Every Divine Law in the Heart of Christ and His Spiritual Seed
THE UNBELIEVING DISOBEDIENT TO THE FAITH AND WITHOUT LAW.
William Huntington (1745-1813)
I delight to do thy will, O my God; yes, thy law is within my heart�Psa. Xl. 8.
Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness; the people in whose heart is my law� Isa. li. 7.
The law is not made for the righteous, but for the lawless and disobedient�1 Tim. I. 9.
IT has been for some time the determination of my mind to publish no more; and I have continued long in this mind; and although I have had at times some very extensive views and fresh discoveries in the word of God to me, yet I have suppressed them, not choosing to bring them out, knowing that they would be now esteemed as they were in the days of old. "I have written to him the great things of my law; but they were counted as a strange thing," Hosea, viii. 12. The cause of my publishing this scrap is the continual attacks that are made upon me by the law-men of our day, falsely so called; among whom there is a man that wishes much to be noticed as an author. He is a person whom I never saw to my knowledge; I know nothing of him, nor does he know any thing of himself; so that he is an entire stranger both to himself and to me: yet this poor restless creature, unmolested and unprovoked, has taken up his pen twice against me upon the subject of the law; though I am fully persuaded that no one law, that ever came out of the mouth of God, was ever applied to him, or written either in his mind or on the fleshly tables of his heart; so that he is lawless, or destitute of every law of God. The crime that I am charged with is, that I do not hold forth the law as the rule of life to the believer, nor set it before the children of God as such. This is my crime; and I believe that more sermons and pamphlets have been preached and published against me for this supposed crime, than have been preached or published against all the Arians, Socinians, Sabellians, Atheists or Deists, Papists or Arminians, Rebels or Traitors, for these twenty years past. And, after all this terrible outcry, I have no doubt but many, who are reproached for lawless Antinomians, could compare notes with the best of these that commend themselves, either with respect to experience or power light or knowledge, diligence or industry, study or labour, success in the ministry, usefulness or fruitfulness, love to God or love to the neighbour, generosity or liberality, life or walk, conduct or conversation. For I believe in my conscience that every one to a man, that has written against me, is entirely destitute of every law of God, and in a state of unbelief, and "without faith it is impossible to please God," The unbelieving professor can do nothing right, as God says of Israel of old - "They are children in whom is no faith," Deut. xxxiii. 20. And therefore, says he, they do always "err in their hearts, and they have not known my ways; so I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest," Psalm xcv. 10, 11. "And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? so we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief," Heb. iii. 18, 19. Therefore, if I am erroneous in this one point, still I am nearer the mark than they who always err in their hearts, and who have not known God's ways; and, if they have not known his ways, they can never put others right. Now my reasons for not setting the law as a rule of life before the children of God are,
1. Because I do not find this rule in any one commission given forth of God to any of his evangelical servants; no, not in the commission of Christ himself. "The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor: he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted; to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind; to set at liberty them that are bruised. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord," Luke, iv. 18, 19. And although it is true that he preached the law in all its spiritual meaning as no other ever did, yet he never sent sensible and seeking sinners to it, but always directed them to the good-will of the Father in himself. "He that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven shall enter into the kingdom," Matt. vii. 21. "It is not the will of your Father which is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish," Matt. xviii. 14. "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, and I will raise him up at the last day," John, vi. 40. Our Lord here sets the Father's will before the children, which is his good-will of purpose and of promise in Christ But God is a master as well as a Father. "If I be a Father, where is my honour, and if I be a master, where is my fear?" Malachi, i. 6. Believers are not servants but sons; and before these sons he sets the heavenly Father's will; but the self-sufficient servant he always sends to the law, which is the commanding will of the master, and the servant's only rule. "What is written in the law; how readest thou? This do and thou shalt live," Luke, x. 26, 28. But our Lord never once called the law the believer's rule of life: nor does he call it the believer's law, but applies it to his enemies. "But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law," John, xv. 25.
2. I do not find this rule of life in the commission of the twelve apostles - "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature," Mark, vi. 15.
3. Nor is it to be found in the commission given to Paul. "I send thee to the Gentiles, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me," Acts, xxvi. 17, 18.
4. Another reason why I do not choose to set the law before the saints as their rule of life, is because I do not find this rule, nor any words like them, in all the Bible. "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision aveileth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature: and as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God," Galat. vi. 15, 16.
5. My next reason is, I am informed that we "are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held, that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter," Rom. vii. 6. And to send believers to the law for fresh supplies of the spirit and his grace, to enable them for this service, is sending them to a barren mountain to get green pastures "This only would I learn of you; received ye the spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" Galat. iii. 2.
6. It is the will of God that we should live by faith, and walk by faith, and not by sight. "And the law is not of faith; but the man that doeth them shall live in them," Galat. iii. 12. "For, if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect," Rom. iv. 14.
7. I understand that a minister of the spirit, who preaches up and enforces the kingdom of God, obtains a good report both from heaven and earth. "For the kingdom of God is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, for he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men," Rom. xiv. 17, 18.
8. I think that the saint's deliverance from the law is expressed in terms as strong as words can make them, that we may be joyful in, and thankful for, our glorious liberty by Christ; for it is said that "we are become dead to the law," Rom. vii. 4; "Redeemed from the law," Gal. iii. 13; "Delivered from the law," Rom. vii. 6; and "not under the law," Rom. vi. 14. And that the new covenant hath made the law old, and that it is "done away," 2 Cor. iii. 11; and "abolished," 2 Cor. iii. 13.
9. I understand that setting the law before believers as the rule of life is the only way to keep them in death, and at a distance from Christ, and from union and communion with him. "Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ, that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God," Rom. vii. 4.
10. I believe that there is a continual communication or flowing of grace by the Spirit from the fullness that is in Christ to all believers, insomuch that they are watered every moment, and kept night and day, Isai. xxvii. 3. And that driving them from the law to Christ, and enforcing an union with him, is the only way .to keep saints alive, warm, comfortable, grateful to God, or fruitful to his glory. "He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit," John, xv. 5.
11. I believe that all law-men, falsely so called, or ministers of the letter cannot see this union, much less feel and enjoy it; but, being habitually flogged and driven by a legal conscience and the letter of the law, they know of no other springs or motions but slavish fear, nor of any allurements but the applause of men and therefore they conclude that every one that is delivered from the law, and influenced by the grace and operations of a spirit of love, of power, and of a sound mind, which breaks both the yoke of the law and the yoke of priestcraft, that this drives men to antinomianism. Hence they charge such with loose and licentious living. But the son of God says, No, it is not "For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." Luke, vi. 43. And he adds, "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit," Matt. vii. 18.
12. I believe in my heart that I am redeemed, and delivered from the curse of the law, by the application of the atoning blood of Christ, sprinkled on my conscience by the Holy Spirit of God; and that, by the imputation of Christ's obedience to the law for me as my surety, and being placed to my account, I am delivered from the galling yoke of precept, "Do, and live." This is what I firmly believe; this I have long experienced, felt, and enjoyed; and, was I to deviate from this, I should preach lies, and preach what I do not believe; "and whatsoever is not of faith is sin," Rom. xiv. 23.
13. I believe that none of those who have written against me, calling me antinomian, ever performed one good work themselves in all their lives, being wholly destitute of a good root: and their performances destitute of the real properties of a good work. Good fruits must be fruits of the Spirit, and spring from union with the living vine: they must be done in the exercise of faith, and under the constraints of experienced love. But men destitute of the Spirit must be in the flesh; and "they that are in the flesh cannot please God," Rom. viii. 8. And "they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God," Rom. ix. 8. And if not united to Christ, what can they do? "Without me ye can do nothing," John, xv. 5. And "whatsoever is not of faith is sin." Nor will any man love God till he is pardoned. "Where much is forgiven, the same loveth much," John, vii. 47. "And without charity a man is nothing," 1 Cor. xiii. 2. And, if the workman be nothing, his works are worse than nothing. But no one, that has put his pen to paper in order to vilify me, ever did, nor ever could describe either the Spirit's work, the forgiveness of his own sins, genuine faith in Christ, union with him, or the sweet constraints of pardoning love. Every one of them were and are dead in trespasses and sins, and all their performances as dead as themselves.
14. The most Holy Spirit of God is to guide us into all truth; and I firmly believe that he has for many years condescended to teach, lead, and guide me: and many of his sweet lessons and delightful influences have I been made sensible of and have much rejoiced and delighted in. But, among all the lessons that I have received for these thirty years from him, that of setting the moral law before the believer in Christ, as his rule of life, is not to be found, although he guides the children of God into all truth; but tells us that "grace and truth came by Jesus Christ," John, i. 17. Yea, he tells me that even he himself, the spirit of all grace, and the spirit of all truth, came by Christ Jesus, and not by the law, or from the law. God ministers not the spirit by the works of the law.
15. I do not find, in all my Bible, that any of these law-men ever obtained a good report, either of God or of good men; or that they ever were acceptable to God, or approved of his saints. They are called ministers of the letter, which killeth, 2 Cor. iii. 6; Citizens of this country, Luke, xv. 15; that is, citizens of "Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children," Gal. iv. 25; subverters of souls, Acts, xv. 24; vain janglers, that know "neither what they say nor whereof they affirm," 1 Tim. i. 6; blind guides with the old vail upon their hearts, 2 Cor. iii. 15; blind watchmen, Isai. lvi. 10; shepherds that cannot understand, Isai. lvi. 11; "seducers deceiving and being deceived," 2 Tim. iii. 13; perverters of the gospel of Christ, Gal. i. 7; spies upon gospel liberty, to bring others into bondage, Gal. ii. 4; partial dealers, which have not kept God's ways, but have been partial in the law, Mal. ii. 9; dumb dogs that cannot bark, Isai. lvi. 10; deceitful workers and ministers of Satan, 2 Cor. xi. 14. These are the best titles that the Holy Spirit gives to these lawmen or letter preachers; who are destitute of the Holy Spirit of God.
16. No sort of professors are blamed more for hypocrisy than these law-men; they never feel, nor live up to, what they preach to others. "For neither they themselves who are circumcised, keep the law, but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh," Gal. vi. 13. Thus poor Stephen's accusers and murderers, who stoned him to death, are charged with disobedience to that law for which they were contending.- "Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it," Acts, vii. 53. But these men, having guilt and enmity continually working in their hearts, keep their conscience in perpetual turmoil, always at strife and never at peace, conscience accusing and cursing them, and they spying out every mote in the eyes of others, and accusing and cursing others, as conscience accuses and curses them. "Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?" John, vii. 19. They dent about the letter of the law, but are strangers to the spirituality of it; and, as for the glorious gospel of the blessed God, 1 Tim. i. 11, they cannot preach it. They may talk about the one God, about the Holy Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity; about the divinity of Christ, and of the unity of two natures in him; about the ancient settlements of eternity, and preach up what they may call the important doctrines of election and predestination, particular redemption, and effectual vocation, regeneration, justification, and sanctification, efficacious grace, and final perseverance, and yet at the same time be as destitute of the gospel of Christ as Satan himself. Men may "speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and yet be nothing," 1 Cor. xiii. 1, 2. Yea, more, be destitute both of the law and of the gospel; and have no more than the letter of the law and the word of the gospel. But the law is spiritual, and that is more than letter; and the gospel of the kingdom stands in power, and power is more than word.
The gospel is the power of God displayed in saving mankind. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek," Rom. i. 16. This power removes the guilt and filth of sin; it subdues the reigning and destroying power of sin; it makes us free from the drudgery and slavery of it, and saves us from the bondage and curse of a broken law, and from the destructive tyranny of Satan. If this be the gospel of Christ, then an unpardoned minister of the letter, and an unpardoned professor, have no more of the gospel of Christ in them than Satan himself. Their profession is vain, and all letter preaching is vain, and all the presumptuous confidence that attends it is vain, because "they are yet in their sins," 1 Cor. xv. 17.
2. The gospel is the ministration of reconciliation. "And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation," 2 Cor. v. 18, 19. Pardoning love will excite love. Where much sin is forgiven the same sinner will love much. "We love him because he first loved us." Where no pardoning love is made manifest there is no love to God, and where there is no love to God, there the carnal mind is enmity; and where this enmity reigns, there can be no friendship with God. And what can the enemies of God have to do with the gospel of reconciliation? Christ made all his disciples friends. "Henceforth I call you not servants, for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth; but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you," John, xv. 15. Our Lord's forerunner calls himself the friend of the bridegroom. "But the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly, because of the bridegroom's voice," John, iii. 19. Our Lord here shows the state of carnal men, that they are servants, and not sons; and being legal servants, they are blinded by the old veil. They know not what the Lord doeth. And he hints that such are enemies, in opposition to these which he calls his friends; and informs them that he has used them as friends, by admitting them into the secrets of his heavenly father's will; and having made them friends, he sends them forth with the ministry of reconciliation. And sure I am that nothing under heaven cuts a worse figure than a man in a pulpit, with an accusing conscience and a cursing law within; and a fallen countenance, feigned and fettered speech, a stinking savour of self, and flesh and blood without.
3. The gospel is a divine call to the enjoyment of divine holiness. "God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness," 1 Thess. iv. 7. "And without holiness no man can see the Lord," Heb. xii. 14. And our holiness is of God, and not of ourselves. God chastens us "for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness," Heb. xii. 10; which stands in the indwelling of the Holy Ghost. "Know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you," 1 Cor. vi. 19. As God hath said, I will dwell in them and walk in them," 2 Cor. vi. 19. The Holy Spirit taking possession of the soul, he plants his delightful crop of heavenly grace therein, called "the first fruits of the spirit," Rom. viii. 23. And which is an earnest of the glorious harvest, or the harvest of glory above. This delightful crop of divine grace is called the new man. "And be renewed in the Spirit of your mind. And that ye put on the new man, watch after God is created in righteousness and true holiness," Ephes. iv, 23, 24. The principal graces that compose this new man, which is created in true holiness, are faith and love; and holiness is ascribed to both; hence you read, "But ye beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life," Jude, 20. 21. Thus the words "most holy" are ascribed to faith; and the same holiness is ascribed to love. "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," Ephes. i. 4. This is what the scriptures call true holiness, in opposition to ceremonial, negative, or the spurious holiness which is preached up in the present day; and adorns the feigned hypocrites, who make it to consist in an external reformation, decent carriage, affected speech, a demure appearance, head notions, feigned faith, voluntary humility, and dissembled love; which swell the carnal mind with pride, and then they say, "Stand by thyself, come not near to me, for I am holier than thou." These, says God, "are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day," Isai. lxv. 5.
4. A preacher of the gospel is, or should be, a "good steward of the manifold grace of God," 2 Pet. iv. 10. He is a partaker of the sovereign love of God, which is the fountain of all grace; he has obtained "the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of God's grace," Eph. i. 7. He is "justified freely by grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus," Rom. iii. 24. He is an "heir of the grace of life," 1 Pet. iii. 7; is regenerated by the Spirit of Grace; and this grace is abundant "with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus," 1 Tim. i. 14. He enjoys the reigning power of divine grace, which reigns "through righteousness unto eternal life," Rom. v. 21. And obtains "everlasting consolation and good hope through grace," 2 Thess. ii. 16. And this grace works and labours in him mightily, and never sends forth a stinking savour, except it be in the nostrils of hypocrites. "I laboured more abundantly than they all," says Paul; "yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me," 1 Cor. xv. 10. Pardoning grace makes him pure, and justifying grace makes him bold. The grace of life keeps him lively; the grace of love constrains him; the grace of faith keeps him at a point, and makes him positive and consistent with himself, and his gospel is yea and amen. He knows he runs at a certainty, and fights sure of victory; for his faith overcomes the world. The grace of patience enables him to bear his cross, and to bear up under all the reproach that is cast upon him. The grace of meekness gives vent to the troubles of Isis heart when it is overcharged with grief. The grace of Peace keeps him in friendship both with God and conscience; and the more kind his God appears the more he loathes himself. This clothes him with the grace of humility, and hides pride from his eyes when he has done his best; while the grace of hope adds spurs to his diligence and keeps him in expectation of the great reward of inheritance when he has fought the good fight, finished his course, and kept the faith. And sure I am that God is not unrighteous to forget our "work of faith, labour of love, and patience of hope, in our Lord Jesus Christ," 1 Thess. i. 3.
5. The gospel is the ministration of the Spirit which exceeds all the glory of the law. "But, if the ministration of death written and engraves on stone was glorious, shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather glorious? For, if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious," 2 Cor. iii. 7, 8, 11. The Holy Spirit's work is to convince us of sin, and to wound us by cutting reproofs for it, by the application of God's word, which is the Spirit's sword. He quickens us to make us feel the reproofs which he gives, which sink deep, and make us lay our sins to heart. He enlightens us to see our sins in the glass of God's holy law, and sets them in order before our face. He testifies of Christ, and sets him before the sinner in the gospel, as evidently crucified for him. He takes of the things of Christ, and exhibits them to the enlightened understanding; and works faith in the heart, to apply him with all his saving benefits, and with all his glorious fullness; and having enabled us to believe in him and receive him, he makes our sonship manifest, and enables us to claim it with the fullest assurance; yea, he himself cries, "Abba, Father," and bears his witness with our spirits that we are of the children of God. He applies the promises and the promised blessing. He helps our infirmities at a throne of grace, and makes us approach with fortitude and fervour, with faith and affection. He lets us know the things that are freely given us of God; and furnishes the mouth with petitions, pleas, and arguments, taken from the word of truth. He sheds abroad God's love in the heart, and excites our love to God. He leads us into the mysteries of Christ's kingdom, and into God's foreknowledge and absolute choice of us in Christ Jesus before the world began. He shows us God's secret counsel and covenant, his good-will of purpose and of promise. He puts on the imputed righteousness of Christ, and sanctifies us internally, by spreading his glorious beams and holy influences throughout the whole soul, adorning every faculty with his glorious train and treasure of divine grace: and this from a dear Redeemer's fullness. Divine power bows and bends the will; life and peace possess the heavenly mind; glorious light shines in the understanding; truth dwells richly in the judgment; the love of God engrosses and captivates the affections; while conscience is charmed with the "blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel," Heb. xii. 24. He increases the work of faith, and makes the soul abound in hope. He strengthens us by his might in the inner man, and seals the soul with the full assurance of faith up to the day of redemption, while he himself, abiding in the heart, is the earnest of the future inheritance. He prepares the heart, unseals the Bible, and creates the fruit of the lip, making grace to rise in the soul like a springing well, and the words of wisdom like a flowing brook. Now either this is the gospel or it is not; and, if it be, where is it, where does it appear? I see but little of it.
The religion of our day stands in an outside shew in the flesh. There is much talk and noise about holiness; and where the most of this noise is, even there the worst of beings off assemble, to meet their companions in wickedness. Nor would I part with one single chastisement of my covenant God and Father for all the holiness that such divines could describe in a thousand years.
The fame that has spread itself in our days is not the power of God in the salvation of men: but consists in the arrogant pretensions of a presumptuous boy to convert the Jewish nation; in renewing the pagan world with noodles and idiots; working the minds of uninformed people up into enthusiastic and fanatic phrensies; in collecting money for purchasing organs and bagpipes; charming souls with wind music; keeping an audience together by the cunning craft of Tubal Cain, and hiring young men and women without any grace in their hearts to charm this audience when gathered together, and to make melody to the preacher. And these things entertain and keep the people in perpetual motion, so that they shall neither attend to God or conscience. But should any thing of the power of godliness appear, it is traduced for antinomianism; and, if any man, who believes with his heart unto righteousness, presume to make confession with his mouth unto salvation, he is reprobated as a deceiver, and as an enemy to all laws, human and divine. These are some of the weapons of their warfare, and this is the generation work of the present day. And it is well if the God of this world be not the author and finisher of all this faith.
We compass sea and land to convert the Hottentots; and when they are made they are twofold more the children of hell than those who made them. So that we may take .up the lamentation of the prophet, and say, "We have been with child: we have been in pain; we have as it were brought forth wind: we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen," Isai. xxvi 18. Sad complaints! We have brought forth wind, and we blow others to and fro with every puff; but we have wrought no deliverance in the earth, nor have the inhabitants of the world fallen so as to submit to the King of kings. And I am sure they never will until God send forth better workmen, and furnish them with better weapons.
6. The gospel is a revelation of the righteousness of God, which is the produce of his divine wisdom ordained and appointed from all eternity; wrought out and brought in by God the Son as the surety of the better testament: revealed in the everlasting Gospel, and brought to and put on every chosen vessel upon his believing in Christ, and that by the most holy and ever blessed Spirit of God. "I am a debtor both to the Greeks and to the barbarians; both to the wise and to the unwise. So as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the Gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, the just shall live by faith," Rom. i. 14-17. The righteousness which the Gospel reveals is the righteousness of God, which is to distinguish it from the law of righteousness, that calls for the righteousness of man. This righteousness is to all and upon all that believe, and upon no other; upon the imputation of it the sinner passes from death unto life, so as to come no more into condemnation, John, v. 25. Hence the justification of such a soul is called justification unto life, Rom. v. 18. Such a soul is justified by God himself; and who can condemn? Rom. viii. 33, 34; and, "being justified by faith he has peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," Rom. v. 1. Such a minister believes, and therefore speaks; he is one of the household of faith, and preaches the faith; he is alive, and holds forth the word of life. The righteousness of Christ is on him, and he is a preacher of righteousness. He has peace with God, and is an ambassador of peace. And, as faith goes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God, so righteousness goes from the heart of the preacher of righteousness to the heart of all that believe unto righteousness. This righteousness goes from faith to faith; but not from criminal to criminal, nor from infidelity to infidelity; although presumptuous confidence may, and does; so that it is, "Like people like priest," Hosea, iv. 9.
7. The Gospel of Christ is proclaimed to the world to bring' poor lost apostatized man back to God, even to communion and fellowship with Christ, and with God through Christ. "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ," 1 John, i. 3. This fellowship comes to pass by our cordial embracing of Christ in faith and affection; which is done when God reveals his Son in us, and then accepts us in him. Through Christ God's love flows into the heart, and our love through Christ flows out to God. We possess his love, and he possesses ours. Christ. sets up his kingdom within; and is known as our fountain by cleansing us; as our physician, by healing us; as our sovereign, by delivering us from the tyranny of Satan, sin, and death; as our righteousness, by silencing all accusers and condemners; as our peace, by the tranquillity that we feel; as our strength, by the support he grants us; as our life, by the lively frames we enjoy; and as our hope, by the lively expectations or glory to come. To all which the Spirit bears his witness, and cries "Abba, Father." And wherever sonship appears, there the inheritance is sure; for the inheritance is "of faith, that it might be by grace, that the promise might be sure to all the seed," Rom. iv. 16.
Having shewn what I conceive to be the Gospel, I shall now consider the law, and inquire who they are that have, and who have not, the law of God in their hearts. And I am sure that for what I am going to advance I shall be reproached for my singularity: but what I enforce I shall endeavour to support with the word of God, for by that I wish to stand or fall.
I do most assuredly believe in my conscience that, of all the laws which ever came forth from the Lord God of Israel (and the Jews say there are some hundreds), God never did, since Adam fell, apply any one to any man in this world but to the Son of God, and to the elect of God in him: to them, and to them only, are the laws of God applied. Nor do I believe that there ever was one non-elected soul, or reprobate, in this world, that could say, with truth and conscience, that God ever had, at any one time, put any one law of his into his mind, or written it on the fleshly tables of his heart.
No heathen, no Jewish or British Pharisee; no formalist; no outer-court worshipper whatever; no gifted minister, even such as have been enlightened, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come; nor any other, who hath received the external gifts of the Holy Ghost; nor even that servant who received the one talent, Matt. xxv. 25; nor the gifted man, that received the one pound, Luke, xix. 13; no minister of the letter; no, nor those that boast of wonderful works, and of casting out devils, Matt. vii. 22; no collegian or academician in the present day, however endowed with natural abilities; however learned, or however studious, eloquent, industrious, or labourious; if he be a non-inspired man, ever had any one law of God applied in its divine power to his heart. No graceless professor, no hypocrite in Zion, however reformed, varnished, embalmed, enrobed, adorned, or set off by the most illustrious minister of the letter, ever had one law of God in him or applied by God to him. Nor even Mr. L______ himself, who has written two treatises upon the subject of the law, in order to convince me and others of errors, and to set us right in the word and ways of God; even this man never had any one law of God, either moral or ceremonial, civil or evangelical, applied to him. "The law is made for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane," 1 Tim. i. 9. Now, although the law is made for such, yet the Apostle in the above passage calls them lawless; respecting the spirituality of the law they are lawless, and with respect to the Gospel disobedient. Though the law is not made for a righteous man, but for such ungodly sinners, yet he styles them outlawed, without law, or lawless, because no one law of God, in its spiritual meaning, in its latitude, in its unlimited demands, in its purity, holiness, and divine sanction, authority, and power, in the glory of it, in the majesty of it, was ever applied to any reprobate or uninspired man in this world; nor ever will be until the day of the grand assize; nor even then will the morality of it be applied, but its wrath and curse, and no more. "And if it be not so now, who will make me a liar, and make my speech nothing worth?" Job, xxiv. 25. Now we will act the part of the noble Bereans - search the scriptures, to see if these things be so, Acts, vii. 11. And,
First, We will begin with the heathen. "For, when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these having not the law, are a law unto themselves; which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another," Rom. ii. 14, 15. Now these few fragments of the law that remain in the light of nature (which is in some measure a guide to some things, right and wrong, which agree with the law), and which are to be found in the ruins of the fall, are not the law itself; for the law is spiritual, but these poor heathens were carnal, and sold under sin; therefore they had not the law itself, but the works of it. The Gentiles, which have not the law, they do by nature these things. They have not the law; they are a law unto themselves; they sin without law, and shall perish without law, Rom. ii. 12. The light of nature, or natural conscience, is all that these poor creatures have; and this light of nature often puts darkness for light, and light for darkness, Isai. v. 20; as may be seen both among Jews and Gentiles. The Samaritans called Simon Magus the great power of God, when the prince of darkness was in him. These put darkness for lights and the Jews, who called the Son of God Beelzebub, put the true light for darkness. And, as the light of nature errs so fatally as to put darkness for light, so their thoughts and consciences err also; both among Jews and Gentiles. "They shall put you out of the synagogues; yea, the time cometh that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service," John, vi. 2. Paul's thoughts and conscience also acquitted him, for blaspheming the Saviour and murdering the saints, which confirms what Paul says of himself, that he was alive without the law, and that sin was dead; for God's law never countenances, much less justifies, blasphemers and murderers. Nor can it be supposed that the Gentiles, which sacrificed to devils and not to God, ever had that law in their hearts which allows of no God but one, and demands love to him with all the heart and soul.
