord; it will now be her open consummate marriage with the Lamb; and it seems quite out of all character,

that he should suffer her faults, failings, sins, and transgressions, to be exposed on her wedding day; and which would, one would think, cause shame and blushing, which seems not consistent with that state of happiness.

Q4. Whether it is now the duty of saints to pray for the pardon of sin? Prayer itself is a moral duty, and incumbent on all; and the light of nature will direct persons in distress to pray to God for relief; and when they suppose they have offended. Deity by sin, and he is angry with them, and his judgments are, or they fear will come upon them; it is natural to them to pray unto him to forgive them, and deliver them out of present troubles, or what they fear are coming upon them; as may be observed in Jonah’s mariners, who were heathens; and the apostle directed Simon Magus, an unregenerate man, and known by him to be so, to “pray” to God if perhaps “the thought of his heart” might be “forgiven” him (Acts 8:22). But this comes not up to the question, which is, Whether pardoned sinners should pray for the pardon of sin? to which it may be answered, That either these pardoned ones have a comfortable sense and perception of the pardon of their sins, or they have not; if they have, they have no need, at present at least, to pray even for the manifestation of it to them, since they have it already; if they have not a comfortable view of it, which is sometimes the case of pardoned ones, as it was of the church, when she said, “We have transgressed and rebelled, thou hast not pardoned” (Lam. 3:42), they will then see it both their duty, and privilege, and interest, to pray for a comfortable view and fresh manifestation of it: and whereas saints are daily sinning in thought, word, or deed, Christ has directed to make a daily petition of it, that when we pray that God would give us “day by day our daily bread”, that he would also “forgive us our sins” (Luke 11:3, 4), and it appears to have been the practice of saints in all ages to pray for the pardon of sin in some sense, and as it seems in the sense suggested; so Moses prayed when the people of Israel had sinned at Sinai, “Pardon our iniquity and our sin” (Ex. 34:9), so David prayed, “For thy name’s sake, O Lord, pardon mine iniquity, for it is great” (Ps. 25:11). A strange plea this! a reason, one would think, why it should not be pardoned, than why it should be pardoned; and it was so great in his apprehension, that if he had not a

discovery and application of pardon made to him, he could not bear up under it; and as he prayed thus, and with success, he observes it for the encouragement of other saints to do so likewise; “I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord”, and so he did; “and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin; for this shall everyone that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found” (Ps. 32:5, 6), that is, for the pardon of their sins, and the evidence of it, when they stood in need thereof; so Daniel prayed for himself and others, “O Lord hear, O Lord forgive” (Dan. 9:19), and so New Testament saints are directed by Christ to pray, as has been observed: but then it must he understood in an explained sense, consistent with the nature of pardon, as procured by Christ, and passed by God; it cannot be supposed that saints should pray that Christ’s blood may be shed again to procure fresh pardon for them; nor that any fresh act of pardon should be passed in the divine mind, since God has forgiven all trespasses through the blood of his Son, shed once for all; but that they might have fresh manifestations, discoveries, and application of pardon, as they stand in need of them, being continually sinning against God: in no other sense can I understand that pardon of sin can be prayed for by the saints.

There are several other questions that might be put, but they are superseded by what has been already said concerning them; as, Why the sin against the Holy Ghost is said to be unpardonable? the reason of which is given (see on “Of Actual Sins &c”). And whether one man can forgive another? and in what sense? to which the answer is, He may, and in some cases, ought; as it is an injury and offence to himself: and whether sins against God can be forgiven by himself without a satisfaction to his justice? and whether if, upon a satisfaction, how can pardon be free, or of free grace? The answer to these questions may be found in a preceding chapter.


Chapter 8

OF JUSTIFICATION

Pardon of sin, and justification from it, are very closely connected; the one follows upon the other; according to the position of them in some passages of scripture, pardon is first, and justification next; (as in Acts 13:38, 39; 26:18), though they are not, the one,

in reality, prior to the other; they are both together in the divine mind, and in the application of them to the conscience of a sinner; indeed, according to the order of causes, justification by the righteousness of Christ, imputed, may be considered as before pardon; since God forgives sin for Christ’s sake; that is, for the sake of his righteousness imputed. Now that for the sake of which a thing is, must be before that for which it is, as the cause is before the effect. Some take them to be the same, and that justification lies solely in the remission of sins; and others more rightly make the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, and forgiveness of sins, the two parts of justification, distinct ones; while others think they are not two integral parts, really distinct, but only one act, respecting two terms, “a quo et ad quern”; just as by one and the same act darkness is expelled from the air, and light is introduced; so by one and the same act of justification, the sinner is absolved from guilt, and pronounced righteous; hence they suppose such express the whole of justification, who say, it consists in the remission of sins, and those that say it consists in the imputation of righteousness; because when God forgives men their sins, he pronounces them righteous, through the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to them; and when he pronounces them righteous, by that he forgives them their sins; remission of sin supposes the imputation of Christ’s righteousness; and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness infers the remission of sin. But though these are not to be separated, yet they are to be distinguished; and I should choose to consider them, not as distinct parts of the same thing, but as distinct blessings of grace; for though pardon and justification agree in some things, in others they differ. In some things they agree.

  1. In their efficient cause, God: as God only can and does forgive sin, it is his prerogative, it is peculiar to him; so it is God that justifies the sinner, and he only; “there is one God, who justifies the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith”; that is, that justifies both Jews and Gentiles, who believe in Christ (Mark 2:7; Rom. 3:30).

  2. In their moving cause, the free grace of God: pardon of sin is owing to the riches of God’s grace, and the multitude of his tender mercy; and justification is ascribed to the grace of God, and is said to be freely by his grace (Eph 1:7; Ps. 51:1; Titus 3:7; Rom. 3:24).

  3. In their procuring cause, the blood of Christ: the blood of Christ was shed to procure the remission of sins, and it is by it; and so likewise justification is by the same blood (Matthew 26:28; Rom. 5:9).

  4. In the objects of it: the same persons that are pardoned are justified, and the same that are justified are pardoned; to whom God imputes the righteousness of Christ, to their justification, to them he gives the remission of sin; and to whom he does not impute sin, but forgives it, he imputes righteousness without works (Rom. 4:6-8).

  5. In their commencement and completion: pardon and justification commence together, and both are finished at once, “simul” and “semel”; and are not carried on in a gradual and progressive way, as sanctification is (Col. 2:13; Acts 13:39).

  6. In the manner of actual enjoying them, which is in a way of receiving, and that by faith; it is by faith men receive the forgiveness of sins; and by it they receive abundance of grace, and the gift of righteousness to justification of life; and, this is what the Scriptures call justification by faith (Acts 26:18; Rom. 5:1, 17, 18). But though they agree in these things, in others they differ.

  1. Pardon is of men that are sinners, and who remain such, and may be called so, though pardoned sinners; but justification is a pronouncing persons righteous, as if they had never sinned; it is one thing for a man to be arraigned at the bar as a criminal, and be tried, cast, and condemned, and after that be pardoned; and another thing for a man to be tried by law, and to be found and declared righteous by it, as though he had not transgressed it.

  2. Pardon takes away sin from the sinner, but does not give him a righteousness, as justification does; pardon takes away the filthy garments; but it is justification that clothes with change of raiment, with the robe of Christ’s righteousness; these are two distinct things (Zech. 3:4).

  3. Pardon frees from punishment, and an obligation to it, as it takes away guilt; “the Lord hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die” (2 Sam. 12:13), but does not entitle to everlasting life, happiness, and glory: that justification does, and therefore is called “justification of life”; and in consequence of which men are made heirs, according to the hope of eternal life (Rom. 5:18; Titus 3:7). When a king pardons a criminal, he

    does not by that act entitle him to an estate, much less to his crown and kingdom; but if he will, when he has pardoned him, take him to court, and make him his son and heir, it must be by another distinct act of royal favour.

  4. More is required for justification than for pardon; the blood of Christ was, sufficient to procure pardon, and did procure it: but to the justification of a sinner, the holiness of the human nature of Christ, the perfect obedience of his life, and his bloodshed, and sufferings of death, are and must be imputed.

  5. The righteousness of Christ, by which men are justified, is the fulfilling of the law; Christ came to fulfil it in the room of his people; and he is the fulfilling end of it to them, for righteousness; which is inherent in him, the author of it: not so pardon; that does not fulfill the law, gives no righteousness; nor does it reside in Christ, as righteousness does (Rom. 10:4; Isa. 45:24).

  6. Pardon lies in the non-imputation of sin; justification in the imputation of righteousness: righteousness is imputed, but pardon is not (Rom. 4:6,7).

  7. Justification passed on Christ, as the head and representative of his people; but not pardon: Christ having had the sins of his people imputed to him, and having made satisfaction to the justice of God for them, he was acquitted, discharged, and justified; but not pardoned: we may truly say, Christ was justified, and that God justified him, because the Scriptures say so; but not that he was pardoned; such an expression would sound harsh, and be very unwarrantable; see (Isa 50:8, 9; 1 Tim. 3:16).

  8. An innocent person, falsely charged, may be acquitted and justified, when he cannot be said to be pardoned; yea, such who need no pardon, as Adam did not in his state of innocence, and the elect angels in heaven; yet may be said to he justified, that is declared to be just and righteous: so men, in the present state, could they perfectly fulfil the law, as they cannot, would be justified by it; for “the doers of the law are justified; he that does these things shall live by them” (Rom. 2:13; 10:5). Moreover, if justification and pardon are to be considered as cause and effect, as before observed, they must be distinct, and are not to be confounded.

The doctrine of justification by the righteousness

of Christ is a doctrine of great importance; the apostle speaks of it as if the essence of the gospel lay in it; and calls the opposite to it, justification by the works of the law, another gospel; (see Gal. 1:6,7; 3:8), it is a fundamental article of the gospel; some have called it, the “basis” of Christianity; it was the great doctrine of the reformation; what our first reformers made their chief study; and by it cut the sinews of “popery”, the antichristian doctrines of penance and purgatory, of pardons and indulgences, of the merit of good works, works of supererogation, &c. Luther used to call it, “articulus stantis vel cedentis ecclesiae” the article of the church, by which it stands or falls; as this is, the church is; if this obtains, the church is in a well settled and prosperous state; but if this loses ground, and is rejected, it is in a ruinous one: if this is a rule to judge by, it may be easily discerned, in what case the church, and interest of religion, now are. This doctrine is the ground and foundation of all solid joy, peace, and comfort, in this life, and hope of eternal glory hereafter.

I have, in a former part of this work, see “Justification” 853, treated of justification, as an immanent and eternal act in God; and so it may be said to be from eternity, and before faith; and in what sense it is so, with a removal of objections, has been shown in the place referred to; and therefore shall only now discourse concerning justification, as it terminates in the conscience of a believer; and which the scriptures style justification by faith. I shall,

  1. Consider the act of justification, and in what sense the word is to be taken. And,

    1. It is not to be understood of instructing men in the scheme and method of justification, whether in a legal or evangelical way (Acts 15:1; 1 Tim. 1:7; Dan.

      12:3).

    2. Nor is it to be understood of making men righteous, by infusing righteousness into them; for this is to confound justification and sanctification together, which are two distinct things (1 Cor. 1:30; 6:11), this is sanctification: the righteousness by which men are justified, is imputed to them; but the righteousness of sanctification is inherent in them; that by which men are justified, are the obedience and blood of Christ; but infused holiness is neither of these.

      The word “justify” is never used in a physical sense, for producing any real internal change in men;

      but in a forensic sense, and stands opposed, not to a state of impurity and unholiness, but to a state of condemnation; it is a law term, and used of judicial affairs, transacted in a court of judicature; (see Deut. 25:1; Prov. 17:15; Isa. 5:22; Matthew 12:37), where justification stands opposed to condemnation; and this is the sense of the word whenever it is used in the doctrine under consideration; so in Job 9:2, 3 and 25:4 so by David (Ps. 143:2), and in all Paul’s epistles, where the doctrine of justification is treated of, respect is had to courts of judicature, and to a judicial process in them; men are represented as sinners, charged with sin, and pronounced guilty before God, and subject to condemnation and death; when, according to this evangelic doctrine, they are justified by the obedience and blood of Christ, cleared of all charges, acquitted and absolved, and freed from condemnation and death, and condemned to eternal life; (see Rom. 3:9,19; 5:9,16,18,19; 8:1, 33, 34; Gal.

      2:16,17; Titus 3:7).

    3. Justification is to be understood in this doctrine, not of justification before men, before whom men may appear righteous (Matthew 23:28), but in the sight of God, in whose sight they cannot be justified by the works of the law (Rom. 3:20). Nor of the justification of a man’s cause; or of his vindication from the calumnies of men (1 Sam. 12:5, 6; Ps. 7:8; Job 13:18). Nor of the justification of a man’s faith by his works; thereby proving the genuineness and sincerity of it: so the faith of Abraham, and of Rahab, was justified by their works; or their faith in the promises made unto them, was proved to be genuine and sincere; the one by offering up his Son; and the other by hiding the spies (Jas. 2:21-25). But of the justification of the persons of men before God; and this is either legal or evangelical: legal, on condition of a person’s fulfilling the whole law, or yielding perfect obedience to it; which, in man’s present state and circumstances, is impossible (Rom. 2:13; 10:5; 8:3, 4). Evangelical; which is an act of God’s grace, accounting and pronouncing a person righteous, through the righteousness of Christ imputed to him, and received by faith; so “by the obedience of one many are made righteous”; and, Christ is of God, “made righteousness to them”; and they are “made the righteousness of God in him”; are reckoned perfectly righteous through him, and so stand justified

      and accepted in the sight of God (Rom. 5:19; 1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 5:21), and this is the justification we are treating of; concerning which further observe,

  2. The causes of it. The “moving cause” is the grace of God; it was the sovereign grace, favour, and goodwill of God, which put him upon forming the scheme and method of justification; which moved him to appoint and send his Son, to work out, and bring in a righteousness for the justification of his people; and then to accept of it as their justifying righteousness, and to impute it freely to them, without works: the procuring, meritorious, or material cause of justification, is the righteousness of Christ imputed, which will be treated of more largely, when we come to consider the matter of justification; or what that is, for the sake of which, any of the sons of men are justified before God. At present I shall only attend to the efficient cause of justification, who is God; “It is God that justifies” (Rom. 8:33; 3:26, 30; Gal. 3:8), which is marvelous; since,

    1. He is the Judge of all the earth, who will do right, and will by no means clear the guilty. Judges among men, by his orders and instructions, and as they would forfeit his displeasure, were not to justify the wicked; and yet he, who is Judge himself in the earth, “justifies the ungodly”: but then it should be observed, that he does not justify them without a righteousness, but upon the foot of Christ’s righteousness; so that though he justifies the ungodly, yet not as ungodly, but as righteous, through the righteousness of his Son; hence it is, that it is one of the privileges of such persons, that they can “come to God, the Judge of all”, without fear and dread, appearing before him perfectly righteous in Christ the Mediator (Heb. 12:23, 24).

    2. Whose law is the rule by which he judges, and that law broken by men, and yet he justifies them. The law is holy, just, and good, and requires perfect, sinless obedience of men, but is broken by them in ten thousand instances; and he that offends in one point, is guilty of all, and the law pronounces him guilty, and curses and condemns him; and yet God, who judges according to this law, justifies them (Rom. 2:12), but then it should be observed, that Christ has fulfilled the law, in the room and stead of these persons; so that “the righteousness of the law” is said to be “fulfilled in them”; and it is considered as if it was fulfilled by them; and on this account they are legally acquitted,

      discharged, and justified, according to this law; its demands being fully satisfied by Christ.

    3. Sin, the breach of the law of God, is committed against him, and is hateful to him, and yet he justifies from it; every sin, being a transgression of the law, is against God, the Lawgiver, and cannot but be resented by him, and be an abomination to him; he hates it, and the workers of it; well then might Bildad say, “How then can man be justified with God?” (Job 25:4), and yet he is.

    4. It is that God that justifies, who will not admit of an imperfect righteousness, in the room of a perfect one: man’s righteousness is imperfect, and cannot be reckoned as a perfect one by him, whose judgment is according to truth; nor will it stand in judgment, nor answer for the sinner at the bar of God, and justify in his sight; and yet God justifies; but then it is through the perfect righteousness of Christ, who is “the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes” (Rom. 10:4).

    5. That God, who is the Lawgiver, and is able to save and to destroy, who has power to destroy both body and soul in hell, and would be just in so doing, and into whose hands it is a fearful thing to fall, yet he justifies. Now this act of justification, as ascribed to God, belongs to all the three Persons in the Godhead; they are all concerned in it, Father, Son, and Spirit.

    First, God the Father; who, in many places where he is spoken of as a justifier, is distinguished from Christ; as where it is said, “It is God that justifieth— who shall condemn? It is Christ that died!” Again, God is said to “be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus” (Rom. 8:34; 3:25, 26), the same that justifies the head, justifies the members; now it is the Father that justified Christ, the head of his elect, of whom Christ says, He is near that justifieth me (Isa. 50:8).

    l. God the Father contrived the scheme and method of justification; it would have been a puzzling question to angels and men, had not he resolved it; “How should man”, sinful man, “be just with God?” But God, in his infinite wisdom, “found a ransom”, a Ransomer, a Redeemer of his people, to bring in everlasting righteousness for them, and thereby acquit and discharge them, and “deliver them from going down to the pit” of ruin and destruction; “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself”; was,

    with him, forming the scheme of their peace and reconciliation, of their redemption, justification, and salvation; “not imputing their trespasses”, but the righteousness of his Son unto them (Job 33:24; 2 Cor. 5:19).

    1. He sent his Son, in the fullness of time, to execute this scheme; he sent him in human nature, “made under the law”, subject to it, in the room and stead of his people, and to yield a perfect obedience to it; and he sent him “in the likeness of sinful flesh”, with their sins imputed to him; and by making him a sacrifice for sin, through his sufferings and death, he bore the penalty of the law, that so the whole “righteousness of the law”, or all it could demand, both with respect to precept and penalty, “might be fulfilled in” them; they being represented by him (Gal. 4:4; Rom. 8:3,4).

    2. A perfect righteousness being wrought out by Christ, agreeable to the requirements of law and justice, by which the law is magnified and made honorable, and justice satisfied; God the Father approves of it, is well pleased with it, and accepts of it as the justifying righteousness of them that believe in Christ.

    3. He imputes this righteousness to believers as their own: this is the Father’s act of grace (Rom. 4:6). “Of Him”, that is, of God the Father, “are ye in Christ Jesus”, chosen in him, and united to him; “who, of God” (the Father) “is made unto us righteousness”; which is done by his act of imputation (Rom. 4:6; 1 Co 1:30).

    Secondly, God the Son, the second Person, is concerned in the justification of men; “By his knowledge”, says Jehovah the Father, “shall my righteous Servant justify many” (Isa. 53:11).

    1. Christ, as a divine Person, as he has power to forgive sin, so to absolve and justify from it; of which we have some instances, even when he was here on earth, in human nature, as to the man sick of the palsy he said, “Thy sins are forgiven thee!” and to the woman taken in adultery, “Neither do I condemn thee!” which was a full acquittal and discharge; and to his apostles he said, “Ye are clean”, every whit clean, free from sin, and fully absolved from it, “Through the word I have spoken to you”; the sentence of justification by his blood and righteousness he had pronounced upon them (Matthew 9:2; John 8:11; 15:3; 13:10).

    2. As Mediator, Christ is the author of that

      righteousness by which sinners are justified; as he was to bring in an everlasting righteousness, he has brought in one; hence he is called, The Lord our Righteousness, the Son of righteousness, and the end of the law for righteousness; and men are made righteous by his obedience, and justified by his blood (Jer. 23:6; Mai. 4:2; Rom. 10:4; 5:9,19)

    3. As the head and representative of his people, they are justified in him; as Adam’s natural posterity, sinning in him, were condemned in him, judgment came upon them all unto condemnation: so all Christ’s spiritual seed and offspring are justified in him; for “in the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory”; as he was “delivered” into the hands of justice and death “for their offences”, to make satisfaction for them, so he was “raised again for their justification”; and when he was raised, he was justified, acquitted, and discharged himself from all the sins of his people, imputed to him, having satisfied for them; and then they were justified in him (Isa. 45:25; Rom. 4:25; 1 Tim. 3:16).

    4. As Christ has wrought out a righteousness for is people, so he actually puts it upon them, clothes them with it: says the church, “He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness”: he is that Angel of the Lord before whom Joshua was brought, and accused Satan; and to whom he himself said, “I will clothe with change of raiment” (Isa. 61:10; Zech. 3:4).

    5. As it is to faith the righteousness of Christ is revealed, and by faith it is received, hence believers are said to be justified by faith; so this faith, as well as righteousness, is of Christ; as he is the object of it, “Ye believe in God, believe also in me”; so he is the “author” and “finisher” of it (John 14:1; Heb. 12:2).

    Thirdly, The Holy Spirit of God, the third Person, has also a concern in the justification of sinners.

    1. He convinces men of righteousness, of their want of righteousness; of the weakness, imperfection, and insufficiency of their own righteousness, that they have none that can be called a righteousness; and that unless they have a better righteousness than that, they will never enter into the kingdom of heaven (John 16:8).

    2. He brings near the righteousness of Christ; not only externally, in the ministry of the word; but internally, by the illumination of his grace; this is one of the things of Christ he takes and shows to souls

      enlightened by him; he shows them the fulness, glory, and suitableness of the righteousness of Christ, how perfect it is, how adequate to all the demands of law and justice, and how suitable to them; to cover their naked souls, to secure them from condemnation and death, to justify them before God, and render them acceptable in his sight, and entitle them to eternal life.

    3. He works faith in convinced and enlightened persons, to look at the righteousness of Christ, and take a view of its glories and excellencies; to approve of it, desire it, and to lay hold on it, and receive it as their justifying righteousness. Such a faith is of the operation of God, of the Spirit of God; it is what he works in the saints, and enables them to exercise it; hence he is called, “the Spirit of faith” (Col. 2:13; 2 Cor. 4:13).

    4. He bears witness to their spirits, that they are interested in the righteousness of Christ, and are justified by it; and he pronounces the sentence of justification in their consciences, or declares them justified, in the name of Christ, and on account of his righteousness; and which is the meaning of their being justified “in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:11).

  3. The objects of justification; and they are the elect;. “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth!” that is, the elect (Rom. 8:33), for who else can be meant?

    1. Elect men, and not elect angels; for though there are elect angels, and these are holy, just, and righteous; and so may be declared to be what they are, just and righteous, and in that sense justified; yet, since they never laboured under the suspicion of a crime, nor were ever chargeable with any, they cannot, in a strict sense, be said to be justified. But elect men, who are sinners in Adam, as chosen in Christ their Head, are reckoned righteous; for justification is a branch of election, in which the elect are reckoned as righteous, through the righteousness of Christ: and these being the objects of justification, show the eternity of that act, since election was from the beginning, and before the foundation, of the world; and the specialty of it, since the elect are a special and peculiar people; and the security of it, for it is certain, being closely connected with predestination, whom God predestinates, he calls and justifies; and its being a security from wrath and condemnation; for whom he justifies he glorifies,

      (Rom. 8:30).

    2. Redeemed ones are the objects of justification; all that are chosen are redeemed; and all that are redeemed are justified; justification proceeds upon redemption; “Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24), by which they are redeemed from all their iniquities, and from all the curses of the law due unto them, and so are acquitted and discharged.

    3. Pardoned ones; for all that are chosen and redeemed are pardoned, and those are justified: the chosen are pardoned; for the Lord says, “I will pardon them whom I reserve” (Jer. 50:20), that is, whom he has reserved for himself by the act of election: and the redeemed are pardoned; for forgiveness of sin is a branch of redemption; “In whom we have redemption, through his blood, the forgiveness of sin” (Eph 1:7), and whose sins are forgiven, they are justified, (Rom. 4:6, 7).

    4. Hence it appears, that the objects of justification are not all men; for all men are not chosen; they are only a remnant, according to the election of grace: nor are all men redeemed; for those that are redeemed, are redeemed from among men, and out of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation: nor are all pardoned; for there are some whose sins go beforehand to judgment, and are never forgiven: nor do all men believe; faith is peculiar to God’s elect: nor are all men saved from wrath, as they would be, if justified by the blood of Christ; some will go into everlasting punishment, when the righteous shall go into everlasting life: and so all are not justified; though there is an all that are justified, even all the seed and offspring of Christ, the seed of Israel on whom the gift of righteousness comes to justification of life (Isa. 45:25; Rom. 5:18).

    5. Yet they are many (Isa. 53:11; Rom. 5:19), for whom Christ gave his life a ransom; and whose blood was shed for the remission of their sins; those are said to be many (Matthew 20:28; 26:28).

    6. The objects of justification are described as sinners, and ungodly: “sinners” (Gal. 2:17), “ungodly” (Rom. 4:5). So they are, in their unregenerate state: but when converted, they are described as believers in Christ; for the righteousness of Christ is “unto all, and upon all them that believe”; it is applied unto them, and put upon them; and they have a comfortable sense and perception of their justification by it; they

    “believe in Jesus Christ, that they might be justified by the faith of Christ”; by Christ, the object of faith, and through believing in him, have a comfortable view of their justification before God, and acceptance with him; hence it is said, that “by him all that believe are justified”, openly and manifestatively, and have the testimony and comfort of it within themselves; and these may be said to be “justified by faith”; by Christ, and his righteousness received by faith, (Rom. 5:1 3:22 Gal. 2:16 Acts 13:39) and such are not nominal believers, who only have a notional, historical faith, or who only profess to believe, as Simon Magus did; but who, “with the heart, believe unto righteousness”; who truly and heartily believe in the righteousness of Christ for their justification before God; and such shall never come into condemnation, (Rom. 10:10 John 5:24).

