Arhive pe categorii: Salvation

Who Accepts Whom? Daniel Chamberlin

Who Accepts Whom?

Daniel Chamberlin
Covenant Baptist Church, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

„Are you a Christian?” asks Bill. George confidently responds, „Of course I am; I accepted Christ a long time ago.”
How often have we heard an exchange similar to this! And if you were Bill, perhaps you felt a bit uneasy hearing this feather-light response. The problem is not so much that what George said was wrong, as that he failed to say more.

Modern methods of evangelism have produced a glut of „George’s” who talk as if becoming a Christian were something of their own doing. It goes something like this: „God has done all He can do, the next move (the really decisive one) is up to you… Heaven or hellthe choice is yours.” By thus „accepting” Christ, man virtually becomes his own savior. Man is in the driver’s seat, and God becomes a mere spectator. Man becomes the sun around which all else in the universe rotates.

Our present day situation was well summarized by Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) when he said,

Sometimes we are inclined to think that a very great portion of modern revivalism has been more a curse than a blessing, because it has led thousands to a kind of peace before they have known their misery; restoring the prodigal to the Father’s house, and never making him say, „Father, I have sinned.” How can he be healed who is not sick? or he be satisfied with the bread of life who is not hungry? The old-fashioned sense of sin is despised, and consequently a religion is run up before the foundations are dug out. Everything in this age is shallow. Deep-sea fishing is almost an extinct business so far as men’s souls are concerned. The consequence is that men leap into religion, and then leap out again. Unhumbled they came to the church, unhumbled they remained in it, and unhumbled they go from it.
You see, the reason George failed to say so much that should have been said, is that he heard a „gospel” that failed to say enough in the first place. Today, many pulpits proclaim a God who is trying, in a largely unsuccessful way, to make Himself acceptable to man. In interests of simplicity, the gospel has been over-reduced to the point of being trivialized. But if a little truth is presented as if it were the whole truth, the result will be confusion at best, and deception at worst. When Satan lured Eve with the original temptation, some of what he said was true. (Compare Gen. 3:5 with 3:7,22.) Partial truth can be more dangerous than total lies! Let us therefore take a look at the „other half” of the gospel, which we cannot afford to omit.
* * * * *

The gospel of Jesus Christ is essentially God-centered, not man-centered. We were created for His pleasurenot vice versa (Rev. 4:11). But through Adam, sin has entered into the world, and has entirely corrupted the very heart and nature of every man. Thus we are separated from God by an infinite span. God’s holiness and justice demand that our sin be punished. If your sin is not punished, God is no longer holy. And if He is not holy, He is not God at all.

In our state of sin, we are not capable of paying for our sins, changing ourselves, nor making peace with God. We are unacceptable to Him. God accepteth no man’s person (Gal. 2:6). If left to our sinful selves, we are all headed for eternal damnation. The immeasurably holy God will justly pour out His righteous wrath upon us. Our only hope is that someone greater than us will do for us what we cannot do, and make us acceptable to God.

But who can fully pay for our sins? Who can live perfectlywithout even one sin to earn God’s favor for us? Who can make us acceptable to God? The Biblical answer is unmistakably clear: only God Himself can do all this. And that, my friend, is precisely what He has done! Though under no obligation whatsoever to do so, He has, in grace and mercy alone, out of the goodness of His heart, made sinners acceptable to Himself.

How has God done such an unexpected, amazing thing as this? In the Lord Jesus Christ. And He has done it in such a way that sinners are delivered, and yet justice is maintained. The guilty one goes free, but the standards of justice are not broken. Christ, the eternal Son of God, came into this world and became a man, lived a life of sinless obedience to the Father, and died the death which sinners deserve to die, fully satisfying the demands of the law. In Christ Jesus, sinners are declared to be reconciled, accepted by God. Thus we read, God hath made us accepted in the beloved (Eph. 1:6). In other words, God has made to be the objects of His grace all who are in His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Accepting is God’s prerogative, ultimately. Salvation is His act, His initiative, His intervention in a hopeless case. Salvation is of the Lord (Jonah 2:9). Salvation is not so much the sinner accepting God, as it is God accepting the sinner who, in desperation, turns from sin and clings to Christ. This is the gospel message which exalts God and rightly positions Him in the driver’s seat. This makes man the orbiting sphere around God.

In grace, the emphasis is not on the recipient, but on the Giver!

My friend, is this the gospel of your salvation? Are you still thinking in terms of what you have done, or are you depending entirely on what God’s Son has done?
* * * * *

I can almost hear someone saying, „But how about my decision? Didn’t I have to do something? Didn’t I at least have to decide, and desire to be saved?”

I will let Mr. Spurgeon give an answer from his autobiography:
When I was coming to Christ, I thought I was doing it all myself, and though I sought the Lord earnestly, I had no idea the Lord was seeking me. I do not think the young convert is at first aware of this. I can recall the very day and hour when first I received those truths in my own soulwhen they were, as John Bunyan says, burnt into my heart as with a hot iron; and I can recollect how I felt that I had grown on a sudden from a babe into a manthat I had made progress in Scriptural knowledge, through having found, once for all, the clue to the truth of God. One week-night, when I was sitting in the house of God, I was not thinking much about the preacher’s sermon, for I did not believe it. The thought struck me, „How did you come to be a Christian?” I sought the Lord. „But how did you come to seek the Lord?” The truth flashed across my mind in a momentI should not have sought Him unless there had been some previous influence in my mind to make me seek Him. „I prayed,” thought I, but then I asked myself, „How came I to pray?” I was induced to pray by reading the Scriptures. „How came I to read the Scriptures?” I did read them, but what led me to do so? Then, in a moment, I saw that God was at the bottom of it all, and that He was the Author of my faith, and so the whole doctrine of grace opened up to me, and from that doctrine, I have not departed to this day, and I desire to make this my constant confession, „I ascribe my change wholly to God.”
An anonymous hymn-writer put it this way:
I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew
He moved my soul to seek Him, seeking me;
It was not I that found, O Savior true,
No, I was found, was found of Thee.
Thou didst reach forth Thy hand and mine enfold;
I walked and sank not on the storm-vexed sea;
‘Twas not so much that I on Thee took hold,
As Thou, dear Lord, on me, on me.
I find, I walk, I love; but O, the whole
Of love is but my answer, Lord, to Thee!
For Thou wert long before-hand with my soul;
Always, always Thou lovedst me.
Yes, in conversion I do desire Christ, and I do make a choice; but even all that is His work of grace in me. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13). So God doesn’t save a man against his will; He first makes him willing. Such willingness is not natural to man. It is secured only by God’s grace.

Therefore we must not depend on our decision. We must not depend on our depending, nor trust in our trusting, nor look to our looking. We look not to our accepting of Christ, but to Christ Himself.
* * * * *

But is all this really taught in the Bible? Undoubtedly. The whole point of the Old Testament sacrificial system was to (symbolically) make the offerer acceptable to God. We frequently read statements such as this from the Old Testament, And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him (Lev. 1:4).

Again the New Testament approach is that it is God who makes believers to be accepted in the beloved (Eph. 1:6). God is the One who must be satisfied. The atonement by Christ terminates on God. He made [Christ the Son] to be sin for us (2Cor. 5:21).

Likewise, when we look at the word „receive” we are again brought face to face with the reality that it is ultimately God who does the receiving. This the Scriptures often affirm. For example, the psalmist was comforted by knowing He shall receive me. (Ps. 49:15). The Pharisees complained against Christ that This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them (Lk. 15:2). Paul taught the Romans that Christ also received us to the glory of God (Rom. 15:7). Hebrews 12:6 states that God is active in adopting spiritual sons into His family: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

In fact, man is opposed to God and His truth, unless and until God changes his sinful heart: A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven (Jn. 3:27). The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1Cor. 2:14).

Is there nothing to be said for a repentant sinner receiving Christ? Of course. That well-known verse in John 1 which says as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name (v. 12), is a precious truth indeed; yet the next verse states clearly that this receiving of Christ was only possible by the enabling grace of God: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (v. 13).
* * * * *

My dear friend, the point is simply this: If you love God, it is only because He previously loved you! We love him, because he first loved us (1Jn. 4:19). If you chose God, it is only because He previously chose you! Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you (Jn. 15:16).

Has this humbling truth gripped your soul? Do you see that you are an unworthy sinner whose only way of acceptance with God is that you be found in Christ?

Has God accepted you?

Please do not misunderstand me. It is true that you must come to Christ and receive salvation. This good news of Christ Jesus coming into the world to save sinners is truly worthy of all acceptation (1Tim. 1:15). But you must come as a humble beggar, empty-handed, casting yourself upon Christ, marveling in His infinite love. I urge you to come to the Savior of needy sinners at once. Accept Him the way a drowning man accepts a life preserver…the way a beggar accepts alms…the way a prisoner accepts freedom! Receive Him the way a sick man receives the physician!

WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED? By Jim Murriner

WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?
By Jim Murriner

What must I do to be saved? Here is the question to which every man must learn the answer, or spend eternity lost, away from God, suffering the torments with the damned in Hell! We can thank God that He has answered this very question in His word. Salvation is made plain many places in the word of God, but there is only one place where we are given this direct question, and have there also the answer.
Paul and Silas were in the Philippian jail and at midnight they prayed and sang praises unto God. God brought upon them a great earthquake, which loosed the bonds upon all the prisoners, and opened the prison doors. The jailer, awaking and finding this out, was about to end his own life, when Paul however, told him that they were all there, the Holy Spirit convicted him of his sin, and he asked the question which we are concerned about here.
We can read this in Acts 16:29-31
„Then he called for a light and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,”
„And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
„And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. This is the only way of salvation, all of Gods elect must be saved this way.
WHAT MUST I DO?
Salvation is all of the Lord,(Ps.37:39) yet each sinner has a responsibility before God, to do exactly what Paul and Silas told the jailer to do. You are to „believe on the Lord Jesus Christ”.
God does not tell us that we must be baptized to be saved, but that we are to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
God does not tell us that we are to join the church to be saved, but that we are to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
God does not tell us that we are to keep the law to be saved, but that we are to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Neither does God tell us that we are to say the sinners prayer to be saved but that we are to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
BELIEVING ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS NOT THE SAME AS MAKING A DECESION
When we speak of believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, we are not talking about what is commonly known today as making a decision for Jesus. If God would leave us in our natural condition, we would have no desire to make a decision for Jesus even if we could.
Romans 8:7-8 tells us that we in our natural condition did not desire Him.
„Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”
„So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”
In Eph.2:1 we are even described as being dead in sin while we were yet in our natural condition.
„And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;”
It is because of this condition, which indicates that we are totally without any ability to help ourselves, that rather than making a decision, we are given faith by God.
Notice that Eph.2:8 tells us that when we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, that the very faith which we exersise is a gift of God.
„For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”
This giving us repentance and faith is also spoken of in the scriptures as being born again.
Joh 3:3 „Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
1Pe 1:23 „Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
Just as we had no part in our first birth, when we are born again it is all of the Lord. We as human beings exersise faith, not knowing where it comes from, but knowing that we now see ourselves as sinners and see a need for a saviour.
May God give you this new birth granting you repentance and faith even now .

WHAT IS IT TO BE SAVED? By John Bunyan

WHAT IS IT TO BE SAVED?
By John Bunyan
(1628 – 1688)
This question supposes that there is such a thing as damnation due to man for sin; for to save supposes the person to be saved to be at present in a sad condition; saving, to him that is not lost, signifies nothing, neither is it anything in itself. „To save, to redeem, to deliver,” are in the general terms equivalent, and they do all of them suppose us to be in a state of thraldom and misery; therefore this word „saved,” in the sense that the apostle here uses it, is a word of great worth, forasmuch as the miseries from which we are saved is the misery of all most dreadful.
The miseries from which they that shall be saved shall by their salvation be delivered, are dreadful; they are no less than sin, the curse of God, and flames of Hell for ever. What more abominable than sin? What more insupportable than the dreadful wrath of an angry God? And what more fearful than the bottomless pit of Hell? I say, what more fearful than to be tormented there for ever with the devil and his angels? Now, to „save,” according to my text, is to deliver the sinner from these, with all things else that attend them. And although sinners may think that it is no hard matter to answer this question, yet I must tell you there is no man, that can feelingly know what it is to be saved, that knows not experimentally something of the dread of these three things, as is evident, because all others do even by their practice count it a thing of no great concern, when yet it is of all other of the highest concern among men:”For what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Matt. 16:26).
But, I say, if this word „saved” concludes our deliverance from sin, how can he tell what it is to be saved that has not in his conscience groaned under the burden of sin? yea, it is impossible else that he should ever cry out with all his heart, „Men and brethren, what shall we do?” –that is, do to be saved (Acts 2:37). The man that has no sores or aches cannot know the virtue of the salve; I mean, not know it from his own experience, and therefore cannot prize, nor have that esteem of it, as he that has received cure thereby. Clap a plaster to a well place, and that makes not its virtue to appear; neither can he to whose flesh it is so applied, by that application understand its worth. Sinners, you, I mean, that are not wounded with guilt, and oppressed with the burden of sin, you cannot–I will say it again–you cannot know, in this senseless condition of yours, what it is to be saved.
Again; this word „saved,” as I said, concludes deliverance from the wrath of God. How, then, can he tell what it is to be saved that has not felt the burden of the wrath of God? He–he that is astonished with, and that trembles at, the wrath of God–he knows best what it is to be saved (Acts 16:29).
Further, this word „saved,” it concludes deliverance from death and Hell. How, then, can he tell what it is to be saved that never was sensible of the sorrows of the one, nor distressed with the pains of the other? The Psalmist says: „The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow. Then called I upon the name of the Lord” –(mark, then,) „then called I upon the name of the Lord; O Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul,” –then, in my distress. When he knew what it was to be saved, then he called, because, I say, then he knew what it was to be saved (Ps. 18:4-5; 116:3-4). I say, this is the man, and this only, that knows what it is to be saved. And this is evident, as is manifest by the little regard that the rest have to saving, or the little dread they have of damnation. Where is he that seeks and seeks and groans for salvation? I say, where is he that has taken his flight for salvation, because of the dread of the wrath to come? „O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Matt. 3:7). Alas! do not the most set light by salvation? –as for sin, how do they love it, embrace it, please themselves with it, hide it still within their mouth, and keep it close under their tongue. Besides, for the wrath of God, they feel it not, they fly not from it; and for Hell, it is become a doubt to many if there by any, and a mock to those whose doubt is resolved by atheism.
But to come to the question–What is it to be saved? To be saved may either respect salvation in the whole of it, or salvation in the parts of it, or both. I think this text respects both–to wit, salvation completing, and salvation completed; for „to save” is a work of many steps; or, to be as plain as possible, „to save” is a work that has its beginning before the world began, and shall not be completed before it is ended.
First, then, we may be said to be saved in the purpose of God before the world began. The apostle said that „he saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (II Tim. 1:9). This is the beginning of salvation, and according to this beginning all things concur and fall out in conclusion–„He hath saved us according to his eternal purpose, which he purposed in Christ Jesus.” God in thus saving may be said to save us by determining to make those means effectual for the blessed completing of our salvation; and hence we are said „to be chosen in Christ to salvation.” And again, that He has in that choice given us that grace that shall complete our salvation. Yea, the text is very full, „He hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ, according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:3-4).
Second. As we may be said to be saved in the purpose of God before the foundation of the world, so we may be said to be saved before we are converted, or called to Christ. And hence „saved” is put before „called;” „he hath saved us, and called us;” He says not, „He has called us, and saved us; but he puts saving before calling (II Tim. 1:9). So again, we are said to be „preserved in Christ and called;” he says not, called and preserved (Jude 1). And therefore God says again: „I will pardon them whom I reserve” –that is, as Paul expounds it, those whom I have „elected and kept,” and this part of salvation is accomplished through the forbearance of God (Rom. 11:4-5). God bears with His own elect, for Christ’s sake, all the time of their unregeneracy, until the time comes which he has appointed for their conversion. The sins that we stood guilty of before conversion, had the judgment due to them been executed upon us, we had not now been in the world to partake of a heavenly calling. But the judgment due to them has been by the patience of God prevented, and we saved all the time of our ungodly and unconverted state, from that death, and those many hells, that for our sins we deserved at the hands of God.
And here lies the reason that long life is granted to the elect before conversion, and that all the sins they commit and all the judgments they deserve, cannot drive them out of the world before conversion. Manasseh, you know, was a great sinner, and for the trespass which he committed he was driven from his own land, and carried to Babylon; but kill him they could not, though his sins had deserved death ten thousand times. But what was the reason? Why, he was not yet called; God had chosen him in Christ, and laid up in him a stock of grace, which must be given to Manasseh before he dies; therefore Manasseh must be convinced, converted, and saved. That legion of devils that was in the possessed, with all the sins which he had committed in the time of his unregeneracy, could not take away his life before his conversion (Mark 5). How many times was that poor creature, as we may easily conjecture assaulted for his life by the devils that were in him, yet could they not kill him, yea, though his dwelling was near the sea-side, and the devils had power to drive him too, yet could they not drive him further than the mountains that were by the sea-side; yea, they could help him often to break his chains and fetters, and could also make him as mad as a bedlam, they could also prevail with him to separate from men, and cut himself with stones, but kill him they could not, drown him they could not; he was saved to be called; he was, notwithstanding all this, preserved in Christ, and called. As it is said of the young lad in the gospel, he was by the devil cast oft into the fire, and oft into the water, to destroy him, but it could not be; even so has he served others, but they must be „saved to be called” (Mark 9:22). How many deaths have some been delivered from and saved out of before conversion! Some have fallen into rivers, some into wells, some into the sea, some into the hands of men; yea, they have been justly arraigned and condemned, as the thief upon the cross, but must not die before they have been converted. They were preserved in Christ, and called.
Called Christian, how many times have thy sins laid thee upon a sick-bed, and, to thine and others’ thinking, at the very mouth of the grave? yet God said concerning thee, Let him live, for he is not yet converted. Behold, therefore, that the elect are saved before they are called. „God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins,” hath preserved us in Christ, and called us (Eph. 2:4-5).
Now this „saving” of us arises from six causes. 1. God has chosen us unto salvation, and therefore will not frustrate His own purpose (I Thess. 5:9). 2. God has given us to Christ: and His gift, as well as His calling, is without repentance (Rom. 11:29; John 6:37). 3. Christ has purchased us with His blood (Rom. 5:8-9). 4. They are, by God, counted in Christ before they are converted (Eph. 1:3-4). 5. They are ordained before conversion to eternal life; yea, to be called, to be justified, to be glorified, and therefore all this must come upon them (Rom. 8:29-30). 6. For all this, he has also appointed them their portion and measure of grace, and that before the world began; therefore, that they may partake of all these privileges, they are saved and called, preserved in Christ, and called.
Third. To be saved is to be brought to, and helped to lay hold on, Jesus Christ by faith. And this is called saving by grace through faith. „For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8).
1. They must be brought unto Christ, yea, drawn unto Him; for „no man,” says Christ, „can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:44). Men, even the elect, have too many infirmities to come to Christ without help from Heaven; inviting will not do. „As they called them, so they went from them,” therefore He „drew them with cords” (Hosea 11:2,4).
2. As they must be brought to, so they must be helped to lay hold on Christ by faith; for as coming to Christ, so faith, is not in our own power; therefore we are said to be raised up with Him „through the faith of the operation of God.” And again, we are said to believe, „according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead” (Col. 2:12; Eph. 1:19,20). Now we are said to be saved by faith, because by faith we lay hold of, venture upon, and put on Jesus Christ for life. For life, I say, because God having made Him the Saviour, has given Him life to communicate to sinners, and the life that he communicates to them is the merit of His flesh and blood, which whoso eats and drinks by faith, has eternal life, because that flesh and blood has merit in it sufficient to obtain the favour of God. Yea, it has done so (since) that day it was offered through the eternal Spirit a sacrifice of a sweet-smelling savour to Him; wherefore God imputes the righteousness of Christ to him that believes in Him, by which righteousness he is personally justified, and saved from that just judgment of the law that was due unto him (John 5:26; 6:53-58; Eph. 4:32; 5:2; Rom. 4:23-25).
„Saved by faith.” For although salvation begins in God’s purpose, and comes to us through Christ’s righteousness, yet is not faith exempted from having a hand in saving of us. Not that it merits aught, but is given by God to those which He saves, that thereby they may embrace and put on that Christ by whose righteousness they must be saved. Wherefore this faith is that which here distinguishes them that shall be saved from them that shall be damned. Hence it is said, „He that believeth not, shall be damned;” and hence again it is that the believers are called „the children, the heirs, and the blessed with faithful Abraham;” that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe (Gal. 3:6-9, 26; Rom. 4:13-14).
And here let Christians warily distinguish between the meritorious and the instrumental cause of their justification. Christ, with what He has done and suffered, is the meritorious cause of our justification; therefore he is said to be made to us of God, „wisdom and righteousness;” and we are said to be „justified by his blood, and saved from wrath through him,” for it was His life and blood that were the price of our redemption (I Cor. 1:30; Rom. 5:9-10). „Redeemed,” says Peter, „not with corruptible things, as silver and gold,” alluding to the redemption of money under the law, „but with the precious blood of Christ.” You are, therefore, as I have said, to make Christ Jesus the object of your faith for justification; for by His righteousness thy sins must be covered from the sight of the justice of the law. „Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” „For he shall save his people from their sins” (Acts 16:31; Matt. 1:21).
Fourth. To be saved is to be preserved in the faith to the end. „He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matt. 24:13). Not that perseverance is an accident in Christianity, or a thing performed by human industry; they that are saved „are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation” (I Pet. 1:3-6).
But perseverance is absolutely necessary to the complete saving of the soul, because he that falls short of the state that they that are saved are possessed of, as saved, cannot arrive to that saved state. He that goes to sea with a purpose to arrive at Spain, cannot arrive there if he be drowned by the way; wherefore perseverance is absolutely necessary to the saving of the soul, and therefore it is included in the complete saving of us–„Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end” (Isa. 45:17). Perseverance is here made absolutely necessary to the complete saving of the soul.