2. Nor had any of the non-elect among the Jewish pharisees any one law of God ever applied to them, although they pretended to this. - "Then they reviled" (the blind man), "and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses' disciples. We know that God spake unto Moses; as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is," John, ix. 28, 29. The whole of this boasted claim was an arrant lie, for a real disciple of Moses is a man taught out of Moses' law, and one who imitates his master in learning and knowledge, and who treads in his master's steps. Hence Moses' law is called a schoolmaster. - "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster, to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith," Gal. iii. 24. Observe here that the apostle does not call the law their schoolmaster; it is not the schoolmaster of reprobates, or non-elect persons; but he calls it our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith: "but after that faith is come we are no longer under a schoolmaster." According to the above passage the law is intended as a schoolmaster to God's own elect, and is applied to them as such. - "Whom God foreknew, them he did predestinate; and whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he loved. them he also justified," Rom. viii. 30. Now, if the law is our. schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of him, then it never was a schoolmaster applied to any of the non-elect, even among the Jewish pharisees; therefore their calling themselves Moses' disciples was an arrant lie; for they never had been sent to his law to school; they never had learned experimentally one lesson from him, neither moral not evangelical; for, instead of sitting at Moses' feet to be taught of him, they jostled him out of his chair. "The scribes and the pharisees sit in Moses' seat," Matt. xxiii. 2. And, as to Moses law they made the word of God (by Moses) of none effect through their own traditions, Mark, vii. 13. Yea, instead of embracing the instructions of Moses in his law, they rejected it altogether, "And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition," Mark, vii. 9. So far were they from submitting to Moses' tuition, that they rejected his commandments, turned him out of his seat, and set up their own traditions above his law: for all of which Moses became their accuser, instead of their teacher. "Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust," John, v. 45. There never was one self-righteous pharisee among the Jews, nor yet among the Gentiles or Britons, that ever had the law of God applied to them, or that ever had the law of God in them. Let us hear what the Holy Ghost himself says upon this head; and what he says ho speaks by the mouth of one who was once a pharisee of the first magnitude - a pharisee of the pharisees. "For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once; but when the commandment came sin revived, and I died," Rom. vii. 8, 9. Here the Holy Ghost affirms that during the time of Paul's continuing a pharisee, and while in an unconverted state, he was without the moral law. And he mentions this twice. "For without the law sin was dead; for I was alive without the law." And the Spirit confirms this still further, by asserting not only twice that he was without it, but takes notice of the application of the law to him, and that by God himself. "I was alive without the law: but when the commandment came sin revived, and I died," Rom. vii. 9. All that the non-elect, or unconverted among mankind, can pretend to, is,
1. That they are without the law.
2. That sin is dead, not purged; and,
3. That they themselves are alive without the law; that is, they are alive to sin, alive to the flesh, alive to themselves, alive in their own righteousness, and alive to their own ends and aims, which is their own applause.
Having thus proved that all heathens, and the best of all Jewish, and British pharisees, are without the moral law of God in its morality, in its power, and in its spiritual operation, as applied by God himself; so take notice, further, that it is God's prerogative to apply the law; man cannot do it. It is not only God's work to apply the law, but also to teach it, or to teach men out of it; to pick lessons out of the law and apply them, so as to make men know and feel them. "Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Lord, and teachest him out of thy law, that thou mayest give him rest," Psalm xciv. 12. If they, and only they, are blessed, whom God teaches out of the law, then it is plain that all are cursed who receive their teaching out of the law not from God, but from men only. They are ministers of the letter, and the letter killeth; therefore it is no wonder, for they are nothing else but blind guides. "The priests said not, where is the Lord? And they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal," Jerem. ii. 8. There is a veil upon the heart of these pretenders to the law, that blinds them to the last degree, which no pharisee is acquainted with. Hence we read of some who said, "Stand by thyself, come not near to me, for I am holier than thou," Isai. ixv. 5; of others, who affirm that they have kept all these things from their youth up, Matt. xix. 20; and others who never at any time transgressed God's commandment, Luke, xv. 29. And sad teachers of the law must these be, seeing the Lord declares that publicans and harlots go into the kingdom of God before them, Matt. xxi. 31. But I shall now,
3dly. Go to another set of men, and see if the moral law is to be found in them. These are the gifted men that appear under the gospel, and we may call their name Legion, for they are many, Mark, v. 9. By these I mean such as got into the primitive church and were called believers. "Thou seest, brother," (Saul) "how many thousands of Jews there are which believe, and they are all zealous of the law," Acts, xxi. 20. Now these are called ministers of the letter, being destitute of the Spirit of God, and so are distinguished from those ministers which God sends out. "But our sufficiency is of God, who also hath made us able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life," 2 Cor. iii. 5, 6.
Now the scriptures declare that "A man can receive nothing except it be given him from heaven," John, iii. 27; neither law nor gospel. A man may steal the word of God out of the mouth of his religious neighbour; but even this the Almighty hates. - "Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that steal my words every one from his neighbour. Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that use their tongues, and say, He saith. Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the Lord, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies and by their lightness; yet I sent them not nor commanded them; therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the Lord," Jerem. xxiii. 30-32. And, as he is against those thieves that steal his words of prophecy, so he is against these unpardoned and unsanctified law men, who trouble their heads with his statutes. "But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?" Psalm 1. 16. All that such men can do is to take this covenant of works, which is called statutes, into their mouth; for none but God can put it into their hearts; and he never will write any one of his laws on the minds of reprobates, nor put it into their hearts. Hence, they are called ministers of the letter, not of the law, for "the law is spiritual," Rom. vii. 14. They have nothing of the law but the bare letter, which is all that the Holy Ghost allows them to have, and this is all they have to trade with. Hence, the distinction. - "Who also hath made us able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit; for the letter killeth but the Spirit giveth life," 2 Cor. iii. 6. The stock of these preachers is the letter of the law; and they are dead men, dead in soul, and dead to God; and all their ministry is a dead work, being never quickened nor made alive by the Spirit of God; having nothing but death in their souls, and the killing letter of the law in their mouths, they minister death unto death. And any soul, that is alive by faith, may feel the effects of such a ministry as soon as he enters the place where such ministers are. A dismal gloom of darkness and a cold chill seizes and spreads itself through the whole soul. The sight of the audience increases this; and the taking of the text serves as a notice for the audience to get ready, and place themselves in their usual comers, for the most sound, sweet, and refreshing sleep that they enjoy throughout the whole week; being now out of the hurry of business, and the empty and barren noise of the preacher bidding defiance to all, not only the aged and the corpulent, but even the youths and the skeletons, to keep their eyes open while lie is at work. He operates upon your spirits like opium, and will lay you in a crisis, or transport you into the land of Nod, in spite of your best efforts. Standing up, pinching the flesh, snuff taking, beating the head against the pillars, or pricking yourself with a pin, is of no use. Morpheus, the god of sleep, is with him, and submit you must. "The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life." Nor is it possible for a believer in Christ to enjoy even the life, much less the lively exercise, of any one grace, under the best discourse that a minister of the letter can deliver. Let a child of God go under the ministry of the letter in the sweetest revivals of grace; let him go in the most sensible refreshings from the presence of God, or in the most humbling frame of meekness, contrition, or self-abasement; let him go under the most lively or joyful frames; or let him venture even under the sweetest enlargement, arising from fresh discoveries of the dying love of Christ, and from the strongest confidence of interest in it; yet none of these, nor even all these together, are found to be proof against a minister of the letter. The believer may carry these in, but he will lose all this good company, and never bring them away again. - "Beware of the leaven of the pharisees, which is hypocrisy." At the believer's departure the dew of heaven is exhaled by the barrenness of the preacher; death and bitterness of soul are communicated by the deadness and wrath that are in the preacher; straightness and bondage brace and contract the soul from the servile fears which the letter of the law genders. Enmity to God, and hard thoughts of him, attended with self pity, bitterness of soul, deadness, and backwardness to all that is good, are all that a soul can get under the letter. "The letter killeth." These fill the soul with murmuring and rebellion, and though they may not be spoken to the ear, nor suggested to the mind, yet experience repeats plain enough the ancient reproof. "Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen," Luke, xxiv. 5, 6. And as Christ has taken his seat on the holy hill of Zion, and dwells with the broken and contrite heart, none but the devil himself will ever entice us to seek him at Sinai, or under the ministry of the letter. Many under the impulse of the father of lies, and in vain confidence of their own strength, or excited by curiosity, have received under one lifeless discourse, such wounds and breaches in their souls, as have not been healed nor closed for many months. Here is nothing but husks. The sleepy soul gets a composing draught; the pharisaical soul head notions to nurse his pride; the carnally secure stronger in insensibility, and the arrogant and presumptuous their foreheads more hardened, and their false confidence more stiffened. All letter-men are, as Paul once was, "alive without the law," and sin is dead.
This service of the audience is rejected of God, as well as the labourer and his labour in the letter. God seeks true worshippers to worship him, not typical nor hypocritical ones; spiritual worshippers, not carnal ones; such as shall worship him in faith and love, not in unbelief and in the enmity of their minds; worshippers that know God for themselves; not ignorant worshippers who worship they know not what. All lip-labour without the heart, all bodily exercise without the soul, all outer-court worship and worshippers, all formal worship without the power, all service in the oldness of the letter without the newness of the Spirit, are rejected under the gospel. As heaven itself widely differs from the letters by which that holy place is named, so widely does the spiritual law of God, when he applies it, differ from the three letters which compose the word law. They talk of the gospel, but their soul is at Horeb; for they are all zealous of the law, and the letter of the law they take, but not the law itself. The letter is all that the Holy Ghost allows them. "Thou art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast. the form of knowledge and of truth in the law," Rom. ii. 19, 20. "And shall not uncircumcision, which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?" Rom. ii. 27. Now not one of these were ever chastened or taught of God out of the law; if they had they would have been under the blessing, and not in danger of being judged and condemned by the poor heathens. They had the letter of the law, but had never heard or felt the voice of God in the law: they had a form of knowledge, but not the power; a form of truth in the law; a form of words as we teach our children by a catechism or creed: but a form of knowledge out of the law is not the law itself. Looking at letters, and moulding these into a form in the mind, is one thing; but coming "to the mount which burns with fire, to blackness, and darkness, and tempest, the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words," is another, Heb. xii. 18, 19. There is a great difference between the letter and the terrible voice of God, and between a form of knowledge out of the law and the law sent home to the heart, attended with the judgment and sentence of God, by which sin is discovered; it rises out of its death, and the sinner himself dies. No reprobate whatever, no heathen among the Gentiles, no pharisee among the Jews, nor any minister of the letter, has, or ever had the law of God sent home or applied by God himself to his heart; and this will appear more plainly if we consider what the Spirit says of such preachers. "Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: from which some having swerved, have turned aside unto vain jangling; desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm," 1 Tim. i. 5-7. Observe here, these men are said first to turn their back upon charity, which the law requires; from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from unfeigned faith; and, instead of setting the proper rule of life before their hearers, they are said,
2. To swerve, that is to wander, deviate, or depart from a right rule.
3. The Spirit sets before us their earnest desire to preach the law, being ignorant of its spirituality and unlimited demands, as well as of its wrath and curse.
4. He takes notice of their wisdom; they know not what they say.
5. That they know not whereof they affirm, 1 Timothy, i. 7. And,
Lastly, that they handle it badly and unlawfully. The text these men handled was this, "Except ye be circumcised and keep the law of Moses, ye cannot be saved."
The first branch of this text sets aside the surety of the better testament, and brings the sinner in debtor to do the whole law.
2. They gave the Holy Spirit himself the lie; for he says, "There is salvation in none other name given under heaven" but in Christ, Acts, iv. 12. These say there is no salvation but in the law. "Except ye keep the law of Moses ye cannot be saved." And,
3. Though they bound these burdens upon others, yet themselves never touched them with one of their fingers. "For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh," Gal vi. 13. Hence it is plain that none of these lettermen were ever taught of God out of his law; and all their pretensions to the gospel only increase their transgressions of the law; for a spiritual law condemns spiritual adultery; and these men, turning their back upon Christ, prove themselves to be adulterers. They had claimed a second husband before the first was dead. They must become dead to the law, and the law as the first husband dead to them, or else the second match is always set aside, and such souls charged with adultery; and they shill be judged as such, for "whoremongers and adulterers God will judge," Heb. xiii. 4.
Now we shall see the use these men made of the law, and the evil report they obtained through unbelief.
1. They are charged with tempting God, by putting a yoke upon the neck of the disciples which neither they nor their fathers were able to bear.
2. They are charged with troubling the saints with words, not encouraging or refreshing them, but subverting their souls.
3. That they had no commandment, either from God or his apostles, to preach the law to them.
4. We are told that it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to the apostles also, to detect and discover the deception and hypocrisy of these law-men, Acts, chap. xv. Hence it is plain that no heathen among the Gentiles, no pharisee among Jews or Gentiles, no minister of the letter among the churches of Christ, ever had any one law of God written on his mind, or put into his heart. They are all alive without the law, and sin is dead in them all. There is none that can apply the law, or teach men out of it but God himself. And it is plain that none are taught of God but God's elect. "They shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest," Heb. viii. 11. And it is out of the law that we learn our first lessons. "Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Lord, and teachest him out of thy law," Psal xciv. 12. And this man soon obtains another blessing, for he is sure to hunger and thirst after righteousness, and blessed are such; for they shall be filled, Mal. v. 6. And these are sure to come to Christ; for the law is our school-master to bring us to him, Gal. iii. 24. "It is written in the prophets, and they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me," John, vi. 45.
Let Mr. L__________ shew me from God's word, or point out any one among the heathen, among Jewish and Gentile pharisees, among the ministers of the letter, or among the non-elect or unconverted, any one soul to whom God himself has applied his law, or whom God has taught out of his law, if he can. And it is seldom that a preacher of the letter makes any pretensions to this. They tell you, in the general, they were drawn by love, which is confessing that they never were chastened of God, nor taught by God out of his law.
4. Nor do I believe that any graceless professor, hypocrite, or apostate; no, nor even those who have finally fallen away from their profession, and have trampled upon the blood of Christ, and done despite to the Spirit of grace, and who are already in despair, and have the evident tokens of perdition upon them and in them, and who are sure of being eternally damned, without hope and without help; even these are not taught of God out of the law; nor is the law properly and fully sent home to their souls, as it was to the heart of Job, chap. xiii. 26; Hezekiah, Isai. xxxviii. 13; or the apostle Paul, Rom. vii. 9. The most terrible account we have of such men is, that they are given up to a reprobate mind, and to "a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries," Heb. x. 97. Under these dreadful arrests of divine justice I see no difference between the terrors of these apostates and those of the pagan emperors when the wrath of the Lamb entered into them. Their confessions and horrors were as dreadful as those of Judas; they differed little in this world, though they may in the world to come, it being more tolerable for Sodom than for a gospel despiser. But this is not God's teaching, but God's sentence. The law is not a schoolmaster for such a stream of brimstone, Isai. xxx. 33. When God puts his laws into the heart, he promises a new spirit also; and the Spirit searches the heart, like a candle lighted up in the soul, Zeph. i. 12. What he searches out he enlightens us to see; and what he enlightens us to see, he quickens us to feel. Where the Holy Spirit comes not, the law is no schoolmaster. Not one of these were ever taught of God. No soul knows the spirituality of the law but those whom God quickens; nor is one grain of the morality of the law to be found in any but those who are born again. And even these apostates have no more than the sentence, and an earnest of future vengeance; for they are said to be in a fearful looking for of judgment. They are not yet in full possession of their fears, but "the fear of the wicked it shall come upon him," Prov. x. 24. And what is this looking for of judgment, but looking for the execution of the sentence? And the fiery indignation looked for is endless death, under the wrath of God, in a fiery law. These expect the wrath and curse of God, and so do other sorts of sinners as well as they, for "the expectation of the wicked is wrath," Prov. xi. 23. All sinners are children of wrath; and "as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse," Gal. iii. 10; and they who believe not in Christ, are condemned already, and the wrath of God abideth on them, John, iii. 36. Yet all do not know it alike. Those given up to a fearful looking for of judgment do not feel as the elect of God do when he teaches them. Cain sets off with the curse of God on him, and goes to work to build a city. But the psalmist, when the law was working in him, was not capable of laying a plan, much less of executing it, in braiding a city. "I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up; while I suffer thy terrors I am distracted," Psal. lxxxviii. 15.
Esau could soon set off to farming and hunting, although the blessing, and all hope of it was gone for ever; while David, under the operation of the law, forgot to eat his bread, Psal. cii. 4. Reprobates and apostates have not half the keenness in their terrible sensations as the elect of God; for though such persons are alarmed, roused, awakened, and raised up, yet they have no spiritual life. But when God takes his children in hand to teach them out of his law, he breathes the breath of lift,, into them, which makes them feel their need of his blessed provision. It makes them hunger and thirst for the bread and water of life, and brings them into a starving condition; and such only shall come who are ready to perish. "The full soul loathes the honey-comb; but to the hungry every bitter thing is sweet." The law makes us feel our poverty, and it is the poor only that shall be fed. - "I will abundantly bless her provision, I will satisfy her poor with bread." Until the law is applied, and the sentence passed upon us, we cannot be proper objects of Christ's clemency. One of the characters of God's elect is that of dead men, and they are expressly called his dead men. "Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise," Isai. xxvi. 19. Upon this passage our Lord seems to have fixed his eyes when he said, "The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear, shall live," John, v. 25. As soon as God sent the law home to Paul he became one of these dead men. "Sin revived and I died. The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth," Acts, xxii. 14. And he owns that he was quickened, and lived; or rather that Christ lived in him. Now if the law be our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, and one of our characters is that of dead men, because appointed to be slain in time by the law (and Paul tells us that the law was sent home to him that he might be found among the Lord's dead ones - "I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God"; what can these ministers of the letter have to do with this law, who, instead of being one of Christ's dead men, are alive without the law, sin being dead? And surely such will never come to Christ, that they might have life, John, v. 40. Not one of those before described ever had any law of God applied to him, not even my antagonist himself; If he has ever learnt one lesson of God out of his law, let him send me an account of it, of his feelings under it, and what a spirit of bondage to fear is, together with an account of the different ingredients that compose a spirit of bondage; which if he cannot do, be is, as I have affirmed, and his own book confirms, dead in sin, and sin is dead in him; and he is alive without the law: nor is there any law that ever came from God applied to him, or to be found in his heart. And until this is the case the appointment and commission of Christ doth not extend to him; nor is he, or are such included in it. They tell us they are drawn by love, but I know they are rather led by Satan. Christ was not sent to heal the whole, but the sick; nor to feed the full, but the hungry; not to call the righteous, but sinners; nor to save the sound, but the lost! not to bring back those that stay at home, but those that went astray. His appointment is to preach the gospel to the poor in spirit, not the rich in self: and good tidings to the meek, not the impenitent: To speak a word in due season to them that are weary; to comfort all that mourn; to bind up the brokenhearted; to forgive them that have nothing to pay; to feed the poor of the flock, and such as were ready to perish; to set at liberty them that were bruised, and to comfort all that mourn Zion; to open the prison to them that are bound, and by the blood of his covenant to bring them forth out of the pit in which is no water; to guide the meek in judgment; to unstop deaf ears; to open blind eyes; to make the doubting soul, that stammers through unbelief, speak plainly; to give sinners beauty ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garments of praise the spirit of heaviness, that they may be trees of righteousness, the right-hand planting of God, that he may be glorified. But, as for the fit and the strong, he says he will not feed them, unless it he with judgment. Now these law men, or ministers of the letter, who are alive without the law, and in whom sin is dead, neither want light nor life; wherefore their ease is not described in all Christ's commission, nor once included in it, and therefore his anointing and appointment doth not extend itself to them. They make the law a refuge of lies, and by the help of God I will beat them out of it.
Having proved, by the word of God, that the law is a schoolmaster to his elect, to bring them to Christ, of course it cannot be the schoolmaster of the reprobates, because they never come to Christ.
2. That none but God's elect are chastened by him, and taught out of his law; and that all who have heard, and have learned of the Father, come to Christ; but, as the reprobates never come to the Saviour, it is plain that the rod of God is not upon them, nor are they taught of God out of his law. Such have never beard God's voice at any time, nor seen his shape, John, v. 37. "Man can receive nothing except it be given him from heaven," John, iii. 27; neither law nor gospel. I shall therefore inquire now who they are that God teaches to know his laws, and to whom God has promised to apply them.
First, they are called the seed of David. - "The Lord hath sworn in troth unto David, he will not turn from it, Of the fruit of thy body will I sit upon thy throne. If thy children will keep my covenant, and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children also shall sit upon thy throne for evermore. For the Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation," Psal. cxxxii. 11-13. These are called the seed of David, which is Christ and his seed, and not the seed of the serpent; and afterwards they are called Zion, not Hagar nor Sinai; the chosen of God, and not the rejected. These God teaches to know his covenant and his testimony, but none else.
2. "Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Lord, and teachest him out or thy law; that thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked. For the Lord will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance; but judgment shall return unto righteousness; and the upright in heart shall follow it," Psal. xciv. 12-15. The characters or these people are, that they are blessed of God, blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ; that they are chastened of God, which is the lot of sons, but not of bastards; that they find rest, as all believers do, in Christ; but none believe except those who are ordained to life. They are called God's people and God's inheritance. Their chastening and teaching .out of the law is called their judgment, which seems to go out against them; but it returns unto righteousness, or terminates in their justification; and then, being upright in heart, by faith that worketh by love, they follow after this righteousness. No lawmen, no ministers of the letter, none of the one-talent men, no wandering stars, no citizens of this country, are to be found in all this account.
3. "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: and they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know, the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousnesses, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more," Heb. viii. 10-12. These persons are called the house of Israel; not Israel after the flesh, but after the Spirit; preveilers with God. God is not ashamed to call himself their God, nor to claim them for his own people, which is revealing to them the covenant he made with Abraham. They obtain the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace. Into the minds of these men God himself puts his laws; and by his own most holy Spirit he writes them on the fleshly tables of their hearts. These are the elect of God, Abraham's spiritual seed. No child of the flesh, no lawmen, or letter-preachers, are included in this text.
4. "Hearken unto me, my people; and give ear unto me, O my nation; for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people," Isai. li. 4. These persons our Lord calls his people, they being, given to him by his Father, and made his charge. They are his by redemption; and are not their own, being bought with a price. And he styles them his nation, in distinction from the nations of the world. A nation redeemed from among men, or a nation taken out of other nations. - "A nation whose God is the Lord," Psalm xxxiii. 12. Called "an holy nation," 1 Pet. ii. 9. The elect of God, and no other, are meant by this nation, as appears by what follows. - "Remember me, O Lord, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people: O visit me with thy salvation; that I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance," Psal. cvi. 4, 5. No law-men, or letter-preachers, are to be found in this text.
5. "Sanctify the Lord of Hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling, and for a rock of offence, to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken. Bind up the testimony, seal the law, among my disciples," Isai. viii. 13-16. This law-giver, whoever he be, is to be an offence to both the houses of Israel, and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem; which, with her children, are all in bondage. But here is another set of men called disciples. A real disciple is one who sits at the Lord's feet, and receives his words, "Yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand; and they sat down at thy feet; every one shall receive of thy words," Deut. xxxiii. 3. They are not said to hear his words only, as many do; but to receive of his words; which shews that they mix faith with the word, and so receive it into the heart in the love of it. Here is a testimony to be bound, and a law to be sealed, among these disciples. An angel from heaven tells us that "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy," Rev. xix. 10. The binding cord, that attends the reception of this testimony, is the love of God the Father, which is the bond of the covenant and the bond of all perfectness. And this love of God always attends this testimony; for God's love is shed abroad in our heart by the Holy Ghost given unto us. the law here spoken of seems to me to be the law of faith, and the seal to be the full assurance of faith, which the Spirit works in the heart when he comes to take up his abode as a comforter. "Knowing brethren beloved, your election of God. For our gospel came not unto you in word only, bat also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in mud, assurance;" I Thess. i. 4, 5. This law and the seal are described by Paul himself. "In whom also, after that ye believed;" there is the law; "ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise;" there is the seal, Ephes. i. 13. No lawyers, no letter-men, are to be found among this class of disciples. It is plain, from all these passages, that the elect of God are to be taught of him, and to no other are these promises made: and, further, that all the statutes, judgments, or testimonies, which he requires them to observe, he himself will teach them, and furnish them for his work. "Ye shall be named the priests of the Lord: men shall call you the ministers of our God. And I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them," Isai. lxi. 6, 8. When God gave the law he ordered it to be put into the side of the ark; and all the laws to which he requires obedience he promises to put into the mind, and to write on the hearts of his children. It is God's desire to have his laws there. "Behold thou desirest truth in the inward parts; and in the hidden part thou shall make me to know wisdom," Psal. Ii. 6. I believe in my conscience, as firmly as I believe there is a God in heaven, that there is no one law in the book of God but what he himself hath put into my mind, and written upon my heart; and that he would enable me to give a simple and honest account of it to any sober inquirer, who might call upon me for that purpose. And yet the best names that I obtain among these letter-men are "that vile, that filthy, that stinking Antinomian." However, in this respect I am even with them, for I cannot stink more in their nostrils than they do in mine.
Having proved that no letter-men, no law-men, nor any other but the elect of God, have the promise of being taught of God, or of having any of God's laws put into their minds, or written o, the fleshly tables of their hearts; but that all these have as soon as they are called by grace, and regenerated by the Holy Spirit of promise; I shall now inquire who they are to whom God bears his testimony that his laws are in their hearts. - "For, if we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater," 1 John, v. 9.
First, he tells us that his dear Son has got his law in his heart. - "Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened; burnt offering and sin offering thou hast not required. Then said I, Lo, I come; in the volume of the book it written of me; I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law it within my heart," Psal. xl. 6-8. This testimony is given by Christ himself, that the law of God was in his heart; and I am fully persuaded that the same law is in he hearts of all his spiritual followers, and in no other sort or sect of men under heaven.
"The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment. The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide," Psalm xxxvii. 30, 31. God having made many promises to the objects of his choice, that he would put his laws into their minds and write them upon their hearts, he here bears a glorious testimony to the honour of every one of those in whom this work is done.