  4. The charges, or sins, such are justified from. “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth”, (Rom. 8:33) from all charges, all that may be truly brought against them, all criminal charges they are chargeable with.

  1. They are chargeable with original sin, the sin of the first man; they were, seminally, in his loins, when he eat the forbidden fruit; as Levi was in the loins of Abraham, when be paid tithes to Melchizedek: they were federally in him, as their covenant head and representative, and sinning in him, they became chargeable therewith; and judgment so far proceeded against them, as to bring them under the sentence of condemnation and death; but God justifies and acquits them from that offence, through the gift of his Son’s righteousness, which comes unto them to justification of life; and he frees them from the charge of that disobedience by which they were made sinners, through the imputation of Christ’s obedience to them,

    (Rom. 5:12,18,19)

  2. They are chargeable with impurity of nature, and a want of original righteousness; which Adam, by sinning, lost, and all his posterity are without it; they are conceived in sin, and bring an impure nature into the world with them; which is the case of all, even of God’s elect. The law requires purity and holiness of nature, and charges with the want of it; but God justifies from this charge, through the imputation of the holiness of Christ; human nature to them, which is a branch of their justification; and is thought, by

some divines, to be “the law of the Spirit, of life” in him, which “frees from the law of sin and death”; and who is made, to his people, “sanctification” and righteousness; and was typified by the high priest, having an inscription on his forehead, “Holiness to the Lord” (Rom. 8:21; Cor. 1:30; Ex. 28:36).

3. They are chargeable with actual sins, before conversion, and those many, and some very heinous; and yet God justifies from them all; as Saul was chargeable with blasphemy, persecution, and doing injury to others; but obtained pardoning mercy, and a justifying righteousness: the Corinthians were guilty of some of the blackest crimes, and most enormous sins, yet were justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God: the apostles, and others, before conversion, were disobedient, serving divers lusts and pleasures; and yet were justified, by the grace of God, and made heirs, according to the hope of eternal life (1 Tim. 1:13; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Titus 3:3, 7).

  1. They are chargeable with a multitude of sins, after conversion; with many revoltings, and sometimes with great backslidings; their failings and infirmities, errors and mistakes, are innumerable; yet all are forgiven, and they are cleansed and justified from them (Jas. 3:2; Ps. 19:12; Hosea 14:4).

  2. They are justified from all their sins, of whatsoever kind, that they can be charged with; for they that believe in Christ, “are justified from all things”, from all sins, from all criminal charges; God forgives all their trespasses, for Christ’s sake, and his blood cleanses from all sin (Acts 13:39; Col. 2:13; 1 John 1:7).

  3. They are justified by the righteousness of Christ, “from all things, from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses”; for there were some sins which the law made no provision of sacrifice for, as adultery and murder; such therefore that despised Moses’ law, by breaking it in such instances, “died without mercy”; but God justifies from all such sins, as well as others, through the righteousness of Christ (Acts 13:39; Heb. 10:28; 9:15, 26).

  4. God justifies his elect from all charges brought against them, from what quarter soever, and whether true or false; do they bring charges against themselves, as they often do? conscience, which is as a thousand witnesses, accuses and condemns them; but though

their hearts and consciences condemn them, God is greater than their hearts, and knows all things; what provisions he has made for them in covenant, what a righteousness his Son has wrought out for their justification; and though as on one hand, if a good man knows nothing by himself, yet he is not hereby justified; so on the other, though he knows much by himself and against himself, yet God clears him from all. Do saints bring chargers one against another, sore crimes rightly, and sometimes wrongly, whether privately or publicly: and do not forgive one another, as they should do, since God, for Christ’s sake, forgives them? yet God forgives all, and clears from all charges, true or false. Does the world bring charges against them, as they frequently do, even speak all manner of evil of them falsely, for Christ’s sake, as Tertullius the orator, against the apostle Paul? yet every tongue that riseth up in judgment against them God will condemn; for their “righteousness is of me, saith the Lord”; plainly suggesting, that he would justify and acquit them from all (Isa. 54:17). Does Satan go about the earth to pick up charges against the people of God, and then accuse them to him, as he did Job, whence he is called, “the accuser of the brethren?” Jehovah repels his charges, and rebukes him for them; an instance of this we have in the vision of Zechariah (Zech. 3:1-4). In a word, whatever charges the law of God brings against the elect, which is broken by them, and for which it accuses, pronounces guilty, curses and condemns, and whatever charges the justice of God can produce against them, the mouth of the one, and of the other, is stopped by the righteousness of Christ; by which the one is honored and magnified; and the other is satisfied and well pleased; and so a full justification from all charges takes place, and God is Just while he is the justifier of him that believes in Jesus.

5. The matter and form of justification, the righteousness of Christ imputed: the matter of justification, or that for the sake of which a sinner is justified, is the righteousness of Christ; the form and manner in which it is made over to such an one, and becomes his, is by imputation.

First, The matter of justification, the righteousness of Christ; and everything else must be removed from it, and denied of it. As,

1. First, a man’s own righteousness, or his

obedience to the law; this is expressly denied to be that by which a sinner can be justified; “By the deeds of the law, there shall no flesh be justified in his sight”, in the sight of God; that is, by works done in obedience to the law; and which is meant, not of the ceremonial, but the moral law; that law by which is the knowledge of sin, and which pronounces a man guilty of it before God, and stops his mouth, as the context shows; and is opposed to grace, which the ceremonial law is not, being of grace, given to relieve, under a sense of sin, by pointing to the Saviour, and his propitiatory sacrifice; and hence this conclusion is drawn, “Therefore we conclude, that a man is justified by faith”; by Christ and his righteousness, the object of faith; “without the works of the law”; being joined to Christ, and his righteousness, or considered as any part of a justifying righteousness, (Rom. 3:20,28). And to the same purpose are the words of the apostle, in Galatians 2:16. The reasons why a man’s own righteousness cannot be the matter of his justification before God, are,

  1. Because it is imperfect, and the law will not admit of an imperfect righteousness for justification; it requires perfect, sinless obedience; and not anything short of that will it allow to be a righteousness; “It shall be our righteousness”, says Moses, “if we observe to do all these commandments, before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us” (Deut. 6:25), so that if there is any failure, either in the matter or manner of obedience, it is no righteousness; and such obedience and righteousness, men, since the fall, were never capable of; the people of Israel, in general, followed after the law of righteousness; but did not attain to it, seeking it not by faith in Christ, in whom it is only found; but, as it were, by the works of the law, in which there is a deficiency, and so no righteousness:

    5ala. And those among them who made the largest pretensions to righteousness, fell short of it, as the Scribes and Pharisees; insomuch, that if a man’s righteousness does not exceed theirs, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven; nay, even the works of the truly just and good, are not perfect; “There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not” (Eccl. 7:20), hence good men, sensible of the insufficiency of their own righteousness, decline and deprecate entering into judgment with God upon that foot, acknowledging the impurity and imperfection of

    their obedience; on account of which, they know they could not be just with God (Job 9:2, 3, 20, 32; Ps.

    143:2; Isa. 64:6).

  2. If justification was by the works of men, it could not be by grace; for grace and works are opposed, and cannot consist together in the business of justification; for if it is of grace, then not of works; but justification is by grace, and therefore not by works; “Being justified freely by his grace” (Rom. 3:24), not only by grace, but freely by it; or by grace that is altogether free; and, indeed, as Austin says, it would not be grace if it was not so, or was any ways clogged with the works of men.

  3. If justification was by man’s obedience, it would not be by a righteousness without works, and that imputed, as it is; if it is by a man’s own righteousness, then not by a righteousness without works, for that consists entirely of works; and if a man’s own, then not imputed; whereas, the blessedness of justification, lies in the imputation of a righteousness without works, (Rom. 4:6).

  4. If justification could be by men’s obedience to the law, then there would have been no need of the righteousness of Christ, nor of his coming into the world to work out one; it would have been an unnecessary thing for God to send his Son, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, by him, if we could have fulfilled it ourselves; and not only his life, and the obedience of it, would have been useless, but his death also; for, as the apostle argues, “If righteousness came by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Gal. 2:21).

  5. If justification was by the works of men, boasting would be encouraged; whereas, God’s design in the whole scheme of salvation, and so in this branch of it, is to prevent it, lest any man should boast; “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay, but by the law of faith”; that is, not by the doctrine of justification, by the works of men, that would establish boasting; but by the doctrine of justification by faith in the righteousness of Christ, which leaves no room for it, (Rom. 3:27).

Secondly, Nor is man’s obedience to the gospel, as to a new and milder law, the matter of his justification before God. It was a notion, that some years ago obtained, that a relaxation of the law, and the severity of it, has been obtained by Christ; and a new law,

a remedial law, a law of milder terms, has been introduced by him, which is the gospel; the terms of which are, faith, repentance, and new obedience; and though these are imperfect, yet being sincere, they are accepted of by God, in the room of a perfect righteousness. But every article of this scheme is wrong; for,

  1. The law is not relaxed, nor any of its severity abated; there is no alteration made in it; neither with respect to its precepts, nor its penalty; it requires the same holy, just, and good things, it ever did; Christ came not to destroy it, but to fulfil it: nor is the sanction of it removed; though it is not made for, or does not lie against, a righteous man; yet it is made for, and lies against, the sinner and transgressor; and as it has the same commanding, so the same condemning power, to them that are under it; it accuses, pronounces guilty, condemns, and curses, even such who continue not in all things to observe it.

  2. Nor is the gospel a new law; there is nothing in it that looks like a law; it has no commands in it, but all promises; it is a pure declaration of grace and salvation by Christ; therefore called, the gospel of the grace of God, and the gospel of our salvation.

  3. Nor are faith, repentance, and new obedience, the terms of it, and required by it, as conditions of men’s acceptance with God; faith and repentance, as doctrines, are gospel doctrines, and parts of the gospel ministry; and as graces, are not terms and conditions required in it, to be performed by men of themselves; they are blessings of grace, declared in it, and are gifts of grace bestowed on men; faith is the gift of God, and repentance is a grant from him; and both they, and new and spiritual obedience, are provided for in the covenant of grace (Ezek. 36:26, 27).

  4. If these were terms and conditions, required of men, in the gospel, to be performed by them, in order to their acceptance with God, the gospel would not be a remedial law; nor these milder terms than those of the old law; for it was easier for Adam, in a state of innocence, to have kept the whole law, than it is for man, in his fallen state, to repent and believe in Christ, and perform new and spiritual obedience of himself; till God takes away the stony heart, and gives an heart of flesh, and gives grace, as well as time and space, to repent, men never will nor can repent of their sins: and faith is not of a man’s self; no man can come to

    Christ, that is, believe in him, unless it be given to him, and the Father draws him; and without Christ, his Spirit and grace, a man cannot do any good thing.

  5. Nor is it true, that God will accept of an imperfect righteousness in the room of a perfect one: nor can any thing more highly reflect upon the justice and truth of God, who is the Judge of all the earth, and will do right, and whose judgment is according to truth, and can never account that a righteousness which is not one.

5a3. Thirdly, nor is a profession of religion, even of the best religion, the Christian religion, the matter of justification before God; men may have a form of godliness without the power of it; they may submit to the ordinances of Christ, baptism, and the Lord’s Supper, and attend every duty of religion, and yet be far from righteousness: and even if a profession of religion was taken up upon right principles, on a good foundation, and held and maintained in an honorable manner, and even though a man may be ever so sincere in it, it is not the matter of his justification. For,

4thly, sincerity itself, in any religion, even in the best religion, is not a justifying righteousness. There may be sincerity in a bad religion, as well as in a good one; a man may be sincerely wrong, as well as sincerely right; may be a sincere Pagan, a sincere Papist, and a sincere Mohammedan, as well as a sincere Christian; yea, a man may be a sincere blasphemer of Christ, and a sincere persecutor of his followers, as the apostle Paul was, before conversion, and as the persecutors of Christ’s disciples (Acts 26:9; John 16:2), and taking sincerity in the best sense, as a grace of the Spirit of God, which accompanies all other graces, and denominates faith unfeigned, hope without hypocrisy, and love without dissimulation; it belongs to sanctification, and not justification; and is not the whole, nor any part of justifying righteousness. Fifthly, nor faith, the “to credere”, or act of believing; this is, by some, said to be imputed for

righteousness; but is not so; for,

  1. Faith, as a man’s act, is his own; and is called “his” faith, “thy” faith, and “my” faith (Hab. 2:5; Matthew 9:22; 15:28; Jas. 2:18), whereas, the righteousness by which a man is justified, is not his own, but another’s, and therefore not faith.

  2. Faith is imperfect; it is so in the greatest believers; the disciples of Christ saw need to pray,

    Lord, “increase our faith!” whereas, a righteousness to justify must be perfect; nothing else can be accounted a righteousness.

  3. Faith is not everlasting; as to its use; is only for the present life; it will be changed into vision: but the righteousness by which sinners are justified before God, and which was brought in by Christ for that purpose, is “everlasting righteousness” (Dan. 9:24).

  4. Faith and righteousness are manifestly distinguished; “The righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith”; and therefore faith cannot be that righteousness. “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness”; and therefore righteousness must be a distinct thing from faith; which “righteousness is unto all, and upon all them that believe”; and therefore must be different from that faith with which they believe, (Rom. 1:17; 10:10; 3:22).

  5. Something else, and not faith, is said to be that by which men are made righteous, and justified; as “the obedience of one”, Jesus Christ, by which “many are made righteous”; and the blood of Christ; “being justified by his blood” (Rom. 5:9, 19). Now faith is neither the one nor the other; and though men are said to be “justified by faith”, yet not as an act of men; for then they would be justified by works, contrary to express scripture; nor by it as a grace of the Spirit in men; for this would confound justification and sanctification together; but by the object of it, Christ, and his righteousness, apprehended, received, and embraced by faith. And though believers are said to be justified by faith, yet faith is never said to justify them.

  6. The passages produced to establish this notion, that faith is a man’s righteousness, are insufficient; “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness” (Rom. 4:3). And again (Rom. 4:5), “His faith is counted for righteousness”. And in (Rom. 4:9), “We say, that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness”. Now this can not be understood of the act of Abraham’s faith; but of the object of it, or that which he believed in, the righteousness of Christ, which God imputes, without works (Rom. 4:6), and that this must be the sense is clear, from this one single consideration, that the same “it” which was imputed to Abraham for righteousness, is imputed to all those who believe in God, who raised up Christ from the dead (Rom. 4:22-24). Now supposing

Abraham’s faith was imputed to him for a justifying righteousness; it cannot reasonably be thought that it should be imputed also for righteousness to all that believe in all succeeding ages.

Sixthly, Nor is the whole of sanctification the matter of justification; these two are distinct things, and not to be confounded; the one is a work of grace within men, the other an act of God’s grace towards and upon men; the one is imperfect, the other perfect; the one is carried on gradually, the other done at once. But the sole matter of justification, or that for the sake of which a sinner is justified before God, is the righteousness of Christ; and which is,

  1. Not his essential righteousness, as God; the righteousness by which men are justified is the righteousness of God, which was wrought out by Christ, who is God as well as man; but it is not that righteousness which is essential to him as God; he that is their righteousness is Jehovah, but the righteousness by which he is Jehovah, or which belongs to him as such, is not their righteousness, as Osiander dreamed; for this would be to deify them.

  2. Nor his righteousness, integrity, and fidelity, which he exercised in the discharge of his mediatorial office; that was personal and respected himself, and not relative to others; he was faithful to him that appointed him to that office, and he did his work in so upright a manner, that he obtained the character of God’s “righteous servant” (Isa. 11:5; 53:11), but though it is a righteousness he wrought out as mediator, which is imputed for justification, yet it is not his mediatorial righteousness, or the righteousness of his office, or that by which he showed the discharge of it.

  3. Nor does it consist of all the actions and works he did here on earth, nor of what he is doing in heaven; it wholly consists of those he wrought in his state of humiliation here on earth, yet not all of these; not his extraordinary and miraculous works, these were proofs of his Deity, and of his Messiahship; they were done and recorded to engage men to believe in him, and in his righteousness; but were no ingredients, as one observes, in that righteousness on which they were to believe. Nor is his work in heaven, appearing for his people there, interceding for them, and preparing mansions of glory for them, any part of the righteousness wrought out for them, and imputed to them. But,

  4. What he did and suffered in their nature on earth, and in their room and stead, and as their substitute and representative, commonly called his active and passive obedience; to which may be added the purity and holiness of his nature, and which altogether made up the (vouoi), “the righteousness of the law”, which was “fulfilled” by him, as their head and representative (Rom. 8:4), for whatever the law required is necessary to a sinner’s justification before God; and that requires of sinners more than it did of man in innocence. Man was created with a pure and holy nature, conformable to the pure and holy law of God; and it was incumbent on him to continue so, and to yield in it perfect and sinless obedience; and in failure thereof he was threatened with death; and now having sinned, whereby his nature is vitiated and corrupted, and his obedience become faulty and imperfect, suffering the penalty of the law is required; and all this is requisite to the justification of a sinner, purity of nature, perfection of obedience, and sufferings of death; all which meet in Christ, the representative of his people, in whom they are justified.

  1. Holiness of nature: some consider this only as a qualification for his office, and the due performance of it in human nature; whereby he was capable of yielding sinless obedience to the law, and was qualified as an high priest to offer himself a spotless sacrifice, and to be a proper advocate for sinners, being Jesus Christ the righteous; but this not only fitted him for his work, but made him suitable to us, “Such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless”; the law required an holy nature in conformity to it; it is wanting in us, it is found in Christ, “who is of God made to us sanctification”; see more of this under the “fourth head”.

  2. The obedience of Christ’s life, commonly called his active obedience, which was sinless and perfect; his whole life was in perfect conformity to the law, and was a continued series of holiness and obedience; the holiness of his nature appeared in all his actions, throughout his whole state of humiliation, from his birth to his death; in all which he was the representative of his people; what he did, he did in their room and stead, and therefore was reckoned as if done by them, and is imputed to them as their righteousness: there are some divines who exclude the active obedience of Christ from being any part

    of the righteousness by which men are justified; they allow it is a condition requisite in him as mediator, qualifying him for his office; but deny that it is the matter of justification, or that it is imputed and reckoned for righteousness to men. They suppose that Christ was obliged to this obedience for himself as a creature, and that it is unnecessary to his people, because his sufferings and death are sufficient for their justification. But,

    1. Though the human nature of Christ being a creature, and so considered, was subject to a law and obliged to obedience; yet it was not obliged to a course of obedience in such a low, mean, and suffering state, being entitled to glory and happiness from the moment of its union to the Son of God; this was voluntary: besides, the human nature being taken into personal union with the Son of God, the person of Christ, who was not subject to the law, but was above it, and Lord of it; it was an act of his will to submit to it, and a wonderful instance of his condescension it was; moreover, as Christ being made of a woman, and was made under the law, he was made both for the sake of his people; he became man for their sake, “to us or for us a child is born” (Isa. 9:6), and for their sake he became subject to the law, that he might yield obedience to it in their room and stead, and that he might redeem them from the curse of it; and this was the kind and gracious design of his divine Father in sending him in the likeness of sinful flesh, that he might both obey and suffer for them, that so the whole righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in them (Gal. 4:4; Rom. 8:3, 4).

    2. Without the active obedience of Christ the law would not be satisfied, the language of which is “Do and live”; and unless its precepts are obeyed, as well as its penalty endured, it cannot be satisfied; and unless it is satisfied, there can be no justification by it; Christ, as a surety, in the room and stead of his people, must both obey the precepts of the law and bear its penalty; his submitting to the one, without conforming to the other, is not sufficient; one debt is not paid by another; his paying off the debt of punishment did not exempt from obedience, as the paying off the debt of obedience did not exempt from punishment: Christ did not satisfy the whole law by either of them separately, but by both conjunctly [joined together]; by his sufferings and death he satisfied the threatenings, the

      sanction of the law, but not the precepts of it thereby; and by his active obedience he satisfied the preceptive part of the law, but not the penal part; but by both he satisfied the whole of the law and made it honorable.

    3. It is by a righteousness that men are justified, and that is the righteousness of Christ; now righteousness, strictly speaking lies in doing, in actual obedience to the commands of the law, “This shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do”, &c. (Deut. 6:25). Christ’s righteousness lay in doing, not in suffering; “all righteousness, as one says, is either an habit or an act; but sufferings are neither, and therefore not righteousness; no man is righteous because he is punished; if so, the devils and damned in hell would be righteous in proportion to their punishment; the more severe their punishment, and the more grievous their torments, the greater their righteousness must be; if there is any righteousness in punishment, it must be in the punisher, and not in the punished.”

      If therefore men are justified by the righteousness of Christ imputed to them, it must be by his active obedience, and not merely by his sufferings and death; because these, though they free from death, yet, strictly speaking, do not make men righteous.

    4. It is expressly said, that “by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous” (Rom. 5:19), which cannot be meant of the sufferings and death of Christ; because, properly speaking, they are not his obedience, but the effect of it; besides, the antithesis in the text determines the sense of the words; for if by one man’s actual disobedience, which was the case, many were made sinners, so by the rule of opposition, by one man’s actual obedience, which is Christ’s, many are made righteous, or justified.

    5. The reward of life is not promised to suffering, but to doing; the law says, “Do this and live”; it promises life, not to him that suffers the penalty, but to him that obeys the precept; “there never was a law, as an excellent divine observes, even among men, either promising or declaring a reward due to the criminal, because he had undergone the punishment of his crimes.”

    Christ’s sufferings and death being satisfactory to the comminatory [a formal denunciation] or threatening part of the law, are reckoned to us for justification, that so we may be freed and discharged from the curse of it, and from hell and wrath to come;

    but as they do not constitute us righteous, they do not entitle us to eternal life; but the active obedience or righteousness of Christ being imputed to us, is “unto justification of life”, or is what gives the title to eternal life.

  3. Nevertheless the sufferings and death of Christ, or what is commonly called his passive obedience, are requisite to our justification before God. Passive obedience is a phrase that may be objected to as not accurate, being a seeming contradiction in terms; suffering and obedience convey different ideas, and belong to different classes; suffering belongs to the predicament or class of passion, obedience to that of action; yet as Christ’s sufferings flow from his obedience, and were the effect of his submission to his Father’s will, with respect to which he said, “Not my will but thine be done”; and as he was obedient throughout his life, in all the actions and in all the sufferings of it, even to the moment of his death; and was also obedient in death, laying down his life at the command received from his Father; “For though a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things he suffered”; and was even active in his sufferings; he laid down his life of himself, he poured out his soul unto death, and gave himself an offering, and a sacrifice for sin; considering these things, the phrase, passive obedience, may be admitted of; especially as it is well known what is meant by it, the voluntary sufferings and death of Christ, which are most certainly ingredients in the justification of a sinner.

It may be asked, if Christ was the representative of his people in his active obedience, which constitutes them just or righteous, and is their justification of life, or what entitles to eternal life, what need was there of his sufferings and death? to which it may be answered, that it was necessary that Christ, as the surety and representative of his people, should satisfy the law in everything it could require of them, both as creatures, and as sinful creatures. As creatures, the law could require of them purity of nature, and perfect obedience to it, which were in their first parents, but were lost by them, and are wanting in them; as sinful creatures, it could require of them to endure the penalty of it. Christ now as the surety of his people, represented them as creatures, in the purity of his nature and in the perfection of his life, or in his active obedience; and presented that to the law for them which it could

require of them as creatures: and as it is certain he represented them in his sufferings and death, hence he is said to die for them, that is, in their room and stead, and they to be crucified and buried with him; in these he represented them as sinful creatures, and bore the penalty or curse of the law; and in both obediences he satisfied the whole of it; and as by the one they are freed from death the sanction of the law, so by the other they are entitled to life, and by both Christ is the fulfilling end of the law for righteousness unto them. For that the sufferings and death of Christ, as well as his active obedience, are requisite to the complete justification of a sinner, appears,

  1. That without these the law would not be satisfied, and all its demands answered; and unless it is satisfied; there can be no justification by it; and it cannot be satisfied unless its penalty is endured; for,

  2. The law, in case of disobedience to it, threatened with death, and death is the just wages and due demerit of sin; and therefore this must be endured, either by the sinner or a surety for him, or else he cannot be discharged by the law.

  3. The justification of a sinner is expressly ascribed to the blood of Christ, which is put for the whole of his sufferings and death, (Rom. 5:9).

  4. Justification proceeds upon redemption, “being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”, (Rom. 3:24) now redemption is by the blood of Christ, and through his sufferings and death (Eph. 1:7; 1 Pet. 3:18,19; Rev. 5:9).