THE LOSS OF THE SOUL By Milburn Cockrell

THE LOSS OF THE SOUL
By Milburn Cockrell
„For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:26).
„For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?” (Luke 9:25).
Our Lord Jesus Christ taught what no other teacher ever has–the transcendent worth of the soul of man. He taught that the soul of a man is precious beyond all price. He affirmed that every soul is accountable to God for all he thinks and feels, as well as for all he says and does. Christ warned men of the great danger of losing their own souls.
We know from Scripture that the soul of man is of immeasurable value. No sum of money can express its worth. It transcends expression. If we were to judge by the conduct of men, we might conclude that the soul is of no worth whatsoever. Everything seems to occupy the attention of mankind rather than the salvation of their own souls.
EVERY MAN HAS A SOUL
What is a soul? It is the spiritual, the best and most noble part of man, and it is distinct from the body. It is the immortal part of a man which allies him with angels and God who are spirits. Speaking of the immortality of the soul, Jesus Christ said: „And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28). Luke records Him saying: „Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do” (12:4).
According to Jesus Christ, man may go so far as to kill the body, but here the power of man ends. Christ clearly distinguishes between the state of the body and the state of the soul. The state of the soul would not be different at death, if the soul sleeps after death as does the body. Jesus Christ taught that a soul could be lost but not annihilated.
The soul outlives the body and is superior to the body. When Rachel died at the birth of Benjamin it is said that „her soul was in departing” (Gen. 35:18). Here we see death is the departure of the soul from the body to the world of the spirits. When Elijah wanted the dead child to come back to life he prayed: „O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again” (I Kings 17:21). The Lord answered Elijah’s prayer, „and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived” (v. 22). Here again we see the soul left the body at death and existed separated from the body. This proves its immortality. Then we see that this immortal soul returned to the body of the child and the child lived. If the soul can exist separated from the body, it is not the same as the body.
The powers and properties of the soul are amazing. The soul retains its powers when the body is mutilated or destroyed. This demonstrates its superiority to the body. The soul is capable of thought and reflection, matter is not. It has power to contemplate God’s being as well as His government over the world. The soul is capable of enjoying the friendship of God and of reciprocating His love.
The body is the house of the soul (II Cor. 5:1; Job 4:19; 13:12). The body is compared to the house, and the soul to him that lives in the house. Man is more noble than the house he lives in, so is the soul more noble than the body. The body is the clothing or garment of the soul (II Cor. 5:2-4), and we know that the body is more than raiment (Matt. 6:25). As clothing is worth less than the body, so the body is worth less than the soul that it covers. The body is a tabernacle in which the soul worships God (II Cor. 5:1; II Pet. 1:14), and a worshipper is more honorable than the place of worship (Heb. 3:3). Even so the soul is more honorable than the body.
IT IS POSSIBLE FOR THE SOUL TO BE LOST
In the text Jesus Christ said that a man may „lose his own soul.” Sin is what causes a soul to be lost. „The soul that sinneth it shall die” (Ezek. 18:4,22). Isaiah 3:9 declares: „The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves.” Sinning against God is what ruins the soul and causes it to be sent away from God. Sin is what makes the soul hateful in the eyes of Divine Justice.
A soul is lost when it is separated from God and His favor and is under His curse and wrath. „But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile” (Rom. 2:8-9). These words of Paul express the second death and the torments of Hell. Unless satisfaction is made for the sins of the soul by the blood of Christ, this is to be the future condition of every sinning soul on earth.
A soul is lost when it is shut out of Heaven and sent to Hell. In Luke 9:25 Jesus Christ called it the casting away of the soul. In Matthew 23:33 Christ declared that impentient sinners cannot „escape the damnation of hell.” The soul is lost when it is excluded from light, peace, and rest. Of the lost souls of the wicked Job said: „They grope in the dark without light” (Job 12:25). As to the present and future estate of the wicked, Isaiah declared: „There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked” (Isa. 57:21). Of the beast worshippers it is written: „. . .they have no rest day nor night” (Rev. 14:11).
A soul is lost when it is „punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (II Thess. 1:9). It is lost when it is told by Christ: „Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41).
IF THE SOUL IS LOST IT IS THE SINNER’S OWN FAULT
Christ did not say that He would lose some souls committed to Him. Rather, He spoke of the man losing „his own soul.” It is the man who does the losing. Man cannot lose the souls of others; he can do no more than lose „his own soul.”
The man that loses his soul loses himself. A man may lose his family and estate and in time have them restored again. But if he loses his soul he can never regain it. He that has lost himself is no longer his own master. He is at the mercy of the Devil. He is in the hands of Divine Justice. What a great grief it is for a man to realize that he has lost his soul, lost the most important part of his being, lost himself! The knowledge of the awful loss of his soul makes him a self-tormentor.
How fearful is the loss of the soul! It is the deprivation of all good and exclusion from God’s protection. It is to suffer the due reward for your deeds–to be left to your own shame–to be delivered to the torments of the Devil and a guilty conscience. In short, it is to be swallowed up of all the most fearful miseries that a just and holy God can righteously inflict upon the soul of a sinful man!
When a man loses his own soul it is an everlasting loss, for a soul that is lost can never be found again. It’s banishment from God is everlasting and the fire that it suffers is everlasting fire. You could sooner count the drops of water in the sea, or the grains of sand on the seashore, than you can count the millions and millions of years that a damned soul shall suffer in the lake of fire. The person who has lost his soul can never say he is half way through his sufferings, for that which has no end has no middle (Jude 7).
A man loses his soul by doing what is destructive to it: „But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul” (Prov. 6:32). Divine Wisdom says in Proverbs 8:36: „But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.” All forms of sexual impurity and sins of every kind are destructive to a man’s soul. Such a person may say he cannot extinguish his burning lusts, but he will find it shall be more impossible to extinguish the fire that shall never be quenched. He will ruin his soul because he wills to do so. His blood is on his own head (Hos. 13:9).
ONE SOUL IS WORTH MORE THAN THE WORLD
Add field to field, city to city, and nation to nation, yet one soul is worth more than all of this. One soul is of greater worth than all of the gold in Fort Knox, Kentucky. Take all the pleasures this world has to offer, and yet one soul is of greater value than all of these. Gain rank or fame until all men applaud you, but one soul is more precious than all of this. Go beyond earth, gather the sun, moon, and stars to yourself, but all of this is not worth one soul!
Let us suppose that a man could gain the whole world and be the master of it. Such a man could not enjoy the whole world if he had it to enjoy. One man can only be in one place at a time. He can only travel so far in a day, enjoy so much fine food, ride in but one automobile at a time, sleep with but one woman at a time. Such a fool would kill himself in a few weeks. Health would not endure such possessions. Worse still, of what use would the whole world be to a man who must leave it?
THE WINNING OF THE WORLD IS OFTEN THE LOSING OF THE SOUL
The world presents a man with fair language, promising hopes, convenient fortunes, and pompous honors. The desire of these things of the world causes men to waste and consume themselves to get preferment, to enjoy pleasure, to heap up riches and increase them. To attain these men will ruin their bodies and souls. In the end such men discover they have been hired servants that carried a great load of wealth and fame on a weary back all the day. Then when the sun of life is set they are turned into a dark grave and a burning Hell with a raw shoulder and a tormenting conscience.
Worldly prosperity has ruined many a soul. „And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:16-21).
This rich farmer forgot God and his soul. He imagined his fruits and goods would be food for his immortal soul. A God of judgment cuts off his long years of promised enjoyment. He required the soul the rich fool had neglected, corrupted and ruined. The rich man goes to stand before God with a lost soul, a soul lost by trying to win the world (I Tim. 6:9-10).
Why is it that men insure their lives and property, but they are so careless about their souls! How foolish to gather treasures and lose them–to lose the soul, Heaven and God. Millionaires in time are beggars in eternity (Luke 16:23).
THE LOSS OF THE SOUL IS SO GREAT THAT THE GAIN OF THE WHOLE WORLD CANNOT MAKE UP FOR IT
All the men of this world and the angels of Heaven cannot save a soul–cannot give it eternal life–cannot open the gates of Heaven–cannot close the gates of Hell–cannot make a person rich toward God. Ah, vain world! you are a poor reward for the loss of Christ and Heaven! O poor lost soul, you have the riches of earth, but you have lost the treasures of Heaven. You have the pleasures of the world, but you shall never drink of the rivers of God’s pleasures. You have the honor of men, but you shall receive the everlasting contempt of God.
The world promises more than it can deliver. While the god of this world is pleasing your fancy, his hand is in your treasures, robbing you of your soul. To gain the world and lose the soul is a fool’s bargain. Such a person is an unspeakable loser! When he comes to balance the account, to compare profits and losses, he will find he has been taken in by the great deceiver.
Our Lord asked: „What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:37). What would he not give in exchange for the salvation of his soul at the great white throne of judgment? He would gladly trade his vice for virtue and his sins for the great salvation, but it cannot be done. No doubt he would be willing to give ever so much, but it will then be too late, for no exchange can be made. Once in Hell a great ransom cannot deliver a man from this awful place. In such a solemn hour a man will realize he is the biggest fool in the world!
CONCLUSION
The gospel is a revelation of a soverign remedy, provided by God, through Christ, for the salvation of a man’s soul. It causes a person to see his sins are as black as Hell, and he becomes mindful that sin has ruined his soul and that within himself his soul shall surely be lost. The only way to escape is to commit the keeping of his soul to Christ (I Pet. 4:19). Paul did this with the confidence that Christ could and would keep his soul safely until the day of judgment: „. . .for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (II Tim. 1:12).
The redemption of the soul is precious (Ps. 49:8). The loss of this most excellent thing is unspeakably great. This is a good reason for people to be careful to whom they commit the teaching and guidance of their souls.
Don’t play the hypocrite in religion. Be what you profess to be, for where is the hypocrite „when God taketh away his soul”? (Job 27:8).
Let the soul have the chief and first concern. God alone can save and keep the soul. Cry out day and night if you are undone, dear sinner: „O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee” (Ps. 25:20). Believe with all your heart the gospel of Christ and receive „the end of your faith, even the salvation of your” soul (I Pet. 1:9).

SAVED BY GRACE. by John Bunyan

SAVED BY GRACE.

by John Bunyan

COURTEOUS READER,

In this little book thou art presented with a discourse of the GRACE of God, and of salvation by that grace. In which discourse, thou shalt find how each Person in the Godhead doth his part in the salvation of the sinner. I. The Father putteth forth his grace, thus. II. The Son putteth forth his grace, thus. III. And the Spirit putteth forth his grace, thus. Which things thou shalt find here particularly handled.

Thou shalt also find, in this small treatise, the way of God with the sinner, as to his CONVERSATION, 1 and the way of the sinner with God in the same; where[in] the grace of God, and the wickedness of the sinner, do greatly show themselves.

If thou findest me short in things, impute that [to] my love to brevity. If thou findest me besides the truth in aught, impute that to mine infirmity. But if thou findest anything here that serveth to thy furtherance and joy of faith, impute that to the mercy of God bestowed on thee and me.

Thine to serve thee with that little I have,

J.B.

SAVED BY GRACE.

„BY GRACE YE ARE SAVED.”—EPHESIANS 2:5.

In the first chapter, from the fourth to the twelfth verse, the apostle is treating of the doctrine of election, both with respect to the act itself, the end, and means conducing thereto. The act, he tells us, was God’s free choice of some (verse 4,5,11). The end was God’s glory in their salvation (verse 6,14). The means conducing to that end was Jesus Christ himself—”In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (verse 7). This done, he treateth of the subjection of the Ephesians to the faith, as it was held forth to them in the Word of the truth of the gospel, as also of their being sealed by the Holy Spirit of God unto the day of redemption (verse 12-14). Moreover, he telleth them how he gave thanks to God for them, making mention of them in his prayers, even that he would make them see „what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead,” &c. (verse 15-20).

And lest the Ephesians, at the hearing of these their so many privileges, should forget how little they deserved them, he tells them that in time past they were dead in trespasses and sins, and that then they walked in them „according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Eph 2:2,3).

Having thus called them back to the remembrance of themselves—to wit, what they were in their state of unregeneracy, he proceedeth to show them that their first quickening was by the resurrection of Christ their Head, in whom they before were chosen, and that by him they were already set down in heavenly places, (verse 5,6); inserting, by the way, the true cause of all this blessedness, with what else should be by us enjoyed in another world; and that is, the love and grace of God: „But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ [by grace ye are saved].” These last words seen to be the apostle’s conclusion rightly drawn from the premises; as who should say, If you Ephesians were indeed dead in trespasses and sins; if indeed you were by nature the children of wrath, even as others, then you deserve no more than others. 2

Again, if God hath chosen you, if God hath justified and saved you by his Christ, and left others as good as you by nature to perish in their sins, then the true cause of this your blessed condition is, the free grace of God. But just thus it is, therefore by grace ye are saved; therefore all the good which you enjoy more than others, it is of mere goodwill.

„BY GRACE YE ARE SAVED.”

The method that I shall choose to discourse upon these words shall be this—I will propound certain questions upon the words, and direct particular answers to them; in which answers I hope I shall answer also, somewhat at least, the expectation of the godly and conscientious reader, and so shall draw towards a conclusion.

THE QUESTIONS ARE—

I. What is it to be saved? II. What is it to be saved by grace? III. Who are they that are saved by grace? IV. How it appears that they that are saved, are saved by grace? V. What might be the reasons which prevailed with God to save us by grace, rather than by any other means?

Now the reason why I propound these five questions upon the words, it is, because the words themselves admit them; the first three are grounded upon the several phrases in the text, and the two last are to make way for demonstration of the whole.

QUEST. I.—WHAT IS IT TO BE SAVED?

This question supposeth that there is such a thing as damnation due to man for sin; for to save supposeth the person to be saved to be at present in a sad condition; saving, to him that is not lost, signifies nothing, neither is it anything in itself. „To save, to redeem, to deliver,” are in the general terms equivalent, and they do all of them suppose us to be in a state of thraldom and misery; therefore this word „saved,” in the sense that the apostle here doth use it, is a word of great worth, forasmuch as the miseries from which we are saved is the misery of all most dreadful.

The miseries from which they that shall be saved shall by their salvation be delivered, are dreadful; they are no less than sin, the curse of God, and flames of hell for ever. What more abominable than sin? What more insupportable than the dreadful wrath of an angry God? And what more fearful than the bottomless pit of hell? I say, what more fearful than to be tormented there for ever with the devil and his angels? Now, to „save,” according to my text, is to deliver the sinner from these, with all things else that attend them. And although sinners may think that it is no hard matter to answer this question, yet I must tell you there is no man, that can feelingly know what it is to be saved, that knoweth not experimentally something of the dread of these three things, as is evident, because all others do even by their practice count it a thing of no great concern, when yet it is of all other of the highest concern among men; „For what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Matt 16:26).

But, I say, if this word „saved” concludeth our deliverance from sin, how can he tell what it is to be saved that hath not in his conscience groaned under the burden of sin? yea, it is impossible else that he should ever cry out with all his heart, „Men and brethren, what shall we do?”—that is, do to be saved (Acts 2:37). The man that hath no sores or aches cannot know the virtue of the salve; I mean, not know it from his own experience, and therefore cannot prize, nor have that esteem of it, as he that hath received cure thereby. Clap a plaster to a well place, and that maketh not its virtue to appear; neither can he to whose flesh it is so applied, by that application understand its worth. Sinners, you, I mean, that are not wounded with guilt, and oppressed with the burden of sin, you cannot—I will say it again—you cannot know, in this senseless condition of yours, what it is to be saved.

Again; this word „saved,” as I said, concludeth deliverance from the wrath of God. How, then, can he tell what it is to be saved that hath not felt the burden of the wrath of God? He—he that is astonished with, and that trembleth at, the wrath of God—he knows best what it is to be saved (Acts 16:29).

Further, this word „saved,” it concludeth deliverance from death and hell. How, then, can he tell what it is to be saved that never was sensible of the sorrows of the one, nor distressed with the pains of the other? The Psalmist says, „The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow. Then called I upon the name of the Lord”—(mark, then), „then called I upon the name of the Lord; O Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul,”—then, in my distress. When he knew what it was to be saved, then he called, because, I say, then he knew what it was to be saved (Psa 18:4,5; 116:3,4). I say, this is the man, and this only, that knows what it is to be saved. And this is evident, as is manifest by the little regard that the rest have to saving, or the little dread they have of damnation. Where is he that seeks and groans for salvation? I say, where is he that hath taken his flight for salvation, because of the dread of the wrath to come? „O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Matt 3:7). Alas! do not the most set light by salvation?—as for sin, how do they love it, embrace it, please themselves with it, hide it still within their mouth, and keep it close under their tongue. Besides, for the wrath of God, they feel it not, they fly not from it; and for hell, it is become a doubt to many if there be any, and a mock to those whose doubt is resolved by atheism.

But to come to the question—What is it to be saved? To be saved may either respect salvation in the whole of it, or salvation in the parts of it, or both. I think this text respecteth both—to wit, salvation completing, and salvation completed; for „to save” is a work of many steps; or, to be as plain as possible, „to save” is a work that hath its beginning before the world began, and shall not be completed before it is ended.

First, then, we may be said to be saved in the purpose of God before the world began. The apostle saith that „he saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (2 Tim 1:9). This is the beginning of salvation, and according to this beginning all things concur and fall out in conclusion—”He hath saved us according to his eternal purpose, which he purposed in Christ Jesus.” God in thus saving may be said to save us by determining to make those means effectual for the blessed completing of our salvation; and hence we are said „to be chosen in Christ to salvation.” And again, that he hath in that choice given us that grace that shall complete our salvation. Yea, the text is very full, „He hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ, according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world” (Eph 1:3,4).

Second. As we may be said to be saved in the purpose of God before the foundation of the world, so we may be said to be saved before we are converted, or called to Christ. And hence „saved” is put before „called”; „he hath saved us, and called us”; he saith not, he hath called us, and saved us; but he puts saving before calling (2 Tim 1:9). So again, we are said to be „preserved in Christ and called”; he saith not, called and preserved (Jude 1). And therefore God saith again, „I will pardon them whom I reserve”—that is, as Paul expounds it, those whom I have „elected and kept,” and this part of salvation is accomplished through the forbearance of God (Jer 50:20; Rom 11:4,5). God beareth with is own elect, for Christ’s sake, all the time of their unregeneracy, until the time comes which he hath appointed for their conversion. The sins that we stood guilty of before conversion, had the judgment due to them been executed upon us, we had not now been in the world to partake of a heavenly calling. But the judgment due to them hath been by the patience of God prevented, and we saved all the time of our ungodly and unconverted state, from that death, and those many hells, that for our sins we deserved at the hands of God.

And here lies the reason that long life is granted to the elect before conversion, and that all the sins they commit and all the judgments they deserve, cannot drive them out of the world before conversion. Manasseh, you know, was a great sinner, and for the trespass which he committed he was driven from his own land, and carried to Babylon; but kill him they could not, though his sins had deserved death ten thousand times. But what was the reason? Why, he was not yet called; God had chosen him in Christ, and laid up in him a stock of grace, which must be given to Manasseh before he dies; therefore Manasseh must be convinced, converted, and saved. That legion of devils that was in the possessed, with all the sins which he had committed in the time of his unregeneracy, could not take away his life before his conversion (Mark 5). How many times was that poor creature, as we may easily conjecture, assaulted for his life by the devils that were in him, yet could they not kill him, yea, though his dwelling was near the sea-side, and the devils had power to drive him too, yet could they not drive him further than the mountains that were by the sea- side; yea, they could help him often to break his chains and fetters, and could also make him as mad as a bedlam, 3 they could also prevail with him to separate from men, and cut himself with stones, but kill him they could not, drown him they could not; he was saved to be called; he was, notwithstanding all this, preserved in Christ, and called. As it is said of the young lad in the gospel, he was by the devil cast oft into the fire, and oft into the water, to destroy him, but it could not be; even so hath he served others, but they must be „saved to be called” (Mark 9:22). How many deaths have some been delivered from and saved out of before conversion! Some have fallen into rivers, some into wells, some into the sea, some into the hands of men; yea, they have been justly arraigned and condemned, as the thief upon the cross, but must not die before they have been converted. They were preserved in Christ, and called.

Called Christian, how many times have thy sins laid thee upon a sick- bed, and, to thine and others’ thinking, at the very mouth of the grave? yet God said concerning thee, Let him live, for he is not yet converted. Behold, therefore, that the elect are saved before they are called. 4 „God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins,” hath preserved us in Christ, and called us (Eph 2:4,5).

Now this „saving” of us arises from six causes. 1. God hath chosen us unto salvation, and therefore will not frustrate his own purposes (1 Thess 5:9). 2. God hath given us to Christ; and his gift, as well as his calling, is without repentance (Rom 11:29; John 6:37). 3. Christ hath purchased us with his blood (Rom 5:8,9). 4. They are, by God, counted in Christ before they are converted (Eph 1:3,4). 5. They are ordained before conversion to eternal life; yea, to be called, to be justified, to be glorified, and therefore all this must come upon them (Rom 8:29,30). 6. For all this, he hath also appointed them their portion and measure of grace, and that before the world began; therefore, that they may partake of all these privileges, they are saved and called, preserved in Christ, and called.

Third. To be saved is to be brought to, and helped to lay hold on, Jesus Christ by faith. And this is called saving by grace through faith. „For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Eph 2:8).

1. They must be brought unto Christ, yea, drawn unto him; for „no man,” saith Christ, „can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:44). Men, even the elect, have too many infirmities to come to Christ without help from heaven; inviting will not do. „As they called them, so they went from them,” therefore he „drew them with cords” (Hosea 11:2,4).

2. As they must be brought to, so they must be helped to lay hold on Christ by faith; for as coming to Christ, so faith, is not in our own power; therefore we are said to be raised up with him „through the faith of the operation of God.” And again, we are said to believe, „according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead” (Col 2:12; Eph 1:19,20). Now we are said to be saved by faith, because by faith we lay hold of, venture upon, and put on Jesus Christ for life. For life, I say, because God having made him the Saviour, hath given him life to communicate to sinners, and the life that he communicates to them is the merit of his flesh and blood, which whoso eateth and drinketh by faith, hath eternal life, because that flesh and blood hath merit in it sufficient to obtain the favour of God. Yea, it hath done so [since] that day it was offered through the eternal Spirit a sacrifice of a sweet-smelling savour to him; wherefore God imputeth the righteousness of Christ to him that believeth in him, by which righteousness he is personally justified, and saved from that just judgment of the law that was due unto him (John 5:26, 6:53-58; Eph 4:32; 5:2; Rom 4:23-25).

„Saved by faith.” For although salvation beginneth in God’s purpose, and comes to us through Christ’s righteousness, yet is not faith exempted from having a hand in saving of us. Not that it meriteth aught, but is given by God to those which he saveth, that thereby they may embrace and put on that Christ by whose righteousness they must be saved. Wherefore this faith is that which here distinguisheth them that shall be saved from them that shall be damned. Hence it is said, „He that believeth not, shall be damned”; and hence again it is that the believers are called „the children, the heirs, and the blessed with faithful Abraham;” that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe (Gal 3:6-9,26; Rom 4:13,14).

And here let Christians warily distinguish betwixt the meritorious and the instrumental cause of their justification. Christ, with what he hath done and suffered, is the meritorious cause of our justification; therefore he is said to be made to us of God, „wisdom and righteousness;” and we are said to be „justified by his blood, and saved from wrath through him,” for it was his life and blood that were the price of our redemption (1 Cor 1:30; Rom 5:9,10). „Redeemed,” says Peter, „not with corruptible things, as silver and gold,” alluding to the redemption of money under the law, „but with the precious blood of Christ.” Thou art, therefore, as I have said, to make Christ Jesus the object of thy faith for justification; for by his righteousness thy sins must be covered from the sight of the justice of the law. „Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” „For he shall save his people from their sins” (Acts 16:31; Matt 1:21).