1. He calls him righteous, God having by his spirit drawn him to Christ, united him with Christ, and accepted him in him, in the Lord he has righteousness and strength. And, as it is God's work to root a poor sinner out of the flesh and out of self, and to transplant him into Christ, so he is called a tree of righteousness, the right-hand planting of God, that he may be glorified.
2. Being pardoned and justified, he is made wise unto salvation through faith that is in Christ. There is no wisdom in those who are dead in trespasses and sins. All sinners are fools; and empty professors of religion who are carnally secure while in possession of their guilt and filth, are the greatest fools of. all, as may be seen in the parable of the foolish virgins.
3. His mouth talketh of judgment: he has been arraigned and judged at the bar of God, and at the bar of his own conscience, and has been taken from the throne of judgment to the mercyseat, and obtained both righteousness and the sentence of justification freely by grace. Through faith in him, judgment is brought forth unto victory; and so all find it, sooner or later, who wait for Christ's law.
4. God styles himself the God and lawgiver of this man. "The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide." What this law in the heart is I shall shew hereafter. His feet are the confidences he has in God; by faith he stands. His steps are the goings out, and the different actings or exercises of his faith upon God through Christ; called the stem of the faith of our father Abraham, and the footsteps of the flock. Now these feet may stagger at the promise, and at providence too, in times of trial; but the steps shall never slide from the foundation, because he is built up on his most holy faith; nor shall his steps slide from the path of life, for the Holy Spirit quickens his faith and gives it all its acting, directs his steps, and keepeth the feet of all the saints; besides, faith has got eternal life in it. This is the testimony that God gives of these men in whose heart he writes his laws; and sure I am that it is a good report through faith which these men obtain. Let all our ministers of the letter search the scriptures, and see if they can obtain as good a report as these; and let them tell us what laws have been written upon their hearts, what was their state before this writing took place, what were their feelings under the impression, what was the change that followed upon it, and what were the fruits and effects produced by it, and how their hearts stood affected towards God. But this we shall never obtain; for there is no one law of God in them, either moral or evangelical. They are lawless and disobedient; lawless with respect to the morality of the law, and disobedient with respect to faith. Once more,
"My salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished. Hearken unto me ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings. For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool; but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation from generation to generation," Isai. ii. 6-8.
1. The account that God gives of these men is, that they know righteousness; they have had a fearful experience of the righteousness or justice of God; have had the law set home upon their consciences in all its spiritual meaning, and they know what that rule of righteousness requires; they know the blessings and benefits of an imputed righteousness; and they have had an experience of that divine love which is the fulfilling of the law of righteousness; nor are they ignorant of righteousness at the bar of equity, nor of the witness and inward peace that attend it.
2. God owns that his people have his law in their hearts, attended with his righteousness and his salvation, both of which shall be for ever; and therefore he tells them not to fear the reproach of men, nor to be afraid of their revilings; that the secret curse of God, like a moth, shall prey upon them as upon an old garment, they being covered with nothing but the spider's web of their own righteousness. Read Zech. v. 4. And, being but mere wolves in sheep's clothing, their own guilty conscience, like a worm, shall recoil upon them for their deception, requite them for their hypocrisy, and prey upon them as a moth doth upon a fleece of wool. Having proved that God never promises to write his laws on the hearts of any but those of his own elect, and that none but spiritual men (or men born again) have any of God's laws in their hearts, according to the account God gives in the scriptures of truth, I shall now proceed to shew what the law is.
It consists of two parts: the preceptive and the penal; the commandments and the awful threatenings; the morality it requires, and the wrath it reveals against the immoral. The morality of it consists in its being holy, just, and good. "Wherefore the law is holy; and the commandment holy, and just, and good," Rom. vii. 12. Love is the real morality of all these three branches.
First, Love is real holiness. "God hath chosen us in Christ, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love," Ephes. i. 4. A real lover of God is one that is holy and without blame before him.
2. Love is real righteousness, love to God and to one's neighbour. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it: Thou shall love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets," Matt. xxii. 37-40. The law, which is the rule of righteousness, hangs its whole weight upon love; therefore love fulfils all righteousness. "Love is the fulfilling of the law," Rom. xiii. 10.
3. Love is goodness. "Charity thinketh no evil; and love worketh no ill to his neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law," Rom. xiii. 10. Again, "Owe no man any thing, but to love one another; for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law," Rom. xiii. 8. Love therefore is real holiness, righteousness, and goodness.
2. The penal part of the law has three branches also. "The commandment is a lamp, and the law is light," Prov. vi. 23; and as such it discovers sin, and makes manifest the filth and pollution of the soul. "For by the law is the knowledge of sin," Rom. iii. 20. The law, as a lamp, discovers it, makes it abound and shew itself in its true colours. "Sin by the commandment becomes exceeding sinful," Rom. vii. 13.
3. The law is "the ministration of death," 2 Cor. iii. 7. It discovers the sinner's crimes, and passes the sentence of death upon the transgressor. "When the commandment came, sin revived, and I died," Rom. vii. 9. The sentence was passed, and the apostle gave himself up to death, feeling the dreadful sentence, and knowing that he was a dead man by the law. And wherever God applies the law in its power, as he did to Paul, the sinner not only feels the sentence, but finds the sentence of the law in a measure already executed, for the wrath of God attends the sentence; and where sin and wrath meet there is sad work in the sinner's conscience. "The law worketh wrath," Rom. iv. 15. And this wrath begets bondage to fear; "the law gendereth to bondage," Gal. iv. 24; and binds the sinner's guilt and filth close to his conscience, and himself, soul and body, over to endless misery. "The strength of sin is the law," 1 Cor. xv. 56.
The law requires knowledge also; for if I am to love God with all my soul, and to worship him alone, it is needful that I should know something of him, or else I must love and worship I know not what, John, iv. 22. To Adam was this law given; and the image of God in Adam stood in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness: for to all these we are said to be renewed, or made anew, or made new creatures again. "Put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him," Col. iii. 10; "in righteousness and true holiness," Ephes. iv. 24 Tills was God's image, and the glory of God in Adam; and he enjoyed it on the conditions of his obedience; but he sinned, and we in him. "All have sinned, and come short of this glory of God," Rom. iii. 23.
Some rays of this glory appeared again at the giving of the law at Mount Sinai. Moses represented the second Adam, anti the better Mediator; the glory of whom was reflected from Moses' face, to teach Israel to look through Moses to him who is the end of the law for righteousness, where we have "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ," 2 Cor. iv. 6. But Israel could not behold the face of the earthly mediator, much less the heavenly one; and therefore Moses put a vail upon his face, and the God of this world put a worse vail upon Israel's heart; "that they could not look to the end of that which is abolished, for their minds were blinded," 2 Cor. iii. 13, 14. They could look to the letter of the law, and to the voice of words, but no further. "They are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith," Deut. xxxii. 20. These also sinned, and came short of this glory of God, which we that believe see and enjoy. "For we all with open face, holding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord," 2 Cor. iii. 15.
What is a law given for? The grand design of giving a law is that it may be observed, obeyed, inviolably kept, and punctually fulfilled, and then the end is answered; but all have sinned; both Jew and Gentile are all under sin; "there is none righteous, no not one." Here every mouth must be stopped, and the whole world become guilty before God. This being the true state and case, the law looked to another, who was to magnify it and make it honourable; and it was to stand in full force until he came in whom it was to have its fulfilling end; and every branch of its morality was to be fulfilled in his spiritual seed, and that for evermore; and this was the grand design of giving the law. To Christ the law looked, and stood in full force until he came. "Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a Mediator," Gal. iii. 19. "The law and the prophets were until John; since that time the kingdom of God is preached," Luke, vi. 16. To Christ Moses and all the prophets looked, and both Moses and Elias resigned their offices to our Messiah on the mount of transfiguration, Matt. vii. 3; then leaving the true prophet and only mediator alone with his disciples, they disappeared and were never seen more; though Peter wished to detain them, not knowing what be said, or what he meant; no more do they know what they say, or whereof they affirm, who are labouring to bring them in again. "Before faith came we were kept under the law. shut up unto the faith which should afterwards ye revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come we are no longer under a schoolmaster," Gal. ii. 23-25.
God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, and made under the law; and on the eighth day he was circumcised, and became debtor in our room, and stood as surety in our law-place. And on the eight day, and upon his circumcision, the whole body of the sins of our flesh was charged to his account, and laid on him; for we are said to put off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ, Col. ii. 11. And, if we put our sins off by the circumcision of Christ, then by Christ's circumcision he took them all on him; for they never departed from our account until they were placed to his. Thus he came with the law of God in his heart, saying, "Lo, I come to do thy will, O God;" both his will of commandments and his good will of promise. As a servant, he obeyed his master's law, and then took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and by his one sacrifice he put an end to the ceremonial law, leaving us in full possession both of God's good will of purpose and of promise; and declared the will of the Father to be this - that whosoever seeth the Son, and believeth on him, should not perish, but have eternal life, and be raised up at the last day. And thus, "he taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified, through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all," Heb. x. 9, 10.
"The law of God exact he shall fulfil,
Both by obedience and by love, though love
Alone fulfil the law." Book xii. line 402.
And, having as man's surety given a perfect and perpetual obedience to the precepts of the law, by which he brought in an everlasting righteousness, he then died in our room, and was made a curse for us. That he might redeem us from the dreadful penalty of the law, he endured the spirit of bondage to fear; "and was heard in that he feared," Heb. v. 7. He trod the wine-press of his Father's wrath alone, was made a curse for us, and tasted death for every man, and God was "well pleased for his righteousness sake," Isa. xlii. 21. Here we see that the law has been so exactly observed, obeyed, and fulfilled, by our surety, as that the lawgiver has proclaimed himself from heaven well pleased with it. This law never can be fulfilled by any natural man, or man in a state of nature; for such cannot love God with all the heart, with all the soul, and with all understanding; for the sinner is blinded by the old veil, and cannot see him; he is ignorant, and doth not know God; and is an enemy to God, for "the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be," Rom. viii. 7. Nor do natural affections fulfil the law; for, though a man may with these love his neighbour, yet he is sure to love himself better, 2 Tim. iii. 2. And, as for God, the natural man is alienated from the life of him, Ephes. iv. 18. We see that those who received the word of God with joy, and sprung up into a profession, had their natural affections stirred, and their passions moved; but natural love is not a root that can hold them; for "when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away," Mark, iv. 6. The law is spiritual: but man is carnal, sold under sin, Rom. vii. 14. And, if the Apostle may be credited, the natural man cannot love his neighbour as himself. "For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another," Titus, iii. 3. Enmity against God, and being hateful and hating one another, is all the morality that is to be found in the carnal man. Ministers of the letter may love ministers of the letter, heretics may love heretics, felons love felons, and hypocrites may love hypocrites; and these may join hand in hand to hold each other up against the underminings of conscience; all which amounts to nothing more than sinners loving sinners. "For sinners also love those that love them," Luke, vi. 32. But then sin in all these lovers is the gall of bitterness, and their love nothing else but the bond of iniquity.
I shall now endeavour to prove that all God's laws are fulfilled in the souls of every one of God's spiritual children, for God promises to put his laws into the minds, and to write them upon the hearts of his own elect, attended with a new heart and a new spirit, Jerem. xxxi. 33; Ezek. xi. 19. And God, who is the best judge of his own work, bears his testimony to such. "The law of his God is in his heart, none of his steps shall slide," Psal. xxxvii. 31. "Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law," Isai. Ii. 7. The law of God in all its branches is applied, sooner or later, to all the elect of God. In its dreadful bondage, and under its curse and wrath, did our dear Redeemer suffer and die; and we must taste of his cup; all his elect must be "planted together in the likeness of his death," if they are to "be planted together in the likeness of his resurrection," Rom. vi. 5. The promises of life, and of a spiritual resurrection, are not made to the living, who tell us that they were drawn by love; but to the dead. Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise," Isai. xxvi. 19. These living men, that were drawn by love, are bond-slaves, kept in subjection under the law. "Know ye not brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?" Rom. vii. 1. Such are alive without the law, as Paul once was: "For I was alive without the law once," Rom. vii. 9. And "without the law sin was dead," Rom. vii. 8. He that is alive without the application of the law, is a subject of the law; sin in him is dead, and neither stirred up nor discovered. And the sinner is dead; not raised, nor awakened, nor even alarmed. And the law hath dominion over that man as long as he liveth in such a state. Nor will Christ give eternal life to these living men, in whom sin is dead. Not the living; but "the time cometh, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live," John, v. 25. Christ came that we might have life, and he gives life to all his sheep; but none, except those condemned by the law and under the sentence of death, will ever hunger or thirst after the bread of life, after the righteousness of faith, or after the favour and love of the living God. Self-condemned sinners, and none but such, will come hungering and thirsting to Christ. All that come rich, full, or alive without the law, are sure to be sent empty away.
The moral law, with all its penal sanction, is sure, some time or other, to find out the elect of God. All God's children are to be taught of him; none are exempt; all that are blessed with spiritual blessings in Christ are taught of God. "Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Lord, and teachest him out of thy law," Psalm xciv. 12. And every one that hears and learns of the Father cometh to me, says Christ, and none else, John, vi. 45. The law is our debt-book; it is the hand-writing that is against us, and contrary to us; and when this book is opened, and its spiritual meaning explained, sin revives. This handwriting found Job out before it was written upon tables of stone. "For thou writest bitter things against me, and makest me to possess the iniquities of my youth," Job, xiii. 26.
"By the law is the knowledge of sin," which it discovers in its true colours; and a sense of an angry God shining, with the eye of divine justice with it, into the soul, brings all our sins fresh to the mind, and sets them in battle array against us. "Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself; but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes," Psalm 1:21. "For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me," Psalm li. 3.
The elect are all exercised with a spirit of bondage to fear, more or less; and the foundation of this fear is a broken law; for "where there is no law there is no transgression," and of course nothing to fear. But the law genders to bondage; and this is bondage to fear; and it is a slavish fear which has the wrath of an angry God for its object; and this fear hath torment. "My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments," Psalm cxix. 120.
The law is the ministration of death. "The soul that sinneth it shall die," Ezek. xviii. 20. This sentence is sure to take place in the conscience of all the elect of God, some time or other. "When the commandment came sin revived, and I died," says Paul. "I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind," Psalm xxxi. 12. "I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that hath no strength; free among the dead," Psalm lxxxviii. 4, 5. "I go whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness, and the shadow of death; a land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness," Job, x. 21, 22.
Now, I will not pretend to affirm that all the elect of God are exercised with the bondage and terrors of the law alike; but this I will affirm, that all, more or less, are made to feel every, branch of this penal part of the law. "By the law is the knowledge of sin." And sure I am that none will seek Christ with all their heart but sensible sinners; nor is Christ sent to any others. "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."
Every one of God's elect are made to feel their bondage, and are chafed in their minds, by the rebukes of conscience and the reflections of divine anger; and to none else is Christ sent. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath appointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; and to set at liberty them that are bruised," Luke, iv. 18.
And this I know, that there is not one of God's elect but, sooner or later, he will feel himself in a state of condemnation, and under the sentence of death; both from his own conscience, and from the word of God whenever it comes with power. "But, if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all; and thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth," 1 Cor. xiv. 24, 25. He is convinced of all, and judged of all; and the secrets of his heart are made manifest: and such an one owns that the searcher of all hearts is come near to him to judgment; and to this omniscient God he bows, adores, worships, and confesses; and ascribes the whole of this work to him; not to the prophets, nor to them that prophesy; for the excellency of this power is not of them, but it is of God, who is in the prophets: and this the poor criminal confesses without either an if or a but. He reports that God is in them of a truth. These poor souls, dead in sin and dead in law, are the persons that hunger after the bread of life, feeling the sentence,, and hastening to get from under it. "The captive exile hasteneth that he may be loosed, and that he should not die in the pit, nor that his bread should fail. But I am the Lord thy God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared: the Lord of hosts is his name," Isai. Ii. 14, 15. Here God owns himself to be the God of these captive exiles, who are in the horrible pit, hastening, and fearing that the bread of life will never be broken to them.
Now, though this penal part of the law, when applied, doth not remain in the elect of God, they being born heirs of the promise of life, which is the blessing of a better covenant, established upon better promises; yet they will never forget this law-work, nor the misery under it, while in this life. "And I said, my strength and my hope is perished from the Lord; remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me," Lam. iii 18 - 20.
Upon such souls as these the law has done its office. "This soul that sins shall die." The commandment comes home with all its power, discovers sin, works wrath, and passes its awful sentence; upon which sin revives, and the sinner dies. And such souls suffer death, both in their representative Christ and in themselves, being planted together in the likeness of his death; and by the application of the law suffer death also, yea, they suffer the law: and when this is done the law has done its office, for such souls are condemned by it, and are dead. "The law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth," Rom. vii. 1; and no longer.
Now, if the law allows of a surety and substitute to stand in my law place, and the gift of eternal life can possibly be granted to me through him, by an act of free sovereign grace, I am no more under obligations to that law, for this undeserved and unexpected favour, than a poor criminal, who is condemned by the law, and going to suffer death, is, when he meets with the king's pardon on the road to the gallows.
"For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but, if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then, if while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ, that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God," Rom. vii. 2-4. Hagar is the figure in the covenant of works; and all the children of that mother are in bondage, and under the law, and under the curse of it; and the elect themselves "are by nature the children of wrath, even as others," Ephes. ii. 3. And, as the law genders to bondage, our legal souls being born in sin and under the law, we cleave to it: but, when the law has condemned us to death and filled us with wrath, all our hopes in it and expectations from it die. By its cursing us, and giving us no life, it becomes dead to us; and we, being condemned and delivered over to endless death by it, become dead to that; upon which Christ in pity marries the poor widow, purges away our sins, which the law discovers, and silences law, conscience, and Satan, saying, "Fear not, for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded, for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more; for thy Maker is thine husband," Isai. liv. 4, 5. Thus Christ, who is both our brother and next of kin, marries the desolate and disconsolate widow: and raises up the name of the dead upon the inheritance, Ruth, iv .5. And this name that Christ raiseth up is the name of a son by adoption; for upon his marrying the widow the new man is formed, anti he that is born of God hath the seed of God in him, which entitles us to this "new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name," Isai. lxii. 2. "I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off," Isai. lvi. 5. Thus "are we become dead to the law that we should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God," Rom. vii. 4. For all that are under the law bring forth unto death, Rom. vii. 5; or else they bring fruit unto themselves, Hosea, x. 1; which is one and the same thing. The apostle mentions one thing in this allegory which I must not forget, and that is, that, if the bond-woman, or any of her children, marry again, or offer to marry while the first husband be living, while they alive without the application of the law, and while sin is dead them, such shall be called adulteresses. And holy often have I seen this verified in bond-children. They begin their profession m the flesh, and after awhile seem awakened out of their sleep, and go about for some one to take them by the hand; their eyes seem opened, and they with much fiery zeal advance something like the truth, but in a wild, terrible, and violent manner; and such style themselves evangelical. But, when this zeal is quenched by the power of sin, the checks of conscience, and the frowns of God, they sink into the flesh again, and seldom or ever rise any more, but go back to the old husband. Nor is this to be wondered at; for even the wild Arabs, which the scriptures call Ishmaelites, from Ishmael, Gen. vi. 11; and Hagarenes, from Hagar, Psalm lxxxiii. 6; even these are ashamed of their pedigree; and, wishing to be thought the genuine offspring of Sarah, call themselves Saracens. And the offspring of allegorical Hagar do the same in our day. Nothing is more common among us than for these bond-children to call themselves the evangelical society and the evangelical association; and we hear of the evangelical magazine. And these names are as applicable as the name holiness is to the pope, or holy mother to the whore of Babylon. An evangelist is one influenced by love, not slavish fear; who moves in faith, not in presumption; who seasons souls with grace, not with terrors; who shines in truth, not stumbling on the dark mountains of Horeb and Sinai; who savours of Christ, not of self: who communicates liberty, not bondage; and who anoints others with the oil of joy, not with desperate sorrow: who ministers divine life, not death; who enforces filial fear, not servile; who ministers sweetness, not the sour leaven of the Pharisee; who is as the dew upon the grass, and not as a dry exhalation; who brings the sinner under the noble constraints of love gratitude, and thankfullness, not driving with an army of wild distracting terrors; who leads souls to delight themselves, in the Almighty, not frightening them from him by their description of an unknown God. And, if this be doing the work of an evangelist, where do we find it? Is there any thing like this in our monthly production beside the name on the blue cover? There is neither dew nor rain, neither light nor heat, no unction, or savour, nothing weighty or powerful, no views into nor discoveries of the holy mysteries, nothing brought up or set forth: but it answers the end for which it is intended; namely, to increase the number of hypocrites in Zion, and in them to stir enmity against every one that God sends, or that appear to have the seal of God upon them, Rev. vii. 3. I have often, under concern for the Saviour's honour, been grieved at my heart, and shed many tears in secret, to see such numbers of thoughtless, frothy, light, empty, and vain young men assume the office of the ministry, under whom hypocrites have been fed and believers starved. "They shame the counsel of the poor, because God is his refuge," Psalm xiv. 6. But thus it must be; for those that were of old ordained to this condemnation shall surely have it, in spite of Zion and all her tears. I shall now proceed to shew how the morality or the moral part of the law is fulfilled in spiritual men And,
1. It is done by another law taking place, and this law is of the Holy Spirit of God. "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death," Rom. viii. 2. This law of the Spirit is the law of faith, for faith and life are inseparable; faith comes to the sinner by hearing, and hearing by the word of God; and whensoever or wheresoever the word comes with power there it comes in the Holy Ghost and in much assurance, 1 Thess. i. 5. Hence the Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of faith, and faith is called a fruit of the Spirit.
2. Now this law makes us free from the law of sin and death. By the law of sin I understand the law in the members, which Paul expressly ceils "the law of sin," Rom. vii. 25. To be made free from this law of sin means to be purged from the guilt of it by the blood of Christ, to be justified from the destroying power of it by the righteousness of Christ, to have its tyranny subdued by the grace of Christ, and never to have it imputed to us, it having been imputed to Christ, who is our surety.
3. By the law of death I understand the moral law, which Paul calls "the ministration of death written and engraven on stones," 2 Cor. iii. 7. Sin is the transgression of the old covenant, and the old covenant ministers condemnation and death to all sinners. But the Spirit of life in Christ, and his law of faith, which come to us from the new covenant, make us free from the law of sin and death.
And, if Paul may be credited, this is done in a way by which the old covenant sustains no loss, and upon which no dishonour is reflected; for it actually fulfils it by furnishing us with all the real morality the law of God requires. For through Christ "the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit," Rom. viii. 4. Now this righteousness of the law is the morality of it, or the righteousness which is required by the precepts of the law. The righteousness of the law is put in opposition to the penalty of it, which part Christ bore for us when on the tree. This righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us by imputation, which is the act of God, who is our creditor; for, as our sins were imputed to Christ, so his obedience is imputed to us; and, as condemnation unto death passed upon him, justification unto life (Rom. v. 18) passes upon us. Hence Christ, who is our surety, is called "the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth," Rom. x. 4; and "by the obedience of (that) one shall many be made righteous," Rom. v. 19.
But the law requires a holy nature within us, as well as the best robe without. The king's daughter must not only have the wedding garment without, but she must be all glorious within. "Without holiness no man can see the Lord."
Adam, when he stood complete under the first covenant, knew his God, he was made upright before God, he was very good and stood in God's image, which consisted in righteousness and true holiness. And sure I am that every soul in whom the righteousness of the law is fulfilled must "put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge, after the image of him that created him," Col. iii. 10. All that are under the law have the old vail upon their hearts, 2 Cor. iii. 15; with which "the god of this world hath blinded their minds," 2 Cor iv. 4; and vengeance is to be taken on them that know not God, 2 Thess. i. 8: therefore we must be renewed in knowledge; and not only be renewed in knowledge, but we must have likewise a righteous and a holy nature. "Put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness," Eph. iv. 24. The righteousness of this new man is love. The law is the rule of righteousness, and "love is the fulfilling of the law," Rom. xiii. 10. "The end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned," 1 Tim. i. 5.
The next branch of morality which the law requires is true holiness, in opposition to all ceremonial, negative, or spurious holiness, such as abounds in the present day; and it stands,
1. In the indwelling of the Holy Ghost. "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." 1 Cor. iii. 16, 17.
2. True holiness is ascribed to the faith of the gospel; for, as the mind and conscience of unbelievers are defiled, and to them there is nothing pure, Titus, i. 1.5; so, on the other hand, the possessors of purifying faith are called the beloved of God, and are exhorted to build themselves up on their most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Jude 20.
The third branch of this true holiness is perfect love, or love made perfect; and they are said to be made perfect in love where love has cast out all fear and torment; hence charity, when mature, is called "the bond of perfectness," Col. iii. 14. And this is also the highest branch of true holiness. "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," Ephes. i. 4. And thus is the righteousness of the law fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. And this was the grand work of the Son of God, who came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil, Matt. v. 17. And he did fulfil all righteousness in his own person; and as our covenant head, and head of influence, we are said to be "filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ unto the glory and praise of God," Philip. i. 11. This is the real morality which the law requires; and the righteousness of the law is fulfilled, and for ever established, in all those who are thus favoured. And, "if by preaching these things I make void the law, then the law is made void through faith," Rom. iii. 31; and the whole law is against the promises of God, Gal. iii. 21; and thus it is with the saints of God, that in them the new covenant maketh the first old; and "that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away," Heb. viii. 13, and in time disappears, while we look as through a glass darkly, for this changes us into the image of Christ, from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord. Under which soul-transforming view every thing old takes flight, and all that succeeds is entirely new. "Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new," 2 Cor. v. 17. And, "if preaching this doctrine entitles me to the name of 'a vile, filthy, and stinking Antinomian," God grant that I never may lose my title till the following promise hath its accomplishment "He will swallow up death in victory. And the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it," Isai. xxv. 8.
I shall now proceed to shew that all other divine laws, which are essential to salvation, are fulfilled in the souls of spiritual men; and I am encouraged to this by the apostle himself. "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts," Gal v. 22 - 24.
himself, and differs somewhat from the old. "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another," John, xiii. 34. This law never can be fulfilled in, nor by, any but those who are partakers of the Holy Ghost; for the saints are to be hated of all men for Christ's sake. And he that loves God must first be loved of him, and he that loveth is born of God. "Every one that loveth him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of him," 1 John, v. 1. This law was first observed and fulfilled by Christ himself, who so loved us as to lay down his life for us. And so we have the explanation of it by John. "Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth," 1 John, ii. 8. This commandment was true in him, says John, for "hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us:" and, if it be true in us, "we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren," 1 John, iii. l6; and he that thus loves the brethren is delivered from the powers of darkness, and from that hatred and malice with which the devil inflames the hearts of hypocrites; and of such we may truly say that "the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth;" for "he that hateth his brother is in darkness until now;" but "he that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him," 1 John, ii. 9, 10. This law is in the hearts of all spiritual men.