  5. It is upon the foot of Christ’s satisfaction that justification takes place, and satisfaction is made by Christ’s doing and suffering all the law requires; and so as by his obedience, likewise by his blood and death, to which it is more frequently ascribed, peace is made by his blood, reconciliation by his death, atonement and expiation by his sacrifice, which is of a sweet smelling savor to God (Col. 1:20; Rom. 5:10; Heb. 9:26; Eph. 5:2).

5. The complete justification of a sinner, does not seem to be finished by Christ until his resurrection, after his obedience and sufferings of death; for he “was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Rom. 4:25). In short, the righteousness by which we are justified, as Dr. Ames says, is not to be sought for in different operations of Christ, but arises from his whole obedience, both

active and passive; which is both satisfactory and meritorious, and frees from condemnation and death, and adjudges and entitles to eternal life; even as one and the same disobedience of Adam, stripped us of original righteousness, and rendered us obnoxious to condemnation. So much for the matter of justification. Secondly, The form of it, is imputation; or the manner in which the righteousness of Christ is made over to a sinner, and it becomes his, is by imputing it to him; “Even as David describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works” (Rom. 4:6). The words used both in Hebrew and Greek, ma and Axyyi£ou.ai, eA,A,oyeco,

&c. signify, to reckon, repute, estimate, attribute, and place something to the account of another: as when the apostle said to Philemon, concerning Onesimus, “If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on my account”, TOOHO euoi EAAoyBi, let it be reckoned, or imputed to me. So when God is said to impute the righteousness of Christ to any, the sense is, that he reckons it as theirs, being wrought out for them, and accounts them righteous by it, as though they had performed it in their own persons: and that it is by the righteousness of Christ, imputed to his people, that they are justified, is clear, when it is observed,

  1. That those whom God justifies, are, in themselves, ungodly; for God “justifieth the ungodly” (Rom. 4:5), if ungodly, then without a righteousness; and if without a righteousness, then, if they are justified, it must be by a righteousness imputed to them, or placed to their account; which can be no other than the righteousness of Christ.

  2. They that are justified, are justified either by an inherent, or by an imputed righteousness: not by an inherent one, for that is imperfect, and so not justifying; and if not by an inherent righteousness, then it must be by one imputed to them, for there remains no other.

  3. The righteousness by which any are justified, is the righteousness of another, and not their own, even the righteousness of Christ; “Not having on mine own righteousness”, says the apostle (Phil. 3:9). Now the righteousness of another, cannot be made a man’s, or he is justified by it, any other way than by an imputation of it to him.

  4. The same way that Adam’s sin, became the

    sin of his posterity, or they were made sinners by it, the same way Christ’s righteousness becomes his people’s, or they are made righteous by it. Now the former is by imputation; and so the latter; “As by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners”; that is, by the imputation of it to them; “so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous”; that is, by placing it to their account, (Rom. 5:19).

  5. The same way that the sins of Christ’s people became his, his righteousness becomes theirs. Now their sins became Christ’s by imputation only; the Father hid them on him, or made them to meet upon him, imputed them to him, placed them to his account; and he took them upon him, and looked upon himself as answerable to justice for them; and so, in the same way, his righteousness is made over to, and put upon his people; “For he who knew no sin, was made sin for us”, by imputation, “that we might be made the righteousness of God in him”; accounted righteous in him, through his righteousness imputed (2 Cor. 5:21). Now there are several things which are said of this imputed righteousness of Christ, which serve greatly to recommend it, and set forth the excellency of it; as, (1). That it is called “the righteousness of God” (Rom. 1:17; 3:22), being wrought by Christ, who is God as well as man; approved and accepted of by God, and freely imputed by him to believers, as their

justifying righteousness.

(2). It is called, “the righteousness of One” (Rom. 5:18), of one of the Persons in the Trinity, the Son of God; of him, who, though he has two natures united in him, is but one Person, and who is the one common Head to all his seed; and though his obedience, or righteousness, serves for many, it is “the obedience of One” (Rom. 5:19), and therefore they are justified, not partly by their own obedience, and partly by Christ’s, but by his only.

  1. It is called, “the righteousness of the law” (Rom. 8:4), being wrought by Christ in conformity to the law; so that this righteousness is a legal righteousness, as performed by Christ, being every way commensurate to the demands of it; though evangelical, as made over to his people, and revealed in the gospel; for it is manifested without the law, though witnessed to by law and prophets.

  2. It is called, “the righteousness of faith” (Rom. 4:13), not that faith is righteousness, or imputed for

    it, or is the matter of a justifying righteousness, or any part of it; but because the righteousness of Christ is revealed to faith, and that lays hold on it, receives it, rejoices in it, and boasts of it.

  3. It is called, “the gift of righteousness”, and “the free gift”, and “the gift by grace” (Rom. 5:15- 17), because freely wrought out by Christ, and freely imputed by God the Father; and faith is freely given to receive and embrace it.

  4. It is called, “a robe of righteousness”, a garment down to the feet, which covers the whole mystical body of Christ (Isa. 61:10; Rev. 1:13), it is signified by gold of Ophir, of wrought gold, and raiment of needle work; setting forth the preciousness of it (Ps. 45:9, 13, 14). It is said to be change of raiment, and the wedding garment (Zech. 3:4; Matthew 22:12), yea, the “best robe” (Luke 15:22), a better robe than Adam had in Eden, or the angels in heaven; theirs, at best, being but the righteousness of a creature, and that loseable, as the event showed; but Christ’s righteousness is the righteousness of God, and an everlasting one; it may rendered, the “first robe”, being first in designation, and in the provision of the covenant of grace; though Adam’s robe of righteousness was first in wear and use.

VI. The effects of justification by the righteousness of Christ may be next considered, which are as follow.

1. An entire freedom from all penal evils, in this life and in that which is to come. Justified ones are not freed from all evils; they have their evil things now, as Lazarus had, but they are not brought upon them by way of punishment; afflictions are evils in themselves, being not joyous but grievous; but then they are not penal ones; they are fatherly chastisements, they are fruits and evidences of the love of God to them, and not of his vindictive wrath, (Rev. 3:19; 1 Cor. 11:32), death was threatened as a punishment for sin, and is the just demerit of it, and as such is inflicted on unrighteous ones, but is no penal evil to justified ones; it is their privilege and not their punishment (1 Cor. 3:22; Rev. 14:13), and therefore their death is desirable, even by wicked men, as it was by Balaam: nor will any penal evil befall the justified ones after death; for “being now justified” by his (Christ’s) blood, they “shall be saved from wrath through him”; from wrath to come, the vengeance of eternal fire: should any penal evil be inflicted on them here or hereafter, it would highly

reflect upon the justice of God, in punishing twice for the same offences, once in their surety, and again in themselves; since the chastisement, or punishment of their sins has been laid on Christ, and he has endured it; and therefore it would be a lessening of the value of Christ’s satisfaction, as if it was not made to full content, should punishment be inflicted in any degree upon those for whom it is made; and it would be contrary to the gospel declaration, that they that believe in Christ are justified, and shall not enter into condemnation.

2. Peace with God is another fruit and effect of justification; being “justified by faith, we have peace with God” (Rom. 5:1), peace with God is made by the blood of Christ, and reconciliation by his death; and besides that, there is a peace of conscience which is had in a way of believing, and through a comfortable sense and perception of an interest in the righteousness of Christ, the effect of which is peace and quietness (Isa. 32:17).

  1. Access to God through Christ; for having a comfortable view by faith of interest in the righteousness of Christ unto justification, it follows, “by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand” (Rom. 5:2), access to God as the God of grace, to him as on a throne of grace, to all the blessings of grace which come from God through Christ; and through the blood and righteousness of Christ justified ones have great freedom, boldness and confidence, to go to God, and present their supplication to him for what they want; not for their righteousness sake, but in their requests making mention of the righteousness of Christ, and only pleading the worth and virtue of that.

  2. Acceptance with God through Christ follows upon justification by his righteousness; there can be no acceptance with God upon the foot of a man’s own righteousness, which cannot render him acceptable to God; but through the righteousness of Christ there is an acceptance both of persons and services; first of persons and then of services; as God had respect to Abel, and so to his offering, and accepted it; so he has respect to the persons of his justified ones, as considered in Christ; he has respect to him, and is well pleased with him, and with all that are in him; they are accepted of God in the beloved, being clothed with the robe of his righteousness, and the garments

    of his salvation; and their services being done in the strength of Christ, and through faith in him, and to the glory of God by him, and their spiritual sacrifices being offered up by him their great high-priest, they become acceptable to God through him.

  3. The well being of God’s people here and hereafter depends upon their justification, and is a consequent of it; “Say ye to the righteous”, one that is justified by the righteousness of Christ, “that it shall be well with him” (Isa. 3:10), it is well with the justified ones in life; be it with them as it may, all is well with them and for the best; all things work together for their good, adversity and prosperity; what they have of worldly things, though but little (Ps. 37:16; Prov. 15:16,17), are blessings to them: it is well with such an one at death, he has hope in it, and rejoices in hope of the glory of God; peace is the end of the perfect and upright man, who is perfectly righteous through the righteousness of Christ imputed to him; and it is well with him at judgment, he has a righteousness that will answer for him in that time to come; and he shall have an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom and glory of our Lord Jesus Christ; and it will be well with him to all eternity; he that is righteous will then be righteous still, and ever continue so, and shall go into everlasting life.

  4. Glorying, or boasting, is another effect of justification; not in a man’s self, in his own righteousness; not of his duties, services, and performance; nor of blessings of goodness enjoyed through his own merit; nor of heaven and happiness, as his own acquisition; all such boasting is excluded, by the doctrine of justification by faith in the righteousness of Christ; but such as are justified in Christ glory of him, in whom they are justified; and glory in this, that he is “of God, made to them righteousness” (Isa. 45:25; 1 Cor. 1:30).

  5. Justified ones have an undoubted title to eternal life; hence justification by Christ’s righteousness is called, “justification of life”, because it entitles to it; and such are “made heirs, according to the hope of eternal life”; are heirs of the inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled, and reserved in the heavens, and shall be possessed of it, (Rom. 5:18; Titus 3:7). For,

  6. Certainty of salvation may be concluded from justification; such as are justified, shall most assuredly be “saved from wrath”; there is an inseparable

connection between justification and glorification; “Whom he justified, them he also glorified” (Rom. 5:9; 8:30).

VII. The properties of justification.

  1. It is an act of God’s grace, of pure grace, without any consideration of merit, worthiness, and works of men; grace is the moving cause of it, as has been already observed; it was according to the purpose and grace of God, that he resolved upon the justification of any of the sons of men; “The scripture foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith” (Gal. 3:8), the scripture foresaw, or predicted, the justification of them; because God, of his sovereign grace and good will, determined on it; grace set wisdom at work to find out a proper way and method of making men just with God, which could never have been found out by men or angels; and having found a way to impute their sins, not to themselves but to Christ, and to impute his righteousness to them; he was “gracious, and said, Deliver them from going down to the pit”. Grace put him on calling Christ to be their surety, to bring in an everlasting righteousness for them; and it was grace in Christ to accept the call, and say, “Lo, I come to do thy will!” one part of which was, to work out a righteousness for his people; and it was grace in God to send his Son to obey, suffer, and die for them, in their nature, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in them; and it was grace in him to accept of that righteousness as if done by them, and to impute it to them freely without works, and to give them faith to lay hold upon it for themselves; and it appears the more to be an act of grace, in that they are “ungodly” whom God justifies, sinners, even some, the chief of sinners, (Rom. 4:5; 1 Cor. 6:11).

  2. It is an act of justice, as well as of grace: God is righteous in all his ways and works, and so in this; the law being perfectly fulfilled by Christ, the surety, both with respect to precept and penalty; justice is fully satisfied, and so God is “just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus”, (Rom. 3:26).

  3. It is universal, as to persons, sins, and punishment: as to persons, all the seed of Israel are justified; that is, all the elect of God and seed of Christ; as there was an “all” on whom judgment came to condemnation, through the offence of the first Adam, even all his natural posterity; so there is an all on whom the free gift by the righteousness of

    Christ comes, to the justification of life; even all the children of God, and offspring of Christ, the second Adam, whose righteousness is “unto all”, and “upon all” them that believe (Isa. 45:25; Rom. 5:18; 3:22). And with respect to sins, they that are justified, are justified from all sins whatever; Christ has redeemed his people from all their iniquities; all are forgiven for his sake; his blood cleanses from all, and his righteousness clears and acquits them of all: and as to punishment, they are entirely secure from it, even to the least degree; they are saved from wrath; they are secure from all condemnation; they are delivered from the curse of the law; nor shall they be hurt by the second death, the wages of sin; it shall not have any power at all over them: the whole righteousness of Christ is imputed to them; a whole Christ is made to them righteousness; and in such a manner, that they are made the righteousness of God in him; and they are complete in him, are perfectly comely through his comeliness put upon them, a perfection of beauty, all fair, and without spot.

  4. It is an individual act, done at once, and admits of no degrees; the sins of God’s elect were altogether and at once laid on Christ, and satisfaction for them was made by him at once; he removed the iniquity of his people in one day, and by one sacrifice put away sin for ever; all sins were pardoned at once, upon this sacrifice offered, and satisfaction made; and the righteousness of Christ was accepted of, and imputed to his people at once. The sense of justification, indeed, admits of degrees; “The righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith”; from one degree of faith to another; from a lesser, and lower degree of it, to an higher; it is gradually that faith rises to a full assurance of interest in it, so that a man knows with certainty, that he is and shall be justified; the manifestations of it are various and different, at different times; but the act itself, as in God, is always the same, perfect and complete. Indeed, there are fresh declarations and repetitions of the sentence of it was first conceived in the divine mind from all eternity; it was virtually pronounced on the elect in Christ, their representative, at his resurrection from the dead; and it is afresh pronounced in the conscience of a believer, by the Spirit, and he bearing testimony to it; and it will be again notified at the general judgment, before angels and men; but justification, as an act of God, is

    but one, and done at once, and admits of no degrees; and is not carried on in a gradual, progressive way, as sanctification is.

  5. It is equal to all, or all are alike justified, that are justified; the price of redemption, on which justification proceeds, is the same, the precious blood of Christ; even as the ransom price, and atonement money paid for the children of Israel, was the same, an half shekel for the rich and for the poor: and it is the same righteousness of Christ that is imputed to one as to another; it is a garment down to the feet, and covers the whole mystical body, the lowest and meanest members of it, as well as the more principal; it is unto all, and upon all them that believe; there is no difference, they have all the same righteousness, and the same precious faith, though not to the same degree; yet the weakest believer is as much justified, as the strongest believer; and so the greatest, as well as the smallest sinner, though one may be justified from more sins than another, having committed more: yet one is not more justified than the other; though one man may have more faith, and more sanctifying grace than another, yet no man has more righteousness, or a more justifying righteousness than another.

  6. It is irreversible, and an unalterable act; it is according to the immutable purpose and grace of God, which can never be frustrated; it is part of that grace given, and one of those spiritual blessings wherewith the elect were blessed in Christ before the world began; it is one of those things which God does, and are for ever. Neither the righteousness by which they are justified, nor the faith by which they receive the justifying righteousness from the Lord, ever fail. The righteousness is an everlasting righteousness; and faith fails not; Christ is the author and finisher of it. Though a righteous man falls, he never falls from his righteousness: a man that is only seemingly and outwardly righteous, may turn away from his own righteousness, and go into a course of sin, and die; but one that is truly righteous, through the righteousness of Christ, can never turn and fall from that, nor shall ever enter into condemnation; but shall be eternally saved and glorified.

  7. Though by the act of justification, persons are freed from sin, and from obligation to punishment for it, sin is not thereby taken out of them. They are, indeed, so freed from it, that God sees no iniquity in

    them, to condemn them for it; he sees all the sins of his people in the article of providence, and chastises for them; but in the article of justification he sees none in them; they are acquitted, discharged, and justified from all; yet sin dwells in them, as it did in the apostle Paul, who, undoubtedly, was a justified person; yea, “There is not a just man upon earth”; one that is truly righteous, in an evangelic sense, “that doth good and sinneth not” (Eccl. 7:20).

  8. Through justification by the righteousness of Christ, neither the law is made void and of none effect, nor is the performance of good works discouraged. The Law is not made void; “Do we make void the law through faith?” that is, through the doctrine of justification by faith in the righteousness of Christ; “God forbid! yea, we establish the law”; by presenting to it a righteousness every way commensurate to its demands, by which it is magnified and made honourable: nor does this doctrine discourage duty, but animates to it; and is to be constantly preached for this end, “That they which have believed in God, might be careful to maintain good works” (Titus 3:7, 8).


Chapter 9

OF ADOPTION

Some think that adoption is a part and branch of justification, and included in it; since that part of justification which lies in the imputation of the righteousness of Christ entitles to eternal life, hence called, “the justification of life”, as adoption does; so that the children of God may be said to have a twofold title to eternal life; the one by the free grace of God making them sons, which entitles them to it; the other by justification in a legal way, and confirms the former, and opens a way for it; or that it may appear to be founded on justice as well as grace: the learned Dr. Ames seems to have a respect to both these. And such that are justified by the grace of God, through the righteousness of Christ, are “heirs” of it, as adopted ones be; “if children, then heirs” (Rom. 5:18; Titus 3:7; Rom. 8:17). Some consider adoption as the effect of justification; and Junius calls it, “via adoptionis”, the way to adoption: it is certain, they have a close connection with each other, and agree in their author, causes, and objects; the “white stone” of absolution, or justification, and the “new name” of adoption, go

together in the gift of Christ to the overcomer (Rev. 2:17). Though I am of opinion they are distinct blessings of grace, and so to be considered: adoption is a distinct thing from either justification or pardon. A subject may be acquitted by his sovereign from charges laid against him; and a criminal, convicted and condemned, may be pardoned, yet does not become his son; if adopted, and taken into his family, it must be by a distinct and fresh act of royal favour.

I have treated already, see on Adoption in vil. book

  1. chapter 5 of adoption as an immanent act of the divine will, which was in God from eternity; hence the elect of God were not only predestinated to the adoption of children, to the blessing itself, openly and actually to enjoy it in time, and to the inheritance adopted to; but this blessing itself was provided and bestowed in the everlasting covenant of grace, in which the elect of God had not only the promise of this relation, but were in it given to Christ under this relation and character (Eph 1:5; 2 Cor. 6:18; Heb. 2:13), hence they are spoken of as the children of God and Christ, previous to the incarnation of Christ, and to his sufferings and death; as well as to the mission of the Spirit into their hearts, as the Spirit of regeneration and adoption (Heb. 2:14; John 11:52; Gal. 4:6). I shall therefore now consider it as openly bestowed upon believing in Christ, and as manifested, applied, and evidenced by the Spirit of God. And,

    1. Shall consider, in what sense believers are the sons of God; which is by adoption, and the nature of that: they are not the sons of God in so high a sense as Christ is, who is God’s own Son, his proper Son, his only begotten Son; which cannot be said either of angels or men; for as “to which of the angels”, so to which of the sons of men “said God at any time, Thou art son, this day have I begotten thee?” Nor in the sense that their fellow creatures are, whether angels or men, who are the sons of God by creation, as the former, so the latter; for they are all “his offspring”: nor in the sense that magistrates be, who are so by office, and, on that account, called “the children of the most High”, being his representatives: nor as professors of religion, who are called the sons of God, in distinction from the children of men; but by adoption; hence we read of the adoption of children, these are predestinated unto, and which they receive, through redemption by Christ, and of which the Spirit of God is the witness; hence called

      the Spirit of “adoption”: and even the inheritance to which they are entitled, bears the name of “adoption” (Eph. 1:5; Gal. 4:5; Rom. 8:15, 23). There is a civil and a religious adoption. A civil adoption, and which obtained among all nations; among the Egyptians, so Moses was adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter; and among the Hebrews, so Esther by Mordecai; and it obtained much among the Romans, to which, as used by them, the allusion is in the New Testament, in a religious sense; it is sometimes used of the whole people of the Jews, to whom belonged “the adoption” (Rom. 9:4) and at other times, of some special and particular persons, both among Jews and Gentiles; for of the former all were “not the children of God”; and of the latter, if they were believers in Christ, they were Abraham’s spiritual seed, “and heirs according to the promise”, (Rom. 9:7, 8; Gal. 3:26, 29). Between civil and spiritual adoption, in some things there is an agreement, and in some things a difference.

      First, In some things they agree.

      1. In the name and thing, vioseoioc, a putting among the children; so spiritual adoption is called (Jer 3:19), or putting, or taking, one for a son, who was not so by nature and birth; which is the case of adoption by special grace; it is of such who are, “by nature, children of wrath”, and “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel”; and taking these from the family of the world, to which they originally belonged, into the family of God, and household of faith (Eph. 2:3,12,19)

      2. As civil adoption is of one to an inheritance who has no legal right to it; so is special and spiritual adoption. None, in a civil sense, are adopted, but to an inheritance of which they are made heirs; and so such who are adopted in sense are adopted to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and eternal; and as the one are adopted to an inheritance they had no natural right unto, nor any legal claim upon; so the other are such who have sinned, and come short of the eternal inheritance, and can make no legal pretension to it by works of the law, (Rom. 4:14; Gal. 3:18).

      3. Civil adoption is the voluntary act of the adopter. Among the Romans, when a man adopted one for his son, they both appeared before a proper magistrate, and the adopter declared his will and pleasure to adopt the person presented, he consenting to it. Special and spiritual adoption is an act of the sovereign goodwill and pleasure of God, who has predestinated his to

        the adoption of children, by Jesus Christ, to himself, according to the “good pleasure of his will”; it is a pure act of his grace to make them his sons and heirs, and to give them the kingdom, the inheritance, even eternal life, which is the free gift of God, through Christ (Eph. 1:5; Luke 12:32; Rom. 6:23).

      4. In civil adoption the adopted took and bore the name of the adopter: so the adopted sons of God have a new name, which the mouth of the Lord their God names, a new, famous, and excellent name, which no man knoweth, saving he that receives it; a name better than that of sons and daughters of the greatest earthly potentate; a name by which they are called the sons and daughters of the Lord God Almighty (Isa. 62:2; 56:5; Rev. 2:17; 1 John 3:1).

      5. Such who are adopted in a civil sense are taken into the family of the adopter, and make a part of it; and stand in the relation, not of servants, but sons; so those who are adopted of God, are taken into that family, which is named of him in heaven and in earth, and are of his household; in which they are not as servants, nor merely as friends, but as the children of God and household of faith (Eph. 3:15, 19; John 15:15,16; Gal. 3:26; 6:10).

      6. Persons adopted in a civil sense, as they are considered as children, they are provided for as such: provision is made for their education, their food, their clothing, their protection, and attendance, and for an inheritance and portion for them: all the children of God, his adopted ones, they are taught of God, by his Spirit, his ministers, his word and ordinances; they are trained up in the school of the church, and under the ministry of the word, and are instructed by the preaching of the gospel, and by precepts, promises, and providences; as for food, they are continually supplied with what is suitable for them, the sincere milk of the word for babes, and meat for strong men; they are fed with hidden manna, with marrow and fatness, with the finest of the wheat, with the richest dainties of the gospel feast: as for their clothing, it is change of raiment, clothing of wrought gold, raiment of needlework, a robe of righteousness, and garments of salvation; fine linen, clean and white, which is the righteousness of the saints: for their protection, they have angels to wait upon them and guard them, who encamp about them, to preserve them from their enemies, and have the care and charge of them, to

        keep them in their ways; yea, they are kept by the Lord himself, as the apple of his eye, being his dear sons and pleasant children: and the inheritance he has prepared for them, of which they are heirs, is among the saints in light; is incorruptible, undefiled, never fading, and eternal, and is even a kingdom and glory.

      7. Such as are adopted by men, come under the power, and are at the command of the adopter, and are under obligation to perform all the duties of a son to a parent; as to honour, reverence, and obey, and be subject to his will in all things. All which are due from the adopted sons of God, to him, their heavenly Father; honour is what God claims as his due from his children; “a son honoureth his father; if I then be a father, where is mine honour?” (Mai, 1:60, obedience to all his commands highly becomes, and is obligatory on them; they ought to be obedient children, and imitate God in all his immutable perfections, particularly in holiness, benevolence, kindness, and goodness; and even should be subject to his corrections and chastisements, which are not merely for his pleasure, but for their profit and good (1

        Pet. 1:14-16; Eph. 5:1; Matthew 5:45, 48; Luke

        6:35, 36; Heb. 12:9,10)

        Secondly, In some things civil and spiritual adoption differ.

        1. Civil adoption could not be done without the consent of the adopted, his will was necessary to it. Among the Romans the adopter, and the person to be adopted, came before a proper magistrate, and in his presence the adopter asked the person to be adopted, whether he was willing to be his son; and he answered, I am willing; and so the thing was agreed and finished. But in spiritual adoption, though the believer, when he comes to be acquainted with the privilege of adoption he is favored with, and is highly delighted and pleased with it, and admires and adores the grace that has brought him into the relation; yet his will and consent were not necessary to the constitution of the act of adoption; it may be said of that as of every other blessing of grace, that “it is not of him that willeth”; such was the grace of God that he did not wait for the will of the creature to complete this act, but previous to it put him among the children; and such is his sovereign power, that he had an uncontrollable right to take whom he would, and make his sons and daughters; and such the influence

          and efficacy of his grace, as to make them willing in the day of his power to acknowledge the relation with the greatest wonder and thankfulness, and to behave according to it.