Fourth. To be saved is to be preserved in the faith to the end. „He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matt 24:13). Not that perseverance is an accident in Christianity, or a thing performed by human industry; they that are saved „are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation” (1 Peter 1:3-6).

But perseverance is absolutely necessary to the complete saving of the soul, because he that falleth short of the state that they that are saved are possessed of, as saved, cannot arrive to that saved state. He that goeth to sea with a purpose to arrive at Spain, cannot arrive there if he be drowned by the way; wherefore perseverance is absolutely necessary to the saving of the soul, and therefore it is included in the complete saving of us—”Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end” (Isa 45:17). Perseverance is here made absolutely necessary to the complete saving of the soul.

But, as I said, this part of salvation dependeth not upon human power, but upon him that hath begun a good work in us (Phil 1:6). This part, therefore, of our salvation is great, and calleth for no less than the power of God for our help to perform it, as will be easily granted by all those that consider—

1. That all the power and policy, malice and rage, of the devils and hell itself are against us. Any man that understandeth this will conclude that to be saved is no small thing. The devil is called a god, a prince, a lion, a roaring lion; it is said that he hath death and the power of it, &c. But what can a poor creature, whose habitation is in flesh, do against a god, a prince, a roaring lion, and the power of death itself? Our perseverance, therefore, lieth in the power of God; „the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

2. All the world is against him that shall be saved. But what is one poor creature to all the world, especially if you consider that with the world is terror, fear, power, majesty, laws, jails, gibbets, hangings, burnings, drownings, starvings, banishments, and a thousand kinds of deaths? (1 John 5:4,5; John 16:33).

3. Add to this, that all the corruptions that dwell in our flesh are against us, and that not only in their nature and being, but they lust against us, and war against us, to „bring us into captivity to the law of sin and death” (Gal 5:17; 1 Peter 2:11; Rom 7:23).

4. All the delusions in the world are against them that shall be saved, many of which are so cunningly woven, so plausibly handled, so rarely5 polished with Scripture and reason, that it is ten thousand wonders that the elect are not swallowed up with them; and swallowed up they would be, were they not elect, and was not God himself engaged, either by power to keep them from falling, or by grace to pardon if they fall, and to lift them up again (Matt 24:24; Eph 4:14; Rom 3:12).

5. Every fall of the saved is against the salvation of his soul; but a Christian once fallen riseth not but as helped by Omnipotent power—”O Israel, thou hast fallen by thine iniquity,” „but in me is thy help,” says God (Hosea 13:9; 14:1; Psa 37:23).

Christians, were you awake, here would be matter of wonder to you, to see a man assaulted with all the power of hell, and yet to come off a conqueror! Is it not a wonder to see a poor creature, who in himself is weaker than the moth, to stand against and overcome all devils, all the world, all his lusts and corruptions? (Job 4:19). Or if he fall, is it not a wonder to see him, when devils and guilt are upon him, to rise again, stand upon his feet again, walk with God again, and persevere after all this in the faith and holiness of the gospel? He that knows himself, wonders; he that knows temptation, wonders; he that knows what falls and guilt mean, wonders; indeed, perseverance is a wonderful thing, and is managed by the power of God; for he only „is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24). Those of the children of Israel that went from Egypt, and entered the land of Canaan, how came they thither? Why, the text says, that „as an eagle spreadeth abroad her wings, so the Lord alone did lead them.” And again, „he bore them, and carried them all the days of old” (Deu 32:11,12; Isa 63:9). David also tells us that mercy and goodness should follow him all the days of his life, and so he should dwell in the house of the Lord for ever (Psa 23:6).

Fifth. To be saved calls for more than all this; he that is saved, must, when this world can hold him no longer, have a safe- conduct to heaven, for that is the place where they that are saved must to the full enjoy their salvation. This heaven is called „the end of our faith,” because it is that which faith looks at; as Peter says, „Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” And again, „But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul” (1 Peter 1:9; Heb 10:39). For, as I said, heaven is the place for the saved to enjoy their salvation in, with that perfect gladness that is not attainable here. Here we are saved by faith and hope of glory; but there, we that are saved shall enjoy the end of our faith and hope, even the salvation of our souls. There is „Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, the general assembly and church of the firstborn;” there is the „innumerable company of angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect;” there is „God the judge of all, and Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant;” there shall our soul have as much of heaven as it is capable of enjoying, and that without intermission; wherefore, when we come there we shall be saved indeed! But now for a poor creature to be brought hither, this is the life of the point. But how shall I come hither? there are heights and depths to hinder (Rom 8:38,39).

Suppose the poor Christian is now upon a sick-bed, beset with a thousand fears, and ten thousand at the end of that; sick-bed fears! and they are sometimes dreadful ones; fears that are begotten by the review of the sin, perhaps, of forty years’ profession; fears that are begotten by dreadful and fearful suggestions of the devil, the sight of death, and the grave, and it may be of hell itself; fears that are begotten by the withdrawing and silence of God and Christ, and by, it may be, the appearance of the devil himself; some of these made David cry, „O spare me” a little, „that I may recover strength before I go hence, and be no more” (Psa 39:13). „The sorrows of death,” said he, „compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me; I found trouble and sorrow” (Psa 116:3). These things, in another place, he calls the bands that the godly have in their death, and the plagues that others are not aware of. „They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men” (Psa 73:9). But now, out of all these, the Lord will save his people; not one sin, nor fear, nor devil shall hinder; nor the grave nor hell disappoint thee. But how must this be? Why, thou must have a safe-conduct to heaven? 6 What conduct? A conduct of angels: „Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (Heb 1:14).

These angels, therefore, are not to fail them that are the saved; but must, as commissioned of God, come down from heaven to do this office for them; they must come, I say, and take the care and charge of our soul, to conduct it safely into Abraham’s bosom. It is not our meanness in the world, nor our weakness of faith, that shall hinder this; nor shall the loathsomeness of our diseases make these delicate spirits shy of taking this charge upon them. Lazarus the beggar found this a truth; a beggar so despised of the rich glutton that he was not suffered to come within his gate; a beggar full of sores and noisome putrefaction; yet, behold, when he dies, the angels come from heaven to fetch him thither: „And it came to pass that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 16:22). True, sick-bed temptations are ofttimes the most violent, because then the devil plays his last game with us, he is never to assault us more; besides, perhaps God suffereth it thus to be, that the entering into heaven may be the sweeter, and ring of this salvation the louder! O it is a blessed thing for God to be our God and our guide even unto death, and then for his angels to conduct us safely to glory; this is saving indeed. And he shall save Israel „out of all his troubles;” out of sick-bed troubles as well as others (Psa 25:22; 34:6; 48:14).

Sixth. To be saved, to be perfectly saved, calls for more than all this; the godly are not perfectly saved when their soul is possessed of heaven. True, their spirit is made perfect, and hath as much of heaven as at present it can hold, but man, consisting of body and soul, cannot be said to be perfectly saved so long as but part of him is in the heavens; his body is the price of the blood of Christ as well as his spirit; his body is the temple of God, and a member of the body, and of the flesh, and of the bones of Christ; he cannot, then, be completely saved until the time of the resurrection of the dead (1 Cor 6:13-19; Eph 5:30). Wherefore, when Christ shall come the second time, then will he save the body from all those things that at present make it incapable of the heavens. „For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change” this „our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body” (Phil 3:20,21). O what a great deal of good God hath put into this little word „saved”! We shall not see all the good that God hath put into this word „saved” until the Lord Jesus comes to raise the dead. „It doth not yet appear what we shall be” (1 John 3:2). But till it appears what we shall be, we cannot see the bottom of this word „saved.” True, we have the earnest of what we shall be, we have the Spirit of God, „which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession” (Eph 1:14). The possession is our body—it is called „a purchased possession,” because it is the price of blood; now the redemption of this purchased possession is the raising of it out of the grave, which raising is called the redemption of our body (Rom 8:23). And when this vile body is made like unto his glorious body, and this body and soul together possessed of the heavens, then shall we be every way saved.

There are three things from which this body must be saved—1. There is that sinful filth and vileness that yet dwells in it, under which we groan earnestly all our days (2 Cor 5:1-3). 2. There is mortality, that subjecteth us to age, sickness, aches, pains, diseases, and death. 3. And there is the grave and death itself, for death is the last enemy that is to be destroyed. „So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor 15:54). So then, when this comes to pass, then we shall be saved; then will salvation, in all the parts of it, meet together in our glory; then we shall be every way saved—saved in God’s decree, saved in Christ’s undertakings, saved by faith, saved in perseverance, saved in soul, and in body and soul together in the heavens, saved perfectly, everlastingly, gloriously.

[Of the state of our body and soul in heaven.]

Before I conclude my answer to the first question, I would discourse a little of the state of our body and soul in heaven, when we shall enjoy this blessed state of salvation.

First. Of the soul; it will then be filled in all the faculties of it with as much bliss and glory as ever it can hold.

1. The understanding shall then be perfect in knowledge—”Now we know but in part;” we know God, Christ, heaven, and glory, but in part; „but when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away” (1 Cor 13:10). Then shall we have perfect and everlasting visions of God, and that blessed one his Son Jesus Christ, a good thought of whom doth sometimes so fill us while in this world, that it causeth „joy unspeakable and full of glory.” 2. Then shall our will and affections be ever in a burning flame of love to God and his Son Jesus Christ; our love here hath ups and downs, but there it shall be always perfect with that perfection which is not possible in this world to be enjoyed. 3. Then will our conscience have that peace and joy that neither tongue nor pen of men or angels can express. 4. Then will our memory be so enlarged to retain all things that happened to us in this world, so that with unspeakable aptness we shall call to mind all God’s providences, all Satan’s malice, all our own weaknesses, all the rage of men, and how God made all work together for his glory and our good, to the everlasting ravishing of our hearts.

Second. For our body; it shall be raised in power, in incorruption, a spiritual body and glorious (1 Cor 15:44). The glory of which is set forth by several things—1. It is compared to „the brightness of the firmament,” and to the shining of the stars „for ever and ever” (Dan 12:3; 1 Cor 15:41,42). 2. It is compared to the shining of the sun—”Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt 13:43). 3. Their state is then to be equally glorious with angels; „But they which shall be counted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage; neither can they die any more, for they are equal unto the angels” (Luke 20:35,36). 4. It is said that then this our vile body shall be like the glorious body of Jesus Christ (Phil 3:20,21; 1 John 3:2,3). 5. And now, when body and soul are thus united, who can imagine what glory they both possess? They will now be both in capacity, without jarring, to serve the Lord with shouting thanksgivings, and with a crown of everlasting joy upon their head. 8

In this world there cannot be that harmony and oneness of body and soul as there will be in heaven. Here the body sometimes sins against the soul, and the soul again vexes and perplexes the body with dreadful apprehensions of the wrath and judgment of God. While we be in this world, the body oft hangs this way, and the soul the quite contrary; but there, in heaven, they shall have that perfect union as never to jar more; but now the glory of the body shall so suit with the glory of the soul, and both so perfectly suit with the heavenly state, that it passeth words and thoughts.

Third. Shall I now speak of the place that this saved body and soul shall dwell in?

Why, 1. It is a city (Heb 11:16; Eph 2:19,22). 2. It is called heaven (Heb 10:34). 3. It is called God’s house (John 14:1-3). 4. It is called a kingdom (Luke 12:32). 5. It is called glory (Col 3:4; Heb 2:10). 6. It is called paradise (Rev 2:7). 7. It is called everlasting habitations (Luke 16:9).

Fourth. Shall I speak of their company?

Why, 1. They shall stand and live in the presence of the glorious God, the Judge of all (Heb 12:23). 2. They shall be with the Lamb, the Lord Jesus. 3. They shall be with an innumerable company of holy angels (Heb 12:22). 4. They shall be with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of heaven (Luke 13:28).

Fifth. Shall I speak of their heavenly raiment?

1. It is salvation; they shall be clothed with the garment of salvation (Psa 132:16; 149:4; Isa 61:10). 2. This raiment is called white raiment, signifying their clean and innocent state in heaven. „And they,” says Christ, „shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy” (Rev 3:4; 19:8; Isa 57:2). 3. It is called glory—”When he shall appear, we shall appear with him in glory” (Col 3:4). 4. They shall also have crowns of righteousness, everlasting joy and glory (Isa 35:10; 2 Tim 4:8; 1 Peter 5:4).

Sixth. Shall I speak of their continuance in this condition?

1. It is for ever and ever. „And they shall see his face, and his name shall be in their foreheads; and they shall reign for ever and ever” (Rev 22:4,5). 2. It is everlasting. „And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life” (John 6:40,47). 3. It is life eternal. „My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give unto them eternal life” (John 10:27,28). 4. It is world without end. „But Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation; ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end” (Isa 45:17; Eph 3:20,21).

O sinner! what sayest thou? How dost thou like being saved? Doth not thy mouth water? Doth not thy heart twitter at being saved? Why, come then: „The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev 22:17).

QUEST. II.—WHAT IS IT TO BE SAVED BY GRACE?

Now I come to the second question—to wit, What is it to be saved by grace? For so are the words of the text, „By grace ye are saved.” But,

First. I must touch a little upon the word GRACE, and show you how diversely it is taken. Sometimes it is taken for the goodwill and favour of men (Esth 2:17: Ruth 2:2: 1 Sam 1:18: 2 Sam 16:4). Sometimes it is taken for those sweet ornaments that a life according to the Word of God putteth about the neck 9 (Prov 1:9; 3:22). Sometimes it is taken for the charity of the saints, as 2 Corinthians 9:6-8.

But „grace” in the text is taken for God’s goodwill, „the goodwill of him that dwelt in the bush;” and is expressed variously. Sometimes it is called „his good pleasure.” Sometimes, „the good pleasure of his will,” which is all one with „the riches of his grace” (Eph 1:7). Sometimes it is expressed by goodness, pity, love, mercy, kindness, and the like (Rom 2:4; Isa 63:9; Titus 3:4,5). Yea, he styles himself, „The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty” (Exo 34:6,7).

Second. As the word „grace” signifieth all these, so it intimates to us that all these are free acts of God, free love, free mercy, free kindness; hence we have other hints in the Word about the nature of grace, as, 1. It is an act of God’s will, which must needs be free; an act of his own will, of the good pleasure of his will; by each of these expressions is intimated that grace is a free act of God’s goodness towards the sons of men. 2. Therefore it is expressly said—”Being justified freely by his grace” (Rom 3:24). 3. „And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both” (Luke 7:42). 4. And again, „Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you” (Eze 36:32; Deu 9:5). 5. And therefore „grace,” and the deservings of the creature, are set in flat opposition one to another—”And if by grace, then is it no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace; otherwise work is no more work” (Rom 11:6).

The word „grace,” therefore, being understood, doth most properly set forth the true cause of man’s happiness with God, not but that those expressions, love, mercy, goodness, pity, kindness, &c., and the like, have their proper place in our happiness also. Had not God loved us, grace had not acted freely in our salvation; had not God been merciful, good, pitiful, kind, he would have turned away from us when he saw us in our blood (Eze 16).

So then, when he saith, „By grace ye are saved,” it is all one as if he had said, By the goodwill, free mercy, and loving-kindness of God ye are saved; as the words conjoined with the text do also further manifest: „But God,” saith Paul, „who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ [by grace ye are saved].”

[Third.] The words thus understood admit us these few conclusions—1. That God, in saving of the sinner, hath no respect to the sinner’s goodness; hence it is said he is frankly forgiven, and freely justified (Luke 7:42; Rom 3:24). 2. That God doth this to whom and when he pleases, because it is an act of his own good pleasure (Gal 1:15,16). 3. This is the cause why great sinners are saved, for God pardoneth „according to the riches of his grace” (Eph 1:7). 4. This is the true cause that some sinners are so amazed and confounded at the apprehension of their own salvation; his grace is unsearchable; and by unsearchable grace God oft puzzles and confounds our reason (Eze 16:62,63; Acts 9:6). 5. This is the cause that sinners are so often recovered from their backslidings, healed of their wounds that they get by their falls, and helped again to rejoice in God’s mercy. Why, he will be gracious to whom he will be gracious, and he will have compassion on whom he will have compassion (Rom 9:15).

[Fourth.] But I must not here conclude this point. We are here discoursing of the grace of God, and that by it we are saved; saved, I say, by the grace of God.

Now, God is set forth in the Word unto us under a double consideration—1. He is set forth in his own eternal power and Godhead; and as thus set forth, we are to conceive of him by his attributes of power, justice, goodness, holiness, everlastingness, &c. 2. But then, we have him set forth in the Word of truth as consisting of Father, Son, and Spirit; and although this second consideration containeth in it the nature of the Godhead, yet the first doth not demonstrate the persons in the Godhead. We are saved by the grace of God—that is, by the grace of the Father, who is God; by the grace of the Son, who is God; and by the grace of the Spirit, who is God.

Now, since we are said to be ‘saved by grace,” and that the grace of God; and since also we find in the Word that in the Godhead there are Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, we must conclude that it is by the grace of the Father, Son, and Spirit that we are saved; wherefore grace is attributed to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost distinctly. 1. Grace is attributed to the Father, as these scriptures testify; Romans 7:25, 1 Corinthians 1:3, 2 Corinthians 1:2, Galatians 1:3, Ephesians 1:2, Philippians 1:2, Colossians 1:2, 1 Thessalonians 1:1, 2 Thessalonians 1:2, 1 Timothy 1:2, 2 Timothy 1:2, Titus 1:4, Philemon 3. 2. Grace is also attributed to the Son, and I first manifest it by all those texts above-mentioned, as also by these that follow: 2 Corinthians 8:9, 13:14, Galatians 6:18, Philippians 4:23, 1 Thessalonians 5:28, 2 Thessalonians 3:18, Philemon 25, Revelation 22:21. 3. It is also attributed to the Holy Ghost. Now, he is here called the Spirit of grace, because he is the author of grace as the Father, and the Son (Zech 12:10; Heb 10:29).

So then, it remaineth that I show you, FIRST, How we are saved by the grace of the Father. SECOND, How we are saved by the grace of the Son. And, THIRD, How we are saved by the grace of the Spirit.

Of the Father’s grace.

FIRST. How we are saved by the grace of the Father. Now this will I open unto you thus—

1. The Father by his grace hath bound up them that shall go to heaven in an eternal decree of election; and here, indeed, as was showed at first, is the beginning of our salvation (2 Tim 1:9). And election is reckoned not the Son’s act, but the Father’s—”Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ, according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world” (Eph 1:3,4). Now this election is counted an act of grace—”So then, at this present time also, there is a remnant according to the election of grace” (Rom 11:5).

2. The Father’s grace ordaineth and giveth the Son to undertake for us our redemption. The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world—”In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Eph 1:7; 2:7; 1 John 4:14; John 3:16; 6:32,33; 12:49).

3. The Father’s grace giveth us to Christ to be justified by his righteousness, washed in his blood, and saved by his life. This Christ mentioneth, and tells us it is his Father’s will that they should be safe-coming at the last day, and that he had kept them all the days of his life, and they shall never perish (John 6:37-39; 17:2,12).

4. The Father’s grace giveth the kingdom of heaven to those that he hath given to Jesus Christ—”Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).

5. The Father’s grace provideth and layeth up in Christ, for those that he hath chosen, a sufficiency of all spiritual blessings, to be communicated to them at their need, for their preservation in the faith, and faithful perseverance through this life; „not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (2 Tim 1:9; Eph 1:3,4).

6. The Father’s grace saveth us by the blessed and effectual call that he giveth us to the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ (1 Col 1:9; Gal 1:15).

7. The Father’s grace saveth us by multiplying pardons to us, for Christ’s sake, day by day—”In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph 1:7).

8. The Father’s grace saves us by exercising patience and forbearance towards us all the time of our unregeneracy (Rom 3:24).

9. The Father’s grace saveth us by holding of us fast in his hand, and by keeping of us from all the power of the enemy—”My Father,” said Christ, „that gave them me, is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:29).

10. What shall I say? The Father’s grace saveth us by accepting of our persons and services, by lifting up the light of his countenance upon us, by manifesting of his love unto us, and by sending of his angels to fetch us to himself, when we have finished our pilgrimage in this world.

Of the grace of the Son.

SECOND. I come now to speak of the grace of the Son; for as the Father putteth forth his grace in the saving of the sinner, so doth the Son put forth his—”For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich” (2 Cor 8:9).

Here you see also that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is brought in as a partner with the grace of his Father in the salvation of our souls. Now this is the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; he was rich, but for our sakes he became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich.

To inquire, then, into this grace, this condescending grace of Christ, and that by searching out how rich Jesus Christ was, and then how poor he made himself, that we through his poverty might have the riches of salvation.

First. How rich was Jesus Christ? To which I answer—1. Generally; 2. Particularly.

1. Generally. He was rich as the Father—”All things that the Father hath,” saith he, „are mine.” Jesus Christ is the Lord of all, God over all, blessed for ever. „He thought it not robbery to be equal with God,” being naturally and eternally God, as the Father, but of his Godhead he could not strip himself (John 10:30; 16:15; Acts 10:36; Phil 2:6; Rom 9:4,5).

2. Particularly. Jesus Christ had glory with the Father; yea, a manifold glory with him, which he stripped himself of.

(1.) He had the glory of dominion, he was Lord of all the creatures; they were under him upon a double account—(a) as he was their Creator (Col 1:16); (b) as he was made the heir of God (Heb 1:2).

(2.) Therefore the glory of worship, reverence, and fear from all creatures, was due unto him; the worship, obedience, subjection, and service of angels were due unto him; the fear, honour, and glory of kings, and princes, and judges of the earth were due unto him; the obedience of the sun, moon, stars, clouds, and all vapours, were due unto him; all dragons, deeps, fire, hail, snow, mountains and hills, beasts, cattle, creeping things, and flying fowls, the service of them all, and their worship, were due unto him (Psa 148).

(3.) The glory of the heavens themselves was due unto him; in a word, heaven and earth were his.

(4.) But above all, the glory of communion with his Father was his; I say, the glory of that unspeakable communion that he had with the Father before his incarnation, which alone was worth ten thousand worlds, that was ever his.

(5.) But again; as Jesus Christ was possessed with this, so, besides, he was Lord of life; this glory also was Jesus Christ’s: „In him was life,” therefore he is called the Prince of it; because it was in him originally as in the Father (Acts 3:15). He gave to all life and breath, and all things; angels, men, beasts, they had all their life from him.

(6.) Again, as he was Lord of glory, and Prince of life, so he was also Prince of peace, (Isa 9:6); and by him was maintained that harmony and goodly order which were among things in heaven and things on earth.

Take things briefly in these few particulars—(a.) The heavens were his, and he made them. (b.) Angels were his, and he made them. (c.) The earth was his, and he made it. (d.) Man was his, and he made him.

[Second. How poor he made himself.] Now this heaven he forsook for our sakes—”He came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim 1:15).