2. The law of sacrifices and offerings; whether sin-offerings, burnt-offerings, or free-offerings; the truth of all these types is Christ and his one offering. These types served to purify the flesh; but the blood of the Son of God purifies the mind and conscience. "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these," Heb. ix. 22, 23. The blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin; and faith applies the atonement, and purifies the heart with it: but it is the Holy Spirit that produces faith, and that gives it life and all its lively exercises.
3. The law of the leper. Levit. xiv. 2. The leper was cleansed with blood and water: and Christ came by water and by blood, and from his side both ran. And the truth of all this is in every spiritual man, but in no other. "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. A new heart also will I give you, 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 an heart of flesh," Ezek. xxxvi. 25, 26.
4. "The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death," Prov. xiii. 14. The wise man is one in pardoned and renewed state, made wise unto salvation through faith in Christ. Faith is the wise man's law; and, as he that believes hath everlasting life, faith in its lively actings and exercises attending the wise man's prayer, praises, thanksgivings, and sacrifices of joy, is called a fountain of life. The sins of men are the snares of death. "Upon the wicked God shall rain snares," Psalm xi. 6; that is, "the heavens shall reveal his iniquity, and the earth shall rise up against him," Job, xx. 27. Bad works, yea and even bad words, are snares. "A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul," Prov. xviii. 7. Sins are called the snares of death because every sinner is under the ministration of death and condemnation, and the strength of sin is the law; and yet in this law the fool trusts. This is the "way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death," Prov. xiv. 12. "Christ Jesus, the blessed mediator, is the believer's way to the Father, upon whom he ascends and descends, John, i. 51; and goes in and out and finds pasture," John, i. 9. "The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath," Prov. xv. 24.
5. The law of liberty. "But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed," James, i. 25. This law of liberty alludes to the law of release under the former dispensation, and is nothing else but the law of faith, as may be seen by the following observations, which the word liberty points out.
As, first, we are in bondage to sin; yea, holden with the cords of our sins. And what makes us free? Faith purifies the heart.
We are under the yoke of legal precepts. "This do, and thou shalt live." But he that believes hath everlasting life already. This yoke is easy; and, though attended with a daily cross, the burden is light.
We were in bondage under the law of death; but when faith comes we are no longer under that schoolmaster.
We were servants unto sin, and in bondage to slavish fear of wrath to come: but we are "the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus;" and therefore "no more servants, but sons; and if sons, then heirs."
We were in bondage to the killing sentence of the law: but he that believes is justified freely from all things.
We were in bondage to the fear of the second death: "but we have known and believed the love that God hath to us," 1 John, iv. 16. And as faith brings this love in, so love casts this fear out.
We were in bondage to the spirit of this world: but "this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."
In short, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty; and we receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."
Now he that believes is, sure to have an understanding given him to look into this law; for "he that believeth on me shall not abide in darkness, but shall have the light of life," John, xii. 46. The doer of this work is he that exercises himself under the different graces of God's Spirit, called the "work of faith, labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ," 1 Thess. i. 3. "For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God and approved of men," Rom. xiv. 18. Now this man is said to be blessed in his deed, though not for it. God's blessing is life for ever more; and "as many as are of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham;" but "he that believeth not is condemned already," and under the curse; and therefore is cursed in his deed instead of being blessed.
6. "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ," Gal. vi. 2. This law of Christ is love to his neighbours and friends; for sure I am that he bore the burden of us all. But what law moved him to it? Free and undeserved love. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends," John, xv. 13. He would not call us enemies, but friends: but sworn enemies we were, both in heart and life, or else we could not be said to be reconciled by his death. None but spiritual men are in possession of this law; for what can a minister of the letter, or a bond-child, do to lighten the burdens of others? Just as much as the Jewish Pharisees did when Judas confessed to them. Such men are ball in hell themselves. They may heal the wound slightly, and cry "Peace, peace," where there is no peace. They may soothe conscience by comforting in vain; or may beget presumption, and rock the soul to sleep in carnal security: but they will by these means only increase the poor creature's burden in the end, and their own burden too; for such are no better than forgers of lies, and physicians of no value. He must know his own heart who can draw the grief out of the heart of another. He must have an experience of a work of grace who dissolves another's doubts. He that has the oil of joy may anoint another with fresh oil in the name of the Lord; and be that is prevalent with God in prayer may take a part of his brother's burdens, and cast them on the Lord when he has done.
7. "Hearken unto me, my people; and give ear unto me, O my nation: for a lair shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people. My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth," Isa. Ii. 4, 5. These persons are called the Lord's people and his nation; and three blessings are promised in this text.
1. A law.
2. The Lord's righteousness. And
3. The Lord's salvation.
Faith, with every other grace, comes by the Spirit from the Saviour's fullness; and the Lord's righteousness is to all and upon all that believe, and upon no other. And they that believe shall be saved in him, and none else; for they that believe not shall be damned. And this judging and justifying the Lord's people rests as a light to them, and is of use to the saints in trying and proving ministers by; for, if he cannot describe the workings of unbelief and the work of faith, neither sin by the law nor pardon by the gospel either condemnation by the one nor justification by the other, neither righteousness nor the peaceable knits of it, the believer knows that he is not in the secret, and considers him no more than an impostor. Past experience is a word behind us, "saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left," Isai. xxx. 21.
8. The law of circumcision. This law stands in having the vail of ignorance removed from the mind by the illuminating operations of the spirit of revelation, and in having the body of the sins of the flesh put off by the circumcision of Christ, Col. ii. 11. And, when faith has purified the heart from guilt and filth, and the body of sins are put off, and Christ by faith put on, such a soul, having much forgiven, loves much, being constrained to it by a sweet sense of God's pardoning love shed abroad in his heart. This is the circumcision which God promises to his elect. "And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. And the Lord thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee," Deut. xxx. 6, 7. This law is in the soul of all regenerate persons, and in no other. "For we are the circumcision which worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh," Philip. iii 13.
9. I shall now proceed to the law of truth. "My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name. The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips; he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity," Mal. ii. 5, 6. This covenant is the covenant of grace, which is now called the Gospel of Christ; and the promises and blessings of it are the free gifts of God. I gave my covenant to him, says God. It is called a covenant of life and peace. The Spirit of God had quickened him and given him life; for it is the Spirit that quickeneth. The Holy Spirit had regenerated and sanctified him; for there is no walking with God in equity with an unpurged and unrenewed conscience. Nor can an unpardoned sinner walk with God, for it is sin that separates between us and our God. They that walk with God must be made nigh by the blood of Christ. Nor hath an unpardoned sinner any peace. "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked." Isai. lvii. 21. They must be pardoned and justified by faith who have the peace of God in their hearts. "Thy sins are forgiven thee, go in peace," says the Saviour. "O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world; grant us thy peace!" says the Book of Common Prayer. Nor is there any peace to a self-righteous pharisee, but a false peace kept up by Satan in those souls in whom he reigns and rules. "When a strong man armed keeps possession of the palace his goods are in peace," Luke, xi. 21. Peace is the fruit of an imputed righteousness. "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." And it is the Holy Spirit of God who brings this righteousness near, makes it known, and works faith in the heart, to put it on; for "we are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God," 1 Cor. vi. 11. Wherever this work is done, there the fruits of the Spirit are made manifest, which are Love, Joy, Peace. This law is in the soul of every spiritual man, and in no other; for God declares of all carnal men, that they are so far from his covenant of life and peace, and from walking with him in equity, that they are strangers to the covenant of promise, dead in trespasses and sins, with mind and conscience both defiled; and the way of peace they have never known. I shall now consider,
10. The law of the house. "This is the law of the house; upon the top of the mountain the whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the house," Ezek. xliii. 12. This house in the type was the second temple, which was to stand till Christ came; and when he came he set up in truth his own temple, of which the other was a figure. "Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it," Matt. vi. 18. This house goes by various names, as "the household of faith," Gal. vi. 10, consisting of true believers and no other. "The house of God, the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth," 1 Tim. iii. 15. "The temple of the living God," 2 Cor. vi. 16. "An habitation of God through the Spirit," Ephes. ii. 22. "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house; an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ," 1 Pet. ii. 5. The materials of this house consist of stones, for the solidity and beauty of them, being squared, polished, and fitted by the Spirit of God: and living stones, being quickened and kept alive by the inhabitation of the Spirit; they are edified and built up in light and knowledge, in faith and love. This house is called an holy priesthood, being washed, purified, and anointed to this honourable office of approaching to God, and ministering spiritual sacrifices to him, which come up with acceptance through faith in the Mediator. The prophet Ezekiel tells us that the whole limit thereof round about, shalt be most holy. "Behold, this is the law of the house." Believers are called with an holy calling to the fellowship, of Christ; 1 Cor. i. 9. They are partakers of God's holy promise of life made to Abraham, God's servant, Ps. cv. 42. Their bodies are temples of the Holy-Ghost, 1 Cor. vi. 19. They are built up on their most holy faith, Jude, 20. And are holy and without blame before God in love, Ephes. i. 4. This is the Church's holiness, and its holy laws; and I know of no other.
Having proved that every law of God essential to salvation is put in the minds, and written on the hearts, of all the elect, which are born again of God, I shall now once more dissect the moral law, and shew, from the word of God, that not one branch of it, either of the moral or the penal part, is to be found in any other: not in an impostor, nor in apostates, neither in ministers of the letter, nor moral preachers; neither in the professed disciples of Moses, nor any empty professor or hypocrite in Zion. And this I do, reader, to "give you occasion to glory on your behalf, that you may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart," 2 Cor. v. 12.
I shall begin with the penal part of the law, and shew how every branch of it has been confessed and groaned tinder by the elect of God, when he has applied it in order to teach them out of it. The law, when God applies it, becomes a sort of prison. It discovers all the criminal's crimes, and shuts him up as a state prisoner, guilty of rebellion and high treason, a sinner against the most high God. - "Before faith came, we were kept under the law shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed," Gal. iii. 23. And this God makes all his elect know and feel, to their bitter grief and sorrow. How does the Psalmist complain of this. "Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me; thou hast made me an abomination unto them: I am shut up, I cannot come forth," Ps. lxxxviii. 8; and again - "Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name," Ps. cxlii. 7. This is the prison; and Christ was anointed and sent to open the prison to those that are bound, Isai. lxi. 1. And it is by the blood of his covenant that God sends forth Christ's prisoners out of the pit in which is no water, Zach. ix. 11. Now, wherever Christ found one of these prisoners, he opened their blind eyes, he brought out "the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house," Isai. xlii. 7. And, after all Christ's preaching and miracles, I read of rather more than five hundred brethren to whom the Lord had proclaimed liberty. But the generality of that nation trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others; yea, they justified themselves, and went about to establish their own righteousness. And every body knows that prisons are not intended for righteous persons, but for debtors and criminals; and to such Christ called, bidding them go forth out of the prison; but he came not to call the righteous, but sinners. Thus Christ's prisoners are brought out of prison; but the imprisonment of the others is yet to come, and will not take place until the clay of death, and the day of the first resurrection; as you read, "And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited," Isai. xxiv. 22. These will be imprisoned in hell for a thousand years, during which period the saints will reign in glory with Christ in the new earth, which he has promised, and which we look for, 2 Pet. iii. 13. At the close of this time will these prisoners be visited; that is, their souls will come out of prison, and be again united to their bodies, and be judged according to their works, and sent away with a "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels," Matt. xxv. 41. And from this prison there will be no deliverance.
2. The next branch of the penal part of the law is bondage. "These are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar," Gal. iv. 24. Now, when God applies the law with power, this bondage is felt with a witness, and these chains of iron enter into the soul, and gall, chafe, wound and bruise not a little: but Christ is appointed to set at liberty them that are bruised, Isai. lxi, 1; Luke, iv. 18, and he is most faithful to his appointment for "he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land," Ps. lxviii. 6. To this truth David sets his seal, and triumphs sweetly. "O Lord, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds," Ps. cxvi. 16. None are ever laid in irons, or quickened to feel these bonds, but the elect of God. When Christ told the Jews that if they received the truth the truth should make them free; and if the Son made them free they should be free indeed, they told him that they were Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any. Yea, we read of some who are so far from feeling their bondage, that they preached liberty to others, being past the feeling of their own chains. "While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption," 2 Pet. ii. 19. But that which is the most astonishing of all is their insensibility, even at the brink of hell, and just ready to be plunged into it. "I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no bands in their death; but their strength is firm," Ps. lxxiii. 3, 4; and yet "waters of a full cup are wrung out to them," verse 10. The bonds of these are to come when they will be bound hand and foot, and cast into utter darkness, Matt. xxii. 13.
3. The third branch of the penal part of the law is called "the spirit of bondage to fear," Rom. viii. 15. And this slavish and servile fear is always attended with torment, and terrible meditations and apprehensions of future judgment, wrath, and ruin; of which the Psalmist complains. "Fearfullness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me," Ps. Iv. 5. Under this Isaiah cried out - "Wo is me! for I am undone," Isai. vi. 5; and poor Job complains of the same. "Therefore am I troubled at his presence: when I consider, I am afraid of him," Job, xxiii. 5. But the testimony that God bears against the wicked is fear from this; for he says "there is no fear of God before their eyes," Ps. xxxvi. 1; much less in their hearts.
4. The fourth branch of this penal part of the law is wrath. "The law worketh wrath," Rom. iv. 15. Of this wrath and anger do the elect complain sadly, while God is teaching them out of the law. "I am the man (says Jeremiah) that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath. He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, but not into light," Lam. iii. 1, 2. O that thou hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past," Job, xiv. 13. Of this the Psalmist complaints. "Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps. Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves," Ps. lxxxviii. 6, 7. "For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirits: the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me," Job, vi. 4. And again: "For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore. There is no soundness in my flesh, because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones, because of my sin," Ps. xxxviii. 2, 3. We have no such outcries from the mouth of the wicked. When the wrath of God came upon Israel in the wilderness, they sinned yet the more. When the wrath of God came upon Jerusalem to the uttermost, they felt it not; but persisted in their mutiny, murders, and cruelties, until they were all destroyed. Nor are the worst apostates or hypocrites in trouble like the saints, nor are they plague like them. Saul hates David to the last, seeks the honour of the elders of Israel, and mocks God with hypocritical worship to obtain it, and then goes to the witch of Endor to consult the devil. Esau comforts himself with the thoughts of killing his brother Jacob, and goes into polygamy, then to farming and hunting. Cain, as soon as he had got a sign to secure him from being murdered, went out from die church, and from the presence of God in it, without any more complaints, and goes to building. None of these feel the arrows of wrath in them as the elect of God do: nor is it let into them, nor are they quickened to feel it. They are under wrath, and heirs of it: and the wrath of God abides upon all them that believe not; yet they feel it not as the elect do, nor will they until they go hence, when they expect to have it; for "the expectation of the wicked is wrath," Prov. xi. 23.
5. The fifth branch of the penal part of the law is its dreadful curse. "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them," Gal. iii. 10. When this dreadful sentence reached the heart of Paul sin revived, and he died. This sentence pierced his conscience; it went through all his false hopes and wretched righteousness, and left him dead. "I through the law am dead to the law. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me," Rom. vii. 11. But the worst that is said of the worst of hypocrites and apostates, is, that "that which beareth thorns and briars is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned," Heb. vi. 8. But there is a material difference between a deep sense of this curse already applied, and being nigh unto cursing.
6. The sixth branch of the penal part of the law is the dreadful discovery that the law makes of sin, and the judgment of an angry God upon it. "For thou writest bitter things against me; and makest me to possess the iniquities of my youth," Job, xiil. 26. And again: "For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of my head: therefore my heart faileth me," Ps. xl. 12. And again: "What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God: Art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?" 1 Kings, vii. 18. God comes near to such poor souls to judgment, and appears a swift witness against them, Mal. iii. 5. Of this Job complains. "And dost thou open thine eyes upon such an one, and bringest me into judgment with thee?" Job, xiv. 3. Thus God judges us, and chastens us, "that we should not be condemned with the world," 1 Cor. xi. 32. But the wicked are not thus judged, nor will they be until the great day. Hence it is said of the worst of hypocrites, "For, if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation," Heb. x. 26, 27. But it is one thing, with Job to be brought into judgment, and another thing to be given up to a fearful looking for of it.
7. The seventh and last branch of the penal part of the law is the discovery it makes of the woful depth of man's fall, his depravity, and the inbred corruptions which he brings into the world with him. The law is spiritual; it penetrates the deepest recesses of the soul, and lays all open, not only actual transgressions, but the bitter root from which they spring. And sure I am that no man can see himself in this glass and live. "The commandment came, sin revived, and I died." The blindness of the understanding, the perverseness and stubbornness of the will, the carnality and enmity of tire mind, the hardness and impenitency of the heart, the confusion of the judgment, and the corruption of the affections, all are laid open. All unwarrantable claims upon God, false notions of a God all mercy, human righteousness a dead formality, false confidences and legal hopes, give up the ghost, and perish for ever. "By the law is the knowledge of sin. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead," Rom. vii. 8. All "my comeliness was turned in me into corruption (says Daniel), and I retained no strength," Dan. x. 8. "I abhor myself (says Job), and repent in dust and ashes," Job, xlii. 6. "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually," Gen. vi. 5. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked," says the prophet Jeremiah, vii. 9. "In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; my sore ran in the night, and ceased not; my soul refused to be comforted," says the psalmist, Psal. lxvii. 2. "There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin," Psal. xxxviii. 3. No hypocrite in Zion, no impostor nor apostate, no minister of the letter, knows any thing of the application of this branch of the law. They are ignorant of the plague of the human heart; their heart knows nothing of its own bitterness; nor have we any of these complaints from the worst of apostates when under their most alarming terrors. Judas complains of one sin, that of betraying his Master; but he was called a devil long before that. Cain complains of his punishment: and Saul acknowledged that he had done foolishly. None but the elect of God, to whom the Holy Ghost applies the law, know any thing of the spirituality of it; and therefore, being themselves lawless, they cannot handle it lawfully.
I shall now come to the real morality of the law. I say real morality, for every thing is not morality that is so called. There never was, since Adam fell, one grain of real morality found in file hearts of any of the children of men, except in those who are regenerated and horn again of the Holy Ghost. Love is the fulfilment of the law. But do carnal men love God? No; "the carnal mind is enmity (in the abstract) against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be," Rom. viii. 7. And do carnal men love their neighbour as themselves? No, says Paul; "For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another," Titus, iii. 3. If this witness be true, where is the natural man's morality, seeing that love to God and love to the neighbour are the two commandments upon which all the law and the prophets hang. If Milton may be credited (and I am sure the Bible does not contradict him), the devils themselves have as much morality as a carnal man. - -
- - - - "Devil with devil damn'd
Firm concord holds; men only disagree
Of creatures rational!"
Book ii. line 496.
Paul declares that the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in them "who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit," Rom. viii. 4. And if this be true, that the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in those who are led by the Spirit's dictates, and who follow after his most precious fruits, sweet operations, love visits, divine consolations, and promised aid and assistance. I say, if the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in these, then the real morality of the law, or "the end of the commandment, is charity out of a pure heart, a good conscience, and faith unfeigned, 1 Tim. i. 5. If this be the end that the law aimed at, and Christ be the fulfilling end of this law for righteousness to all that believe, and if this law be fulfilled in all them that walk after the Spirit, then the righteousness of the law by Christ, in the saints, is established, magnified, honoured, and for evermore: and this was the ultimate end that the lawgiver aimed at.
I shall now come to describe the morality of the law; for, though I have done this before, and even in this work, yet to write the same things to my reader to me is not grievous, but for him it is safe. "Beware of dogs; beware of the concision," Phil. iii. 3. When Adam stood complete before God and his law, the word of God declares that he had knowledge, righteousness, true holiness, and goodness: God pronounced him "very good," Gen. i. 31. But the fall deprived us of all these. Hence we are said to be blinded by the god of this world, 2 Cor. iv. 4; and, instead of righteousness, by the fall of Adam, "judgment came upon all men to condemnation," Rom. v. 15. Instead of true holiness, "we are all as an unclean thing," Isa. lxiv. 6. And, instead of goodness, every imagination of the heart is evil, and only evil. And sure I am that, unless this fourfold adorning decorate the soul of man, and make him all glorious within, he can never stand with intrepidity before God, before his law, or even before his own conscience when the midnight cry alarms it. But blessed be God, he has made provision for us in all these; for Christ made of God unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. Wisdom makes the fool wise and knowing, righteousness makes the criminal just and righteous, sanctification makes the filthy creature clean and holy, and redemption makes us pure, and whiter than snow in Salmon. God has appointed his dear Son in our nature to be our surety and head of influence; to his dear Son he draws us, and in him he accepts us. "He hath made us accepted in the beloved," Ephes. i. 6.
His obedience to the law becomes our robe of righteousness and garments of salvation, Isai. lxi. 10. This is our breastplate, through which no curse from a broken law shall ever penetrate, through which no sentence of damnation shall ever pass; for God will never condemn the just, nor justify the wicked. This is the first branch of saving knowledge restored to the elect of God among the sons of Adam. "By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many," Isai. liii. 11; that is, by the knowledge that he shall teach; for, as justification is said to be unto life, Rom. v. 18, so eternal life is promised to saving knowledge. "This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent," John, vi. 3. To know God as our justifier, and Jesus Christ as the end of the law for righteousness. And those whom God calls to the fellowship of his Son, in whom he accepts us, and with whom he unites us so as to make us one with him; and by virtue of which union we say for ourselves, In the Lord we have righteousness and strength; such souls are not left there; they have a holy and righteous nature imparted, as well as righteousness imputed. "God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions," Eccles. vii. 29. And they must be purged from these inventions, and be made upright again, if ever they see God with acceptance, or are admitted into his presence. From all their filthiness (says God) will I cleanse them, Ezek. xxxvi. 25. And where this cleansing takes place love is sure to follow; for where much is forgiven the same loveth much. Luke, vii. 47 And it is the upright that love God, Song i. 4. This is another branch of saving knowledge, he "that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God," I John, iv. 7. Here is internal rectitude and uprightness restored and secured to all eternity by an immutable covenant. Now "love is the fulfilling of the law," Rom. xiii. 10.
Thus in Christ Jesus we are renewed in knowledge. 2. The robe of righteousness is put on, and
3. A righteous nature, which is the fulfilling of the law, is revealed and shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost. These are three of the highest branches of real morality that any one spiritual and divine law of God ever required.
4. The fourth branch of real morality is holiness; for the law requires holiness as well as knowledge and righteousness. "The law is holy; and the commandment holy, just, and good," Rom. vii. 12. Our holiness arises,
1. From the indwelling and inhabitation of the Holy Ghost. - "We are an habitation of God through the Spirit," Ephes. ii. 22. Our bodies are "temples of the Holy Ghost; as God hath said, I will dwell in them and walk in them," 2 Cor. vi. 16. The Bible speaks of the holy land, holy place, holy house, holy mount, holy city, and of holy ground, so called because the presence of the Almighty had been manifested there, though perhaps but for a time. But he dwells in Zion for ever, and with every branch of her mystical family, who are of a broken and contrite spirit, and tremble at his word, Isai. lxvi. 2; not for a time, or to pay a transient visit, but to take up his abode with them and dwell in them, and that for evermore. "This is my rest for ever; here will I dwell; for I have desired it," Psal. cxxxii. 14. 2. There is true holiness in every member of the new man. "Put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness," Ephes. iv. 24. And this new man consists of the different graces with which the Holy Spirit adorns the soul, and every grace of the Spirit is holy; hence the term most holy is ascribed to faith, which is a grace of the Holy Spirit. "But ye, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God." Jude, 20.
3. Perfecting holiness in the fear of God is exercising faith which worketh by love; for the apostle declares that we are holy and without blame before God in love, Ephes. i. 4. This is real or true holiness: all besides is either ceremonial, negative, specious, or spurious, which cometh not front God, neither leads to him, or ends in him.
5. The fifth branch of real morality is goodness. The law is good. But my reader may be ready to ask why I call this inward glory of the saints real morality, seeing nothing of all this comes by the law, nor front the law? I take this liberty from the authority of the apostle, who tells us that the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in them "who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit," Rom. viii. 4. And, if the righteousness of the law be fulfilled in them, this fulfilment must be real morality, and all other no more than the name, the cant, the fair shew and the varnish of hypocrites. But to return to my subject.
Goodness we must have, because the law is good, and Adam was pronounced very good when God made him: but he kept not God's word, nor God's charge, but broke his commandment. Now our goodness lies in receiving and keeping God's word; which we must keep by the Spirit. "That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us," 2 Tim. i. 14. This word of truth is called the commandment. "The commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning, 1 John, ii. 7. He that hath my word," says Christ, "and keepeth it, he it is that loveth me: he that loveth me not, keepeth not my sayings." The word that God put into Christ's mouth, and the Spirit that he put upon him, is never to depart from Christ, nor from his seed, nor from his seed's seed. This is God's covenant, Isai. lix. 21. This word of truth, this commandment, Paul calls a good thing; and where. ever it comes with power, and in the Holy Ghost, there it makes free. "Receive the truth," says Christ, "and the truth shall make you free." The man that receives this, in faith and affection, receives the word of eternal life into his heart, which is a good treasure; and such a man is by Christ himself called a good man. "A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things," Matt. xii. 35. And this truth is witnessed even by the law itself, where God says that he shews mercy unto thousands of them that love him, and keep his commandments, Exod. xx. 6. All love him whom he first loves, and whom he pardons, and none else. All obtain the sure mercies of David who are renewed by the Holy Spirit; for of his mercy he saves us by the washing of regeneration. "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and if a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him," John, xiv. 21, 23. Thus, reader, I have shewn thee five branches of real morality; or, in other words, the true heart-treasure of those goodly souls in whom the righteousness of the law is fulfilled. And, in order to make clear work of it, I will prove, from the book of God, that thou shalt never enter the kingdom of glory unless thou art in possession of all these five particulars, which I shall prove from strong and positive assertions.