        2. Civil adoption was allowed of, and provided for the relief and comfort of such who had no children, and to supply that defect in nature; but in spiritual adoption this reason does not appear: God did not adopt any of the sons of men for want of a son and heir; he had one, and in a higher class of sonship than creatures can be; more excellent and divine, and suitable to the divine nature; his own proper Son, begotten of him, was as one brought up with him, and his daily delight; the dear Son of his love, in whom he was well pleased; and who always did the things that were pleasing to him, and who inherited all his perfections and glory.

        3. In civil adoption there are generally some causes and reasons in the adopted which influence and move the adopter to take the step he does. There are two instances of adoption in scripture, the one of Moses, the other of Esther; in both there were some things that wrought upon the adopters to do what they did. Moses was a goodly child, exceeding fair, and lovely to look upon, which, with other things, moved the daughter of Pharaoh to take him up out of the water, to take care of him, and adopt him for her son; Esther was also a fair and beautiful maid, and besides was related to Mordecai, which were the reasons why he took her to be his daughter: but in divine adoption, there is nothing in the adopted that could move the adopter to bestow such a favour; no worth nor worthiness, no love nor loveliness, nothing attracting in them; children of wrath by nature, as others; transgressors from the womb, and rebels against God. There were so many objections to their adoption, and so many arguments against it, and none for it in themselves, that the Lord is represented as making a difficulty of it, and saying, “How shall I put them among the children?” (Jer. 3:19), such blackamoors and Ethiopians as these are? so abominable and so disobedient, enemies in their minds by wicked works, hateful and hating one another?

        4. In civil adoption, the adopter, though he takes one into his family, and makes him his son and heir, and gives him the name and title of a son, and a right to an inheritance designed for him; he cannot give him

        the nature of a son, nor qualifications fitting him for the use and enjoyment of the estate he is adopted to; he cannot give him a suitable disposition and temper of mind, nor communicate goodness, wisdom, and prudence for the management of it; he may turn out a fool, or a prodigal: but the divine adopter makes his sons partakers of the divine nature, and makes them meet for the inheritance with the saints in light.

        1. Persons adopted in a civil sense cannot enjoy the inheritance while the adoptive father is living, not till after his death: but in spiritual adoption the adopted enjoy the inheritance, though their father is the everlasting and ever living God; and Christ, the firstborn, lives for ever, with whom they are joint heirs.

        2. In some cases civil adoption might be made null and void; as among the Romans, when against the right of the pontifex, and without the decree of the college; but spiritual adoption is never made void on any account.

        There is a difference also between adoption and regeneration, though, divines usually confound these two together. They both have the same author; the same God and Father adopts and regenerates; they flow from the same love and grace; and the same persons that are adopted are regenerated; and they are adopted and begotten again unto the same inheritance: but adoption is before regeneration; the one is an act of God’s will in eternity, the other is an act and work of his grace in time; the one is the cause, the other the effect; men are not adopted because regenerated, which would seem unnecessary; but they are regenerated because adopted; “because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts”; to regenerate, to sanctify, and testify their adoption (Gal. 4:6), regeneration is the fruit and effect of adoption, and the evidence of it (John 1:12, 13), adoption gives the name of sons, and a title to the inheritance; and regeneration gives the nature of sons, and a meetness for the inheritance.

    2. The causes of adoption.

      First, The efficient cause, God; none can adopt any into the family of God but God himself; none can put any among the children of God but he himself; none but he can do it, who says, “I will be his God, and he shall be my Son” (Rev. 21:7). God, Father, Son, and Spirit, are concerned in the affair of adoption.

      1. God the Father; “What manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us”; the Father of Christ, the one God and Father of us all; “that we should be called the sons of God” (1 John 3:2). The God and Father of Christ, who blessed and chose his people in him, he predestinated them to the adoption of children by him; both to the grace of adoption, and to the inheritance they are adopted to, and obtain in Christ, in virtue thereof (Eph. 1:3-5, 11), he also predestinated them “to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren”; he set him up as the pattern of their sonship, that as he partook of their nature, they should be partakers of the divine nature; and that as he was a Son and Heir of all things, they should be likewise; and which will more manifestly be seen when they shall appear to be what they are, as sons, and be like unto him (Rom. 8:29; 1 John 3:2). Besides, God the Father has not only determined upon their adoption, and all things relative to it; but he has provided this blessing in covenant for them, and secured it there; this is one of the “all things” in which “it is ordered” and sure; it is one of the spiritual blessings of the covenant, which he has blessed his people with in Christ; which covenant runs thus; “I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Cor. 6:18), yea, the act of adoption itself, or putting among the children, is his act; for though he says, “How shall I put thee among the children?” there being no difference between them and others by nature, they are as bad and as black as others; yet he did do it.

      2. The Son of God has a concern in adoption; and there are several connections and relations he stands in to his people, which serve greatly to illustrate and confirm it. There is an union between them, a very near and mysterious one (1 John 17:21), and from this union flow all the blessings of grace to the saints; they are first of God in Christ, and then he is everything to them, and they have everything through him to make them comfortable and happy; and particularly, he and they being one, his God is their God, and his Father is their Father; he is a Son, and they are sons; he is an heir, and they are joint heirs with him. There is a marriage relation between Christ and his people; he has betrothed them to himself in righteousness, and that for ever; he is their husband, and they are

        his spouse and bride; and as when a man marries a king’s daughter, he is his son-in-law, as David was to Saul; so one that marries a king’s son becomes his daughter: and thus the church being married to Christ, the Son of God, becomes the King’s daughter (Ps. 45:13), through the incarnation of Christ, he not only became the “Goel”, the near kinsman, but even a brother to those whose flesh and blood he partook of; and because he and they are “of one”, of one and the same nature, “he is not ashamed to call them brethren”; and if his brethren, then, as he is the Son of God, they must be sons of God too: and through the redemption wrought out by him, they come “to receive the adoption” of children, the blessing before prepared for them, in the purpose and covenant of God; yea, the actual donation of the blessing of adoption is bestowed by Christ; for “as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God” (John 1:12). It is “the Son who makes free”; that is, by making them children; for the children only are free; not servants (John 8:36).

      3. The Spirit of God has also a concern in adoption; he is the author of regeneration; which, though it is not adoption, it is the evidence of it; the sons of God are described as “born of God” (John 1:13) and this spiritual birth, which makes men appear to be the sons of God, is owing to the Spirit of God; for “except a man be born of water and of the Spirit”, that is, of the grace of the Spirit, comparable to water, “he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). It is by faith in Christ that men receive the adoption of children; hence believers are said to be “the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus”; this receives and claims the privilege and blessing; which faith is of the operation of the Spirit of God, who is therefore called “the Spirit of faith” (Gal. 3:26; 2 Cor 4:13). Moreover, it is the Spirit who witnesses the truth of adoption; he bears witness to the spirits of believers that they are the children of God; they receiving him as the Spirit of adoption, who is sent into their hearts for that purpose; “for because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Rom. 8:15, 16; Gal. 4:6), to all which may be added, that the several operations of the Spirit on the souls of men, such as his leadings and teachings, confirm unto them the truth of their sonship; “for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons

        of God” (Rom. 8:14), who are led out of themselves, and off of themselves, to Christ and his righteousness; who are led into all truth as it is in Jesus, and to the fulness of Christ; and who are led through him, the Mediator, by the Spirit, unto God, as their Father; and which Spirit is given, and abides, as an earnest in their hearts; even “the earnest of the inheritance” they are adopted to, “until the redemption of the purchased possession” (2 Cor. 5:5; Eph 1:14).

        Secondly, The moving cause of adoption, is the love, grace, free favour, and goodwill of God. There was nothing in the creature that could move him to it; no agreeable disposition in them, no amiableness in their persons, nor anything engaging in their conduct and behavior; but all the reverse, as before observed: wherefore, considering these things, the apostle breaks forth in this pathetic expression, “What manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1), in which he points out the source and spring of this blessing of grace, the amazing love of God.

    3. The objects of adoption. And they are such who are the objects of the love of God; for since adoption flows from the love of God, such who are the children of God must be interested in it; and they are “dear children”, strongly interested in his affections, like Ephraim, dear sons and pleasant children, whom God loves dearly, and loves with a love of complacency and delight; they are the chosen of God; for such that are chosen of God in Christ, they are predestinated to the adoption of children by him; hence sons before calling. They are also redeemed from among men, out of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation, being the children of God scattered abroad, Christ came to gather together; and who, through redemption by him, receive the adoption of children, previously provided for them; though, in their natural state, they are rebellious children, children that are corrupt, and that are corrupters; children of wrath by nature, as others, and in no wise better than others; but are only openly and manifestly the children of God, when they commence believers in Christ: till then they cannot be called the children of God by themselves, or by others; till then they have no claim to the blessing, nor have they the power, the privilege, the dignity, and honour, to become the sons of God. These are the characters of the adopted ones, both secretly and

      openly.

    4. The nature and excellency of this privilege.

      1. It is an act of surprising and distinguishing grace; it is an act of God’s free grace to predestinate to the adoption of children; it is part of the grace of the covenant, and of the grace given in Christ before the world began; it is owing to the grace of God that Christ was sent to redeem any of the sons of men, that they might receive the adoption of children: it is an instance of grace in God to send his Spirit to manifest it, and bear witness of it; and everyone that has seen his own sinfulness and vileness by nature, must say, that if he is a child of God, it is by the grace of God: and it is an act of marvelous grace (1 John 3:1), considering all things; and it will appear so, when the adopter and the adopted are put in a contrast; the adopter is the King of kings and Lord of lords, the most high God; hence these his children are called, “the children of the Highest”; and they are, by nature, in the lowest and meanest circumstances that can be imagined; lost and undone, poor and miserable, beggars and bankrupts, the foolish things of this world, and things that are not; and yet such God is pleased to adopt and take into his family: and it is an act of distinguishing grace, both with respect to angels and men; for they are men, the posterity of fallen Adam, that become the sons of God; and not angels, who are ministering spirits, or servants, but not sons; and of men, not all, only some, are the children of God; who are distinguished from the world who are not so, and who know not them that are the children of God (1 John 3:1).

      2. It is a blessing of grace, which exceeds other blessings; as redemption, pardon, justification, and sanctification; a man may be redeemed out of a state of slavery by a king’s ransom, may be pardoned by his prince, though he has been a rebel and traitor to him, and may be acquitted from high crimes laid to his charge, and yet not be a king’s son; if adopted, and taken into his family, it must be by another and distinct act of royal favour and it is more to be a son than to be a saint, as Zanchy [3] observes; who thinks, that to be predestinated to the adoption of children is something over and above, and what exceeds being chosen to be holy, and without blame: to which may be added, that angels are saints, or holy ones, even perfectly holy; “he came with ten thousands of his saints” (Deut. 33:2), but they are not sons, at least in

        the sense that some of the sons of men are.

      3. It is a blessing of grace, which makes men exceeding honorable. David observed, that it was “no light thing to be a king’s son-in-law”; it certainly cannot be, to be a son of the King of kings; the name of a son of God is a new name, a renowned and excellent one; a name which no man knows the grandeur and dignity of but he that receives it; it makes a man more honorable than Adam was in his state of honour, and than the angels are in their high estate in heaven; since, though these are sons, yet only by creation, not by adoption, as saints are.

      4. It brings men into the highest connections, alliances, relations, and offices; such are not only the sons and daughters of the Lord God Almighty; but they are the brethren of Christ, the Son of God, are fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; yea, they become kings and priests unto God.

      5. The inheritance they are adopted to exceeds all others: it is a most comprehensive one, it includes all things; “he that overcometh shall inherit all things”; the ground and foundation of which, lies in the relation between God and such persons, as follows; “and I will be his God, and he shall be my son” (Rev. 21:7), all things are theirs, civil, ecclesiastic, spiritual, and eternal; they are heirs of the grace of life, and possess the blessings of it; and they are heirs of everlasting salvation, and shall certainly enjoy it (1 Cor. 3:22, 23; 1 Pet. 3:7; Heb. 1:14), yea, they are heirs “of God” himself; he is their portion, and their exceeding great reward, both in this life and that to come; they, in some sort or other, enjoy the benefit of all the perfections of God, and of his purposes, promises, and providences; the heavenly state, particularly, is their inheritance, which is sometimes called “glory, substance”, and the “inheritance of the saints in light” (Prov. 3:35; 8:21; Col. 1:12), and has such epithets given it, as show it to be superior to all other inheritances (1 Pet. 1:4).

      6. All other inheritances are subject to corruption, and have pollution written upon them, are fading things, and liable to be lost, and often are; but this is an incorruptible crown, a crown of glory, that fadeth not away; a crown of righteousness laid up in heaven, in the covenant of grace, and in the hands of Christ, the Surety of it; and who is the saints feoffee in trust, and so it is sure to all the seed.

      7. Adoption is a blessing and privilege that always

        continues. The love of God, which is the source of it, always remains; predestination, which gives birth to it, is the purpose of God, that stands sure, which is never revoked nor repented of; and therefore adoption is one of those gifts of grace of his which are without repentance; the covenant of grace, in which it is secured, is sure, can never be broken, nor will ever be removed: union with Christ is indissoluble, the bond of which is everlasting love; the marriage knot can never be untied; saints are members of his body, and one spirit with him; and the relation between them as husband and wife, as children and brethren, will ever remain. The Spirit, as a spirit of adoption, abides for ever; and he is the never failing earnest of the heavenly inheritance, and by whom the saints are sealed up to the day of redemption: the children of God may be corrected for their faults, and chastised by their heavenly Father; but never turned out of doors, nor disinherited, much less disowned, which is impossible; the son abides in the house for ever; and such that are sons are never more servants; once a child of God and always so (John 8:35; Gal. 4:7), such who are the sons of God may judge themselves unworthy of the relation, as the prodigal did; and who proposed within himself to desire his father to make him one of his hired servants; but he was not suffered to ask it, because it was what could not be done (Luke 15:19, 21), yea, they may conclude they are not the sons of God; because they may imagine their spots are not the spots of God’s children, and yet they are in such a relation in which they shall always continue.

    5. The effects of adoption.

      1. A share in the pity, compassion, and care of God, their heavenly Father; who, as a father pities his children, so he pities them that fear him, and reverence him as their Father; in all their afflictions he is afflicted, and sympathizes with them, and delivers them out of all their troubles; when they are in want of whatsoever kind, and particularly of food, he supplies them, and for which they are encouraged to ask it of him, as children of their parents; so our Lord reasons, “If a son”, &c. (Luke 11:11-13).

      2. Access to God with boldness; they can come to him as children to a father, use freedom with him, tell him all their complaints and wants, and come boldly to the throne of grace, and ask grace and mercy to help them in their times of need.

      3. Conformity to the image of Christ, the firstborn among many brethren; which is begun in this life, and will be perfected in that to come; when the sons of God shall be like him, and see him as he is.

      4. The Spirit of adoption, given to testify their sonship to them; for “because they are sons, God sends forth the Spirit of his Son into their hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Gal. 4:6).

        image

      5. Heirship; for “if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17), heirs of the grace of life, heirs of a kingdom, of an inheritance most glorious, to which they are entitled, and for which they are made meet by the grace of God.


Chapter 10

OF THE LIBERTY OF THE SONS OF GOD

Among the several effects, or privileges of adoption, liberty is one, and a principal one; and requires to be treated of particularly and distinctly. “Then are the children free”, as our Lord says in another case; such are so, who are made free by him; “If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). And as it is the Son that makes free, they are sons only who are made free. Freedom is the fruit and effect of sonship, and follows upon it; “Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God, through Christ” (Gal. 4:6, 7), sonship and servitude, a son and a servant, are opposed to each other, and a spirit of adoption and a spirit of bondage; where the one is, the other is not (John 8:35; Rom. 8:15), hence this liberty is called, “the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom. 8:21), being proper and peculiar to them; and is twofold, a liberty of grace, and a liberty of glory; the one is enjoyed in this life, and the other in that to come.

First, The liberty of grace; which lies,

l. In a freedom from sin, Satan, and the law.

(l). From sin; it is a liberty not to sin, but from it; liberty to sin is licentiousness, and cannot be that liberty wherewith Christ makes free; for it is contrary to his nature, who loves righteousness and hates iniquity; to his gospel, the truth of which makes free, for that is a doctrine according to godliness; and contrary to the Spirit of Christ, who, as he is a free Spirit, so he is the Spirit of holiness; and contrary to the principle of grace in the saints, and is confuted and condemned by the holy lives of the children of

God in all ages: but it is a freedom from sin; not from the being of it; for the most eminent saints that have been in the world, have not been free from the indwelling of sin, and acts of it; but from the guilt of it, through the blood and righteousness of Christ applied to them; and from condemnation by it, as well as from the dominion of it, through the grace of God in conversion; when, though sin has reigned in them, in a very powerful and tyrannical manner; yet shall no more have dominion over them, because not under the law, but under grace (Rom. 6:14,

17,18)

  1. From the power of Satan, who has usurped a dominion over the sons of men, and leads them captive at his will, until the Spirit of God comes and dispossesses him, and turns men from the power of Satan to God, and translates them from the power of darkness into the kingdom of his dear Son; when they are no more slaves and vassals to him, nor do his works and lusts; but the will of their heavenly Father: though they are not freed from his temptations, which the best of men have been beset with; yet they are not overcome by them, nor shall be destroyed through them.

  2. From the law, and the bondage of it. From the moral law, as a covenant of works, obliging to work for life; but not from it as a rule of life, walk, and conversation; from it as the ministration of Moses; but not from it as in the hands of Christ: from it, so as not to be obliged to seek for justification by it, which is not to be had by the works of it; and from the curses and condemnation of it, Christ being made a curse for them; and from the rigorous exaction of it, requiring perfect and sinless obedience; and from that bondage of spirit, which, for want of it, it leads into: and from the ceremonial law, as a sign of guilt, that handwriting of ordinances being taken away, and nailed to the cross of Christ; and as a type of Christ, and its ordinances, as shadows of good things to come; which are all done away, Christ, the substance, being come; and as a severe, rigid schoolmaster, as it was, till Christ, the object of faith, came; and as a partition wall between Jew and Gentile, which is now broken down, and all are one in Christ: and from the judicial law, so far as any of the statutes of it were peculiar to the Jewish nation; but such as are founded on nature, reason, justice, and equity, are still binding. Nor are

the sons of God, by their Christian liberty, freed from the laws of nations, which are not contrary to religion and conscience; subjection to civil magistrates is not inconsistent with Christian liberty; and which is inculcated by the apostles, in their epistles to the churches, and others (Rom. 13:1-4; Titus 3:1; 1 Pet.

2:13,14)

  1. Christian liberty consists in a freedom from all traditions of men; such as those of the Pharisees, among the Jews, which were before the times of Christ, and were risen to a very great bulk in his time; and which were imposed as a heavy burden on the consciences of men, and by which the word and commandments of God were transgressed, and made of none effect (Matthew 15:1-6), and such as among heathens, heretics, and false teachers, which the apostle exhorts to beware of, and not conform unto; which he calls philosophy and vain deceit, the tradition of men, the rudiments of the world; ordinances and commandments of men, which forbid the touching, tasting, and handling of some things (Col. 2:8, 20-

    23) and such as the unwritten traditions of the Papists, respecting their hierarchy, doctrines, and practices, which have no foundation in the word of God; as the several orders, offices, and sacraments, not to be found in scripture, the doctrines of transubstantiation, purgatory, &c. rites and customs, as the observance of fasts and festivals, on certain days, and at certain times of the year; baptism of infants, signing with the sign of the cross, &c, such like things Christian liberty sets us free from, and our consciences are not bound to pay any regard to them.

  2. Christian liberty lies in the free use of the creatures, which God has provided for food and nourishment, and which were granted to men originally, without any distinction; for though there was very early a distinction of creatures into clean and unclean, with respect to sacrifice, yet not with respect to food, until the Levitical law took place, which made the use of some creatures unlawful; but now, under the gospel dispensation, we are at full liberty to eat of every kind, that is fit, proper, and convenient for food: as Peter, by the vision, was taught to call nothing common and unclean; so we may be persuaded, with the apostle Paul, that there is nothing common and unclean of itself; but that every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused,

    if it be received with thanksgiving; and provided it is used with moderation, and not indulged to excess, to luxury and intemperance; or used as an occasion to the flesh, to pamper that, and fulfil the lusts of it (Acts 10:14, 15; Rom. 14:14; 1 Tim. 4:3, 4). The

    injunction by the synod at Jerusalem, to abstain from blood, and things strangled, was only “pro tempore”, for the peace of the churches, till things could be settled in them, between Jews and Gentiles, to mutual satisfaction.

  3. Another part of Christian liberty respects things indifferent; things which are neither commanded nor forbidden of God, and which may be used and abstained from at pleasure; and which, in the first times of the gospel, chiefly concerned the eating, or not eating, some certain things (Rom. 14:2, 3), which might be made use of by those who thought fit to use them, provided they did it in faith; for if they made use of them, doubting whether they should or not, they sinned (Rom. 14:22, 23), and that they did not lay a stumbling block in the way of weak Christians, and so offend, grieve, and wound them, and destroy their peace (Rom. 14:13,15, 20, 21; 1 Cor. 8:9- 13), and such that abstained from the use of them, were not to reckon it as a point of merit, thereby obtaining the favour of God, and the remission of their sins, and becoming more holy and more perfect; nor as a part of religious worship, and as necessary for the peace of conscience, and continuance in the divine favour; for the “kingdom of God”, true, real religion, and godliness, “is not meat and drink”; it does not lie in what a man eats or drinks, or wears, provided moderation, decency, and circumstances, are attended to (Rom. 14:17), and care should be taken, on the one hand, lest such things should be reckoned indifferent, which are not indifferent, and so any precept, or ordinance of God, be neglected; and on the other hand, such as are indifferent, should not be imposed as necessary, which may lead to superstition and will worship.

  4. Christian liberty lies in the use of ordinances, which God has enjoined; it is a privilege to come to mount Zion, the city of the living God; to have a place and a name in the church of Christ; to be of the family and household of God, and partake of the provisions which are there made for spiritual refreshment. Subjection to gospel ordinances is not

    contrary to Christian liberty; but accords with it, and, indeed, is a part of it; but to be subject to the ordinances and commandments of men is contrary to it; but not subjection to the ordinances of God. Carnal men may reckon them bonds and cords, and be for breaking and casting them away; but spiritual men account them their privileges, and receive Christ’s “yoke” as “easy”, and his “burden” as “light”; and they yield subjection to them, not with a mercenary and servile spirit, but under the influence, and by the assistance, of the Spirit of God, who is a free spirit; they act from a principle of love; they love the house and worship of God, his word and ordinances, and in love observe them (John 14:15, 21, 23). Christian liberty does not lie in a neglect of gospel ordinances, or in an attendance on them at will and pleasure; men are not to come into a church, and go out when they please, or attend an ordinance now and then, or when they think well: this is not liberty, but licentiousness. The ordinances of Christ, particularly the supper, are perpetual things, to be observed frequently and constantly, unto the second coming of Christ; and it is both well pleasing to God, to keep the ordinances, as they were delivered; and it is profitable to the saints; since these are for the perfecting of the saints, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till they come to be perfect men, and arrive to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

  5. Christian liberty lies in worshipping God according to his word, and the dictates of conscience, without the fear of men, which indulged to, brings a snare, and leads to idolatry, superstition, and will worship: though Christians are obliged to regard the laws of men, respecting civil matters, yet not what regard religion and conscience, and are contrary thereunto; by such they are not bound, but should serve God rather than men; as the cases of the three companions of Daniel, of Daniel himself, and of the apostles, and of the martyrs and confessors in all ages, show; who chose rather to suffer imprisonment, confiscation of goods, and death itself, than part with this branch of Christian liberty, to serve God, according to his word, and that light which they had in it. Nor does it become rulers and governors to infringe this liberty of theirs.

  6. Another glorious part of Christian liberty is freedom of access to God, through Christ the Mediator,

    under the influence of the blessed Spirit (Eph. 2:18), this is a great privilege the sons of God have, that they can come to God as their Father; not as on a throne of justice, requiring at their hands satisfaction for their sins; but as on a throne of grace, communicating pardoning grace and mercy, and all supplies of grace to them, as the God of all grace; and this access they have through Christ, the Mediator between God and man, through his blood, righteousness, and sacrifice; and by the Spirit, who is a Spirit of grace and supplication, under whose influence saints can pour out their souls to God with great freedom, and make known their requests to him with thankfulness.

  7. It also lies in a freedom from the fear of death, both corporal and eternal; Christ, through his incarnation, sufferings, and death, has delivered them, who, through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage: death, as formidable as it is, is no king of terrors to them; in a view of interest in Christ, and in the exercise of faith, and hope of being for ever with him, they choose to depart; knowing, that to die is gain; and in a prospect of death and eternity, can sit and sing, and say, “O death, where is thy sting! O grave, where is thy victory!” And as to an eternal death, they are comfortably assured, they shall not be hurt by it; that shall have no power over them, though it is the just desert of sin; yet being justified by Christ, and having access, through him, into a state of grace, they rejoice in hope of the glory of God; and being made spiritually alive, they believe they shall never die, neither a spiritual nor an eternal death.