[1.] He was made lower than the angels, for the suffering of death (Heb 2:9). When he was born, he made himself, as he saith, a worm, or one of no reputation; he became the reproach and byword of the people; he was born in a stable, laid in a manger, earned his bread with his labour, being by trade a carpenter (Psa 22:6; Phil 2:7; Luke 2:7; Mark 6:3). When he betook himself to his ministry, he lived upon the charity of the people; when other men went to their own houses, Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Hark what himself saith for the clearing of this—”Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” He denied himself of this world’s good (Luke 8:2,3; 9:58; John 7:35; 8:1).

[2.] Again, as he was Prince of life, so he for our sakes laid down that also; for so stood the matter, that he or we must die; but the grace that was in his heart wrought with him to lay down his life: „He gave his life a ransom for many.” He laid down his life that we might have life; he gave his flesh and blood for the life of the world; he laid down his life for his sheep.

[3.] Again; he was Prince of peace, but he forsook his peace also. (1.) He laid aside peace with the world, and chose upon that account to be a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and therefore was persecuted from his cradle to his cross, by kings, rulers, &c. (2.) He laid aside his peace with his Father, and made himself the object of his Father’s curse, insomuch that the Lord smote, struck, and afflicted him; and, in conclusion, hid his face from him (as he expressed, with great crying) at the hour of his death.

[Object.] But perhaps some may say, What need was there that Jesus Christ should do all this? Could not the grace of the Father save us without this condescension of the Son?

Answ. As there is grace, so there is justice in God; and man having sinned, God concluded to save him in a way of righteousness; therefore it was absolutely necessary that Jesus Christ should put himself into our very condition, sin only excepted. 1. Now by sin we had lost the glory of God, therefore Jesus Christ lays aside the glory that he had with the Father (Rom 3:23; John 17:5). 2. Man by sin had shut himself out of an earthly paradise, and Jesus Christ will leave his heavenly paradise to save him (Gen 3:24; 1 Tim 1:15; John 6:38,39). 3. Man by sin had made himself lighter than vanity, and this Lord God, Jesus Christ, made himself lower than the angels to redeem him (Isa 40:17; Heb 2:7). 4. Man by sin lost his right to the creatures, and Jesus Christ will deny himself of a whole world to save him (Luke 9:58). 5. Man by sin had made himself subject to death; but Jesus Christ will lose his life to save him (Rom 6:23). 6. Man by sin had procured to himself the curse of God; but Jesus Christ will bear that curse in his own body to save him (Gal 3:13). 7. Man by sin had lost peace with God; but this would Jesus Christ lose also, to the end man might be saved. 8. Man should have been mocked of God, therefore Christ was mocked of men. 9. Man should have been scourged in hell; but, to hinder that, Jesus was scourged on earth. 10. Man should have been crowned with ignominy and shame; but, to prevent that, Jesus was crowned with thorns. 11. Man should have been pierced with the spear of God’s wrath; but, to prevent that, Jesus was pierced both by God and men. 12. Man should have been rejected of God and angels; but, to prevent that, Jesus was forsaken of God, and denied, hated, and rejected of men (Isa 48:22; Prov 1:24-26; Matt 27:26,39,46; Psa 9:17; 11:6; 22:7; Dan 12:2; John 19:2-5,37; Num 24:8; Zech 12:10; Luke 9:22).

I might thus enlarge, and that by authority from this text—”He became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” All the riches he stripped himself of, it was for our sakes; all the sorrows he underwent, it was for our sakes; to the least circumstance of the sufferings of Christ there was necessity that so it should be, all was for our sakes: „For our sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”

And you see the argument that prevailed with Christ to do this great service for man, the grace that was in his heart; as also the prophet saith, „In his love and in his pity he redeemed them.” According to this in the Corinthians, „Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ”; both which agree with the text, „By grace ye are saved.”

I say, this was the grace of the Son, and the exercise thereof. The Father therefore shows his grace one way, and the Son his another. It was not the Father, but the Son, that left his heaven for sinners; it was not the Father, but the Son, that spilt his blood for sinners. The Father indeed gave the Son, and blessed be the Father for that; and the Son gave his life and blood for us, and blessed be the Son for that.

But methinks we should not yet have done with this grace of the Son. Thou Son of the Blessed, what grace was manifest in thy condescension! Grace brought thee down from heaven, grace stripped thee of thy glory, grace made thee poor and despicable, grace made thee bear such burdens of sin, such burdens of sorrow, such burdens of God’s curse as are unspeakable. O Son of God! grace was in all thy tears, grace came bubbling out of thy side with thy blood, grace came forth with every word of thy sweet mouth (Psa 45:2; Luke 4:22). Grace came out where the whip smote thee, where the thorns pricked thee, where the nails and spear pierced thee. O blessed Son of God! Here is grace indeed! Unsearchable riches of grace! Unthought-of riches of grace! Grace to make angels wonder, grace to make sinners happy, grace to astonish devils. And what will become of them that trample under foot this Son of God?

Of the grace of the Spirit. THIRD. I come now to speak of the grace of the Spirit; for he also saveth us by his grace. The Spirit, I told you, is God, as the Father and the Son, and is therefore also the author of grace; yea, and it is absolutely necessary that he put forth his grace also, or else no flesh can be saved. The Spirit of God hath his hand in saving of us many ways; for they that go to heaven, as they must be beholding to the Father and the Son, so also to the Spirit of God. The Father chooseth us, giveth us to Christ, and heaven to us, and the like. The Son fulfills the law for us, takes the curse of the law from us, bears in his own body our sorrows, and sets us justified in the sight of God. The Father’s grace is showed in heaven and earth; the Son’s grace is showed on the earth, and on the cross; and the Spirit’s grace must be showed in our souls and bodies, before we come to heaven.

Quest. But some may say, Wherein doth the saving grace of the Spirit appear?

Answ. In many things.

In taking possession of us for his own, in his making of us his house and habitation, so that though the Father and the Son have both gloriously put forth gracious acts in order to our salvation, yet the Spirit is the first that makes seizure of us (1 Cor 3:16; 6:19; Eph 2:21,22). Christ, therefore, when he went away, said not that he would send the Father, but the Spirit, and that he should be in us for ever—”If I depart,” said Christ, „I will send him, the Spirit of truth, the Comforter” (John 14:16; 16:7,13).

The Holy Spirit coming into us, and dwelling in us, worketh out many salvations for us now, and each of them in order also to our being saved for ever.

1. He saveth us from our darkness by illuminating of us; hence he is called „the Spirit of revelation,” because he openeth the blind eyes, and so consequently delivereth us from that darkness which else would drown us in the deeps of hell (Eph 1:17,19).

2. He it is that convinceth us of the evil of our unbelief, and that shows us the necessity of our believing in Christ; without the conviction of this we should perish (John 16:9).

3. This is that finger of God by which the devil is made to give place unto grace, by whose power else we should be carried headlong to hell (Luke 11:20-22).

4. This is he that worketh faith in our hearts, without which neither the grace of the Father nor the grace of the Son can save us, „For he that believeth not, shall be damned” (Mark 16:16; Rom 15:13).

5. This is he by whom we are born again; and he that is not so born can neither see nor inherit the kingdom of heaven (John 3:3-7).

6. This is he that setteth up his kingdom in the heart, and by that means keepeth out the devil after he is cast out, which kingdom of the Spirit, whoever wanteth, they lie liable to a worse possession of the devil than ever (Matt 12:43-45; Luke 11:24,25).

7. By this Spirit we come to see the beauty of Christ, without a sight of which we should never desire him, but should certainly live in the neglect of him, and perish (John 16:14; 1 Cor 2:9-13; Isa 53:1,2).

8. By this Spirit we are helped to praise God acceptably, but without it, it is impossible to be heard unto salvation (Rom 8:26; Eph 6:18; 1 Cor 14:15).

9. By this blessed Spirit the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, and our hearts are directed into the love of God (Rom 5:5; 2 Thess 2:13).

10. By this blessed Spirit we are led from the ways of the flesh into the ways of life, and by it our mortal body, as well as our immortal soul, is quickened in the service of God (Gal 5:18,25; Rom 8:11).

11. By this good Spirit we keep that good thing, even the seed of God, that at the first by the Word of God was infused into us, and without which we are liable to the worst damnation (1 John 3:9; 1 Peter 1:23; 2 Tim 1:14).

12. By this good Spirit we have help and light against all the wisdom and cunning of the world, which putteth forth itself in its most cursed sophistications to overthrow the simplicity that is in Christ (Matt 10:19,20; Mark 13:11; Luke 12:11,12).

13. By this good Spirit our graces are maintained in life and vigour, as faith, hope, love, a spirit of prayer, and every grace (2 Cor 4:13; Rom 15:13; 2 Tim 1:7; Eph 6:18; Titus 3:5).

14. By this good Spirit we are sealed to the day of redemption (Eph 1:14).

15. And by this good Spirit we are made to wait with patience until the redemption of the purchased possession comes (Gal 5:5).

Now all these things are so necessary to our salvation, that I know not which of them can be wanting; neither can any of them be by any means attained but by this blessed Spirit.

And thus have I in few words showed you the grace of the Spirit, and how it putteth forth itself towards the saving of the soul. And verily, Sirs, it is necessary that you know these things distinctly—to wit, the grace of the Father, the grace of the Son, and the grace of the Holy Ghost; for it is not the grace of one, but of all these three, that saveth him that shall be saved indeed.

The Father’s grace saveth no man without the grace of the Son; neither doth the Father and the Son save any without the grace of the Spirit; for as the Father loves, the Son must die, and the Spirit must sanctify, or no soul must be saved.

Some think that the love of the Father, without the blood of the Son, will save them, but they are deceived; for „without shedding of blood is no remission” (Heb 9:22).

Some think that the love of the Father and blood of the Son will do, without the holiness of the Spirit of God; but they are deceived also; for „if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his”; and again, „without holiness no man shall see the Lord” (Rom 8:9; Heb 12:14).

There is a third sort, that think the holiness of the Spirit is sufficient of itself; but they (if they had it) are deceived also; for it must be the grace of the Father, the grace of the Son, and the grace of the Spirit, jointly, that must save them.

But yet, as these three do put forth grace jointly and truly in the salvation of a sinner, so they put it forth, as I also have showed you before, after a diverse manner. The Father designs us for heaven, the Son redeems from sin and death, and the Spirit makes us meet for heaven; not by electing, that is the work of the Father; not by dying, that is the work of the Son; but by his revealing Christ, and applying Christ to our souls, by shedding the love of God abroad in our hearts, by sanctifying of our souls, and taking possession of us as an earnest of our possession of heaven.

QUEST. III.—WHO ARE THEY THAT ARE TO BE SAVED BY GRACE?

I come now to the third particular—namely, to show you who they are that are to be saved by grace.

[Who are not saved.]

First. Not the self-righteous, not they that have no need of the physician. „The whole have no need of the physician,” saith Christ. „I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Mark 2:17). And again, „He hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he hath sent empty away” (Luke 1:53). Now when I say not the self-righteous nor the rich, I mean not that they are utterly excluded; for Paul was such an one; but he saveth not such without he first awaken them to see they have need to be saved by grace.

Second. The grace of God saveth not him that hath sinned the unpardonable sin. There is nothing left for him „but a certain fearful looking for of judgment, – which shall devour the adversaries” (Heb 10:26,27).

Third. That sinner that persevereth in final impenitency and unbelief shall be damned (Luke 13:3,5; Rom 2:2-5; Mark 16:15,16).

Fourth. That sinner whose mind the god of this world hath blinded, that the glorious light of the gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, can never shine into him, is lost, and must be damned (2 Cor 4:3,4).

Fifth. The sinner that maketh religion his cloak for wickedness, he is a hypocrite, and, continuing so, must certainly be damned (Psa 125:5; Isa 33:14; Matt 24:50,51).

Sixth. In a word, every sinner that persevereth in his wickedness, shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven—”Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” „Let no man deceive you with vain words; for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience” (1 Cor 6:9-12; Eph 5:5,6).

[Who are saved.] Question. But what kind of sinners shall then be saved?

Answ. Those of all these kinds that the Spirit of God shall bring [to] the Father by Jesus Christ; these, I say, and none but these, can be saved, because else the sinners might be saved without the Father, or without the Son, or without the Spirit.

Now, in all that I have said, I have not in the least suggested that any sinner is rejected because his sins, in the nature of them, are great; Christ Jesus came into the world to save the chief of sinners. It is not, therefore, the greatness of, but the continuance in, sins that indeed damneth the sinner. But I always exclude him that hath sinned against the Holy Ghost. That it is not the greatness of sin that excludeth the sinner is evident—

1. From the words before the text, which doth give an account of what kind of sinners were here saved by grace, as namely, they that were dead in trespasses and sins, those that walked in these sins, „according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (Eph 2:2,3).

2. It is evident also from the many sinners that we find to be saved, by the revealed will of God. For in the Word we have mention made of the salvation of great sinners, where their names and their sins stand recorded for our encouragement; as, (1.) You read of Manasseh, who was an idolater, a witch, a persecutor, yea, a rebel against the word of God, sent unto him by the prophets; and yet this man was saved (2 Chron 33:2-13; 2 Kings 21:16). (2.) You read of Mary Magdalene, in whom were seven devils; her condition was dreadful, yet she was saved (Luke 8:2; John 20). (3.) You read of the man that had a legion of devils in him. O how dreadful was his condition! and yet by grace he was saved (Mark 5:1-10). (4.) You read of them that murdered the Lord Jesus, and how they were converted and saved (Acts 2:23). (5.) You read of the exorcists, how they closed with Christ, and were saved by grace (Acts 19:13). (6.) You read of Saul the persecutor, and how he was saved by grace (Acts 9:15).

Object. But, thou sayest, I am a backslider.

Answ. So was Noah, and yet he found grace in the eyes of the Lord (Gen 9:21,22). So was Lot, and yet God saved him by grace (Gen 19:35; 2 Peter 2:7-9). So was David, yet by grace he was forgiven his iniquities (2 Sam 12:7-13). So was Solomon, and a great one too; yet by grace his soul was saved (Psa 89:28-34). So was Peter, and that a dreadful one; yet by grace he was saved (Matt 26:69-74; Mark 16:7; Acts 15:7-11). Besides, for further encouragement, read Jeremiah 3, 33:25,26, 51:5, Ezekiel 36:25, Hosea 14:1-4; and stay thyself, and wonder at the riches of the grace of God.

Quest. But how should we find out what sinners shall be saved? All, it seems, shall not. Besides, for aught can be gathered by what you have said, there is as bad saved as damned, set him that hath sinned the unpardonable sin aside.

Answ. True, there are as bad saved as damned; but to this question: They that are effectually called, are saved. They that believe on the Son of God shall be saved. They that are sanctified and preserved in Christ shall be saved. They that take up their cross daily, and follow Christ, shall be saved.

Take a catalogue of them thus: „Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Mark 16:16; Acts 16:31). „If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead thou shalt be saved” (Rom 10:9). Be justified by the blood of Christ, and thou shalt be saved (Rom 5:9). Be reconciled to God by the death of his Son, and thou shalt be saved by his life (Rom 5:10). „And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21).

See some other scriptures. „He shall save the humble person” (Job 22:29). „Thou wilt save the afflicted people” (Psa 18:27). „He shall save the children of the needy” (Psa 72:4). „He shall save the souls of the needy” (Psa 72:13). „O thou, my God, save thy servant that trusteth in thee” (Psa 86:2). „He will fulfill the desire of them that fear him, he also will hear their cry, and will save them” (Psa 145:19).

[Caution.] But, sinner, if thou wouldst indeed be saved, beware of these four things—

1. Beware of delaying repentance; delays are dangerous and damnable; they are dangerous, because they harden the heart; they are damnable, because their tendency is to make thee outstand the time of grace (Psa 95:7; Heb 3-12).

2. Beware of resting in the word of the kingdom, without the spirit and power of the kingdom of the gospel; for the gospel coming in word only saves nobody, for the kingdom of God or the gospel, where it comes to salvation, is not in word but in power (1 Thess 1:4-6; 1 Cor 4:19).

3. Take heed of living in a profession, a life that is provoking to God; for that is the way to make him cast thee away in his anger.

4. Take heed that thy inside and outside be alike;, and both conformable to the Word of his grace; labour to be like the living creatures which thou mayest read of in the book of the prophet Ezekiel, whose appearance and themselves were one 10 (Eze 10:22).

In all this, I have advertised you not to be content without the power and Spirit of God in your hearts, for without him you partake of none of the grace of the Father or Son, but will certainly miss of the salvation of the soul.

QUEST. IV.—HOW IT APPEARS THAT THEY THAT ARE SAVED, ARE SAVED BY GRACE?

This fourth question requireth that some demonstration be given of the truth of this doctrine—to wit, that they that are saved are saved by grace.

What hath been said before hath given some demonstration of the truth; wherefore, first repeating in few words the sum of what hath been said already, I shall come to further proof. 1. That this is true, the Scriptures testify, because God chose them to salvation before they had done good (Rom 9:11). 2. Christ was ordained to be their Saviour before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4; 1 Peter 1:19-21). 3. All things that concur and go to our salvation were also in the same laid up in Christ, to be communicated in the dispensation of the fullness of times, to them that shall be saved (Eph 1:3,4; 2 Tim 1:9; Eph 1:10; 3:8-11; Rom 8:30).

[That salvation is by grace appears in its contrivance.] Again, as their salvation was contrived by God, so, as was said, this salvation was undertaken by one of the three; to wit, the Son of the Father (John 1:29; Isa 48:16).

Had there been a contrivance in heaven about the salvation of sinners on earth, yet if the result of that contrivance had been that we should be saved by our own good deeds, it would not have been proper for an apostle, or an angel, to say, „By grace ye are saved.” But now, when a council is held in eternity about the salvation of sinners in time, and when the result of that council shall be, that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost will themselves accomplish the work of this salvation, this is grace, this is naturally grace, grace that is rich and free; yea, this is unthought-of grace. I will say it again, this is unthought-of grace; for who could have thought that a Saviour had been in the bosom of the Father, or that the Father would have given him to be the Saviour of men, since he refused to give him to be the Saviour of angels? (Heb 2:16,17).

[Grace appears in the Son’s undertaking this work.] Again; could it have been thought that the Father would have sent his Son to be the Saviour, we should, in reason, have thought also that he would never have taken the work wholly upon himself, especially that fearful, dreadful, soul-astonishing, and amazing part thereof! Who could once have imagined that the Lord Jesus would have made himself so poor as to stand before God in the nauseous rags of our sins, and subject himself to the curse and death that were due to our sin? but thus he did to save us by grace.

„Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the Beloved; in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph 1:3-7).

[Grace appears in the terms and conditions on which salvation is made over.] Again; if we consider the terms and conditions upon which this salvation is made over to them that are saved, it will further appear we are saved by grace.

1. The things that immediately concern our justification and salvation, they are offered, yea, given to us freely, and we are commanded to receive them by faith. Sinner, hold up thy lap. God so loved the world, that he giveth his Son, that he giveth his righteousness, that he giveth his Spirit, and the kingdom of heaven (John 3:16; Rom 5:17; 2 Cor 1:21,22; Luke 12:32).

2. He also giveth repentance, he giveth faith, and giveth everlasting consolation, and good hope through grace (Acts 5:30,31; Phil 1:29; 2 Thess 2:16).

3. He giveth pardon, and giveth more grace, to keep us from sinking into hell, than we have sin to sink us in thither (Acts 5:31; Prov 3:34; John 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5).

4. He hath made all these things over to us in a covenant of grace. We call it a covenant of grace, because it is set in opposition to the covenant of works, and because it is established to us in the doings of Christ, founded in his blood, established upon the best promises made to him, and to us by him. „For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him amen, to the glory of God by us” (2 Cor 1:20).

But to pass these, and to come to some other demonstrations for the clearing of this—

Let us a little consider,

What man is, upon whom the Father, the Son, and the Spirit bestows this grace.

1. [An enemy to God.] By nature he is an enemy to God, an enemy in his mind. „The carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom 8:7; Col 1:21).

2. [A slave to sin.] So that the state of man was this—he was not only over persuaded on a sudden to sin against God, but he drank this sin, like water, into his very nature, mingled it with every faculty of his soul and member of his body; by the means of which he became alienated from God, and an enemy to him in his very heart; and wilt thou, O Lord, as the Scripture hath it, „And dost thou open thine eyes upon such an one?” (Job 14:3). Yea, open thy heart, and take this man, not into judgment, but into mercy with thee?

3. [In covenant with death and hell.] Further, man by his sin had not only given himself to be a captive slave to the devil, but, continuing in his sin, he made head against his God, struck up a covenant with death, and made an agreement with hell; but for God to open his eyes upon such an one, and to take hold of him by riches of grace, this is amazing (Isa 28:16-18).

See where God found the Jew when he came to look upon him to save him—”As for thy nativity,” says God, „in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all. None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the loathing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born. And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee, when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee, when thou wast in thy blood, Live. – Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness; yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest mine.” Sinner, see further into the chapter, Ezekiel 16. All this is the grace of God; every word in this text smells of grace.

But before I pass this, let us a little take notice of

The carriage of God to man, and again of man to God, in his conversion.

FIRST. OF GOD’S CARRIAGE TO MAN. He comes to him while he is in his sins, in his blood; he comes to him now, not in the heat and fire of his jealousy, but „in the cool of the day,” in unspeakable gentleness, mercy, pity, and bowels of love; not in clothing himself with vengeance, but in a way of entreaty, and meekly beseecheth the sinner to be reconciled unto him (2 Cor 5:19,20).

It is expected among men that he which giveth the offence should be the first in seeking peace; but, sinner, betwixt God and man it is not so; not that we loved God, not that we chose God; but „God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.” God is the first that seeketh peace; and, as I said, in a way of entreaty he bids his ministers pray you in Christ’s stead; „as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you, in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” O sinner, wilt thou not open? Behold, God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ stand both at the door of thy heart, beseeching there for favour from thee, that thou wilt be reconciled to them, with promise, if thou wilt comply, to forgive thee all thy sins. O grace! O amazing grace! To see a prince entreat a beggar to receive an alms would be a strange sight; to see a king entreat the traitor to accept of mercy would be a stranger sight than that; but to see God entreat a sinner, to hear Christ say, „I stand at the door and knock,” with a heart full and a heaven full of grace to bestow upon him that opens, this is such a sight as dazzles the eyes of angels. What sayest thou now, sinner? Is not this God rich in mercy? Hath not this God great love for sinners? Nay, further, that thou mayest not have any ground to doubt that all this is but complementing, thou hast also here declared that God hath made his Christ „to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” If God would have stuck at anything, he would have stuck at the death of his Son; but he „delivered him up for us” freely; „how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Rom 8:32). 11

But this is not all. God doth not only beseech thee to be reconciled to him, but further, for thy encouragement, he hath pronounced, in thy hearing, exceeding great and precious promises; „and hath confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us” (Heb 6:18,19; Isa 1:18; 55:6,7; Jer 51:5).