1. You shall never be saved without the knowledge of God. - "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge," Hoses, iv. 6. "It is a people of no understanding; therefore he that made them will not have mercy on them, and he that formed them will shew them no favour," Isai. xxvii. 11. And again: "The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengence on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ," 2 Thess. i. 7. 8.
2. We must have the righteousness of Christ upon us, which is our surety's obedience to the law. This must be imputed to us; for in him shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and in no other. Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. And the righteousness of Christ is to all and upon all that believe, but upon none other; for "he that believeth not shall be damned," Mark, vi. 16. Yea, he that believeth not is condemned already, and "the wrath of God abideth upon him." John, iii. 36,
3. If my reader be saved he must be created anew in Christ Jesus, and be of those who are formed a people for God, to shew forth his praise. We are predestinated to be conformed to the image of God's Son; God despises all other images but that, Psal. lxxiii. 20. Now, if all the elect of God are predestinated to be conformed to Christ's image, and God will despise all other images, it is necessary to inquire where this image is to be found. Paul says it is in the new man of grace. "Put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness," Eph. iv. 24. This is a righteous nature imparted to us. The image of Christ, which all the saints must bear in heaven, stands in righteousness. This is one grand branch of our meetness for heaven; and it is positively asserted that "the unrighteous shah not inherit the kingdom of God," 1 Cor. vi. 9.
4. There can be no admittance into heaven unless we are born again, for, "if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." The offering up of the Gentiles is accepted, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost. There can be no holiness or meetness for heaven but by the Holy Spirit; and "without holiness no man shall see the Lord," Heb. xii. 14.
5. We must have the word of truth in us. The church of the living God is the ground and pillar of truth, and in the saint's glorification truth is to be settled in heaven. Nothing but truth can make us free; and all the sons o! the heavenly Jerusalem are free - free-born citizens. And nothing shall enter that city that "worketh abomination, or maketh a lie," Rev. xxi. 27. And we know "that no lie is of the truth," I John, ii. 21.
I will now endeavour to shew my reader what God says of those who are in possession of these five branches of real morality; the first of which is,
Saving knowledge. - "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent," John, vii. 3. These have eternal life already, and shall never die. "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire," Rev. xx. 15: but not the living, for they "shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book," Dan. xii. 1.
2. The surety's obedience to the law imputed to us; for "by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous;" and to us is this righteousness imputed it' we believe on him who raised Christ from the dead; and this is our title to heaven, for "whom God justified them he also glorified," Rom. viii. 80.
3. I shewed my reader that we are saved by grace; and we know that grace is to reign through righteousness unto eternal life. This whole work o� grace, which comes from Christ, in opposition to sin, which came to us from Adam, is called the new man, as sin is called the old man; and grace from Christ's fullness is called grace for grace; that is, sanctifying grace to assure us of glorifying grace. Hence the grace of the Spirit is called the first fruits, as glory in the day of judgment is called the harvest. "We which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body," Rom. viii. 23. Thus, as the first fruits are the earnest of the harvest, grace is an earnest of glory; for where God gives the one he never fails to give the other. "The Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory," Ps. lxxxiv. 11.
4. The fourth branch of real morality is true holiness, as I have largely shewn before, and that it consists in faith and love, which also is a meetness for heaven; for "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection, on such the second death hath no power," Rev. xx. 6.
5. The fifth branch of real morality is receiving the word and keeping it, which is called a commandment. "My Father gave me a commandment what I should say and what I should speak; and I know that his commandment is life everlasting," John, xii. 49. "The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning," 1 John, ii. 7. "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected," 1 John, ii. 4, 5. Observe here, the commandment is the word, and he that keeps it has the love of God perfected in him; and love is charity, and charity never faileth, but abides for ever in heaven. And this word is the word of life and truth, received in faith, loved, kept, and held fast; and will admit us into heaven, for those who keep the commandments have a right to the tree of life, and shall enter through the gates into the city. "Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in," Isai. xxvi. 2.
Come, reader, we do not work by the day, and therefore will push these heads a little closer; for nothing under heaven consumes the spider's web, or crushes the cockatrice egg, like these things. It is choice and sweet labour to work frown life; though labouring for life is hard work; and this many of our evangelical letter-preachers know, who cannot get on at all till they have wrought themselves up into a violent rage, which among the blind passes for zeal, though we know it is strange fire, sparks of their own kindling. But we will go on upon Sigionoth, to the chief singer on our stringed instruments, Hab. iii. 19. What I mean, reader, is to try how far love or charity will go towards accomplishing all these five branches of real morality; the first branch of which is knowledge. Adam knew God loved him, and communed sweetly with him until he sinned against him, and his mind became alienated from the life of God; then, as soon as he heard his voice, guilt covered him with shame, and the expectation of death filled him with fear, and then he fled and hid himself. Nor can the law be fulfilled in us without knowledge; for how can we love God with all the heart, and soul, and mind, and strength when we know nothing of him? Israel of old loved a stock o stone, and prayed to these, trusting in them before God himself. And what was the cause of this idolatry and folly? Ignorance; for those that know God's name will put their trust in him.
1. Real Love to God has saving knowledge in it. - "Every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God; he that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love," 1 John, iv. 7, 8.
2. We must have an imputed righteousness, which must be put on by faith. However, love comes not behind hand here, for "charity beareth all things, believeth all things," I Cor. xiii. 7. And, if charity believeth all things, it believes in an imputed righteousness
3. We must have a righteous nature. "Put on, therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another; and, above all these things, put on charity, which is the bond of all perfectness," Col. iii. 12-14.
4. The fourth branch is holiness. God "hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love," Ephes. i. 4.
5. The fifth branch is goodness. "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable, and perfect will of God," Rom. xii. 2. Now the learned say that this is the moral law; and, if it be, charity is what it aims at, and is the fulfilling and perfecting end of it. "Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned," 1 Tim i. 5.
Our learned poet Milton, speaking of the undertaking of Christ, has these words of him - "The law of God exact he shall fulfil,
Both by obedience and by love, though love
Alone fulfil the law."
Book xii. line 403.
At another place, speaking of the abundant grace of the Messiah upon the saints, he brings in love - "By name to come call'd Charity, the soul
Of all the rest."
Book xii. line 584.
"For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself," Gal. v. 14. "Owe no man any thing, but to love one another; for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law," Rom. xiii. 8. "Love worketh no ill to his neigbour; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law," Rom. xiii. 10. "And one of the scribes came, and asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, the first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, thou shalt love thy neighour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these," Mark, xii. 28 - 31. "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets," Matt. xxii. 49. According to these accounts, there is no doing any thing with the law, no obedience to it, no standing before it, without love in the heart.
Now when our evangelical ministers of the letter tell us that we are under the law as our rule of life, do they mean nothing by it? Is it mere talking? Or do they insist upon doing the commandments? Do they mean nothing more than to prate at that rate whilst others are only to hear them? If so, neither those who talk about the law, nor "the hearers of the law, are just before God; but the doers of the law shall be justified," Rom. ii. 13. Not talkers and hearers, but lovers, fulfil the law. And, if this be true, that love and nothing else fulfils the law, I ask every evangelist in this nation, and that in the name of God, to answer this question - Who act the wisest part, those who enforce love from the covenant of grace, or those who exact it frown the killing letter which ministers death and worketh wrath? Where does love spring from, and in what channel does it flow? It took its rise in God from all eternity; and, for want of a better expression, I call it self-moving love in God to man. I know of no cause prior to that. It is displayed in the gift of Christ as a sacrifice for us, and in giving Christ as a covenant to us. "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life," John, iii. 16. This love of God was set upon us, and secured to us, in Christ from eternity; so that neither life nor death can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. It is tendered to us in an unconditional promise. "I will love them freely." It is the bond of the covenant of grace: "All that I love I rebuke and chasten." And when we pass under this rod we are embraced in love, which is called bringing us into the bond of the covenant. And this love of God comes to us from the Father, through the Mediator, by the Spirit; and is, with every other grace, shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost, who operates as a spirit of love, of power, and of a sound mind. I ask all our evangelists once more, Which act the most consistent part - those who enforce love from the sovereign clemency of heaven, from the dying love of Christ, from the bond of the covenant, from the promise of God, from the benignity of the Spirit, frown an unctuous experience and the happy enjoyment of it; or those who, being in chains themselves, exact it from the ministration of death and condemnation, engraven on tables of stone? Let our evangelists answer this.
When God had finished the work of creation, he rested on the sabbath day. He smelled a savour of rest in Noah's sacrifice; he went to cause Israel to rest when he led them out of Egypt; he rested in the first tabernacle; and entered into his rest, he and the ark of his strength, in the temple. But the best and most lasting rest was yet to come. He never rested long in any place until he had displayed his endless love, and all the bowels of his goodness, mercy, pity, and compassion, in the gift of his dear son. "The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rest in his love," Zeph. iii. 17. And where God rests satisfied and well pleased, there we shall rest contented, but nowhere else; for no conscious sinner, no wounded soul, can ever find rest but in the death of Christ, and in the love of God. And where is this rest to be found? At Sinai? No. - "The Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever; here will I dwell; for I have desired it," Psalm cxxxii. 13, 14. And those who would come to God the Judge of all, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, must come to mount Zion by faith; for we that believe do enter into rest. Sending troubled minds and restless souls to the law is acting the part of the Jewish Pharisees of old, who always sent them to Horeb; but God turned their faces toward Zion. "They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, come, and let us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten. My people hath been lost sheep, their shepherds have caused them to go astray: they have turned them away on the mountains; they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their resting place," Jer. 1. 5, 6. Hence it appears that love is the rest of God; and when faith lays hold of God's love to us, and works by it, love is the rest of the soul: for it is the bond of the covenant of grace, and the fulfilment of the covenant of works, and leaves no room for servile fear, nor torment; for there is no fear in love. "He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness," Isai. lvii. 2. And this bed is love, Song i. 16; and uprightness is the same, Song i. 4.
I have appealed to the consciences of all our evangelists, to know which set the wisest and most consistent part, those who exact love from blackness and darkness and tempest, the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, Heb. xii. 18; or those who enforce it from mount Zion. From which of these mountains does love flow? It flows from mount Zion; "for there God commanded the blessing, even life for evermore," Psal. cxxxiii. 3. But does the law give nothing that is either hopeful or helpful? No. Christ is the hope set before us, and all help is laid upon him; all grace and truth, pardon and righteousness, life and peace, came by Jesus Christ. "Had there been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law," Gal. iii. 21. Does faith come by the law? No; "the law is not of faith;" nor is faith of the law; nor does God minister the Spirit by the works of the law, but "by the hearing of faith," Gal. iii. 5. Both we ourselves, and those who reproach us, are zealous of the law. Or to give our opposers the heavenly names which they take to themselves, and to take quietly the opprobious name which they bare given us, and by which we shall be better understood; for none are so backward to take the characters and titles that heaven gives as those who answer to them, and to whom they belong. While the children of this world take them all and add many more of their own. The Jews to this day call themselves God's Israel; but they call us heathens. A Jew once told me to my face that we heathens never had but one prophet, and that was Balsam. The Turks call us infidels; the Papists call us heretics, and the gospel in this island, the northern heresy; and the ministers of the letter call us Antinomians. But then these godfathers and godmothers, who give us these names, find better names for themselves. The Jews call themselves the people of God; the Turks style themselves true believers; the Papists are the holy catholic church; and our letter men are all evangelists; and for the future I shall use these two names. We Antinomians and the evangelists are all zealous of the law; only they contend for the letter, we for the power; they for the law which commands love, and we for the promise of love which fulfils the law. But the question is, Which goes the truest way to work, in order to obtain love? Which fulfils the law? They exact it from Hagar, we from Sarah; they from Jerusalem that now is, and is in bondage, we from Jerusalem above, which is the mother of us all; they exact it from Sinai, we enforce it from Zion; they from the commandment, we from the promise; they from the letter, we from the Spirit; they from the ministry of death, we from the covenant of life; they from notion, we from experience; they from the head, we from the heart; they from legal bondage, we from gospel liberty. But the main question is, On whose side does the promise, presence, and approbation of God appear? We think he appears on the Antinomians' side, for God gives "testimony to the word of his grace," Acts, xiv. 3. But does he never give testimony to the letter of the law? Yes, in telling us that "the letter killeth," both the preacher and the bond-children. God distinguishes them thus, calling one ministers of the Spirit, the other of the letter. "The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life." The minister is carnal, not having the spirit; dead, having only the letter, not the promise; and, as the letter from the dead preacher killeth, he ministers death to all that hear him. Hence every false professor, who confides in the flesh, is said to "remain in the congregation of the dead," Prov. xxi. 16. I know of no congregations destitute of life who sit under the ministry of the Spirit. If God condemns to death by the ministry of the letter, and gives testimony by the Spirit to the word of his grace, and to no other, it appears to me the Antinomians are right.
On which side does the command and commission of Christ appear? I should think on the side of the Antinomians; for his command is, "Preach the gospel to every creature," Mark, vi. 15. This is the "commandment of the everlasting God, made known unto all nations for the obedience of faith," Rom. vi. 26. But does God never cherish, nourish, or feed, his people by the ministry of the letter? No. What Paul calls the comforts of love, which feed the heirs of promise, come not from Hagar. Sarah is the covenant of grace in the allegory; the covenant of grace is the heavenly Jerusalem, which is the mother of us all; and the promises of the covenant are her breasts. "You shall suck of the breasts of her consolations, you shall milk out and be delighted with the abundance of her glory. For, as one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem," Isa. lxvi. 11, 13. In the covenant of grace, or within the bond of that covenant, are we to receive the Spirit and his comforts.
I have proved that every branch of the penal part of the law is applied to God's elect when he chastens and teaches them out of his law. I have proved that every branch of the morality of the law is fulfilled in them who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. And is not this establishing the law for evermore? And can this be called making void the law through faith, when it is faith that embraces the divine love of God (read 1 John, iv. 16; Rom. viii. 35), and love is the fulfilling of the law, and charity never faileth in this world or the next. And did any one legislator, either divine or human, ever aim at any thing higher than to have his own power and authority submitted to, his own person regarded and loved, and his revealed will in their public laws obeyed and fulfilled? And God himself declares that all this is done in the souls of all his saints, whose faith worketh by love: and he has borne his testimony to this for upwards of five thousand years, to those who have obtained a good report through faith; when not one letter-man has ever obtained a good word from him, much less a good report; for without faith God cannot be pleased. And sure I am that if this be Antinomianism, it is not after man; for I learned it not of man, neither was I taught it but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. It pleased God, without any instrument, to reveal his dear Son in me. Nor can I be persuaded to believe that the most high and eternal God would speak by his Spirit to a poor blind naked worm, like me, when labouring alone in a gentleman's garden, telling me to get out from all my company and acquaintance, and have no more fellowship with the men of this world, and give me a heart immediately to obey his voice, and go out; and for this call to be attended with the sweetest sensations of meekness, humility, compunctions and tender fear, so as to keep me mourning and weeping, confessing and praying, all the clay long, and that for many months together; till I could scarcely bear the sight, much less the company, of any human being; and, when through ignorance I took these heavenly and divine sensations, and joined them to my own performances, in order to patch up a righteousness of my own, it pleased God in one moment to send his law, with all its dreadful contents, and in all its spiritual meaning, into my soul, which discovered every corruption of my nature, with every thought of my heart, and brought all my crimes from my cradle fresh to my mind and memory, and set them all in order before my eyes; and the same moment Satan was permitted to assault me with all imaginable filth and foulness, enmity, rage, infamy and blasphemy, desperation and rebellion; which drove me into such distraction and confusion as not to know one person from another; and yet God supported and protected me until he was pleased to shine into mine heart, and set before my eyes the whole human race in two classes, and the two covenant lines stretched out over them: and then he bid me lay by my forms of prayer, and pray to Jesus Christ, who in his word speaks so pitifully to sinners. I did so, and immediately the Spirit of grace and supplication came upon me; and Christ crucified wag presented to my view, and set before my eyes, like a suffering man in the centre of a million suns; which gave me "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." And this was not a momentary view, for I never wholly lost sight of it for nine months. At this sight sin and Satan, law and bondage, fear and torment, darkness and confusion, despair and distraction, guilt and shame, took their flight; when faith and hope, righteousness and peace, godly sorrow and real repentance, overwhelming love and soul-transporting joy, flowed in and ran out. The Lord's reward was with him, and his work before him. This is the foundation of my ministry; and I am sure my doctrine is not after man, for I learned it not of man, neither was I taught it but by the revelation of Jesus Christ: and this fulfilled what the blessed Son of God promised. "Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him; and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him," John, xiv. 23. Not long after this I was ordered to go and preach the kingdom of God, and doors were accordingly opened for me. Providence went before me, and pointed out my way; and I was greatly enlarged to preach in many dark corners, but chiefly in Surrey and Sussex; until at last the Lord called unto me twice in my sleep, by the name of "Son of man," telling me to "prophesy upon the thick boughs," which was thus explained to me; that I was to leave the country, and go and settle in London. And the day following every thing conspired to facilitate my immediate removal And though at my first preaching in town I had but few to hear me, yet in time the number increased to four or five hundred; and now I think I seldom preach to less, in both chapels, than three thousand every week. Thus the boughs, as God called them three-and-twenty years ago, continue to be thick: and, as to the name of Antinomian, we view it as a kind of scare-bird, which the devil hangs up in the pulpits of hypocrites on purpose to keep the Lord's doves from flying to their windows, Isai. lx. 8. And it has happened with this figure as it often does with an image when set up in a cherry-tree; it will frighten the birds for a while, but, when the little creatures come to discover the cheat, you will see them sit upon the head of it. So has it been with many of, the birds of Paradise. To be stigmatized for Antinomians was dreadful; but, when they found it belonged to the offence of the cross, and that it was given to those that know God for themselves, whilst the name of evangelist was assumed by hypocrites only to blind the eyes of the simple, they submitted to it cheerfully, and wear it as a badge of honour, while the love of Christ makes this and every other burden light. Nay, it has even been of use to many of the Lord's family, having served to expose the inside of some of the evangelical preachers; insomuch that I am bold to affirm that many of them would sit at home for seven years, and read their Bible, rather than go over the threshold of their doors to hear such again. Some pages back I shewed my reader the doctrine of Antinomianism; pointing out the different parts of tin Bible from whence I took it. I have now shewed him the ground-work of it, and from whence it took its rise at first; and, as I said before, so say I again, I cannot believe that the Almighty would display all this power, and the riches of his grace, in such a poor worthless worm as myself, who made no pretensions to religion, and intend nothing more by it than just to fill hypocrites with desperation and rage, and to make sport for fools.
Depraved man has his understanding darkened, "being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in into, because of the blindness of his heart," Ephes. iv. 18. And daily experience shews that this witness is true; for all sorts of sinners, professor and profane, pharisees or foolish virgins, ministers of the letter or heretics, although they are fond of a name to live, Rev. iii. 1; yet their souls detest the life of God in the souls of his saints, though this is the power of godliness: and so it was with all the enemies of Christ in the days of old; the greatest pretenders to the righteousness of the law were the greatest enemies to the righteousness of God, which brings eternal life and peace with it. The life of God in the souls of his saints is what all blind guides and their blind followers abhor; as it is written: "Three shepherds also I cut off in one month; and my soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred me. Then said I, I will not feed you: that that dieth, let it die; and that that is to be cut off, let it be cut off; and let the rest eat every one the flesh of another," Zech. xi. 8, 9. These three shepherds were the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herodians; or else the Essenes, a religious sect among the Jews, which dwelt near the lake Asphaltitus, as Josephus relates. These four Christ cut off in one month, by the sword of his mouth, then by the sword of the Romans, and afterwards by the sword of justice: and his soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred him; or, as he says in the New Testament, "They have both seen and hated both me and my Father," John, xv. 24. The life of God in the soul is what they cannot bear. When Christ told the Jews, "Except ye eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of man, you have no life in you," they called it an hard saying; and, when he said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man keep my saying, he shall never see death; then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; whom makest thou thyself?" John, viii. 51, 52. All their malice rose at the proclamation of divine life; and no wonder, when he that had the power of death reigned and ruled in them. Hence, as Milton says, he was
Lib. xii. 1. 414.
- - - - "slain for bringing life."
Life and immortality is what the ministers of the killing letter, and the sons of death, cannot endure; therefore they must remain "in the congregation of the dead," Prov. xxi. 16; for "all (says Christ) that hate me, love death," Prov. viii. 36. And their hatred drove them on with such desperate rage and violence as never to rest until they had killed him. Nor were they contented with putting him to the most bitter death which the law of God allowed, but even made choice of one established by human laws among the pagans, aiming, as much as in them lay, to bring him under the greatest shame and scandal among men, and his precious soul under the curse of God; for they knew their law in the letter of it. "If thou hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain all night upon the tree; but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; for he that is hanged is accursed of God," Deut. xxi. 23. This was what their malice hoped to bring him under: and it is true that, by God the Father's appointment, and his own voluntary undertaking, he was made a curse for us, and endured that curse which was due to us: but he remained, as he ever had done, the darling of God's soul, even when he hung upon the tree under the curse and wrath of him. "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again," John, x. 17.
Yea, and even when he was in the tomb they were afraid that he would rise again; for they went to Pilate, and said, "Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command, therefore, that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day," Matt. xxvii. 63. And, when he was risen, and their own watch had declared it to them, they bribed the soldiers to conceal it. And so it is now. If God quickens a dead sinner, plants him together in the likeness of Christ's resurrection, and makes him walk in newness of life; so sure will our evangelical letter-men fall upon him, be-labour him, and, like the Jews of old, by all manner of means strive to conceal the work of God upon him; and every breaking forth of power by his instrumentality is sure to be hid, that it spread no farther. And it is truly laughable to see the pitiful shifts that have been adopted concerning myself, shutting me out of every pulpit possible. I was once invited to Bristol, and was there seven weeks; after which I believe it was near a month before any of the evangelists could be prevailed upon to come again. Nay, one of them, who is a noted advocate for sanctification and holiness by the law, told them he would not enter a pulpit where that fellow had been, when a gentleman humorously answered that they would build him a pulpit at the other end of the chapel.
When I first began to write I applied to several booksellers, who were professing men, to sell my work: but no more than one would suffer his name to appear in it, and even that gentleman requested me to take his name out before the work came from the press. I was once instrumental, under God, in restoring a notorious backslider. This account was published, but no more of the name of the instrument than Mr. H. that it might be taken for another: which has also been the case in some Letters that have lately been published from abroad, wherein my name as the minister has been changed into that of pastor. We have various annual publications called pocket-books, some of which are styled the Christian, or Christian Lady's Pocket Book, containing accounts of the different places of worship in London, and the stated times of preaching. But a gentleman out of the country, who sells books, smilingly told me the other day that he could not find Providence Chapel nor Monkwell-street Meeting mentioned in more than one of them. Thus the Jews laboured to obscure the resurrection of Christ in his own person, and our evangelists labour as hard to obscure it in his members; for God quickens us together with Christ. But God will work, and none shall let it. And I think he has now cut out more work for our evangelists. There is a clergyman who has lately left the establishment, one that has long laboured under the bondage of a broken law, strong convictions, and various temptations, under which he began to preach alarmingly, when all sorts of evangelists flocked about him, some of my Lady's men, others belonging to the establishment, and some of the Tabernacle connexion, presbyterians, baptists, and independents; none of whom failed to warn him against a bad spirit, a bitter spirit, a censorious spirit, narrowness, bigotry, and antinomian principles. But under all this raillery God bent his heart towards the antinomians; and the more they railed, the higher we rose in his esteem. He read some of my writings, and soon after came twice to hear me at Lewes. He afterwards sent me a few lines to Bolney, and desired an interview, which I granted; and deeply wounded in spirit he appeared to be. From that time we became acquainted, and he has since been in London, when it pleased the almighty and ever-blessed Clod to send the Holy Ghost as a comforter upon him, and to set his soul at liberty under the antinomian at Monkwell-street meeting, while I was preaching from this text: "And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, in the mount of the Lord it shall be seen," Gen. xxii. 14. Take the account verbatim from his own letter. "REV. MR. HUNTINGTON, CRICKLEWOOD.
"Brighton, April 2, 1805.
"My dear friend and kind benefactor in the bowels of Jesus Christ, for in this way I am persuaded you have been moved towards us; grace unto you, and peace be multiplied."
"I should have written unto you before, to return my hearty acknowledgments for ail your kindness, and to inform you how we go on, but that I waited for an account of the chapel expenses, to give you some information how the money will last. But this I am afraid I am not able to do to-day, therefore must defer that a few days longer. However, I cannot longer delay expressing some feelings of my heart. It has pleased God, in his manifold mercies, to make you instrumental in bringing me out of my country, from my kindred and my lather's house, by bringing some of your books to me when my mind was first awakened, and I began to fall into trouble. I clearly perceived that God was in you of a truth; nor could all the opposition, nor reproaches of hypocrites, ever move me from this persuasion; so far from it, they drove me closer towards you. My own heart indeed was oftentimes torn and tossed with sad revoltings and enmity, hard thoughts of you, and indignation at times, through jealousy, against you; but I never would suffer others tamely to reproach or speak disrespectfully of you. It pleased God to bring us nearer acquainted. You must have well perceived the state I was in when you first saw me, and in succeeding interviews; I was in truth drawn towards you more and more, but still I felt (what at the same time I wanted to be free from) a bar in my heart. I could not join cordially; fear and bondage kept me at a distance. I was much exercised with darkness, hardness, jealousy, suspicion. However, there is a bond called that of perfectness, and this, I bless God, he has lately favoured me with in the following manner. On Sunday morning I heard you preach on these words: "That he might fill all things." As you evidently appeared filled with your subject. I rejoiced to see you happy, but could receive little or none of the good cheer for myself, yet was I desirous, and prayed that you might condescend to a man of low estate, making darkness light and crooked things straight before me. Hence on Sunday afternoon I was enabled to receive, with comfort and satisfaction, some of the seven evidences you gave from those words: "Let a man examine himself." On Monday evening, however, I began to feel the powerful energy of the Holy Ghost, in the direction and application of the word as suitable to my case, and adapted to my wants, which were far from being satisfied on Sunday. When you delivered the text my fears arose: I said in my heart, He is above me again; I shall go away again as I did on Sunday morning. However, you had not gone on far, ere my heart was opened to attend to the things spoken; and sweetly did they come forth and find an entrance. I have been long at a loss to bring many things to hang together, which I have found in my experience, and more especially on that side which conveys light, life, and peace: bondage, darkness, trouble, death, the curse of the law, the depravity of the heart, &c. - these were things I could receive; but many things that made for me I was shy of applying. Yet it pleased God to shew me that I was not destitute of those joints and bands your text led you to describe. I never before read or heard any thing that seemed so powerfully to establish my soul as what you then delivered. There were, however, good things yet in store for me. On Tuesday evening, after your text, I had the same fears recurred, but they were speedily removed; and, as you went on, such light and power, accompanied with such sweetness, peace, calmness, submission, meekness, humbleness, and self-abasement, "took possession of me, as I never found before; and they have continued with me in measure to this hour. I have often found more" tumultuous feelings, if I may so call them; joy in God, self-loathing in a view of divine forbearance and mercy; and some seasons of sweet refreshing I have found, but mixed with such sudden changes, that I had no sooner found any thing sweet and pleasant, than they were dashed by a sudden suggestion that it was all a delusion, and that such things did not become me. I never till that night had that settled confidence, that of a truth what you brought out of the text it was no presumption in me to claim. Your appeals to conscience received from within an honest answer, and your description of the provision of God In the mount met a hearty welcome in my soul. These two things I found: the first the same as Peter did in the mount of transfiguration, "Verily," said I, "it is good for me to be here;" and I felt a longing desire to have the privilege of living and dying under the ministry of the word from your mouth. I felt a reluctance to go back into the country and preach to others; I desire rather to sit down as a disciple under you, and receive such blessed portions in this channel from God. The other effect yeas, such an union of heart and soul with you took place, as caused me to cleave closer to you than ever; you was made manifest in my conscience, and became in my heart to live and die with you. How sweet and delightful are such seasons as these, when the covenant head is seen, believed in, and admired; and his servants received as messengers, and embraced as brothers! Indeed I cannot describe in what a frame I heard you preach, how I felt my soul go out after you; and with what reverential fear and regard I took my leave of you. Receive this as a slight token of the union and harmony my soul delights to find in every remembrance of you, as of one whom God pointed out to me as a guide some years ago; whom now he is graciously pleased to bless, as a repairer of the breach and a restorer of paths to dwell in.