Secondly, The liberty of glory, or that which the sons of God will be possessed of in the world to come; and this will be entirely perfect; the soul, in its separate state, will be perfectly free from sin, be with the spirits of just men made perfect; free from all corruption and defilement, from the very being of sin, and any consequences of it; from all unbelief, doubts, fears, and distresses of mind; from all evil thoughts and vain desires; and from all the temptations of Satan: and at the resurrection their bodies will be no more subject to pains, griefs, disorders, and diseases of any kind; but be entirely free from corruption, and mortality, and death; and be, both in soul and body, perfectly pure and holy, and live for ever in the enjoyment of God, and in the company of angels and saints; and be in no danger of ever being brought into

bondage in any sense: and as this state is called the adoption, so it may be said to be “the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom. 8:21, 23).

The author, or “efficient cause”, of this liberty, is Christ; it is a liberty with which Christ has made his people free, (Gal. 5:1) it is of his procuring, he has obtained it with the price of his blood, by which he has redeemed them from sin, Satan, and the law: and it is his proclaiming; for he was anointed with the Holy Spirit, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; and it is by his Spirit that they are put into the possession of it, who is a spirit of liberty, being the Spirit of adoption, and so opposed to the Spirit of bondage; and Christ is the author and finisher of faith, by which they receive this privilege; so that it may be truly called, as it sometimes is, by divines, “Christian liberty”; both from Christ, the author of it, and from the subjects of it, Christians, such as truly believe in Christ.

The “instrumental cause”, or the means by which liberty is conveyed to the sons of God, is the word of God, the truth of the gospel; which is not only a proclamation of this liberty, made by Christ, the great Prophet, in the church, and by his apostles and ministering servants; and was prefigured by the jubilee trumpet, which proclaimed liberty throughout the land; but is the means, attended with the Spirit and power of God, of freeing souls from the bondage they are in by nature, and when first under a work of the law; “ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32), and the clearer knowledge men have of the gospel, and the truths of it; and the more they are evangelized, or cast into a gospel mould by it, the farther off they are from a spirit of bondage again to fear. So that this liberty may be rightly called “gospel liberty”; which, though not restrained entirely to the gospel dispensation, yet is more peculiar to that; since the saints under the former dispensation were as children in bondage, under the elements of the world, the law, which gendered to bondage, and brought upon them that servile bondage spirit which prevailed in them.

Both from the nature of this liberty, and from the influence the Spirit of God has in it, it may be, with great propriety, called “spiritual liberty”; as well as from its having its seat in the spirits, or souls of men; and may be distinguished from corporal liberty, and

from civil liberty. Nor does it at all interfere with the latter; it does not dissolve the ties, obligations, connections, and dependencies of men, one with, and on, another; nor free from subjection to parents, masters, and civil magistrates. It is in its nature, pure, holy, and spiritual; it is not a liberty to sin, as has been observed; but a liberty from sin. It is a real liberty, and not a shadow, an appearance of one; “If the Son make you free, ye shall be free indeed”: and it is perpetual; such who are once made free, shall never more be servants, or come into a state of bondage; they shall never be disfranchised, or lose their freedom; and the fruits and effects of it are, peace, joy, and comfort, and a capacity and disposition of worshipping and serving the Lord, in the most spiritual, evangelical, and acceptable manner!


Chapter 11

OF REGENERATION

Regeneration follows adoption, being the evidence of it; regeneration describes the persons who have received the power to become the sons of God (John 1:12,13), and though these are distinct things, yet they are closely connected together; where the one is, the other is also, as to enjoyment and experience; and they bear a similarity to each other. Regeneration may be considered either more largely, and then it includes with it effectual calling, conversion, and sanctification: or more strictly, and then it designs the first principle of grace infused into the soul; which makes it a fit object of the effectual calling, a proper subject of conversion, and is the source and spring of that holiness which is gradually carried on in sanctification, and perfected in heaven. Concerning regeneration, the following things may be enquired into:

  1. What regeneration is, or what is meant by it, the nature of it; which is so mysterious, unknown, and unaccountable to a natural man, as it was to Nicodemus, though a master in Israel; now it may be the better understood by observing the phrases and terms by which it is expressed.

    1. It is expressed by being “born again”, which regeneration properly signifies; (see John 3:3, 7; 1 Pet. 1:3, 23 and this supposes a prior birth, a first birth, to which regeneration is the second; and which may receive some light by observing the contrast

      between the two births, they being the reverse of each other: the first birth is of sinful parents, and in their image; the second birth is of God, and in his image; the first birth is of corruptible, the second birth of incorruptible seed; the first birth is in sin, the second birth is in holiness and righteousness; by the first birth men are polluted and unclean, by the second birth they become holy and commence to be saints; the first birth is of the flesh and is carnal, the second birth is of the Spirit and is spiritual, and makes men spiritual men; by the first birth men are foolish and unwise, being born like a wild ass’s colt; by the second birth they become knowing and wise unto salvation: by the first birth they are slaves to sin and the lusts of the flesh, are home born slaves; by the second birth they become Christ’s free men: from their first birth they are transgressors, and go on in a course of sin, till stopped by grace; in the second birth they cease to commit sin, to go on in a course of sinning, but live a life of holiness, yea he that is born of God cannot sin; by the first birth men are children of wrath, and under tokens of divine displeasure; at the second birth they appear to be the objects of the love of God; regeneration being the fruit and effect of it, and gives evidence of it; a time of life is a time of open love.

    2. It is called a being “born from above”, for so the phrase in John 3:3, 7 may be rendered; the apostle James says in general, that “every good and every perfect gift is from above”; and regeneration being such a gift, must be from above; and indeed he particularly instances in it, for it follows, “of his own will begat he us with the word of truth” (James 1:17, 18). The author of this birth is from above; those that are born again are born of God their Father who is in heaven; the grace given in regeneration is from above, (John 3:27) truth in the inward part, and wisdom in the hidden part, or the grace of God in the heart produced in regeneration, is that “wisdom that is from above”, (James 3:17) such that are born again, as they are of high and noble birth, they are partakers of the heavenly and high calling of God in Christ Jesus, and shall most certainly possess it (1 Pet. 1:3, 4; Heb. 3:1; Phil. 3:14).

    3. It is commonly called the new birth, and with great propriety; since the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost, are joined together as meaning the same thing; and what is produced in

      regeneration is called the new creature, and the new man; and those who are born again are said to be new born babes (Titus 3:5; 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph 4:24; 1 Pet. 2:2), it is a new man, in distinction from the old man, or the principle of corrupt nature, which is as old as a man is; but the principle of grace infused in regeneration is quite new; it is something “de novo”, anew implanted in the heart, which never was before in human nature, no not in Adam in his state of innocence; it is not a working upon the old principles of nature, nor a working them up to an higher pitch: it is not an improvement of them, nor a repairing of the broken, ruined image of God in man. But it is altogether a new work; it is called a creature, being a work of almighty power; and a new creature, and a new man, consisting of various parts, and these all new: there are in it a “new heart”, and a “new spirit”, a new understanding, to know and understand things, never known nor understood before: a new heart, to know God; not as the God of nature and providence; but as the God of Grace, God in Christ, God in a Mediator; the love of God in him, the covenant of grace, and the blessings of it made with him; Christ, and the fullness of grace in him, pardon of sin through his blood, justification by his righteousness, atonement by his sacrifice, and acceptance with God through him, and complete salvation by him; things which Adam knew nothing of in Paradise: in this new heart are new desires after these objects, to know more of them, new affections, which are placed upon them, new delights in them, and new joys, which arise from them (Ezek. 36:26; 1 John 5:20; 1 Cor. 2:9). In this new man, are “new eyes” to see with; to some God does not give eyes to see divine and spiritual things; but to regenerated ones he does; they have a seeing eye, made by the Lord (Deut. 29:4; Prov. 20:12), by which they see their lost state and condition by nature, the exceeding sinfulness of sin, their own ability to make atonement by anything that can be done by them; the insufficiency of their own righteousness; their impotence to every good work, and want of strength to help themselves out of the state and condition in which they are, and the need they are in of the blood, righteousness, and sacrifice of Christ, and of salvation by him. They have the eye of faith, by which they behold the glories of Christ’s Person, the fullness of his grace, the excellency of his righteousness, the virtue of his blood and sacrifice, and

      the suitableness and completeness of his salvation: and regeneration, in this view of it, is no other than spiritual light in the understanding. Moreover, in the new man are new ears to hear with; all have not ears to hear; some have, and they have them from the Lord, and blessed are they! (Rev. 2:11; Deut. 29:4; Prov. 20:12; Matthew 13:16,17), they hear the word in a manner they never heard before; they hear it as to understand it, and receive the love of it; so as to distinguish the voice of Christ in it, from the voice of a stranger; so as to feel it work effectually in them, and become the power of God unto salvation to them; they know the joyful sound, and rejoice to hear it. The new man has also “new hands”, to handle and to work with; the hand of faith, to receive Christ as the Saviour and Redeemer, to lay hold on him for life and salvation, to embrace him, hold him fast, and not let him go; to handle him, the Word of life, and receive from him grace for grace: and they have hands to work with, and do work from better principles, and to better purposes than before. And they have “new feet” to walk with, to flee to Christ, the City of refuge; to walk by faith in him; and to walk on in him, as they have received him; to run with cheerfulness the ways of his commandments; to follow hard after him, and to follow on to know him; and even to run, and not be weary, and to walk, and not faint.

    4. Regeneration is expressed by being quickened. As there is a quickening time in natural generation; so there is in regeneration; “You hath he quickened” (Eph. 2:1). Previous to regeneration, men are dead while they live; though corporally alive, are morally dead, dead in a moral sense, as to spiritual things, in all the powers and faculties of their souls; they have no more knowledge of them, affection for them, will to them, or power to perform them, than a dead man has with respect to things natural; but in regeneration, a principle of spiritual life is infused; that is a time of life when the Lord speaks life into them, and produces it in them. Christ is the resurrection and life unto them, or raises them from a death of sin to a life of grace; and the spirit of life, from Christ, enters into them. Regeneration is a passing from death to life; it is a principle of spiritual life implanted in the heart; in consequence of which, a man breathes, in a spiritual sense; where there is breath, there is life. God breathed into Adam the breath of life, and he became a living

      soul, or a living person, and breathed again: so the Spirit of God breathes on dry bones, and they live, and breathe again. Prayer is the spiritual breath of a regenerate man; “Behold, he prayeth!” is observed of Saul when regenerated; who, just before, had been breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of Christ.Aregenerate man breathes in prayer to God, and pants after him; after more knowledge of him in Christ, after communion with him, after the discoveries of his love; particularly after pardoning grace and mercy: and sometimes these breathings and desires are only expressed by sighs and groans, yet these are a sign of life; if a man groans, it is plain he is alive. There are, in a regenerated man, which shows that he is made alive, cravings after spiritual food: as soon as an infant is born, it shows motions for its mother’s milk, after the breast: so newborn babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that they may grow thereby. They have their spiritual senses exercised about spiritual objects; they have what answer to the senses in animal life, their seeing and hearing, as before observed, and also their feeling; they feel the burden of sin on their consciences; the workings of the Spirit of God in their hearts; as well as handle Christ, the Word of life; which makes it a plain case that they are alive; a dead man feels nothing. They have a spiritual taste, a gust for spiritual things; the word of Christ is sweeter to their taste than honey, or the honeycomb; they sit under his shadow with pleasure, and his fruit, the blessings of his grace, are sweet unto their taste; they taste that the Lord is gracious, and invite others to taste and see also how good he is; they savour the things which be of God, and not of men; Christ, and his grace, are savoury to them; his robe of righteousness, and garments of salvation, smell delightfully as myrrh, &c. (Song of Sol. 1:3; Ps. 45:8) and these spiritual senses, and the exercise of them in them, show them to be alive, or born again; such persons live a life of faith; they live by faith; not upon it, but on Christ, the object of it; and they grow up into him their Head, from whom they receive nourishment; and so increase with the increase of God; which is an evidence of life. In a word, they live a new and another life than they did before; not to themselves, nor to the lusts of men; but to God, and to Christ who died for them, and rose again; they walk in newness of life.

    5. Regeneration is signified by “Christ being formed in the heart” (Gal. 4:19), his image is stamped in regeneration; not the image of the first Adam, but of the second Adam; for the new man is after the image of him who has anew created it, which is the image of Christ; to be conformed to which God’s elect are predestinated, and which takes place in regeneration (Rom. 8:29; Col. 3:10). The graces of Christ, as faith, and hope, and love, are wrought in the hearts of regenerate persons, and soon appear there; yea, Christ himself lives in them; “Not I”, says the apostle, “but Christ lives in me”; he dwells by faith there; Christ, and the believer, mutually dwell in each other.

    6. Regeneration is said to be “a partaking of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4), not of the nature of God essentially considered: a creature cannot partake of the divine essence, or have that communicated to it; this would be to deify men: the divine perfections, many of them, are utterly incommunicable, as eternity, immensity, &c. nor of the divine nature, or of it in such sense as Christ is a partaker of it, by the personal, or hypostatical union of the two natures in him; so that the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily in him. But in regeneration there is that wrought in the soul, which bears a resemblance to the divine nature, in spirituality, holiness, goodness, kindness, &c. and therefore is so called.

    7. There are also several terms, or words, by which the grace of regeneration is expressed; as by grace itself; not as that signifies the love and favour of God towards his people, or the blessings of grace bestowed upon them; but internal grace, the work of grace in the heart; and which consists of the various graces of the Spirit implanted there; as faith, hope, and love: such as are begotten again, are begotten to a lively hope, and have it, and believe in the Son of God; and love him that begot, and him that is begotten (1 Pet. 1:3; 1 John 5:1). It is called “spirit” (John 3:6) from its author, the Spirit of God; and from its seat, the spirit of man; and from its nature, which is spiritual, and denominates men spiritual men. It is also signified by “seed” (1 John 3:9). “Whosoever is born of God— his seed remaineth in him”; which is the principle of grace infused in regeneration; and as seed contains in it virtually, all that after proceeds from it, the blade, stalk, ear, and full corn in the ear; so the first principle of grace implanted in the heart, seminally contains all

      the grace which afterwards appears, and all the fruits, effects, acts, and exercises of it.

  2. The springs and causes of regeneration; efficient, moving, meritorious, and instrumental.

    First, The efficient cause of it; who is not man, but God.

    First, Not man; he cannot regenerate himself; his case, and the nature of the thing itself, show it; and it is indeed denied of him. The case in which men before regeneration are, plainly shows that it is not, and cannot be of themselves; they are quite ignorant of the thing itself. Regeneration is one, and a principal one, of the things of the Spirit of God, and which a natural man cannot discern and understand; let him have what share he may of natural knowledge; as Nicodemus, a master in Israel, and yet said, how can these things be? and a man cannot be the author of that of which he has no knowledge: nor do men, previous to regeneration, see any need of it; as those who think themselves whole, see no need of a physician, nor make use of any; and who reckon themselves rich, and stand in need of nothing; as not of righteousness, so not of repentance; and if not of repentance, then not of regeneration. And whatsoever notion they may have of it, from what others say concerning it; they have no inclination, nor desire, nor will to it, till God works in them both to will and to do; the bias of their minds is another way; yea, their carnal minds are enmity to it; they mock at it, and count it all dream and enthusiasm. And had they any disposition of mind to it, which they have not, they have no power to effect it; they can do nothing, not the least thing of a spiritual kind; and much less perform such a work as this: this is not by might or power of men, but by the Spirit of the Lord of hosts; to all which may be added, and which makes it impracticable, is, that men are dead in trespasses and sins; and can no more quicken themselves than a dead man can; as soon might Lazarus have raised himself from the dead, and the dry bones in Ezekiel’s vision, have quickened themselves and lived.

    1. The nature of the work clearly shows that it is not in the power of men to do it; it is represented as a creation; it is called a new creature, the workmanship of God created in Christ, the new man after God, created in righteousness. Now creation is a work of almighty Power; a creature cannot create the least thing, not a fly, as soon might he create a world; and

      as soon may a man create a world out of nothing, as create a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within him. It is spoken of as a “resurrection” from the dead; and as soon might dead bodies quicken themselves, as men, dead in sin, raise themselves up to a spiritual life; this requires a power equal to that which raised Christ from the dead; and is done by the same. Its very name, “regeneration”, shows the nature of it; and clearly suggests, that it is out of the power of man to effect it: as men contribute nothing to their first birth, so neither to the second; as no man generates himself, so neither can he regenerate himself; as an infant is passive in its natural generation, and has no concern in it; so passive is a man in his spiritual generation, and is no more assisting in it. It is an “implantation” of that grace in the hearts of men which was not there before; faith is one part of it, said to be “not of ourselves”, but the gift of God; and hope is another, without which men are, while in a state of unregeneracy; and love is of such a nature, that if a man would give all he has for it, it would utterly be contemned; it is a maxim that will hold, “nil dat quod non habet”, nothing can give that which it has not: a man destitute of grace, cannot give grace, neither to himself nor to another. This work lies in taking away “the heart of stone”, and giving an “heart of flesh”; even “a new heart” and “a new spirit”: and none can do this but he who sits upon the throne, and says, “Behold, I make all things new”. To say no more, it is a “transforming” of men by the renewing of their minds, making them other men than they were before, as Saul was, and more so; the change of an Ethiopian’s skin, and of the leopard’s spots, is not greater, nor so great, as the change of a man’s heart and nature; and which, indeed, is not a change of the old man, or corruption of nature, which remains the same; but the production of the new man, or of a new principle, which was not before.

    2. Regeneration is expressly denied to be of men; it is said to be “not of blood”, the blood of circumcision, “which availeth not anything; but a new creature” is of avail, when that is not; nor of the blood of ancestors, of the best of men, the most holy and most eminent for grace; the blood of such may run in the veins of men, and yet they be destitute of regenerating grace; as was the case of the Jews, of multitudes of them, who boasted of being of Abraham’s seed, and of his blood: none need value themselves upon their blood on any

    account, and much less on a religious one; since all nations of the earth are made of one man’s blood, and that is tainted with sin, and conveys corruption; sin is propagated that way, but not grace: nor are men born “of the will of the flesh”, which is carnal and corrupt; impotent to that which is good, and enmity to it: regeneration is not of him that willeth; God, of his own will, begets men again, and not of theirs: nor are they born of “the will of men”, of the greatest and best of men, who are regenerated persons themselves; these, of their will, cannot convey regenerating grace to others; if they could, a good master would regenerate every servant in his family; a good parent would regenerate every child of his; and a minister of the gospel would regenerate all that sit under his ministry; they can only pray and use the means; God only can do the work. Wherefore,

    Secondly, the efficient cause of regeneration is God only; hence we so often read, “which were born of God”, and “whosoever and whatsoever is born of God” (John 1:13; 1 John 3:9; 1 John 5:1, 4), and this is true of God, Father, Son, and Spirit, who have each a concern in regeneration.

    1. God the Father, who is the Father of Christ; he as such begets men again according to his abundant mercy (1 Pet. 1:3), and as the Father of lights, of his own sovereign will and pleasure, regenerates with the word of truth; and as light was one of the first things in the old creation, so in the new creation, or regeneration, light is the first thing sprung in the heart by the Father and fountain of light (James 1:17,18), and as the Father of men by adoption he regenerates; it is of him they are born again, who is their covenant God and Father in Christ; he has chose them unto holiness, of which regeneration is the root, seed, and principle; he has predestinated them to be conformed to the image of his Son, which is done in regeneration; and it is by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he sheds abundantly through Christ the Saviour, that he saves his elect ones.

    2. God the Son has also a concern in regeneration, and so great a concern, that they who am born again are said to be “born of him”, that is, Christ; for no other is spoken of in the context (1 John 2:29), he is the “resurrection and the life”; the author of the spiritual resurrection to a spiritual life, which is no other than regeneration; he quickens whom he will, as

      the Father does; and it is through his powerful voice in the gospel, that the dead in sin hear and live; it is his Spirit which is sent down into the hearts of his people, as to bear witness to their adoption, so to regenerate them; his grace is given to them, yea he himself is formed in them; his image is stamped upon them; and it is by virtue of his resurrection that “they are begotten” to a lively hope of the heavenly inheritance (John 11:25; 5:21, 25; Gal. 4:6,19; 1 Pet. 1:3, 4).

    3. The Holy Spirit of God is the author of regeneration, and to him it is ascribed by our Lord; “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit” (John 3:5), by “water”, is not meant the ordinance of water baptism, that is never expressed by water only, without some other word with it in the text or context which determines the sense; nor is regeneration by it; Simon Magus was baptized, but not regenerated: regeneration ought to precede baptism; faith and repentance, which are graces given in regeneration, are required previous to baptism; nor is water baptism absolutely necessary to salvation; whereas without regeneration no man can neither see nor enter into the kingdom of heaven; but the grace of the Spirit is meant by water, so called from its cleansing and purifying use, as it has to do with the blood of Jesus, hence called the washing of regeneration; of this grace the Spirit is the author, whence it bears his name, is called “Spirit”; it is the renewing of the Holy Ghost, or the new creature is his workmanship; quickening grace is from him; it is the Spirit that quickens and gives life, and frees from the law of sin and death (Titus 3:5; John 3:6; 6:63).

    Secondly, The impulsive, or moving cause, is the free grace, love and mercy of God; “God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, hath quickened us” (Eph 2:4, 5). Regeneration, as it is a time of life when men are quickened, it is a time of love, of open love; it springs from love, which moves mercy to exert itself in this way; it is “according to his abundant mercy God hath begotten us again unto a lively hope” (1 Pet. 1:3), and this was sovereign grace and mercy, not excited by any motives or conditions in men, or by any preparatory works in them; what were there in the three thousand, some of whom had been concerned in the death of Christ, converted under Peter’s sermon? what were in the jailor, who had just before used the apostles in a cruel manner?

    what were there in Saul, the blasphemer, persecutor, and injurious person, between these characters and his obtaining mercy? no, it is not according to the will and works, of men that they are regenerated, but God, “of his own will begat he us” (James 1:18), his own sovereign will and pleasure; and this grace and mercy is abundant; it is richly and plentifully displayed; it is “exceeding abundant”, it flows and overflows; there is a pleonasm, a redundancy of it (1 Tim. 1:14), and to this, as a moving cause, regeneration is owing.

    Thirdly, the resurrection of Christ from the dead is the virtual or procuring cause of it; there is a power or virtue in Christ’s resurrection, which has an influence on many things; as on our justification, for which he rose again, so on our regeneration; for men are said to be “begotten again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Christ from the dead” (1 Pet. 1:3), and which also may be considered as the exemplary cause of it; for as there is a planting together “in the likeness of his death, so in the likeness of his resurrection from the dead”; as Christ’s resurrection was a declaration of his being the Son of God, so regeneration is an evidence of interest in the adoption of children; and as the resurrection of Christ was by the mighty power of God, so is the regeneration and quickening of a dead sinner; and as Christ’s resurrection was his first step to his glorification, so is regeneration to seeing and entering into the kingdom of God.

    Fourthly, The instrumental cause of regeneration, if it may be so called, are the word of God, and the ministers of it; hence regenerate persons are said to be “born again by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Pet. 1:23), and again, “of his own will begat he us with the word of truth” (James 1:18), unless by the Word in these passages should be meant the Eternal Logos, or essential Word of God, Christ Jesus, since Xoyoc, is used in both places; though ministers of the gospel are not only represented as ministers and instruments by whom others believe, but as spiritual fathers; “though you have ten thousand instructors in Christ”, says the apostle to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 4:15), “yet have ye not many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel”; so he speaks of his son Onesimus, whom he had “begotten in his bonds” (Philemon 1:10) yet this instrumentality of the word in regeneration seems not so agreeable to the principle of grace implanted

    in the soul in regeneration, and to be understood with respect to that; since that is done by immediate infusion, and is represented as a creation; and now as God made no use of any instrument in the first and old creation, so neither does it seem so agreeable that he should use any in the new creation: wherefore this is rather to be understood of the exertion of the principle of grace, and the drawing it forth into act and exercise; which is excited and encouraged by the ministry of the word, by which it appears that a man is born again; so the three thousand first converts, and the jailor, were first regenerated, or had the principle of grace wrought in their souls by the Spirit of God, and then were directed and encouraged by the ministry of the apostles to repent and believe in Christ: whereby it became manifest that they were born again. Though after all it seems plain, that the ministry of the word is the vehicle in which the Spirit of God conveys himself and his grace into the hearts of men; which is done when the word comes not in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost; and works effectually, and is the power of God unto salvation; then faith comes by hearing, and ministers are instruments by whom, at least, men are encouraged to believe: “received ye the Spirit”, says the apostle, “by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith”: (Gal. 3:2), that is, by the preaching of the law, or by the preaching of the gospel? by the latter, no doubt.