SECOND. OF MAN’S CARRIAGE TO GOD. Let us come now to the carriage of these sinners to God, and that from the first day he beginneth to deal with their souls, even to the time that they are to be taken up into heaven. And,

First. To begin with God’s ordinary dealing with sinners, when at first he ministereth conviction to them by his Word, how strangely do they behave themselves! They love not to have their consciences touched; they like not to ponder upon what they have been, what they are, or what is like to become of them hereafter; such thoughts they count unmanly, hurtful, disadvantageous; therefore „they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear” (Zech 7,11). And now they are for anything rather than the Word; an alehouse, a whorehouse, a playhouse, sports, pleasures, sleep, the world, and what not so they may stave12 off the power of the word of God.

Second. If God now comes up closer to them, and begins to fasten conviction upon the conscience, though such conviction be the first step to faith and repentance, yea, and to life eternal, yet what shifts will they have to forget them, and wear them off! Yea, although they now begin to see that they must either turn or burn, 13 yet oftentimes even then they will study to wave a present conversion: they object, they are too young to turn yet; seven years hence time enough, when they are old, or come upon a sick-bed. O what an enemy is man to his own salvation! I am persuaded that God hath visited some of you often with his Word, even twice and thrice, and you have thrown water as fast as he hath by the Word cast fire upon your conscience. 14

Christian, what had become of thee if God had taken thy denial for an answer, and said, Then will I carry the word of salvation to another, and he will hear it? Sinner, turn, says God. Lord, I cannot tend15 it, says the sinner. Turn or burn, says God. I will venture that, says the sinner. Turn, and be saved, says God. I cannot leave my pleasures, says the sinner: sweet sins, sweet pleasures, sweet delights, says the sinner. But what grace is it in God thus to parley with the sinner! O the patience of God to a poor sinner! What if God should now say, Then get thee to thy sins, get thee to thy delights, get thee to thy pleasures, take them for thy portion, they shall be all thy heaven, all thy happiness, and all thy portion?

Third. But God comes again, and shows the sinner the necessity of turning now; now or not at all; yea, and giveth the sinner this conviction so strongly, that he cannot put it off. But behold, the sinner has one spark of enmity still. If he must needs turn now, he will either turn from one sin to another, from great ones to little ones, from many to few, or from all to one, and there stop. But perhaps convictions will not thus leave him. Why, then, he will turn from profaneness to the law of Moses, and will dwell as long as God will let him upon his own seeming goodness. And now observe him, he is a great stickler for legal performance; now he will be a good neighbour, he will pay every man his own, will leave off his swearing, the alehouse, his sports, and carnal delights; he will read, pray, talk of Scripture, and be a very busy one in religion, such as it is; now he will please God, and make him amends for all the wrong he hath done him, and will feed him with chapters, and prayers, and promises, and vows, and a great many more such dainty dishes as these, persuading himself that now he must needs be fair for heaven, and thinks besides that he serveth God as well as any man in England can. 16

But all this while he is as ignorant of Christ as the stool he sits on, and no nearer heaven than was the blind Pharisee; only he has got in a cleaner way to hell than the rest of his neighbours are in—”There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness” (Prov 30:12).

Might not God now cut off this sinner, and cast him out of his sight; might he not leave him here to his own choice, to be deluded by, and to fall in his own righteousness, because he „trusteth to it, and commits iniquity”? (Eze 33:13). But grace, preventing grace, preserves him. It is true, this turn of the sinner, as I said, is a turning short of Christ; but,

Fourth. God in this way of the sinner will mercifully follow him, and show him the shortness of his performances, the emptiness of his duties, and the uncleanness of his righteousness (Isa 28:20; 64:6). Thus I speak of the sinner, the salvation of whose soul is graciously intended and contrived of God; for he shall by gospel light be wearied out of all; he shall be made to see the vanity of all, and that the personal righteousness of Jesus Christ, and that only, is it which of God is ordained to save the sinner from the due reward of his sins. But behold, the sinner now, at the sight and sense of his own nothingness, falleth into a kind of despair; for although he hath it in him to presume of salvation, through the delusiveness of his own good opinion of himself, yet he hath it not in himself to have a good opinion of the grace of God in the righteousness of Christ; wherefore he concludeth, that if salvation be alone of the grace of God, through the righteousness of Christ, and that all of a man’s own is utterly rejected, as to the justification of his person with God, then he is cast away. Now the reason of this sinking of heart is the sight that God hath given him, a sight of the uncleanness of his best performance; the former sight of his immoralities did somewhat distress him, and make him betake himself to his own good deeds to ease his conscience, wherefore this was his prop, his stay; but behold, now God hath taken this from under him, and now he falls; wherefore his best doth also now forsake him, and flies away like the morning dew, or a bird, or as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind, and the smoke out of a chimney (Hosea 9:11; 13:3). Besides, this revelation of the emptiness of his own righteousness, brings also with it a further discovery of the naughtiness of his heart, in its hypocrisies, pride, unbelief, hardness of heart, deadness, and backwardness to all gospel and new-covenant obedience, which sight of himself lies like millstones upon his shoulders, and sinks him yet further into doubts and fears of damnation. For, bid him now receive Christ, he answers he cannot, he dares not. Ask him why he cannot, he will answer he has no faith, nor hope in his heart. Tell him that grace is offered him freely, he says, but I have no heart to receive it; besides, he finds not, as he thinks, any gracious disposition in his soul, and therefore concludes he doth not belong to God’s mercy, nor hath an interest in the blood of Christ, and therefore dares not presume to believe; wherefore, as I said, he sinks in his heart, he dies in his thoughts, he doubts, he despairs, and concludes he shall never be saved.

Fifth. But behold, the God of all grace leaveth him not in this distress, but comes up now to him closer than ever; he sends the Spirit of adoption, the blessed Comforter, to him, to tell him, „God is love,” and therefore not willing to reject the broken in heart; bids him cry and pray for an evidence of mercy to his soul, and says, „Peradventure you may be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger.” At this the sinner takes some encouragement, yet he can get no more than that which will hang upon a mere probability, which by the next doubt that ariseth in the heart is blown quite away, and the soul left again in his first plight, or worse, where he lamentably bewails his miserable state, and is tormented with a thousand fears of perishing, for he hears not a word from heaven, perhaps for several weeks together. Wherefore unbelief begins to get the mastery of him, and takes off the very edge and spirit of prayer, and inclination to hear the Word any longer; yea, the devil also claps in with these thoughts, saying that all your prayers, and hearing, and reading, and godly company which you frequent, will rise up in judgment against you at last; therefore better it is, if you must be damned, to choose as easy a place in hell as you can. The soul at this, being quite discouraged, thinks to do as it hath been taught, and with dying thoughts it begins to faint when it goeth to prayer or to hear the word; but behold, when all hope seems to be quite gone, and the soul concludes, I DIE, I PERISH, in comes, on a sudden, the Spirit of God again, with some good word of God, which the soul never thought of before, which word of God commands a calm in the soul, makes unbelief give place, encourageth to hope and wait upon God again; perhaps it gives some little sight of Christ to the soul, and of his blessed undertaking for sinners. But behold, so soon as the power of things does again begin to wear off the heart, the sinner gives place to unbelief, questions God’s mercy, and fears damning again; he also entertains hard thoughts of God and Christ, and thinks former encouragements were fancies, delusions, or mere think-so’s. And why doth not God now cast the sinner to hell for his thus abusing his mercy and grace. O no! „He will have mercy on whom he will have mercy, and he will have compassion on whom he will have compassion”; wherefore „goodness and mercy shall follow him all the days of his life, that he may dwell in the house of the Lord for ever” (Psa 23:6).

Sixth. God, therefore, after all these provocations, comes by his Spirit to the soul again, and brings sealing grace and pardon to the conscience, testifying to it that its sins are forgiven, and that freely, for the sake of the blood of Christ; and now has the sinner such a sight of the grace of God in Christ as kindly breaks his heart with joy and comfort; now the soul knows what it is to eat promises; it also knows what it is to eat and drink the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ by faith; now it is driven by the power of his grace to its knees, to thank God for forgiveness of sins and for hopes of an inheritance amongst them that are sanctified by faith which is in Christ; now it hath a calm and sunshine; now „he washeth his steps with butter, and the rock pours him out rivers of oil” (Job 29:6).

Seventh. But after this, perhaps the soul grows cold again, it also forgets this grace received, and waxeth carnal, begins again to itch after the world, loseth the life and savour of heavenly things, grieves the Spirit of God, woefully backslides, casteth off closet duties quite, or else retains only the formality of them, is a reproach to religion, grieves the hearts of them that are awake, and tender of God’s name, &c. But what will God do now? Will he take this advantage to destroy the sinner? No. Will he let him alone in his apostasy? No. Will he leave him to recover himself by the strength of his now languishing graces? No. What then? Why, he will seek this man out till he finds him, and bring him home to himself again: „For thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among the sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered. – I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick” (Eze 34:11,16).

Thus he dealt with the man that went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves; and thus he dealt with the prodigal you read of also (Luke 10:30-35; 15:20).

Of God’s ordinary way of fetching the backslider home I will not now discourse—namely, whether he always breaketh his bones for his sins, as he broke David’s; or whether he will all the days of their life, for this, leave them under guilt and darkness; or whether he will kill them now, that they may not be damned in the day of judgment, as he dealt with them at Corinth (1 Cor 11:30-32). He is wise, and can tell how to embitter backsliding to them he loveth. He can break their bones, and save them; he can lay them in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deep, and save them; he can slay them as to this life, and save them. And herein again appears wonderful grace, that „Israel is not forsaken, nor Judah of his God, though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel” (Jer 51:5).

Eighth. But suppose God deals not either of these ways with the backslider, but shines upon him again, and seals up to him the remission of his sins a second time, saying, „I will heal their backslidings, and love them freely,” what will the soul do now? Surely it will walk humbly now, and holily all its days. It will never backslide again, will it? It may happen it will not, it may happen it will; it is just as his God keeps him; for although his sins are of himself, his standing is of God; I say, his standing, while he stands, and his recovery, if he falls, are both of God; wherefore, if God leaves him a little, the next gap he finds, away he is gone again. „My people,” says God, „are bent to backsliding from me.” How many times did David backslide; yea, Jehoshaphat and Peter! (2 Sam 11,24; 2 Chron 19:1-3; 20:1-5; Matt 26:69-71; Gal 2:11-13). As also in the third of Jeremiah it is said, „But thou hast played the harlot with many lovers, yet return unto me, saith the Lord” (verse 1). Here is grace! So many time as the soul backslides, so many times God brings him again—I mean, the soul that must be saved by grace—he renews his pardons, and multiplies them. „Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man” (Job 33:29).

Ninth. But see yet more grace. I will speak here of heart- wanderings, and of daily miscarriages—I mean, of these common infirmities that are incident to the best of saints, and that attend them in their best performances; not that I intend, for I cannot, mention them particularly, that would be a task impossible; but such there are, worldly thoughts, unclean thoughts, too low thoughts of God, of Christ, of the Spirit, words, ways, and ordinances of God, by which a Christian transgresses many times; may I not say, sometimes many hundred times a day; yea, for aught I know, there are some saints, and them not long-lived either, that must receive, before they enter into life, millions of pardons from God for these; and every pardon is an act of grace, through the redemption that is in Christ’s blood. 17

Seventy times seven times a day we sometimes sin against our brother; but how many times, in that day, do we sin against God? Lord, „who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults” [sins], said David. And again, „If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee that thou mayest be feared” (Matt 18:21,22; Psa 19:12; 130:3,4).

But to mention some of them. Sometimes they question the very being of God, or foolishly ask how he came to be at first; sometimes they question the truth of his Word, and suspect the harmony thereof, because their blind hearts and dull heads cannot reconcile it; yea, all fundamental truths lie open sometimes to the censure of their unbelief and atheism; as, namely, whether there be such an one as Christ, such a thing as the day of judgment, or whether there will be a heaven or hell hereafter, and God pardons all these by his grace. When they believe these things, even then they sin, by not having such reverent, high, and holy thoughts of them as they ought; they sin also by having too, too good thoughts of themselves, of sin, and the world; sometimes, let me say, often, they wink too much at known sin, they bewail not, as they should, the infirmities of the flesh; the itching inclinations which they find in their hearts after vanity go too often from them unrepented of. I do not say but they repent them in the general. But all these things, O how often doth God forgive, through the riches of his grace!

They sin by not walking answerably to mercies received; yea, they come short in their thanks to God for them, even then when they most heartily acknowledge how unworthy they are of them; also, how little of the strength of them is spent to his praise, who freely poureth them into their bosoms; but from all these sins are they saved by grace. They sin in their most exact and spiritual performance of duties; they pray not, they hear not, they read not, they give not alms, they come not to the Lord’s table, or other holy appointments of God, but in and with much coldness, deadness, wanderings of heart, ignorance, misapprehensions, &c. They forget God while they pray unto him; they forget Christ while they are at his table; they forget his Word even while they are reading of it.

How often do they make promises to God, and afterwards break them! Yea, or if they keep promise in show, how much doth their heart even grudge the performing of them; how do they shuck18 at the cross; and how unwilling are they to lose that little they have for God, though all they have was given them to glorify him withal! 19

All these things, and a thousand times as many more, dwell in the flesh of man; and they may as soon go away from themselves as from these corruptions; yea, they may sooner cut the flesh from their bones than these motions of sin from their flesh; these will be with them in every duty—I mean, some or other of them; yea, as often as they look, or think, or hear, or speak. These are with them, especially when the man intends good in so doing: „When I would do good,” says Paul, „evil is present with me.” And God himself complains that „every imagination of the thoughts of the heart of man is only evil,” and that „continually” (Rom 7:21; Gen 6:5).

By these things, therefore, we continually defile ourselves, and every one of our performances—I mean, in the judgment of the law—even mixing iniquity with those things which we hallow unto the Lord. „For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness; all these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7:21-23). Now what can deliver the soul from these but grace? „By grace ye are saved.” QUEST. V.—WHAT MIGHT BE THE REASON MOVED GOD TO ORDAIN AND CHOOSE TO SAVE THOSE THAT HE SAVETH BY HIS GRACE, RATHER THAN BY ANY OTHER MEANS?

I come now to answer the fifth question; namely, to show why God saveth those that he saveth by grace, rather than by any other means.

First. God saveth us by grace, because since sin is in the world, he can save us no other way; sin and transgression cannot be removed but by the grace of God through Christ; sin is the transgression of the law of God, who is perfectly just. Infinite justice cannot be satisfied with the recompence that man can make; for if it could, Christ Jesus himself needed not to have died; besides, man having sinned, and defiled himself thereby, all his acts are the acts of a defiled man; nay, further, the best of his performances are also defiled by his hands; these performances, therefore, cannot be a recompence for sin. Besides, to affirm that God saveth defiled man for the sake of his defiled duties—for so, I say, is every work of his hand—what is it but to say, God accepteth of one sinful act as a recompence and satisfaction for another? (Hag 2:14). But God, even of old, hath declared how he abominates imperfect sacrifices, therefore we can by no means be saved from sin but by grace (Rom 3:24).

Second. To assert that we may be saved any other way than by the grace of God, what is it but to object against the wisdom and prudence of God, wherein he aboundeth towards them whom he hath saved by grace? (Eph 1:5-8). His wisdom and prudence found out no other way, therefore he chooseth to save us by grace.

Third. We must be saved by grace, because else it follows that God is mutable in his decrees, for so hath he determined before the foundation of the world; therefore he saveth us not, nor chooseth to save us by any other way, than by grace (Eph 1:3,4; 3:8-11; Rom 9:23).

Fourth. If man should be saved any other way than by grace, God would be disappointed in his design to cut off boasting from his creature; but God’s design to cut off boasting from his creature cannot be frustrated or disappointed; therefore he will save man by no other means than by grace; he, I say, hath designed that no flesh should glory in his presence, and therefore he refuseth their works; „Not of works, lest any man should boast.” „Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay; but by the law of faith” (Eph 2:8,9; Rom 3:24-28).

Fifth. God hath ordained that we should be saved by grace, that he might have the praise and glory of our salvation; that we should be „to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the Beloved” (Eph 1:6). Now God will not lose his praise, and his glory he will not give to another; therefore God doth choose to save sinners but by his grace.

Sixth. God hath ordained, and doth choose to save us by grace, because, were there another way apparent, yet this is the way that is safest, and best secureth the soul. „Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise [the promise of eternal inheritance, (Heb 9:14-16)] might be sure to all the seed” (Rom 4:16). No other way could have been sure. This is evident in Adam, the Jews, and, I will add, the fallen angels, who being turned over to another way than grace, you see in short time what became of them.

To be saved by grace supposeth that God hath taken the salvation of our souls into his own hand; and to be sure it is safer in God’s hand than ours. Hence it is called the salvation of the Lord, the salvation of God, and salvation, and that of God.

When our salvation is in God’s hand, himself is engaged to accomplish it for us. 1. Here is the mercy of God engaged for us (Rom 9:15). 2. Here is the wisdom of God engaged for us (Eph 1:7,8). 3. Here is the power of God engaged for us (1 Peter 1:3-5). 4. Here is the justice of God engaged for us (Rom 3:24,25). 5. Here is the holiness of God engaged for us (Psa 89:30-35). 6. Here is the care of God engaged for us, and his watchful eye is always over us for our good (1 Peter 5:7; Isa 27:1-3).

What shall I say? Grace can take us into favour with God, and that when we are in our blood (Eze 16:7,8). Grace can make children of us, though by nature we have been enemies to God (Rom 9:25,26). Grace can make them God’s people which were not God’s people (1 Peter 2:9,10). Grace will not trust our own salvation in our own hands—”He putteth no trust in his saints” (Job 15:15). Grace can pardon our ungodliness, justify us with Christ’s righteousness; it can put the spirit of Jesus Christ within us, it can help us up when we are down, it can heal us when we are wounded, it can multiply pardons, as we, through frailty, multiply transgressions.

What shall I say? Grace and mercy are everlasting. They are built up for ever. They are the delight of God. They rejoice against judgment. And therefore it is the most safe and secure way of salvation, and therefore hath God chosen to save us by his grace and mercy rather than any other way (Isa 43:25; Rom 3:24,25; Isa 44:2,4; Psa 37:23; Luke 10:33,34; Isa 55:7,8; Psa 136; 89:2; Mal 3:18; James 2:13).

Seventh. We must be saved by the grace of God, or else God will not have his will. They that are saved are „predestinated unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace” (Eph 1:5,6).

1. But if it be his will that men should be saved by grace, then to think of another way is against the will of God. Hence they that seek to establish their own righteousness are such as are accounted to stand out in defiance against, and that do not submit to, the righteousness of God—that is, to the righteousness that he hath willed to be that through which alone we are saved by grace (Rom 10:3).

2. If it be his will that men should be saved through grace, then it is his will that men should be saved by faith in that Christ who is the contrivance of grace; therefore they that have sought to be justified another way have come short of, and perished notwithstanding, that salvation that is provided of God for men by grace (Rom 9:31-33).

3. God is not willing that faith should be made void, and the promise of none effect; therefore they of the righteousness of the law are excluded: „for if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise, but God gave it to Abraham by promise” (Rom 4:14 Gal 3:18).

4. God is not willing that men should be saved by their own natural abilities; but all the works of the law which men do to be saved by, they are the works of men’s natural abilities, and are therefore called the work of the flesh, but God is not willing that men should be saved by these, therefore no way but by his grace (Rom 4:1; Gal 3:1-3; Phil 3:3).

Eighth. We must be saved by grace, or else the main pillars and foundations of salvation are not only shaken, but overthrown—to wit, election, the new covenant, Christ, and the glory of God; but these must not be overthrown; therefore we must be saved by grace.

1. Election, which layeth hold of men by the grace of God, God hath purposed that that shall stand—the election of God standeth sure; therefore men must be saved by virtue of the election of grace (Rom 9:11; 2 Tim 2:19).

2. The covenant of grace, that must stand—”Brethren, I speak after the manner of men. Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed [as this is, by the death of the testator, (Heb 9:16,17)] no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto”; therefore man must be saved by virtue of a covenant of grace (Gal 3:15).

3. Christ, who is the gift of the grace of God to the world, he must stand, because he is a sure foundation, „the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever”; therefore men must be saved by grace, through the redemption that is in Christ (Isa 28:16; Heb 13:8).

4. God’s glory, that also must stand; to wit, the glory of his grace; for that he will not give to another; therefore men must so be saved from the wrath to come, that in their salvation praise may redound to the glory of his grace.

Ninth. There can be but one will the master in our salvation; but that shall never be the will of man, but of God; therefore man must be saved by grace (John 1:13; Rom 9:16).

Tenth. There can be but one righteousness that shall save a sinner; but that shall never be the righteousness of men, but of Christ (therefore men must be saved by grace), that imputeth this righteousness to whom he will.

Eleventh. There can be but one covenant by which men must be saved; but that shall never be the covenant of the law, for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof; therefore men must be saved by the covenant of grace, by which God will be merciful to our unrighteousnesses, and our sins and iniquities will remember no more (Heb 8:6-13).

POSTSCRIPT.

A few words by way of use, and so I shall conclude.

THE FIRST USE.

First. Is the salvation of the sinner by the grace of God? Then here you see the reason why God hath not respect to the personal virtues of men in the bringing of them to glory. Did I say, personal virtues? How can they have any to Godward that are enemies to him in their minds by wicked works? Indeed, men one to another seem to be, some better, some worse, by nature, but to God they are all alike, dead in trespasses and sins. 20

We will, therefore, state it again—Are men saved by grace? Then here you may see the reason why conversion runs at that rate among the sons of men, that none are converted for their good deeds, nor rejected for their bad, but even so many of both, and only so many, are brought home to God as grace is pleased to bring home to him.

1. None are received for their good deeds; for then they would not be saved by grace, but by works. Works and grace, as I have showed, are in this matter opposite each to other; if he be saved by works, then not by grace; if by grace, then not by works (Rom 11). That none are received of God for their good deeds is evident, not only because he declares his abhorrence of the supposition of such a thing, but hath also rejected the persons that have at any time attempted to present themselves to God in their own good deeds for justification. This I have showed you before.

2. Men are not rejected for their bad deeds. This is evident by Manasseh, by the murderers of our Lord Jesus Christ, by the men that you read of in the nineteenth of the Acts, with many others, whose sins were of as deep a dye as the sins of the worst of men (2 Chron 33:2,13; Acts 2:23,41; 19:19).

Grace respecteth, in the salvation of a sinner, chiefly the purpose of God; wherefore those that it findeth under that purpose, those it justifies freely, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ. At Saul’s conversion, Ananias of Damascus brought in a most dreadful charge against him to the Lord Jesus Christ, saying, „Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem; and here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.” But what said the Lord unto him? „Go thy way, for he is a chosen vessel unto me” (Acts 9:13-15). This man’s cruelty and outrage must not hinder his conversion, because he was a chosen vessel. Men’s good deeds are no argument with God to convert them; men’s bad deeds are no argument with him to reject them. I mean, those that come to Christ, by the drawings of the Father; besides, Christ also saith, „I will in no wise cast” such „out.” (John 6:37-44).