"I had written thus much when your letter was brought in to me; and I thank you most cordially for all your kindness. We were very full on Sunday, when I failed not to publish to them of Garb and Askelon, the wonderful things God hath done for us. This, together with the inscription in front, makes some gnash, and others rave; they cannot contain their displeasure, but vent it in reproaches and curses; they are filled with madness. However, there is a strait jacket for such gentry; and I know they cannot hurt me, but do me good. I am happy to hear of your success in letting down the net; I rejoice that God brings any bound under the word; much more joy must you have, that he is pleased to give enlargement. May the most high bless you more and more, both you and your children, so prays,
B.W. J - - "
Thus my reader may perceive that God works, and none cat let or hinder. You may see also in this how the devil and his evangelists have laboured together to prejudice the mind of this gentleman against that very instrument by whom God had ordained the sealing of his soul up to the days of eternal redemption. And I shall leave my reader to guess how precious such evangelists must appear in the eyes of this poor gentleman, after hearing so many imprecations heaped on the head of one whom God had appointed and now owned to heap so many covenant blessings on his head. And now, to convince my reader that the opprobrious name of Antinomian is not applied or given to those who live in all manner of sin, as they would insinuate, but chiefly to those who are partakers of the Holy Ghost (for the reproachful name follows the Spirit's quickening and soul-reviving power), I tell him beforehand that he must soon expect every pulpit to ring with the account of another Antinomian springing up at Bright-elmstone in Sussex. And, as the young gentleman is not six weeks old in grace, he is hardly up to the neck in sin already. As this good man is raised up to bear a part of my burden, I now expect a cessation of arms, or to go into winter quarters, while they are spending their strength in belabouring him. I have no doubt but he is one of that sort that can bear it; and, if so the more they reproach and resist him, the more will God comfort and strengthen him. As his sufferings abound, so will his consolations abound, and for shame he shall have double, and for confusion he shall rejoice in his portion: therefore in this land he shall possess double; everlasting joy shall be unto him.
But I must return to my subject, and shall bring forth a few of those passages of scripture which countenance and confirm me in what is called Antinomianism, which are as follows:
Moreover "the law has dominion over a man as long as he liveth," Rom. vii. 1; and no longer. The believer suffered death, the penalty of the law, in his head and surety Christ Jesus; and he becomes dead to the law by the body of Christ, and is married to another, who is raised from the dead, that he might bring forth fruit unto God, Romans, vii. 4. Nor is the law this marriage covenant, but the covenant of grace, Hos. ii. 19. The law works wrath not union; nor is it productive of fruitfullness, but barrenness, for all that are under it bring forth fruit unto death, Romans, vii. 5. "Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgression, (How long to continue in force?) till the seed should come to whom the promise was made," Gal. iii. 19; and no longer. For the law prophesied until John, Mate xi. 13. "The law and the prophets were until John; since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it," Luke, vi. 16. "But before faith came we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ; but after that faith is come we are no longer under a schoolmaster," Gal. iii. 24, 25. "In that he saith a new covenant he hath made the fist old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away," Heb. viii. 13. The ministration written and engraven on tables of stone is done away and abolished, 2 Cor. iii. 7, 11. "If any man be in Christ he is a new creature: old things are passed away, behold all things are become new," 2 Cor. vi. 17. New creatures under a new covenant, "that we should walk in newness of life, Rom. vi. 4, and serve in newness of spirit and not in the oldness of the letter," Rom. vii. 6. Minister of the letter, who travail with death, and servants who serve in the oldness of the letter, are both rejected and despised of God. God seeketh such worshippers as shall worship him in spirit and in truth. All this Antinomianism I have learned out of the Bible.
I must observe one thing more, which is this: that it is in vain to enforce love unless we preach the faith. Faith must come first, for we can have no love till faith discovers it, and lays hold of it. "We have believed the love that God hath to us," I John, iv. 16. "He that believeth not is condemned already, and the wrath of God abideth on him," John, iii. 18. And surely a man damned, and under wrath, cannot love God. The Apostles preached Christ to the people; they preached repentance towards God, and faith toward our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To preach Jesus Christ is "the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith," Rom. vi. 25, 26. "And the law is not of faith, but of works, the man that doeth them shah live in them," Gal. iii. 12. These quotations are intended to shew my reader what God's word says of the law; and that it doth declare that "the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit," Rom. viii. 4.
That "the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient," 1 Tim. i. 9.
That "those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts;" and "the fruit of the Spirit" in such "is love, joy, peace, meekness, temperance, and against such there is no law," Gal. v. 23.
That no one law was ever found written (by God himself) in any man's heart but in those who are born again of the Holy Ghost, and who are in covenant with God.
These have the testimony and approbation of God himself: yea, even Abraham, before the law was given, obtained this good report through faith. "Abraham," says God, "obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws," Gen. xxvi. 5. And God bears the same testimony to all the spiritual seed of Abraham. "Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings," Isai. li. 7. But where do we find such a testimony given to letter-men? They are said to turn "aside to vain jangling; desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm," 1 Tim. i. 6, 7. But then this is not a good report through faith, but a bad report through unbelief. There are no enemies or reproachers that can lay any wilful wickedness or loose living to our charge; we defy them. My whole crime is that I do not assert that the believer is under the law as his rule of life; nor do I believe this to be true, because God says he is not under the law but under grace.
I will undertake to prove that every law of God is fulfilled in God's spiritual family, though God's spiritual children are not under the law, as God himself declares.
2. And, as I do not believe this, it would be sin in me to advance it; "for whatsoever is not of faith is sin," Rom. xiv. 23.
3. I never found any such words in my Bible, nor in any one apostolic commission given forth by Christ: and, as there are no such commands given, I cannot be said to transgress them; "for where there is no law there is no transgression," Rom. iv. 15.
4. The Spirit is promised to guide us into all truth. But, among all the lessons that he has ever taught me, he never taught me this; nor do I believe that any one now upon the face of the earth can affirm, with an appeal to God, that ever the Spirit of God put it either into his heart, or into his mouth. And they are no ambassadors of his "that use their own tongues, and say, He saith. Yet I sent them not, nor commanded them, saith the Lord," Jer. xxiii. 31.
Nor are we afraid to meet any of our accusers upon the footing of good works. We have collected within these few years more than two thousand pounds, to assist others in building places of worship in the country, and seven hundred pounds to enlarge our own place. And in none of our collections do we go from house to house, much less send to beg a guinea of those who make no pretensions to religion, which many do. No, nor do we even go among any of the evangelists, nor to any other but to those, and only those, who are often seen attending the worship of God among us. We do not give the hand to the Assyrians for bread, Lam. v. 6; nor call to the Egyptians for help, Isai. xxx. 7. And many pounds that have been sent to us when collecting for places of worship, I say many pounds have been sent us unasked for; and, because we did not like the profession of the givers, we have always sent their money back to them again. If we sow spiritual things in the souls of any, it is a light thing if we reap of their carnal things, 1 Cor. ix. 11. This is the apostolic rule; and we think it is wrong to reap where we have never sowed. Paul told Philemon that he owed himself to Paul, because he had been instrumental in conveying the grace of God to Philemon, Philem. 19.
We keep a bank of charity among ourselves, to relieve our own poor; and this is supported, not by a two-penny rate, much less by the Arminian tribute of a penny a week. We do nothing in this poor, low, mean, contemptible, pitiful way; but rather despise it. Ours is supported by subscriptions and voluntary contributions; and we seldom distribute less than three or four hundred guineas per annum. And, if at any time the bank gets low, half a dozen words from the pulpit brings in sixty or seventy pounds to recruit it.
Nor do we spend, as many do, twenty minutes or half an hour in pumping, pressing, squeezing, and extorting a few shillings out of the pockets of worldlings, who appear in a sheep's skin. We seldom or ever spend two minutes at this labour.
A gentleman, not long ago, to whom we gave a collection, with a few words, got one hundred and forty-five pounds under one discourse; and, had he mentioned it in the evening, I doubt not but it would have amounted to upwards of two hundred pounds. But he was so struck with the liberality of the Antinomians, that he could say no more to them, finding they did not want a spur nor a whip, but a bridle with a Turkey bit. However, they differed much in opinion from him; he was straitened in his own bowels, but not in theirs; for they went home, and primed and loaded again, and murmured not a little because he did not bring his shears and take off a little more wool (Ezek. xxxiv. 31,) in the evening.
Nor can any of our evangelical slanderers charge us with making use of any carnal weapons, or popish acts, in order to gain proselytes. We have no gowns nor bands, nor do we make use of any of the forms which belong to the establishment. We use no empty oratory, nor earthly logic; we have no pipers or trumpeters; no viols, harps, nor organs; no choristers nor opera singers. We always consider that the glory is departed wherever these are introduced, and view all converts to be carnal that are converted by such carnal means; far enough beneath our notice, and not worth a penny a dozen.
If any take offence, and leave our ministry and community, we are not at all displeased at it, if God doth but make them manifest before they depart; for we consider ourselves as God's mouth when we "take forth the vile from the precious," Jer. xv. 19. Nor do we ever send bumbailiffs after them, if the teeth of the threshing instrument has beat the mountains till the hills become chaff, so that the wind has taken them away and the whirlwind has scattered them, Isai. xli. 15. We are as well pleased at the departure of a hypocrite unmasked as we are at the admission of a saint in his court robes, knowing "that we are a sweet savour unto God in them that are saved and in them that perish," 2 Cor. ii. 15. Nor do we ever go after them. "Let them return unto thee," says God, "but return thou not unto them," Jer. xv. 19. And, although we are set forth by the evangelists as the offscouring of the earth, yet have we been honoured and highly favoured of God. God hath spoken to us, and he hath condescended to speak by us. He hath spoken even to me as well as others. When he came first to allure me he spake comfortably to me, bidding me leave the world and all my companions in it, and have no more to do with them. I did so. And, when he shone into my soul, and laid all my depravity open, it was with these words: "Believe that I am in you, and you in me." And before I had been many days in the horrible pit he spoke these words to my heart: "He that overcometh shall inherit all things," Rev. xxi. 7. And at my deliverance he bid me lay by my forms and pray to Jesus. I did so; and he delivered me, as before related. When an Arian had baffled and confused my judgment, respecting the glorious mystery of the Trinity, God bid me call upon him, and he would shew me great and mighty things which I knew not," Jer. xxxiii. 3. Soon after he fixed my mind by a vision in the open day. And, when an artful Arminian had, under the devil's influence, been suffered to confuse me and bring me into bondage, so that I had nothing but pro and con, yea yea, and nay nay, for many days together, the Lord asked me, "Do you not know that the scriptures say, No man can come to Christ except the Father draw them?" I replied, "I know it says so." The answer was, "If you can find a place where it is said that man can come, or has power to come, to Christ, you may prove the Bible false." This brought my scale down full weight; when Arminianism kicked the beam, and has appeared nothing but chaff and feathers ever since. When I worked in the coal barge, I laboured hard, and God knows I fared hard, really suffering want, when God spoke these words to my soul - "I know thy tribulation and thy poverty, but thou art rich," Rev. ii. 9. I was once complaining grievously in my spirit, having at that time a family and a horse to keep, and no money to procure food for either, when he spoke these words - "Thou shalt lend to many, but thou shalt not borrow," Deut. xv. 6. And I have lent to many, and some hundreds too, and to such as have never paid me again.
When God intended me to leave the country, and come to London, he bid me prophesy upon the thick boughs, which is now twenty-four years ago; and the boughs are still thick, notwithstanding all the labour of Satan and the evangelists against it.
When the famous wolf in sheep's clothing got into the fold, and God took his fan in hand in order to purge the floor, I had been three times running to him in prayer with many grievous complaints, when the Holy Spirit of God spake these words to my heart - "And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him?" And he did avenge me, for not fewer than fourteen of them were dead in less than two years; and many others are withered branches to this day, and will never be green again. At another time, seeing several groups of them in the streets, contending for and against me, I asked the Almighty what injury I had done to any of them. He answered me - "When they shall cease to deal treacherously, thou shalt deal treacherously with them," Isai. xxxiii. 1. And I believe I shall, in being a savour of death unto death to them, and a swift witness against them at the bar of God, 2 Cor. ii. 16; Matt. xxiv. 14.
In the midst of our late wars I was much exercised in my mind, to know what part of the word of God was then fulfilling by those desolating judgments, and was grieved at my heart to think that there was not one among us to whom it was revealed. I knew that all things were to be fulfilled as God had declared in days of old to his servants the prophets, Rev. x. 7. But what part was then fulfilling none seemed to understand. I lay on my bed and grieved till I fell asleep, being much concerned for the welfare and safety of Zion; and the first moment I waked, a voice spoke to me, saying, "This is the hour of temptation." And an hour of temptation it was, when many were tempted to rebel both against God and against the powers that are ordained of God: but those who kept and obeyed the word of his patience were preserved from being carried away in that hour of temptation, Rev. iii. 10. Now, if I am become a fool in glorying, it is these evangelists that have compelled me, 2 Cor. xii. 11. "It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory; though I could come to visions and revelations of the Lord," 2 Cor. xii. 1. But I forbear, having a desire not to know "the speech of them that are puffed up, but the power: for the kingdom of God is not in word but in power," I Cor. iv. 19, 20.
What know they of the power of God's anger (Psal. xc. 11) revealed in a broken law? "What do they know of the supporting power of God in the horrible pit, under the rod, and in the furnace of affliction, which brings the elect of God through fire and through water, and out into a wealthy place?" Psal. lxvi. 12.
Let them tell us how the arm of the Lord was revealed in them, when they first believed the report; or when God fulfilled "the good pleasure of his goodness in them, and the work of faith with power," 2 Thess. i. 11. And what that power of God is, and how it works, which he puts forth and displays in the salvation of men, upon sinners being enabled to believe on the Son of God. And let them tell us what power has attended their ministry, in bringing souls to communion and fellowship with Christ; for we think that all their workmanship falls short of this, seeing what they call a change of heart we call a reformation in life, whom they call real converts we call painted hypocrites, and what they call the old man and the new we call the law of heathens, thoughts and conscience accusing and excusing.
Let them likewise inform us what power or prevalence they have had with God in prayer, and who they are that have reaped the benefits of their prevalent intercession: the Antinomians come not behind in these things.
The first difficult work that I found for faith and prayer, after my deliverance, was my little daughter (the only one then alive) being so ill that I had two doctors to attend her. I asked them if there were any hopes of her life; they told me no, she would die. I went to my garden, and laid it before God with uncommon energy, begging hard for submission to the divine will in case of a denial, and concluded with all the resignation I could muster. In two days after this she was perfectly recovered, and is now the mother of three children.
When I came first to London I became acquainted with a person who was then cook to Lord Barrington, in Manchester-square. This man had a little son, who in process of time fell sick of a lingering illness, which occasioned great grief of mind to his parents. He grew so ill at last as to be (as we commonly say) neither alive nor dead, and the faculty gave him over. On Sunday evening his father asked me and my friend Baker, with some others, to call and see the boy. We did, and found him with his head hanging over the bedstead, apparently dying; and indeed it was hard to perceive any symptoms of life remaining. I found a confidence in God spring up in my heart, and a desire to exercise it in prayer, which I mentioned to the father, who replied "It is of no use, he will die." However, we prayed for the life of the child, and then went home; but before I retired to bed I earnestly entreated the Lord again by myself, to spare the child. I was determined to rise early, and pray again. I did so, and found very great energy in it. I begged of the Almighty to grant me this favour; that he would convince me, by the first passage of scripture I should cast my eyes upon, whether the poor little boy was alive or dead. And the first passage that struck me was this: "From heaven did the Lord behold the earth, to hear the groaning of the prisoner, to loose those that are appointed to death," Psal. cii. 19, 20. I immediately wrote a few lines to Mr. Baker, No. 226, Oxford-Street, reforming him of my prayers, of the energy I felt in them, of the request I had made, and put down the scripture that bad encouraged me to hope, desiring him to go immediately to Manchester-square, and inquire if the child was alive. This was about five o'clock in the morning, when I received his answer, saying, "The child is alive, and much better." Not many days since I was speaking to Mr. Baker about it. He replied, "I remember the circumstance well, and of my carrying the letter;" informing me at the same time that he is now married. His name is John Enovy. His father is bag-maker to the post office, and lived some time in Rockingham-row, Greenwich-road.
I was many years ago invited to preach at Northampton; and during my stay there I went to preach at a little village a few miles out of the town. When I returned to Northampton it was near twelve o'clock. Being introduced into the dining room, I found both my host and hostess very sad, and weeping. I asked what was the cause of their grief. He replied, "Some years ago my wife was delivered of a son, the only child we have living. At his birth she received a hurt, and the doctor informed her that she would never bring forth another living child if she had a hundred. Since which time she has borne ten children, and every one born dead. She is now very ill, and near her down-lying again. And this is the cause of our grief." I told them there was nothing too hard for the Lord. He made us, and be could mend us; and Jesus declares that "all things are possible to him that believeth," Mark, ix. 23. "Being thus encouraged, we will lay the matter before the Lord;" to which the husband seemed inclined, but she objected, saying, "O, 'tis of no use." I replied, "It is no sin to ask, if we ask with submission to the will of God." We went to prayer, and I concluded thus - "O Lord, if we have asked amiss, withhold; but if thou art not displeased with our petitions, grant our request; not on the footing of our worth or worthiness, but in the name and for the sake of thy dear Son, who is worthy." Soon after this I returned home, and in about six weeks the gentleman sent me a letter, saying, "My wife was brought to bed at such a time, and of a living child; which is still alive, and like to live; and being a child of prayer, it is to remain nameless until you come and give it a name." I went, and named it Mary. The gentleman I thought seemed grateful to the Lord for his goodness, but his wife not so much so, which I felt not a little; and, if report be true, she hinted that, if she bore many more living children, it would lessen the property of her son, whom she was doatingly fond of. In process of time she proved pregnant again, and brought forth another dead child, and soon after her delivery she died herself. However, the husband and child are both living, and she is called the child of prayer unto this day. The man's name is Adams, an ironmonger, living near to Allhallows church in Northampton.
Another instance is as follows: Mr. Taylor, a gentleman's butler, who lived in Bedford-square, and for sometime had attended my ministry, once asked me to go and see his wife, who was very ill, in deep soul trouble, and had been in heavy bondage for many years. She seemed, however, at last to be raised to hope, and soon after departed this life. But another affliction befell the poor man. His little daughter had a white swelling on her knee, and for this sad complaint he tried the faculty, and all the means that he could devise, but to no purpose. He was fretting and complaining sadly to me about the affliction of the child. I told him that Christ was the great Physician foretold by Jeremiah, viii. 22, and that in the days of his being manifest in the flesh he made it appear that he really was so; for all sorts of disorders, infirmities, and sicknesses, whether in soul or body, were healed by him: yea, "as many as touched Him were made perfectly whole," Matt. xiv. 36. And these favours were not confined to the days of his flesh for "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever," Heb. xiii. 8. I advised him therefore to try no other means, as all had failed, but that of prayer only. He requested me to pray for her. I did so: and whether the child be a chosen vessel or not God only knows, but she was continually brought to my mind when I was in private prayer, for I believe near two years. However, the man left his place of servitude, and went into a public house, and I have not seen him for many years. But about a fortnight ago he called on my friend Baker, in Oxford Street, who inquired after the child, and if her knee was well. He said the Lord had effectually healed her, and that the little creature used continually to be chattering, and telling folks that Mr. Huntington's prayer had cured her knee. He said moreover that she was now married, and settled at St. Edmund's Bury, in Suffolk. The father now keeps the sign of the King's Head in Holywell-row, near Finsbury-square.
I had a friend in town who was remarkably useful to me in building Providence chapel. He kept a cold bath, and used at times to attend my ministry; but after a while somebody prejudiced him greatly against me, so that he wholly left the chapel. He had a nephew who married his servant maid, unknown to him; however he soon found it out, but took no notice of it, as she was a steady servant, and valuable in her place. Her chief work was that of attending the ladies in the bath. In process of time she brought forth her first child; and, getting up too soon to attend the bath, she caught a violent cold, which threw her into what the doctors call a milk fever, and at length the faculty gave her over to death, at which her uncle was much concerned; and perceiving her to lie distressed and very low, he asked her, saying, "My dear, is there any minister that you should like to speak to, or have to come and pray by you?" She hesitated at first, but, being more, closely pressed, she replied, "There is one that I should like to see, but I know yon would not be willing that he should come, and I have no desire to see any other." He asked her who it was. At first she was silent, but at length told him it was Mr. Huntington that she wished to see. He replied, "Then you shall see him;" and forthwith sent his respects to me, just as I came from my pulpit after morning service on the Lord's clay, requesting I would come and visit his niece, who was ill. I went immediately, and when I came into the room saw several people sitting by. I spoke to her about the state of her mind, the end God aimed at in sending his Son into the world, and described the characters of those whom he came to seek and save; and, previous to my going to prayer, I asked her what she wished me to pray for? She answered, that the Lord would raise her up. I said, in answer to this, "As you seemed so desirous of seeing me, are you persuaded that God will hear my prayer for you?" "Yes," said she, "I have not a single doubt of it." I replied, "Then you may depend upon it God will hear me, and raise you up as sure as you are born." And God did raise her up from that illness. Her uncle's name was Lloyd, of the cold bath, Harley-street, Manchester-square.
Some few years ago I was invited to Woolwich, and taking dinner with Captain Duncan, when a gentleman of the faculty came in, who is a son of mine in the faith, and his spouse also is one whom I have begotten in my bonds. He informed me that his wife was extremely ill, and in a deep decline, spitting to that degree that it was impossible she could long survive; and deeply concerned he was. It seems she got this illness by going too soon into a house newly built. Now this couple, being very highly esteemed by me, as two savoury, unctuous, experimental Christians, and ornaments to their profession, as well as to the Antinomian that begot them, I found a strong confidence rise in my heart that God would hear prayer in her behalf. And I told the doctor that I thought prayer would do more for his wife than he had done by his medicine; His answer convinced me that he believed it would. I soon went down to his house, Mrs. Duncan and others following; and we laid her and her case before the Lord. In a few days I was informed by Mrs. Duncan, that prayer had preveiled; and she is now living. When I went down again I inquired of her what she had gained by trading in the furnace of affliction; when her honest account convinced me that her gains had been great. Ifs and buts, doubts and fears, seemed to be all purged away, and she was upon the foundation that God has laid in Zion. This gentleman is Dr. John Butler, surgeon, now living at Woolwich.
But I have yet to speak on God's behalf, as a God that hears and answers prayer. Some years ago another, friend, Mrs. Blaker, of Bolney in Sussex, fell ill gradually, and so continued, until the doctor who attended her had, for three months before I saw her, informed her that he could be of no further use, nor had any expectation of her recovery. It came to pass that I was going soon after to preach at Bolney; and I told her daughters, who were then at my house, that I had more hope of the mercy of God towards her, in answer to prayer, than I had in all the means and medicines she had made trial of. I must confess that I was astonished at first sight of her, to see so healthy and hearty a person so soon reduced to such a skeleton. She had kept herself alive by taking now and then an oyster, but could not receive one grain of animal food. My dearly beloved son, Mr. Jenkins happened to be then with me, and I know that the Lord says, "that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven," Matt. xviii. 19. We shut ourselves up in a room together, and prayed for her repeatedly; so that in less than a week she ate meat, and is still alive. "This is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And, if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him," 1 John, v. 14, 15. But my reader may be ready to wonder, and say, How can this be? Will God hear the prayers of vile Antinomians, whose hearts are filled with errors, whose lives are scandalous, and whose employ is nothing else but deceiving the simple? It is true, reader, this is the character that we have obtained from men, and from those who style themselves evangelical ministers of the gospel. No, reader; God will not hear such wicked men. The blind man restored to sight says: "Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but, if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth," John, ix. 31. And I have often thought that, if God was pleased to set the Antinomians against the evangelists, as he once did a favourite prophet of his against four hundred chaplains of Ahab's palace, putting both parties to the test - Which is the true God in Christ Jesus - He that is preached by the evangelists, or he that is preached by Antinomians? And that he should be the true God who answers by fire, and they should be approved and acknowledged to be his servants who obtained that fiery answer: I have a strong persuasion that we should obtain as complete a victory over the evangelists as Elijah did over the four hundred prophets of Baal. 1 Kings, xviii.