  3. The subjects of regeneration are next to be inquired into, or who they are God is pleased to bestow this grace upon. These are men, and not angels; good angels have no need of regeneration; they are holy angels, and continue in that state of holiness in which they were created, and are confirmed therein; they have no need of it to make them meet for heaven, they are there already; they are the angels of heaven, and always behold the face of our heavenly Father there: as for the evil angels, none of them ever had, nor never will have any share in regenerating grace; they believe indeed, but they have not the faith of regenerate ones, or that faith which worketh by love; they believe there is a God, but they do not, nor can they love him; they believe he is, and tremble at his wrath; they have no hope as regenerate ones have, but live in black despair, and ever will. They are men God regenerates, and not brutes, nor stocks nor stones; these are not subjects capable of regeneration; God could raise up

    children out of these, but it is not his way and work; they are rational creatures he thus operates upon, and he treats them as such in the ministry of his word; though he is represented as dealing otherwise by the adversaries of the grace of God: but though they are men, and men only, whom God regenerates, yet not all men; all men have not faith, and hope, and love; they are a kind of first fruits of his creatures, whom of his own will he begets with the word of truth; they are such who are called out and separated from the rest of the world; they are such who are the peculiar objects of his love; for regeneration is the fruit and effect of love, and the evidence of it; they are such whom God has predestinated to be conformed to the image of his Son, in which image they are created in regeneration; those whom the apostle speaks of as “begotten again unto a lively hope, are first described as elect according to the foreknowledge of God” (1 Pet. 1:2, 3), and they are such who are redeemed by Christ, for they that are chosen in him, have redemption through his blood; and those are quickened by his Spirit and grace, when dead in trespasses and sins, for such is their state and condition before they are born again; they are such who are the sons of God by adopting grace, who because they are sons the Spirit of God is sent into them, as to witness their adoption, so to regenerate them, which gives evidence of it; and thus they become openly the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Let it be further observed, that though the chief and principal seat of regeneration is the spirit or soul of man, yet it extends its influence to the body and the member’s thereof; whereby they are restrained from the lusts of the flesh, as to yield a ready, constant, and universal obedience to them; or so as to “yield their members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin”; but, on the contrary, are so under the power of the reigning principle of grace, implanted in them in regeneration, that they, “through the Spirit, mortify the deeds of the body, and live” (Rom. 6:12,13; 8:13).

  4. The effects of regeneration, or the ends to be answered, and which are answered by it, and which show the importance and necessity of it.

    1. A principal effect of it; or, if you will, a concomitant of it, is a participation of every grace of the Spirit. Regenerate ones have not only the promise of life made to them, but they have the grace of life

      given them; they live a new life, and walk in newness of life: they partake of the grace of spiritual light; before, their understandings were darkened; but now they are enlightened by the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, in the knowledge of divine things; they were before, darkness itself; but now are made light in the Lord. In regeneration is laid the beginning of sanctification, which is carried on till completed, without which no man shall see the Lord; for the new man is created in righteousness and true holiness; the principle of holiness is then formed, from whence holy actions spring. The grace of repentance then appears; the stony, hard, obdurate, and impenitent heart being taken away, and an heart of flesh, susceptible of divine impressions, being given; on which follow, a sense of sin, sorrow for it after a godly sort, and repentance unto life and unto salvation, which is not to be repented of: faith in Christ, which is not of a man’s self, but the gift of God, and the operation of the Spirit of God, is now given and brought into exercise; which being an effect, is an evidence of regeneration; for “whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ”, and especially that believes in Christ, as his Saviour and Redeemer, “is born of God” (1 John 5:1), and such have hope of eternal life by Christ; while unregenerate men are without hope, without a true, solid, and well grounded hope; but in regeneration, they are begotten to a “lively hope”, and have it; a good hope, through grace, founded upon the person, blood, and righteousness of Christ, which is of use to them both in life and death. Regenerated persons have their “hearts circumcised”, which is but another phrase for regenerating grace, “to love the Lord their God with all their heart and soul” (Deut. 30:6), and though before, their carnal minds were enmity to God, and all that is good; now they love him, and all that belong to him, his word, worship, ordinances, and people; and by this it is known, that they “have passed from death to life”, which is no other than regeneration, “because they love the brethren” (1 John 3:14). In short, regenerate persons are partakers of all the fruits of the Spirit; of all other graces, besides those mentioned; as humility, patience, self-denial, and resignation to the will of God. And they are blessed with such measures of grace and spiritual strength, as to be able to resist sin and Satan, and to overcome the world, and every spiritual enemy; “For whatsoever is

      born of God, overcometh the world”, the god of it, the men in it, and the lusts thereof; “Whosoever is born of God, sinneth not”, does not live in sin, nor is he overcome by it; “but he that is begotten of God, keepeth himself” from Satan, and his temptations, from being overcome with them; “and that wicked one toucheth him not”: being clothed with the whole armour of God, which he has skill to wield; he keeps him off, and at bay, so that he cannot come in with him; he holds up the shield of faith to him, whereby he quenches all his fiery darts (1 John 5:4,18)

    2. Knowledge, and actual enjoyment of the several blessings of grace, follow upon regeneration. The covenant of grace is “ordered in all things”, and is full of all spiritual blessings; and a grant of all the blessings of grace was made to Christ, and to the elect in him, before the world began, and they were secretly blessed with them in him as early; but then till the Spirit of God is sent down into their hearts in regeneration, to make known unto them the things which God has freely given them, they are strangers to them, and have no knowledge of them, cannot claim their interest in them, nor are they actually possessed of them. They are loved of God with an everlasting love; but then the first open display of it to them is in regeneration, when God draws them with lovingkindness to himself, as a fruit and effect, and so an evidence of his ancient love to them. They are chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world; but this is not known by them till the gospel comes, not in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost; working powerfully inthem, regenerating, quickening, and sanctifying them; when that holiness to which they are chosen, is implanted, and that image of Christ, to which they are predestinated, is stamped: there is an union with Christ, which election in him gives; and there is a legal union between him and the elect, as between a surety and debtor, in virtue of suretyship engagements for them; and there is a mystical union, as between head and members; and a conjugal one, as between man and wife: but before regeneration there is no vital union, or such an union as between vine and branches, by which they actually receive life, and grace, and nourishment, and bear, and bring forth fruit. They are the sons of God by predestination; and in covenant, the adoption of children belongs, unto them; but this does not appear till regeneration takes

      place, when they receive in person the power and privilege of it, and are manifestly the sons of God by faith in Christ. Justification was a sentence conceived in the mind of God from eternity; was pronounced on Christ, and his people in him, when he rose from the dead; but is not known to those interested in it, till the Spirit of God reveals the righteousness of Christ from faith to faith, and pronounces upon it the sentence of justification in the conscience of the believer; until he is born again, he has no knowledge of this blessing, no comfortable perception of it; nor can he claim his interest in it, nor have that peace and joy which flow from it. And now it is that an awakened sinner has the application of pardoning grace and mercy; for though pardon of sin is provided in covenant, and the blood of Christ is shed for it, and he is exalted to give it; yet it is not actually given, applied, and enjoyed, until repentance is given also; for they are both in Christ’s gift together; and when also it is that God blesses his people with peace, with peace of conscience, flowing from the blood, righteousness, and sacrifice of Christ.

    3. Another effect of regeneration is, a fitness and capacity for the performance of good works. In regeneration men are “created in Christ Jesus unto good works”; and by their new creation, become fit for, and capable of, performing them; the new man is formed in them “unto righteousness and true holiness”, to the acts and exercises of righteousness and holiness (Eph 2:10; 4:24), such who are born again, are “sanctified and meet for the Master’s use, and prepared unto every good work” (2 Tim. 2:21), whereas, an unregenerate man is “to every good work reprobate”; he has neither will nor power to perform that which is good, till God “works in him both to will and to do”. The principal ingredients in good works are wanting in them, wherefore they cannot be acceptable to God: and, indeed, “without faith”, as these are without it, “it is impossible to please God”; nor can they that are “in the flesh”, who are carnal and unregenerate, “please God”; that is, do those things which are pleasing to him (Heb. 11:6; Rom. 8:8), without the Spirit of God, and the grace and strength of Christ, nothing of this kind can he performed; wherefore God has promised to put his “Spirit” in his people, which he does in regeneration, to “cause them to walk in his statutes, and to keep his judgments, and do them”: so though they can do

      nothing of themselves, yet, through the Spirit, grace, and strength of Christ, they can do all things (Ezek. 36:27; Phil. 4:13) to which they must be referred; even a very heathen could say, ‘‘Whatever good thing thou dost, ascribe it to God.)’’

    4. Regeneration gives a meetness for the kingdom of God; without this, no man can see, nor enter into it (John 3:3, 5), whether by “the kingdom of God” is meant, a gospel church state, and a participation of the privileges and ordinances of it, or the ultimate state of glory and happiness: the former may be meant, into which publicans and harlots went before the Pharisees; and which they would neither enter into themselves, nor suffer others to go in who were entering; and a removal of which from them, Christ threatens them with (Matt. 23:13; 21:31, 43). Unregenerate men may indeed, in a sense, see and enter into this kingdom of God; they may attend the word, and embrace the truths of it, make a profession of faith, submit to gospel ordinances, and become members of a gospel church; this they may do in fact, but not of right; they are such as do not come in at the right door, Christ, and true faith in him; but climb up another way, and are thieves and robbers; hypocrites in Zion, tares in Christ’s field, and foolish virgins among the wise; to whom the kingdom of God is compared. Unregenerate men have not the proper qualifications for the church of God, and the ordinances of it; these particularly, are faith and repentance; these are required to a person’s admission to baptism (Matthew 3:2, 8; Acts 2:38; 8:12, 37), and so to the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper; “Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat” (1 Cor. 11:28), whether he has true repentance towards God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ; and if such a man, devoid of these, which attend or flow from regeneration, gets admitted to these ordinances, and into a church state, of what avail is it to him here or hereafter? what does it signify now to have the form of godliness, without the power? a name to live, and yet be dead? or hereafter; for “what is the hope of the hypocrite” of what use is it to him? “though he hath gained” the name of a professor, of a religious man, and a place in the house of God, “when God takes away his soul”, these will be of no service to him? Though may be the ultimate state of glory may be meant by the kingdom of God, in the above passages; as in (1 Cor. 6:9; Luke 12:32; Matt. 25:34).

    An unregenerate man has no apparent right unto it; nor meetness for it. The proper right unto it lies in adoption; “If children, then heirs”. But this right, so founded, does not appear till a man is born again, which is the evidence of adoption; nor can he be meet and fit for it, without this grace of God regenerating, quickening, and sanctifying; for without holiness man shall see the Lord; and nothing shall enter into the heavenly state that defiles or makes an abomination; but when men are born again, they are, heirs apparent to the heavenly inheritance; they are rich faith, and heirs of a kingdom; and are meet to be partakers of the inheritance with the saints in light.

  5. The properties of regeneration; and which may serve to throw more light on the nature of it.

    1. Regeneration is a passive work, or rather, men are passive in it; as they must needs be, in the first infusion and implantation of grace, and the quickening of them; even as passive as the first matter created was, out of which all things were made; and as a dead man, when raised from the dead is; or as the dry bones in Ezekiel’s vision were, while the Spirit of God breathed upon them, and then they became active; and as infants are in the natural generation of them; for men no more contribute to their spiritual birth, than infants do to their natural birth; all this appears from regeneration being a creation, a resurrection from the dead, and a being begotten and born again.

    2. It is an irresistible act of God’s grace; no more resistance can be made unto it, than there could be in the first matter to its creation; or in a dead man to his resurrection; or in an infant to its generation. Regeneration is of the will of God, which cannot be resisted; the Spirit, in regeneration, is like “the wind”, which “bloweth where it listeth”, and none can hinder it “so is everyone that is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8), it is done by the power of God, which is uncontrollable; whatever aversion, contrariety, and opposition there may be in the corrupt nature of men unto it, that is soon and easily overcome by the power of divine grace; when the stony heart is taken away, and an heart of flesh is given. When God works, nothing can let; an unwilling people are made willing in the day of his power; high thoughts, reasonings, and imaginations of the carnal mind, are cast down by him.

    3. It is an act that is instantaneously done, at once;

      it is not like sanctification it gives rise to; which is but a begun work, and is carried on gradually; faith grows, hope and love abound more and more, and spiritual light and knowledge increase by degrees, till they come to the perfect day: but regeneration is at once; as an infant in nature is generated at once, and is also born at once, and not by degrees; so it is in spiritual generation; one man cannot be said to he more regenerated than another, though he may be more sanctified; and the same man cannot be said to be more regenerated at one time than at another.

    4. As it is done at once, so it is perfect; some persons speak of a regenerate and an unregenerate part in men; and that they are partly regenerate and partly unregenerate. I must confess I do not understand this; since regeneration is a new creature, and perfect in its kind. There are, indeed, two principles in a man that is born again; a principle of corrupt nature, and a principle of grace; the one is called the old man, and the other the new: the whole old man is unregenerate, no part in him is regenerated; he remains untouched, and is just the same he was, only deprived of his power and dominion; and the new man is wholly regenerate, no unregenerate part in him: there is no sin in him, nor done by him, he cannot commit sin; “the king’s daughter is all glorious within”: a man child, as soon as born, having all its limbs, is a perfect man, as to parts, though these are not at their full growth and size, as they will be, if it lives: so the new man is a perfect man at once, as to parts, though as yet not arrived to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

    5. The grace of regeneration can never be lost; once regenerated, and always so; one that is born in a spiritual sense, can never be unborn again; for he cannot die a spiritual death; he is born of incorruptible and immortal seed; he is born of water and of the Spirit, or of the grace of the Spirit, which is as a well of living water in him, springing up unto everlasting life: and all such who are begotten again unto a lively hope of a glorious inheritance, are kept by the power of God, through faith, unto salvation (1 Pet. 1:3-5, 23). To which may be added,

    6. An adjunct which always accompanies regeneration, a spiritual warfare between the old and the new man, the principle of sin, and the principle of grace; the flesh lusting against the spirit, and the spirit

against the flesh; the law in the members warring against the law of the mind; which are, as it were, a company of two armies engaged in war with each other, which always issues in a victory on the side of the new creature; for whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world; and sin and Satan, and every enemy,


Chapter 12

OF EFFECTUAL CALLING

Though effectual calling may be distinguished from regeneration, taken more strictly, for the first infusion and impartation of grace in the heart; yet it is closely connected with it, and the consideration of it naturally follows upon it. It is, with great propriety, said to be “effectual” calling, to distinguish it from another calling, which is not effectual; at least, which is not attended with any salutary effect to the persons called with it; of which more hereafter. Concerning effectual calling, the following things may be observed.

  1. What it is, and the nature of it. It is not of a civil kind, of which there are various sorts; as a call to an office in state; so Saul and David were chosen and called to take upon them the government of the people of Israel: likewise a call to do some particular service, which God has appointed men to do; so Bezaleel was called and qualified to devise and do some curious work for the tabernacle, and to teach and direct others in it: so the Medes and Persians were sanctified, or set apart by the Lord, and called by him to the destruction of Babylon; and Cyrus was raised up, and called from a far country, to let the captive Jews go free. Indeed, every ordinary occupation, employment, and business of life, men are brought up in, and exercise, is a calling, and a calling of God; hence the apostle says, “Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he is called” (1 Cor. 7:20, 24). But the calling now to be treated of is of a religious kind; and of which also there are various sorts; as a call to an ecclesiastical office, whether extraordinary or ordinary; so Aaron and his sons were called to officiate in the priesthood; for “no man taketh this honour to himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron” (Heb. 5:4), so the twelve disciples of Christ were called to apostleship; and Paul, “a servant of Christ”, is said to be “called to be an apostle” (Rom. 1:1), and ordinary ministers of the word, are set apart and called by the Lord, and by

    his churches, to the work of the ministry they are put into. There is likewise an universal call of all men, to serve and worship the one true and living God; this call is made by the light of nature, displayed in the works of creation, which demonstrate the Being of God; and by the law of nature, written on the hearts of all men; and by the works of providence, and the bounties of it, which all have a share in, and in which God leaves not himself without a witness; and by all which men are called upon, and directed to seek after God, to worship him, and glorify him as God. And besides this, there is a more special and particular call of men, and not so general, and is either external or internal: the “external” call is by the ministry of the word; by the ministry of the prophets under the Old Testament; and of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, and of Christ himself in human nature, and of his apostles under the New; and of all succeeding ministers in all ages. The “internal” call is by the Spirit and grace of God to the hearts and consciences of men; these two sometimes go together, but not always; some are externally called, and not internally called; and of those that are internally called, some are called by and through the ministry of the word, and some without it; though, for the most part, men are called by it; and because it is usually so, and this external call is a matter of moment and importance, it is necessary to be a little more large and explicit upon it. And,

    First, This may be considered either as a call to saints, to such who have a work of grace already begun in them; and to such it is a call, not only to the means of grace, but to partake of the blessings of grace; to come as thirsty persons, eagerly desirous of spiritual things, “to the waters”, the ordinances, and drink at them; to “buy wine and milk”, spiritual blessings, signified hereby, without “money, and without price”, these being to be had freely: and these are also called as laboring under a sense of sin, and under a spirit of bondage, to “come” to Christ for “rest”, peace, pardon, life, and salvation (Isa. 55:1; Matthew 11:28), and these in and by the ministry of the word, are called, excited, and encouraged to the exercise of evangelical graces, wrought in them, and bestowed upon them; as repentance, faith, hope, love, and every other; such were the three thousand converts under Peter’s sermon, and the jailor, who were under

    a previous work of the Spirit of God, when they were called and encouraged to repent and believe in Christ, (Acts 2:37, 38; 16:29-31), and these are also called, and urged, and pressed, in and by the ministry of the word, to a constant attendance on ordinances, and not to forsake the assembly of the saints, and to a diligent performance of every religious duty, and to be ready to every good work in general: or this external call may be considered, as a call of sinners in a state of nature and unregeneracy; but then it is not a call to them to regenerate and convert themselves, of which there is no instance; and which is the pure work of the Spirit of God: nor to make their peace with God, which they cannot make by anything they can do; and which is only made by the blood of Christ: nor to get an interest in Christ, which is not got, but given: nor to the exercise of evangelical grace, which they have not, and therefore can never exercise: nor to any spiritual vital acts, which they are incapable of, being natural men, and dead in trespasses and sins. Nor is the gospel ministry an offer of Christ, and of his grace and salvation by him, which are not in the power of the ministers of it to give, nor of carnal men to receive; the gospel is not an offer, but a preaching of Christ crucified, a proclamation of the unsearchable riches of his grace, of peace, pardon, righteousness, and life, and salvation by him. Yet there is something in which the ministry of the word, and the call by it, have to do with unregenerate sinners: they may be, and should be called upon, to perform the natural duties of religion; to a natural faith, to give credit to divine revelation, to believe the external report of the gospel, which not to do, is the sin of the deists; to repent of sin committed, which even the light of nature dictates; and God, in his word, commands all men everywhere to repent: to pray to God for forgiveness, as Simon Magus was directed by the apostle: and to pray to God for daily mercies that are needed, is a natural and moral duty; as well as to give him praise, and return thanks for mercies received, which all men that have breath are under obligation to do. They may, and should be called upon to attend the outward means of grace, and to make use of them; to read the Holy Scriptures, which have been the means of the conversion of some; to hear the word, and wait on the ministry of it, which may be blessed unto them, for the effectual calling of them. And it is a part of the ministry of the word to lay

    before men their fallen, miserable, lost, and undone estate by nature; to open to them the nature of sin, its pollution and guilt, and the sad consequences of it; to inform them of their incapacity to make atonement for it; and of their impotence and inability to do what is spiritually good; and of the insufficiency of their own righteousness to justify them in the sight of God: and they are to be made acquainted, that salvation is alone by Christ, and not other ways; and the fullness, freeness, and suitableness of this salvation, are to be preached before them; and the whole to be left to the Spirit of God, to make application of it as he shall think fit.

    Secondly, this external call by the ministry is not universal, nor ever was: under the former dispensation God sent his word unto Jacob and his statutes unto Israel; as for other nations, they knew them not; God overlooked the heathens in their times of ignorance for hundreds of years together, and sent no prophet nor minister unto them, to acquaint them with his mind and will, and lead them into the knowledge of divine things. When the gospel dispensation took place, the apostles of Christ were forbid, by their first commission, to go to the Gentiles, or to any of the cities of the Samaritans; and though, upon Christ’s resurrection from the dead, their commission was enlarged, and they were sent to preach to all nations of the world; yet before they could reach to the extent of their commission, multitudes must be dead, to whom the gospel call, or the sound of it, never reached. To say nothing of the new world, or America, supposed not then to be discovered; in succeeding ages, many parts of the world have been without the preaching of the word, and are at this day; and, indeed, it is confined to a very small part of it; and where it is, though many may be externally called by it, yet few are chosen, and internally called by the Spirit and grace of God: and as this call is of many who are not chosen, so of many who are not sanctified, or that are not called with an holy calling; and so of many who are not saved; for it is to some the savour of death unto death.

    Thirdly, the external call is frequently rejected, and for the most part, and by the greater numbers of those that hear it; “I have called, and ye have refused: I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people”; and to these it must be useless, as to any salutary effects; many that are called and

    invited to attend the gospel ministry refuse to come; such were they that were bidden and called to the marriage feast; but they made light of it, and some went to their farms, and others to their merchandise; such were the Scribes and Pharisees, who would neither go into the kingdom of heaven themselves, nor suffer others that were entering to go in but shut it up against them; that is, would neither attend the ministry of Christ and his apostles themselves, nor suffer others, but discouraged them from it, by their reproaches, threats, and persecutions, as our Lord complains (Matthew 23:13,37). Others that attend the ministry of the word, do it in a careless and negligent manner, not minding what they hear, but like leaking vessels, let it slip, or run out; or stop their ears to the voice of the charmer, charming ever so wisely; many that hear have an aversion to what they hear; the gospel is an hard saying to them, foolishness to some, and a stumblingblock to others; some mock and scoff at it, as the Athenians did; and others, as the Jews, contradict and blaspheme it, putting it away from them, judging themselves unworthy of eternal life; and therefore it is no wonder it becomes of no saving effect to either of these sort of persons: and, indeed, it is always insufficient and ineffectual of itself unto real conversion, without the powerful and efficacious grace of God; when God goes forth with his ministers, working with them, then work is done, but not otherwise; when the hand of the Lord is upon them, or his power attends their ministry, many believe and turn to the Lord; but unless his arm is revealed, the report of the gospel will not be believed, nor the call of it be attended to. Yet,

    Fourthly, the external ministry of the word, or the outward call by it, is not in vain; it has its usefulness, and various ends are answered by it. All things are for the elect’s sake, and particularly the ministration of the gospel, which to them is the savour of life unto life; as it is the will of God that his chosen people, and others, should promiscuously dwell together, so he sends his gospel to them in general, and by it takes out a people for his name; calls them by his grace effectually, out of the world, and separates them from the men of it, to be a peculiar people to himself; and the rest are thereby left inexcusable; for if the light of nature leaves men so, much more the light of the gospel; the condemnation of men is aggravated by it; inasmuch,

    as though they are surrounded with light, they love darkness rather than light. Moreover, by the external ministry of the word, many, though not effectually called, become more civilized and more moral in their conversation; are reformed, as to their outward manners; and through a speculative knowledge of the gospel, escape the grossest pollutions of the world: and others are brought by it to a temporary faith, to believe for awhile, to embrace the gospel notionally, to submit to the ordinances of it, make a profession of religion, by which means they become serviceable to support the interest of it. So that it comports with the wisdom of God that there should be such an outward call of many who are not internally called: nor is he to be charged for it with dissimulation and insincerity; since by it he declares what is his good, perfect, and acceptable will, and what would be grateful and well pleasing to him was it complied with and done. Should it be said, that that is called for and required which man has not power to perform; be it so, which yet may be questioned, it should be observed, that though man by sin has lost his power to comply with the will of God by an obedience to it; God has not lost his power, right, and authority to command. Wherefore, when the ministry of the word is slighted, and the gospel call rejected, it is most righteously resented by the Lord; see Proverbs 1:24-28 and such are justly punished with everlasting destruction by him (1 Peter 4:17; 2 Thess. 1:8, 9).

    The “internal” call is next to be considered, which is sometimes immediately, and without the ministry of the word; as seems to be the case of the disciples of Christ, of the apostle Paul, and of Zacchaeus, and others: and sometimes mediately by the word; for faith comes by hearing, and bearing by the word; so the three thousand under Peter’s sermon, and those in the family of Cornelius, on whom the Holy Spirit fell while the apostle was preaching; and this is the ordinary way in which God calls men by his grace; and which call is,

    l. Out of great and gross darkness, into marvelous and surprising light (1 Pet. 2:9). God’s elect, while in a state of nature, are in a state of darkness and ignorance; they are in the dark about God, his perfections, purposes, counsels, and methods of grace; about themselves, the state and condition they are in; about sin, the nature of it, and its sad

    consequences; about the Person of Christ, his offices, and the way of salvation by him; about the Spirit, his work and operations on the souls of men; and about the scriptures, and the doctrines of the gospel contained in them: but in effectual calling the eyes of their understandings are opened and enlightened, and they are made light in the Lord. When the apostle Paul was called by grace, a light surrounded him, as an emblem of that internal light which was sprung in him; and after that there fell from his eyes, as it had been scales, as a token of the removal of his former darkness and ignorance: as God, in the first creation, commanded light to shine out of darkness; so in the new creation, and at effectual calling, he irradiates the minds of his called ones with a divine light, in which they see light; see what sin is, what an evil thing it is, and the exceeding sinfulness of it; see themselves lost and undone by it, and just ready to perish; see their incapacity to save themselves, and the insufficiency of their own righteousness to justify them before God; see the glory, fulness, and grace of Christ, the completeness and suitableness of him as a Saviour; and see the truths and promises of the gospel, the great doctrines of it, in another light than they did before; so as to understand them, receive the love of them, believe them with the heart, and distinguish them from those that differ, and rejoice at them, as bringing good news and glad tidings of good things.