Second. Is the salvation of the sinner by the grace of God? Then here you see the reason why some sinners, that were wonderfully averse to conversion by nature, are yet made to stoop to the God of their salvation. Grace takes them to do, because grace hath designed them to this very thing. Hence some of the Gentiles were taken from among the rest; God granted them repentance unto life, because he had taken them from among the rest, both by election and calling, for his name (Acts 11:18; 15:14). These men that were not a people, are thus become the people of God; these men that were not beloved for their works, were yet beloved by the grace of God. „I will call them my people which were not my people; and her beloved which was not beloved.” But their minds are averse. But are they the people on whom God doth magnify the riches of his grace? Why, then, they shall be, in the day of his power, made willing, and be able to believe through grace (Psa 110:3; Rom 9:25; Acts 18:27). But doth the guilt and burden of sin so keep them down that they can by no means lift up themselves? Why, God will, by the exceeding greatness of that power by which he raised Christ from the dead, work in their souls also by the Spirit of grace, to cause them to believe and to walk in his ways (Eph 1:18-20).

Paul tells us, in that epistle of his to the Corinthians, that it was by grace he was what he was—”By the grace of God I am what I am,” says he, „and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain” (1 Cor 15:10). This man kept always in his mind a warm remembrance of what he was formerly by nature, and also how he had added to his vileness by practice; yea, moreover, he truly concluded in his own soul, that had not God, by unspeakable grace, put a stop to his wicked proceedings, he had perished in his wickedness; hence he lays his call and conversion at the door of the grace of God—”When it pleased God,” says he, „who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me” (Gal 1:15,16). and hence it is, again, that he saith, „He obtained grace and apostleship”; grace to convert his soul, and the gifts and authority of an apostle, to preach the gospel of the grace of God.

This blessed man ascribes all to the grace of God. 1. His call he ascribes to the grace of God. 2. His apostleship he ascribes to the grace of God. 3. And all his labour in that charge he also ascribes to the grace of God.

This grace of God it was that which saved from the beginning. 1. Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord, and was therefore converted and preserved from the flood (Gen 6:8). 2. Abraham found grace in the sight of the Lord, and therefore he was called out of his country (Gen 12:1,2). 3. Moses found grace in the eyes of the Lord, and therefore he must not be blotted out of God’s book (Exo 33:12,17).

Neither may it be imagined that these men were, before grace laid hold on them, better than other men; for then they would not have been saved by grace; grace should not have had the dominion and glory of their salvation. But, as Paul says of himself, and of those that were saved by grace in his day, „What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise; for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles that they are all under sin” (Rom 3:9). So it may be said of these blessed ones; for indeed this conclusion is general, and reacheth all the children of men, Christ Jesus alone only excepted. But,

Third. Is the salvation of the sinner by the grace of God? Then here you may see the reason why one backslider is recovered, and another left to perish in his backsliding.

There was grace for Lot, but none for his wife; therefore she was left in her transgression, but Lot was saved notwithstanding. There was grace for Jacob, but none for Esau; therefore Esau was left in his backsliding, but Jacob found mercy notwithstanding. There was grace for David, but none for Saul; therefore David obtained mercy, and Saul perished in his backsliding. There was grace for Peter, but none for Judas; therefore Judas is left to perish in his backsliding, and Peter is saved from his sin. That text stands good to none but those that are elect by grace—”Sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Rom 6:14).

It will be said, repentance was found in one, but not in the other. Well, but who granted and gave the one repentance; The Lord turned, and looked upon Peter; he did not turn and look upon Judas; yea, the Lord told Peter before he fell that he should follow him to the kingdom of heaven, but told him that he should deny him first; but withal told him also he should not let his heart be troubled, that is, utterly dejected, for he would go and prepare a place for him, and come again and receive him to himself (John 13:36-38; 14:1-3). That is a blessed word of God, „The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand” (Psa 37:23,24).

THE SECOND USE.

My second use shall be to them that are dejected in their souls at the sight and sense of their sins.

First. Are they that are saved, saved by grace? Then they that would have their guilty consciences quieted, they must study the doctrine of grace.

It is Satan’s great design either to keep the sinner senseless of his sins, or if God makes him sensible of them, then to hide and keep from his thoughts the sweet doctrine of the grace of God, by which alone the conscience getteth health and cure; „for everlasting consolation, and good hope” is given „through grace” (1 Thess 2:16). How then shall the conscience of the burdened sinner by rightly quieted, if he perceiveth not the grace of God?

Study, therefore, this doctrine of the grace of God. Suppose thou hast a disease upon thee which is not to be cured but by such or such medicines, the first step to thy cure is to know the medicines. I am sure this is true as to the case in hand; the first step to the cure of a wounded conscience is for thee to know the grace of God, especially the grace of God as to justification from the curse in his sight.

A man under a wounded conscience naturally leaneth to the works of the law, and thinks God must be pacified by something that he should do, whereas the Word says, „I will have mercy and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Matt 9:13).

Wherefore thou must study the grace of God. „It is a good thing,” saith the apostle, „that the heart be established with grace”; thereby insinuating that there is no establishment in the soul that is right but by the knowledge of the grace of God (Heb 13:9).

I said, that when a man is wounded in his conscience, he naturally leaneth to the works of the law; wherefore thou must therefore be so much the more heedful to study the grace of God; yea, so to study it as rightly, not only in notion, but in thy practices, to distinguish it from the law. „The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). Study it, I say, so as to distinguish it, and that, not only from the law, but from all those things that men blasphemously call this grace of God.

There are many things which men call the grace of God, that are not.

1. The light and knowledge that are in every man. 2. That natural willingness that is in man to be saved. 3. That power that is in man by nature to do something, as he thinketh, towards his own salvation.

I name these three; there are also many other which some will have entitled the grace of God. But do thou remember that the grace of God is his goodwill and great love to sinners in his Son Jesus Christ; „by the which” good „will we are sanctified, through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Heb 10:10).

Again; when thou hast smelt out this grace of God, and canst distinguish it from that which is not, then labour to strengthen thy soul with the blessed knowledge of it. „Thou therefore, my son,” said Paul, „be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim 2:1). Fortify thy judgment and understanding; but especially labour to get down all into thy conscience, that that may be „purged from dead works, to serve the living God.”

[Second.] And to enforce this use upon thee yet further, consider, a man gets yet more advantage by the knowledge of, and by growing strong in, this grace of God.

1. It ministereth to him matter of joy; for he that knows this grace aright, he knows God is at peace with him, because he believeth in Jesus Christ, who by grace tasted death for every man; „by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Rom 5:2). And indeed what joy or what rejoicing is like rejoicing here? To rejoice in hope of the glory of God, it is to rejoice in hope to enjoy him for ever, with that eternal glory that is in him.

2. As it manifesteth matter of joy and rejoicing, so it causeth much fruitfulness in all holiness and godliness. „For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world” (Titus 2:11,12). Yea, it so naturally tendeth this way, that it can no sooner appear to the soul, but it causeth this blessed fruit in the heart and life. „We ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared”—what then? Why then, he that believeth, being justified by his grace, and expecting to be an heir according to the hope of eternal life, is „careful to maintain good works” (Titus 3:3- 8). See also that in Paul’s epistle to the Colossians—”We give thanks,” says he, „to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, for the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth” (Col 1:3-6).

3. The knowledge of, and strength that comes by, the grace of God is a sovereign antidote against all, and all manner of delusions that are or may come into the world. Wherefore Peter, exhorting the believers to take heed that they were not carried away with the errors of the wicked, and so fall from their own steadfastness, adds, as their only help, this exhortation—”But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).

(1.) Suppose it should be urged, that man’s own righteousness saveth the sinner; why, then, we have this at hand—God „hath saved us, and called us, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ” &c. (2 Tim 1:9).

(2.) Suppose it should be urged, that by the doctrine of free grace we must not understand God’s extending free forgiveness as far as we have or do sin; the answer is—”But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness,” through the justice of God being satisfied by his Son, „unto eternal life” (Rom 5:20,21).

(3.) Suppose it should be urged, that this is a doctrine tending to looseness and lasciviousness; the answer is ready—”What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” for the doctrine of free grace believed is the most sin-killing doctrine in the world (Rom 6:1,2).

(4.) Suppose men should attempt to burden the church of God with unnecessary ceremonies, and impose them, even as the false apostles21 urged circumcision of old, saying, Unless you do these things, ye cannot be saved; why, the answer is ready—”Why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the necks of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they” (Acts 15:1,10,11). But not to enlarge, 22

[Third.] This doctrine, „By grace ye are saved,” it is the only remedy against despairing thoughts at the apprehension of our own unworthiness; as,

1. Thou criest out, O cursed man that I am! my sins will sink me into hell.

Answ. Hold, man; there is a God in heaven that is „the God of all grace” (1 Peter 5:10). Yet thou art not the man of all sin. If God be the God of all grace, then if all the sins in the world were thine, yet the God of all grace can pardon, or else it should seem that sin is stronger in a man penitent, to damn, than the grace of God can be to save.

2. But my sins are of the worst sort—blasphemy, adultery, covetousness, murder, &c.

Answ. „All manner of sins and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men, wherewithsoever they shall blaspheme.—Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Matt 12:31; Mark 3:28; Isa 55:7,8).

3. But I have a stout and rebellious heart, a heart that is far from good.

Answ. „Hearken unto me,” saith God, „ye stout-hearted, that are far from righteousness: I bring near my righteousness”; that is, the righteousness of Christ, by which stout-hearted sinners are justified, though ungodly (Isa 46:12,13; Phil 3:7,8; Rev 4:5).

4. But I have a heart as hard as any stone.

Answ. „A new heart also will I give you,” says God, „and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh” (Eze 36:26).

5. But I am as blind as a beetle; I cannot understand anything of the gospel.

Answ. „I will bring the blind by a way that they know not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them” (Isa 42:16).

6. But my heart will not be affected with the sufferings and blood of Christ.

Answ. „I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born” (Zech 12:10).

7. But though I see what is like to become of me if I find not Christ, yet my spirit, while I am thus, will be running after vanity, foolishness, uncleanness, wickedness.

Answ. „Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols will I cleanse you” (Eze 36:25).

8. But I cannot believe in Christ.

Answ. But God hath promised to make thee believe. „I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord.” And again, „There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, in him shall the Gentiles trust” (Zeph 3:12; Rom 15:12).

9. But I cannot pray to God for mercy.

Answ. But God hath graciously promised a spirit of prayer—”Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord.—They shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people; and they shall say, The Lord is my God” (Zech 8:22; 12:10; 13:9).

10. But I cannot repent. Answ. „The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:30,31).

Thus might I enlarge, for the holy Bible is full of this exceeding grace of God. O these words, „I will” and „you shall”! they are the language of a gracious God; they are promises by which our God has engaged himself to do that for poor sinners which would else be left undone for ever.

THE THIRD USE.

Are they that are saved, saved by grace? Then let Christians labour to advance God’s grace. FIRST. In heart. SECOND. In life.

FIRST. In heart; and that in this manner—

First. Believe in God’s mercy through Jesus Christ, and so advance the grace of God; I mean, venture heartily, venture confidently, for there is a sufficiency in the grace of God. Abraham magnified the grace of God when „he considered not his own body now dead, – neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God” (Rom 4:19,20).

Second. Advance it by heightening of it in thy thoughts. Have always good and great thoughts of the grace of God; narrow and slender thoughts of it are a great disparagement to it.

And to help thee in this matter, consider—1. This grace is compared to a sea—”And thou will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19). Now a sea can never be filled by casting into it. 23

2. This grace is compared to a fountain, to an open fountain—”In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness.” Now a fountain can never be drawn dry (Zech 12:1). 3. The Psalmist cries out concerning the grace and mercy of God, „It endureth for ever”; he says so twenty-six times in one psalm. Surely he saw a great deal in it, surely he was taken a great deal with it (Psa 136). 4. Paul says the God of all grace can do more than „we ask or think” (Eph 3:20). 5. Therefore as God’s Word says, so thou shouldst conclude of the grace of God.

Third. Come boldly to the throne of grace by hearty prayer; for this is the way also to magnify the grace of God. This is the apostle’s exhortation, „Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb 4:16). See here a little, and wonder.

We have been all this while discoursing of the grace of God; and now we are come to his throne, as Job says, „even to his seat”; and behold, „that is a throne of grace.” O, when a God of grace is upon a throne of grace, and a poor sinner stands by and begs for grace, and that in the name of a gracious Christ, in and by the help of the Spirit of grace, can it be otherwise but such a sinner must obtain mercy and grace to help in time of need? But not to forget the exhortation, „Come boldly.” Indeed, we are apt to forget this exhortation; we think, seeing we are such abominable sinners, we should not presume to come boldly to the throne of grace; but yet so we are bidden to do; and to break a commandment here is as bad as to break it in another place.

You may ask me, What is it to come boldly? [I] answer—

1. It is to come confidently—”Let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water” (Heb 10:22).

2. To come boldly, it is to come frequently—”At morning, at noon, and at night, will I pray.” We use to count them bold beggars that come often to our door.

3. To come boldly, it is to ask for great things when we come. That is the bold beggar that will not only ask, but also choose the thing that he asketh.

4. To come boldly, it is to ask for others as well as ourselves, to beg mercy and grace for all the saints of God under heaven as well as for ourselves—”Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit – for all saints” (Eph 6:18).

5. To come boldly, it is to come and take no nay; thus Jacob came to the throne of grace—”I will not let thee go except thou bless me” (Gen 32:26).

6. To come boldly, it is to plead God’s promises with him both in a way of justice and mercy, and to take it for granted God will give us—because he hath said it—whatever we ask in the name of his Son.

Fourth. Labour to advance God’s grace in thy heart, by often admiring, praising, and blessing God in secret for it; God expects it—
„Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me,” says he. „By Jesus Christ therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually; that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name” (Psa 50:23; Heb 13:15).

SECOND. [In life.] But again; as we should advance this grace in our hearts, so we should do it in our life. We should in our conversation adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. It is a great word of the apostle, „Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ,” which is the gospel of the grace of God (Phil 1:27). God expecteth that there should in our whole life be a blessed tang24 of the gospel, or that in our life among men there should be preached to them the grace of the gospel of God.

The gospel shows us that God did wonderfully stoop and condescend for our good; and to do accordingly, it is to stoop and condescend to others.

The gospel shows us that there was abundance of pity, love, bowels, and compassion in God towards us; and accordingly we should be full of bowels, pity, love, and compassion to others.

The gospel shows us that in God there is a great deal of willingness to do good to others.

The gospel shows us that God acteth towards us according to his truth and faithfulness, and so should we be in all our actions one to another.

By the gospel, God declares that he forgiveth us ten thousand talents, and we ought likewise to forgive our brother the hundred pence.

And now, before I conclude this use, let me give you a few heart- endearing considerations to this so good and so happy a work.

[Heart-endearing Considerations.]

First. Consider, God hath saved thee by his grace. Christian, God hath saved thee, thou hast escaped the lion’s mouth, thou art delivered from wrath to come; advance the grace that saves thee, in thy heart and life.

Second. Consider, God left millions in their sins that day he saved thee by his grace; he left millions out, and pitched upon thee; it may be hundreds also, yea, thousands, were in the day of thy conversion lying before him under the preaching of the word as thou wert, yet he took thee. 25 Considerations of this nature affected David much; and God would have them affect thee, to the advancing of his grace in thy life and conversation (Psa 78:67-72; Deu 7:7).

Third. Consider, perhaps the most part of those that God refused that day that he called thee by his grace were, as to conversation, far better than ever thou wert—I was a blasphemer, I was a persecutor, I was an injurious person, but I obtained mercy! O this should affect thy heart, this should engage thy heart to study to advance this grace of God (1 Tim 1:14,15).

Fourth. Perhaps in the day of thy conversion thou wast more unruly than many. Like a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke, hardly tamed, thou wast brought home by strong hands; thou wouldst not drive, the Lord Jesus must take thee up, lay thee upon his shoulder, and carry thee home to his Father’s house. This should engage thy heart to study to advance the grace of God (Luke 15:1-6).

Fifth. It may be many did take even offence at God in his converting and saving of thee by his grace, even as the elder son was offended with his father for killing the fatted calf for his brother, and yet that did not hinder the grace of God, nor make God abate his love to thy soul. This should make thee study to advance the grace of God in thy heart and life (Luke 15:21-32).

Sixth. Consider again, that God hath allowed thee but a little time for this good work, even the few days that thou hast now to live—I mean, for this good work among sinful men, and then thou shalt go to receive that wages that grace also will give thee for thy work to thy eternal joy.

Seventh. Let this also have some place upon thy heart—every man shows subjection to the god that he serveth; yea, though that god be none other but the devil and his lusts; and wilt not thou, O man! saved of the Lord, be much more subject „to the Father of spirits, and live”?26

Alas! they are pursuing their own damnation, yet they sport it, and dance all the way they go. They serve that „god” (Satan) with cheerfulness and delight, who at last will plunge them into the everlasting gulf of death, and torment them in the fiery flames of hell; but thy God is the God of salvation, and to God thy Lord belong the issues from death. Wilt not thou serve him with joyfulness in the enjoyment of all good things, even him by whom thou art to be made blessed for ever?

Object. This is that which kills me—honour God I cannot; my heart is so wretched, so spiritless, and desperately wicked, I cannot.

Answ. What dost thou mean by cannot? 1. If thou meanest thou hast no strength to do it, thou hast said an untruth, for „greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). 2. If thou meanest thou hast no will, then thou art out also; for every Christian, in his right mind, is a willing man, and the day of God’s power hath made him so (Psa 110:3). 3. If thou meanest that thou wantest wisdom, that is thine own fault—”If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not” (James 1:5).

Object. I cannot do things as I would.

Answ. No more could the best of the saints of old—”To will is present with me,” said Paul; „but how to perform that which is good I find not.” And again, „The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Rom 7:18; Gal 5:17).

And here indeed lies a great discovery of this truth, „ye are saved by grace”; for the children of God whilst here, notwithstanding their conversion to God, and salvation by Christ through grace, are so infirm and weak by reason of a body of death that yet remaineth in them, that should even the sin that is in the best of their performances be laid to their charge, according to the tenor of a covenant of works, they would find it impossible ever to get into glory. But why do I talk thus? It is impossible that those that are saved by grace should have their infirmities laid to their charge as afore, „for they are not under the law”; they are included by the grace of God in the death and blood of the Son of God, who ever liveth to make intercession for them at the right hand of God; whose intercession is so prevalent with the Father as to take away the iniquity of our holy things from his sight, and to present us holy, and unreprovable, and unblamable in his sight. To him, by Christ Jesus, through the help of the blessed Spirit of grace, be given praise, and thanks, and glory, and dominion, by all his saints, now and for ever. Amen.

FOOTNOTES:

1 General course of manners, behaviour, deportment, especially as it regards morals (see Phil 1:27, 1 Peter 1:15).

2 Their conduct proved to the living that they were dead, they themselves having no feeling or sense of spiritual life; but, when quickened, their penitence and good works were brought into existence by Divine power; they feel the joys of salvation, but feel also their total unworthiness of this new creating power, and sing, „O to grace how great a debtor!”—Ed.

3 The hospital of St. Mary Bethlem, vulgarly called „Bedlam,” bestowed, in 1545, upon the citizens of London, who appropriated it to the reception of lunatics. It being the only public hospital for that class of the afflicted in England, it gave the name of „bedlam” to all whose conduct could only be accounted for on the score of madness.—Ed.

4 The person who writes this, was a singular instance of the truth of our author’s remark; having been twice providentially preserved from drowning, and once from the fatal effects of a violent fever, before effectual saving grace had reached his soul. The same rich and abundant mercy follows all the elect, quickens them when dead, saves them when lost, and restores them when ruined. God hath chosen us unto salvation, and enables us to live holily on earth, in order to a life of happiness in heaven. The Father’s good will and pleasure is the only fountain from whence the salvation of believers flows; and such as are given to Christ by the Father he considers as his charge, and stands engaged for their preservation; and the death of Christ for sinners, is an evident demonstration of the love of God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, towards them; this love manifested in time was in and upon the heart of God before the world began.—Mason. What a multitude of unseen dangers, both spiritual and temporal, the Christian escapes before he is called!—Ed.

5 „Rarely,” finely, nicely.

6 A safe-conduct is a military term, either a convoy or guard for protection in an enemy’s land, or a passport, by the sovereign of a country, to enable a subject to travel with safety.—Imperial Dict.—Ed.

7 What amazing love! Christ visited this poor beggar, yea, was formed in him the hope of glory; his body, so miserable in the sight of man, was a temple of the Holy Ghost, and the angels carry his soul to heaven. O the riches of grace!—Ed.

8 What heart can conceive the glorious worship of heaven? The new song shall be as the voice of many waters, and a great thunder, when the „ten thousand times ten thousand and thousand of thousands” shall sing, „Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and blessing.” O that my poor voice may join that celestial choir!—Ed.

9 The fear of the Lord—an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck, and life unto thy soul.—Solomon.

10 „Their appearance and themselves”; this beautiful illustration might escape the reader’s notice, unless specially directed to it. The living creatures were always the same, although seen under different circumstances, and in diverse places. Inside and out they were the same; without deviation or turning, they went straight forward. It is well said that Bunyan has here snatched a grace beyond the reach of art, and has applied it to exalt and beautify consistency of Christian character.—Ed.

11 This is one of Bunyan’s peculiarly affecting representations, which in preaching went to the heart, producing intense interest, and tears of contrition over the stubbornness of human nature. Reader, Bunyan, being dead, yet speaketh; can you feel unaffected under such an appeal?—Ed.

12 „To stave,” to thrust, to push, to delay.—Ed.

13 These terms are taken from Foxe’s Martyrology. It was frequently the brutal remark of the Judges, You must turn or burn. Bunyan here applies it to turning from sin or burning in hell.—Ed.

14 This treatise having been written some years after the Pilgrim’s Progress, Bunyan very naturally refers to the well- known scene in the Interpreter’s House, where the fire is kept burning by oil from behind the wall, in spite of all the water thrown upon its flames.—Ed.

15 „To tend,” to watch, to guard, to attend.—Ed.

16 How pointedly, how admirably, does this illustrate the fond absurdities, the extreme follies of the human heart! „To serve God with such dainty dishes,” the cleanest being befouled with sin. „A cleaner way to hell than our neighbours!”—Ed.

17 O how humbling a consideration! Our sins are numberless, of omission, of commission, openly and secretly; nay, in a thousand cases they escape the sinner’s observation. „Cleanse thou me from secret faults.”—Ed.

18 „Shuck,” to shake or start back.—Ed.

19 In Bunyan’s time, the saints of God were sorely tormented by penalties, fines, and imprisonments. It required great faith in a mother, who saw all her goods seized, for not going to church, the incarnate devils throwing the milk that was warming for her infant on the dunghill, and the skillet in which it was contained into the cart, answering her prayers for mercy on her babe. Let the brat of a heretic starve.—Ed.