The good man who has distinguished himself as my godfather, and who has palmed the name of Antinomian upon me, and upon all that are in connexion with me, and who has without intermission slandered and loaded me with reproach for five and twenty years, is an evangelist of the first magnitude, though I never spoke to him but once in my life. He is most exceeding zealous for the law of Moses, and of its being the only rule of life for believers. My not holding this assertion has filled him with all this holy indignation against me; that, although he often forgets his text, and sometimes loses himself, even in the pulpit, but he never forgets nor loses sight of the filthy Antinomian: and he is so violent for his own holiness and sanctification, that he would be glad to send me to the devil, in defence of it. And I doubt not but the Lord has set him at this work to ripen him, as was the case when he bid Shimei curse David, that God might curse him. And I am as fully persuaded as David was - "that the Lord will requite me good for his cursing," 2 Sam. vi. 12. He has called me a spiritual monkey, a spiritual blackguard; confessing that, if he was to see the devil flying away with me, he could not find it in his heart to cry "Stop thief," believing the devil had only got his own property. And he has publicly confessed there are three creatures in this world that his pious soul hates; namely, the devil, Dr. Priestley, and Huntington: but that he hates Huntington the worst of the three. Part of this is true, and part false. It is true that he hates Huntington; but the other two have received no damage by him in any thing. And I may say of my godfather as the prophet says of Jacob's brother, that "he pursued Jacob with the sword, and did cast off all pity, and his anger did tear perpetually, and he kept his wrath for ever," Amos, i. 11. My reader may believe me when I say that I esteem his indignation and his reproach a greater treasure to me than either his affections or his prayers; for we are to be hated of all men, and especially of all such men, for Christ's name's sake, Matt. x. 22. And this is so far from offending me that I am pleased with it, and make myself merry at the reports of his zeal, which hath almost eaten him up; and he may go on, for his whole warfare is in defence of his own honour; and the more the Lord enlarges me, the more he is enlarged also. Sometime ago a report prevailed that several persons at Feversham in Kent, read my books. Putting on the old man (for he knows nothing of the new), down he went, and fell upon them like Samson. At another time it happened on a Lord's day they were disappointed of a minister, when it was proposed to read a sermon; and a sermon was read by a friend of mine. A gentleman of the faculty, who was then present, and who is a staunch friend of my revered godfather aforesaid, greatly admired the discourse, and said he never heard a better, and continued applauding it until he was informed that the Antinomian was the author. He then changed his voice, and gave charge that it might be read there no more. Sometime back it was reported that the Antinomians gained ground at Lewes, in Sussex. Whereupon our pious pursuer was soon found at Heathfield, setting all things to rights in that quarter. Not long since a daughter of mine in the faith, who belongs to Providence chapel, went with her husband to settle in the dock-yard at Sheerness, in Kent. It was no sooner found out that she was called to the knowledge of the truth under the Antinomian, but some strange spirit or other caught away my venerable godfather, so that he was seen no more at Heathfield, but found at Sheerness, where my daughter was desired to go and hear him. He did not know her personally, and therefore was compelled to do as he always does; that is, draw the bow at a venture: for, as he is at a point in nothing, so I defy him to take aim at any thing but the Antinomians. However, he gave her such a peal of thunder (but there was no lightning attended it) that terrified her so much she was scarcely able to keep her seat. She had not been used to hear a Boanerges, and could compare it nothing but the tempests she had heard at Gibraltar. "The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools," Eccles. ix. 17. However, she felt her bonds and misery come on, and a keen appetite for the bread of life upon the back of it. This drove her to town, and to Providence chapel, where she got a little refreshment. My godfather had given her an appetite, and under the Antinomian she got a banquet; so that she blessed God for me, and soon after brought me a silver cup lined with gold; and entertained us for near two hours with my godfather's oration, declaring she never heard such an empty harangue of incoherent scraps before, and hoped in God she never should again.
A few pages back I informed my reader of the young clergyman at Brighton, and that I expected he would be a sort of armour-bearer to ward off some strokes from me, as our evangelists would now fall upon him. That gentleman is now sitting in my study, and informs me that the Boanerges aforesaid is at this time at Brighton, where he left him when he came away, though he had not been there for thirty years before. If report be true, the countess of Huntingdon left it in her will that no godfather of mine should ever enter any pulpit of hers. However, all things must give place to necessity. He is there, belabouring the sectarians, and telling them how he hates at least one sort of them, namely the Antinomians; for although there be those at Brighton who preach salvation from hell, yet he is no enemy to them, but to the Antinomians only; or, in other words, those who are born again. And I believe that many raw boys, who have set themselves up as teachers, and others as empty in their profession, have been emboldened to use such expressions and imprecations upon me, and the work of God on my soul, as would never have entered their minds, nor would they have dared to utter them, had they not been encouraged and patronized by this gentleman, who has given me the name of an Antinomian. A person who has now for some years belonged to us, and formerly attended the ministry of this Boanerges, has owned to me that he has heard me set forth in such a point of light that he should have considered himself defiled if but the skirt of my coat had touched his garment in the streets. However, soon afterwards he fell into soul trouble, and wanted an interpreter. The disciple of Moses being of no use in explaining God's writing on the fleshly tables of the heart, he came to the Antinomian, where he got it, and has never been near my pious parent since.
The young clergyman at Brighton, having been at Lewes to hear me, upon his return was telling an independent minister of the same place of it, and that he now saw where the truth lay; how he had been undeceived by what he had heard, and spake rather respectfully of the Antinomians. The other replied, "What a great man in London (meaning the disciple of Moses who has given me all my present names) says of him is his only applicable character - that he is a spiritual blackguard, and if I thought what that Huntington preaches was the truth, I would go home immediately and burn the Bible." These are some of the fruits of a ministry which sounds out so much holiness and sanctification. And I firmly believe that the preacher himself is the sole author of all the sanctification and of all the holiness he ever preached, or can preach, for there is nothing like it in the Bible, except the names.
About two or three years ago I preached at Newark, Retford, Nottingham, Kegworth, and Sheepshead. At the latter place a young gentleman, a minister, and an assistant to another elderly one of the same place, being, as I suppose, sadly prejudiced against me from report, went about, and used all possible means to prevent people from coming to hear me. However the place was filled, and I preached from the marriage supper of the Lamb, Rev. xix. 9. A young man in bondage, who came with much prejudice, was set at liberty; and, upon the whole, the power of God attended it. After my departure the young minister before mentioned borrowed several of my books, in order to find fault and reproach the author. However, God's thoughts are not our thoughts; for by one of the books God found fault with him, the law was sent home to his heart, his sins and his profession were both laid open, and this soon gave him a sufficiency of law; for he had no breastplate against the entrance of it, but found that he wanted an hiding place from that storm, and a covert from the tempest, Isai. xxxii. 2. At length it pleased God, having stripped him of all his religion, to indulge him with some enlargement. He then wrote to me, informing me ingenuously of all his unbecoming conduct towards me, and of his present state of mind; and from that time his preaching was of course altered, which made no small stir that way; for his experience, doctrine, and reputation, were loaded as bad as mine. But he is still supported; so that the house of David waxes stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul weaker and weaker. My venerable godfather is much wanted in those parts. A minister from North-Hamptonshire, upon hearing this report, went to this young gentleman, whose bonds God had loosed. He is the author, and I trust will be the finisher, of the mystery of universal faith; for all the children of nature go upon the broad plan, or else they must exclude themselves. However, he did not take his faith with him, but rather the law; for he used sharpness with a witness; and no wonder, for the law truly worketh wrath, Rom. iv. 15 And it is as true that "the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God," James, i. 20. The young gentleman asked him the meaning of this text: "That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in them, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit." This set him fast; for he could neither explain the meaning, nor evade the force of the passage; so he left him. Afterwards he visited him again with words smoother than oil, but war within. The young gentleman then told him simply the experience of his heart, and what he had felt and enjoyed under the power of the Holy Spirit. He replied, "It is mental intoxication." All this unholy war is carried on against the Heir Spirit of God and his work, and against nothing else; for the carnal mind is enmity against God, and alienated from the life of God, Ephes. iv. 18. The life of God the power of godliness, their souls abhor. And this is visible in this man, who is stone blind of both eyes. The Holy Ghost is the spirit of faith. It is the produce of his own divine power, and is brought forth under his operation. He is the spirit of it, the quickener of it, and the life of it; and all its acts, acting, and exercises, are owing to his influences and operations, and to nothing else. And yet this man, this enemy to all Antinomians, has made it the duty of all men to believe, when God has concluded them all by nature in unbelief.
It is written that God's hand "shall be known towards servants, and his indignation towards his enemies," Isai. lxvi. 14. And I will not say that all our slanderers have had the presence, the power, and the approbation of God, in the oppositions they have made against us; far from it. We have watched the hand of God with respect to them; and two persons, who laboured long, from chapel to chapel, with a continual cry of Pamphlets against Mr. Huntington, soon after died, nearly at the same time.
After them another pursued me with the same sort of outcry, and with a pamphlet of his own writing. He was struck mad in Monkwell-street Meeting; and soon he disappeared, and was seen no more.
An old lady, who took upon herself to fellow me over at strange rate, and was a great admirer of the Arminians and Moravians, shortly after found her false hopes give way, and then came to me, wishing much to become a lodger and boarder in my house; which, however, I refused, and soon after she hung herself upon her bed's head.
Another, who wrote an empty squib against me, was soon after smitten speechless, and died out of his mind.
Another, who would never suffer my name to be mentioned in his house, and who seldom suffered me to escape his rage, even in his pulpit, and who prayed that he never might be delivered from a law that is holy, just, and good; he died mad.
Another, who was a desperate jacobin, wrote a most abusive piece against me, and in a few months after he was dead.
Another, who had raged against me about the law for near seven years without intermission, preached until his place was almost empty, and then gave it up, telling his people that he did not believe he was ever called to preach, which was the real truth.
Another, a preacher, but an utter stranger to me, for I had never heard so much as even his name mentioned, spake awful lies of me, even to my friend Challen, at Petworth, in Sussex. Soon after he was thrown out of a chaise against a wall, and his skull beat into his brains; and there was an end of him.
Another, whose business it was to make sport of me wherever he went, when he had finished this business, hung himself.
A poor woman, who read my books, and came at times many miles to hear me, gave great offence to a poor dead stick of a preacher in so doing, who went to the woman in order to prejudice her mind against the Antinomians: and it seems he gained his point, for she came no more. But the next time he called on her to confirm her in her prejudice, she asked him to sleep at her house. He consented; she put him into a damp bed, and he went home and died. Thus she dealt with him as he had dealt with her. Soon after she fell sick, and sent many miles to desire that I would visit her. I did so; and soon after she died.
Another, who never found one grain of peace or happiness in his mind, but when something or other had been published against me, though he was one of the most penurious creatures living, yet would he strain a point upon, this business, and would procure the books, going from place to place, in order to triumph over my friends, and to circulate the inflammable treasure among my enemies: but, when he had filled up his measure, he found some work within himself, to mind which required all his attention; and, not being able to manage it, he hung himself.
Another, of the name of White, wrote a most infamous piece against me; and, not content with reproaching me, even the Holy Spirit himself did not escape his violence. However, about Christmas last his false confidence and rotten hope gave way, and down he went; and, though he had prided himself much upon his performance, he then changed his opinion, calling it that wicked pamphlet - that wicked pamphlet: and about two months ago he hung himself in the dock-yard at Woolwich.
And it will be well for some in the present day, who have blasphemed the work of God, and carried this on for many years, covering their desperation and madness under a pretended zeal for the law and holiness - I say, it will be well for them if God does not make it manifest, some time or other, that there is something in them besides holiness. I have no doubt but their end will be as awful and notorious as their conduct has been; for, as they measure to others, so shall it be measured to them, for this is the law and the prophet.
There is a little boy, a novice, who, not long ago, was hanging at his mother's pocket-hole, but who is now a sprig of divinity, in pretended orders, mocking his Maker, deceiving sinners, and damning his own soul for a morsel of bread; he has lately written a three-halfpenny volume upon the law as the believer's rule of life.
Another very popular man at Leicester, who called my doctrine buffoonery, even in his pulpit, has lately published three volumes upon the moral law. He has not, however, adopted Paul's method; first to preach the law, to bring the sinner in guilty before God, and then warn him to flee from the wrath to come, to lay hold upon the hope set before us. No; he is more abundant in wisdom than ever Paul was; for Paul says, "We know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered," Rom. viii. 26. But this great man has taught his readers how to pray. He sends them with his prayer to Christ, for grace to enable them to keep the commandments. He finishes at the law, but Paul finishes at Christ. "Stand fast in the Lord, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." And Christ says, "He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit." This great man may labour hard, and, as he thinks, mean well; but he is totally in the dark about the business of salvation: and I believe it is well if his own soul be not in a worse state than any of those that hear him. So that the proverb is applicable - "Physician, heal thyself." Nor shall he ever lead one soul into union with the Son of God, unless God bring him under a better influence. Let our opposers do their worst, I am fully persuaded that there are more souls, who are quickened by the Spirit of God, now in union and connexion with us, than all our opposers have, put them all together, throughout the nation. And, if any of them can prove that we are the servants of sin, that we war after the flesh, or that we allow or indulge ourselves in wickedness, as they would insinuate, or that we do not live more becoming the gospel than even they themselves let them proclaim it to all the world.
Furthermore. We believe that there is no one law in the book of God that is not put into our minds, and written on our hearts, and that by God himself. Let them prove to us, if they can, that any one law of God was ever put into their minds, or written on their hearts.
We are styled lawless Antinomians. We may rob, steal, commit adultery, or do what we please, say they: we have no law. Thus are we slanderously reported, and that by men who, I believe, are destitute of every law of God. If we are lawless Antinomians, there is nothing to fear from us: our opposers are evangelists; and all evangelists are inspired men, and therefore well furnished for every good word and work. Besides, the Antinomians are few, but the name of the evangelists is Legion, for they are many, and therefore have the advantage of us, both in number and furniture. And I think they can never wish for a fairer ground to meet us on than this. Let any of them, and all of them, who have written against us, or who rail and traduce us as vile rebels; let them pick out of God's book what law they please, and as many as they please, which are essential to salvation; let them propose them to us, and, by the promised assistance of the Holy Spirit, we will shew the spiritual meaning of that law, and prove, from our own experience, that God has written that law in our hearts; and we will appeal to God and man for confirmation. Then let them prove, if they can, that any one law of God is written in their hearts; and let men of religion, or of common sense at least, judge who are the lawless Antinomians; they who have every law of God put into their minds, and written in their hearts, or they who have no law at all in them. No man can pass into the bond of God's covenant, or be in covenant with him, without having God's laws put into his mind, and written in his heart; as it is written, "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. A new heart also will I give you, 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 an heart of flesh. 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. I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people," Ezek. xxxvi. 25 - 27; Heb. viii. 10. Let all our revilers come forth, and tell us what was their experience when they thus passed into the bond of God's covenant: if they cannot, they never knew the gospel, nor can they preach it; for the gospel is the covenant of grace confirmed, and the ministry of the Spirit, 2 Cor. iii. 6, and is the power of God to salvation; which the natural man, the unpardoned sinner, never knew, and which he never felt. We defy all our revilers, in the name of the living God, to come forth and prove that any one law, in all the book of God, was ever put into their mind, or written by the Spirit in their heart. Paul, in his natural state, "was alive without the law," and "without the law sin was dead," Rom. vii. 8, 9. They are ministers of the letter, 2 Cor. iii. 6. They have the letter of the law, but not the spirituality of it. "The law is spiritual," Rom. vii. 14, but they are "carnal, sold under sin," and therefore ignorant of it. They have a "form of knowledge, and of truth in the law," Rom. ii. 20, but not the power of it; just as some have a form of godliness, but deny the power of that. God declares that all unrighteous men are "lawless and disobedient," 1 Tim. i. 9. These then Antinomians with a witness.
Before I began this book, I was one day wondering in myself how it came to pass that out of all the legions of preachers which we are furnished with in the present day, not one should appear to be acquainted with the Spirit's work, but should immediately fall with violence upon every soul that appears to be convinced of sin and quickened by the Holy Ghost; and all this under a pretended zeal for the law. It was immediately brought to my mind that there never was one law of God written on the mind, or put into the heart, of any man in the world who is not in covenant with God, and who is not a partaker of the Holy Ghost. And scriptures flowed in from every quarter to confirm this. I must confess that at first I was astonished beyond measure; but, upon examination, I found it to be so indeed. I considered what Paul, in his second chapter to the Romans, says about the performances of the heathens shewing the works of the law written in their heart. But the works of the law, or natural conscience, and the law of God, are two things. Hence Paul calls them a law to themselves. But God's spiritual law and a carnal heathen sold under sin, are two things. Hence Paul says, they sin without law, and shall perish without law, Rom. ii. 12. I have taken the greater pains with this work, reader, that I might furnish thee, if thou art a partaker of the grace of God, with an answer to the revilers of the power of godliness. Whenever these, either by word or by letter, reproach thee as a lawless Antinomian, call upon them to give an account how the laws of God were put into their mind and heart; and, if they cannot do this, they are blind and dead in trespasses and sins; for all whom God pardons have his laws in their hearts. Hold them down to this, reader, and you will soon see what they are, for "the lips of a fool will swallow up himself," Eccle. x. 12. One of this stamp of preachers, who has long officiated in various parts, and who artfully cut at the power of godliness, and at all experience of it, not long ago sunk in his mind when he felt the need of that divine aid which he had maliciously levelled his enmity against. And, although I believe they send thousands to heaven in funeral sermons, who never enter there in a fiery chariot, yet they were constrained for once to say of him, even at the last, that he refused to be comforted: they might have said that the insulted Comforter refused to comfort him; for no man upon earth is either able or willing to refuse divine consolations when the Holy Spirit brings them in. It is shocking to see how such blind impostors go on, speaking evil of what they do not understand, until God discovers them. No one thing under heaven, reader, will ever bring peace into thy soul, but faith in the blood of Christ. No breastplate but his righteousness; no rest but in his dying love shed abroad in the heart; no assistance of heaven but under the Spirit's seal; no joy but in the light of the King's countenance; no escaping the reign of sin but by being under grace; no usefullness in the ministry but by the Spirit's testimony; no fruit but by union with the living Vine; no escaping the fulfilling the lusts of the flesh but by walking in the Spirit. And, if my reader be a believer in the Son of God, he has something that keeps him more than setting a broken law before him, or bringing him under that unbearable yoke as his only rule of life; which establishes nothing but the preacher's emptiness, ignorance, and insensibility. Nor do any sinners live such scandalous lives as blind and hardened hypocrites. I was informed, not long ago, by a very reputable and God-fearing man, that, in a certain large town which swarms with such sort of professors, the last time the parish officers went round to try the measures and weights of tradesmen, they took away six hundred scanty measures and light weights, and that above five hundred of these cheats were professors: and I wonder not at it; for, when men have been brought forth and emboldened to act as stage-players before the Almighty, and taught to ridicule the power of godliness, they are fit for any wicked deed; so likewise are those disaffected preachers, who though Jacobins, take the oaths of allegiance; and, though rotten Arminians, subscribe to the church articles. Men who can break through such sacred bounds are prepared for every evil work; for, if oaths and subscriptions will not keep them, what will? No rule of life from God teaches men to swear falsely, nor yet to lie to the Holy Ghost. "Upon all the glory," says God, "there shall be a defence," Isai. iv 5. And wherever the glory of God arises and shines, and the Spirit of God and of glory rests, there is such a defence as these evangelists know nothing of, whilst those who are under it are kept by the mighty power of God through faith unto salvation. They have a breastplate of righteousness, through which no killing sentence can ever pass, and against which no accuser shall ever preveil. The believer has the filial fear of God in his heart, the goodness of God for its object; a tender conscience purged from sin, blessed with the witness of God's Spirit, and with a voice from the blood of sprinkling, proclaiming peace and eternal friendship with God. He walks in the light of God's countenance, and sees an unerring and never-failing providence passing daily before him, which excites watchfullness, gives a spring to gratitude, and fills him with wonder. He feels himself established in the favour of God, with which he is encompassed as with a shield: and stands with intrepidity where the wicked perish; I mean in the presence of God, Psalm lxviii. 2. The light of God shines in his understanding, life and peace in his mind, submission in his will, and the love of God in his heart. Innumerable deliverances and innumerable promises are filed in his memory, manifold indulgences at a throne of grace, and soul-dissolving visitations, which have preserved his spirit, Job, x. 12. He remembers his former affliction and misery, the wormwood and the gall, and of God's appearing as his deliverer when there was no hand to help. The frank forgiveness of all his innumerable crimes and accumulated guilt, lays him under such noble ties and divine restraints to gratitude, as those unacquainted with the influence and inhabitation of God's Spirit are perfect strangers to. The consolations of the Spirit. or the comforts of love, the fervour and energy which the Spirit affords him in his approaches to God, the freedom of access, the enlargement of soul, and freedom of speech, with which we are indulged at times, has no small influence in wooing the soul to cleave to God. While, on the other hand, the shyness and distance that takes place upon any unbecoming conduct; the intercourse being stopped, and spiritual desertion following, upon any unwarrantable liberty taken with conscience: the interruption of peace; the advantage taken by Satan; the straitness of soul, if not bondage, at a throne of grace; the want of utterance, energy, and enlargement; the bitter reflections for base ingratitude and unthankfullness; the remorse at the thoughts of sinning against light and love; the disquietude of soul and confusion of mind; the weakening of faith; the damping of love; the grieving of the Holy Spirit; the shame, the fear, the want of boldness, countenance, confidence, and fortitude, in company with the lively of God's family, or when engaged in God's work. How are such disqualified to strengthen weak hands, or prevail with God in prayer for others? How unfurnished for the work of faith, the labour of love, and the patience of hope, in our Lord Jesus Christ? These things have a greater weight, a more noble and powerful influence, and are more preveiling with the child of God, than all the considerations in the world besides. But a brutish man knoweth nothing of these things, neither doth a fool understand them, Psalm xcii. 6. This wisdom is too high for him; he cannot come near it by a thousand leagues. But to see a man standing in a pulpit, crying out, "The law is the believer's only rule of life," which requires love, and he at the same time filled with desperation and madness; blinded by the god of this world; stumbling upon the dark mountains (Jer. xiii. 16) of Sinai and Horeb; savouring of nothing but flesh and blood; with all the dregs of guilt, filth, and corruption, in him; playing with empty oratory on the passions of hypocrites; darkening counsel by words without knowledge; vitiating the minds of poor sinners against the gospel, by entertaining them with old wives' fables; unable to explain either law or gospel; strangers to pardon and to peace; ignorant of the Spirit's work, and destitute of every grace. What shall we say of such evangelists? I wish these gentlemen would lay by the old threadbare text, which is of their own forging, and give us a few practical discourses upon the law, shewing us how love to God and love to the neighbour fulfils it; for "on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets," Matthew, xxii. 40. And again: "Therefore all things, whatsoever he would that men should do to you, do you even so to them, for this is the law and the prophets," Matt. vii. 12. This last text would try my pious godfather to the quick; for, although he is so very fond of calling others blackguards, yet he cannot hear it himself. If others were to pursue him for twenty-five years, as he has chased me, and work him out of every pulpit, loading him with charges of error, loose living, deceiving sinners, &c. &c. all of which (and in a language equal to that of Billingsgate) his pious soul has thought fit to heap upon me - I say, were others to treat him so, he would weep like a child, fawn like a cat, run to every counsellor in London to plead his cause, and appeal to the world in behalf of his innocency and the respectability of his family. Preachers that have nothing to stand upon but the testimony of hypocrites, and the applause of fools, can bear but little of this sort of scandal; for their sandy foundation soon gives way, and, not being able to face either God or conscience in the closet, they are sure to go down; and "wo to him that is alone when he falleth," Eccl. iv. 10. However, if these laws of retaliation are not put into practice by my pious godfather aforesaid, I have no doubt but the Lawgiver will put them in full force himself, according to his own promise - "For with what judgment ye judge ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete it shall be measured to you again," Matt. vii. 2. He has not only loaded me with reproach and scandal himself; but, being a man noted for wisdom, experience, and soundness of doctrine, he is much looked up to, and therefore others have been emboldened to join him in the same work. There is a famous preacher at Lewes, called (I believe) a gospel minister; and, if I am not mistaken, he is in the establishment. This pious soul took the book written against me by White, who lately hung himself at Woolwich, and carried it to a Mr. and Mrs. Richardson, whose eyes God has lately opened to see the emptiness of his ministry; wherefore they had left him to join the Antinomians. This book he carried to them, but, perceiving his craft, they refused to read it Now, although this choice divine is noted for meekness, humility, and candour (which I believe he would exercise towards heretics, hypocrites, apostates, or impostors), yet if an Antinomian, or in other words a partaker of the grace of God, fall in his way, to such he can shew no lenity. He has informed a friend of mine that he had it in my own hand-writing, that I have prayed to the devil for money. Thus has he wrested and perverted what I have published about a temptation with which I was once exercised, and advanced that as from my book which was never in it. One would hardly think it possible for such a garb of sanctity to be put on for a covering without, while there are seven abominations within. An envious mind and fallen countenance are signs of a barren heart and a perilous state; and I defy him to say with the Psalmist, "The Lord is the health of my countenance, and my God," Psal. xlii. 11; for, if a man were going to be hung, and then to be damned, he could not be a more conspicuous picture of misery than he is. Nor will I believe that the religion of such men bears any resemblance of that which God has revealed to me: for, although I never knew one hour's peace or happiness in this world while in a state of sin and ignorance, and when I was under strong convictions and temptations I envied the happiness of every beast that is not capable of being accountable to God, yet, when it pleased God to reveal his dear Son in me, I envied no creature, either in heaven or earth; neither angels nor glorified saints, neither the rich nor the noble. But to return.
1. The grand law of the Old Testament is the law of commandments, and the whole of this is fulfilled by love, and the Holy Ghost is the spirit of love, 2 Tim. i. 7. And sure I am that the devil himself is as nigh this rule of life as those men whose souls abhor the recipients of God's Spirit; for he that hateth the just is an abomination to God, he is the son of him who was a murderer from the beginning, and own brother to Cain, both by father's and mother's side. Allegorical Hagar hates Sarah, Ishmael hated Isaac, the devil hates Christ, and the children of Satan hate the children of God.
2. "This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing," Lev. xiv. 2. He was to be sprinkled with blood and water. The Holy Spirit takes of the things of Christ, and shews them unto us; and God promises to sprinkle clean water upon us, whereby we shall be clean, Ezek. xxxvi. 25.