  2. The internal call, is a call of men out of bondage, out of worse than Egyptian bondage, into liberty, even the glorious liberty of the children of God; “Brethren, ye have been called unto liberty” (Gal. 5:13), while in a state of nature, they are, as they were by nature, home born slaves, slaves to their sinful lusts and pleasures, and are brought into bondage by them, and held under the power of them, as in a prison; but in the effectual calling, the fetters and shackles of sin are broken off, and the prison doors opened, and they are bid to go forth and show themselves; they become free from the tyranny of sin, and sin has no more dominion over them: in their state before calling, they are under the power and influence of Satan, the strong man armed who keeps possession of them, by whom they are kept in bondage, and led captive by him at his will; but when effectually called, they are taken out of his hands, and are turned from the power of Satan unto God, and are delivered from the power of darkness,

    and are translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son, where they are Christ’s free men. While they are seeking righteousness and life by the works of the law, they are brought into bondage, for that genders to bondage, and brings on a spirit of bondage upon those that are under it; but in effectual calling they are delivered from it, by the Spirit of God, as a free spirit; and are called to stand fast in the liberty with which Christ has made them free, and not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage; they are called and allowed to make use of a liberty of access to God, through Christ, by one Spirit, and to enjoy all the privileges of the gospel, and the immunities of a gospel church state, being fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.

  3. The internal call, is a call of persons from fellowship with the men of the world, to fellowship with Christ; “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of Christ Jesus our Lord” (1 Cor. 1:9), it is like that of the call of Christ to his church (Song of Sol. 4:8). “Come with me from Lebanon”,

    &c. a call to forsake the vanities, pleasures, and profits of the world, and the company of the men of it, and go along with him, and enjoy communion with him: as Abraham was called out of his country, from his kindred, and his father’s house; so saints are called to forsake their own people, and their father’s house; to relinquish the society of their former companions, and to have no fellowship with ungodly men: not that they are to have no civil correspondence, commerce, and society with the men of the world; for then, as the apostle says, they must needs go out of it; but not to join with them in superstitious worship, in acts of idolatry, in a false religion, and in the observance of the commandments of men; nor in any sinful, profane, and immoral practices; and as much as may be, should shun and avoid all unnecessary company, and conversation with them; for evil communications corrupt good manners; and it is a grief to the people of God, to be obliged to dwell among them, and with them, as it was to Lot, to Isaac and Rebekah, to David, Isaiah, and others: the people of God, in the effectual calling, are called to better company, to communion with God, Father, Son, and Spirit; to fellowship with one another; to converse with saints, the excellent in the earth, in whom is all their delight.

  4. Such as are effectually called by the Spirit and

    grace of God, are called to peace; “God hath called us to peace” (1 Cor. 7:15), to internal peace, to peace of mind and conscience; which men, in a state of nature, are strangers to; for there is no peace to the wicked: but God calls his people to it, and blesses them with it; with a peace which passes all understanding; with peace in the midst of the tribulations of the world; with a peace which the world can neither give nor take away; and which arises from the blood and righteousness of Christ, and is part of that kingdom of God which is within them, into which they are brought at effectual calling. They are likewise called to peace among themselves, and with all men as much as possible; “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body” (Col. 3:15).

  5. They are called out of a state of unholiness and sinfulness, into a state of holiness and righteousness; for being created anew in righteousness and true holiness, and created in Christ Jesus to good works, they are called to the exercise of them; to live holily, soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present evil world; “God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness” (1 Thess. 4:7), and “hath called us to glory and virtue” (2 Pet. 1:3), to glorious acts of virtue and goodness, becoming the nature of their call, and of him that has called them; “As he which hath called you is holy” &c. (1 Pet. 1:15).

  6. The internal call, is a call of persons “into the grace of Christ” (Gal. 1:6), into the gospel of the grace of Christ, as appears by what follows, to receive it, embrace it, profess it, and stand fast in it; and into the fullness of grace in Christ, to receive out of it, to be strong in it, to exercise faith on it: and to the blessings of grace in his hands, and which are given forth by him; to lay hold upon them, take them to themselves, and claim their interest in them; all being theirs, they being Christ’s, his chosen, redeemed, and called ones; and by whom they have access into the state of grace in which they stand.

  7. It is a call of them to a grate of happiness and bliss in another world; “Who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory” (1 Thess 2:12), to a glory, which is a kingdom; to possess a kingdom of grace now, which cannot be removed; and to inherit the kingdom of glory hereafter, which is au everlasting one; to a glory which is given to Christ; “To the obtaining of

the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 2:14; John 17:22; Col. 3:4), and to eternal glory by Christ Jesus (1 Pet. 5:10), and to “lay hold on eternal life” (1 Tim. 6:12), and to an eternal inheritance; and “they which are called, receive the promise of it”, and shall certainly enjoy it; having a meetness for it, through the grace of God, and a right unto it, through the righteousness of Christ (1 Pet. 1:3,4; Heb. 9:15), and they are all “called in one hope of their calling” (Eph. 4:4) to partake of the same inheritance with the saints in light; and to enjoy the same blessed hope laid up for them in heaven; and for which hope of righteousness they wait by faith, through the holy Spirit.

  1. The author and causes of effectual calling, efficient, impulsive, instrumental, and final.

    1. The efficient cause is God; “Walk worthy of God, who hath called you; God hath not called us unto uncleanliness, but unto holiness” (1 Thess. 2:12; 4:7; 2 Tim. 1:8, 9). Sometimes it is ascribed to God personally, to the three divine Persons in the Godhead, to Father, Son, and Spirit; to the Father, when he is said to call by his grace, and reveal his Son; and to call unto the fellowship of his Son; and to call men by Jesus Christ (Gal. 1:15, 16; 1 Cor. 1:9; 1 Pet. 5:10), in which places, God that calls, is distinguished from his Son Jesus Christ. Sometimes calling is ascribed to the Son; so Wisdom, the eternal Logos, Word, and Son of God, is represented as calling both externally and internally (Prov. 1:20 &c; Prov. 8:1-4), and saints are said to be the called of Jesus Christ, whom he has a property in, as called ones, being efficiently called by him. And sometimes it is ascribed to the Holy Spirit; “There is one body and one spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling”; that is, by the one Spirit, the Holy Spirit of God; and to him are owing that illumination, and that freedom from bondage, and that fellowship with Christ, which make a principal part of what men in the effectual calling are called into; and it is he that leads to peace and holiness, and into the grace of Christ, and encourages to hope and wait for glory: so that effectual calling is a divine work, and not human.

    2. The impulsive, or moving cause of effectual calling, are not the works of men, but the sovereign will, pleasure, purpose, and grace of God; as in 2 Timothy 1:9.

      (1) 1. The works of men are not the moving or

      impulsive cause of their being called of God; for those must be either such as are done before calling, or after it: not before calling; for works done then are not properly good works; they are not subjectively good; the doers of them are not good men; and a man must be a good man, before he can perform good works; and though some works done by bad men, may have the show and appearance of good, and be materially, or as to the matter of them, good actions; yet are not such circumstantially: the requisites and circumstances of a good work, being wanting in them; as riot being done according to the will of God, and in obedience to it; nor in faith, and so sin; nor proceeding from a principle of love to God, nor directed to his glory: and such works can never be moving causes of men being called. Nor can good works after calling be such; for they are fruits and effects of the effectual calling; and therefore cannot be ranked among the causes of it. Men, in and by effectual calling, are sanctified, and become meet for their master’s use, and ready to every good work.

      1. The sovereign will, pleasure, and purpose of God, are what move and determine him to call, by his grace, any of the sons of men: not their wills; for “it is not of him that willeth”, but of his own good will and pleasure; they that are called, are “called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28), he has, in his eternal purpose, fixed upon the particular persons whom he will call, and the time when he will call them; for there is a time for every purpose, and so for this, called the time of life and of love; and the place where they shall be called; in this and that place; as at Corinth, Philippi, &c. the means and occasion of their calling, with the several circumstances thereof, are all according to a divine purpose; and show that the whole is owing to the sovereign will and pleasure of God, who does all things after the counsel of his own will.

      2. The free grace of God, in a sovereign, distinguishing way and manner, may truly be said to be the grand, impulsive, moving cause of the effectual calling; to this the apostle ascribed his own; “And called me by his grace”: that is, of his pure grace, and according to it. God, as the God of all grace, calls men to grace and glory by Christ; and an abundance of grace is displayed in calling; yea, the first open display of grace, and discovery of love, to a sinner

      himself, is then made; then is he drawn with loving kindness, as a frail and evidence of everlasting love; and therefore the time of calling, is called a time of love (Jer. 31:3; Ezek. 16:8), and it being of some particular persons, and not of all, shows it to be the effect of distinguishing grace, and of sovereign good will; and, indeed, nothing out of God could move him to such an act as this; and as his grace is his own, he may call by it, and to it, and bestow it on whom he pleases.

    3. The instrumental cause, or rather means of the effectual calling, is the ministry of the word. Sometimes, indeed, it is brought about by some remarkable providence, and without the word; but generally it is by it; “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”. Christ stands in the gospel ministry, at the door of men’s hearts, and knocks and calls; and having the key of the house of David, he opens the heart by his power and grace, and lets himself in; and in this way, and by this means, the Spirit, and his graces, are received; men are called both to grace and glory by the gospel (Gal. 1:6; 2 Thess. 2:14).

    4. The final causes, or rather the ends of the effectual calling, which are subordinate and ultimate: the subordinate end, is the salvation of God’s elect, that they may possess the blessings of grace, and eternal glory; to both which they are called. And the ultimate end is the glory of the grace of God; for this end God forms his people in regeneration and the effectual calling; namely, to show forth his praise: and this end is answered, in part, in this life, they ascribing all they have, and expect to have, solely to the free grace of God; and it will be consummately answered in the world to come, when all their work will be praise; attributing the whole of their salvation to the sovereign will and pleasure, grace and goodness, of God.

  2. The subjects of the effectual calling, or who they are whom God calls by his grace.

    1. They are such whom God has chosen to grace and glory; “Whom he did predestinate, them he also called” (Rom. 8:30). Election and calling are of equal extent; the objects are the same, neither more nor fewer; they that were chosen from eternity, are called in time; and they that are called in time, were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world;

      the “vessels of mercy, afore prepared unto glory”, are explained and described by such “whom God hath called; not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles” (Rom. 9:23, 24).

    2. They are such who are in Christ, and secured in him; for they are “called according to grace given them, in Christ Jesus before the world began”; and as grace was given them in him so early, they themselves, in some sense, must then have a being in him; which they have, through being chosen in him, and thereby coming into his hands, they are secured and preserved in him, in consequence of which they are called by grace; thus stands the order of things, as put by the apostle Jude 1:1. “To them that are sanctified by God the Father”; that is, set apart by him in eternal election; and preserved in Christ Jesus, being put into his hands by that act of grace; and called, in virtue of the foregoing acts of grace.

    3. They are such who are redeemed by Christ; calling, follows redemption, and is the certain consequent of it; “I have redeemed thee; I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine” (Isa. 43:1). Election, redemption, and calling, are of the same persons; those whom God has chosen in Christ, are redeemed by Christ; and who are chosen and redeemed, are, sooner or later, called; and the reason of their being called, is because they are redeemed; “I will hiss for them, and gather them; for I have redeemed them” (Zech. 10:8).

    4. Those that are called, are, for the most part, either the meanest, or the vilest, among men; the meanest, as to their outward circumstances; “Not many mighty, not many noble are called”; and the meanest, as to their internal capacities; “Not many wise men after the flesh”; the things of the gospel, and of the grace of God, are “hid from the wise and prudent, and revealed to babes” (1 Cor. 1:26; Jas. 2:5; Matthew 11:25), and oftentimes some of the worst arid vilest of sinners are called by grace; publicans and harlots went into the kingdom of God, when scribes and Pharisees did not; attended the ministry of the word, and were called by it, when they were not; and Christ came, as he himself says, “not to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance”, (Matthew 21:31, 32; 9:13; 1 Cor 6:11).

  3. The properties of effectual calling; which may lead more clearly and fully into the nature of it; though they may be, in general, collected from what

has been observed.

  1. It is a fruit of the love of God; because he has loved them with an everlasting love, therefore “with loving kindness he draws” them to himself, and to his Son, in the effectual calling (Jer. 31:3), and as it is only of as many as the Lord our God thinks fit to call, it appears to be an act of special and distinguishing grace; it is of special and particular persons, by special grace, and to the special blessings of it.

  2. It is an act of efficacious and irresistible grace. The external call may be, and often is, resisted and rejected; but when God calls internally by his Spirit and grace, it is always effectual, and can never be resisted, so as to be ineffectual; for when God works, none can let or hinder; men, dead in trespasses and sins, rise out of their graves of sin, and live, at his all commanding voice; even as Lazarus came forth out of his grave at the call of Christ; nor could that call be resisted; and even the same power that was exerted in raising Christ himself from the dead, is displayed in the effectual calling of a sinner (Eph. 1:18-20).

  3. This call is an “holy calling” (2 Tim. 1:9), the author of it is the holy God; holy in his nature, and in all his ways and works, and in this; “As he that has called you is holy” (1 Pet. 1:15), and the means by which they are called are holy; whether by reading the scriptures, which has been sometimes the case, they are styled “the holy scriptures”; or whether the first awakenings to a serious concern about divine things, are by the law; that commandment is holy, just, and good; or whether by the pure gospel of Christ; that is a “doctrine according to godliness”, and teaches to live an holy life and conversation: and as in the effectual calling, it appears that principles of grace and holiness are wrought in men; so by it they are called to the exercise of holiness and virtue, and of the performance of every good work; they are called into a state of holiness here, and to enjoy an incorruptible and undefiled inheritance hereafter (Rom. 1:7; 1 Thess. 4:7; 2 Pet. 1:3).

  4. It is an high calling (Phil. 3:14), he that calls is the high and lofty One, who dwells in the high and holy place; and in and by calling grace, he raises men from the dunghill, and sets them among princes, that they may inherit the throne of glory; however poor they may be with respect to the things of this world, yet by effectual calling they become rich in faith, and

    heirs of a kingdom, and of an inheritance reserved for them in the highest heavens, to which they will be admitted. Wherefore,

  5. This call is styled an “heavenly calling” (Heb. 3:1), it is a call out of this earthly country, to seek a better country, even an heavenly one; and those that are called, have their citizenship in heaven, and are free denizens of it; and shall enjoy the hope, the hoped for blessedness laid up for them there. For,

  6. This is one of the gifts of God’s special grace, and that “calling” of his, which is without “repentance” (Rom. 11:29), it is unchangeable, irreversible, and irrevocable; such shall be preserved safe to the kingdom and glory of God, to which they are called, and shall most certainly enjoy it; for “faithful is he that has called them, who also will do it” (1 Thess. 5:23, 24), wherefore such are most happy persons; for they may be comfortably assured of their election; for “whom he did predestinate, them he also called”: election and calling are put together; the one as the fruit, effect, and evidence, of the other (2 Pet. 1:10), and election is to be known by the internal call of the Spirit, through the ministry of the word; (1 Thess. 1:4, 5), and they may also be comfortably assured of their justification; for “whom he called, them he also justified”; and such may conclude themselves safe from all charges, from all condemnation, and from wrath to come: and they may most certainly expect eternal glory; for whom God calls and justifies, “them he also glorifies”: between calling grace and eternal happiness, there is a sure and an inseparable connection


    Chapter 13

    OF CONVERSION

    Conversion, though it may seem, in some respects, to fall in with regeneration and the effectual calling, yet may be distinguished from them both. Regeneration is the sole act of God; conversion consists both of God’s act upon men, in turning them, and of acts done by men under the influence of converting grace; they turn, being turned. Regeneration is the motion of God towards and upon the heart of a sinner; conversion is the motion of a sinner towards God, as one (Charnock) expresses it. In regeneration men are wholly passive, as they also are in the first moment of conversion; but by it become active: it is therefore

    sometimes expressed passively; “ye are returned”, or converted (1 Pet. 2:25), and sometimes actively; “a great number believed and turned to the Lord” (Acts 11:21), and “when it”, the body of the people of the Jews, “shall turn to the Lord”, which has respect to their conversion in the latter day (2 Cor 3:16). The effectual calling is the call of men out of darkness to light; and conversion answers to that call, and is the actual “turning” of men from the one to the other; so that, with propriety, conversion may be considered as distinct from regeneration and the effectual calling. Concerning which may be observed,

    First, what conversion is, and wherein it lies. The conversion to be treated of is not,

    l. An external one, or what lies only in an outward reformation of life and manners, such as that of the Ninevites; for this may be where internal conversion is not, as in the Scribes and Pharisees; and is what persons may depart from, and return to their former course of life again; and where it is right and genuine, it is the fruit and effect of true conversion, but not that itself.

    1. Nor is it a mere doctrinal one, or a conversion from false notions before imbibed to a set of doctrines and truths which are according to the Scriptures; so men of old were converted from Judaism and heathenism to Christianity: but not all that were so converted in a doctrinal sense were true and real converts; some had the form of godliness without the power of it, had a name to live, and be called Christians, but were dead, and so not converted; thus the recovery of professors of religion from errors fallen into, to the acknowledgement of the truth, is called a conversion of them (Jas. 5:19, 20).

    2. Nor the restoration of the people of God from backslidings to which they are subject, when they are in a very affecting and importunate manner called upon to return to the Lord (Jer. 3:12, 14, 22; Hosea 14:1-4), so Peter, when he fell through temptation, and denied his Lord, and was recovered from it by a look from Christ, it is called his conversion (Luke 22:32). But,

    3. The conversion under consideration is a true, real, internal work of God upon the souls of men; there is a counterfeit of it, or there is that in some men who are not really converted, which is somewhat similar to that which is always found in those that are truly

converted; as, a sense of sin, and an acknowledgment of it; an apprehension of the divine displeasure at it; great distress about it, a sorrow for it, humiliation on account of it, and an abstinence from it; and something that bears a resemblance to each of these may be found in unconverted persons; though their concern about sin is chiefly for the evil that comes by it, or like to come by it, and not for the evil that is in it; so in converted persons there is sooner or later light into the gospel and the doctrines of it: particularly the doctrine of salvation by Christ, which yield relief and comfort to them under a sense of sin, and encourage faith and hope in God; and there is something like this to be observed in some who are not truly converted, who are said to be “enlightened”, that is, in a notional and doctrinal way; and to “taste” the good word of God, though it is only in a superficial manner; and to “receive it with joy”, with a flash of natural affection, which lasts for a while; and to believe it with a temporary faith, historically, and become subject to the ordinances; but yet in all this there is no heart work, whereas true genuine conversion lies,

  1. In the turn of the heart to God, of the thoughts of the heart; which are only evil, and that continually, and about evil things, not about God, and the things of God; “God is not in all their thoughts”, nor in any of the thoughts of wicked men; but when converted, their thoughts are about their state and condition by nature, about their souls, and the eternal welfare of them; and about God, and the methods of his grace in the salvation of men: it is a turn of the “desires” of the heart, which before were after vain, carnal, worldly, sinful lusts and pleasures; but now after God and communion with him, after Christ and salvation by him, after the Spirit and the things of the Spirit: it is a turn of the “affections” of the heart, which before were “inordinate”, and ran in a wrong channel; before they were fleshly, after the things of the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life: but now they are checked, and turned towards God, their hearts being circumcised to love him; and whom they love with their whole hearts and souls, because he first loved them; though before their carnal minds were enmity to him; and towards Christ, whom they now love affectionately, fervently, superlatively, and sincerely; and towards the saints, who are now the excellent in the earth, in whose conversation is

    all their delight, though before hateful to them; and towards the word, worship, and ordinances of God, which they take pleasure in attending on, though before a weariness to them. Conversion is a turn of the “mind” from carnal things to spiritual ones, and from earthly things to heavenly ones; yea it is a turn of the “will”, which before conversion is in a very bad state, is stubborn and inflexible, biased to and bent upon that which is evil, and averse to all that is good; but in conversion God “works in” men “both to will and to do of his good pleasure”; he gives them another will, or however a turn to their will, so that of an unwilling people, they are made a willing people in the day of his power on them; whereas they were unwilling to come to Christ for salvation, and take him alone to be their Saviour; “ye will not come unto me that ye might have life”, says Christ (John 5:40), that is, ye have no will to come to me at all for life and salvation; they chose rather to go anywhere than to him for it; but now they are willing to be saved by him, and resolve to have no other Saviour but him; yea though he slay them they will trust in him, and say he shall be our salvation; and though before they went about to establish their own righteousness, and did not and would not submit to the righteousness of Christ; now their stout hearts, which were far from righteousness, are brought down, and they become willing to be found in Christ, and in his righteousness only; and inasmuch as before they would not have Christ to reign over them, and chose not to be subject to his laws and ordinances, now they are ready to acknowledge him as their king and governor, and turn their feet to his testimonies, and esteem his precepts concerning all things to be right.

  2. Conversion lies in a man’s being turned from darkness to light; the apostle says, he was sent by Christ to the Gentiles, as a minister of the gospel, “to turn them from darkness to light” (Acts 26:18), that is, to be the instrument or means of their conversion, by preaching the gospel to them. In this conversion may seem to coincide with the effectual calling; but it may be observed, that the effectual calling is a call to, but conversion is a turning of, men from darkness to light; God not only calls unto light, but turns them to light in every sense; to God who is light itself, and in whom is no darkness at all; to Christ, who is the light of the world; to the gospel, which is the great

    light that shines on men who sit in darkness; and to the light of grace, which is a shining light, that shines more and more unto the perfect day.

  3. Conversion lies in the turning of men “from the power of Satan unto God”, as in the above place (Acts 26:18). Satan has great power over men in an unconverted state, his seat is in their hearts, which are the palace in which he rules; he works effectually with great power and energy in the children of disobedience, by stirring up their lusts and corruptions, suggesting evil things to their minds, and tempting them to them; he does all he can to keep them in their native blindness and ignorance, and to increase it, and to prevent them from hearing the gospel, and from its being beneficial to them, lest the light of it should shine into their minds; he captivates them, and leads them captive at his will; and they are willingly led by him, the lusts of their father they will do; but now in conversion they are turned from his power; he is dispossessed of them, and his armor taken from him in which he trusted; the prey is taken out of the hands of the mighty, and the lawful captive is delivered; men are translated from the power of darkness into the kingdom of God’s dear Son; and though they are not freed from his temptations, yet they have grace sufficient given them to bear up under them till it is the pleasure of God to save them from them, who will shortly bruise him under them; and as they are in conversion turned from him, they are turned to God; who before were without him, and alienated from the life of him, and strangers to him; but now they are turned to the knowledge of him, to love to him, to faith in him, and to communion with him.

  4. Conversion lies in turning men from idols to serve the living God; not merely from idols of silver and gold, of wood and stone, as formerly, but from the idols of a man’s own heart, his lusts and corruptions; with respect to which the language of a converted sinner is, “What have I to do any more with idols?” this is a blessing bestowed in conversion, “Unto you first, God having raised up his son Jesus, sent him to bless you”, in “turning away everyone of you from his iniquities”. In redemption Christ turns away iniquities from his people by bearing them and making satisfaction for them; and in conversion, he by his Spirit and grace turns them from their iniquities; he turns them from the love of them to an hatred of them,

    even of vain thoughts, as well as of sinful actions; from the service and drudgery of them to the service of righteousness; from the power and dominion of them and subjection to them, and from a course of living in them to a life of holiness; and from the paths of sin to the paths of truth and uprightness.

  5. Conversion lies in turning men from their own righteousness to the righteousness of Christ; not from doing works of righteousness, for such converted persons are most fit for, and most capable of, and are under the greatest obligations to perform; but from depending upon them for justification before God and acceptance with him; in order to which they must be convinced by the Spirit of God of the insufficiency of their own righteousness to justify them, being imperfect; and of the necessity, perfection, and fullness of Christ’s righteousness, which being turned unto, they receive, embrace, lay hold on, and plead as their justifying righteousness before God; and this requires more than human teachings: for though ministers are said to “turn many to righteousness”, that is, to the righteousness of Christ, yet only instrumentally, and as the means of it, through preaching the gospel, in which there is a revelation of it; for God is the efficient cause of the turn of them to it; for though the gospel is the ministration of it, yet it is the Lord that must bring it near to stouthearted ones far from righteousness, and make them willing to submit unto it, and to be desirous of being found in it; for men naturally do not care to part with their own righteousness; it is their own, and what they have been a long time and with great labour rearing up, and to have it demolished, they cannot bear it; they would fain hold it fast, and lean upon it, though it shall not stand; it is their idol, in which they place their trust and confidence, and to take this away from them is to take away their god; as Micah said, when his idol was stolen from him, “Ye have taken away my gods, and what have I more?” Wherefore the conversion of a self-righteous person is more rare and difficult than the conversion of a profligate sinner; hence our Lord says to the Scribes and Pharisees, that “the publicans and harlots go into the kingdom of God before them”; and that he himself “came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Matthew 21:31; 9:13).