20 How abasing and humbling to human pride is it thus to conceive, that all have sinned, and, in the sight of God, are hell- deserving. What! says the honourable man, must I take mercy upon no higher consideration than the thief on the cross? Or the highly virtuous dame, Must I sue for mercy upon the same terms as the Magdalene? The faithful answer to both is, YES, or you must perish.—Ed.

21 „False apostles,” mentioned in Acts 15, who would have blended Jewish observances with Christianity, and have brought the converts into misery and thraldom. They are specially referred to in 2 Corinthians 11:13, „false apostles,” deceitful workers, that devour you and take from you (verse 20). In contradistinction to Paul, who was „chargeable to no man” (verse 9).—Ed.

22 We must not for a moment imagine that Bunyan was afraid of temporal consequences, which prevents his enlarging upon this part of his subject. His contemptuous answer to Fowler for attacking the doctrine of justification, although a great man with the state, and soon afterwards made a bishop, is a proof that he was a stranger to the fear of man. He had said enough, and therefore there was no need to enlarge.—Ed.

23 How does Bunyan here exhibit the perfection as well as the freeness of the pardon that Micah celebrates! That which is sunk in the depths of the sea is lost for ever.—Ed.

24 „Tang,” taste, touch, savour, flavour, relish, tone, sound. A word of extensive meaning, but now nearly obsolete. „No tang of prepossession or fancy appears in the morality of our Saviour or his apostles.”—Locke.—Ed.

25 What can I render unto thee, my God, for such unspeakable blessedness? The cattle upon a thousand hills, yea, all creation, all that I have and am, is thine: all that I can do is „to take the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord.” Not unto us, but unto thy name, be all the praise and honour of salvation!—Ed.

26 In the edition of 1692, this sentence is „subject to the Father of spirits and love.” It is a very singular mode of expression to call God „the Father of love.” God is love, and that author and source of all holy love. Bunyan was at all times governed by Scripture phrases, with which his mind was so richly imbued as to cause him, if we may so speak, to live in a scriptural atmosphere; and this sentence bears a great affinity to Hebrews 12:9, „Shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live.” I have been, for these reasons, induced to consider the letter o in „love” a typographical error, and have altered the word to „live,” but could not take such a liberty without a public notice.—Ed.

REGENERATION AND CONVERSION CHAPTER XXXII from ABSTRACT OF THEOLOGY J.P. Boyce

REGENERATION AND CONVERSION
CHAPTER XXXII from
ABSTRACT OF THEOLOGY
J.P. Boyce
At the outset of a discussion of these two subjects we are met by the question, whether they are not one and the same thing. They are unquestionably so intimately associated that it is difficult to separate them and point out the distinctions between them. The Scriptures connect the two under the one idea of the new birth, and teach that not only is regeneration an absolute essential in each conversion, but that in every intelligent responsible soul conversion invariably accompanies regeneration. It is not strange, therefore, that they are often confounded. Yet, after all, the Scriptures also teach that regeneration is the work of God, changing the heart of man by his sovereign will, while conversion is the act of man turning towards God with the new inclination thus given to his heart.
Regeneration
I. It is best first to collect together the various terms and expressions in which this whole matter is taught.
1. Forms of the verb gennao, which means „to beget.”
John 1:13; 3:3, 4 (two places), 5, 6, 7, 8; 1 Cor. 4:15; Philemon 10; 1 John 2:29; 3:9 (two places); 4:7; 5:1 (three places); 5:4, 18 (two places).
2. Compound forms of gennao.
1 Pet. 1:23. „Having been begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God, which liveth and abideth.”
Titus 3:5. „He saved us through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”
3. The word apekuesen is used in James 1:18, and means to bring forth or bear young, and there evidently means to bring to the condition of sonship.
4. Ktisis and ktizo, which mean creation and create, are found in 2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15; Eph. 2:10, 15; 4:24.
5. Sunezoopoiesen, he quickened together with (Christ). Eph. 2:5; Col. 2:13.
In addition to the above uses of single words are the following passages which speak of the word of God as an effective instrument, but not as a creative power. These, however, do not connect this instrument with either regeneration or conversion necessarily; but speaks of it (a) as a means of partaking of the divine nature, 2 Pet. 1:4; (b) as a means of purifying, John 15:3; (c) as a means of Christian defense, Eph. 6:17; and (d) as an instrument of powerful conviction and destruction of the wicked, Heb. 4:12.
II. From the Scriptural teaching we see that the whole work of Regeneration and Conversion is included under the one term regeneration.
It is true that but few of the passages refer to anything save the work of God; yet these few sufficiently teach the use of the word in regeneration to lead us not to reject, as a part of it, that result of God’s act which, in connection with the word, leads to the full union of its subject with Christ through repentance and faith.
The passages in connection with Paul as God’s instrument, 1 Cor. 4:15, and Philemon 10, would not be conclusive, but they are made so by others.
However much James 1:18 suggests a different aspect of the work, namely, the bringing forth that which has been begotten, still it so nearly connects that idea with the begetting as to create doubt if the whole work may not be virtually involved.
But 1 Pet. 1:23, by the use of the compound of gennao, shows that all the work of the Spirit, including both the new heart and the leading of it to conscious faith, is properly to be spoken of by the same term as a mere change of heart.
The whole work is thus spoken of, however, because God is operative from the beginning to the end, but this does not prove that he does not operate differently in one part from what he does in the other.
III. The Scripture teaching is that God operates immediately upon the heart to produce the required change, by which it is fitted to receive the truth, and mediately through the word in its reception of that truth.
1. He operates immediately upon the heart to prepare the way for the truth. This is evident
(1.) From the description given of man’s spiritual condition.
(a) As spiritually dead. Eph. 2:1.
(b) As blind. Eph. 4:18.
(c) As slaves to sin. John 8:34; Rom. 6:17, 19.
(d) As needing deliverance from the powers of darkness. Col. 1:13.
(e) As incapable of knowing or discerning the things of the Spirit. 1 Cor. 2:14; Eph. 4:18.
(f) As incapable of changing himself. Jer. 13:23.
(g) As defiled in conscience. Tit. 1:15.
These passages show man in a condition from which he must be rescued even to understand and appreciate the truth of God.
(2.) The Scripture attributes the birth to the will of God exclusively, thus showing that in some aspect it is not to be regarded as due to the reception of the truth. John 1:13.
[For sections (3), (4), (5) and (6), see Hodge’s Outlines, p. 451.]
(3.) The influence of the Spirit is distinguished from that of the word. John 6:45, 64, 65; 1 Cor. 2:12-15; 1 Thess. 1:5, 6.
(4.) A divine influence is declared to be necessary for the reception of the truth. Ps. 119:18; Acts 16:14; Eph. 1:17-20.
(5.) Such an internal operation on the heart is attributed to God. Matt. 11:25; Luke 10:21; Phil. 2:13; 2 Thess. 1:11; Heb. 13:21.
(6.) The nature of this influence is evidently different from that effected by the truth. Eph. 1:19; 3:7; 2 Tim. 2:25.
(7.) This influence is spoken of as a preparation of the heart for the truth; which, therefore, must be distinct from the truth or its reception. Luke 8:8, 15; Acts 16:14.
This preparation of the heart comes from God. 1 Chron. 29:18, 19; Ps. 119:18; Prov. 16:1; Acts 16:14; Rom. 9:23.
2. The Spirit acts mediately through the word.
(1.) He inspired that word and sends it forth for the accomplishment of the ends designed. John 14:16; 2 Tim. 3:16.
(2.) He aids the ministry and others in making it known. 1 Cor. 4:7; 2 Thess. 3:1.
To the extent that these are his agents he uses the word.
(3.) The instrument thus used is in itself effective as truth. Heb. 4:12. Therefore, Christians are commanded in their spiritual warfare to take the word of God as the sword of the Spirit. Eph. 6:17. It is, however, made especially so to the heart prepared for it by his illuminating influences, which reveal its beauties and its suitableness, and by the aid of the memory which recalls, and the conscience which applies, and the affections which lay hold upon it. 2 Tim. 3:15, 16, 17.
(4.) Christians are, therefore, said to be „brought forth, (James 1:18), by the word of truth,” because that is the seed sown in the prepared ground through which they are led by repentance and faith to union with Christ and sonship of God.
(5.) Since this use of the Scriptures is due to their own fitness to present motives to action, the Spirit of God is not limited to this word alone but uses such other truth, and such events of life as may be effective towards the contemplated end. Thus any events in God’s providence, as afflictions, or dangers, or personal sins, or the conversion of others, or aught else that may lead to seeking God, are used as a means of awakening, or of giving deeper conviction, or of enforcing the Scripture truths which lead to conversion.
(6.) This is especially true of the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper duly set forth before mankind. So far as these ordinances are fitted to convey truth, or to impress duty, they are instrumental in regeneration.
(7.) But neither of them regenerates or confers regeneration.
(a) This is not done by the Lord’s Supper. It has been argued from John 6:51-58, where Christ promises eternal life to those who shall eat his flesh and drink his blood, and denies it to all who shall not. The language used refers to spiritual participation in his salvation. It is similar to the promise to the woman at Sychar that „Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:14. It is argued that Christ must have meant partaking of his real body, because he did not correct the Jews who, because they so understood him, rejected him. But, John 8:51-53, he did not correct a similar mistake which led to a similar result when he said in verse 51, „If a man keep my word he shall never see death.”
(b) Even more distinctly is this true of Baptism. Spiritual effects are spoken of in connection with this ordinance. Thus we have „the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” Titus 3:5. We have Paul exhorted by Ananias, Acts 22:16, „arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins,” and the language of Christ, John 3:5, „Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” The first of these has reference to the cleansing influence of regeneration by the Spirit in like manner as his renewing, which is spoken of in the immediate context and has no reference to baptism. That the last refers to baptism is at least doubtful; but admitting that it does, which is doubtless true of the second, we have here outward baptism, only as symbolizing an inward change and not producing it. The following reasons plainly show that neither of these ordinances has regenerating power.
(1.) That ordinances can only be signs of grace and cannot confer it.
(2.) They may convey truth symbolically, and only such truth is fitted to affect the mind. But nothing symbolized by these two can confer regeneration upon those receiving them.
(3.) They are appointed to be used only by those who have been regenerated. Baptism is an act of obedience, symbolizing the death of believers to sin, and resurrection to new life, and setting forth their union with Christ in his death and burial. The Lord’s Supper is to be partaken of by those already, as Christian believers, united together in church fellowship.
(4.) That this was the use of Baptism is evident from the practice of the Apostolic Christians. Acts 2:41. The baptized had received his word. This followed repentance and preceded baptism. The addition to the text in Acts 8:37 could not have taken place had it not been for the universal prevalence of the idea that faith necessarily precedes baptism. Paul before his baptism had received the Lord Jesus and his eyes had been opened and the Holy Ghost given. Acts 9:18. Cornelius and his house also received the Holy Ghost and spake with tongues before their baptism. Acts 10:44-48. The Jailer at Philippi manifestly believed before he was baptized. Baptism without antecedent faith was treated as invalid in certain disciples at Ephesus. Acts 19:1-5.
(5.) That this was also true of the Lord’s Supper is shown by the fact that it was partaken of only by churches, and the members of churches are everywhere spoken of and treated as converted persons; also by the further fact that it was a memorial service („in remembrance of me”) and a memorial implies previous knowledge of the persons and facts remembered. But only such a knowledge and remembrance could be blessed, as involved faith in Jesus. 1 Cor. 11:28, 29.
(6.) The Spirit does not make truth effective by giving it additional force to that which it has naturally, but by so affecting the mind that the man is prepared to receive it with its own due force. Thus he changes the mind, illuminates the mind, helps it appreciate and lay hold of truth. Only thus does he make truth effectual. Therefore, the outward washing or partaking can have no effect to renew, or regenerate the heart, which must itself have been prepared, before it can even appropriate the truths conveyed by these ordinances.
The above statements are only intended to meet the views of Romanists and such others as claim regenerating influence of sacraments, and not those of such as make Baptism only a condition of pardon. The latter claim that regeneration is through the word only and are met by the proofs that the Spirit acts independently of the word.
Conversion
I. This is the result of regeneration. The new heart is prepared to turn to God and does actually so turn. Without regeneration, the sinfulness of man keeps him away from God, causes him to set his affections upon self and his own pleasure, and to find gratification in things which are opposed to God and holiness. The regenerated heart has new affections and desires and is, therefore, fitted to seek after God and holiness.
II. It is both the act of God and of man co-operating with him.
1. It is the act of God. It is thus described in the Scriptures.
1 Kings 18:37. „Thou hast turned their heart back again.”
Ps. 80:3. „Turn us again, O God; and cause thy face to shine, and we shall be saved.”
Ps. 85:4. „Turn us, O God of our salvation.”
Song of Sol. 1:4. „Draw me; we will run after thee.”
Jer. 30:21. „I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto me.”
Jer. 31:18. „Turn thou me, and I shall be turned.”
Ezek. 36:27. „And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”
John 6:44. „No man can come to me, except the Father which sent me draw him.”
2. It is the act of the regenerated heart actively co-operating in thus turning.
Deut. 4:30. „Thou shalt return to the Lord thy God.”
Prov. 1:23. „Turn you at my reproof.”
Hosea 12:6. „Therefore turn thou to thy God.”
Isaiah 55:7. „Let him return unto the Lord.”
Joel 2:13. „Rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God.”
Acts 11:21. „A great number that believed turned unto the Lord.”
III. The question naturally arises what is the nature of conversion. In reply it may be said that it consists:
1. Not in mere outward reformation.
2. Not in return from backsliding.
3. But in the turning of the heart to God and holiness. It is a turning of the thoughts, desires and affections of the heart from sinful and carnal lusts and pleasures toward holy things, and God, and Christ, and salvation. It is a turning from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God. [See Gill’s Divinity 2:132-4.] It consists „in a man’s turning actively to God under the influence of divine grace.” [Gill 2:135]
IV. This conversion comprises:
1. A knowledge of the true God, and acceptance of him as such.
2. Knowledge of personal sin, guilt and condemnation.
3. Sorrow for sin and desire to escape condemnation.
4. Determination to turn away from sin and seek God.
5. Conviction of personal need of help in so doing.
6. Knowledge of Christ as a Saviour from sin.
7. Personal trust in Christ and his salvation.
NOTE. A man in one sense maybe called converted as soon as he has truly turned to God and is also seeking to know and do his will. This is that amount of conversion which is so nearly contemporaneous with regeneration as to be liable to be supposed to exist at the same moment with it, and which indeed in a being capable of thought on such subjects must be its immediate effect.
But what the Scriptures and common language comprise in this word is repentance and trust in God’s saving power, and, in connection with Christian knowledge, trust in Jesus Christ as a Saviour. The attainment of the fullness of such conversion is by the gradual appreciation of truth, resulting not only from regeneration, and knowledge, but from spiritual illumination of the mind.
V. The relation of regeneration to conversion will, therefore, appear to be one of invariable antecedence.
Wherever the appropriate truth is at the time present its relation is almost that of producing cause, for the prepared heart at once receives the truth. Hence, as this is so generally the case, they have been usually regarded as contemporaneous and by some even as identical. But that regeneration is the invariable antecedent is seen,
1. From the fact that the heart is the soil in which the seed, the word of God, is sown, and that seed only brings forth fruit in the good soil. The heart is made good soil by regeneration.
2. Regeneration (as in infants) may exist without faith and repentance, but the latter cannot exist without the former. Therefore, regeneration precedes.
3. Logically the enabling act of God must, in a creature, precede the act of the creature thus enabled. But this logical antecedence involves actual antecedence, or the best conceptions of our mind deceive us and are not reliable. For this logical antecedence exists only because the mind observes plainly a perceived dependence of the existence of the one on the other. But such dependence demands, if not causal, at least antecedent existence. Here it is only antecedent.
VI. There is not only antecedence, but in some cases an appreciable interval.
1. This is true even of conversion regarded as a mere turning to God. Between it and regeneration must intervene in some cases some period of time until the knowledge of God’s existence and nature is given, before the heart turns, or even is turned towards that God.
(1.) This must be true of all infants and of all persons otherwise incapable of responsibility, as for example idiots.
(2.) There is no reason why it should not be true of some heathen. The missionaries of the cross have been sought by men, who knew nothing of Christianity, but whose hearts, unsatisfied with the religion of their fathers, were restlessly seeking for what their soul was crying out.
2. It is still more manifestly true of full Christian conversion.
(1.) The Scriptures teach this in many examples of persons pious, holy, and fearing God, yet unacquainted with the full truth which secures union with Christ.
Ethiopian Eunuch: Acts 8:26-40.
Paul: Acts, chapter 9, 22 and 26. Galatians, chapters 1st and 2d.
Cornelius the Centurion: Acts 10:2.
Lydia: Acts 16:14.
(2.) The experience of ministers in all ages with persons seeking and attaining salvation confirms this idea. The attainment of conversion may be marked by stages. The sinner is at first totally indifferent. The word produces on him no effect. Then (1.) There is an evident willingness to give serious attention to the truth of God. God has opened the heart as he did that of Lydia. (2.) There is conviction of sin, sense of its vileness, and of its dangerous effects. (3.) The soul, oppressed by these, strives to do something by which to attain salvation, but finds all in vain. (4.) At last accepting the truth of God’s word it rests in trust of a personal Saviour.
VII. The term conversion is not technically applied to any change, except that which follows upon regeneration, and consists in the Godward turning of one heretofore turned entirely away from God. The return of men who have backslidden, or fallen into grievous sin, is also called „a return to God,” and such a return is possibly what is called „conversion” in Peter’s case. Luke 22:32. But conversion is theologically used exclusively of the first act.