3. Every law and commandment respecting the anointing oil, which consecrated the priests, is fulfilled in them who are partakers of the Holy Spirit. "Now he which establisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God, who hath also sealed us, and given us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts," 2 Cor. i. 21, 22.
4. This anointing was to qualify them for all their typical service in offerings and sacrifices, which in truth are now performed by believers, called "a spiritual house, and an holy priesthood," anointed "to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ," I Peter, ii. 5.
5. The law of the King. - "And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write a copy of this law in a book," Deut. vii. 18. This is explained thus - "And he put the crown upon him, and gave him the testimony," 2 Kings, xi. 12. Now, as Christ hath made us kings and priests unto God, he crowns us with loving-kindness and tender mercy, Psal. ciii. 4, and gives us the testimony; and "the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy," Rev. xix. 10.
6. The law, that commanded different sorts of aromatic spices in the anointing oil, is fulfilled in every soul that is partaker of the Spirit and his graces; for the souls of such are expressly called a bed of spices. "My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies," Song vi. 2.
7. The law, that enjoined the offering of a continual incense to God on the golden altar under the law, is now fulfilled in them upon whom the Spirit of grace and supplication is poured, Zech. xii. 10. The grace of light shews us the things that are freely given us of God; the grace of life quickens us to feel our wants, and gives us an appetite; the grace of faith emboldens us to pray; the grace of humility teaches us to submit our suit to the will of God; the grace of hope expects an answer; and the grace of patience waits till it comes. Hence a heart thus filled with grace, and graces thus exercised, are called "golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints," Rev. v. 8.
8. The law, which commanded the priests to wash and bathe themselves in water, upon their being dedicated to God, in order to sanctify and cleanse them, is found in the souls of true believers. "According to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost," Titus, iii. 5. Such are sanctified and accepted of God, and no others - "That the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost," Rom. xv. 16
9. The law of trumpets. - "Blow ye the trumpet m the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day: for was a statute for Israel, and a law of the God of Jacob," Psal. lxxxi. 3, 4. This was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, when the rushing of a mighty wind filled the house, and the Spirit filled the hearts of the apostles. "The Lord God shall blow the trumpet, and shall go with the whirlwinds of the south," Zech. ix. 14. The apostles were the angels sent forth with this great sound of a trumpet to gather the elect together, Matt. xxiv. 31. And at the sound of this great trumpet they came to the feast that were ready to perish, Isai. xxvii. 13. And the poor guests at this feast are thus described - "Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance. In thy name shall they rejoice all the day; and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted," Psal. lxxxix. 15, 16. This joyful sound is our jubilee, and is a release of debts. The name of God there mentioned is his covenant name, that of being gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abundant in goodness and truth; forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin. But this grace is the grace of the Spirit. This mercy is applied by the Holy Ghost; for "of his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost." These persons are to rejoice; the fruits of the Spirit being love, joy, peace: they are to rejoice all the day; and there is no day where the Spirit of revelation and understanding comes not, for all natural men are children of the night, I Thess. v. 5. In the Lord's righteousness these persons are to be exalted: but there is no righteousness in carnal men, nor yet in the saints without the Spirit; for they are "justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God," I Cor. vi. 11.
10. The law of the God of Jacob enjoins that the trumpet should always be blown in the new moon, which is verified in the saints of God all the year round; for wherever the Holy Spirit testifies of Christ, there the sun of righteousness rises; and every time the spirit takes of the things that are Christ's and shews them to us, there the new moon feast continues; and both this sun and this moon are to continue with the saints for evermore. "The Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself," Isai. lx. 19, 20.
11. "The law of kindness," Prov. xxxi. 26 This is not to be found among the ministers of the letter, or any of the sons of death; for, though stoners love sinners, yet they are sure to destroy each other, either by sin, by errors, or by deception; for "the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel," Prov. xii. 10. The law of kindness is peculiar to the new man. "Put on, therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long suffering," &c. &c. &c. Col. iii. 12. These are fruits of the Spirit, members of the new man that bears God's image, and altogether the work of the Holy Spirit, and of no other. "For we all with open face, beholding as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord," 2 Cor. iii. 18.
12. "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may enter through the gates into the city," Rev. xxii. 14. The first thing in this text is a blessing, the second life from Christ; and the third an entrance into the city. He that has a part in the first resurrection is a blessed and holy man; and we "are risen with him, through the faith of the operation of God," Col. ii. 12. This man has life already, for "it is the Spirit that quickeneth," John, vi. 53. And "the Spirit is life because of righteousness," Rom. viii. 10. And such a soul is already in the heavenly Jerusalem, and a free man of it. "But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all So then we are not children of the bond-woman, but of the free," Gal. iv. 26; hence called fellow citizens. And this freedom is in all spiritual men by the Holy Spirit. "Restore unto me the joys of thy salvation, and uphold me with thy free Spirit," Psal li. 12.
13. The law of release, or the law of liberty. "So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty," James, ii. 12. Now the Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, 2 Cor. iii. 17.
14. The law of circumcision. "The uncircumcised man child shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant," Gen. vii. 14. "The Lord thy God shall circumcise thy heart, and the heart of thy seed, that thou mayest love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live," Deut. xxx. 6. And "we are the circumcision, which worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh," Philip. iii. 3.
15. The law of the mind. "But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind," Rom. vii. 23. "God shall persuade Japheth," Gen. ix. 27. "Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind," Rom. xiv. 15. "I am persuaded that neither life, nor death, things present, nor things to come, shall ever be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus," Rom. viii. 38. This persuasion is faith, and faith is a fruit of the Spirit. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith," Gal. v. 22.
16. This is the law of the burnt-offering, Levit. vi. 9. The best burnt-offerings that ever were offered to God by poor sinners are spiritual prayers, praises, thank-offerings, and sacrificing with the voice of joy; and all these with the fire of love in the heart. "Their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people," Isai. lvi. 7. But where as this love to come from, which kindles the burnt-offering? Paul answers, "Hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us," Rom. v. 5.
17. "The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips," Mal. ii. 6. And "when the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth," John, vi. 13. The Holy Spirit is the truth of this law.
18. "The law of the wise is a fountain of life," Prov. xiii. 14. "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive," John, vii. 37-39.
19. "My Son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother," Prov. i. 8. Hagar is the mother of all bond-children, and bond-children are called servants, and not sons. Sarah is the free woman. Hence we are commanded to look to Abraham our father, and to Sarah that bare us. Sarah was a believer, and blessed of God, and her son was by promise. Gal. iv. 29. Now we, as Isaac was, are heirs of promise; and as Ishmael persecuted Isaac, so the bond-children now persecute us And the cause of all this persecution is, God's giving us his Spirit. "But, as then, he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now," Gal. iv. 29.
Not one who has hitherto written against me, or has made it his business to preach and rail against me, has ever been consistent with himself, or with the word of God. Every one, that has been desirous of preaching the law, has fallen into vain jangling, 1 Tim. i. 6. And this vain jangling is jumbling various things together, which never can agree nor accord. If every child of God is under the law as a rule of life, wherein does he differ from a servant? In nothing. When any legal self-righteous servant came to Christ with "Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus always answered thus - "What is written in the law? how readest thou?" Adding, "This do, and thou shalt live." That is your rule of life; do that, and thou shalt live. Every sinner, therefore, is under this rule. Then where is the difference between the servant and the son?
The hackneyed and highly favoured notion is contrary to common sense, and even to carnal reason. Should you go to the first-born son of the first nobleman in the land, who is heir to all his father's property, and tell him that be is under the same yoke with all his father's labourers, and under the same bargain or legal covenant with all the hired servants, and that he differs nothing from bond-slaves or blacks, or any other that are in his father's family; and not only. during his minority or nonage, but during his whole life - Would not such an heir laugh at the folly of such a fool; or else take him to be insane, and endeavour to procure him a lodging in St. Luke's? God is both a father and a master, and has both sons and servants, Mal. i. 6.
Another tells us that we are not under the law as a covenant of works, but under it as a rule of life. This change turns the killing letter into a living rule, which is an alteration, and such an one as the Bible knows nothing of The law allows no man to alter it. "According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do: thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall shew thee, to the right hand nor to the left," Deut. vii. 11.
Others differ from the above, and tell us that through Christ the law to the believer has lost its irritating power; so that its yoke doth not gall the neck, nor its curse terrify the conscience, as formerly. Ask any child of God, who has ever been suffered to abuse, or only for a while to lose, the enjoyment of his liberty, and to be again entangled with the yoke of bondage, whether he did not find the law what it always was? And, if so, then he is a true and a living witness that the above assertion is a lie. When Paul speaks of the whole body of the Jewish nation, he says, "Jerusalem is in bondage with her children." And, when he is writing to the backsliding Galatians, who had begun in the spirit, and were going to be made perfect in the flesh, he tells them to grand fast in their liberty, and not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Paul makes no alteration or change in the law. What shall we then say of those men that do? "The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth," Isa. xxiv. 5, 6.
But some of our evangelists differ from these, and tell us that we are under the precept of the law, but not under the curse. Paul says, "The strength of sin is the law." A law that is shorn of its penal sanction is of no weight. This notion destroys the law; but Christ came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil, Matt. v. 17.
Others again differ from these, and tell us that the law is now in the hand of Christ, and we are under the law to Christ. Doctor Gill has a sermon upon this, and others hold it from him. But the Doctor has not brought one text to preys it, nor is there in God's book such a text to be found. Nor is the moral law the sceptre of Zion's king, with which he rules his loving subjects, if David prophesied right. "The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies," Psal. cx. 2. Now, if this rod be the law, or if any part of this rod be the law, David predicted what was already come. The works of the law were in the hearts of heathens, and the letter of the law in the hands of the Jeers. This rod is called by Isaiah the prophet, the rod of Christ's mouth, Isa. xi. 4; and by Paul, the spirit of the Lord's mouth, 2 Thess. ii. 8. And Doctor Gill himself says that Christ's sceptre is his gospel; if so, it is not the killing letter, but the Spirit of life and power.
Christ was set up from everlasting to be future man and mediator; and from everlasting was the covenant of grace made with him, which covenant is called the covenant of the sure mercies of David, Isa. lv. 3. And this mercy is said to be from everlasting to everlasting, Psal. ciii. 17. And this sure mercy is the promise of life, and the Spirit of God. This is God's covenant with Christ, and with his seed, Isai. lix. 21, &c; which mercy appears in our salvation and meetness for heaven by the Holy Spirit; for "of his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost," Titus, iii. 5. But the law, or the killing letter, is no part of this, but is intended to shew us our need of all this, as the law is not the sceptre by which Christ rules the righteous, no more is the law the rod by which Christ rules in the midst of his enemies. No, nor is it the rod by which he rules his enemies, and by which he dashes them in pieces like a potter's vessel. The man of sin, or Antichrist, will not be destroyed by the law. Christ will consume him by the spirit of his mouth, and destroy him by the brightness of his coming, 2 Thess. ii. 8.
Christ's gospel, by the ministers of the Spirit, is a savour of death unto death, 2 Cor. ii. 16. It bring a second death to those who are dead already. But what was the first death? - the sentence of the law; for "through the offence of one judgment came upon all men unto condemnation," Rom. v. 18. They were all condemned and brought under the curse by Adam's fall. In this state of death, and under the curse of the law, the gospel finds the reprobate. He hears the words of Christ, and believes not: then, says Christ, "I judge him not; for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day," John, xii. 47, 48. All rejecters of Christ, all unbelievers that hear the gospel, all despisers of the power of the gospel, all persecutors of the gospel, all letter preachers who pretend to the gospel, all graceless professors of the gospel, and all hypocrites in Zion, will be ruled and judged by the gospel, which is preached for a witness to some, and against others: and it shall be a savour of life unto life, and of death unto death. Those to whom it is a savour of death will not be cursed, for they have been cursed ever since they were born: but "they that believe not shall be damned," Mark, vi. 16. This is the sentence of the gospel, not of the law. This Paul calls a sorer punishment than the curse of the law, Heb. x. 28, 29. With the damnation of hell, and with the greater damnation, did Christ threaten the Jews, who heard his word and rejected him: and this made their case and state more intolerable than that of Nineveh, Tyre, Sidon, Sodom, or Gomorrah. They that sin without law shall be judged without law, and perish without law, they that sin in the law shall be judged by the law, and shall be cursed by the law: the rejecters of the gospel shall be damned as unbelievers and enemies, and those who are free-born sons of the heavenly Jerusalem "shall be judged by the law of liberty," James, ii. 12; which is called the book of life, Rev. xx. 12.
Moses is a servant, Jesus a son over his own house. Moses was king in Jeshurun, Christ is king of Zion. The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus. Moses' rod divides the sea, and brings the people into the wilderness, but Christ's sceptre brings us into heaven itself. All attempts to bring these two together are but vain jangling, which makes no joint or concord in any thing. The covenant of grace made with David was to him and to his seed a covenant of royalty; it was a covenant of salt, that secured the kingdom to him. Christ was born heir to this kingdom. The Lord God gave unto him the throne of his father David; and the same covenant that secures the kingdom furnishes Zion's king with his sceptre also. His word and his Spirit are the rod of his strength, and the rod of his mouth, and stand in power. Where this sceptre is swayed his kingdom is set up, which stands in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost; and is the savour of life unto life to all the Lord's subjects: and, that the law might not curse nor terrify these blessed subjects, it is taken out of the way and nailed to Christ's cross, Col. ii. 14; and done away and abolished. Read 2 Cor. chap. iii.
But "the believer is under the law to Christ," say others. Then wherein doth the believer differ from heathens, and from self-righteous Pharisees, for they are under the law to Christ? The world was made by Christ; all things are by him and for him, and to him are all things. He has power over all flesh, and is the only judge of quick and dead; and such sinners will receive the curse of the law from his mouth. But is it not strange that Christ should be heir of all things; King of Zion, King of nations, King of kings, and Lord of lords! Yea, "the God of the whole earth shall he be called," Isa. liv. 5. And he requires obedience among all nations, on pain of damnation, which is a new sentence; and promises his subjects that old things shall pass away, and all things become new; and yet no new covenant, no new law; although he requires service in the newness of his Spirit, and has cast off and rejected all servants and service done in the oldness of the letter. However, this king of Zion is a lawgiver to all his subjects, and this all his children know, for they sit down, like Mary, at his feet, and every one receives of his word, Deut. xxxiii. 3. And this he promised from the days of old. "Hearken unto me, my people; for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people," Isa. li. 4. And the isles were to wait for this law, Isa. xlii. 4.
This law hath two branches, to which obedience is required; and the Holy Ghost, as the sealer and the seal, attends it. "Seal the law among my disciples," Isa. viii. 16. "In whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise," Eph. i. 1.3. This law is faith, and the Holy Ghost is the sealer and seal. This is the first branch of Christ's law.
The second branch you have from the mouth of Christ himself. "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another," John, xiii. 34, 35. This law in both its branches was the law that Christ preached. This Christ called new, which makes the first old. This Christ calls his commandment, and not the commandment given by Moses. This commandment is given to Christ's disciples, and not to the world. It enjoins love to the disciples: the neighbour, which is all the human race, is not mentioned. It differs from Moses' law, and goes further than the command of the moral law ever did; for that is, "Love thy neighbour as thyself;" but this is, "Love one another as I have loved you." And then he sets the example. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends," John, xv. 13. "And we ought," says John, "to lay down our lives for the brethren," 1 John, iii. 16. This new commandment was true in him, says John, and true in you; in whom the true light now shineth, 1 John, ii. 8; for "he that loveth his brother abideth in the light," 1 John, ii. 10. This is the commandment that God sent by Christ - "that we should believe on his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment," 1 John, iii. 23.
This love comes from God through Christ, and is shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost. The law calls for the creature's lore to God, but this is God's love to the creature; and, when reflected back by us, it is called our love to God. "We love him because he first loved us." This is what the scriptures call charity, and is confined to the saints; the objects of it are God and his image. "He that loveth him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of him," 1 John, v. 1. Faith and love, which constitute this law, are the principal ingredients of the new man. Hence we read of new creatures, and of faith that worketh by love, Gal. v. 6.
There is no charity in the children of the flesh, nor in the old man, nor in any other but the new man of grace, which is to be found in the regenerate only, who follow Christ in the regeneration of things, as well as in a change of heart.
The first that exercised this charity is God the Father, who loves his elect with an everlasting love, and with loving-kindness draws them. All others, who are called strangers, he loves in giving them food and raiment, Deut. x. 18.
The next person that exercised this charity is Christ: he lived his own, and laid down his life for the sheep, John, x. 15, but not for the goats; nor did he pray for the world, but for them that were given him out of the world, John, vii. 9.
The next person who exercised this charity is God the Holy Ghost, who operates on the elect of God as a spirit of love, of power, and of a sound mind - "Whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you," John, xiv. 17. The objects of this charity next to God are (as was before observed) the brethren, not the world; nor the neighbour, but the household of faith. "This is my commandment, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another," John, xv, 12. Reprobates, impostors, and hypocrites, are not the objects of this divine charity. A citizen of gospel-Zion, according to David's prophecy, is one "in whose eyes a vile Person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the Lord," Psal. xv. 4. Jehoshaphat was taught this lesson after he had lent his friendly aid to idolatrous Ahab. "And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord? Therefore is wrath upon thee from before the Lord," 2 Chron. xix. 2. Samuel was rebuked for this also, even by God himself. "And the Lord said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel?" 1 Sam. vi. 1. Natural affections will love a fellow creature, and lead us to pity and exercise compassion towards him; for "God loveth the stranger in giving him food and raiment;" Deut. x. 18; and we are commanded to love our enemies, Matt. v. 44, and to feed them also. "If thine enemy be hungry give him bread to eat; and, if he be thirsty give him water to drink," Prov. xxv. 21. Remember, reader, these are called our enemies; but Ahab hated God. I do not find that Ahab was an enemy to Jehoshaphat, or that he ever opposed him. Ahab was God's avowed enemy, being a lover of idols, and an encourager of idolatry. The charge brought against the king of Judah is that he helped the ungodly, and loved them who hated the Lord. Jehoshaphat fell into this snare again; for "he joined himself with Ahaziah king of Israel, who did very wickedly, to make ships to go to Tarshish: and they made the ships in Ezion-gaber. Then Eliezer, the son Dodavah of Mareshah, prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, Because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah, the Lord hath broken thy works. And the ships were broken, that they were not able to go to Tarshish," 2 Chron. xx. 35-37. No doubt but the king of Israel shewed great love to Jehoshaphat, in order to ensnare him. Every staunch ally of Satan, who travails with mischief, aims at affecting the passions, but they never affect well, Gal. iv. 17; for "the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel," Prov. xii. 10. And this is true in every branch of their tender mercies. Every false prophet and idolater, that endeavours to infect others, does all that he can to destroy their souls. And he that gives much alms to be seen of men is cruel to his own soul, for he reaps the damnation peculiar to hypocrites. If his friend be sick and afflicted, if his mind and conscience be alarmed, he does all he can to divert, quiet, and harden him, which is cruel. If he loves his friend, it is because he is wicked, like himself. "Sinners love sinners," Luke, vi. 32. And so in every other branch of their tender mercy there is cruelty.
There are none so merciful as those who have obtained mercy, for such will be faithful both to God and man, 1 Cor. vii. 25. Nor can any but such do good to those who hate them, or pray for them which despitefully use and persecute them, Matt. v. 44; for what good can wicked men do? Nor can such pray; no, not even for themselves, much less for others. Divine charity has a wonderful influence, even upon natural affections; and tins the believer may find if he observes, especially when Satan comes to him transformed into an angel of light, in order to stir up the bowels of fleshly love, and turn him into an Arminian. He will make his bowels yearn over sinners, beasts, and devils; but fill him with enmity against the sovereignty of God, his decree of election, and against the objects of God's choice. Christ prayed not for the world, but for them which God gave him out of the world; and Christ knew who these men were: but we do not, therefore we are commanded to pray for them that persecute us, not knowing but there may be some like a persecuting Saul among them. And many of the saints' prayers have been heard in behalf of persons that never will be saved; as when prayers have been put up for people sick, afflicted, or in poverty: God has raised them up, delivered, and relieved them. The whole ship's crew that sailed with Paul reaped the benefit of his prayers, and so did many sick in the isle of Malta.
None talk about charity more than hypocrites: but none love God and his saints except those whom God loves first. "We love him because he first loved us," 1 John, iv. 19. None love God but those who are prevalent with him in prayer. "I love the Lord because he hath heard my voice, and my supplications," Psal. cxvi. 1. And they love most who have most forgiven. "That woman's sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loveth much," Luke, vii. 47.
Divine charity is among the regenerate, and no other; and is in the highest sense exercised towards each other, but not towards them who make it manifest that they hate God. The command of the law is exceeding broad; but this is not so, as will appear from the following passages.
"Charity edifieth;" it raises the edifice of mercy; and, when this charity comes to build up Zion, then God appears in his glory. Charity is the cement of Zion.
"Charity is the bond of perfectness." It is the bond of the covenant, in which all the elect are bound up: it runs through the whole family, and unites them all to the loving Head; and, when love is perfected, the soul is ripe and in full stature. This is Christ's yoke, which he says is light.
"Follow after righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart." Here we are exhorted to follow after charity; but it is with them who call upon God out of a pure heart, not with unbelievers and hypocrites, whose mind and conscience are both defiled.
Again. - "And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves; for charity shall cover a multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God," 1 Pet. iv. 8-10. This charity is to be exercised among the saints, in hiding the faults of the brethren, and in ministering the grace of life to their establishment, comforts, and growth. Those who minister, and those who receive, are called stewards of grace; they minister grace one to another.
Again. - "We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all towards each other aboundeth," 2 Thess. i. 3. Here the account is that the charity of all these saints abounded towards each other. The wicked of this world are not the objects of it, much less impostors, apostates, and hypocrites. "He that loveth his brother abideth in the light." But what fellowship hath light with darkness? He that loveth hath fulfilled the law, and is righteous. But what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness, or divine charity with open enmity? Just as much as Christ hath with Belial. Faith and charity, or faith that worketh by love, is Christ's law; and he that loveth in deed and in truth bears another's burdens, and so fulfils the law of Christ, Gal. vi. 2.
The commandment which ordered this law to be published came forth from God the Father to Christ. "The Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting," John, xii. 49, 50.
And this holy commandment was given by Christ to his apostles, "and is now made manifest by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith," Rom. vi. 26. And this same Apostle tells us, that the end God aimed at in this, and the fulfilling end of this law in all believers, is as follows - "Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned," I Tim. i. 5. Therefore, as this law of faith, which worketh by love, came forth from God, Paul says, I am not without law to God: and, as Paul calls this the law of Christ, he says, I am under the law to Christ. "Being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ," 1 Cor. ix. 21. For the want of light and experience to discern this law of Christ many good men have stumbled upon the dark mountains of Sinai and Horeb, and led others to do the same, which has kept many in confusion all their days. For instance,
The following text is made out by some to be the moral law. "I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God," Rom. xii. 1, 2. Doth not this appear strange, that God's will of purpose and promise in Christ, revealed in the better covenant, and which the angels themselves called God's good will when they sung at the birth of Christ - "Glory to God in the highest; on earth peace, goodwill towards men:" I say, Is it not strange that God's will of commandments, which is the master's will and rule to bond-servants, should be this good and perfect and acceptable will of God, when without faith we cannot please God, and the law is not of faith, but of works? Charity, whether in God, in Christ, in the Spirit, or in the elect, is discriminating; but never universal, as the law is. God takes pleasure in none but them that hope in his mercy; nor will God accept us but in his Son. Is it not strange, I ask again, that the apostle should beseech us by the mercies of God, as spiritual men, made alive by the Spirit, and living by faith, to prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, and that this is the moral law? Yet he tells us that we are redeemed from the law, delivered from the law, dead to the law, and not under the law.
When Christ came he shook and removed both heaven and earth, the sea and the dry land, Haggai, ii. 6; Heb. xii. 26. He removed the whole Mosaic economy; the law, the covenant, the priesthood, the sacrifice, the service of God, and the Jewish nation. Old things passed away, and all things became new. "The law and the prophets were until John; since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth Into it," Luke, vi. 16. And he that presseth into this kingdom follows Christ in this regeneration of things, wherein all things become new. He that is in Christ, and has faith which worketh by charity, is a new creature, and follows Christ in the regeneration of soul.
Jumbling the above things together, by some good men, has kept many bad men (in the ministry) at vain-jangling all their days; who have touched upon every thing, but established nothing. Some engraft this charity upon the moral law, while others engraft the moral law upon Christ, and extend it to all mankind as objects of charity. Thus our church catechism - "and to live in charity with all men." Whereas charity, which is one branch of the law that came by Christ, and is in none but believers, enjoins me to love my brother, as the Lord loved me: and John says - "We ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." But what part of the moral law is that which tells me to love my neighbour better than my own life, so as to die for him? And, as the law never required this, would it not be (as Paul says) daring presumption so to do? "Yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die," Rom. v. 7. But many have died to confirm the faith of the saints, and have fulfilled the law of Christ in so doing. Blending the law of Christ and the moral law together makes Paul both say and unsay; yea, it has made him even contradict himself through all his writings. For instance - "When faith is come we are no longer under a schoolmaster;" yet we are under the schoolmaster to Christ. "Ye are become dead to the law by the body of Christ," that ye may be under the killing letter. "We are not children of the bond-woman, but of the free;" yet we are under the yoke of bondage as a rule. "We are all children of light and of the day," but only under the old veil. "The just man shall live by faith;" but the ministration of death must be his rule of life. "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear;" yet the law, which gendereth bondage unto fear, must be the yoke. "He that loveth dwelleth in God, and God in him;" yet he is under the law that worketh wrath. God, as a Master and a Father, must have but one covenant. Servants and sons, bondage and liberty, slavish fear and filial, righteousness and condemnation, the killing letter and the quickening spirit, divine love and vindictive wrath, spiritual worship, and service in the oldness of the letter, saints and sinners, gracious souls and varnished hypocrites, must make up one body, and are all under one law. Impostors must be called evangelists, and ministers of the Spirit licentious livers. This confusion and vain-jangling is the work of tine present day: and he that will not say "a confederacy" to it, is a vile, filthy, stinking Antinomian, a spiritual blackguard, and the real property of the devil; for so says my pious godfather. Then farewell vain-jangling for evermore, and welcome reproach. Amen and Amen, says,
W H S.S.William Huntington