(6). Conversion lies in a man’s turning to the Lord actively, under the influence of divine grace; and by

this phrase it is often expressed in scripture, as in Isaiah 10:21; Acts 11:21; 2 Corinthians 3:16, men being thoroughly convinced that there is salvation in no other but in Christ, that it is in vain to expect it elsewhere; after they have made many inquiries and searches to no purpose, turn to the Lord Jesus Christ, and look to him alone for salvation; being apprized of their danger, they turn as they are directed, encouraged and enabled to Christ the stronghold, where they are safe from all danger, and from every enemy; being made sensible of the insufficiency of their own righteousness and of the suitableness of the righteousness of Christ for them, they turn to him as the Lord their righteousness, in whom all the seed of Israel are justified and shall glory; and being fully satisfied with the equity of the laws, rules, and ordinances of Christ, they turn to him as their Lord and Lawgiver, and submit to his commands, renouncing all other lords and their dominion over them; and though in their natural state they are like sheep going astray, in conversion they are returned to Christ, as the great Shepherd and bishop of souls: the parable of seeking and finding, and bringing home the lost sheep, is a fit representation of the conversion of a sinner: Christ’s people are his sheep before conversion, but they are lost sheep, straying in the wilderness; and as sheep never return to the fold, shepherd and pasture of themselves, unless looked up and are returned; so neither do they, till they are sought for and found, and brought home by Christ, the proprietor of them, with joy; and the parables following represent the same thing; as that of the lost piece of silver, for finding which the woman lights a candle and sweeps the house, and searches every corner till she finds it, which gives her joy; this sets forth the high esteem and value the elect are in with Christ, comparable to silver, yea to line gold and precious stones; and the passiveness of men in first conversion, who no more contribute to it than the piece of silver to its being found; and the means and methods made use of in conversion, the light of the gospel ministry, and the stir and bustle on that occasion: so the parable of the prodigal son, and his return to his father, is expressive of the same; his manner of living before his return is a lively picture of the state of unconverted men, living in their lusts, and pursuing the desires of the flesh and of the mind; in his return there are all the symptoms of

a true and real conversion; as a sense of his starving, famishing, and perishing state by nature; his coming to his right mind, his sense of sin, confession of it, and repentance for it; his faith and hope of meeting with a favourable reception by his father, which encouraged him to return, and which he met with; (see Isa. 55:7). Secondly, The causes of conversion, efficient,

moving, and instrumental.

First, The efficient cause, which is not man but God.

  1. Not man, it is neither by the power nor will of man.

  2. Not by the power of man; what is said of the conversion or turning of the Jews from their captivity, is true of the conversion of a sinner, that it is “not by might nor by power”, that is not of man, “but by my Spirit, as saith the Lord of hosts” (Zech. 4:6). Men are dead in a moral sense while unconverted, they are dead in trespasses and sins, which are the cause of their death; and their very living in them is no other than a moral death; nor can they quicken themselves, and unless they are quickened they cannot be converted; and being in a moral sense dead they are “strengthless”; they are not only “weak through the flesh”, the corruption of nature, but they are “without strength”; without any strength at all to perform that which is good, and much less a work of so great importance as their own conversion; they have not the command of themselves, nor any power over their hearts, the thoughts, desires, and affections of them; they cannot check them and control them at pleasure; they cannot think anything as of themselves, much less think a good thought; they cannot turn the streams of their desires and affections to proper objects; they cannot move their minds, nor bend their wills, even to that which is to their own advantage. Conversion is such an alteration in a man as is not in his power to effect: it is like that of an Ethiopian changing his skin, and a leopard his spots; such things are never heard of, as a blackamoor becoming white, and a leopard becoming clear of his spots; and as unlikely is it that a man should convert himself (Jer. 13:23), a tree must first be made good, so as to bring forth good fruit; “Make the tree good”, says our Lord; but the tree cannot make itself good; another hand must be employed about it, to engraft it, cultivate and improve it: a thorn bush cannot turn itself into a vine tree, and

so bring forth grapes; nor a thistle into a fig tree, to bring forth figs; but as soon may these things be done as a man to convert himself and bring forth the good fruits of righteousness (Matthew 12:33; 7:16-18). Conversion is the motion of the soul towards God; but as this cannot be in a dead man, and unless he is quickened, so not unless he is drawn by efficacious grace; wherefore God, in conversion, draws men with lovingkindness to himself; and, with the cords of love, to his Son; for “no man”, says Christ, “can come unto me, except the Father, which hath sent me, draw him” (John 6:44), and even converted persons themselves are so sensible of this, that they pray, as the church did, “Draw me, we will run after thee” (Song of Sol. 1:4), the thing speaks for itself, and shows that it cannot be done by the power of man; for it is no other than a “creation”, which requires creation power to effect it, which a creature has not; for if the restoration, or conversion, of a backslidden saint is a creation, and requires the power of the Creator to do it; of which David, when backslidden, was sensible, and therefore prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God!” then much more is the first conversion of a sinner, and requires like power; it is a resurrection from the dead, and is not to be effected but by the exceeding greatness of God’s power, even such as was put forth in raising Christ from the dead (Eph. 1:19).

  1. Nor is conversion owing to the will of men; the will of man, before conversion, is in a bad state, it chooses its own ways, and delights in its abominations; it is in high pursuit after the desires of the flesh and of the mind; it is resolved to go after its lovers, its lusts, which feed its appetite, and furnish with things agreeable to the carnal mind; the will is become a slave to carnal lusts and pleasures; though the natural liberty of the will is not lost by sin, it can freely will natural things, as to eat or drink, sit, or stand, or walk, at pleasure; yet its moral liberty is lost, it is shackled with the fetters of sinful lusts, by which it is overcome and brought into bondage; and notwithstanding its boasted liberty, it is an home born slave; and therefore Luther rightly called it “servum arbitrium”: man has no will to that which is good till God works it in him, and of unwilling makes him willing in the day of his power: he has no will to come to Christ, to be saved by him; nor to submit to his righteousness; nor to be subject to his laws and ordinances, until such a will

    is worked in him by efficacious grace. Conversion is denied to be of the will of men; as the whole of salvation is “not of him that willeth”; so this part of it in particular, regeneration, with which conversion, in the first moment of it, agrees; “is not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (Rom. 9:16; John 1:13).

    But it may be said, if conversion is not in the power and will of men, to what purpose are such exhortations as these; “Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; turn yourselves, and live ye?” and again, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted?” Ezekiel 18:30, 32 and Acts 3:19 to which it may be replied, That these passages have no respect to spiritual and internal conversion, but to an external reformation of life and manners. In the first instance the Jews were then in a state of captivity, which was a kind of death, as sometimes sore afflictions are said to be (2 Cor. 1:10), and into which they were brought through their sins: now the Lord declares, that he took no pleasure in this their uncomfortable state and condition; it was more desirable to him, and therefore he exhorts them to it, to reform from their evil practices; then they would be returned from their captivity, and live comfortably in their own land, as they had formerly done. But what has this to do with the spiritual and internal conversion of a sinner unto

    God? with respect to the latter case, the Jews were threatened with the destruction of their city and nation, for their rejection of Jesus the Messiah, and other sins they were guilty of; and now the apostle advises those to whom he directs his discourse, to relinquish their wrong notions of Christ, and repent of their ill usage of him and his followers, and of their other sins, in an external way, that so they might escape the calamities coming upon their nation and people. But supposing these, and such like exhortations, respected internal conversion of the heart to God; such exhortations may be only designed to show men the necessity of such conversion in order to salvation; as our Lord said, “Except ye be converted, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven”; and when men are convinced of this, they will soon be sensible of their impotence to convert themselves, and will pray, as Ephraim did “Turn thou me, and I shall be turned”, immediately and effectually; for,

    1. God only is the author and efficient cause of

      conversion. He that made man’s heart, and formed the spirit of man within him, he only can turn their hearts, and frame and mould their spirits, as he pleases; the heart of a king, and so of every other man, is in the hand of the Lord, and he can turn them as the rivers of water are turned; he, and he only, can give a check unto, and turn the thoughts, desires, and affections of the heart into another channel, and the mind and will to other objects; he can remove the stubbornness of the will, and bend it at his pleasure, and make it pliable and conformable to his own will; he can take away the hardness of the heart, though it is like an adamant stone, he can make it soft, and susceptible of the best impressions; he can break the rocky heart in pieces; yea, take away the stony heart, and give an heart of flesh; as he can take what he pleases out of it, so he can put into it what he will, as he does in conversion, his laws, the fear of him, and his Spirit; he can and does draw them, by the powerful influence of his grace upon them, to himself and to his Son; and this he does without forcing their wills; he sweetly allures, by his grace, to come to Christ and his ordinances; he powerfully persuades Japheth to dwell in the tents of Shem; he makes his people willing, in the day of his power, to do what they had before no will nor inclination to; and yet they act most freely; the manslayer did not more willingly flee to a city of refuge, to shelter him from the avenger of blood, than a sinner, sensible of his danger, flees to Christ for refuge, and lays hold on the hope set before him.

      The power of divine grace, put forth in conversion, is irresistible; that is, so irresistible, as that a stop cannot be put to the work, and that become of no effect, through opposition made unto it from within and from without. Conversion is according to the will of God, his will of purpose, which can never be frustrated; “Who hath resisted his will?” his counsel shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure; it is wrought by his almighty power; the work of faith, which is a principal part of the work of conversion, is begun, carried on, and performed with power; nor can a sinner any more resist, so as to make of none effect, the power of God in conversion, than Lazarus could resist the power of Christ in calling him out of his grave. If it was in the power of the will of men to hinder the work of conversion, so as that it should not take place, when it is the design of God it should;

      then God might be disappointed of his end, which must not be said; for there is no counsel nor might against him; whatever devices may be in a man’s heart, the counsels of God can never be disappointed; when God has purposed to convert a sinner, who can disannul it? and when his mighty hand of grace is stretched out, to put that purpose into execution, who can turn it back? when he works in any way, and so in this, there is none can let. Besides, if conversion was to stand or fall according to the will of men; or if that had the turning point in man’s conversion, it would rather he ascribed to the will of men than to the will of God; and it would not be true what is said, “It is not of him that willeth”: yea, as the will of men then would have the greatest stroke in conversion, in answer to that question, “Who maketh thee to differ from another?” it might be said, as it has been said by a proud and haughty free wilier Grevinchovius, I have made myself to differ.

      To all this may be objected the words of Christ; “How often would I have gathered thy children together, and ye would not!”(Matthew 23:37) but it should be observed, that this gathering is not to be understood of conversion; but of attendance on the ministry of the word under John the Baptist, Christ himself, and his apostles; to which Christ had affectionately and importunately exhorted them; which, had it been regarded, would have preserved them from the vengeance coming upon Jerusalem: and it should also be observed, that they are not the same persons whom Christ would have gathered, and those of whom he says, “and ye would not”; by whom are meant, the rulers and governors of the people, who would not allow them to attend the gospel ministry, but threatened them with putting them out of the synagogue if they did; (see Matthew 23:13).

      Secondly, The moving, or impulsive cause of conversion, is the love, grace, mercy, favour, and goodwill of God; the same as are the moving cause of regeneration and effectual calling, and not the merits of men; for what is there in men before conversion to move God to take such a step in their favour? (see 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Eph. 2:2-4).

      Thirdly, The instrumental cause, or means of conversion, is usually the ministry of the word; sometimes, indeed, it is wrought without the word, by some remarkable awakening providence or another,

      and sometimes by reading the scriptures; but, for the most part, it is through the preaching of the word; hence ministers are said to “turn many to righteousness”; and the apostle Paul says, he was sent by Christ into the Gentile world, to “turn men from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God”; and this is done both by the preaching of the law and of the gospel; “the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul” (Ps. 19:7), though perhaps not the law, strictly taken, but the whole doctrine of the word is there meant; however, the preaching of the law is made use of by the Spirit of God to convince of sin; for “by the law is the knowledge of sin”; and by means of it, when it enters into the heart and conscience, under his influence, sin is made to appear exceeding sinful, and the soul is filled with great distress on account of it; for the “law worketh wrath”; though some take this to be rather preparatory to conversion than conversion itself, which may be better ascribed to the gospel; and, indeed, the receiving of the Spirit, and his graces, and particularly faith, are attributed to the preaching of the gospel, and not to the law, as the means thereof; “Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law?” that is, by preaching the doctrine of obedience to it; “or by the hearing of faith?” that is, by the doctrine of the gospel, preaching faith in Christ; which is therefore called “the word of faith”, and by which it comes; for “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Gal. 3:2; Rom. 10:8,17), but then the preaching of the word of the gospel is not sufficient of itself to produce the work of conversion in the heart; men may hear it, and not be converted by it; nor receive any benefit, profit, and advantage through it; if it comes in word only, and not with the demonstration of the Spirit, and of power; and when it is accompanied with the power of God; or is made the power of God unto salvation, even then it is only an instrument, and not an efficient; for “who is Paul, or who is Apollos, but ministers, or instruments, by whom ye believed?” (1 Cor. 3:5).

      Thirdly, The subjects of conversion; these are not all men, for all, in fact, are not converted; nor does it appear to be the design and purpose of God to convert all men; nor does he give sufficient grace to all men to convert themselves if they will; for he does not so much as give to all men the means of grace, the outward ministry o the word: this was not vouchsafed

      to the Gentiles for hundreds of years before the coming of Christ; and since, millions have never been favored with it; nor are multitudes at this day; and those who have the scripture to read, to many it is a sealed book, and to all, unless opened by the Spirit of God; and to whom the gospel is preached, it is hid, unless it is given them to know the mysteries of the kingdom, which is not the case of all; the persons converted are the “elect” of God, both among Jews and Gentiles: in the first ages of the gospel, many among the Gentiles were converted, and churches formed of them; and ever since there have been conversions among them, and even to this day, and in the latter day an abundance of them will be converted; and when the fulness of the Gentiles is brought in, then the Jews, of whom only now and then one are converted, they will be all as a nation born again, converted and saved. They are “redeemed” ones who are converted; and the reason why they are converted is, because they are redeemed; “I will hiss for them”, by the ministry of the word, and “gather them”, which is another phrase for conversion, “because I have redeemed them” (Zech. 10:8), they whom God converts are the same persons for whom he has provided forgiveness of sins in the covenant of his grace, and an eternal inheritance in his divine purpose; for the apostle says, he was sent by Christ “to turn men unto God, that they may receive the forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith in Christ” (Acts 26:18). In a word, they are described as “sinners”; “Sinners shall be converted unto thee” (Ps. 51:13), sinners by nature and by practice, and some of them the worst and chief of sinners; and therefore the wonderful grace of God is the more displayed in their conversion, (1 Cor. 6:11; 1 Tim. 1:3,14,15).


      Chapter 14

      OF SANCTIFICATION

      The foundation of “sanctification” is laid in “regeneration”; as it is a holy principle, it is first formed in that; the new creature, or new man, is created in righteousness and true holiness; and it appears in “effectual calling”, which is an “holy calling”; and is to be seen in conversion, which is a turning of men “from their iniquities”: and that holiness which is begun in regeneration, and is manifest in effectual calling and conversion, is carried on in sanctification,

      which is a gradual and progressive work, and issues and is finished in glorification; so that it may, with propriety, be distinguished from regeneration, effectual calling, and conversion, and be separately treated of.

      There is a sanctification which is more peculiarly ascribed to God the Father; and which is no other than his eternal election of men to it: under the law, persons and things separated and devoted to holy uses, are said to be “sanctified”; hence those who are set apart by God for his use and service, and are chosen by him to holiness here and hereafter, are said “to be sanctified by God the Father” (Jude 1:1). There is a sanctification also that is more peculiar to Christ the Son of God; not only as he is the representative of his people, and is “holiness to the Lord” for them; which the high priest had upon his forehead, who was a type of him, and the representative of Israel; and as he has the whole stock of grace and holiness in his hands, which is communicated to the saints as is necessary; and as the holiness of his human nature, is, with his active and passive obedience, imputed to their justification, and so makes a part of that; hence he is said to be made to them “sanctification” (1 Cor. 1:30), but as the expiation of their sins is made by his blood and sacrifice; this is called a sanctification of them; “Jesus, that he might sanctify the people with his blood, suffered without the gate” (Heb. 13:12). But there is another sanctification, which is more peculiar to the Holy Spirit of God, and is called “the sanctification of the Spirit” (2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Pet. 2:2) and this is the sanctification to be treated of. Concerning which may be inquired,

      First, what it is, and the nature of it. It is something that is “holy”, both in its principle and in its actings; and is superior to anything that can come from man, or be performed by him of himself. It does not lie in a conformity to the light of nature, and the dictates of it; nor is it what may go by the name of moral virtue, which was exercised by some of the heathen philosophers to a very great degree, and yet they had not a grain of holiness in them; but were full of the lusts of envy, ambition, pride, revenge, &c. nor does it lie in a bare, external conformity to the law of God; or in an “outward reformation” of life and manners; this appeared in the Pharisees, to a great degree, who were pure in their own eyes, and thought themselves

      holier than others, and disdained them, and yet their hearts were full of all manner of impurity. Nor is what is called “restraining grace”, sanctification; persons may be restrained by the injunctions of parents and masters, by the laws of magistrates, and by the ministry of the word, from the grosser sins of life; and be preserved, by the providence of God, from the pollutions of the world, and yet not be sanctified. Nor are “gifts”, ordinary or extraordinary, sanctifying grace; Judas Iscariot, no doubt, had both, the ordinary gifts of a preacher, and the extraordinary gifts of an apostle, and yet not a holy man. Gifts are not grace; a man may have all gifts, and all knowledge, and speak with the tongue of men and angels, and not have grace; there may be a silver tongue where there is an unsanctified heart! Nor is sanctification a restoration of the lost image of Adam, or a reparation and an amendment of that image marred by the sin of man; or a new vamping up the old principles of nature: but it is something entirely new; a new creature, a new man, a new heart, and a new spirit; and the conformity of a man to another image, even to the image of the second Adam, the Son of God.

      Some make sanctification to lie in the deposition, or putting off, of the old man, and in the putting on of the new man. This has a foundation in the word of God (Eph. 4:22, 24) and belongs to sanctification, and may be admitted, if understood of the actings of it, as these are, which suppose a previous principle from which they arise. By the “old man”, is meant corrupt nature; which is as old as a man is in whom it is, and which he brings into the world with him; and by the putting of it off, is not meant the removal of it from him; for it continues with him, even with a sanctified person, as long as he is in the world; nor any change in the nature of it, which always remains the same; much less a destruction of it, which will not be till this earthly house is dissolved: but a dispossession of it, of its power, a displacing it from its throne, so as not to yield obedience to the lusts of it; nor walk according to the dictates of it; nor have the conversation according to it. By the new man, is meant the new principle of grace and holiness, wrought in the soul in regeneration: and by the putting on of that, the exercise of the several graces of which it consists; see Colossians 3:12,13.

      Others distinguish sanctification, into

      “vivification” and “mortification”: and both these are to be observed in sanctification. Sanctification, as a principle, is a holy, living principle, infused; by which a man that was dead in trespasses and sins, is quickened; and from whence flow living acts; such as living by faith on Christ; walking in newness of life; living soberly, righteously, and godly: all which belong to sanctification. And there is such a thing as mortification; not in a literal and natural sense, of the body, by fasting, scourging, &c. Nor is it the abolition of the body of sin, by the sacrifice of Christ; nor the destruction of the principle and being of sin in regenerate and sanctified persons; for though they do not live in sin, yet sin lives in them, and is sometimes very active and powerful: but the weakening of the power of sin, and a mortification of the deeds of the body, and of the members on earth; so that a course of sin is not lived in, but men are dead unto it; and to which the Spirit of God, and his grace, are necessary (Col. 3:5; Rom. 8:13). But leaving these things, I shall more particularly consider sanctification as an holy principle, and the holy actings of it.

      First, as an holy principle. The first rise of which is in regeneration; there it is first formed, as before observed. And this is no other than the good work of grace begun in the hearts of regenerate ones. It is a “work”, not of men; for as regeneration is not of the will of men; nor conversion by might or power of men: so neither is sanctification; none can say, “I have made my heart clean”, or have sanctified myself: it is the work of God; “We are his workmanship”, and a curious piece of workmanship sanctification is; too curious for a creature to perform; it is done “in the name” of the Lord Jesus, and “by the Spirit of our God”. It is a “good” work; the efficient cause is good, God himself; the moving cause good, his love, grace, kindness, and good will; the matter good, some good thing towards the Lord God of Israel; the instrumental cause or means, the good word of God: and it is good in its effects; it makes a man a good man, and fits him for the performance of good works, and is the source of them. It is commonly called “a work of grace”, and with great propriety; since it flows from the free, sovereign, and abundant grace of God in Christ; and is an implantation of all grace in the heart. And in scripture it is called “the work of faith”, because faith is a principal part of it; and in

      the exercise of which sanctification much lies; hence saints are said to be “sanctified by faith, which is in Christ” (Acts 26:18). It is an internal work; it is a work “begun in” the soul, which the Spirit of God works in the hearts of his people, by putting the fear of God, and every other grace, there; hence it goes by various names, which show it to be something within a man, and not anything external; see Romans 2:28, 29. It is called “the inward man, and the hidden man of the heart”, which has its place there, and is not obvious to everyone (Rom. 7:22; 1 Pet. 3:4), and not only from the author of it, the Spirit of God; and from the nature of it, being spiritual, and conversant with spiritual things; but from the seat and subject of it, the spirit or soul of man; it is called “spirit”, being wrought in the soul by the Spirit of God (John 3:6). It has also the name of “seed”, which sometimes signifies the word; which being cast into the heart, and taking place there, becomes the “engrafted word”; and sometimes grace itself, which is like seed sown in the earth, which lies hid in it awhile, and then springs and grows up, a man knows not how; and this is that “seed” which remains in the heart of believers, and is never lost (1 John 3:9). Sometimes it is compared to a “root”, which lies under ground, is not seen, and is the cause of fruit being brought forth upwards; and may be what Job calls, “the root of the matter” in him; and which the stony ground hearers being without, withered, and came to nothing (Job 19:28; Matthew 13:21). It is called, “truth in the inward parts”; which is expressive of the integrity and uprightness of the heart, of a true and right spirit created there, and of the truth and reality of grace and holiness, or true holiness, in which the new man is created (Ps. 50:6, 10; Eph. 4:24). Once more, it is signified by “oil in the vessel” of the heart, had with the “lamp” of an external profession (Matthew 25:4), by “oil” is meant grace, so called for its illuminating nature, grace is spiritual light in the understanding; and for its supple, softening nature, it takes off the hardness of the heart, and the stubbornness of the will; and because it will not mix with other liquids, as grace will not mix with sin; and which is had, held, and retained in the heart, as in a vessel; and from which the lamp of profession is distinct, which is more visible. I proceed,

      Secondly, To consider sanctification in its holy actings.

      l. With respect to God; which appear in the disposition of the mind, the motions of the heart Godwards, and in the behavior and conduct of a saint before him, and with regard unto him; and which become manifest,

      (l). In a holy reverence of him, on account of his nature, perfections, works, and blessings of goodness. In an unsanctified man, there is no fear of God before his eyes; but where a principle of grace and holiness is wrought, the fear of God soon appears; it is the beginning of wisdom; and is one of the first things that appear in a regenerate man; he cannot do what he before did, and others do; “so did not I, because of the fear of God”, said Nehemiah (Neh. 5:15), such an one will serve the Lord with reverence and godly fear. (2). Sanctification shows itself in love to God, and delight in him. An unsanctified man cannot love God, who is pure and holy; nor take any delight in him, in his word, his ways, and worship; “The carnal mind is enmity to God”, and desires him to depart from him, and chooses not the knowledge of his ways; nay, one that has taken on him the mask of religion, and is not sincere, can have no trueaffection for God, nor pleasure in the things of God. Job says of the hypocrite, “Will he delight himself in the Almighty? will he always call upon God?” No, he will not (Job 27:10). But in regeneration and sanctification, the Lord circumcises the heart, or regenerates and sanctifies it, “to love the Lord with all the heart and with all the soul!” that is,

      sincerely and cordially.

  2. It appears in submission to the will of God in all things, even in the most adverse dispensations of providence; as the instances of Aaron, Eli, David, and others show; who murmured not, nor complained, but were still and quiet, and resigned to the divine will, under some severe rebukes of providence. Much of sanctification lies in the conformity of our wills to the will of God. That holy man Bishop Usher said of it, “Sanctification is nothing less than for a man to be brought to an entire resignation of his will to the will of God, and to live in the offering up of his soul continually in the flames of love, as a whole burnt offering to Christ.”

  3. It is to be seen in religious exercises, and in acts of devotion to God, and in the exercise of grace in them as in an affectionate attendance on the ministry of the word, and administration of ordinances; and

    in fervent prayer, which is the breath of a sanctified soul towards God. Holiness only appears in these things, or is real, when grace is in exercise in them; for otherwise, there may be an outward performance of them, and yet no true holiness.

  4. The holy actings of sanctification may be discerned in the earnest pantings and eager desires of the soul after communion with God, both in private and public; when a soul cannot be content with ordinances without enjoying God in them; when it pants after him, as the heart pants after the water brooks; and when without him, seeks everywhere for him, till it finds him, and then exults in its fellowship with the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ.

  5. A soul that is s