Particular Redemption A Sermon Delivered February 28, 1858, by C. H. SPURGEON,

Particular Redemption
A Sermon Delivered February 28, 1858,
by
C. H. SPURGEON,
at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens, London, England
„Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and to give his life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28
When first it was my duty to occupy this pulpit, and preach in this hall, my congregation assumed the appearance of an irregular mass of persons collected from all the streets of this city to listen to the Word. ‘Twas then simply an evangelist, preaching to many who had not heard the Gospel before. By the grace of God, the most blessed change has taken place; and now, instead of having an irregular multitude gathered together, my congregation is as fixed as that of any minister in the whole city of London. I can from this pulpit observe the countenance of my friends, who have occupied the same places, as nearly as possible, for these many months; and I have the privilege and the pleasure of knowing that a very large proportion, certainly three-fourths of the persons who meet together here, are not persons who stray hither from curiosity, but are my regular and constant hearers.
And observe, that my character also has been changed. From being an evangelist, it is now my business to become your pastor. You were once a motley group assembled to listen to me, but now
we are bound together by the ties of love; through association we have grown to love and respect each other, and now you have become the sheep of my pasture, and members of my flock; and I have now the privilege of assuming the position of a pastor in this place, as well as in the chapel where I labour in the evening.I think, then, it will strike the judgment of every person, that as both the congregation and office have now changed, the teaching itself should in some measure suffer a difference. It has been my wont to address you from the simple truths of the Gospel; I have very seldom, in this place, attempted to dive into the deep things of God. A text which I have thought suitable for my congregation in the evening, I should not have made the subject of discussion in this place in the morning. There are many high and mysterious doctrines which I have often taken the opportunity of handling in my own place, that I have not taken the liberty of introducing here, regarding you as a company of people casually gathered together to hear the Word.
But now, since the circumstances are changed, the teaching will be changed also. I shall not now simply confine myself to the doctrine of faith, or the teaching of believer’s baptism; I shall not stay upon the surface of matters, but shall venture, as God shall guide me, to enter into those things that lie at the basis of the religion that we hold so dear. I shall not blush to preach before you the doctrine of God’s Divine Sovereignty; I shall not stagger to preach in the most unreserved and unguarded manner the doctrine of election. I shall not be afraid to propound the great truth of the final perseverance of the saints; I shall not withhold that undoubted truth of Scripture, the effectual calling of God’s elect; I shall endeavour, as God shall help me, to keep back nothing from you who have become my flock. Seeing that many of you have now „tasted that the Lord is gracious,” we will endeavour to go through the whole system of the doctrines of grace, that saints may be edified and built up in their most holy faith.
I begin this morning with the doctrine of Redemption. „He gave his life a ransom for many.” The doctrine of Redemption is one of the most important doctrines of the system of faith. A mistake on this point will inevitably lead to a mistake through the entire system of our belief.
Now, you are aware that there are different theories of Redemption. All Christians hold that Christ died to redeem, but all Christians do not teach the same redemption. We differ as to the nature of atonement, and as to the design of redemption. For instance, the Arminian holds that Christ, when He died, did not die with an intent to save any particular person; and they teach that Christ’s death does not in itself secure, beyond doubt, the salvation of any one man living. They believe that Christ died to make the salvation of all men possible, or that by the doing of something else, any man who pleases may attain unto eternal life; consequently, they are obliged to hold that if man’s will would not
give way and voluntarily surrender to grace, then Christ’s atonement would be unavailing. They hold that there was no particularity and speciality in the death of Christ. Christ died, according to them, as much for Judas in Hell as for Peter who mounted to Heaven. They believe that for those who are consigned to eternal fire, there was a true and real a redemption made as for those who now stand before the throne of the Most High.
Now, we believe no such thing. We hold that Christ, when He died, had an object in view, and that object will most assuredly, and beyond a doubt, be accomplished. We measure the design of Christ’s death by the effect of it. If any one asks us, „What did Christ design to do by His death?” we answer that question by asking him another—”What has Christ done, or what will Christ do by His death?” For we declare that the measure of the effect of Christ’s love, is the measure of the design of it. We cannot so belie our reason as to think that the intention of Almighty God could be frustrated, or that the design of so great a thing as the atonement, can by any way whatever, be missed of. We hold—we are not afraid to say that we believe—that Christ came into this world with the intention of saving „a multitude which no man can number;” and we believe that as the result of this, every person for whom He died must, beyond the shadow of a doubt, be cleansed from sin, and stand, washed in blood, before the Father’s throne.
We do not believe that Christ made any effectual atonement for those who are for ever damned; we dare not think that the blood of Christ was ever shed with the intention of saving those whom God foreknew never could be saved, and some of whom were even in Hell when Christ, according to some men’s account, died to save them.
I have thus just stated our theory of redemption, and hinted at the differences which exist between two great parties in the professing church. It shall be now my endeavour to show the greatness of the
redemption of Christ Jesus; and by so doing, I hope to be enabled by God’s Spirit, to bring out the whole of the great system of redemption, so that it may be understood by us all, even if all of us cannot receive it. For you must bear this in mind, that some of you, perhaps, may be ready to dispute things which I assert; but you will remember that this is nothing to me; I shall at all times teach those things which I hold to be true, without let or hindrance from any man breathing. You have the like liberty to do the same in your own places, and to preach your own views in your own assemblies, as I claim the right to preach mine, fully, and without hesitation.
Christ Jesus „gave his life a ransom for many;” and by that ransom He wrought out for us a great redemption. I shall endeavour to show the greatness of this redemption, measuring it in five ways. We shall note its greatness, first of all from the heinousness of our own guilt, from which He has delivered us; secondly,we shall measure His redemption by the sternness of divine justice; we shall measure it by the price which He paid, the pangs which He endured; then we shall endeavour to magnify it, by noting the deliverance which He actually wrought out; and we shall close by noticing the vast number for whom this redemption is made, who in our text are described as „many.”
I. First, then we shall see that the redemption of Christ was no little thing, if we do but measure it, first by OUR OWN SINS.
My brethren, for a moment look at the hole of the pit whence ye were digged, and the quarry whence you were hewn. Ye, who have been washed, and cleansed, and sanctified, pause for a moment, and look back at the former state of your ignorance; the sins in which you indulged, the crimes into which you were hurried, the continual rebellion against God in which it was your habit to live. One sin can ruin a soul for ever; it is not in the power of the human mind to grasp the infinity of evil that slumbereth in the bowels of one solitary sin. There is a very infinity of guilt couched in one transgression against the majesty of Heaven. If, then, you and I had sinned but once, nothing but an atonement infinite in value could ever have washed away the sin and made satisfaction for it. But has it been once that you and I have transgressed? Nay, my brethren, our iniquities are more in number than the hairs of our head; they have mightily prevailed against us. We might as well attempt to number the sands upon the sea-shore, or count the drops which in their aggregate do make the ocean, as attempt to count the transgressions which have marked our lives.Let us go back to our childhood. How early we began to sin! How we disobeyed our parents, and even then learned to make our mouth the house of lies! In our childhood, how full of wantonness and waywardness we were! Headstrong and giddy, we preferred our own way, and burst through all restraint which godly parents put upon us. Nor did our youth sober us. Wildly we dashed, many of us, into the very midst of the dance of sin. We became leaders in iniquity; we not only sinned ourselves, but we taught others to sin.
And as for your manhood, ye that have entered upon the prime of life, ye may be more outwardly sober, ye may be somewhat free from the dissipation of your youth; but how little has the man become bettered! Unless the sovereign grace of God hath renewed us, we are now no better than we were when we began; and even if it has operated, we have still sins to repent of, for we all lay our
mouths in the dust, and cast ashes on our head, and cry, „Unclean! Unclean!”
And ho! ye that lean wearily on your staff, the support of your old age, have ye not sins still clinging to your garments? Are your lives as white as the snowy hairs that crown your head? Do you not still
feel that transgression besmears the skirts of your robe, and mars its spotlessness? How often are you now plunged into the ditch, till your own clothes do abhor you! Cast your eyes over the sixty, the
seventy, the eighty years, during which God hath spared your lives; and can ye for a moment think it possible, that ye can number up your innumerable transgressions, or compute the weight of the crimes which you have committed?
O ye stars of Heaven! the astronomers may measure your distance and tell your height, but O ye sins of mankind! ye surpass all thought. O ye lofty mountains! the home of the tempest, the birthplace of the storm! man may climb your summits and stand wonderingly upon your snows; but ye hills of sin! ye tower higher than our thoughts; ye chasms of transgressions! ye are deeper than our imagination dares to dive.
Do you accuse me of slandering human nature? It is because you know it not. If God had once manifested your heart to yourself, you would bear me witness, that so far from exaggerating, my poor
words fail to describe the desperateness of our evil. Oh! if we could each of us look into our hearts today—if our eyes could be turned within, so as to see the iniquity that is graven as with the point of the diamond upon our stony hearts, we should then say to the minister, that however he may depict the desperateness of guilt, yet can he not by any means surpass it.
How great then, beloved, must be the ransom of Christ, when He saved us from all these sins! The men for whom Jesus died, however great their sin, when they believe, are justified from all their transgressions. Though they may have indulged in every vice and every lust which Satan could suggest, and which human nature could perform, yet once believing, all their guilt is washed away. Year after year may have coated them with blackness, till their sin hath become of double dye; but in one moment of faith, one triumphant moment of confidence in Christ, the great redemption takes away the guilt of numerous years. Nay, more, if it were possible for all the sins that men have done, in thought, or word, or deed, since worlds were made, or time began, to meet on one poor head—the great redemption is all-sufficient to take all these sins away, and wash the sinner whiter than the driven snow.
Oh! who shall measure the heights of the Saviour’s all-sufficiency? First, tell how high is sin, and, then, remember that as Noah’s flood prevailed over the tops of earth’s mountains, so the flood of Christ’s redemption prevails over the tops of the mountains of our sins. In Heaven’s courts there are today men that once were murderers, and thieves, and drunkards, and whoremongers, and blasphemers, and persecutors; but they have been washed—they have been sanctified. Ask them whence the brightness of their robes hath come, and where their purity hath been achieved, and they, with united breath, tell you that they have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. O ye troubled consciences! O ye weary and heavy-laden ones! O ye that are groaning on account of sin! the great redemption now proclaimed to you is all-sufficient for your wants; and though your numerous sins exceed the stars that deck the sky, here is an atonement made for them all—a river which can overflow the whole of them, and carry them away from you for ever. This, then, is the first measure of the atonement—the greatness of our guilt.
II. Now, secondly, we must measure the great redemption by THE STERNNESS OF DIVINE JUSTICE.
„God is love,” always loving; but my next proposition does not at all interfere with this assertion. God is sternly just, inflexibly severe in His dealings with mankind. The God of the Bible is not the God of some men’s imagination, who thinks so little of sin that He passes it by without demanding any punishment for it. He is not the God of the men who imagine that our transgressions are such little things, such mere peccadilloes that the God of Heaven winks at them, and suffers them to die forgotten. No; Jehovah, Israel’s God, hath declared concerning Himself, „The Lord thy God is a jealous God.” It is His own declaration, „I will by no means clear the guilty.” „The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” Learn ye, my friends, to look upon God as being as severe in His justice as if He were not loving, and yet as loving as if He were not severe. His love does not diminish His justice, nor does His justice, in the least degree, make warfare upon His love. The two things are sweetly linked together in the atonement of Christ. But, mark, we can never understand the fulness of the atonement
till we have first grasped the Scriptural truth of God’s immense justice. There was never an ill word spoken, nor an ill thought conceived, nor an evil deed done, for which God will not have punishment from some one or another. He will either have satisfaction from you, or else from Christ. If you have no atonement to bring through Christ, you must for ever lie paying the debt which you never can pay, in eternal misery; for as surely as God is God, He will sooner lose His Godhead than suffer one sin to
go unpunished, or one particle of rebellion unrevenged.
You may say that this character of God is cold, and stern, and severe. I cannot help what you say of it; it is nevertheless true. Such is the God of the Bible; and though we repeat it is true that He is love, it is no more true that He is love than that He is full of justice, for every good thing meets in God, and is carried to perfection, whilst love reaches to consummate loveliness, justice reaches to the sternness of inflexibility in Him. He has no bend, no warp in His character; no attribute so predominates as to cast a shadow upon the other. Love hath its full sway, and justice hath no narrower limit than His love.
Oh! then, beloved, think how great must have been the substitution of Christ, when it satisfied God for all the sins of His people. For man’s sin God demands eternal punishment; and God hath prepared a Hell into which He casts those who die impenitent. Oh! my brethren, can ye think what must have been the greatness of the atonement which was the substitution for all this agony which God would have cast upon us, if He had not poured it upon Christ.
Look! look! look with solemn eye through the shades that part us from the world of spirits, and see that house of misery which men call Hell! Ye cannot endure the spectacle. Remember that in that place there are spirits for ever paying their debt to divine justice; but though some of them have been for these four thousand years sweltering in the flame, they are no nearer a discharge than when they began; and when ten thousand times ten thousand years shall have rolled away, they will no more have made satisfaction to God for their guilt than they have done up till now.
And now can you grasp the thought of the greatness of your Saviour’s mediation when He paid your debt, and paid it all at once; so that there now remaineth not one farthing of debt owing from Christ’s people to their God, except a debt of love. To justice the believer oweth nothing; though he owed originally so much that eternity would not have been long enough to suffice for the paying of it, yet, in one moment Christ did pay it all, so that the man who believeth is entirely justified from all guilt, and set free from all punishment, through what Jesus hath done. Think ye, then, how great His atonement if He hath done all this.
I must just pause here, and utter another sentence. There are times when God the Holy Spirit shows to men the sternness of justice in their own consciences. There is a man here today who has just been cut to the heart with a sense of sin. He was once a free man, a libertine, in bondage to none; but now the arrow of the Lord sticks fast in his heart, and he has come under a bondage worse than that of Egypt. I see him today, he tells me that his guilt haunts him everywhere. The Negro slave, guided by the pole star, may escape the cruel ties of his master and reach another land where he may be free; but this man feels that if he were to wander the wide world over he could not escape from guilt. He that hath been bound by many irons, can yet find a file that can unbind him and set him at liberty; but this man tells you that he has tried prayers and tears and good works, but cannot escape the gyves from his wrist; he feels as a lost sinner still, and emancipation, do what he may, seems to him impossible. The captive in the dungeon is some-times free in thought, though not in body; through his dungeon walls his spirit leaps, and flies to the stars, free as the eagle that is no man’s slave. But this man is a slave in his thoughts; he cannot think one bright, one happy thought. His soul is cast down within him; the iron has entered into his spirit, and he is sorely afflicted. The captive sometimes forgets his slavery in sleep, but this man cannot sleep; by night he dreams of hell, by day he seems to feel it; he bears a burning furnace of flame within his heart, and do what he may he cannot quench it. He has been confirmed, he has been baptized, he takes the sacrament, he attends a church or he frequents a chapel, he regards every rubric and obeys every canon, but the fire burns still. He gives his money to the poor, he is ready to give his body to be burned, he feeds the hungry, he visits the sick, he clothes the naked, but the fire burns still, and do what he may he cannot quench it.
O, ye sons of weariness and woe, this that you feel is God’s justice in full pursuit of you, and happy are you that you feel this, for now to you I preach this glorious Gospel of the blessed God. You are the man for whom Jesus Christ has died; for you He has satisfied stern justice; and now all you have to do to obtain peace of conscience, is just to say to your adversary who pursues you, „Look you there! Christ died for me; my good works would not stop you, my tears would not appease you: look you there! There stands the cross; there hangs the bleeding God! Hark to His death-shriek! See Him die! Art thou not satisfied now?” And when thou hast done that, thou shalt have the peace of God which passeth all understanding, which shall keep thy heart and mind through Jesus Christ thy Lord; and then shalt thou know the greatness of His atonement.
III. In the third place, we may measure the greatness of Christ’s Redemption by THE PRICE HE PAID.
It is impossible for us to know how great were the pangs of our Saviour; but yet some glimpse of them will afford us a little idea of the greatness of the price He paid for us. O Jesus, who shall describe thine agony?
„Come, all ye springs, Dwell in my head and eyes; come, clouds and rain! My grief hath need of all the wat’ry things, That nature hath produc’d. Let ev’ry vein Suck up a river to supply mine eyes, My weary weeping eyes; too dry for me, Unless they get new conduits, new supplies, To bear them out, and with my state agree.”
O Jesus! thou wast a sufferer from thy birth, a man of sorrows and grief’s acquaintance. Thy sufferings fell on thee in one perpetual shower, until the last dread hour of darkness. Then not in a shower, but in a cloud, a torrent, a cataract of grief, thine agonies did dash upon thee. See Him yonder! It is a night of frost and cold; but He is all abroad. It is night; He sleeps not, but He is in prayer. Hark to His groans! Did ever man wrestle as He wrestles? Go and look in His face! Was ever such suffering depicted upon mortal countenance as you can there behold? Hear His own words? „My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.” He rises: He is seized by traitors and is dragged away. Let us step to the place when just now He was engaged in agony. O God! and what is this we see? What is this that stains the ground? It is blood! Whence came it? Had He some wound which oozed afresh through His dire struggle Ah! no. „He sweat, as it were, great drops of blood, falling down to the ground.” O agonies that surpass the word by which we name you! O sufferings that cannot be compassed in language! What could ye be that thus could work upon the Saviour’s blessed frame, and force a bloody sweat to fall from His entire body?
This is the beginning; this is the opening of the tragedy. Follow Him mournfully, thou sorrowing church, to witness the consummation of it. He is hurried through the streets; He is dragged first to one bar and then to another; He is cast and condemned before the Sanhedrin; He is mocked by Herod; He is tried by Pilate. His sentence is pronounced— „Let Him be crucified!” And now the tragedy cometh to its height. His back is bared; He is tied to the low Roman column; the bloody scourge ploughs furrows on His back, and with one stream of blood His back is red—a crimson robe that proclaims Him emperor of misery. He is taken into the guard room; His eyes are bound, and then they buffet Him, and say, „Prophesy who it was that smote thee?” They spit into His face; they plait a crown of thorns, and press His temples with it; they array Him in a purple robe; they bow their knees, and mock Him. All silently He sits; He answers not a word. „When he was reviled, he reviled not again,” but committed Himself unto Him whom He came to serve.
And now they take Him, and with many a jeer and jibe they drive Him from the place, and hurry Him through the streets. Emaciated by continual fastings, and depressed with agony of spirit He stumbles beneath His cross. Daughters of Jerusalem! He faints in your streets. They raise Him up; they put His cross upon another’s shoulders, and they urge Him on, perhaps with many a spear-prick, till at last He reaches the mount of doom. Rough soldiers seize Him, and hurl Him on His back; the transverse wood is laid beneath Him; His arms are stretched to reach the necessary distance; the nails are grasped; four hammers at one moment drive four nails through the tenderest parts of His body; and there He lies upon His own place of execution dying on His cross. It is not done yet. The cross is lifted by the rough soldiers. There is the socket prepared for it. It is dashed into its place: they fill up the place with earth; and there it stands.
But see the Saviour’s limbs, how they quiver! Every bone has been put out of joint by the dashing of the cross in that socket! How He weeps! How He sighs! How He sobs! Nay, more hark how at last
He shrieks in agony, „My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” O sun, no wonder thou didst shut thine eye, and look no longer upon a deed so cruel! O rocks! no wonder that ye did melt and rend your hearts with sympathy, when your Creator died! Never man suffered as this man suffered, Even death itself relented, and many of those who had been in their graves arose and came into the city.
This, however, is but the outward. Believe me, brethren, the inward was far worse. What our Saviour suffered in His body was nothing compared to what He endured in His soul. You cannot guess, and I cannot help you to guess, what He endured within. Suppose for one moment—to repeat a sentence I have often used—suppose a man who has passed into Hell— suppose his eternal torment could all be brought into one hour; and then suppose it could be multiplied by the number of the saved, which is a number past all human enumeration. Can you now think what a vast aggregate of misery there would have been in the sufferings of all God’s people, if they had been punished through all eternity? And recollect that Christ had to suffer an equivalent for all the hells of all His redeemed. I can never express that thought better than by using those oft-repeated words: it seemed as if Hell were put into His cup; He seized it, and, „At one tremendous draught of love, He drank damnation dry.” So that there was nothing left of all the pangs and miseries of Hell for His people ever to endure. I say not that He suffered the same, but He did endure an equivalent for all this, and gave God the satisfaction for all the sins of all His people, and consequently gave Him an equivalent for all their punishment. Now can ye dream, can ye guess the great redemption of our Lord Jesus Christ?
IV. I shall be very brief upon the next head. The fourth way of measuring the Savior’s agonies is this: we must compute them by THE GLORIOUS DELIVERANCE WHICH HE HAS EFFECTED.
Rise up, believer; stand up in thy place, and this day testify to the greatness of what the Lord hath done for thee! Let me tell it for thee. I will tell thy experience and mine in one breath. Once my soul was laden with sin; I had revolted against God, and grievously transgressed. The terrors of the law gat hold upon me; the pangs of conviction seized me. I saw myself guilty. I looked to Heaven, and I saw an angry God sworn to punish me; I looked beneath me and I saw a yawning Hell ready to devour me. I sought by good works to satisfy my conscience; but all in vain, I endeavoured by attending to the ceremonies of religion to appease the pangs that I felt within; but all without effect. My soul was exceeding sorrowful, almost unto death. I could have said with the ancient mourner, „My soul chooseth strangling and death rather than life.” This was the great question that always perplexed me: „I have sinned; God must punish me; how can He be just if He does not? Then, since He is just, what is to become of me?”
At last mine eyes turned to that sweet word which says, „The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth from all sin.” I took that text to my chamber; I sat there and meditated. I saw one hanging on a cross. It was my Lord Jesus. There was the thorn-crown, and there the emblems of unequalled and peerless misery. I looked upon Him, and my thoughts recalled that word which says, „This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Then said I within myself, „Did this man die for sinners? I am a sinner; then He died for me. Those He died for He will save. He died for sinners; I am a sinner; He died for me; He will save me.” My soul relied upon that truth. I looked to Him, and as I „viewed the flowing of His soul-redeeming blood,” my spirit rejoiced, for I could say,
„Nothing in my hands I bring,
Simply to this cross I cling;
Naked look to Him for dress;
Helpless come to Him for grace!
Black, I to this fountain fly;
Wash me, Saviour, or I die!”
And now, believer, you shall tell the rest. The moment that you believed, your burden rolled from your shoulder, and you became light as air. Instead of darkness you had light; for the garments of heaviness you had the robes of praise. Who shall tell your joy since then? You have sung on earth, hymns of Heaven, and in your peaceful soul you have anticipated the eternal Sabbath of the redeemed. Because you have believed you have entered into rest. Yes, tell it the wide world over; they that believe, by Jesus’ death are justified from all things from which they could not be freed by the works of the law. Tell it in Heaven, that none can lay anything to the charge of Gods’ elect. Tell it upon earth, that God’s redeemed are free from sin in Jehovah’s sight. Tell it even in Hell, that God’s elect can never come there; for Christ hath died for them, and who is he that shall condemn them? Now I have hurried over this to come to the last point, which is he sweetest of all. Jesus Christ, we are told in our text, came into the world „to give his life a ransom for many.”
V. The greatness of Christ’s redemption may be measured by the EXTENT OF THE DESIGN OF IT.
I must now return to that controverted point again. We are often told (I mean those of us who are commonly nicknamed by the title of Calvinists—and we are not very much ashamed of that; we think that Calvin, after all, knew more about the Gospel than almost any man who has ever lived, uninspired). We are often told that we limit the atonement of Christ, because we say that Christ has not made a satisfaction for all men, or all men would be saved. Now, our reply to this is, that, on the other hand, our opponents limit it: we do not. The Arminians say, Christ died for all men. Ask them what they mean by it. Did Christ die so as to secure the salvation of all men? They say, „No, certainly not.” We ask them the next question—Did Christ die so as to secure the salvation of any man in particular? They answer „No.” They are obliged to admit this, if they are consistent. They say, „No; Christ has died that any man may be saved if”—and then follow certain conditions of salvation. We say, then, we will go back to the old statement—Christ did not die so as beyond a doubt to secure the salvation of anybody, did He? You must say „No;” you are obliged to say so, for you believe that even after a man has been pardoned, he may yet fall from grace, and perish. Now, who is it that limits the death of Christ? Why, you. You say that Christ did not die so as to infallibly secure the salvation of anybody. We beg your pardon, when you say we limit Christ’s death; we say, „No, my dear sir, it is you that do it.” We say Christ so died that He infallibly secured the salvation of a multitude that no man can number, who through Christ’s death not only may be saved but are saved, must be saved, and cannot by any possibility run the hazard of being anything but saved. You are welcome to your atonement; you may keep it. We will never renounce ours for the sake of it.
Now, beloved, when you hear any one laughing or jeering at a limited atonement, you may tell him this. General atonement is like a great wide bridge with only half an arch; it does not go across the stream: it only professes to go half way; it does not secure the salvation of anybody. Now, I had rather put my foot upon a bridge as narrow as Hungerford, which went all the way across, than on a bridge that was as wide as the world, if it did not go all the way across the stream.
I am told it is my duty to say that all men have been redeemed, and I am told that there is a Scriptural warrant for it—”Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” Now, that looks like a very, very great argument indeed on the other side of the question. For instance, look here. „The whole world is gone after him.” Did all the world go after Christ? „Then went all Judea, and were baptized of him in Jordan.” Was all Judea, or all Jerusalem baptized in Jordan? „Ye are of God, little children,” and „the whole world lieth in the wicked one.” Does „the whole world” there mean everybody? If so, how was it, then, that there were some who were „of God?” The words „world” and „all” are used in seven or eight senses in Scripture; and it is very rarely that „all” means all persons, taken individually The words are generally used to signify that Christ has redeemed some of all sorts—some Jews, some Gentiles, some rich, some poor, and has not restricted His redemption to either Jew or Gentile.
Leaving controversy, however, I will now answer a question. Tell me, then, sir, whom did Christ die for? Will you answer me a question or two, and I will tell you whether He died for you. Do you want a Saviour? Do you feel that you need a Saviour? Are you this morning conscious of sin? Has the Holy Spirit taught you that you are lost? Then Christ died for you and you will be saved. Are you this morning conscious that you have no hope in the world but Christ? Do you feel that you of yourself cannot offer an atonement that can satisfy God’s justice? Have you given up all confidence in yourselves? And can you say upon your bended knees, „Lord, save, or I perish”? Christ died for you.
If you are saying this morning, „I am as good as I ought to be; I can get to Heaven by my own good works,” then, remember, the Scripture says of Jesus, „I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” So long as you are in that state I have no atonement to preach to you. But if this morning you feel guilty, wretched, conscious of your guilt, and are ready to take Christ to be your only Saviour, I can not only say to you that you may be saved, but what is better still, that you will be saved. When you are stripped of everything, but hope in Christ, when you are prepared to come empty-handed and take Christ to be your all, and to be yourself nothing at all, then you may look up to Christ, and you may say, „Thou dear, thou bleeding Lamb of God! thy griefs were endured for me; by thy stripes I am healed, and by thy sufferings I am pardoned.” And then see what peace of mind you will have; for if Christ has died for you, you cannot be lost. God will not punish twice for one thing. If God punished Christ for your sin, He will never punish you. „Payment, God’s justice cannot demand, first, at the bleeding surety’s hand, and then again at mine.” We can today, if we believe in Christ, march to the very throne of God, stand there, and if it is said, „Art thou guilty?” we
can say, „Yes, guilty.” But if the question is put, „What have you to say why you should not be punished for your guilt?” We can answer, „Great God, thy justice and thy love are both guarantees that thou wilt not punish us for sin; for didst thou not punish Christ for sin for us? How canst thou, then, be just—how canst thou be God at all, if thou dost punish Christ the substitute, and then punish man himself afterwards?”
Your only question is, „Did Christ die for me?” And the only answer we can give is—”This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ came into the world to save sinners.” Can you write your name down among the sinners—not among the complimentary sinners, but among those that feel it, bemoan it, lament it, seek mercy on account of it? Are you a sinner? That felt, that known, that professed, you are now invited to believe that Jesus Christ died for you, because you are a sinner; and you are bidden to cast yourself upon this great immovable rock, and find eternal security in the Lord Jesus Christ.

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